About Avaloki

Oculus Launch Pad 2017 grant prize winner, Avaloki is a story of two kids in search of their father, gone missing after a mysterious village catastrophe. Become their guardian, uncover this family’s secret past to reveal their fate. An indie virtual reality interactive narrative, Avaloki is about discovery, magic, and the gray areas of truth and life. 
 

In this first installment of an interactive episodic series, step into fully immersive illustrations, explore photogrammetric captured environments, interact with characters in a non-linear narrative, and assist the lost children on their journey.


Features:

  • Photogrammetry

  • Two 3D characters

  • Non-linear storyline

  • VR painting + animations

  • Dynamically timed with user actions and behaviors

Avaloki utilizes some of the latest emerging technologies. The experience takes place in a cave that was “scanned” using real-world photogrammetry. The “memories” are fully painted and illustrated with Google’s Tilt Brush. Avaloki additionally features branching, non-linear timelines.


Director’s Statement

Avaloki was created to answer two major questions: “Who am I?” and “What do I do?”

Virtual Reality storytelling, unlike traditional film, invites the viewer to become integrated into the narrative. This was our first major focus.

We thought of the most meaningful relationships in our own lives and asked: what were the moments that began our strongest friendships? Both of us agreed that they often begin when one person shares an intimate story from their past. For this pilot episode, we decided to use this derivation to make our core interaction. This is the interaction where the user has to unveil an orb that shares a tale of the children's past. This simultaneously gives depth to the characters, progresses the story, unfolds clues of their father, and exposes the Avaloki’s / your relationship with both the father and children.

The story is inspired from the beautiful Buddhist myth of Avalokiteshvara, enlightened people (bodhisattvas) that postpone Nirvana to give compassion to humanity. We built our story upon this myth, the perfect context of our core interaction, while also representing my own cultural heritage. Additionally, it allowed users to step into the shoes of a benevolent, dignified, and well respected figure.

It became imperative that the user chooses to become the Avaloki by placing their own hands inside the ancient sculpture’s. The user consciously decides to step into the shoes of the compassionate character, choosing to help uncover the children’s past in order to aid their journey.

When developing the mythology of our story, I decided to name the character Avaloki, resulting in the name of our series. The Avaloki’s goal — and consequently our goal — is to guide the lost children by actively practicing compassion.

— Priyam Parikh, Director


Avaloki was brought to life by a small indie team, fueled by passion! Continue to the Behind the Scenes page to read about the symbology and how this project was made.