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A new virtual reality game developed by researchers in DIT to feature at prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York

Posted: 23 February, 2016

?DEEP?, a new virtual reality adventure game developed by researchers in DIT has been selected to feature at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April.

It is also set to feature at the Austin SXSW festival this coming March.  DEEP has already been experienced by thousands of people at the Amaze Festival in Berlin, the CineKid Festival in Amsterdam and the DOK Festival in Leipzig (where it won the audience prize).

So, what is it?  Well people have kept goldfish as pets for centuries. And for good reasons - many studies have shown the therapeutic and stress relieving benefits of watching fish swim in their mesmerising patterns.  DEEP is a modern twist to the idea. Breathing controllers and virtual reality headsets replace handheld controls in a new virtual reality adventure game developed by researchers in DIT. Instead of defending the planet against aliens or shooting up the bad guys, players must relax their breathing to observe the beautiful patterns made by shoals of fish and dolphins as they explore their environment. 

Modelling the behaviour of underwater creatures, from the lowly sardine to the mighty whale, is a surprisingly difficult computational problem however.

"The behaviours and animations for schools of fish and dolphins is an exceptional computer science challenge," says Dr. Bryan Duggan from DIT's School of Computing, who worked on the game with Owen Harris from DIT's School of Media. "DEEP required the simulation of hundreds of creatures swimming around and interacting with their environment in real time, all at the high frame rates required for virtual reality."

Are they alive? You decide!