Penrose Studios is currently working on a debut virtual reality (VR) film known as The Rose And I. Built with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, the developer has today announced that the project will be hosting its World Premiere in the New Frontier section of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival from 21st – 31st January 2016. For those that can’t wait or won’t be attending the festival, the studio has also released a preview for the piece titled Rosebud, which is now available on the new ROSE app for the Gear VR mobile-based head-mounted display (HMD).
The Rose and I itself is actually a VR adaption of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s popular novella, The Little Prince. Intriguingly, Rosebud features a sort of simulated positional tracking, a key feature that’s missing from current versions of Gear VR. This is achieved with the help of the kit’s integrated touchpad. By swiping on the pad, viewers can rotate a ‘primary object’ in front to them to assume different viewpoints as the film unfolds. Penrose Studios has labelled this method ‘Touch Orbit’, or ‘Torbit’ for short.
“From the beginning, we knew porting to mobile VR wouldn’t be simple, especially because the graphics unit of the Galaxy S6 is 150 times less powerful than the Titan Black Graphics Cards that we are using on our PCs,” the developer noted in an update blog. “We had to make various optimizations, such as the use of unlit materials and dot product lighting. We also had to make judicious decisions to reduce, or in some cases cut out, parts of the experience. For example, we disabled all post processing, such as bloom, on the Gear VR and removed all the dust particles. Despite these changes, we strived to maintain the charm and delightfulness that is the core essence of our experience.”
VRFocus will continue to follow the latest releases for Gear VR, reporting back with any further updates on the tech.