American news networks such as The New York Times, NBC and ABC News have been experimenting with virtual reality (VR) and 360-degree content for some time now. Today, the latters Australian ABC News arm has announced its first immersive production Kokoda VR, bringing to life the experiences of its country’s World War II soldiers on the legendary Kokoda Track.
Created in conjunction with co-production partner Torrens University, Kokoda VR is a 40-minute VR experience that will first be made available to upper primary and lower secondary school students around Australia through educational VR incursion providers and via free direct download to school devices.
Kokoda VR takes viewers to the main events of the Kokoda campaign, when Australian and Papuan soldiers retook Kokoda from Japanese forces, as part of the Pacific offensive 75 years ago.
Featuring real locations and authentic artefacts sourced from military museums, combined with animated characters, users will learn about the campaign through first-hand character accounts, sound effects, graphic labels and embedded archival media. They’ll be able to move around within the VR spaces, behind trees and other objects whilst picking up and handling individual artefacts as they solve problems in order to progress through the story.
“With this immersive production, we can now show every student the main events of Kokoda, how the area looks now compared to how it looked then, the equipment used, the men involved, the strategies, the victories and the failures,” said Nathan Bazley, Kokoda VR’s Executive Producer in a statement. “Virtual reality is a powerful learning tool – it is proven to lead to better engagement and recall. This makes it perfect for explaining complex historical events to children. However, it’s not exclusively for kids – we designed it to be a fascinating experience for all audiences, young and old.”
Kokoda VR will also be released via Steam, for use on HTC Vive, as an app for iOS and Android devices, and as a 360-degree video through YouTube sometime in the future.
For any further updates on Kokoda VR, keep reading VRFocus.