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Local game makers utilize VR in new app, set to premiere at SXSW

Local game makers utilize VR in new app, set to premiere at SXSW

February 11
00:33 2016

John Hoang | Staff Writer

@jhoang1995

Trapped inside a small, dark room with a mechanical man, the prisoner must use his wits to unlock himself from confinement and be spared from the wrath of his jailer.

The app, ‘Escape,’ developed by From the Future, features just that as a virtual reality experience.

From the Future will present its app at interactive festival South by Southwest in March. CEO Mike Christian has high hopes for the future and said he wants the app to showcase the company’s talent and hard work to potential clients and viewers.

“We want to bring a lot of attention to Denton,” Christian said. “Lots of makers, from painting to building things, and we are a part of that.”

Users experience the app through the Samsung Gear VR, a virtual reality headset. The equipment will be set to external volume, allowing passersby to witness the demonstration. The creators made efforts to create immersion into the virtual world, such as a computerized belt buckle when the player escapes.

Founder and CEO of From The Future Mike Christain stands under his business sign. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

Founder and CEO of From The Future Mike Christain stands under his business sign. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

Producer Libby Mitchell said VR has expanded in past years and is being applied in medical, psychiatric, hospitality, real estate and development fields.

“It is a wonderful marketing tool, where games and apps can be used to show a product or concept coming out,” Mitchell said. “It’s very much a field that is just opening up and companies [are] racing to figure out how it will help them out.”

The multiple uses of virtual reality equipment are recognized by both app producers and students.

“I don’t think it has to be limited to gaming,” undecided sophomore Christian Alcocer said. “I think it can open up a completely new world of experiences.”

Though the idea of the game began at the start of 2015, it is already in its final production stages to be presented at the festival.

“It’s an ongoing challenge—enough work to keep us busy and paid but not be overwhelmed,” Christian said.

From the Future launched the Dig Little d app in 2014 to help alleviate the construction affecting businesses on Hickory Street. The app locates parking spots and provides information on local venues and restaurants in the downtown area.

“From our viewpoint it has been successful,” Christian said. “Although we don’t see it as being as well-known as it should be.”

Although the app hasn’t produced the scope they hoped, it still brought a convenience and information to the local population.

“It hasn’t reached as many people as we would have liked,” Christian said. “That’s an ongoing struggle in any market.”

The app was created in collaboration with the Denton Convention Bureau and with the gaming company making the app at a reduced rate. Although Christian viewed the project as a success, he’d hoped to give the local businesses more control over their pages in Dig Little d.

“We’ve always been mesmerized by visions of the future from the past century,” Christian said.

Originally a team of four members, From the Future has expanded to about 10 members to fulfill future ambitions and meet deadlines set by clients. The company has worked on over 90 projects, both large and small.

“[From the Future] has worked with some of the most well-known virtual reality companies and are beginning to make their own apps and games for people to enjoy,” Mitchell said. “They have a ground-floor approach and creative atmosphere where people can express what they think about their projects, what is happening individually, how the team can help them and how the individual can help the team.”

The company has worked in a variety of industries, Mitchell said, and has continued to grow.

“Even boring projects can get fun when getting them to work, as we use some interesting technology,” Christian said.

Utilizing technology to implement their creativity, the studio hopes to remain at the forefront of the game development field.

“We want to stay on the cutting edge of technology,” Christian said. “And use our entertainment background for clients.”

Featured Image: From The Future is a game development studio that is on the square in downtown Denton. Sarah Bradbury | Staff Photographer

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