Dale and Edna is a hybrid animated film and videogame experienced in virtual reality with dual storylines that increases in potential meanings through player interaction. Developed and played within Unreal Engine 4 using the HTC Vive, Oculus, or PlayStation VR, Dale and Edna allows for players to passively enjoy the film element of the project or partake in the active videogame portion. Exploration of the virtual story world yields more information about that world, which may or may not alter the audience’s perception of the world. The film portion of the project is a static narrative with a plot that cannot be altered by players within the virtual world. In the static plot, the characters Dale and Edna discover and subsequently combat an alien invasion that appears to have the objective of demolishing Dale’s prize pumpkin. However, the aliens in the film plot are merely projections created by AR headsets that are reflecting Jimmy’s gameplay on his tablet. The audience is thus invited to question their perception of reality through combined use of VR and AR. The game element is a dynamic narrative scaffold that does not unfold as a traditional narrative might. Instead, what a player observes and interacts with within the sandbox level will determine the meaning those players come away from this project with. Both elements of the project feature modular code construction so developers can return to both the film and game portions of the project and make additions. This paper will analyze the chronological development of the project along with the guiding philosophy that was revealed in the result.
Keywords: virtual reality, film, videogame, sandbox