As Magic Leap begins expanding access to its much-hyped mixed reality headset, many developers are looking for both guidance and inspiration surrounding what’s possible on the platform. And that direction will come—at least, at first—from the earliest partners.
Ahead of today’s L.E.A.P. Conference in Los Angeles, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz sat down on Monday with two of the top execs from Weta Workshop—the studio behind the special effects of the “Lord of the Rings” movies—to talk about the process of creating their first Magic Leap game.
The game, a steampunk-meets-robot invasion called “Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders,” lets users shoot robots within their real-life space and is being pitched as one of Magic Leap’s earliest flagship games.
“I think everything they do comes out of a deep love of art,” Abovitz said. “There isn’t any hate in any of their work.”
Here are a few pieces of advice they offered to get developers excited for the platform.
According to Weta Workshop co-founder and creative director Richard Taylor, it’s hard to compare Magic Leap’s headset with any other technology that’s come before it. That means developers shouldn’t try to fit traditional types of story formats into an entirely new medium.
“It lives in the world,” he said of Magic Leap. “It needs the world to be there. It actually needs physicality. … It stands alone, it is unique, and it will … fly with people embracing it, with people endorsing it, with people understanding it.”
According to Taylor, developers should already be thinking beyond games. As an example, he advised thinking about what a sociologist or educator might create using the same freedoms of creativity.
“They should see it for what it is, which is truly an extraordinary piece of hardware that allows people such as us and millions of people across the world an opportunity to realize their creative visions in a new way,” he said. “There have been very few transformation moments through the technology of communication over the last 20,000 years.”
Developers should just start testing to see what works, advised Weta Workshop game director Greg Broadmore.
“It’s actually really straightforward,” he said. “Especially if you have these metaphors in your mind. Just treat it like it’s real life. Treat it like it’s theater. Treat it like it’s a carnival. Space. It’s just space. You’re in a space. Add content. Tell stories within it. It’s actually very, very straightforward.”
Abovitz said that developers need to foster the habits of artists before they begin to create experiences on the medium. “Not everyone has it, but if you have a world or imagination in your mind that you can see or experience, there’s ways to manifest it,” he said. “You can paint and sculpt.”
And while artists might vary on the need for perfection, Abovitz said to avoid that temptation to get it all right immediately. That’s because art that’s unconstrained is often rewarded in the end result.
“I think that comes across even in something that feels sterile, like software,” he said. “It can come alive.”