Seekers & Seers
June 2017 - present
Tengchao Zhou is the sole author of this work.
In June 2017, I made Seekers and Seers, an art game that involves two players interacting with each other in real time in a 3D virtual environment (so it’s a VR game). You can either play when the two of you are physically located in the same space or play while voice-chatting an ocean apart.
Just like playing basketball, both the game and the person you play with are sources of fun, I want to build a type of computational media game whose sources of fun include both the game and its players. Seekers and Seers represents my attempt to build such games. This game gives players opportunities to feel and become aware of the subtleties in their communications. I invited many people to play this game. And they seemed to like it. I think the magic is that it’s always fun to play with another person especially when it’s delightfully mediated.
While I like that VR opens a vast field for creativity, wearing a VR headset has a few unsatisfying aspects. Some headsets are heavy, not very comfortable; movement is restricted; and people lose touch with what's happening in the real world when wearing them. There must be alternative interfaces between the real world and the immersive virtual world.
Seekers and Seers exemplifies an alternative way to experience VR contents. The window of the virtual world is limited to the size of a phone screen. In this way, while you still experience the pleasure associated with exploring spacious new worlds, you feel less separated from the real world.
Comparing to making other games, you can be the most creative when making art games. This freedom to dream of radically new things is why art, not just art games, attracts me.