Mixed Reality Frontiers: On Educational Fun and ‘Schitt’s Creek’

In 2020, 13 startups enrolled on our Mixed Reality Program with Nreal. The aim? To co-create the next big thing in digital interaction, entertainment and content, and bring mixed reality to the mass market. But who are the startups enrolled on the programme?

We chatted to David Fox, the co-founder of Electric Eggplant about creating video games where you can pick objects up with your hands; the joy of meeting your own animated characters and why Elon Musk might be controversial but he’s still worth being inspired by.

1. How did you get the idea for the product you’re working on in the Mixed Reality program?

Rube Works is a game we released seven years ago for mobile and desktop. It was already available in 3D using Unity, so it seemed like a great candidate for adapting to MR.

2. What problem is this product trying to solve?

The problem of there not being enough educational fun in the world!

3. What’s the biggest challenge your team faced?

How to implement the game without a 6dof controller (a controller that can be tracked in six directions of freedom, both rotations and moving into and out of the scene) so you can literally reach your hand into the scene and pick things up. We’re also working on a VR version where this is not an issue since all VR headsets come with 6dof controllers. We’re using code from the original iPad version where each object you pick up has its own “Z” position. “Z” refers to the distance from the viewer into the scene. So each object has its own distance into the scene where it should be, but the player can still move it up/down/left/right.

Screenshot from Rube Works

4. What was the moment you realised your product would be a success?

When I was able to see the animated characters in the same room as me and get up close to them. It was very charming.

5. How has the hubraum program helped you develop your product?

We’ve had some invaluable help from the Unity experts on how to make the transition.

6. How have you found designing a product specifically for the Nreal glasses?

It’s always difficult to design for an evolving platform. Work we’ve done before may need to be scrapped and re-done as the software development kit changes.

7. Make up and answer your own question!

Q. What skill of yours has been most important for your career?

A. Attention to detail, a sense of humor, playfulness.

Screenshot from Rube Works

8. How do you fuel innovation in your company?

By always being on the lookout for inspiration we can integrate into our products.

9. What book/album/film has inspired you creatively recently?

The TV series, Ted Lasso and Schitt’s Creek were our favorites from last year. These shows are original, hilarious, warm, have a great spirit, especially during the pandemic.

10. Which other entrepreneur/startup are you most inspired by?

I’m always watching Elon Musk and what he’s creating. He can be a pretty controversial figure, but he’s definitely driving innovation in multiple categories. I’m sure he’s indirectly responsible for my driving an electric car, even though it’s not a Tesla.

11. What’s the one tip you would give young entrepreneurs?

Follow your passion. Make sure that what you’re working on is something you truly love and feel continuously inspired by. That will help carry you through the rough spots.

Interested in even more XR content? Join our next OnAir event on March 23rd – click here to secure your free tickets!

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