June 04 2008 / by Alvis Brigis
Category: Culture Year: General Rating: 9 Hot
The genre known as reality television sprang into existence thanks to a drop in camera costs and increased digital storage, editing and effects capabilities. Now, as we enter the acceleration era, consistently dropping technology costs and new software capabilities will enable a radical transformation in in the sorts of reality shows we see on broadcast television and on YouTube.
One particularly potent reality TV catalyst will be nascent virtual worlds technologies like Second Life, Multiverse and There which will not only make possible high-end machinima (animation via virtual world action capture, which is already taking off), but also totally new, ultimately genre-busting, broadcast worthy physical/digital behavior.
Back when I lived in LA and worked in reality television and at the same time encountered virtual worlds for the first time, I would often image the amazing reality shows that will soon be possible as production technologies and practices evolve. For your enjoyment and as a demonstration of just how crazy television programming is about to get, here’s my current top 10 list of future virtual world enabled reality TV shows that I’d love to see developed:
1. U-BOAT: 25 contestants live aboard a submarine set and engage in the historical experience of a lifetime. They must quickly learn to navigate the craft through a virtual ocean simulation and a string of dramatic WWII battle scenarios. To both the contestants and the viewer at home it looks and feels as if these modern day Americans are actually piloting the submarine and narrowly staving off infamous Nazi U-Boat fleet.
2. THE BOARD ROOM: The new flagship marketing vehicle for Milton Bradley is an augmented reality game show that allows contestants to literally step right onto their favorite all-time board games. To the audience at home, it resembles The Price is Right in game structure, but visually looks like the participants have jumped into a Tron-like world with their favorite games all around them.
3. REQUIEM: Each episode of Requiem features one near-death person (young, old, terminal, famous, interesting, compelling life story) as they leave behind a 3-D “plot” of land for the world. Each individual is given the opportunity to create a 3-D world in which they deposit memories, images and descriptions of loved ones, candid descriptions of historic and historical events, favorite memories, renderings of their dreams, final farewells, and warnings to society. (cont.)
4. VIRTUAL HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: Each episode features a different graduating class of High Schoolers as they reunite virtually in a recreation of their town and school. This is inter-cut with interview and video/photo materials dating back to their High School days.
5. CREATION: Teams of virtual designers compete to raise the slickest new Creation in 3-D virtual world Second Life. Each episode has a different theme, such as The Wonders of the World, The Animal Kingdom, or Coolest Super-Hero Lair. Once the islands are completed, other virtual residents are allowed in to determine, based on popular vote, who has built the most impressive simulation.
6. MASTER PLAN: Teams of architects and developers compete to create the coolest 3-D simulations of what a certain real-estate development or town should look like. The winning design is manifested in reality so that we see the every phase of the process from idea to execution.
7. MIRROR WORLD: Seven people live in a house riddled with secret chambers, hidden passages, and code-protected doors. Computer terminals scattered throughout give them access to a virtual representation of the house in which they locate clues that will help them escape. They scurry back and forth between the virtual house and the real house to solve the Myst-style puzzle at the heart of the show.
8. CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH 3-D: It’s now possible to create a graphically rich Celebrity Death Match that can incorporate more players and be shot in real-time. By using the new Arena Feature in City of Heroes it’s 4-on-4 and that it’s not scripted. However, it’s much cheaper to make (while looking just as good, if not better), quadruples the celebrity star power, encourages teamwork and other interesting group dynamics, and can be played at home. It would be very simple to play this game hundreds of times and take the best takes. And it could all be “shot” in a weekend.
9. WAR: The first broadcast 1st-person shooter. Massive multi-player 3-D spaces are rapidly usurping military training that has classically been accomplished in painstakingly re-created real-life scenarios. Military behavior and strategy can now be meaningfully accomplished in immersive virtual spaces. This also means that the drama from such events can translate into a TV show unlike any other. In “War” two teams of 20 people go head-to-head in a strategic guerilla scenario. Each team has a defined command structure and communicates in real-time via head-sets. The action is compelling and graphic. The contestants range anywhere from reunited teams of SEALS to B-Celebs who quickly find that they need to take the game seriously or perish. Game Engine: America*s Army .
10. PORTAL SHOWS: As America’s favorite bands play live shows, their fans get a chance to appear on the projected display behind them via Second Life. Fun games and a constantly shifting POV allow for the real-time creation of a dynamic new backdrop that increases the visual quality of these shows. A win-win for concert-goers and producers alike.
What sorts of future virtual world enabled reality TV shows would you like to watch over the course of the next decade?
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_Alvis Brigis is a former reality television producer and story editor whose credits include Motormouth (VH1), The Simple Life 2 (FOX), Making the Band 3 (MTV), and House of Boateng (Sundance). This is Part 2 of a series envisioning the future of the genre._ As I discussed in my last post on "future tv programming that incorporates virtual worlds":http://memebox.com/futureblogger/show/581-10-future-reality-tv-shows-set-in-virtual-worlds, reality TV is one of the many art forms due to experience incredible change as we enter the acceleration era. The genre is particularly well-suited to respond to new technology because it that was recently enabled by dropping technology costs and responds quickly to market forces. !http://s3.amazonaws.com:/memebox/uploads/1008/crowd_300.jpg! That being the case, I'd like to explore just how BIG reality programming can get considering the proliferation of high-quality digital recording devices like the "iPhone":http://memebox.com/futureblogger/show/96-100-million-development-ifund-launched-iphone-s-future-looking-massive (the new better 3G version will start at just $199), the rise of social media media structures (YouTube, Digg, MemeBox), the advent of online participatory editing, the near-term potential of 3G and "WiMax":http://memebox.com/futureblogger/show/255-google-once-again-lobbying-for-national-wi-fi communication webs, new camera POV possibilities such as "aerial micro-drones":http://memebox.com/futureblogger/show/510-microdrones-will-transform-low-cost-videography, and the steady progress we are making in digital storage and battery life/weight. Ultimately, these are the same technologies that will enable widespread life-logging, surveillance and an emerging "participatory panopticon":http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/002651.html. But along the way they will make for some kick-ass, ground-breaking reality television. Here’s my Top 10 list of future MASSIVE reality TV shows that I’d love to kill some precious time watching: <b>1. THE PROTEST:</b> The world's largest and most dramatic political protests are examined inside-out as real-time footage captured on handhelds and by aerial drones is crowd-sourced and quickly edited online. As viewers watch the most popular cuts they can click on a frame to directly access the live feeds of their favorite broadcasters. <b>2. MANHUNT:</b> 10 professional soldiers, law enforcement agents, and reformed criminals stage a fictional prison break then attempt to elude a public manhunt on 10,000 acres in rural Montana. Watch from afar or come test your tracking skills for a shot at $1,000,000. <b>3. THE REAL WAR:</b> A reality show that actually makes a difference in the lives of the persecuted masses, The Real War brings transprency and accountability conflict situations in unstable regions. Sponsored by the UN and private donors, the program is edited by a panel of international observers. (cont.)
Posted by: http://memebox.com June 10, 2008