Wait with Totoro for Catbus to arrive in an Oculus Rift demo.
Developer Nick Pittom recreates scenes from anime as demos in virtual reality. Pittom’s most recent VR scene comes from Studio Ghibli film My Neighbor Totoro — specifically, the bus stop scene.
Pittom previously made a VR scene from the boiler room scene of another Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. This time Pittom wanted to make a demo the player could interact with rather than passively watch. The player begins with a simple mission of finding the umbrella. The player can then give Totoro the umbrella once he’s in front of the bus stop, and he will interact with the umbrella until Catbus arrives, all animated by Keith Sizemore.
Other than the player, the only characters in the demo are Totoro and Catbus. The girls from the film at the bus stop were not included; Pittom explained in a blog post detailing his process why having the girls in the scene didn’t work for the demo.
“Scenes from films like this do not translate directly to an interactive experience where the player controls it,” Pittom wrote. “Adding the entire scene was out of the question – who would the player play (the older girl), and then what would Mai be doing during the game? In the film she runs about doing stuff and then gets a piggyback from her sister, so do I just have her on your shoulder the whole time? Is there any point? Would that get annoying to have a strange face right in your own vision, possibly clipping into the camera?”
Pittom decided to make the player character “you,” excluding the girls from the demo. He mentioned for his next demo he would like to focus more on avatars as he was covering other things for the Totoro scene.
Pittom’s next project will be recreating a scene from Cowboy Bebop where players can explore the ship, interact with the environment, and talk to the crew. Once this is complete, he will move on to a full game called Decay Theory.
The My Neighbor Totoro demo is available for free in PC, Mac, and Linux formats.