Play your way to curious

After a long 2020 we ended on a high after working with Clemenger BBDO to deliver a truly unique project for La Trobe University and the NGV Triennial.

La Trobe’s expert research was the catalyst for our brief to help come up with an interactive online experience for mobile and desktop to put people in a state of 'relaxed alertness', the optimal state for learning - perfect for entering the Triennial. (You can learn more about the science behind this on the LaTrobe site here.)

The foundation of this innovative experience was through collaboration with La Trobe’s expert researchers and scientists and their leading work into relaxed alertness. We proposed a variety of different experience ideas and worked with the University to whittle them down to our favourite, Nuro. As playful as Nuro is, it goes beyond being simply a game. It is an abstract molecular world that visitors explore with exploration as its own reward.

Keeping to the principles established by La Trobe’s researchers visitors begin by entering a minimal world with a hauntingly calm soundscape put together by our long-time collaborator, sound designer Toby Burvill. The rules of this world are simple and intuitive:

1. Drag spheres in and out of the center to combine or separate them.

2. Drag the surrounding world to find new spheres.

3. Match spheres of the same type to travel into the world of that sphere.

With those simple ingredients we were able to create a curious space for people to lose themselves in as they experiment with the different and random objects and worlds they create. As simple as the interaction is there is some very sophisticated WebGL shader programming happening behind the scenes to make this possible and beautiful. We started with a common graphics programming technique referred to as marching cubes and pushed it to its limits enabling us to morph and combine different colours, textures and geometry.

And finally, what would a project be these days without a full suite of social sharing options?

We're looking forward to seeing where we can help take this project next. Whether people are preparing their minds for new experiences like entering the NGV Triennial, competing on the sports field or sitting an exam we can all use some more relaxed alertness! Try Nuro for yourself here.

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