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Ep04 - Alex & Alasdair's Halloween | From Page to Porch

Updated: Nov 6, 2018


Oh Logan Logan Logan.

That video of you and Troubadour hiding ghosts. So lovely. So inspiring. I just had to do something even more wild and (spoiler alert) it was a little too much. When Alasdair was 2 years old, about a year ago, we read him a book called Scary Scary Halloween. This is a book that me and my brothers loved when we were kids and Alasdair loved it too and so I thought it would be fun to do an XR experience that kind of takes some of the things he likes in that book and brought it to life a little bit because he's he's a funny kid he kind of likes being scared sometimes.

Let's let him see the cats.

And that went really well. He enjoyed that in all the ways I thought he would. And even some ways that I wasn't quite expecting. Now the second part which was much more complicated was I decided to make some ghosts. I took the ghosts from the book, I took the ghosts from Alan Noon's team's demo, I took the Magic Leap ghost and I just took another ghost that I happen to like a lot and I decided to have them orbit around the player wherever they are, so Logan: I used your scary sounds and then I took some scary sounds from Alasdair reading the book and used two of those, but then also very simple in Unreal Engine I changed the pitch to make Alasdair's scary sounds a little more scary.

A cool XR dad thing to me is allowing kids to feel more powerful than they actually are. The idea of the ghosts was that you could look at them and we use some eye tracking and there'd be a little green light wherever your eye was and whenever you look at a ghost it disappears. And then you also have a flashlight and when you shine your flashlight at the ghost that makes it fly away.

Design flaw pointed out by Alasdair: they never actually go away. They disappear or they fly away but they come back exactly to where they were like five seconds later and Alasdair noticed this. So Alasdair started to go around and see these ghosts and he started to get a little bit scared so he checked in on him. He said it was fun scary, but you know, I remember being a kid and watching my dad's music video for a song called Faces in the Night and he asked me if I thought it was too scary and I said no no it's fine it's fine.

It was definitely too scary.

So hey, here's a little XR Dad tip: if you're building something and you want it to be kid-friendly but there's anything in there that you're even the slightest bit afraid might not be kid-friendly, have a way to turn it off. So in this case I turned off the ghosts and we just left it at the cats. So, some takeaways: always cool to make something that your child cherishes like a book come to life in a more vivid and wonderful way than they imagined, and of course with something like Magic Leap or augmented reality if you can make it site-specific it becomes a part of your house and you can form these very cool memories where it's not just about "hey remember when we read the book on the couch," it's "hey remember where that thing from the book happened on our porch."

That's pretty neat.

So Logan, thank you for inspiring me and I can't wait to see the next XR dad thing you do. Also for anyone who isn't Logan watching these videos, we're very excited to start interviewing people and getting a podcast version of this up and running, so if you are an XR Dad or XR Mom or XR anything that involves small children, please reach out let us know. We'd love to talk to you! Thanks.

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