Today we’re announcing Virtuoso, a musical sandbox game coming on March 10! Virtuoso features musical instruments specifically made for VR, as well as live looping and community tools that allow anyone from beginners to professionals to create and share their own music. In this blog post, we’ll give you Jonatan Crafoord’s account of how the team at Really Interactive decided to take the title from the living room to the Quest Store.
It was a crisp winter night in the northern suburbs of Stockholm when we made the decision that changed the course for our indie studio. Our group of friends had huddled up on the couch with tea and juleskum, a foamy Swedish candy in the shape of Christmas elves. As we were booting up Tilt Brush on the big screen, I decided to also put on a demo I had been working on for the Quest.
The demo was a music app, capable of letting producers control their studio setup over WiFi. Following a suggestion from my colleague João, I had also added an open source synthesizer so the app could be used without the need for studio equipment. It was becoming a powerful little tool that could let the Touch controllers create expressive sounds otherwise reserved for instruments made of wood, brass, and horsehair. More importantly, it did so without you having to spend thousands of dollars in a music store.
Going back to the creative session we were having: I am not an artist. My pen and paper drawings would fool any developmental child psychologist into thinking I am quite a bit younger than 39. Yet I had taken a liking to painting in VR. It allowed me to express myself in ways I previously couldn’t, and I found that my skills were actually improving. In the same way, my longtime friend and colleague Björn is not a musician. And so, it was only when he sat down on the floor that night and put on the Quest that the full potential of my music demo became apparent.
As I swept the first glowing brush strokes against the virtual canvas, the Marshall speaker next to Björn came to life. Keening whale sounds turned into deep pulled out rumblings resonating in our teeth, seeming to mimic the movements of my own growing psychedelic creation. Not only had I thought it was impossible for a complete beginner to play something exciting in my app, I had also thought it was impossible for a musician to create noises like these on any instrument. It was certainly nothing I would have thought of making myself, despite my 30 years of musical experience.
Our friends who spectated that night later described having held on to the couch with force as the cascade of colors and sounds hit their senses. And after concluding our impromptu performance, we barely had to say it out loud: these VR tools aren’t just for musicians and artists—everyone should have access to them!
Two years on from that revealing evening, our studio is about to release to the Quest Store what was once a humble music demo in my living room. We’re very excited to see what you’ll create in it!