Virtual Realities

Faculty: Daniel Perlin



Course Description

As products and experiences move from the physical, to the digital, and now to the virtual, new design technologies, processes, and methodologies are required. This course introduces students to the foundational principles of designing for VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality), taking them through deep dives into the unique styles and possibilities offered by these formats, as well as an examination of the hardware, software, and UX considerations of designing for this new medium.


Course Objectives

The course will cover key questions around narrative and storytelling methods as they are transformed by these new platforms. Key topics range from live-action-360 filmmaking to sound design, character and persona design, and narrative structure, Unity platform and mobile device application and installation design. Students leverage their newfound skills and techniques to create immersive experiences in a final project that will be iterated upon throughout the semester. 


Class experience

This is a full semester studio class that will include a topic to be selected each year that focuses the work on a particular site and program. It includes a series of lectures and requires hands-on making. Regular guest visits from experts in the field will be paired with student presentations on selected topics. Students will design and iterate on a site-specific project throughout the semester. Site visits and technical tutorials will be offered to help guide the projects. Regular readings will accompany hands-on assignments to help students reach their goals.  

Based on their project goals, students will be asked to create, present and defend their projects as well as critique their peers. In addition, students will also be responsible for a midterm and final project presentation that will include critiques external jurors of experts in the field.


course deliverables

Students in this course will come away with a set of tools to:

  • Understand the implication of World Building

  •  Create and craft work around a site specific subject using AR/VR/MR/XR

  • Learn to work and present iterations of ideas clearly using best practices in virtual reality design

  • Understand basic tools of AR/MR/VR/XR such as editing and Unity environments. No prior programming experience is necessary.

  • Create quick and effective prototypes and design well constructed narrative presentations. 

  • Understand and be able to organize the project pipelines required to realize their concepts in these new mediums. 




  • New York 2140  - Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Simulation and Simulacra - Jean Baudrillar
  • The 360 video handbook - Michael Wohl
  • Unity in action- Joseph Hockingi
  • The Drowned World - JG Ballard
  • Virtual Reality - Steven M. Lavalle
  • Techniques of the Observer - Jonathan Crary
  • Noise: The Political Economy of music - Jacques Attali
  • Acoustic Territories - Brandon Labelle


Video, 360 and Audio