SET: Simulated Environment for Theatre

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Posted in Audio / Visual, Projects, Resources


via, image taken by author

via image taken by author

SET is an ideal resource to experience a theatrical production in a virtual environment. Either for studying a play, creating a play, or even rehearsing a play, the digital system of SET allows the user to interact simultaneously with text and performance. SET uses the Unity game engine, a multi-platform game engine for video game creation and development.

SET has been developed by a multidisciplinary group of researchers, including lead technical developer Dr. Stéfan Sinclair (McGill’s Associate Professor of Digital Humanities). The full team is Jennifer Roberts-Smith (Waterloo), who is the Principal Investigor for the project, Teresa Dobson (UBC), Sandra Gabriele (York), Stan Ruecker (Illinois Institute of Technology), Shawn DeSouza-Coelho (Waterloo), and Omar Rodriguez-Arenas (Alberta).

SET is half a 3D space for simulating the performance, and half a space to direct the action. The user inputs all the details—a timeline for the acts, a sidebar list of the characters, the stage directions, and the speeches—and can then digitally play back the performance. Each character has a coloured bar running the length of the embedded timeline, along which the user can fill in movement and speech. The options for customizing simulation provide a highly sophisticated exploration of production: users can use the camera navigation to rotate and angle the view of the stage, colour code the characters for easy directing, track and visualize the movement of each character, annotate all areas of the interface with commentary, images, video, and hyperlinks, and much more.

SET is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada, with a Standard Research Grant (2011-2014) and an Image, Text, Sound and Technology Grant (2008-2010).

For more information, or to download and start using SET, please visit the SET homepage.


PI: Jennifer Roberts-Smith
University of Waterloo