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A mixed reality game for Meta Quest.

If there’s a balloon in your house, it must be kept in the air. Many of us know this to be one of the immutable laws of the universe. And a balloon in the air must be bounced off walls and the ceiling whenever possible. The balloon bouncer must also climb over furniture and dodge fragile household items to keep the balloon in the air. The balloon must not fall.

We believe the same holds true for an imaginary balloon—even one that exists only in the mind of the person keeping it aloft.

Introducing Balloon: a mixed reality experience for Meta’s Quest headsets, featuring an imaginary balloon that looks and sounds like a real balloon. One that bounces off of real walls, ceilings, and furniture. An imaginary balloon that transforms a real living room into something way more fun. It’s an experience that isn't just about seeing new things—it's about experiencing familiar places in entirely new ways. Unlike many other mixed reality experiences, Balloon ensures that reality isn't just a backdrop; it's an active participant in the experience, shaped and reshaped by the virtual elements added into it.

If you spend enough time in the VR world, you’ll hear the word “immersive” thrown around a lot. And often “immersive” means a sensory bombardment—inundating people with 360 degrees of pixels in hopes of creating a new, virtual reality. But what if we could use the same technology to immerse people not in a digital simulation, but in a moment based in reality? Balloon uses reality as a starting point, transforming your space with imaginary elements—just as adding a real balloon to your living room transforms your house into an arena of imagination and brings the bouncer into a state of pure enjoyment and flow.

To make this experience feel as real as possible David Urrutia crafted a unique sonic identity and spatial audio experience into this game, including 71 unique balloon sounds recorded from scratch and programmed to trigger based on how you interact with the imaginary balloons. Tejas Shroff and Matt Hoffman, PMP designed an intuitive, deceptively simple game experience—ensuring that the gameplay doesn’t break the connection to reality and ironing out problems along the way. I contributed conceptual development, creative direction and visual design.

We built Balloon in Unity for the Meta Presence Platform Hackathon, with a fully playable version coming this week to the Quest App Lab. I specifically want to celebrate David Urrutia's leadership on this project. David is an incredible conceptual partner, a nimble and adept Unity developer, and a brilliant immersive sound designer. I’m in awe of the resilience, commitment, and curiosity that drove him to contribute his existing expertise to the project and to learn tons of new skills throughout.

Thanks for reading!

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