Part 5 in our Creator Spotlight Series
Metanaut has been around for a little while, though they’re still a start-up— they’ve been developing VR games ever since the prototype release of Oculus Rift back in 2013. Like many start-ups, getting people to spell their name right has been a bit of a challenge.
“One of my favorite incidences [of misspelling] is from a small VR news site that had repeatedly called us ‘Meta Nuts’ in the article,” said CEO Peter Kao. “One way to remember our name is to think about the word ‘astronaut.’ Our name ‘Metanaut’ means we’re explorers of the metaverse.”
So far that exploration has led them to industry awards and partnerships with big names like MSI and the University of British Columbia. Currently, Metanaut’s big project is a VR puzzle game called Ruberg, in which players use an assortment of gadgets to build wacky Rube Goldberg machines to complete various puzzles.
“Because our VR puzzle game is all about motion and dynamics, using animated GIF’s to capture chain reactions has been a great way to show the viewer what they can build instead of telling the viewer what they can expect,” says Kao. “GIFs are amazing little formats. They allow viewers to see snippets of action without having to burden them with heavier media formats that take more time to load.”
Metanaut uses Gfycat to connect with current and potential users. “Gfycat provides a stable and easy-to-use platform to upload our GIFs,” Kao says. “Loading times are far quicker; viewers get better quality images; people can interact with the GIFs with useful features such as slowdown, speedup, and pause.”
I asked Peter Kao why he thinks GIFs are a good way to showcase Metanaut’s products. “I think video games and GIFs go together for the same reason VR and GIFs go together — both are high fidelity experiences with lots of interactions with the UI and world. Still images only capture a frozen state of the world, but digital worlds in games and in VR are living, breathing realities. The only way to show that is to capture it with video.”