Project Tesseract envisions a more efficient, collaborative, and immersive future of storytelling.

As all media become digital and interconnected, there is a massive shift towards creating storyworlds – brands, franchises and other experiences that flow from film to television to games and beyond, on digital platforms that follow audience behavior and preferences and react accordingly. As such “spatial storytelling” media as virtual reality and augmented reality gain in popularity, the demand for even greater levels of detail and amounts of content in these storyworlds will skyrocket. To meet this demand our development processes must evolve, but that evolution faces extreme challenges due to cost, deep-seated resistance to experimentation, and institutional structures. Project Tesseract provides a neutral middle ground where corporations, governments and other institutions explore possible solutions to these common challenges together.

Collapsing the conceptual, geographical, chronological and other distances between creative teams, between audiences and creators, and between components within storyworlds results in radically faster, cheaper and more efficient productions. This makes it easier for audiences to discover, collect, consume and react to every component, resulting in deeper engagement and increased sales. Collapsing such distances can also create more participatory experiences, inviting audiences to contribute their own stories or to create storyworlds of their own. Refocusing on the building of the world creates an engine to generate countless stories more explicitly connected together. This is the approach behind successful storyworlds like The Avengers or Star Wars, and is the ideal development model for when spatial media experiences in VR and AR gain mainstream adoption, and will be developed in concert with more traditional media experiences in film or television.

Our team is interviewing leaders in academia and industry and developing case studies on a wide array of successful properties. The resulting insights are compiled into reports shared with our sponsors, which inform our development of a new “ideal workflow” for creating such experiences and storyworlds. This new world-centric process is currently being tested by developing a prototype transmedia storytelling experience, with a VR and/or AR component as one of its tentpoles.


Karl Baumann – Student Researcher
Brandon Cahoon – Student Researcher
Scott Fisher – Advisor
Geoffrey Long – Creative Director
Alex McDowell, R.D.I. – Professor, Director
Bradley Newman – Technical Director
Brian Vincent Rhodes – Researcher

Project Partners