Last night, we stopped by the LA premier for Kismet, a virtual reality fortune-telling experience developed by David Chontos and Psyop for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. In the experience, you sit across the table from a mysterious fortune-teller and get the option to see the future in the cards or the stars. Or you can challenge her to an ancient board game.
The experience is beautifully designed in a handmade, gothic style. Kismet is made to appeal to those who need a break from VR gaming and want to spend time in a more spiritual place.
To stay true, David Chontos told us they hired a real Tarot reader to consult on the project. Together they created a traditional past-present-future reading based on three cards of your choosing from a deck of 22 tarot cards. It takes place in the mechanical Gypsy’s wagon, where your selected cards float in front of your face to reveal your future.
Each of your cards features a unique animation and sound that you can lean in to get a better feel for. This portion of Kismet is completely random, so one of Chontos’ greatest triumphs of the evening was that his Tarot consultant was pleased with her reading when she finally tried it for the first time.
When you select the Astrology reading, the wagon transforms into a celestial sphere. You enter your date of birth and Kismet begins to describe the meaning of your Zodiac sign, as well as the celestial events at play at that moment. Chontos said the experience already has all the astrological happenings of the next 100 years built in.
So based the the earth’s position in the universe, your astrological survey can change daily. This includes moon phases, planetary transits, solstices, and even eclipses. Kismet told me Mars is being a jerk right now, so watch out for that. At the end, you receive a fortune card, daily horoscope, and your lucky number.
Ancient Board Games
The third option is to skip the fortune-telling and challenge Kismet to a game of Ur, an ancient Mesopotamian dice game. It’s super simple and fun. The coolest thing about the game is that they resurrected it from a cuneiform tablet recovered from Babylonian ruins that still had the rules etched in.
How They Made It
Kismet started as David Chontos’ passion project. When Psyop caught wind of it, they helped him assemble a team of 25 artists, producers, and developers to bring it to life. Their toolset included Maya, Zbrush, Unreal Engine 4, and Houdini.
Chontos and Psyop are making a name of themselves as creative leaders in narrative VR. Kismet comes on the heels of Clash of Clans 360, a successful branded piece they launched back in December. I’m excited to see more things like this hit the market. While I’m never taken a lot of stock in horoscopes, I’m always excited to see experiments in VR outside of traditional gaming. This is a good one.