#1140: “Fight Back:” Teaching Women Self-Defense Through Interactive Narrative + Hand-Tracking Challenges

Fight Back is an interactive narrative that is aiming to help teach the broad movements of self-defense to women. There were five different levels showing at Venice Immersive where you learn a new hand motion that’s detected via hand tracking. The experience had a wide variety of different problems with hand tracking properly detecting ranging from environmental conditions to having too many nested if-statement conditionals within their code that made it more difficult to trigger the hand gesture.

I spoke with director Céline Tricart about her underlying motivation in creating this experience, and the broader context of how learning self-defence impacts various statistics around domestic violence and sexual assault. Tricart’s The Key experience has also allowed her to keep close tabs on the shifting demographics of VR to having more registered women using VR, which encouraged her to push forward on developing a hand-tracking driven narrative even if there are still a number of bugs and glitches that still need to be worked out.

The Fight Back experience was developed with the interactions in mind first, but it also feels like the narrative in this experience has superseded some of the refinement of the interaction design. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to clean up the experience and prepare it for launch, but Tricart also mentioned a number of times the challenges in fundraising for projects like this. Hopefully they’ll be able to find some more funders who can see their vision for where they want to take this as there is so much potential in combining these embodied hand-tracked interactions within a narrative to tell a deeper story about what’s behind the shadow characters and providing a catalyst for women to want to learn more about the techniques of self-defense.


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Music: Fatality