I talk with flow artist Swan about the story of behind the Beat Saber viral videos, and what it means to add style to VR with embodiment and VR.
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[00:00:05.412] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye and welcome to the Voices of VR podcast. So in the VR community, the Beat Saber got released and it was this huge phenomena that kind of is crossing the chasm and sort of going into the mainstream in different ways. And part of what happened was that there was this video that was made by Liv featuring a flow artist named Swan that went absolutely viral. They estimate anywhere between 38 to a hundred million different views across all the various different social media platforms. But I had a chance to sit down with Swan to talk about this video that she created with Liv and what she thinks was kind of the key ingredients as to what is happening here, both in terms of putting your body within the experience, but also mixed reality and fashion and all these different ingredients that were really catalyzing the explosion of Beat Saber as a game and as an experience. And so in this interview, we're going to be talking about the viral phenomena of Beat Saber, both from a mixed reality perspective, embodiment, but also like the gameplay and some other different sort of just talking about the experience and where mixed reality in general is going. So this interview with Swan happened on Saturday, May 5th at the VRLA in Los Angeles, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.
[00:01:29.104] Swan: So my name is Swan. I basically work for Lib right now. And I was the girl that went viral with Beat Saber. And yeah, so.
[00:01:38.013] Kent Bye: Maybe you can tell me a bit about your background and how it came about that you made a video and what happened with that video on Beat Saber.
[00:01:44.936] Swan: Okay, so I was actually friends with Six before he's like the CEO of Liv and I was doing like art videos of Tilt Brush and what happened was we got the game like back in February and we had a friend that's friends with Beat Saber, a developer in the Czech Republic named Mystery. He's pretty awesome. And they basically gave us an early alpha build for debuting it and also testing the mixed reality. If you look at the game footage, the mixed reality footage actually does really well for games like Beat Saber, where you can see the players, you can see the movements, you can see their costumes. My dress was the main appeal for girls because I got so many people messaging me about the dress and wanting to buy it, so that was really cool. So going back, we got the build in February and we did one promo video for an event because we were debuting Beat Saber in America way back in February, way before anybody knew what was Beat Saber, way before all this craze. So... We debuted it and then the video was up on our YouTube for two weeks before Reddit discovered it and Reddit basically blew up and it basically made front page and we were like, what's going on? Because our YouTube was getting 7,000 views an hour and I woke up to all these notifications and I was like, oh my God, what's going on? This is crazy. So once we discovered what was going on, because I posted on my Facebook about what was happening, one of my friends linked me to the Reddit post, and I was like, oh, so this is what's going on. So Six, the CEO of Liv, was like, do you have another video? And the thing about us is we were testing Beat Saber. We had hours and hours of footage. So we have over 100 hours of footage of all of us just playing Beat Saber, testing out our SDK. And one of them was me wearing this like pink dress that is now known as the escape dress and I only missed like one block so I ended up just posting that really quickly like it was actually edited in iMovie like that's how quickly it was I was like let me just cut out the menu page and then add like an ending like title and just post it on YouTube so we saw the traffic dying down from Reddit it was like a huge like and then it slowly started dying down. So we released it and caught the tail end of it. And it started getting like 2,000 views for the first day, 30,000 views the next day, and then it just jumped up to 100,000 views the third day. And it ended up just going viral everywhere on like Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, like everywhere. So yeah.
[00:04:15.447] Kent Bye: So how many total views do you know across all the social media platforms did you get?
[00:04:19.227] Swan: Okay, so Gameology is up at 38 million views for one post. This Japanese guy discovered our video and posted it, and it got like 200,000 likes. Yeah, it's pretty ridiculous. And then we were trending on Tumblr, we were trending on 9GAG, and also in Asia, we just lost all, like, I found some information as to some of our posts on Chinese sites, but once Asia discovers it, they have their own websites, it's like, It's hard to track that, but if one post is rated at 38 million views and 200,000 likes from one tweet, it's safe to say that we definitely got over 100 million views so far. Especially coming to GDC and coming to this event, I just show people the video. They're like, oh, what do you do? And I'm like, well, I do videos like this. And they're like, oh my god, I know that video. So that was really interesting. I actually just came back from a festival, Desert Hearts, and people were asking me, like, what do you do? And I'm like, oh, I do VR. Like, I play VR games. They're like, really? And I was like, yeah, like this one. And then they're like, oh my god, I've seen that video on my Facebook. So it's crazy the amount of reach this got, because people, like, obviously people in the VR community in SF knew that was me. But other people that's like in the festival community and other, like, spheres of, interest of mine, they didn't realize that was me because it's mostly the back of my head.
[00:05:42.568] Kent Bye: Yeah, and it sounds like that you've got a lot of training in different flow arts, maybe could talk a bit about like your background and maybe sort of some of the other dimensions of what was going into you doing this performance.
[00:05:55.088] Swan: Yeah, so I definitely viewed it as a performance. I kind of viewed Beat Saber as a dance. Since I'm a flow artist, I move my whole entire body, especially since I use a dragon staff and it's like dancing with the universe. It's very much chi-roll oriented. You have a staff that's on fire going around your head and your body, so you're very aware of the space around you and your body movements. I feel like regular gamers they're so used to just pressing buttons on a keyboard they don't know how to do giant gestures and Beat Saber is based off of your gestures so basically the first 70% of the point is basically the angle that you hit it and then the 30% is like basically the follow-through and you get a plus 10 bonus on the accuracy so Beat Saber actually makes you want to move so it was like a game developed for like dancers, performers, and people that have big gestures. So me with my flow art skills and just knowing how to dance and move to music, it just worked out really well.
[00:06:49.577] Kent Bye: Yeah, and what do you think is kind of behind this Beat Saber phenomena right now?
[00:06:57.312] Swan: I definitely think it's the music. Also, it's playing out a lot of people's hearts because everybody, like, okay, out of all the weapons, swords are the easiest to use. Like, if you give someone, like a kid a bow and arrow, they're just going to look at it and like, what is this? If you give a kid a stick, they know what it is and they start whacking at things. So, it's very intuitive. Like, swords are very intuitive versus soundboxing and auto shield. It's like very much like guarding. with Beat Saber you have swords and you're like slicing away at stuff and it makes you feel like a badass. So I think that plus the lights, the effects, the fractals, the music, like Gerasov Beck is an amazing composer. Each one of his songs like I've actually downloaded and I listen to even though I've edited each one of my videos so many times and heard like Escapes so many times I'm still not tired of it. So I think the music the polishing that they did, how they do the scoring, because with soundboxing and AudioShield, basically if you get it perfect, then it's one score. So the scoreboard's already filled, there's nothing to do with the game. Versus Beat Saber, where every update they kind of renew the global board, so it kind of brings in a fresh caliber of names, and it makes it more challenging, instead of having the same songs over and over again. And then the scoreboard's not stagnant, so it makes it more fun.
[00:08:16.888] Kent Bye: Yeah, I've been traveling since it has released and I had seven days to play it and I played it for an hour a day each of those days and what I found was that I was trying to get through like, you know, the expert levels and it was so hard just to even complete it and so each time I would play it each day I got a little better, a little better, and then finally I sort of was able to get through the expert levels and It's one of those things, I think, that you can play every day. You can also come back to it. And that you only have a capacity for play for so long, because you get tired. And then you're like, you're done. And then you have to kind of wait to rest and then come back again. And so I think it's actually also kind of cultivating this practice of people coming back to it. And it's got enough of a rich gameplay where, you know, like for me, I like to do the style first and like to have the accuracy. So if I'm focusing on how it feels first, and then focusing on the accuracy second, then I can focus on my movements and the fluidity of the movements. And then as I, over time, it's going to take like a lot of precision and training in my body to kind of get to that, you know, level of precision. So I think it's a challenging game like this because you do have that leaderboard and there's this incentive to play to the leaderboard and to kind of hack the algorithm so that you can like do the movements that are going to maximize your score. But if it doesn't look good, if it doesn't like feel good, then I feel like that to some extent could be missing the point. But it's like this challenging tension between being in a flow state and what feels good versus like, you know, getting the top score.
[00:09:40.663] Swan: So I 100% agree with that. That's why in the third video, it was a style battle. So I started the third video with Legend. Have you seen it?
[00:09:49.333] Kent Bye: I don't know if I've seen that one, but what happens?
[00:09:52.295] Swan: So I start the video playing, and then I show my face, because people actually thought it was CGI. I actually got a couple of comments. One comment was like, what anime is this? And I was like, it's a game, BeatSaber.com, dot, dot, dot, and I'm a real person. So VR is just so new to people that they can't wrap their heads around it, that I'm a real person in an augmented world in VR. So I decided to show my face and then put down the headset to show them this is a VR game, this is a headset. Put it down and then hit continue to prove to them that this was a game because this was something that people didn't realize was a game and was happening real time. They thought it was just like a post-produced content. So I started playing the game and then right when the first wall comes, It switches over to six and then it's him playing the song and it's like the singer black chat Rapping along and then the other wall comes and it switches back to me and we're having a style battle against each other And that's what we're hoping to implement. It's basically more style like I it's great that you got like top score in the leaderboard but what do you look like the videos that's going on the second wave of viralness for Beat Saber is mixed reality content that has style like Rage Shack he did one where he got a staff version and started like whipping ass and no arrows and then Sour Girl wore like a t-rex outfit and started whipping ass and like hobbling and just like twitching around trying to beat $100 bills on Medium. So that was impressive. People love that content. Versus content where it's just the first-person headset view, you don't know who they are, you don't know how their movements are, you don't know what they're dressed as. So it's not that interesting. Anybody could just take that content. Someone in Korea can literally score a perfect combo and $400,000 on $100 bills, and then anybody can just take that content and be like, oh yeah, that was me playing it. Versus mixed reality, this is my style, this is my dance, this is my move, and this is my outfit, and this is how I'm gonna express myself in VR.
[00:11:49.345] Kent Bye: Yeah, I really see that there's this huge trend towards embodiment, and if I were to describe Beat Saber as a game, it's like a puzzle game that you use your body to solve. It's like an embodied puzzle that you have to use your mind to be able to see the patterns, and there's a level of perception that you have to have, but then you have to then train your body to be able to move in that way, and then you get to some point where you hit a wall, and then you have to be able to see at different layers of depth of your awareness of being able to recognize the patterns. and then again you go another layer of the body so it's like this back and forth between the mind and the body but also you know you taking action and expressing your agency but there's this level of immersion that happens with the music as well that it just engages the emotions and makes you just feel really committed to that and it's almost like the song is being projected out into space-time, and that you are seeing that song come to you, and then as you hit all the different beats, you basically are having this haptic experience that is this rich, full sensory experience that gives you this immersed experience of music. So I see that, you know, from the experiential design component, it has active presence, it has the mental presence, it has the embodied presence, and it has the emotional presence. So it's really kind of like the sweet spot of, like, what I think of as experiential design.
[00:13:02.154] Swan: Well another thing is the idea of playfulness. Can you remember back to the DDR stages where they had the DDR arcade and then people have competitions and then people switch off and then they'll dance with their hands and stuff like that and people wear costumes and they'll dance around the board and do impossible feats but get each point? That's what's happening right now with Beat Saber. It's like the fact that it's this creative canvas for people to dance and show off their rhythm skills. It's no longer like, oh, I can tap all the buttons on like Tap Tap Revolution. It's more like, oh, yeah, I'm going to score each one, but do it with a staff, or I can score each one, but like be backwards. because there's actually a guy that posted a YouTube video of him facing the other way and able to slice some of them and then turn around and started like raging hard on it and that's pretty awesome like you can't have that from Tap Tap Revolution like how do you become creative and flow and expression from tapping your fingers. off to the side, off to the side, you have to go up and then you have to duck. It's like the motion of movement is so much more expressive and so much more playful. So it's bringing everybody back to that childhood, playful state that's like inherent in all of us.
[00:14:28.928] Kent Bye: I would actually play soundboxing in a way that wasn't recommended. I think in some ways, in order to play to the algorithm of soundboxing, you literally have to punch forward. And that's when you get the top score. So you get people who are both creating runs as well as doing runs who, by how the actual run was created, which was that you can actually play a YouTube video and then you're punching an invisible wall, and that punching of that invisible wall creates the run, But I found that you have to have some combination of embodiment, but also mental sort of design of that, so that there's a bit of like, as you're doing it in the moment, it's hard to do a game design with your body. So it's like, there had to be a little bit of going back and architecting a good run. But when I would play soundboxing, I would sort of swing my arms around and try to really kind of hit it, doing like these figure eights. But I would find that when I would do a run like that, my score would not reflect the way that I felt like I was playing because of the algorithm was sort of not reflecting that so there was like a little bit of a disconnect but I think with Beat Saber it sort of like does a scoring system that sort of more closely mimics like what I would expect to receive. There's still a little bit of a penalization of like if you miss one early you kind of miss the combos and the streaks and sort of like And the process of talking to people on Twitter, talking about things like Dance Dance Revolution and these competitive eSport dimensions of it, that there's these different tiers of either they do freestyle, where you kind of do whatever you want and it's more of a subjective judgment, but also with some objective score. And then there's just more of the objective score dimensions of that. So we can look to the Dance Dance Revolution communities and Guitar Hero as well as another example of you kind of playing against yourself but there's a performative aspect to it that we can see what has happened with the communities in these gaming communities and see how like Beat Saber is going to like not only like bring those types of rhythm games and those competitions back but it's I think going to take it to the next level with the level of mixed reality and that just sort of performative aspect of full-body dance.
[00:16:30.614] Swan: So what I really want to happen in the future is a multiplayer where you can play the game and then two VR PCs that's linked together somehow can just release the cubes all at the same time and you can see them side by side and actually compete. We, like, it would be really great if that could be a possibility in the future, like, have the two cubes right next to each other with the green screen, and then have the two players all play at once, and you can see both of them, and then you have judges like the Olympics, like, they have cards, like, ten-ten cards and stuff like that, and then have people from all over the world just like kind of voting on who and then there's an audience choice so basically the judges can write their scores and then the audience could also do a scoring system and then there's an average or something like that and basically the audience vote maybe adds like an extra like 20,000 onto your final score and maybe the judges add like another like 30,000 and then if it's really close or like really far apart, it might make a difference as to who goes on to the next level. Because anybody can just stand there and just play the game, but it's not that entertaining. So style battles is what really interests me. Right now, my top score is 331,000. They've already beaten that. I looked at the top score in global, and I'm like, holy shit, someone got over 400,000? OK. Okay, but style battle is where I can win because I know how to move, I know how to be graceful, I know how to be very expressive, and I know how to move my hips. A lot of the gamers, they don't know how to move their hips and stuff like that. They're just moving their arms and stuff. It comes to a point where I feel like Beat Saber also is a good game for more girls to get into because if you think about it, girls, we're dancers, we're very expressive. I hope more girls actually do come into the VR world because like in a way like the Beat Saber video is kind of like a stake in the ground for girls to come up and join us in the VR world like come on this is like a great game for you to flow and dance and wear skirts and that's what I want to do like I want to wear skirts in all my videos and be like hey I want to wear this skirt and be badass in VR.
[00:18:39.542] Kent Bye: Yeah, there's a whole layer of fashion and, again, coming back to the embodiment trend that I think I'm seeing in that, you know, there's been a lot of discussion about, like, the future of Beat Saber as a potential eSport. I personally think that it's going to be huge in some dimension, just because I think it's just naturally fun to watch. It's just more of, like, the mechanism of, are they going to have a version where you can play two people against each other in some way, so that they're playing in, like, a little bit more strategic dimension, where it's a little bit more of a competition of, because it's kind of like bowling, you're kind of, you're doing the run on your own, but is there a way that the other person's action can somehow impact yours? And is that going to make it more interesting in some ways, or is it more about the performative and style part? I personally am also on that style point. And I think that part of what I think is the trend that I see and what I've experienced with Beat Saber is that when you play the game, you start to have this embodied reaction to the music because you have this visceral experience of both the haptics and the full sensory experience that you're getting of the music. which makes it so much memorable. I know that I play the song Happy by Will Ferrell a lot on Soundbox and I have my own run and I was sitting in a movie theater waiting for a movie to come on and that song came on and I noticed my body just started to like dance and move around. It was almost like a conditioned response of like hearing that song and then like the reward that my body has felt and I think that musicians as they move forward they're going to have this playing the music and that's going to like create this visceral experience in people so that when they listen to that music outside of playing Beat Saber then they're going to be able to invoke that embodied reaction to it but that it's those embodied reactions that people have to playing Beat Saber that when they watch other people play Beat Saber at a certain level they have their mirror neurons activated so that when they're watching them, they're actually having an even more visceral experience of it. I think that's a huge part of why people who play PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds but watch people like Shroud or people on Twitch, or if they play Fortnite and they watch Ninja and they just watch these Twitch streamers who are at a certain level of performance, they get that experience of this as if they're the ones who are playing and I think that Beat Saber, as people are having these visceral experiences of these songs and then they get even more crazy, I think they're going to get like this ability of being able to watch these in an eSport or a performative context and be able to have a visceral experience of that.
[00:21:08.022] Swan: Yeah, music is truly the language of the soul. If you have really good music, you just don't feel tired. There's been so many festivals that I've gone until sunrise, and then there's times I'm like, okay, I'm feeling really tired, and then all of a sudden this DJ goes on at a stage, and you're like, what? And you don't feel tired. I feel like it's a revival. I just get taken away. I'm like a puppet. DJ is like a puppeteer and I'm just swaying, dancing to the music. I'm not even feeling tired whatsoever. That's the power of music and I kind of saw that a little bit in the Beat Saber booth. There's actually a Beat Saber booth here at VRLLA and there's this one guy playing Escape and I guess there's something magical about the song Escape because the three people behind him start dancing to the song and then making the motions as well. Like, there's just something magical about just how that song flowed really well that made people want to move. And I think it's just getting that right chemistry down because there's just some music, there's so many musicians if you think about it, there's so many musicians, but there's a special kind of, I don't know, flair, there's like a secret ingredient. certain music that basically makes it go like viral or make it popular like the one hit wonders like they make one song that everybody just falls in love with and they try to do again and they can't replicate it so like there's some kind of secret ingredient that comes with Song making and Jaroslav Beck has really nailed it like each one of his songs like $100 bills like escape like each one of his songs are just so catchy and I think all I have to say is whatever new track is gonna be released. It's gonna be amazing He's actually working on producing like more songs and he's also trying to get other artists in because it's an early access build like I Beat Saber didn't expect to get this popular. So a lot of people after my video were like, when is the game coming out? When is the game coming out? They're just like, oh, OK, guess early access, May 1st? But it's only going to be 10 songs. We're going to add more songs later. So they're working through that right now. And I trust the team because we got the alpha build way back in February. And it was different. You can just compare the Escape. gameplay that's on Beat Saber right now on release versus my video. The video of Escape is just mostly up, down, up, down, up, down, to the side, up, down, up, down, to the side. So there wasn't that much variance. Now it's up, down, to the side, up, down, up, down, to the side, duck, and it's so much more complex, and I love it more. Like, they've really made it into a game where you fully move, and it's not very repetitive. Like, there's very few levels where it's really repetitive versus some of the mapping that's been done in AudioShield and in Soundboxing. It gets kind of repetitive when it's the chorus part and you just know everything and it's not that very challenging versus what they've been doing in terms of adding bombs in so you can't hit a certain area. That adds an extra bit of complexity and I really, really love that. So, yeah.
[00:24:07.645] Kent Bye: And so I'm curious, as a flow artist working for a mixed reality company, what is your role at Liv in terms of like, is it to become a master at all these emerging games that have not been released yet, and to kind of create the most amazing kind of mixed reality videos that can then sort of advertise what Liv is doing in the mixed reality side?
[00:24:26.779] Swan: So I have every little kid's dream job. I get paid to play VR games like all the time. So that's pretty awesome. So my official role is Ready Player Swan and I produce content and also I do our marketing. So a lot of the social media is actually me. And basically, I talked to developers and played different games and we actually got some keys. So right after Beat Saber, some studios reached out to us and gave us some keys and we've been testing them for mixed reality, see how it looks. A lot of the difficulty with mixed reality is if the game has avatars, it kind of looks a little bit weird. So we're trying to find games that can look really good in Mixed reality that has good playability and we can actually shoot some really good footage So we're playing around with it right now and trying to see what new content we can create We got some studios in line for future content already so if you're a game developer and you're really interested in like having some good content created join our discord live chat because we have like 1600 people on our discord and a lot of them have like a green screen setup and they could produce content for you like 3d created content for Eye of the Tiger VR experience and Yeah, we have a lot of beta testers on our discord and it's a pretty welcoming group I really like everybody that's been there. It's very welcoming and if you're a female like I I actually created an all-girls channel to support one another in content creation, give each other ideas, because sometimes we can get drowned out. Like, one of the girls can post, like, oh my god, this is the dress I want to wear for a stream. And then guys are, like, talking about hardware, like, 1080, TI, like, gender graphics card, and everything else. So they kind of get drowned out. And instead, having that kind of support groups, like, girls talk about stuff, like, hey, like, this is my dress I want to wear. Like, oh, I'm going to wear this T-Rex outfit. That's so cool. Like, I'm going to wear this onesie as a unicorn. So I'm hoping to produce, to kind of engender more girls to come into this space, because there's not enough girls in technology. VR is emerging tech. I would love for more girls to join in on this. This is the start of it. It's just blossoming. So if you come in now, you can really take advantage of it.
[00:26:34.752] Kent Bye: Great. So what do you personally want to experience in VR?
[00:26:38.840] Swan: So I was a huge Doctor Who fan. My dream job was actually to be Doctor Who's companion and travel to all these different worlds. So if I could have a VR experience where I just travel to all these different worlds and get all these different challenges and puzzles and all these new people to avoid, escape, or basically befriend, that would be really cool. So I guess a Doctor Who experience where I join David Tennant in a TARDIS and go on various adventures throughout the universe in different dimensions and time, I think I would really love that.
[00:27:11.849] Kent Bye: Wow, yeah. That makes sense. I mean, there's going to be a lot of that that's already happening, but to kind of wrap it into Doctor Who. And finally, what do you think is kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?
[00:27:27.024] Swan: So I was actually a psych major, and I really would love VR to help with mental health. It's like a huge thing that's growing right now, like empathy building, child trauma, and PTSD, also like exposure therapy for fears. Child trauma is something that I would really love VR to kind of help with, because I see a lot of that in some of my friends. They had some childhood trauma, and they can't live past that. Like, one of my friends, he almost got placed in jail because, like, when he was really young, he was kind of, like, neglected a lot. So he kind of acted out. And at one point, we got stopped because he was speeding, and he was freaking out, like, because his experience with cops weren't that great when he was younger. So he had this childhood trauma of, like, fear of going to jail and he had a fear of authority and to me I was like dude you're just speeding it's okay like they don't put good people into jail it's okay but he was like sweating he was shaking and I realized how deep childhood trauma goes and there's a lot of people working on empathy childhood trauma and like trauma healing pain management So I feel like the mental health implications of VR would be great, especially right now they're doing exposure therapy with fears with VR and I hope they just really build upon that and that the psychiatrists and like people in psychology can actually view VR as a tool to help people. And also, if you think about cultures, like certain cultures, like I'm from China, so like in the Chinese culture, they don't really acknowledge mental health a lot. So if you think about it, in those cultures where they don't see mental health as a thing, they could actually be like, hey, mom, dad, I'm actually going to play this VR game for two hours, so don't bother me. But they're actually talking to a therapist. So I'm hoping that VR gives people access to mental health and therapy and a sense of connectedness and empathy when they are alone and isolated. Awesome.
[00:29:24.616] Kent Bye: Well, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast.
[00:29:27.220] Swan: Thanks. Cheers.
[00:29:29.371] Kent Bye: So that was Swan. She's a flow artist and marketing director at Live. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, I first met Swan at GDC at the VR mixer. And at that point, it had already been about a month or so that the video that was released in February had started to really kind of explode and go viral. And at GDC, I also just saw huge lines. to play Beat Saber at GDC. So within the VR community, that buzz had already started to really spread that this was an experience that people wanted to have. And that it was just clear. You would see the mixed reality video, and then you would be like, that looks fun. And then you actually go into the experience, and it was fun. And so you have this correspondence between being able to actually visually communicate what is happening within a virtual reality experience. But there was a lot of other different aspects of the viral phenomena that was really interesting to hear about, especially the fashion dimension of how Swan was just getting a lot of these different feedbacks from women just talking about the fashion and the embodiment and the movement. So embodiment, I think, is, in general, within virtual reality, a huge movement. And I think that The fashion dimension was something that was, you know, super interesting, fascinating. I hadn't really even considered that as a part of what was making this video go viral, but Swan had a very specific fashion, the way she was moving her body. It was like she has training as a flow artist. And so there was just a lot more comments of both the style and the large expressive gestures and her as a performer within flow arts, being able to translate those flow art skills into virtual reality. And and how, you know, all the things that she's doing specifically to sort of support women within VR and to kind of create a space for them to connect to each other without sort of getting lost within all the different discussions, but to talk about these various different things of, you know, becoming a T-Rex in virtual reality, for example. so just a lot of expressive movement and style and kind of talking about where this could all go in terms of judging and Live-streaming and being able to do audience judging and there's something about you know Some of the runs that go viral with and beat saver are the ones who are the perfect runs and so your expression of being able to hit perfection and show somebody the ideal form of what it means to sort of get through a run that is a one dimension of what makes things go viral. And then there's things like Rage Sack where he's been doing a lot of like, you know, Darth Maul using his protube to be able to put two Oculus controllers in there and he drilled some holes and to be able to actually like, you know, have them secured in there. And he's created a whole rig in order to basically create this whole style of really kind of moving a staff around within virtual reality, something that wasn't necessarily built in, but to be able to do custom runs and to be able to do this sort of artistic flair. So it's much more about looking like a badass and a ninja artist and a martial artist of a bo staff within virtual reality. And so that's something that's super fascinating to see that strand as well. But I think that just from my own experience of playing Beat Saber off and on now since the last month or so, I have found that like sometimes I want to just like turn the scoring off and not worry about getting a high score and just get into different flow states. I do think that there is this inherent tension between paying attention to the score and getting into flow states. It's sort of like this paradoxical thing like the harder you try to get the high score the more that you like mess up in some ways and so it's almost like being unattached to that ability to get that high score so you can get into that flow state. So I think it's that's part of what makes it so interesting is that the way that they have done this scoring is so nuanced and so that you can do these really large expressive gestures and that when you do that you tend to get you know higher scores but if you're so focused and intent on getting the high score then sometimes it sort of takes you out of the flow state that allows you to even do that. So Flow states are very temperamental. They're not something that are very easy to sort of slip into and to replicate. And so I think Beat Saber as an experience is something that is really cultivating this ability for us to get into those flow states more easily. And finally, Swan said that music is the language of the soul, and there is something that is absolutely completely mysterious about how music connects us to our emotions. There's some people who absolutely love the dubstep of Beat Saber, and there's other people who aren't necessarily huge fans of that genre of music. For me personally, I'm not a huge fan of that genre, but at the same time, I've had this embodied experience of the music, and so I actually appreciate the music more than just sort of listening to it. It's not music that I would normally necessarily listen to on my own, but it's sort of this weird experience of having an embodied experience of that music. So I think there's also this really interesting thing that's happening with the geometry and spatialization of music as you're giving a direct embodied experience of it. Music is something that is completely mysterious in so many different ways. I mean, there's a book that I'm reading right now called The Jazz of Physics that goes into someone who's a physicist as well as a jazz improv, and he's trying to use analogic reasoning of trying to describe the underlying structure of the universe using music. as like analogies, because there's a lot of different dimensions of holistic harmony that comes up, but also, you know, kind of reductionistic ways of seeing individual notes, but yet they add together and have this sort of emotional feeling. I think to some extent, there's different dimensions of reality that have this sort of individual and collective hierarchy and symmetry and all these different dimensions of the nature and structure of reality that music becomes a perfect analogy for. Actually, going way back into the times of Greeks, when Pythagoras discovered the mathematical roots of what music was, Pythagoras was all about this concept that the entire universe was numbers, everything boiled down to numbers. And so that Pythagorean ideal, they had the quadrivium, which was numbers, which was math. there was numbers in space, which was geometry, you have numbers in time, which was music, and then you have numbers in space and time, which was astronomy. And so actually, in order to progress all of the sciences back then, all of those things were seamlessly integrated to be able to do both math and geometry and music and physics were all kind of combined together to try to figure out the underlying structure of the movement of the heavens at that time. But if you think about music and space and music and time as being geometry and music, what is happening in virtual reality is that is adding geometry to music that you are experiencing. You're spatializing the different beats and the different structures of the music and you're getting a direct visceral experience of the geometry of music within experiences like Beat Saber. now the way that they have composed the quantized grid for me i'd really love to see the 12 notes sort of in a circle where you could actually start to then actually play the different chord structures and stuff of the music so you actually like get a much closer depiction of the structure of the music but they would have to actually add more sections within their grids in order to actually really get into the nuances of the architecture of music. And I think being able to actually do that in terms of the chord structure and the melody and the rhythm and the meter and the pitch, I mean, there's so many different dimensions to music that I think, you know, the geometry of music, I think is going to be a huge thing within general, within virtual reality. And I think Beat Saber, Soundboxing, Audio Shield, some of these other rhythm games that have been out there are starting to really explore these in different ways. So that's all that I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a donor to the Patreon. This is a listener-supported podcast, and so I do rely upon your donations in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.