THE RED FLUTE
“The Red Flute” (or the strange tale of Billy Wu) is an episodic and interactive virtual reality story.
Puzzles and combat are embedded in a mind-bending journey inspired by ancient Chinese history. (Think Asian version of Alice in Wonderland.) The piece was birthed in Oculus Launchpad 2017.
The tale begins with the capture of Billy Wu – a Chinese Kung Fu fighter who was found roaming barefoot through the mayor’s mansion in New York City. Dr. Matthew Truman (“Doc Truman”) narrates the story of the madman Wu, who insists that he has slipped through a wormhole from 220 AD. Wu must return to China to prevent a civil war – a mission given to him when emerging from the Land of the Dead.
Technologies used: Unity 3D, Maya, Photoshop.
In “The Red Flute,” the conditions of Wu’s reincarnation are set forth in eight scrolls delivered by an ancient spirit. The Middle Kingdom (China) is on the verge of collapse. A corrupt general has put a bastard child on the Dragon Throne while the true heir, Jaw-Long (Dragon mouth), has gone underground after surviving an assassination attempt. The capitol of the Middle Kingdom has been burned to the ground, and the Imperial Seal lost.
Wu’s mission: find the Seal and put Jaw-Long on the Throne.
The user follows in the footsteps of Billy Wu and Doc Truman as they confront challenges, such as battling demon monkeys in a bamboo forest, meeting a secret society of monks on a mountain-top temple, and tricking a bat demon to obtain a key to the Imperial Seal.
The scenes (thus far) are as follows: 1) Billy Wu’s Cell; 2) Land of the Dead; 3) The Giant Sea Turtle; 4) Meng Po’s Soup; 5) Snow Mountain; 6) Monkey Demons in the Bamboo Forest; 7) The Monks; 8) Destroying the Serpent; 9) Magic Tea House; 10) Ancient City; 10) Bat-Demon in the Caves; and, 11) Retrieving the Seal for Jaw-Long.
At journey’s end, Wu’s goal is but a futile dance. A delusion. The greater and more humane truth is revealed in the existence of the “red flute,” a 9000-year-old instrument made from the wing-bone of a red-crowned crane.
The experience incorporates elements from a classic RPG format. In Chapter One, the user begins to accumulate special items (coins, Dragon bow, mystery box) which he/she can use in adventures. Some items, such as the Dragon bow-and-arrow (range) and the Bo staff (melee), are designed for combat.
SCENES FROM CHAPTER I: LAND OF THE DEAD