All Seeing Eye
Recreating the Dambusters experience
All Seeing Eye collaborates with arts, culture and heritage organisations, as well as the gaming and manufacturing industries, to explore ways in which advanced digital technologies can be used to enhance storytelling through immersive and interactive experiences.
Prototyping through Creative XR
When All Seeing Eye’s team joined Digital Catapult’s Creative XR programme – focusing on immersive content production – they were excited about the possibilities, finding the workshops extremely helpful, and enjoying the opportunity to talk to other innovators and bounce ideas around. However, the single biggest benefit was being able to explore, develop and thoroughly test something new while minimising risk.
Digital Catapult enabled the team to invest time and energy while retaining IP in its immersive content experience. This was particularly valuable in developing All Seeing Eye’s approach from being mainly arts-orientated to creating an experience that could be monetised. Digital Catapult helped to determine price points and create licensing models, while producing demonstrable figures and project impact analysis. This would help the team in marketing to other museums, and in supporting conversations they would have with other sites.
Expertise, collaboration and credibility
Arts Council England and Digital Catapult worked closely with the Imperial War Museum and RAF Museum London to enable All Seeing Eye’s prototype to become a live installation that the public could experience and enjoy.
Well-versed in working with museums, Arts Council England facilitated discussions and agreement with the museum’s education, collection and commercial teams, while Digital Catapult’s CreativeXR programme lent significant credibility, making it possible for everyone involved to see the prototype and envision the contribution that this installation would make to visitor engagement and revenues.
The aim of the project was to convey the entirety of the Dambusters experience from a human perspective. There was no ‘textbook’ aspect, no documentary or narration, yet the installation was as historically accurate as possible to keep it true to life.
Visitors have loved it, including relatives of those RAF 617 Squadron crew members who had taken part in ‘Operation Chastise’ in May 1943.
The overall experience has been both illuminating and moving, enabling people to really understand for the first time what this mission would have been like and how frightening it must have been. This kind of experiential storytelling is especially valuable to share with the generations without direct contact with eyewitnesses and those telling the story first-hand.
The RAF Museum partnered with All Seeing Eye to provide the detailed evidence needed to portray the events in minute detail. The installation included haptic feedback and physical props, placing audiences directly in the seat of the Wireless Operator onboard G-George; the first aircraft to attack the Möhne dam.
Immersive histories are set to grow
The Dambusters installation at the RAF Museum has performed well in terms of attracting visitors, driving up engagement and generating revenue for the museum. It has not distracted from other experiences on offer; rather it has complemented them and added to the institution’s family appeal across a wider age range. It’s one of many digital developments that are now contributing to the positioning of museums as contemporary attractions: leaving behind their ‘dusty’ legacy while helping to drive brand, revenue and engagement.
All Seeing Eye is now a recognised name in VR installation, and the team is having conversations about a wide range of potential projects with organisations across sectors – from the arts, education and industry. There is now a product that can be monetised (either by direct sales or licensing) and – just as importantly – that extends the reach of immersive technologies beyond the arts and affluent communities to engage, educate and entertain a much wider audience.
Development of a working prototype under de-risked conditions
Successful negotiation of installation at the RAF Museum, London
A platform from which to make further introductions and connections
A further £89,000 for production
Arts Council funding of £20,000 for the prototype
Generation of £30,000 in revenue for the RAF Museum