The Wild is a Portland-based startup giving designers new ways to collaborate in 3D in realtime using virtual reality. The Wild uses these as passports for people to stamp after they’ve experienced The Wild in VR. We chatted with Melissa Chan, Design Director at The Wild about what they do, how the VR space is changing, and how they are using Scout Books in their demos.
What is The Wild?
The Wild is a cloud-based communication and collaboration tool for people that design experiences in 3D. Using virtual and augmented reality, our platform enables teams to experience their designs together, at scale. Think of it as a virtual creative space for designers to collaborate and work together from anywhere — VR allows for a much more immersive experience. We’re based in Portland, Oregon— literally half a block from Scout Books’ headquarters.
How are you using your Scout Books?
We just wrapped up our first tradeshow — Autodesk University in Las Vegas. We had a booth and gave about 75 demos of The Wild. We brought along our Scout Books as giveaways. Not only are they compact, but I am personally committed to only producing SWAG that’s sustainable and usable—you won’t be seeing any foam koozies or fidget spinners from us.
We worked with Portland illustrator Brett Stenson to create the “Meet Me in The Wild” illustration that adorns the cover. Because we’re an early stage startup, we went very minimal— single color, no custom pages. We let the illustration be the hero.
Going off the idea of The Wild as a place you can visit, we used our Scout Books as passports. We designed a rubber stamp, and we’d stamp your Scout Book after you’d been in The Wild.
Your focus is on getting designers into virtual reality (VR) for designing spaces and products. Have designers been receptive to designing and prototyping in this new three dimensional space?
Absolutely! The workflow for 3D designers is pretty disjointed right now. It’s hard to collaborate on a 3D project the same way you’d collaborate on, say, a Google Doc. We’ve been getting a lot of really great responses and feedback, and people seem to really understand what we’re trying to do. In the grand scheme of things, working in 3D is not new at all — it’s the oldest way of doing things. Working with your hands, moving things around in physical space, and creating physical prototypes is the very essence that we’re trying to get back to, but we’re leveraging technology to make it smarter and more efficient for teams.
What does a designer need to know before strapping on a headset and jumping into The Wild?
Not a ton, honestly. The biggest thing you need is a headset (HTC Vive, Oculus, Windows Mixed Reality) and a PC that can run it. A lot of designers use Macs, myself included, and unfortunately Macs are still not really built to run VR headsets, so a PC is your best bet. We’ve got a blog post that outlines everything you need to get set up. If you’re interested in trying out The Wild with your team, you can request access here.
What opportunities are you most excited about in the VR space in the next couple years?
VR has been around for awhile but it’s been a lot of gaming and immersive viewing experiences (i.e. 360 video). There are still relatively few VR applications for creation and collaboration, so it’s exciting to see the startups that are popping up and see what everyone is doing and how. It’s a whole new frontier so we should all be learning from each other.
From a hardware perspective, I’ll be really excited when Macs have better VR support. And there are a few affordable standalone headsets coming out in 2019 (Oculus Quest, Shadow VR) that will eliminate the need for a computer at all. Once folks can get into VR creation at a reasonable price and without a spendy computer and a bunch of cords, I think we’ll start seeing much broader adoption and a lot more apps being built.
Huge thanks to Melissa for talking with us, and for everyone at The Wild for letting us help bring this project to life. You can find more about The Wild via their website.
Originally published November 27, 2018.