Audience of the Future: How USW helped create a new chapter for Wallace & Gromit

Wallace and Gromit

How would you reinvent future audiences for iconic British entertainment?

The University of South Wales (USW) recently collaborated with a consortium of creative industry practitioners to do just that. Using emerging technologies, the team worked together to invent an innovative, all new chapter for the beloved Wallace & Gromit animation series.

The project saw USW researchers working with a team of developers, including Tiny Rebel Games, Sugar Creative, Potato and Aardman, to create Wallace & Gromit: the Big Fix Up, an augmented reality demonstrator project for Audience of the Future, a UKRI-funded venture to reinvent digital storytelling using emerging technologies.  

Featuring a dynamic roll-out of multimodal media, including a wealth of Wallace & Gromit styled augmented reality enhancements, the Big Fix Up mobile experience also uses 3D location scanning to place Wallace & Gromit's virtual world in your own backyard. 

To achieve this level of innovation, the pioneering research and development venture involved significant funding, with the intention of generating exciting new partnerships and technology development for Creative Industries in the UK.

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The USW Audience of the Future website is the culmination of that collaborative journey, documenting the behind-the-scenes processes and practices used in the development of this complex and ground-breaking project. It includes interviews with the creative developers, play testers and students involved.

Presented as a set of challenges through the timeline of development with an interactive quiz, the website provides a valuable resource for any organisation working with multiple partners, producing student masterclasses and innovative technologies.

Corrado Morgana, Academic Subject Manager for Animation and Games at USW, said: “Our researchers have conducted user testing and product evaluation, holding masterclasses with students to help us better understand the user experience for augmented reality technology.    

“This has been a large scale, fast paced and exciting project, and together with our collaborators, we are creating future-proof practices for multi-user storytelling that involves the audience in the heart of the action.”

The website is produced by Bronwin Patrickson, Research Fellow at USW, and built by Sugar Creative.