The Mighty Appeal of Micro Kingdoms

In the coming years, spatial computing will drive a planet-scale transformation of how we consume content and interact with our world. To bring the power of this new technology to life, PRELOADED teamed up with BBC Studios and Magic Leap and turned our attention to some of the planet’s smallest, but mightiest, animal kingdoms.  

BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses uses the Magic Leap spatial computing platform to merge users’ worlds with those of a Leaf Cutter Ant colony in the tropical rainforests of Central America and a Wandering Spider in the Atlantic Forest of Eastern Brazil. Narrated by Stephen Fry, the experience brings the natural world into your world, inviting creatures to walk over your table, or around your sofa, or even up your walls.

In two chapters users are able to observe, interact and learn how these animals have evolved extraordinary senses to help them survive and thrive. By visualising the incredible senses which animals use to understand their world, audiences are able to better understand, and appreciate, the world around them.

Created with a mainstream appeal in mind, the low threshold design of Micro Kingdoms allows audiences new to Magic Leap’s technology experience the emotional and educational power of storytelling in spatial computing.

We have blended the physical and digital world to bring valuable earth ecosystems into any room, giving people the chance to see, hear and feel how these animals live and survive.

Rio Caraeff, Chief Content Officer at Magic Leap

The best of both worlds

From the outset, the ambition of Micro Kingdoms: Senses has been to connect new audiences, in new ways, to the wonders of the natural world. A key part in achieving this has been a highly collaborative relationship between the PRELOADED, BBC Studios Interactive and Natural History Unit teams – researching, testing and discovering new possibilities for natural history with spatial computing on the Magic Leap Platform. 

Drawing on the BBC Natural History Unit’s breadth of knowledge and research, PRELOADED set out to create an authentic digital version of the natural world. Making use of NHU’s detailed archives, we used skeletal anatomy to inform the 3D modelling, and studied hours of video footage to perfectly capture the animals incredible behaviours, relationships and movements. 

To seamlessly bring the carefully researched natural world into the user’s real world space, PRELOADED worked closely with Magic Leap to understand the affordances of their technology. An open and collaborative process with writers, composers, sound designers and SMEs, helped the PRELOADED team to iterate and refine the experience, and match the possibilities of the Magic Leap platform, as the technology continued to develop throughout the project.

The end result is a user experience, designed by PRELOADED, that marries BBC Studios’ 60 years of innovative storytelling with Magic Leap’s cutting edge spatial computing technology.

Concept sketches

Groundbreaking Spatial Storytelling

Micro Kingdoms: Senses presents a groundbreaking format for spatial storytelling, designed to create an immersive learning environment and enable deep levels of user engagement and understanding.

Whilst the chapters have a distinct narrative arc, the way the story unfolds is linked to the user’s environment – the physical space they are in – and the way they choose to interact with it. The user is part of the storytelling, and this active role encourages them to lean in, to get up close, to explore and interact with the new inhabitants. 

Driven by AI the animals also respond authentically to the player and the world around them: dropping a leaf near a leaf-cutter ant will encourage it to harvest its find and communicate back to the nest, drop a rock in its path and it will find its way around. When antagonised, the wandering spider will even charge at the player. 

Given the freedom to explore the world, the user’s curiosity is rewarded with a story they become part of, and their understanding of the animal’s and their behaviours is enhanced through it. The result is a story format that the user is part of and can only experience first hand.

BBC Earth – Micro Kingdoms: Senses is a PRELOADED and BBC Studios co-production and was funded by Magic Leap as part of their Independent Creator Program. To download the experience, visit Magic Leap World.

Together, we’re innovating the next generation of computing and entertainment, and studios such as PRELOADED are crucial to defining that future.”

Rio Caraeff , Chief Content Officer, Magic Leap

Most Innovative Factual Program/Project
World Congress of Science and Factual Producers

Award recognition

Best AR Application - VR Focus Awards
Best VR Experience - Digital Broadcast Awards
Music+Sound Awards - Best Original Composition

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