King Crow Studios developing virtual reality experience for U.S.S. Kidd, Veterans Museum

    Local software developer King Crow Studios is working on a virtual reality experience for visitors of the U.S.S. Kidd and its neighboring Veterans Museum.

    With a working title of “Battle of Okinawa,” it’s envisioned as a historically accurate simulation of the significant World War II battle of the same name, says King Crow Studios founder Cody Louviere. 

    “We’re working with the museum on the next phases of development to make a movie-quality, high-resolution version of the game that’ll be immersive and fun,” says Louviere, a four-year tenant of the Louisiana Technology Park.

    Once complete, visitors will be able to purchase an allotted amount of time for the simulation at the museum’s gift shop. Then, at a designated station in the lobby, they’ll sit in a chair and put on a virtual reality headset to “experience” the battle, earning points by shooting down enemy warplanes as they appear to come toward the U.S.S. Kidd. Once the simulation ends, users can see how they scored on a leaderboard.

    Louviere says a team of artists, programmers, designers and managers have been working on the project for the past six months, having unveiled an early concept on May 30 at the Roarin’ on the River Gala downtown before recently presenting an updated version of the game to museum board members. 

    The game marks one of several ways the museum is adapting to stay relevant and appeal to a younger generation of visitors who aren’t as connected to its military history. Other efforts include a revamp of the museum’s website, which now features drone footage of the ship and an interactive web tour. Also in the works is a virtual tour of the ship’s interior, as well as plans to digitize all print archives.

    The battle simulation could be available to visitors as soon as the end of the year, or sometime in 2020.

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