• Rodger Caudill

Burning Man XR - None of It's Normal, but that's Normal

Updated: Sep 8



MXTreality developer, Nelson, “Neltron”, Reid crafted the largest live virtual art and music event in history, and you’re invited!


It’s Burning Man and it’s igniting all week across VR and mobile platforms. You can grab your free ticket to the Burning Man Experience here at metaburn. Other XR Burning Man experiences can be found here at the multiverse portal.


In the spirit of Burning Man, this event is free for all and full of different experiences from various virtual camps.


There are many digital experiences to check out, but our Lead Technical Artist at MXTreality crafted the environments for the largest live virtual art/music event center. You can see his stage below.



Nelson’s been a burner of two years now and like many, he was sad yet understanding, when Burning Man 2020 canceled this year. His momentary despair didn’t slow him down though. Alongside his friend from Digipen, the XR crew went to work on reviving Burning Man, one pixel at a time.


While the scope of the available experiences are huge, Nelson’s focus was on the space for large gatherings to experience music together, one of his favorite parts of Burning Man. The challenge here was making the environment large enough for thousands of people to join, but also small enough to run on as many devices as possible. Check out what it looks like from within the experience below.


Nelson and team worked with MAYA to create a concert hall that both looks stunning and runs as smooth as possible even considering the engine limitations. While the team could have made the experience higher resolution and added more textures, the restraints on accessibility would not have been worth it. “The best part about Burning Man is the people and the interactions,” Nelson explained. “If you can’t have people come together you can’t feel what Burning Man is really about. A 4k resolution and some animated textures can’t compare to the same feeling of being surrounded by people sharing the same mindset, even if those people are virtual.” People will fill the stage and be able to watch and listen to Live DJ's together.


While a physical connection is preferred, Nelson believes this year’s Burning Man will surpass all others in attendance. Not just because it’s free, but also because of how accessible it is. Anyone with a computer and internet connection can join, lowering the barriers that many folks have to negotiate with when heading out to the desert for their first time. At the same time, Nelson believes veteran Burners will attend in droves as it’s part of the Burner ethos to be open to new experiences.


The beauty in this experience is that everyone is trying it out for their first time, just like everyone is dealing with the tolls that COVID-19 has had on our lives. We are all unified during this moment that is far from normal. And as Nelson says, “none of it’s normal,” and that makes this experience true to Burning Man.




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