If you were a '90s kid, chances are you had—or at least dreamed about having—a Tamagotchi. The small, computerized "egg" housed a virtual pet that was entirely your own. Tamagotchis taught us how to take care of something for the first time, and were a vital part of our everyday routine, but they only existed inside that tiny, pixelated egg. What if they could hop out and spring to a more realistic-looking life? What would that look like, and how would we respond?
That's the idea behind ILMxLAB's Project Porg, a mixed-reality project that brings the squawking birds from Star Wars: The Last Jedi into your living room via its immersive entertainment features.
Available for free with Magic Leap One headsets, Project Porg lets users create their own own perfect porg family. In the story presented, Chewbacca has left you with both a device and a porg, and C-3PO is on-hand to tell you how to care for the little bird. Over time, you'll adjust to your new pet's personality and limitations, and help raise it into adulthood. Eventually, you can have a whole porg family to tend to, including baby porgs, which look like regular porgs except smaller, whiter, and floofier.
The mixed reality component means that you interact with projection-like creatures viewable only when wearing the headset. That means you'll see things people without the headsets cannot, which adds a personal effect.
The creators also made sure to pull from real-life when it came to creating their creatures. "We looked at how people interact with pets and a lot of the favorite toys that exist there," says ILMxLAB's mixed reality supervisor Michael Koperwas about the various playthings you can use with your pet porg, including a stuffed Chewie doll it can fetch and bring back, a twine ball it can kick around, and a laser pointer it will chase like a cat.
The accuracy of the porgs is also thanks to ILMxLAB's direct correspondence with the designers who worked on the creatures for The Last Jedi. All of the little character traits you might have noticed onscreen are baked into the porg you get to call your own.
No release date for Project Porg has been announced, but it likely won't be long until your home is filled with a gaggle of virtual birds.
Images: Disney, Lucasfilm, ILM