5 Lessons From the Virtual World that We Can Apply in Real Life Design

Our technology brings our daily lives closer to the plot of science fiction films we watch. For one, virtual reality tech is so advanced that it blurs the boundary between the virtual world and real world. We use it to buy products without going to the physical store. We use it to design and showcase unbuilt structures. And, we use it to interact with people who are thousands of miles away from us.

We often see those things in science fiction films. Now, those became a part of our reality. It seems that the movies give us a glimpse of the future ahead of us.

With that, let’s look at one of the most recent sci-fi films released… Ready Player One.



Stephen Spielberg’s virtual reality adventure film Ready Player One shows a world with a dystopian world, where the real world became harsh, and most people choose to spend most of their time in a VR universe called OASIS.

This movie’s premise prompts us to care more about the real world despite the existence of a virtual haven. Instead of differentiating the virtual world and real world, why not create meaningful and memorable real-life spaces that people will want to be a part of?

For a deeper understanding, we’ll explain the five main themes in the film Ready Player One and how these help us design better spaces:


Design places and structures from the user perspective

In the movie: The OASIS universe provides the player with seamless, user-friendly, and life-like experiences. Knowing that their virtual life is better than in the real world, nobody wanted to log out. Nobody wanted to leave.

What we can do:  Look at the built environment as something that gives people services and experiences. Every place is an ecosystem. When we design every building and structure for the biological community living and interacting there, everyone’s lives will be better.


Merge physical and digital worlds right

In the movie: Ready Player One shows a future where we have wearable tech that allows us to feel and touch virtual objects. We also have omnidirectional treadmills that let us move freely and safely in the VR universe. Together, these two blurred the line between the virtual world and real world.

What we can do: While people demand more digital experiences, our nations must not leave out physical encounters. It’s time to integrate digital and  physical processes to give people a better experience.

For example, people order pizza online via VR app in their phones or headsets. Let the user choose whether to pick it up from the store or get it delivered right at their doorstep. Make way for the pizzeria staff to greet and thank them in person.

Architecture firms can practice this. Let’s say your company makes use of 3D/VR to showcase designs to your client. Instead of immersing them in the virtual world, why not conduct a virtual walk through? Guide them to every room and every corner. Show them all the things they need to see. Let the experience sink in their minds and hearts.

Imagine your business doing those things (or something logically similar). You will be legendary.


Tailor experiences

In the movie: OASIS permits the player to become whoever they want to be. Users can alter their appearance, ethnicity, and even their species. The game lets you live a life different from the real one.

What we can do: Give room for more personalised services and experiences. Every person has a unique need. Recognise that, and let them tailor their journey. It helps make fitted experiences that they’ll love.


Co-creation is key

In the movie: As the film viewer, you’ll realise that an individual’s character and accomplishment inside OASIS is hollow. The thing that makes OASIS great is the people who inhabit the virtual world. Their avatars shaped and co-created OASIS.

What we can do: Everybody plays a role in this society. Let’s work closely together to co-create experiences that make a place better.

For example, mall operators can open more spaces for VR attractions. These are magnets of people, thus driving lots of people back inside social places. Also, a lot of mall-goers who have experienced VR attractions demand more of it inside malls.


Never move away from the real world

In the movie: (This is a tearjerker) OASIS Creator James Donovan Halliday (played by English actor Mark Rylance), told that no matter how great OASIS has become, it will never replace reality. He was so busy creating the perfect world that he shy away from the real one. He died lonely and alone. It was too late when he realised that true happiness can only be found in reality.

What we can do: Unplug from your devices and reconnect with the people who matter to you most. Understand that you can feel a sense of belonging in the real world too. Spend time with your loved ones, maintain meaningful relationships with them, and make a lot of memorable real world experiences with them. Of course, good design helps make this happen.


If you haven’t watched the film yet, you can stream it on YouTube here. (Disclaimer: YouTube Movies aren’t free).