BC Stories

CDM's Goldrush

Explore the Stories

Gold Rush Gondola Ride

In partnership with the Centre For Digital Media, UBC, UVic, and the Royal BC Museum, BC Stories has created a Virtual Reality vignette about the gold rush that happened in BC a century ago.

The Visual Candy team at CDM did all of the heavy lifting when it came to developing the beautiful assets of this VR experience, and even made a blog documenting their process. They have demo'ed their work at a variety of venues since then, including the VR Showcase Afterparty, a an event designed to showcase various VR development projects in Vancouver.

Check out a video demo of their work, and keep an eye on this page for any future demo's of this particular BC Story.

The Team

Dr. Derek Jacoby


I'm Derek. I was at Microsoft for about a decade working on the windows team and in Microsoft Research as lead program manager on the speech recognition team. I was the designer and developer of the “How do I” language model in Windows, which allows you, for instance, to say things like “How do I add a user?” and have it bring up the appropriate help page. I left Microsoft wanting to return to Canada and go back to grad school. I received my PhD from University of Victoria last year, and have been doing a lot of web development, some interesting signal processing, working with electronics and embedded systems, and developing VR applications. I am also founder and president of the Victoria Makerspace, a collective tool workshop from which some of our team members are drawn for this project. I am also doing a post-doc with Yvonne at UVic, run a boutique development company called QVirt labs, and am a mentor for a local web development bootcamp called lighthouse labs.

Dr. Yvonne Coady


I work with the MOD(ularity) Squad (the grooviest gang of students to ever attempt to improve the modularity of system infrastructure software), in the Computer Science Department, in the Faculty of Engineering, at the University of Victoria, Canada. Research Interests: mixed reality systems, citizen science, emerging avenues of advanced modularity across the software stack, and new programming paradigms and future pedagogical directions for immersive applications

Dr. Rachel Ralph


I'm Rachel. I was a generalist middle school teacher for 7 years in the Fraser Valley. Shortly after completing my Master of Educational Technology, I watched my school district make some “interesting” decisions regarding technology and I decided to leave my school district and pursue my PhD. I received my PhD from the University of British Columbia this year in Curriculum and Pedagogy with a focus on Media and Technology Studies Education. Currently, I am an instructor at UBC and at the CDM focusing on teaching, instructing, and media and technology studies. I am also doing a post-doc with Yvonne and am excited to join this VR/AR/MR project with everyone. I am very passionate about media and technology educational curriculum studies.

I think this project is going to be amazing and I'm excited to share my expertise as a teacher, curriculum specialist, and educational researcher. I would like to see my role as taking this project further to measure “learning” and to demonstrate that VR/AR/MR can play a central role in education (formally and informally). I think we are just scratching the surface on what can be a very influential project.

Lianghui (Helen) Zhang


My name is Helen. I'm a second year computer engineering student at UBC. I have some experience in programming and working with Unity.

This is an amazing learning opportunity for me to get to know more about VR, voice recognition, story telling and systematic design in general. Game designing is one of my major interest, and I think VR can really bring entertainment to life. It always fascinates me how VR makes stories so engaging and unforgettable. I'm so excited to see some BC history stories to be re-enacted by these technologies.

I'm really grateful to be a part of the team and I'm looking forward to learn more about everything!

Steven Ceasar Wong

Center for Digital Media

I graduated from Simon Fraser University major in Interactive Art & Technology. My concentration is Media Art. I was working on two VR projects in the CDM before. One Oculus VR project is a VR card game with Crazy Eight mechanics. One HTC Vive VR project is a planet creator by throwing different combinations of asteroids to created different planets. In these two VR projects, I was responsible for doing visual particle effects and Unity VR development such as controller mapping and events. I am really interested that I can have another VR project in this term. I am also doing a VR course project in SFU surrey campus this summer term. I love VFX so much. My roles in this project maybe are Unity related stuffs and visual effects.

Deepak Balachandar

Center for Digital Media

I am a graduate student from university of wales who specializes in the field of game design and visual design. I have been working in the game’s industry for the past 4 years and have had the fortune of working in a variety of platforms such as VR, mobile, pc and EMOTIV Epoc device which user Electroencephalography (EEG) is an electrophysiological monitoring method to record electrical activity of the brain. I have also been working on different genres such as acting, puzzle, strategy and casino in the field of interactive design. Some of the different types production tools that i use are Maya, unity, photoshop and illustrator. Looking forward to working with you all. Cheers.

Krisha Maclang

Center for Digital Media

I graduated with a degree in Communications. My work background has involved digital marketing communications in many aspects – whether it’s social media management, web analytics, public relations, event management, etc. Aside from this, I’m also a writer. In the CDM, I’ve helped develop games, apps, and recently, a game involving AR and geolocation. I’m doing project management and UX for BC Stories and I’m excited for my first time working in VR.

ChingAn Lin

Center for Digital Media

I am ChingAn, an artist on team. I am from digital media and history background, mostly doing 2D, 3D UI stuff. I have worked on 2 VR projects, one is historical narrative exploring game, another one is planet creator, create different planets by throwing different asteroids. I am a big fan of games, want to try every game and make cool games. I am super excited to work with you wonderful guys and make awesome stuff.

Emily Burt

Center for Digital Media

I am an Artist/Project Manager on the team. My bachelors is in Sociology and Political Science and I am currently completing my masters in Digital Media. I develop digital solutions to help solve problems. I make games, prototyped museum exhibitions, worked on developing AR applications and love working on teams! I haven’t developed anything in VR before and could not be more excited to start. In my spare time I love to paint and write songs on my ukulele. I am very interested to put my storytelling and exhibition skills to good use.

JJ (Jong Jik) Kim

Center for Digital Media

I am originally from South Korea. I studied Visual Effects and worked in Computer Graphic industry in the US. I do have a strong texturing and lighting skills as well as multiple software such as Maya, Adobes, Unity, Zbrush, Mari, and so on.

Nathan Nguyen

Center for Digital Media

I am a 4th year SFU Computing Science student working with the CDM team on this project. Being a CS student, I will tend to the more technical side of things in both Unity development and managing the overall project structure, as well as communicating with other technical teams that we have joining us in this project. I am thrilled to learn more about mixed reality and about building interactive creative content and so I am looking forward to be working on this project with you all!