Interactive Storytelling- Gaming Meets Film, Meets Novel. Watch Westerfeld’s Leviathan Fly!

What if there were a life-size replica of the Leviathan as imagined in Scott Westerfeld‘s book? What if you could watch it fly, all 1,000 feet of it, right over your head? If you could traverse through it, and interact with over 40 fully realized characters on the vessel? The technology is available now and has the capability to completely change the future of immersive storytelling. It was premiered in the keynote speech at this years International Consumer Electronic Show.

It took 15 students from the USC- School of Cinematic Arts a year to create a virtual, full-sized replica of the Leviathan from Scott Westerfeld’s book of the same name. 


What the lab is doing is a combination of high technology and storytelling, or what some of them call “extreme Leviathan fan fiction.” They’ve created a 3-D virtual model of the airship, both inside and out, backstories for all the crew members, and a host of ancillary material, like diaries and historical timelines (more detailed than any in the novels).” -Scott Westerfeld

The Leviathan is a 1,000 foot long whale flying machine with a 300 foot, 3 story gondola made of bamboo attached. It takes up 11.7 gigabytes of RAM. One can experience the Leviathan world by viewing prints, walking around models using visual reality helmets or in larger group settings. 


The students created the Leviathan using:

  • film production
  • fine art
  • electrical enginerring
  • 3-D animation

This technology breaks wide open the future of storytelling and the blurring of lines of mediums and intellectual property. Books can become large interactive theatrical experiences, games could be projected in group settings and played by the entire audience simultaneously. Educational setting could be forever changed with full immerse experiences into geographical, historical and imaginative spaces. 

For more information on this incredible project visit:

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