The goal of "Joycestick" is to expose new audiences to the works of one of Ireland's most celebrated authors, as well as to give a glimpse of how virtual reality can be used to enhance literature, said Joseph Nugent, the Boston College English professor who is coordinating the project.
Nugent and his students hope to release a version of the game on June 16 in Dublin during Bloomsday, the city's annual celebration of the author and novel.
"Joycestick" isn't meant to be a straight re-telling of "Ulysses," which in some versions runs nearly 650 pages long, acknowledged Evan Otero, a Boston College junior majoring in computer science who is helping to develop the game.
Instead, the game lets users explore a handful of key environments described in the book, from a military tower where the novel opens to a cafe in Paris that is significant to the protagonist's past.
It's also not a typical video game in the sense of having tasks to complete, enemies to defeat or points to rack up, said Jan van Merkensteijn, a junior studying philosophy and medical humanities who is also involved in the project. For now, users can simply explore the virtual environments at their leisure. Touching certain objects triggers readings from the novel.