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N e w s ,

f e a t u r e s

a n d

a n a l y s i s

f o r

i m m e r s i v e

t e c h

a n d

e n t e r p r i s e

m a g a z i n e

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

Exclusive announcements, press releases and thought leadership articles focused on entertainment

Are you not entertained? If you own a VR headset, you will be Vertigo Games

A VR enthusiast and devotee

T H E

B U S I N E S S

Inside COVID19 The power of VR as a storytelling medium

O F

M A N U FA C T U R E D

HitMotion: Reloaded Innovation at play

R E A L I T I E S


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VRWorldTech Magazine

N e w s ,

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a n d

a n a l y s i s

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e n t e r p r i s e

m a g a z i n e Published by: Premeditated Media Group Ltd 71-75 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9JQ

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

Editor

Exclusive announcements, press releases and thought leadership articles focused on entertainment

Mark Dugdale editor@vrworldtech.com

Publisher

Are you not entertained?

Jonathan Savage jonsavage@vrworldtech.com

If you own a VR headset, you will be Vertigo Games

Editorial board

A VR enthusiast and devotee

T H E

Jan Pflueger, advisXR

B U S I N E S S

Inside COVID19

HitMotion: Reloaded

The power of VR as a storytelling medium

O F

Innovation at play

M A N U FA C T U R E D

R E A L I T I E S

Sophia Moshasha

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© 2021 Premeditated Media Group Ltd. All rights in and relating to this publication are expressly reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in VRWorldTech Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. While the publisher has taken every care in compiling this publication to ensure accuracy at the time of going to press, it does not accept liability or responsibility for errors or omissions therein, however caused.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

November 2021

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Editor’s Note

Are you not entertained? If you own a VR headset, you will be

A

nd here it is, the 10th issue of VRWorldTech Magazine.

The team at VRWorldTech is thrilled to be able to deliver this issue to intrays and inboxes, not least after a global pandemic, what I will carefully call supply chain issues here in the UK and, of course, everyone getting down to business as almost-usual. When we launched VRWorldTech and this magazine, we aimed to highlight the benefits of immersive technology, namely augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), to the enterprise market as hardware and software developers make strides toward the emergence of immersive technology in the mainstream.

4

November 2021

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Editor’s Note

We continue to accomplish this aim,

We speak to major VR game studio

story, one that could come to define

with stories on Bank of America and

and publisher Vertigo Games, and

a generation.

Accenture attracting huge numbers

learn that even though this company

of readers to our website recently

is a part of a much larger entity, it

In this issue’s The Reality Wire, there

but, more importantly, contributing

remains a VR enthusiast and devotee,

is a big focus on live events and

to the conversation. One that goes:

dedicated to the medium, all of its

production, with insight into how

look, unsure Fortune 500 company

potential, and much of its innovation.

immersive technologies can and are

struggling to attract talent amid the

being utilised to boost collaboration,

‘Great Resignation’, here is a game

On the opposite end of the

lower carbon footprints, and much

changer. Gift your new employees an

spectrum, we also speak to New

more. Thank you to each and every

innovative platform for professional

Technology Walkers, a network of

contributor, whose support is vital.

development and enjoy the results,

professionals that work on projects

because there are many.

mixing creativity and technology,

For the 10th time, that is all from me

based in Turin, Italy.

for now. We will have news about

VR for training is just one area where

2022 plans very soon (not to mention

we have shone a light and, with the

They provide B2B consulting

one more issue in 2021, focusing

influx of new hardware coming this

services but are also developing a

on manufacturing!). Given the

year and next from HTC Vive, Varjo,

mixed reality fitness game for VR,

rapidly evolving nature of immersive

Oculus and more, VRWorldTech

because, like Vertigo, it is a passion

technology, we think it best to

stands ready to continue diligently

of theirs.

react quickly. It is what makes this

carrying out this task.

industry so exciting to cover. Both of these articles reveal a

Where VRWorldTech Magazine turns

growing business acumen mixed

in this issue, entertainment, we only

with an inventiveness among VR

scratch the surface of what is possible.

game developers and publishers that bodes well for the future of

Here, we focus on VR for

the technology as an entertainment

entertainment, specifically gaming,

medium. Check them out, because

fitness and film, because there is

there are some fascinating insights.

just so much to consider. It was also our pleasure to speak to

Mark has been a business-to-business

This area, we feel, is particularly

Gary Yost, producer and director of

journalist for a decade. He has edited and

pertinent right now with the new

award winning 2020 documentary

written for websites within financial services

Vive Flow targeting personal and

Inside COVID19 and founder of

and law. He graduated from the University of

professional relaxation, entertainment

the WisdomVR Project. He and

Leeds with a BA in creative writing.

and communication, and, of course,

his team created a fascinating

Facebook/Meta making strides

film that pushes the boundaries of

towards a metaverse where we can

stereoscopic 360° video and VR,

all socialise, play and work.

and tells an incredibly important

Mark Dugdale Editor VRWorldTech

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November 2021

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Contents

In this issue 10

Exclusive announcements, press releases and thought leadership articles focused on entertainment. Featuring AR-VR & UX-UI Enterprises, Make Real, Matterport, Technicolor Creative Studios and Zanni

A show like no other: Zanni launches XR device for live entertainment

Virtual production: The future of flexible, sustainable and creative production Isabelle du Plessis, Technicolor Creative Studios

Bringing immersion to the world of fashion James Morris-Manuel, Matterport

Chaos by name, operational stability by nature: Creating a new AR karting experience Sam Watts, Make Real

How VR and AR can bring live entertainmentto life Dominica Jamir, AR-VR & UX-UI Enterprises

November 2021

Vertigo Games From the outset to today, Vertigo Games remains a VR enthusiast

Sophia Moshasha, Zanni

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40

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

and devotee, dedicated to the medium, all of its potential, and much of its innovation


Contents

24

New Technology Walkers / HitMotion: Reloaded There is innovation at play at New Technology Walkers that, combined with a keen business sense, is capable of pushing the boundaries of what VR can achieve

32

WisdomVR / Inside COVID19 We all lived through the height of the pandemic last year, but to relive it through the award winning Inside COVID19, particularly another part as yet unseen, so up close and personal, demonstrates the power of immersive technology as a storytelling medium

Studio 301 48

Being multi-platform like Studio 301’s Leave No One Behind, rather than solely dedicated to VR, could be a winning formula

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

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VRWorldTech is a must-read resource if you want to stay up-to-date on progress within immersive technology for enterprise. Our content sits between the technology’s creators and developers and the business leaders who can benefit from its use and application. We cover the stories that make immersive technology a reality.


TRW A show like no other: Zanni launches XR device for live entertainment

Sophia Moshasha Zanni

A

s a response to

Zanni encompasses a

the rising need

unique blend of extensive

for technical

theatre production

innovation for

experience along

live performances and

with technical vir tual

events, Zanni has officially

production skills.

launched to provide a new way for producers,

The team brings a vast

directors, and artists

network of partners in

to create memorable

immersive technologies

experiences through

in order to create the

immersive virtual and

most robust solutions

augmented reality (VR and

for producers in theatre,

AR) technology.

sports and entertainment.


TRW

The pandemic brought about

“This is an exciting time for live

be debuting its suite of virtual

a mass disruption in the live

entertainers to really reach beyond

production services in an array of

production industry, and Zanni

the traditional limitations of live

cabaret shows as part of the live

aims to help creative industry

production design,” says David

entertainment showcased at the

professionals find ways to innovate

Rodriiguez, chief executive officer

LDI Show, a catalyst in helping

in audience engagement and bring

and founder of Zanni.

entertainers master storytelling via

them back to live in-person events

the use of cutting-edge technology.

and shows. “We are proud to partner with Along with the launch of its service offerings, the company has announced the upcoming release of ​O vees, the proprietary handheld mixed reality viewer, which enables extended reality (XR)-enhanced performances, placing AR content in the context of a live performance or show. This device is also one of the very few that can achieve both AR and VR, giving a producer the ability

We are bringing creators the capabilities and tools to think out of the box and outside of the physical limitations of reality to create incredible, memorable and engaging experiences.

Zanni to showcase new innovations in live entertainment and introduce new ways to engage live and virtual audiences in a time that is most needed in this industry,” states Jessi Cybulski, show director for live design at LDI. The show will consist of live acting combined with real-time animation, live motion capture and in-camera visual effects. Zanni will also be showcasing the

to take the audience in and out of

pre-release build of the new Ovees

completely occluded virtual spaces.

MR viewer expected to release “We are bringing creators the

mid-2022.

Producers will also be able to

capabilities and tools to think

use this product to conduct

out of the box and outside of the

For more information on Zanni’s

virtual staging prior to investing

physical limitations of reality to

services and the Ovees XR device,

in physical buildout, minimizing

create incredible, memorable and

feel free to contact me via sophia@

wasted costs and time.

engaging experiences.” Zanni will

zannixr.com.

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TRW

Virtual production: The future of flexible, sustainable and creative production Isabelle du Plessis Global director of PR and communications, advertising and brand experience, at Technicolor Creative Studios

N

ecessity drives innovation—

virtual production; the use of real-

on-set. These may be final-pixel

and the global pandemic

time gaming technology and LED

quality visuals, displayed on LED

provided just that—a wave

screens to produce content in a fast,

screens and shot in-camera, or

of challenges that faced the

efficient and collaborative way.

rough CGI visualisations displayed

content creation and entertainment

through augmented reality (AR) for

industries, and a massive adoption

Virtual production covers a range

creative reference.

of new, burgeoning technology to

of technology and disciplines but

accommodate this.

ultimately refers to a filmmaking

The benefits to content creators are

method that uses real-time and

huge, with large-scale productions

Over the past 18 months, we’ve

game engine tools in production

such as The Mandalorian leading the

seen an escalation in the adoption

and visualisation.

charge and bringing this production

of technologies that may have taken

process into the mainstream.

longer to catch on, as we embrace

The use of game engines, which

the ‘virtual’ world we’re now living

render visuals live on-the-fly, have

Virtual production is a method that

in. Virtual concerts, virtual worlds,

become increasingly popular in

removes the barriers between live

virtual working—but what has

filmmaking as they can add visuals

action and visual effects so they can

really taken hold in the advertising

that previously would have taken

occur simultaneously. It facilitates

and entertainment industries is

weeks or even months to see, live

the creation of virtual environments,

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interactive characters and CGI

lift in post-production (the creation

live and play with camera angles.

assets, and enables filmmakers to

of CGI characters, environments

They can be physically standing in

physically shoot and direct them in

and assets) is now developed at

the room or beamed in remotely. It

real-time.

the forefront of the production,

helps deliver what the client wants

pre-shoot, meaning VFX artists

quicker and eliminates feedback

Here are the major benefits of

work much more closely with the

and surprises.

adopting this technology from

filmmakers to direct and realise the

a content creation and creative

final vision.

Creative possibilities

Secondly, the live nature of real-time

For creatives and filmmakers,

visual effects and instant rendering

virtual production opens up infinite

gives creatives the flexibility to

creative possibilities, by giving

Virtual production enables

experiment and incorporate live

them the freedom to iterate, re-

collaboration between creatives

feedback on-set.

imagine and experiment on-the-fly

perspective.

Collaboration on a new level

on a new level, and the heightened

with ultimate creative flexibility. By

involvement of visual effects artists

Clients can come into the process

using the traditional post production

in the creative process from the on-

earlier and stay longer. They are

and filmmaking process, decisions

set. Firstly, what was once a heavy

able to look at an object, direct it

regarding CGI can be timely and

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

November 2021

13


TRW finite—however by using gameengines and integrating these visuals live on set, filmmakers can play around with what looks good and feels right, with a team of visual effects artists with them on-set, iterating their creative vision live. The speed at which creatives are able to see final, or near-finalquality images enable them to be more creative and flexible and build on the story during production with fewer constraints. The Mill, a creative technology studio specialising in visual effects and emerging technologies,

making on a large scale could

accomodation, production energy,

developed an AR, virtual production

play a crucial role in tackling the

vehicle transpor t, a generator,

visualisation app (pictured, above)

climate crisis.

taxis, road travel, accommodation,

to help directors make decisions

and food and drink to a more

featuring their CGI assets easier on-

By using LED screens featuring

sustainable solution featuring a

set. Using a phone, tablet, or screen

virtual environments and real-time

CGI solve.

of any kind, everyone on set can see

CGI assets such as cars, characters

the CGI character in-situ, realistic

or even landmarks, the need for

The results were an 83% emission

in size and lighting. This may enable

multiple locations or travel at all is

reduction, 33% speed reduction

them to adjust the shot, adjust

negated. Filmmakers can capture

and 30% cost saving.

their lighting, decide to incorporate

several ‘locations’ or ‘scenes’ on

additional imagery, etc.

one LED stage or set, requiring

It’s still fairly early days in terms

minimal to no travel and only one

of the mass adoption of this

film crew.

technology, as we work with game

Sustainable production

engine software providers to Large-scale productions across the

Post-production studio The

enhance their visual capabilities

film, advertising and entertainment

Moving Picture Company (MPC),

and work with filmmakers and

industries often require multiple

which specialises in CGI, recently

brand clients to educate them on

locations, air travel, vehicle transport,

teamed up with sustainable remote

the benefits of this production

hundreds of bodies and in-turn, emit

production company Travlrr to

method, however, the pandemic

a huge level of carbon emissions.

put this theor y to the test. They

has definitely provided a

compared the emissions of a

springboard for this technology,

I believe the adoption of vir tual

traditional shoot in Iceland for a

and I think we’ll see it grow

production and real-time film

car commercial featuring air travel,

exponentially in the future.

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November 2021

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Deadline: 2 6 / 1 1 / 2 0 2 1 Public a tion da te: 2 0 / 1 2 / 2 0 2 1

Manufacturing Issue Designers are at the forefront of virtual reality, creating and refining ever impressive products, machines and buildings, without having to leave their studio and on much grander scales, while augmented reality is being utilised to redefine traditional spaces and bring 3D models alive, in the real world.

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


TRW

Bringing immersion to the world of fashion

James Morris-Manuel

Managing Director of Europe at Matterport

A

fter a long wait during the

Fashion retail is an extremely

This is where immersive

pandemic, fashion shows are

competitive industry with hundreds

technologies come in. Immersive

finally being held in person

of fashion houses displaying their

experiences allow for greater

again. Making the retail

pieces. This means that being

conversation to be had as it is still

experience as gripping and exciting

innovative and a step ahead of

such a new aspect of fashion shows.

as possible is key to elevating fashion

everyone else is crucial to success.

Consumers are much more likely to

shows and encouraging people back

Standing out is half the battle for

be engaged by new ideas that spark

to the street.

success so making the shows more

their imagination and leave them

immersive can captivate an audience

wanting more.

The likes of London Fashion

and bring the much-needed

Week and others need immersive

spectators for fashion houses. Retail

experiences to take their shows to

is a very fast-moving industry so

the next level to help bring more

new and exciting experiences are

Technology can help elevate a

people to their locations.

always welcome.

fashion show and make it a much

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Digital twins


TRW more immersive experience. One

a digital twin of its showroom,

is all about innovation and exciting

way of achieving this is through

to debut its menswear collection

consumers, so they don’t fully turn

digital twins. A digital twin is a

(pictured, p16, and view it here:

to ecommerce. Retailers need to

highly photorealistic virtual replica

https://my.matterport.com/

change and improve their physical

of a physical space, which makes

show/?m=uFcdiu9wGGV). During

shops to continue to stay up to date

it a perfect device for showcasing.

the pandemic this meant that the

with consumers' shopping wishes

In short, they are digital copies

collection could still be viewed

and demands.

of the built world. AI-powered 3D

without any restrictions holding

technology is used to scan a space,

Prada back. Real-life fashion shows

The best way to do this is to create a

no matter the size, to build a virtual

can be experienced virtually by

blend of the best of physical shops

twin of the space. They can even be

those across the globe, allowing the

and ecommerce to produce an

used by consumers to try on clothes

excitement of fashion to continue

immersive world for consumers to get

virtually, in virtual stores. Because

despite the pandemic.

stuck into. It is innovation like this that

of their usability, digital twins are

will make retailers stand out from the

fast and easy to produce and have a

Using Matterport, Prada was

crowd and allow them to compete in

multitude of benefits for the retailer,

able to expertly demonstrate its

the industry more effectively.

fashion designer and consumer alike.

collection, with stunning backdrops to the fashion as well as the all-

Consumers want more than just to

This is exciting because digital twins

important photorealistic collection.

scroll through a two-dimensional

merge the best of the online world

An accompanying soundtrack gave

site, which is where the benefits of

with the best of the physical world.

this fashion show a fully immersive

digital twins really show themselves.

Retailers that use digital twins will

experience for Prada’s audience.

Digital twins mean that consumers

stand out from their competition as

Digital twins are both extremely

can visit a shop virtually before the

their consumers will be provided

useful during social distancing

physical space has even opened

with an immersive experience they

and can also create an immersive

or try on clothes virtually before

will remember. Fashion and retail

experience that advances fashion

they visit the shop. Consumers can

move extremely fast, and those that

shows to make them more exciting

browse products and get a real

fail to use immersive experiences

for their audience.

understanding of the product before

to innovate risk consumers going elsewhere—and extinction. Digital

they even touch it in real life. The

Immersive retail

possibilities are extensive.

twins make fashion shows much more accessible. Those from all over the

Along with fashion shows, digital

Consumers are always looking

world can view collections even if

twins can also make retail a more

for the next exciting innovation to

they can’t make the in-person shows.

immersive experience. Retail has

pique their interest and immersive

The audience can be transported to

struggled in recent years to maintain

experiences can do just that. Digital

wherever they need to be using digital

footfall levels, with the pandemic

twins are not technology of the

twins and can fully interpret fashion

only making things worse. Data

future but a reality that must be

collections wherever they are.

from Springboard showed that

taken advantage of, to thrill and awe

shopping trips fell by 18.6% from

your audience, whether that be in

In last year’s Milan Fashion Week,

August 2019 to August 2021. For

brick-and-mortar stores or on the

Prada used Matterport to create

those retailers that remain, surviving

catwalk.

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Chaos by name, operational stability by nature: Creating a new AR karting experience

Sam Watts Immersive partnerships director at Make Real

C

haos Karts is a physical

The premise is simple: strap into your

deliver a devastating EMP that takes

installation in London,

go-kart, brightly lit with numerous

out the whole track!

UK, that blends electric

LEDs, confirm your username taken

vehicles, projection

from your online booking, get set,

From a technical perspective, there’s

mapping and location-tracking

ready and go with the green light!

a number of parts to create the

to provide a gamified go-karting experience like no other.

experience. Firstly, the space is a Racers are encouraged to pick

large empty area, where the electric

up gems along the track, which

go-karts drive within. The go-karts

Little Lion / Ents worked with Make

determine the winner rather than final

are position-tracked within the space,

Real’s immersive content studio and

race track position, while collecting

feeding their location back into

other hardware partners to create

weapon power-ups and looking out

the system. This creates data for a

a highly rated, enjoyable arcade

for shortcuts. Weapons include all

number of purposes, mainly safety

racing game, with a hugely complex

the classics: shoot rockets at your

(no head-on collisions) but also to

technical stack underneath driving

opponents, drop bombs behind

enable a fair play experience for all

the experience.

you, gain a temporary shield or even

(slowing them down if the racer cuts a

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November 2021

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TRW

virtual, projected corner). The tracking

spot instances based upon racer

incorporates the gameplay aspects of

behaviour. This first installation has

the experience, from knowing when

space-, beach- and western-themed

a racer has gone over a projected

tracks to race on, each offering their

item pick-up and when they fire their

own unique features, shortcuts and

weapon, projecting it on the track

play styles.

and knowing when it’s hit, or missed, another racer’s go-kart. Finally,

Up to eight racers can be on-track

it wouldn’t be an arcade racing

at once but the venue is designed to

experience without speed boost

have on- and off-boarding activities

pads and because the go-karts are

for racers to partake in. Of course,

electric and their speed is controlled

with racing and go-karts being the

by the system, they can be sped up

purpose of the venue, there’s no bar

temporarily to give racers the edge

selling alcohol. This also enables the

when they drive over one.

safety aspect where although the gokarts compared to traditional models

The projection system and empty

are set to be a lower-speed, with the

space enables the experience to

collision detection system in place,

provide a number of race tracks,

racers do not have to wear helmets.

in terms of styles and layouts, a big advantage over the traditional

Chaos Karts completed its temporary

physical go-kart tracks. It also

run located in Shoreditch, London,

allows some fun SFX, like drawing

UK, at the end of October, but will

the track in from a wireframe at the

be returning to multiple venues in the

start of the race, enabling shortcuts

near future! Be sure to follow them

to appear and disappear and other

online for news of the new locations.

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

November 2021

19


How VR and AR can bring live entertainment to life Dominica Jamir Creative director at AR-VR & UX-UI Enterprises

W

hen I learned London’s

to normalcy to anyone afflicted by

take the turn of events in stride and

West End reopened in

pandemic-fatigue and cabin fever. It

were left relatively unfazed. We kept

May, and that New York’s

is also heartening news to those who

ourselves busy and engaged through

Broadway was reopening

make a living in the entertainment

online projects, computer games,

industry and us, their patrons.

3D movies, immersive entertainment

this September, I was thrilled! I had to get my ticket, support and be

and an assortment of content, while

a physical part of the momentous

Most of us subjected to lockdowns

reopening of Disney’s musical, The

and business meetings via matchbox-

Lion King.

sized visual online media portals are

According to Forbes, post-

looking forward to human personal

pandemic media consumption via

The revival of New York’s world

interfacing to improve interpersonal

online streaming accelerated a new

famous live musical theater, once

skills and uplift our human spirit.

content experience. The pandemic,

under wraps for about 18 months, can

Fortunately for those who identify as

reportedly, pushed streaming

be viewed as a harbinger of a return

introverts like me, we managed to

subscriptions to exceed one billion

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others, presumably, learned to adapt.


TRW

globally in 2020. Unsurprisingly,

experiences for consumers are likely

could be enhanced as an immersive

consumers confined at home were a

to accelerate and go mainstream.

VR educational experience and

captive entertainment audience.

It seems obvious to me that we are

accessed remotely. It was thrilling to

already headed in that direction.

observe that the progressive idea of

Stephen Spielberg’s mesmerising

Mobile phones too were once rare,

VR-enhanced education is gaining

2018 film Ready Player One, by

outlandishly bulky and unaffordable!

traction in a US university, which I

today’s standards, a not-so-futuristic

believe is quite promising.

story, is one perfect example of

Serendipitously in early 2020, at the

humans co-existing in immersive

onset of the unprecedented global

Enhanced education is possible, and

virtual reality (VR), a core storyline I

pandemic, I, a user experience/

lessons can be accessed through

found entirely plausible.

interface (UX/UI) developer,

any web-based device with reliable

Once VR technology and related

pioneered a web-based prototype

internet from anywhere, providing

peripherals such as headsets

platform establishing that a

a sensible solution to anyone

become affordable and accessible,

traditional biochemistry lesson

questioning the true quality of

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

November 2021

21


TRW education nowadays that is delivered

set designs, and AR, for promotional

remotely through other means.

uses. By using developers and VR technology, producers and art

"

AR technology, for experiences that showcase and promote brands or products, empower users to immerse themselves, experience, imagine and buy.

Having established that VR enhanced

directors of upscale productions will

education is possible and useful,

be afforded the necessary flexibility

my focus now is on taking live

during the ideation stages to change

entertainment, production and

and evolve digitally, potentially saving

promotions to another level.

themselves a bundle.

VR and augmented reality (AR)

Inspired by the recently sunset billion-

technology, in my opinion, are

dollar Las Vegas theatrical water

indispensable due to their flexibility,

show Le Rev, I saw an opportunity

allowing for the fluidity necessary

to create a VR digital prototype of a

during ideation, planning, and

reimagined stage set establishing that

promotional stages of entertainment

virtual sets are possible and could

production. Producers of any quality

be valuable to producers and art

effort looking to manage time and

directors of live entertainment.

resources efficiently, would, once they understand the options, be

My creation included flowing water

inclined to agree.

fountains, portable theatrical performers, creative ceiling lighting

It encourages me to believe that

and special effects (as pictured,

the billion-dollar live entertainment

created in Tilt Brush). It is my belief

industry will see the benefits of

that once VR is incorporated as a

collaborating with extraordinary

tool to create and design sets, it

VR and AR developers on endless

has the potential to improve cost

opportunities to improve and

efficiencies before creative decisions

deliver exciting efficiencies and

are finalised. Furthermore, immersive

improvements, in addition to just the

digital VR design prototypes can

use of 3D cameras and projections.

be securely shared online with the show’s global stakeholders.

Some patrons may recall experiencing

22

November 2021

holographic projections of a

Using Facebook’s innovative platform,

performer, similar to Cirque du

Spark AR Studio, which developers

Soleil’s Michael Jackson One show

use for the creation and sharing of AR

in Las Vegas, or Netflix’s Black Mirror

experiences through the Facebook

episode entitled, Rachel, Jack and

family of apps and devices, I created

Ashley Too, which depicted ‘live’

a number of Spark AR face filters.

performances. I prefer to explore

I was particularly inspired by the

ways in which VR can be utilised to

colourful, Africa-themed Lion King

create and improve pre-production

musical, so I created exciting face

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TRW filters to commemorate the roaring back of New York’s Broadway. Inspired by the trains of Starlight Express, a West End musical from more than two decades ago, I created a metallic AR face filter with a smoking chimney—a subtle nudge for producers to consider bringing this show back for a West End revival for a new generation (to view the Facebook and Instagram face filters, follow this link: https://www.ar-vr-ux-uienterprises.com/portfolio). When producers direct their advertising and PR firms to incorporate and share face filter AR experiences on social media such as Facebook and Instagram, they involve consumers who often spread the word to a wider audience. AR technology, for experiences that showcase and promote brands or products, empower users to immerse themselves, experience, imagine and buy. Producers, art directors and PR executives who strategically incorporate VR and AR from the preproduction development stages to post-production and promotion, stand to gain. After all, in the end, extraordinarily engaging and interactive VR or AR experiences that captivate the minds and emotions of an audience help them feel included and part of experiences that will be etched in their memories. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer who gladly spreads the word!


Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

All work and play There is innovation at play at New Technology Walkers that, combined with a keen business sense, is capable of pushing the boundaries of what VR can achieve

N

ew Technology Walkers, a

technologies, particularly VR and

network of professionals

augmented reality.

that work on projects mixing creativity and

HitMotion: Reloaded is a game

technology, based in Turin, Italy,

that its makers are particularly

is in the process of building a

passionate about. Originally one

mixed reality (MR) fitness game,

of the launch titles of HTC Vive

HitMotion: Reloaded.

Focus Plus, developed with the support of HTC China, the game is

Developing this game, for virtual

now available worldwide on Vive

reality (VR) but capable of MR by

Business AppStore as a free demo

virtue of utilising the front cameras

and is compatible with Vive Focus

of its launch headset to let the

3. Its makers are targeting this

user see their surroundings so that

headset with the enterprise market

they can play safely, represents an

in mind, positioning the game as a

opportunity for New Technology

means to help workers stay active.

Walkers, which also provides B2B consulting services, to embrace its

Not content with that, HitMotion:

passion and experiment with new

Reloaded is also available on

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Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

Massimiliano Ariani, designer (l), and Antony ‘Skarredghost’ Vitillo, lead developer (r)

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25


Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

Oculus Quest 2, via SideQuest

that, combined with a keen

and App Lab, and New Technology

business sense, is capable of

Walkers has even developed

pushing the boundaries of what

an experimental edition for this

VR can achieve. It was also the

headset that utilises its passthrough

reason why VRWorldTech Magazine

capability to deliver feedback to

interviewed Antony ‘Skarredghost’

users overlaid on the grey video

Vitillo, the game’s lead developer,

when they step outside of their play

and Massimiliano Ariani, its

area boundary.

designer, via email to find out more. This interview was edited for style

This is a sign of the innovation at play at New Technology Walkers

Fitness has proven to be the best use case of VR for consumers after entertainment, but there is a potential value in the enterprise market, too

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November 2021

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and clarity. VRWTM: Congratulations on the launch of HitMotion: Reloaded on Vive Focus 3—targeting the enterprise market with a VR fitness game is a master stroke. What's the potential of this market for you as VR developers? Antony Vitillo (Tony): Let’s say that we are testing the waters. HTC has been the partner with which we developed HitMotion: Reloaded as one of the launch titles of Vive Focus Plus, so it felt natural


Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

for us to continue this

customers or its employees

partnership by releasing it

can play our game to stay fit.

for Vive Focus 3.

This could be an interesting trend for our future.

Fitness has proven to be the best use case of

VRWTM: You’re aiming

VR for consumers after

to be cross-platform with

entertainment, but there

HitMotion: Reloaded—

is a potential value in the

how important is that for

enterprise market, too. Our

VR developers? And how

game could be used by

are VR headsets rising/

gyms, for instance, or also

improving to deliver the

by employees of companies

kinds of experiences you

who stay seated all day and

want to develop?

need something that makes them move to stay more fit

Tony: We believe in open

and healthy.

ecosystems, and we want

Massimiliano Ariani (Max): VR fitness is

our game to reach the biggest audience possible.

a growing market, with

This is why we have always

always new opportunities.

aimed to develop a cross-

A possibility is to offer

platform game. Our game

a branded version of

has the mission to make

HitMotion: Reloaded for

people stay fit, to stay

a company so that its

healthy and we think it’s

HitMotion: Reloaded is available as a free demo on Oculus Quest 2 and Vive Focus 3. The demo features seven levels: two for training new players and five for static workouts. When a user has finished all of the levels, they can replay them by adding force and time modifiers. The levels are very short (three minutes maximum) because the training they offer is very intense. Oculus App Lab: https://www.oculus. com/experiences/ quest/4461611240539140/?utm_ source=applabdb.com Vive Business AppStore: https://business.vive.com/ appstore/detail/01673abd-6a9847a8-ae8c-20c39224795a

w w w. v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m

November 2021

27


Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded good if this is a possibility that everyone can exploit. It’s interesting to notice that developing a cross-platform experience is becoming easier. Game engines now offer libraries that implement cross-platform interactions (eg, in Unity there is the XR interaction toolkit) and soon OpenXR will let everyone develop an application once and deploy it everywhere. I can’t wait for this democratisation of VR to happen. Max: We don’t want to be an exclusive title for a single device. Many headsets will be released in the upcoming years, and they will always be better, with everyone bringing their particular improvements to the market. Our strategy will be exploiting every piece of hardware at its best, and making sure that every player that has our game on a device can also find it on a new headset of another brand they have just bought. This way, they can bring their progress (earned with a lot of effort) with them and keep playing the game on the device they find themselves most comfortable with. VRWTM: On VR for fitness, is this the ideal use case for the immersive technology? What are your plans for HitMotion: Reloaded and delivering on this potential? Tony: I wouldn’t say it is “ideal”, because it has lots of problems. For

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Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

instance, sweating in a headset

become one of the best fitness XR

tracking to enable users to train

is not pleasant at all. I would say

experiences on the market.

without controllers, and enable

that it is effective. VR requires the

everyone to train online with their

player to move physically, and this

Max : The plan is to immerse

matches perfectly with the need for

the player in a familiar virtual

fitness applications to make people

environment and create an

VRWTM: As VR developers and

move the most that they can.

experience that entices them to

users, what more do you want to

own friends from all over the world!

train every day, with the possibility

see from your peers in pushing VR

Our future plans are to make

of analysing their statistics in a

as a medium for entertainment and

HitMotion: Reloaded, which

very detailed way. For instance,

social activities?

currently is a free demo, a complete

the user could analyse the speed

boxing training experience,

of their punches, the time they are

Tony: I just hope for two things:

by adding more levels, more

training every day, or the calories

detailed boxing lessons, and more

they have burnt.

That developers like us always try to push the boundaries of

gamification mechanics so that

what is possible. Max and I

the user will feel enticed to return

Other ideas we have for the future

have worked already on full-

and play every day. We want it to

are to exploit the potential of hand

body VR and mixed reality, for

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November 2021

29


Entertainment / HitMotion: Reloaded

instance. We have always been at the cutting edge. This is how we can push the technology, in going further all together, and by trying crazy, innovative things; and •

That users make all their peers try VR. It is a technology that you can’t understand if you haven’t tried it, so if we want VR to become mainstream, we should make other people try it, we should make more demos. I know, with COVID-19, this is not easy, but there are strategies to sanitise headsets effectively.

Let’s all work together to make VR grow! Max: I hope to see more

It is important that we find ways to

and find creative solutions to the

make the biggest number possible

current problems of VR.

of people try VR because it is a

experiences developed with users

technology that must be tried to

For instance, we should still

in mind who are entering VR for the

be understood. And we must make

look for new ways to make user

first time. It is important that these

sure that when they try it, they

interfaces more intuitive.

people do not have a negative

find it simple and intuitive, so that

experience, or they will avoid the

they start using it, and then slowly

Of course, it will be also important

technology in the future. They

understand the big potential it has

that the visuals seen inside a

should have a positive and pleasant

and how it can be useful for them.

headset (from both hardware and

experience, and to reach this

software standpoints) can gradually

result, the VR experience has to be

I also hope that the VR developers

improve, until one day they reach

developed with particular care.

start thinking in an alternative way,

full photorealism.

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November 2021

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T h i s

i s

a n

i m m e r s i v e

w o r l d

The Reality Wire tracks the latest press releases from across immersive technology. If you have a new product, an important update, vital funding or plans to partner, we want to hear from you.

H a v e

a

s t o r y

t o

t e l l ?

S u b m i t

i t

n o w :

e d i t o r @ v r w o r l d t e c h . c o m


Entertainment / Inside COVID19

Some stories are meant to be experienced We all lived through the height of the pandemic last year, but to relive it through the award winning Inside COVID19, particularly another part as yet unseen, so up close and personal, demonstrates the power of immersive technology as a storytelling medium 32

November 2021

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Entertainment / Inside COVID19

T

he stories emerging from the

stereoscopic 360° video and virtual

virus himself and what follows

COVID-19 pandemic—stories

reality (VR) to tell one story, that of

is an immersive retelling of his

that are still being told—

Dr Josiah Child.

experiences and those of his family.

the younger members of a family

The award winning 2020

Imparting wisdom

worrying about their elders, unable

documentary Inside COVID19,

to visit them in their residential

produced and co-directed by Gary

Yost says it was the doctor’s

homes, to the highest echelons of

Yost and the WisdomVR Project,

personal philosophical perspectives

political power and whether leaders

the Oculus-funded creators of

on what he went through as both a

throughout the world did or are

a library of immersive cinematic

patient and physician that drew him

doing enough to combat this virus

experiences and an open source,

to Dr Child and his story.

and its impacts on society.

global educational platform, follows

are myriad, ranging from

Dr Child, an emergency department

The purpose of the not-for-profit

While there are too many to

director and physician, as he

WisdomVR Project is to use the

recount here, two filmmakers took

prepares staff in five hospitals for

modern medium of immersive

it upon themselves in the spring

the arrival of COVID-19 cases.

technology to capture and impart

of 2020 to utilise the mediums of

The doctor then contracts the

the ‘wisdom’ of older people

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Entertainment / Inside COVID19 to younger generations. Previous phases saw Yost and his team focus on survivors of the Holocaust in World War Two, Indigenous artists and even the philosophy of a kinetic wave sculptor. Dr Child was a similar source of wisdom, according to Yost, who speaks to VRWorldTech Magazine as Inside COVID19 debuts in British Columbia, Canada, at Vancouver International Film Festival’s (VIFF) showcase of the power of extended reality (XR) technology as a dynamic vehicle for storytelling. VIFF Immersed adds Best in Documentary

About Inside COVID19 Synopsis: Inside COVID19 chronicles an American doctor’s fight on the front lines of the pandemic, as the virus attacks his body and his family. Dive deep into the microscopic story of how it hijacks your cells, and cut through the confusion and chaos of 2020 as you experience the personal, global and scientific complexities of the pandemic. The team behind its creation: Gary Yost (producer and director); Adam Loften (director and editor); Andy Murdock (3D animation); James Jackson (music and sound design); Howard Rose (story consultant); Whitney Lai (CT scan animations); David Lawrence (360 postproduction); Charles Verron (spatial audio tools); and Cheryl Jagoda (media outreach). Produced in partnership with the Oculus team at Facebook Reality Labs and the Chaos Group, with support from Surgical Theater.

2021 to Inside COVID19’s impressive collection of awards, which includes a 2021 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Interactive Program. Yost says: “When we met Dr Child, it was immediately obvious that he was someone unique who held multiple perspectives during the pandemic, as both a physician and a patient who became very sick. There was just something unique about being able to tell this giant global story from a very personal point of view.” This personal story combined well with the WisdomVR project’s approach to storytelling, but also the techniques that it employs. Through stereoscopic 360° video and VR computer graphics imagery, Yost and his team have developed techniques that are unique in the field of immersive storytelling and create direct, one-to-one contact between the storyteller and the viewer, using locations in a way that helps to provide “exactly the right kind of context to

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Entertainment / Inside COVID19

One of the hallmarks of our work is that we get very close to the subject being filmed, which just wasn’t possible before we started working with the V1

Adam Loften, director and editor (l), and Gary Yost, producer and director (r) Inside Covid19

the scene that we are shooting” and

he admits to a fear of hospitals.

more affordable but limited edition

that ‘wisdom’ to be imparted.

We share in his isolation and

version of the V1 Pro used on the

claustrophobia, all made possible by

International Space Station by

This is what unfolds in Inside

the techniques employed that place

Felix and Paul Studios for Space

COVID19 as Dr Child attempts to

us in the room with him, his family,

Explorers: The ISS Experience).

prepare his staff for something

and in hospital as he is treated.

nobody has ever experienced. We as the viewer follow him around

Less fly on the wall, more fly in the soup

Yost describes this camera as “our enabling technology”, explaining: “One of the hallmarks

the emergency department as

of our work is that we get very

he and his staff source and wear

There are two primary technological

close to the subject being filmed,

personal protective equipment, and

advances at play in Inside COVID19

which just wasn’t possible before

treat the first patients.

that really do the immersive

we started working with the V1

experience justice. The first is

because of its closely-packed

Dr Child then contracts the virus

stereoscopic 360° video, shot on

radial array of 10 cameras.”

and we follow him home, where

the Z-CAM V1 Cinematic camera (a

(see Dr Child at nurses station,

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35


Entertainment / Inside COVID19 showing both the 10 ZCAM V1 lenses and final equirectangular stitch, at bottom of p37). The second is VR and the various visualisation techniques and platforms that Yost and his team used to bring the SARS-CoV-2 virus alive in the film. Inside COVID19 blends stereoscopic 360° video and VR CGI in a way that elevates the former and brings it forward as a medium, invoking the realism that the latter can sometimes lack. We see the SARS‐CoV‐2 virions enter the body, replicate and then leave, either via the airway to spread to other hosts or into the patient’s bloodstream. It is a chilling reconstruction of the process, uninterrupted by a narrator explaining what is happening, partly because this would detract from the experience but also because it reflects what experts knew about COVID-19 at the time, which was very little. Yost’s background is in visualisation software, having led the team that invented Autodesk 3ds Max. He turned to this solution for Inside COVID19 after reading about the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using the software he invented to visualise the famous grey and red image of the virus in spring of 2020 (pictured, left). This kind of visualisation work is not as simple as one platform, however. It took a

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Entertainment / Inside COVID19 hastily assembled team of experts—“one of my superpowers is bringing small teams of creative people together very quickly and efficiently”, Yost says—lent computing power and borrowed technology to create a compelling representation of being infected by SARS-CoV-2 (see invaginated SARS-CoV-2 virion (after endocytosis) replicating in an epithelial cell (ribosome translating proteins to form new virions), middle, right). XR visualisation company Surgical Theater also supported the film, by rendering volumetric reproductions of Dr Child’s actual CT scan data (see Dr Child’s CT scan visualisation showing multiple pulmonary emboli (yellow), right, top). This is presented to us by his friend and colleague, radiologist Dr Steven Abedon, who gives an impactful overview of the damage caused by the virus. The final result is an immersive film that drops us into a world we would not otherwise get

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Entertainment / Inside COVID19

The virus itself is abstract, it’s invisible to the naked eye. So we aimed to take all of these abstractions and make them real to experience—unless we contracted

very concrete and real. A lot of the

fields of medicine and science, to

COVID-19 or treated those who

reaction to the film has been viewers

create a kind of time capsule for

had. We visit temporary wards built

wishing to be able to put a headset

future generations to learn from.

to isolate COVID-19 patients from

on other people and show them just

the rest of the hospital, tiny rooms

how the virus spreads and what it

That is the final message of Inside

where masked staff hold troubling

does to the body. That’s the bottom

COVID19 and what its makers hope

conversations, contrasted against

line: we used this technology to make

viewers take away, that one of

sprawling New Mexico landscapes and

the subject matter viscerally real.”

our highest purposes is to better

busy San Francisco streets.

prepare others for what might come Next up for the WisdomVR Project is

in the future.

We all experienced the height of

a plan to take immersive storytelling

the pandemic last year, but to relive

to the next level. Inside COVID19 is

Using advances in WebXR and

it, particularly another part as yet

a passive experience, without any

mixed reality, Yost hopes to be able

unseen, so up close and personal,

interactivity. Yost hopes to address

to build in a level of interactivity that

demonstrates the power of immersive

that next, as he did with stereoscopic

engages audiences kinesthetically

technology as a storytelling medium.

360° locations and VR animation here

with a subject that changed the

Yost points to the VR elements

and previous phases of work.

world. That is a noble aim and a

of their film: “The virus itself is

challenging but achievable task

abstract, it’s invisible to the naked

Yost cannot say too much about the

for immersive technologies that

eye. So we aimed to take all of

next project, although it will continue

are already capable of telling such

these abstractions and make them

to look at the pandemic and related

important stories.

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Issue 8 Miss the latest issue of VRWorldTech Magazine? We've got you covered Issue 8 focuses on architecture, engineering and construction Featuring Numena, Holo-Light, Make Real, VRdirect, Arkio, From The Future and more

Mark Dugdale, Editor editor@vrworldtech.com

Jonathan Savage, Publisher jonsavage@vrworldtech.com


Entertainment / Vertigo Games

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November 2021

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Entertainment / Vertigo Games

Game changer From the outset to today, Vertigo Games remains a VR enthusiast and devotee, dedicated to the medium, all of its potential, and much of its innovation

I

t has been heartening to see

But those editorials spoke too

dance and fitness smash hit,

virtual reality (VR) gaming pick up

soon. In February, Facebook

surpassed the $100 million revenue

over the last 12 to 18 months.

revealed that more than 60 Oculus

mark. And of course, although its

Quest titles were generating

biggest, Quest is only one platform

There are regular editorials

revenue in the millions, “nearly

for VR gaming. The collective

questioning the point of the

twice as many as a few months

sales of Playstation VR, SteamVR,

immersive technology if not for

ago”. Six were even earning more

Viveport and others are hopefully

play, at a time when this magazine

than $10 million.

matching its trajectory, if not its

has been pointing out there are in fact quite a few.

numbers. Unfortunately, these are More recently, Beat Saber, the

rarely reported.

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November 2021

41


Entertainment / Vertigo Games

An almost-as-good indicator is

is a sign of the times. VR gaming is

But, from the outset to today, it

Valve, operator of PC gaming

growing. The question we should be

remains a VR enthusiast and devotee,

platform Steam.

posing is, how can it continue?

dedicated to the medium, all of its

It collects and reports statistics on

Learn the rules, then break

user hardware and software trends,

them

potential, and much of its innovation.

including which headsets are being

Kimara Rouwit, director of publishing, says: “'All of us at Vertigo Games

used to access SteamVR content,

An answer to this question can be

have a passion for VR, and we intend

and VR gaming news and features

found in the example of Vertigo

to keep doing this for a long time

site Road to VR analyses the results,

Games, a multi-platform VR

to come. What Koch Media offered

while accounting for a lack of clarity

entertainment company with offices

was a place in this bigger network of

in the data.

in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the

publishing and gaming companies,

Netherlands, and Los Angeles,

allowing us to achieve our ambitions

California, USA.

and objectives without having to

In April and, according to Road to VR, for the third month running,

reinvent the wheel.”

the number of VR headsets on

In 2020, the VR game publisher, studio

Steam reached a new record high of

and location-based entertainment

In business since 2008, Vertigo

approximately 2.9 million, or 2.3% of

specialist became a part of Koch

rode the wave of the Oculus launch

Steam users. Oculus Quest dominates,

Media, taking it to the next level in

on Kickstarter in the early 2010s,

showing the popularity of Facebook’s

terms of support, resources and

beginning with a VR-enabled game

flagship standalone headsets, but it

expertise on hand.

that earned little in revenue but was

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Entertainment / Vertigo Games

well today, present on all major VR

the development of studio VR gaming

platforms (pictured, p41).

and pushing the medium forward.

It has even spun out to arcades

Its first third-party publishing project

through a business of Vertigo,

came in 2019 with InnerspaceVR’s

which focuses on location-based

puzzle and escape game, A

entertainment providers. A room-scale

Fisherman’s Tale, which won Game of

version with added features such as

the Year at the VR Awards, a “great”

quick play is available for arcades

accolade for both developer and

that want to turn over customers with

publisher (pictured, p45).

minimal fuss, right up to a free-roam edition that enables four players to

It is games such as A Fisherman’s Tale

come together and collaborate in the

that appeal to Rouwit, a publishing

same physical playspace.

executive with more than a decade of experience spent at both boutiques

This is a clear indication of Vertigo’s

and bigger companies including Koch

trajectory as a VR-only company:

Media, who was “itching” to work in

two of its core businesses, the studio

VR before joining Vertigo: “There is

and arcades, coming together and

so much out there, so much variety

no less rich an experience because

transforming a pure VR game into

in terms of scope and angle. It is

of it. Rouwit says: “We like to say we

something that both its at-home

often the smallest teams that take the

didn’t get paid in money; we made

audience continues to love and arcade

biggest innovative leaps."

lots of connections and developed

customers can enjoy, while pushing the

our knowledge.”

boundaries of the what the medium

"They are able to make these bigger

can accomplish.

changes, because they are focused

This game put Vertigo on the radar

on driving a specific experience

of major VR platforms, including

“We were pushing the boundaries

well and can afford to tailor this to a

Valve, Oculus and Sony/Playstation,

with what our partners could do, what

narrower target audience.”

a crucial moment for the company

our games could do in general, and

because it could stay informed about

even how we were building a brand

hardware updates and releases and

for Arizona Sunshine, using all of

“develop for those before they came

these channels,” Rouwit says. “That

Today, VR gaming is growing, even if

to the market”.

made other developers look at us and

its share of the wider market’s sales

wonder why our game was shown

remain relatively low at 0.4% of $130.6

“Of course, Arizona Sunshine really

everywhere, and how they could do

billion revenue, according to The

changed the game for us. It really put

the same.”

Washington Post, quoting figures from

us on the map as a VR developer/

Big game hunting

market research firm SuperData.

studio,” Rouwit says. The zombie

It was at this point that Vertigo turned

survival first-person shooter (FPS)

to its other core business, third-party

Last year saw VR gaming take off once

launched in 2016 and is still alive and

publishing, and committed to aiding

more, in part due to the pandemic

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43


Entertainment / Vertigo Games

There were huge numbers of people at home waiting for something to entertain them, and then there was this piece of hardware that makes VR accessible and easier to use.

Kimara Rouwit Director of publishing at Vertigo Games

and COVID-19 restrictions being implemented around the world, forcing lots of people to stay at home. Oculus Quest 2 also came out in late 2020.

These trends pushed VR gaming

a new version of Arizona Sunshine

The mobile, all-in-one or ‘standalone’

beyond immersive technology

for the new headset. Over time, at

VR headset comes with everything a

enthusiasts toward a bigger

least 5 to 10% of that increase has

user needs to get started in the medium,

demographic of gamers: “They

stuck around.

right out of the box. An expensive PC is

really went hand-in-hand for VR

not required to run the headset, unlike

development and how the market

But Rouwit adds: “The graph

Quest’s PC VR sibling, Oculus Rift, and

has grown.”

is skewed by VR growing so

it retails for just $300.

exponentially as a whole. And in turn Vertigo saw an increase in sales at

that is driven by COVID-19 in part as

Rouwit says: “There were huge

this point in 2020, with Rouwit putting

well, so it is hard to discern what is

numbers of people at home waiting for

the “initial lift” at around 35%, which

fuelling growth strongest.”

something to entertain them, and then

lasted for a few months.

there was this piece of hardware that

At the same time, Vertigo has felt

makes VR accessible and easier to use

Oculus Quest 2 played a role in that

the location-based entertainment

than it was before.”

sales lift as Vertigo had just released

market’s difficulties as a result of

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Entertainment / Vertigo Games

COVID-19. With restrictions in place

SpringboardVR service, across 40+

provider of content for arcades getting

across much of the world last year,

countries. At the time of writing, at

back to business in their hundreds.

the company’s arcade customers

least 400 are now open and running,

were all but closed. The company

according to Rouwit, after local

A question often asked of VR gaming

did not see that lasting, however,

restrictions in many jurisdictions

is what kind of game it will take for

and in 2020 acquired VR content

eased: “We have witnessed a huge

the market to push on. Is it a AAA

marketplace SpringboardVR, a big

surge from 2020’s figures.”

title, something more niche such as

provider of games to location-based

upcoming VR music game Unplugged

entertainment providers around the

With at-home and out-of-home VR

from Anotherway where the user

world, confident that this area of VR

gaming either growing or bouncing

‘plays’ an air guitar using only their

gaming would bounce back sooner

back, Vertigo is poised to leverage

fingers, or a combination?

rather than later.

its reputation as a studio capable of developing hits such as Arizona

Rouwit says it is a mix: “On the

And bounce back it did. More than

Sunshine, a publisher willing to take a

one hand, you have the really large

700 customers are signed up to the

chance on third-party projects, and a

projects, potentially based on

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45


Entertainment / Vertigo Games

established gaming IP. They do draw

Rouwit adds: “AAA projects continue

the hardware as an opportunity to

new audiences to the medium. They

to play a big role in the development

build experiences that feel new to

are what we call ‘system sellers’."

of VR as a market. Where they

gamers. Rouwit says: “It is not about

take VR’s proven benchmarks to

taking an established franchise and

"What we can see from our own

create VR’s biggest production

putting it into VR, which is also very

sales is that when a game like that

value projects for a wide audience,

interesting and important. But it’s

hits, more hardware passes over the

there is an entirely different role for

about looking at the hardware and

counters. As a result, we see our own

smaller studios to play. One of driving

designing brands and projects that fit

sales move. Not immediately, but just

innovation in VR through focused

it perfectly.”

slightly afterwards.”

projects that can afford to cater to a subset of the audience.”

Vertigo strongly felt this effect a few

Unplugged is a good example (pictured, above and on p47), because

years ago after the release of Valve’s

Attention is turning to smaller studios

the game uses the hand tracking

Half-Life Alyx. “We really saw a big

such as Anotherway, developer of

feature of Oculus Quest 2 to make a

result because of that.”

Unplugged, and their focus on using

unique hand-guitar playing experience:

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Entertainment / Vertigo Games people are able to experience some of the game in the headset?” “There is an audience out there that is interested in VR but doesn’t own a headset yet and there is an audience that has not had a headset. Both of these require a different branding and marketing exercise,” Rouwit explains. “And then of course there is a completely different hardware market. Traditional gaming has a range: PC, console, and standalone in terms of “That would never have happened

when it comes to specific VR design

outside of VR.”

principles, so that they do not need to reinvent the wheel.”

Nintendo Switch." "But VR as a hardware market is much

Rouwit adds: “You see a lot of

more diverse: from super high-end

innovation in smaller scope projects.

Vertigo also has, thanks to the

PCs with the most powerful chips, all

Of course, there is a certain amount

development of its upcoming

the way down to standalone headsets

of risk if you go for innovation, so it

multiplayer VR action FPS, After the

where everything is processed in the

needs to be balanced.”

Fall (pictured, on p42, and one of five

headset itself.”

games the company is partnering with This is where Vertigo can help smaller

Oculus on as part of a new five-title

“To increase your chances of

studios. As the VR gaming market

deal), created a “very expansive”

commercial success, you need

grows, so do the average scope and

toolset based on the Unity engine for

to examine all of those headsets

budgets that go into the products that

delivering multiplayer, multi-platform

and see which one will fit with the

want to make an impact.

VR experiences.

product. That may have implications for your game."

Vertigo de-risks these projects and

The company is looking actively at

provides a level of certainty. Rouwit

how future projects can leverage the

"So we share that knowledge as

explains: “From the moment we get

investment in this toolset for third-

well and make sure that studios,

involved, we leverage the knowledge

party publishing.

especially those that are entering VR

that we have built over the years to let studios get on with the project."

for the first time, are aware of these Before any work begins, Vertigo

challenges. For example, looking at

appraises a potential project: “VR is

where you sell your game is slightly

"For example, we are very careful

just a very different beast compared

different to the traditional market

to leave the creative work to the

to traditional gaming. It starts

and we love to leverage what is out

developers, but we are able to look

with how do you share an in-VR

there and add commercial potential

at game design and point out pitfalls

experience on a flat screen? Or do

to a project, including location-based

and identify room for improvement just

you want to be able to ensure that

entertainment.”

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47


Entertainment / Studio 301

Studio 301

Being multi-platform like Studio 301’s Leave No One Behind, rather than solely dedicated to VR, could be a winning formula

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Entertainment / Studio 301

M

eet Studio 301,

This interview was conducted via

we have been steadily growing

a small virtual

email and was edited for style and

and, as of right now, we consist of

reality (VR) startup

clarity.

about 20 developers working on

based in the Czech

three big projects.

Republic that is taking an interesting

VRWT: Tell us about Studio 301—

approach to developing a game

how did the studio get started, what

One focuses on ecommerce, the

focused on the Vietnam War.

have you worked on in the past, and

other on architectural design, and

why are you moving into VR games?

the third is our game, called Leave

Two versions, one for PC and the

No One Behind.

other for VR, place the player in

Studio 301: We started in late 2018

a recreation of the conflict as a

as a small VR startup in Prague,

VRWT: In your opinion, is VR an

general, managing battles. But the

Czech Republic. At the beginning

important medium for gaming? What

immersive iteration focuses on the

we were just three game developers

makes it so?

point of view of the soldiers on the

who wanted to make stuff with this

ground, where their decisions are

new, exciting thing called VR.

realised. Being multi-platform in this

Studio 301: VR is a new frontier for gaming. Just like mobile gaming

way, rather than solely dedicated to

After breaking the ice with our first

brought many great experiences

VR, could be a winning formula.

noteworthy commission in 2019,

that would not work on previously

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49


Entertainment / Studio 301

The experience of proper VR content is just somewhere else entirely. We are quite satisfied with what we have experienced in VR so far and we cannot wait to see what else is ahead of us.

existing PCs and consoles, VR has opened the door for many more great experiences that just would not work any other way. The experience of proper VR content is just somewhere else entirely. We are quite satisfied with what we have experienced in VR so far and we cannot wait to see what else is ahead of us. VRWT: Tell us about Leave No One Behind—how does the game make most of VR as a medium? Studio 301: Leave No One Behind: la Drang is a real time strategy (RTS) game about the Vietnam War. In our game you can experience a somewhat realistic take on what it actually means to lead your troops through key engagements in this conflict. In our opinion, it is a unique take on VR experience. We are making

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Entertainment / Studio 301

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51


Entertainment / Studio 301

a game that exists in two forms:

The VR version will follow a few

Working as a business and not as

desktop PC and VR. It offers two

months after that.

enthusiasts is something that we

different experiences based on your platform.

had to learn along the way. VRWT: What can you tell us about getting started as a gaming studio?

It is a whole new world of both

On PC, it is a complex strategy with

Are the right investors and partners

responsibilities and opportunities.

managerial elements of controlling

important?

It is very important to have the

the battle and saving your troops. In

right partner who can deal or help

VR, it is more about experiencing a

Studio 301: It is a tough business.

with that.

battle unfolding all around you. The

All people involved need to have

content and the premise are mostly

a lot of passion for the game you

VRWT: Finally, how can parties

the same, but the gameplay and the

want to make. It took us (and others

interested in working with you get in

experience are tailored to make the

like us) a lot of time and work to

touch?

best use of its platform.

break the ice and gain momentum. Apart from that, having the right

Check out our game on Steam:

VRWT: What stage are you at and

partners seems to be the key to

https://store.steampowered.com/

when can we expect to play?

success. I think we got lucky several

app/1635350/Leave_No_One_

times with our partners and luck is

Behind_la_Drang/

Studio 301: We have had to move

unfortunately not an experience that

the launch before but now the

I can properly share here.

PC version of the game is near

Or visit our website at https:// studio301.cz/, or you can

completion and you can expect it to

VRWT: What about marketing and

contact us directly at info@

come out by early December 2021.

the business side?

studio301.cz.

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