To conceive and build a virtual reality experience that will run at Motor Shows that would engage the user with the brand, as well as showcasing INFINITI’s new products. The visionary team at INFINITI wanted the user to be guided through a brand experience which challenged them to move forward and discover INFINITI through their journey. INFINITI required the ability to easily update the experience when they launched a new car.
INFINITI has recently revised its visual identity to an aesthetic which places humans and their cars at the center of the real, natural world. This inspired the concept of creating a series of photo real environments that allowed the user to explore the wonders of the scene while a voice over would urge them to continue moving forward and upwards to the summit of a far mountain. Arriving at the peak, the user discovers the featured car along with being able to explore or interact with its world-first technologies.
The process was similar to that of creating an interactive game. There were multiple iterations of the concept before INFINITI approved the final experience journey.
Once we had the concept signed off, there was a 4 week scoping process which resulted in a detailed design document including the Art, Technical and UI bibles- basically a blueprint for the entire experience.
We created the environments using photogrammetry rather than creating in CG. This required a 3 day shoot in NZ, with photography taken from scary cliff edges and snowy mountain tops.
The foreground textures and elements were created in 3D and used to create the illusion of reality set against the photogrammetry mid and far ground meshes.
Animals were modeled, textured and animated and composited into the settings to add interest and surprise.
Rapid prototyping and weekly iterations were required to ensure a premium user experience within a very tight timeframe for delivery.
CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
As this experience was going to be seen by hundreds of people, and the fact that people respond very differently to VR, we set up a team of “test subjects” from INFINITI so that we could get aggregated feedback from a large sample group. As we were rapidly prototyping the use interactions, The Pulse also conducted its own regular user testing.
In the end, the car was the hero of the experience which was the key for our decision to create this experience in UNREAL over UNITY. This was because the quality of the car finish has to be photo-real and the rendering in UNREAL allowed us to create a detailed paint finish.
The motor show experience had a total time limit of 5 minutes, requiring us to craft an experience with the illusion that the user had the agency to move through the scenes when they chose.
A major challenge was that the current technology did not lend itself to creating a premium looking VR zone on the beautifully minimal INFINITI stand. Our solution was to custom design and build a headset which incorporated the BOSE earphones and an easily adjustable strap in conjunction with using the hot off the press Schenker VR Walkers which removed the necessity for messy tethered cables and freed the user completely.
200 people per day experienced the INFINITI brand and its new concept car in a completely new, immersive way. The viewing public were consistently amazed and excited by the experience with many wanting to know how they could access it for viewing again.
INFINITIs IQ not only allows people to understand their brand in a deeper way but does so in a world-first, premium experience that can be leveraged at future shows and installations.