The Gear VR uses a mobile device for its processing power and screen, so there are limitations to what you can achieve with 3D graphics in realtime. The 3D models of the space were created at a high resolution, with large textures and dynamic lighting; it was going to be impossible to render for a mobile device.
The client was to send a Samsung Gear VR and Galaxy S6 to Hong Kong to present the 360 VR experience as part of a pitch. The onboarding process had to be flawless, as there wasn’t going to be an opportunity to intervene. It had to be immediately obvious to the user what they have to do, and we had to design the experience so it could be navigable with minimum effort.
We had to abandon the idea of trying to create a realtime 3D environment that allowed the user to move around and explore the space using a controller; the solution we devised was to create a serious of vantage points that the user can stand in and look around; they can then jump from point to point by looking at, and activating a hotspot. This also allowed us to build the 3D scenes as high resolution stereoscopic images (4k), that gave the illusion of depth when viewed in the VR headset.
We designed clear instructions into the experience, as well as a printable sheet to be delivered with the hardware. The interactive interface within the VR experience was designed so the user could just look at a button to activate a radial timer around it; this became the mechanism for clicking the button without using any controllers. The result was an effortless hands-free navigation system.
We were very pleased with the results, and were happy with the quality of the 4k stereoscopic images. It is difficult to build 360 panoramas that appear sharp and crisp, but with some manipulation of the settings, we were able to push the capabilities of the device and create a compelling and immersive journey through this wonderful new space.
Date: May 1, 2017