Nokia Bell Labs Shared VR

A shared VR environment, wearable controllers and two smile-inducing games at MWC.

Brief:

To highlight Nokia’s commitment to the celebrated US-based Bell Labs, the beloved brand wanted to create a highly engaging visitor experience for Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress – one of the world’s most essential technology events. Draw & Code were tasked with creating two video game experiences within an Igloo Vision shared VR dome. Both had to be intuitive and had to foster engagement between players.

Process:

Nokia Bell Labs were looking for engagement and immersion but with the throughput concerns of an intense, large-scale event like MWC, headsets were not the correct solution. Instead, a purpose-built Igloo shared-VR space and bespoke wrist-mounted wearable controllers had to be developed.

Teaming up with Igloo, the UK’s leading supplier of temporary 360 projection environments and our partners on the Hyundai Ioniq launch, we set about creating two experiences in a custom configuration of Igloo’s hardware designed for the unique setting of the Nokia MWC stand.

Two games, lightly inspired by the history of Nokia and Bell Labs, were developed. One was an endless runner with a twist – the player had to move their body to dodge obstacles. This was thanks to the intuitive wearable controller, developed with the boffins at Nokia Bell Labs themselves.

If the runner was about getting people up, moving and bringing on a much needed energy boost after a day trawling the show-floor, the second game was designed to foster collaboration and communication. For this, two players were guided to different parts of the immersive environment and both performed very different roles. Taking inspiration from the bridge in Star Trek – or more specifically the traditional bomber aircraft layout of the Millenium Falcon with a pilot at the front and a gunner at the rear – led to plenty of urgency and some very vocal collaborative play! While one player took the spaceship through an asteroid field, the other had to fend off pursuing ships.

As ever, Draw & Code were developing the games in Unity, but with Igloo Vision’s proprietary display management software and also Nokia Bell Lab’s prototype wearable controllers there was considerable effort from all three organisations to make sure the technology integrations worked perfectly at the show.

Result:

The two video game experiences were launched at MWC to a delighted audience of the great and the good of the technology world. Tens of thousands of visitors were drawn to the Nokia stand, that appeared to only be beaten in terms of visitor numbers by the gargantuan presence of Google’s Android. The aim was that shared VR would allow delegates to game together and engage with the innovations of Nokia Bell Labs – an aim that was well and truly fulfilled.


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