Multi User Augmented reality
Royal Caribbean AR
Technical PRODUCER With Superbright
Royal Caribbean wanted to announce their $200M renovations to their private island, Coco Cay with a bang. They invited over 150 guests to explore 5 augmented reality portals with custom built ipads coupled with Optitrack pucks. The entire event was mapped with over 50 Optitrack cameras. The ipad application allowed users to step into augmented reality island locations, take photos and videos, and send those to themselves via email.
OptitraCk Motion Tracking System
A key technical element to this project was full motion tracking of each user to create five augmented reality regions that corresponded to a physically mapped space. The solution was to use OptiTrack camera technology, a system that is often used in VFX and Game development to track body motion. In our case, we attached a small OptiTrack puck to each ipad to create a rigid body and track user position. We teamed up with Animatrik, a Vancouver based motion tracking company, to rig and operate the complex OptiTrack system. For pre-testing, to ensure that 150 pucks could be tracked smoothly, I traveled to Vancouver with a beta of the application to test and prepare for the ultimate event.
Royal Caribbean already had 3D assets of the island created, however they were not optimized for an AR experience. Our team worked closely with VFX studio, The Endless Collective, to extract assets from a very large Unity project, optimize them for a lower poly count, create sprites for distant features, re-import into a new project, and re-render the assets for proper lighting and color. Additionally we added small features to bring a dynamic feel to the otherwise static scenes. Particulate in the air, slight movement to the trees, a shimmer in the water, and birds in the sky made the scene feel alive and active even without human figures. The result was a colorful and engaging set of assets that felt representative of the real island.
Testing and Execution
A constant challenge that we faced throughout the project was the looming reality of having 150 users go through the experience at once. In a project like this, there is no way to truly test until game time, so we had to rely heavily on sample testing and have faith in the networking technology that we created. In the end, the event ran incredibly smooth. The attendants that helped users through the portal and to navigate their iPads were capable and plenty, and the concept was simple enough for everyone to understand quickly. Through testing, we discovered some unexpected issues with internet that were quickly corrected before the event, and our technology management system proved invaluable to preparing and dispensing iPads to guests. As always, testing and testing again was essential, and the event was a huge success.
Our team developed a local iPad application to house everything needed for the AR elements of the event to function properly. This included a calibration and testing mode to tighten the AR portals in physical space and manage the data flow, an on-boarding instruction screen, and the ability to take photos and videos for social media.
We worked with a UX designer to lay out the flow and function of the app. After many iterations we were able to finalize a user experience that ensured 150 users would be able to make it through each portal and have time to take photos and videos. Then to finalize the app, the Royal Caribbean graphics team was responsible for providing assets for UI style.
Some more photos here!