Vivid Ideas mixed virtual reality sword fight.

Vivid Ideas Mixed Reality

Project Type

Mixed Reality Fight to the Death

For the launch of Vivid, virtual reality agency S1T2 was asked to develop a mixed reality experience to be demonstrated during the Vivid Ideas event, Storytelling in a Virtual World. In it, S1T2 tested the notion that meaningful interactions are the goal of all good interaction design. The prototype invited audiences from the crowd to step forward and fight for their life within a virtual fantasy world. The twist? They’re fighting against real-world opponents with real-life objects as they entire experience is tracked in real-time.

As part of the event, S1T2 created an experience where audience actions within the virtual world were met with physical and social feedback. Combining immersive virtual reality with real-world interactivity, the experience enhances the user’s feeling of presence. The social nature of the game also provided an increased sense of agency – both within the virtual world and beyond it.

Premiered at Vivid Ideas in 2016 and presented at other industry events, the experience provides a demonstration of interactive storytelling. Ultimately, the activation gives audiences the chance to trial first-hand how virtual reality can be used to create immersive experiences. In doing so, it presents a unique experience that goes beyond presence to achieve complete engagement.

Inside the Vivid Ideas Mixed Reality Sword Fight in virtual reality headset.
People using virtual reality headsets fighting with weapons.

Transporting Audiences into Virtual Worlds

Achieving the complex combination of immersion and interactivity required some creative thinking and research and development. As a result, we developed a proprietary plugin to feed data from the OptiTrack system into Unreal Engine. We then used an Oculus Rift DK2 headset to transport each user into virtual reality.

Placing IR markers on various physical objects in the space created rigid bodies within the virtual reality environment. We also placed these reflective markers strategically on the headset and in the foam swords. This allowed us to capture real-world movement and translate the data into the experience in real time. This integrated system of creative technology allowed us to enhance the game experience through interactivity with the real world. It also allowed us to achieve a higher level of immersion, creating an increased sense of presence.

Throughout the experience, audiences were given the chance to duel it out in a zero-latency environment. By implementing accurate haptic feedback we were able to increase the user’s freedom of movement. This gave users the benefit of a heightened sense of immersion throughout the experience. Able to duel it out in an immersive virtual reality environment, players received physical and social feedback as they interacted with the story.

  • Design

    • Adobe Creative Suite.
  • Development

    • Autodesk Maya,
    • Unreal Engine 4.
  • Hardware

    • Oculus Rift DK2,
    • Optitrack.
Team at Vivid Ideas Mixed Reality digital marketing event.

Authentic Sense of Presence

When applied within a virtual reality environment, this core goal of interaction design implies another: to provide the audience with an authentic sense of presence within the virtual world. In this medium, interaction design must move beyond giving audiences the feeling that they exist within the fictional world. Instead, it must focus on giving audiences the power to change the very story they’re experiencing within that world.

Working at the intersection of the physical and the virtual, the unique sword fighting experience empowers the user’s imagination. Brought to life using an Oculus Rift headset and OptiTrack motion capture technology, the virtual reality game uses crucial physical and cognitive information – in the form of haptic feedback – to ground users in reality. In doing so, the creative technology experience fosters an authentic sense of presence and immersion unique to virtual reality.