Alexander - 16/11/2016
The Jaguar I-Pace is Jaguar’s first all electric car and was revealed for the first time in a VR experience whereby participants were brought together into a shared world watching a virtual reveal of the car. See more about the experience on Rewind’s website and about the car on Jaguar’s website.
With 54 people in Los Angeles and 12 in London, split into 11 tables of 6, this was the world’s largest global connected VR experience.
The experience starts with participants playing a slot car racing simulation with miniatures of classic Jaguar cars. The slot cars are controlled with the trigger of the HTC Vive controller to match real slot car racing as closely as possible and each participant is racing against the other five people sitting at the same table as them. This was designed to ease new users into VR whilst also giving them something to do while waiting for others to join the experience. “A fun little mini-game… It immediately sparked some conversation and interaction between people as their little Jaguar slot cars flew off the track” (Upload VR).
The cars are made up of two parts, the model which is the visual representation that everyone sees, and a spline follower which effectively works as the connector which slots into the track. Splines are plotted along the slots in the track model which the spline follower follows (funnily enough) at a speed dependent on how hard the trigger is being squeezed with the forward direction being aligned to the spline so it always points forward. The car models are attached to the spline follower using a hinge joint so the back of the car model can skid out within a defined restraint, for that fish-tailing effect on corners, and will straighten up out of corners due to drag. Each update the speed of the car is checked against the upcoming angle of the track to see if the car is going too fast to take the corner and will disable the follower if the car determines that it cannot make the turn causing the car to slide off the track. As the input is tied to the spline follower the user will lose all control when this happens in the same way a real slot car is not usable when it comes off the track.
Slot car racing typically features just two cars on two lanes, but with six people per table we needed to accommodate six players on a tabletop track. To do this we had a relatively simple figure of eight track with a cross-over point so that players would experience both lanes, but when another player’s car collides into the back of your car it disables your spline follower and you will come off the track before shortly being reset where you came off. By only checking if opponents are going into the back of you it prevents the need for any additional networking, beyond transform updates, for other clients to know you have crashed. Additionally by doing client-side collision checks the player won’t ever feel cheated in high latency scenarios as they will only crash if other cars have hit them on their screen (even if that isn’t such an issue as the other players on your table are guaranteed to be on the same network as you).
The entire experience was set up as a long sequence of states where each transition was done on demand of a show caller to allow for any variances between the experiences, typically as the presenters’ script would vary between run-throughs.
We also created a lite version of the experience designed to run as a standalone application which the user can control the progress of and with voiceovers instead of live presenters. In this version of the experience users will see a world space menu which they can point at to select which parts of the experience they want to see and has a standalone release on Viveport.
Additional work I did on this project included working with TVC to set up in-engine cameras for live recordings of the experience (some of which can be seen in the video above), working with shaders using ShaderForge, asset importing and working with the artists to ensure assets are appropriately exported for Unity, working with the client to design and refine the look of some scene and more.
- VR Scout – “Jaguar Just Showed Us The Future of Car Launches”
- Upload VR – “Car Launch and Press Events Will Never Be the Same”
- Mashable – “The multi-city immersive teaser experience was not only an effective preview but could also set the stage for simultaneous, multi-city product launches for similar products in the coming years.”
- TechZone 360 – “Showcasing how VR can be used to effectively sell things that don’t even exist yet”