Scaling Up to Large-Scale Multiplayer VR
December 20, 2017

Scaling Up to Large-Scale Multiplayer VR

Digital experience agency Globacore specializes in the design and development of emerging technologies for experiential marketing. Founded in 2004, the award-winning creative technology company prides itself on being a facilitator of the recently possible, so naturally, it was an early adopter of virtual-reality (VR) technology, backing the original Oculus Kickstarter. 

With a DK1 in hand, Globacore completed its first VR project, PaperDude VR, an internal demo showcasing the technology’s possibilities. A homage to the  ’80s classic arcade game “Paperboy,” the experience allowed participants to virtually pedal through an 8-bit neighborhood while cycling on a real stationary bike. Following the success of PaperDude VR, Globacore has continued to explore new VR possibilities as the medium has evolved.

In April 2016, Globacore made the leap to untethered large-scale VR, developing “Escape Tomb VR” for the Samsung Developer Conference. The Mayan Temple-themed escape room required participants to solve puzzles in VR, picking up objects and moving them to various locations around the 20x 10-foot space. OptiTrack cameras tracked the positional data of objects in the space, which was then streamed over Wi-Fi to a Galaxy S7 in the Samsung Gear HMD.

“From assistance in putting together our initial prototype to providing real-time support during setup of our first free-roam installation, Jeff Beavers [OptiTrack’s Director of Interactive Technologies] made us feel comfortable rolling out OptiTrack for our projects,” says Globacore CTO John Bolton.

Though “Escape Tomb VR” was extremely well received, the experience underscored an area for improvement. Since the majority of Globacore’s VR installations are for high traffic events like trade shows, the company recognized that higher throughput was needed. Having participants wait three hours for a turn on a five-minute experience was not ideal, so Globacore focused on optimizing its workflow for creating multiplayer experiences.

For Intel’s Developer Forum in August 2016, Globacore built an untethered two-player VR experience, “Virtual Code Battle.” Using a 20x25-foot footprint and OptiTrack cameras for tracking, the experience arms participants with a weapon to take out computer bugs in a Tron -style environment. Able to roam freely within the space, communicate via headsets and see each other in the virtual environment, participants work together to destroy bugs.

With each new project, Globacore has extended its capabilities. From November 2016 to February 2017, the company delivered seven free-roam VR experiences, all using OptiTrack tracking technology. Recently, Globacore has focused on building experiences with a 60x30-foot footprint that can accommodate up to eight participants at a time. 

This newest venture debuted at Augmented World Expo (AWE17) in Santa Clara in late May 2017 and leverages a unique combination of OptiTrack active and passive tracking technology. Most of the experiences created by Globacore are temporary installations. “The detailed walkthrough of the hardware and software gave our team confidence, allowing us to set up an experience in the chaos of a trade show floor without worry. It’s awesome knowing we can have a warehouse-scale VR experience up and running in a couple of hours and easily train our on-site team to manage it and set it up for the next event,” he adds.