Dinotrux VR Experience Demo

The Inspiration

As a full-service digital agency, AvatarLabs is committed to exploring emerging technologies and trends to expand our creative toolset as well as our storytelling capabilities. Virtual Reality has burst onto the scene in a big way, and technologists predict this trend will soon become an integral part of our everyday lives. If the early success of Google Cardboard is any indicator, the party has just begun: through January 2016, over 5M units have shipped, driving over 25M app downloads and 350K hours of YouTube 360° video consumption.

AvatarLabs’ Innovation team regularly builds rapid prototypes to get hands-on experience with new technologies and extract key learnings that yield new ideas for our client work. While prototyping for a 360° video product, we asked ourselves how one might tailor an immersive experience for children, building around a source material they already love. Drawing inspiration from the animated DreamWorks / Netflix series and Mattel toy line, “Dinotrux,” we envisioned an immersive, activity-based game that would let kids explore the story world and interact with their favorite characters.

The Approach

“Dinotrux” is a world of giant creatures that are half dinosaur, half construction vehicle, and 100% awesome. To effectively engage our target audience of children aged five and up, this VR experience would need to captivate their attention with fun, simple gameplay that rewarded exploration.

We gathered together key members from our team to partake in a series of brainstorms, ideating on a range of game themes and concepts before arriving at a simple and intuitive solution: a treasure hunt that challenges users to help the adorable lizard, Revvit, find his missing drill bits.

The Experience

As participants peer into their VR headset, they enter a 3D world and immediately encounter four huge Dinotrux who, in voiceover, personally ask them for help in finding Revvit’s five missing drill bits. Players press a button to initiate the experience, then turn their heads to explore the environment in 360°, focusing their gaze on the drill bits just long enough to collect them. The game’s user interface tallies the number of drill bits found, while voice over offers players guidance and encouragement along the way.

The Innovation

AvatarLabs seamlessly integrated Unity with Google Cardboard, culminating in a colorful 3D environment. All of the game’s models and environments were built in-house using a combination of Maya and Cinema 4D and imported into the Unity3D engine. Working in Unity3D proved to be a balancing act between quality and performance. The result? A robust mobile experience with an efficient polycount allowing for optimal performance across a wide range of devices.

For the ultimate Dinotrux experience, we built a unique, Dinotrux-head-shaped hand-airbrushed Google Cardboard headset through which to play the game. Eventually, something like this might be constructed from materials found within a toy product’s packaging.

Looking Ahead

AvatarLabs is thrilled at the promise VR holds as a tool for immersive storytelling, and we are allocating more resources to explore the medium further. Google Cardboard holds much promise as a wide-reaching platform, particularly as it evolves to support technologies such as WebGL. As VR becomes a go-to platform for studios and brands, AvatarLabs is excited to forge new innovations in user experience, gameplay and interactive storytelling.