Inside El Rubius’ bedroom: a VR experience made in UE4
Beyond simply watching on TV, the producers wanted the public to engage with the shows’ characters in new and innovative ways. As Miriam Lagoa, Marketing and Transmedia for Original Series and Films at Movistar+ explains: “We want our fans to not only see the series, [but also to] have the opportunity to explore the history, the characters—among other things—through extra content.”
With this in mind, the television series became the root of a full transmedia campaign that included a virtual reality experience. And that’s where Madrid-based creative studio La Frontera VR came in. Wrestling with the challenge of how best to approach the concept for the VR experience, Zeppelin TV reached out to VR experts La Frontera for advice, says Felipe Jimenez, Executive Producer. “They wrote us with the idea of having an experience inside El Rubius’ room,” he says. “Users can grab whatever, take whatever, break whatever. That was a brilliant idea.”
Given full creative control, the team at La Frontera VR were able to draw on all their knowledge and expertise for the project. They opted to use Unreal Engine after careful consideration, as David Gomis, Founder and Production Director / I+D at La Frontera VR, explains: “Our main development team used Unreal Engine because of the visual quality. We could focus on interactions, coding, mechanics, rather than visuals. Another feature that really engaged us was the Blueprint system because it allows our entire team to easily tweak and modify interactions without learning code.”
The visual scripting system inside Unreal Engine 4, Blueprint, offers a fast way to start prototyping. Instead of having to write code line by line, users can do everything visually: drag and drop nodes, set their properties in a UI, and drag wires to connect.
Once finished, the VR experience was shown at Sitges International Film Festival. With a lineup that predominantly features fantasy films and series, it was the perfect forum to reach Rubius’ fans. “More than 700 people tried the virtual reality experience,” says Elena LLagostera, Sales and Marketing Director at La Frontera VR. “Fourteen people per hour. We had a full house almost every day!”
Walter Alabarcez, Founder and Creative Director at La Frontera VR, believes virtual reality experiences of the type his team developed in Unreal Engine are part of a new form of expression. “It’s a completely innovative space, an absolutely fascinating space,” he says. “I think that the big challenge is now finding those tools and having the capacity to understand how to compose them.”
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