Virtual Theater

Bringing Distanced People Together Through a VR Experience

Timeline

5 Week, Independent Project

My Role

Visual Design, Interaction Design,

3D Design, Testing

I designed a VR experience for people to enjoy movies with their loved ones, even if they're apart.

Because I was military kid, I was always in a long distance relationship with my dad. Long Distance Relationships are an inevitable reality for tons of people. Seeing this, I wanted to create a way for people separated by distance to spend some quality time together.

Deliverables

High Fidelity Flows, Prototypes,

3D Renders

PROBLEM

Long distance relationships are an inevitable reality for a lot of people.

For people in long distance situations, there is always a want to stay connected with loved ones  in spite of the distance. But for many, this can prove to be a tricky situation.

Technology helps us stay connected, but people still long to feel close to their friends and family.

OPPORTUNITY

What if we could recreate all the moments of a real experience so that people can feel like they are together in the moment?

SOLUTION

Virtual Theater

by Atom Tickets

Virtual Theater is a seasonal offering by Atom Tickets wherein people share an authentic movie theater experience in VR with anyone  — even if they are miles and miles apart.

Why Atom Tickets?

Atom Tickets is a social movie ticketing app, that was founded in 2012. Atom has is a fresh challenger to other ticketing services such as Fandango.

Their advantage lies within their belief that going to the movies is a social experience. Through features such as pre-purchasing tickets & concessions, inviting friends, and skipping lines — Atom Tickets makes everyone feel like they have the VIP treatment at the movies.

 

They pride themselves on this belief and include a number of considerations within their experience to make watching a movie with another seamless. Ultimately, Atom Tickets matched the brand sentiment necessary to cater to the audience of military families and distanced people.

How Virtual

Theater Works

01.

Setting Up

a Movie

Purchasing a virtual theater experience is done through the Atom Tickets App. Within the process, users can select a movie, select an appropriate time for their viewing, and select snacks for their Care Package.

Pictured is the flow for setting up a virtual theater party within the Atom Tickets App.

02.

Each Party Receives a Care Package

Before the pre-selected showtime, each party receives a care package in the mail. The care package includes the selected snacks, required materials, and instructions for setting up the VR Experience for showtime.

As a treat, each box contains smaller versions of the other person's treats as well.

03.

It's Showtime

Once connected to a VR Headset, users can begin the onboarding process.

Onboarding

Before the showtime, users can check-in to their experience through the Atom Tickets App. One member sets up the group and invites the others to join the party.

Once each moviegoer is onboarded, they enter the virtual room as an avatar.

Pictured is the onboarding flow for setting up the virtual room.

Virtual Private Rooms

Virtual Rooms are where movie watching happens. Each room is private to only the members of the party and members can converse with each other via real time voice audio and interact with the environment to throw popcorn.

Atomos is the player avatar for the experience.

Virtual Rooms are modeled to simulate places where most people watch movies. Models include: a living room, a bedroom, a theater, and special themed rooms.

With Virtual Theater by Atom Tickets, even the furthest of distances seem closer than the other end of the couch.

Virtual Theater

Building Virtual Theater

It Started with My Love for Movies

When I was born, my dad was deployed overseas. Majority of my childhood, my dad was away, but he always found ways to connect with my brother and I. Our favorite thing to do was to watch a movie, separately, and then talk about the movie together.

Being no stranger to the realities of long distance relationships, I wanted to create a way for military families to connect with their loved ones and share a life like moment together

Discovering the Brand, Atom Tickets

Atom Tickets was founded in 2012 and has since been a challenger brand to ticketing services such as Fandango. Their advantage lies within their understanding that going to the movies is a social experience. Atom Tickets acknowledges that movie going is best done in company of someone else.

 

They pride themselves on this belief and include a number of considerations within their experience to make watching a movie with another seamless. Ultimately, Atom Tickets  matched the brand sentiment necessary to cater to the audience of military families and distanced people.

Understanding the Movies

To gather inspiration for the experience, I treated myself to several movies to get a sense of what makes a movie theater experience unique. I created a moodboard based on the vibe necessary to create a movie theater experience.

Movie Theater Mood Board

Uncovering & Solving Pain Points

Gathered from talking with military friends I made growing up and other people I knew in long distance relationships, I realized that most just want to feel close to that person.

 

This sparked the idea of using VR — VR is a great technology that is able to simulate proximity, thus creating the feeling of closeness. I went through different VR headsets before choosing Oculus Go because of its versatility and comfort.

 

Because the experience needed to be as close to real life as possible, I decided to include a care package as part of the experience. Care Packages are a staple norm for military families and as this experience could serve as a gentle reminder of compassion.

Crafting Interfaces in Sketch

I used Atom Tickets existing branding for colors. I created additional components for the initial registration experience and the VR onboarding experience.

 

Key Considerations in the registration included: a time & date selector, a drag & drop interface for selecting snacks, and the ability to leave a personalized message.

Prototyping with Unity & My Bare Hands

I created prototypes of both the Care Package and the Virtual Rooms to test out these two experiences. Using materials from the store, I created a mock version to test the experience of receiving the package. Feedback gave me a better understanding of the size requirements and packaging constraints.

 

I made the virtual space in Unity and tested the experience with people to get an understanding of spatial considerations as well as feasibility for the concept. From their feedback, I made changes to increase the space within the rooms as well as include simple interactions to heighten the experience.

Prototype of Virtual Room in Unity.

Prototype Care Package and Layout for Virtual Room

Creating the 3D Models

After testing the prototypes, I created high fidelity renders of the virtual rooms using Cinema 4D. The findings from testing really dictated how I viewed space and the overall experience.

 

I included an Avatar, named Atomos, into the experience to give a sense of playfulness but also make the space feel inviting and cozy.

Avatar Sketches and Cinema 4D Screens

Looking Back & Running Forward

I had a blast creating this piece of work! Having the chance to work in and with VR gave me a new appreciation for immersive experiences.I also learned how to utilize certain tools in my toolkit to better inform and test other decisions for later on.

 

Through this experience, I gained a deeper knowledge on a design and technical level on what it takes to craft optimal experiences within the virtual space.

Tools Used:

Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop,  Unity, Cinema 4D, and My Bare Hands

Virtual Theater

Explore Other Work

Internship

UX Internship

Learn more about my time at Google as a UX Designer on Google Duo.

Case Study

Focus for Hinge

Fostering genuine connections through a dating app.

Misc.

Etc.

A look into things I do on the side to keep my noggin active.

Let's Link! 

This doesn't have to end. Reach out to me at jdstokesjr@gmail.com and let's talk about anything.