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BlizzCon, the annual event that brings gamers from around the world together, is always a visually stunning feast for the senses. Not only does Blizzcon host showcases for new games, official developer panel discussions, and intense esports competitions, it also celebrates the creativity of Blizzard fans. One of the major highlights of every BlizzCon is the incredible cosplay that fans create to bring their favorite characters to life. The unique charm and influence of Blizzard’s game worlds is often unforgettable and brings out passion from attendees! And this year, BlizzCon 2023 had an unexpected addition – an HTC booth!
VIVE Mars, a team dedicated to creating virtual filmmaking solutions that lower the threshold for film production, became an official partner of BlizzCon this year. VIVE Mars’s collaboration with Blizzard's popular game "Overwatch 2" brought an unprecedented experience to fans at the event in Anaheim. The collab showcased VIVE Mars' virtual production solutions, using VIVE Mars CamTrack to track the camera's position and display the game world of "Overwatch" on LED walls. This allowed players to interact with their favorite "Overwatch" characters in person.
To learn more about this exciting collaboration, we interviewed Tim Wen, VIVE Mars’s marketing manager who managed the VIVE Mars booth at BlizzCon. Tim also personally filmed many exciting clips for the popular K-pop girl group LE SSERAFIM. Let's dive into the interview to find out more!
At the beginning of the year, HTC VIVE was invited to be part of BlizzCon 2023 to provide an immersive experience for BlizzCon’s attendees. It was an important year because this marked their return to an in-person event after two years of being virtual. So, the Blizzard team was looking for something extra special and cutting edge. HTC VIVE Mars presented a virtual production solution that would introduce the latest Hollywood filmmaking technique and In-camera VFX to BlizzCon's fans. Using the VIVE Mars CamTrack to track the camera position, the Overwatch world was displayed on the LED Wall, allowing users to engage and interact with their favorite Overwatch characters.
The Overwatch team at Blizzard loved the idea and implemented an activation called 'Overwatch 2 Hero Gallery.' They selected their favorite characters and interactions, including flexing with Reinhardt, dancing with the angelic Mercy, and finishing with a superhero pose featuring their new character, Kiriko. The highlight was that at the end of the session, the participant could download a 1-minute video of their experience to share on social media.
AOTO Electronics supported this endeavor by building and operating a high-quality, 3-meter-high wall and floor to create the experience. Because of our effort, VIVE Mars and AOTO also became official partners of BlizzCon 2023.
We began conceptualizing this idea during our HTC VIVE booth at MWC, and brainstormed a turnkey small XR space equipped with camera tracking optimized for expos. Typically, expos don't feature camera tracking, so we aimed to push the boundaries and determine its feasibility. We thought, what better way to demonstrate it than with one of the biggest gaming companies?
Virtual production hinges on presence and real-time interaction. That's why VIVE Mars, a camera tracking solution, is ideal for immersing participants in the Overwatch 2 world and allowing them to engage with characters. Similar to VR, those standing on the stage experience the characters and their surroundings with proper scale. Many fans were astonished to see the true height of Reinhardt, standing at an impressive 7.4 feet 4, as he roared and flexed.
This is my first time at BlizzCon, and it was exciting to see attendees rush in with their jaws dropping as they witnessed the fantastic world-building that the Blizzard team had created.
It was also an especially exciting experience to witness Overwatch fans engage with our activations. A major highlight for me was when cosplayers came to the booth dressed as Overwatch characters. Once they stepped onto the stage, they were immediately posing and dancing in character. Some attendees even returned for a second round because they enjoyed the experience so much. On the first day, I didn't even realize it, but I was operating the camera for 4 hours straight because interacting with the attendees was so enjoyable. The line never stopped, and we recorded over 800 videos, which is equal to around 13 hours of recording!
We were thrilled when we heard LE SSERAFIM would be coming by our booth to experience our XR activation. Where they go, their fans follow. After greeting their fans and posing for some pictures, they stepped onto the stage and were just like any other Overwatch fan – flexing with Reinhardt, posing with Mercy, and making heart signs with Kiriko. They were impressed by our LED wall and fully immersed in the Overwatch environment. They even performed a TikTok dance to 'Perfect Night' while on our set and in the Overwatch world.
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The VIVE Mars team is consistently coming up with innovative ways to implement our camera tracking into event activations, providing a fresh way for exhibitors to connect with their audience. This was our first activation at a gaming event, and it was exciting to create such a unique experience where fans could engage with the Overwatch world and their favorite characters. However, this type of activation isn’t limited to gaming. The immersive nature of camera tracking can be a useful tool for a variety of industries, and the VIVE Mars team is continuing to explore the possibilities in film, broadcast, and event activations.
Well, it seems like Tim has already made a great ending to this article for me. If you're curious about filmmaking, virtual production, and the amazing VIVE Mars CamTrack, feel free to check out www.mars.vive.com for more information.
Take a look at the highlights of BlizzCon 2023!