The final quarter of the year continued the trend from the previous with the external team out and about at a series of events around the UK and further afield overseas. Whilst there were a couple of updates to existing products previously released, there were a number of new projects signed that will significantly increase workloads and development requirements as we head into 2018.
With the rescheduling of Brighton Digital Festival in 2017 to span across September and October, Make Real joined local learning partners Brightwave as part of their Open Studios day, to showcase the web-based HTML5 gamified training solution we created for a major global drinks distributor. Challenging interested visitors to the task of effectively running their own bar for a year, variables and options allows learners to understand how to maximum net profits against fixed costs of operation and stock. Our final #BDF17 event was showcasing Loco Dojo on Oculus Rift + Touch VR at the Lighthouse ‘Reframed’ wrap party. Having met with the chosen immersive storytelling residents earlier in the year to education about how to make best use of immersive technology for narrative design, it was nice to see the finished projects.
Whilst our Director of Immersive Technologies was outward bound flying to San Jose, California, USA for Oculus Connect 4 conference to learn about the latest and greatest developments and future plans for the Oculus VR ecosystem, the development team were dressed up to the nines for the VRBound VR Awards, where two of our immersive products were nominated for awards within the “VR for Education” category. Whilst we didn’t actually win on the night, it is a great achievement by the Make Real development team to have so many nominations, showcasing the levels of quality and value of the products we create for our partners and clients.
However shortly afterwards we were then extremely pleased to learn that PROCAT ‘Digital VR Applications‘ had been selected as winner for “VR for Education” category for the Virtual Perceptions – Immersive Perspective 2017 VR Awards! Whilst there wasn’t a glitzy night to attend, it was great to be recognised for the hard work and effort put into the product by the Make Real dev team.
Finally, the month drew to a close with the announcement that Make Real have partnered with Roto VR to design and develop the supporting software platform and VR content launcher for the VR motion chair product to be released in early 2018, along with the creation of SDKs for developers to integrate into their applications and a mobile movie viewer application.
Another month of events, the highlight being Develop: VR 2017, which our Director of Immersive Technologies is part of the Board of Advisors for, it was great to see the event grow from last year with the range of speakers and companies showcasing their experiences within the expo area, this year including Sony PlayStation London Studios and their new title demo available exclusively for the first time in the UK. The rest of the event are detailed on the blog post here.
Without detailing the many events attended during November, the two outstanding ones were Future Games Summit, where our Director of Immersive Technologies was asked to chair a panel discussion around funding opportunities for VR and AR development, with members from PwC and DigitalJam present, before scooting over the other side of London to be on panel at Total Telecoms Congress to discuss VR options for the mobile markets.
Amongst being out and about, Make Real received confirmation that we had passed the BFI British Game Certification process towards receiving the British Games Tax rebate towards the development costs for our first studio developed and published VR game title “Loco Dojo“. On the topic of which, the Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) VR headsets were launched to consumers and with it, an update to SteamVR that enabled support by default for the new devices, instantly expanding the range of VR headsets the game supports on Steam [VR].
We also commenced development on a new VR application for one of our global telecommunications partners, around the area of health and safety related to working at height. More details will be revealed in early 2018 as the project nears deployment but the team have been working very hard with all the relevant key stakeholders to get the project off the ground, even having to scale up real world mobile phone masts for research.
With the end of the year in sight, and the last couple of events to attend, it was time to start wrapping up outstanding projects as we prepare to close the studio between Christmas and New Year, ready for an even bigger and brighter 2018.
We wrapped up and prepared our latest VR application for EDF Energy for deployment in early 2018. Focused around smart meter deployment and training, utilising the award-winning framework created for PROCAT ‘ Digital VR Applications’, the Click Mobile VR Trainer expands upon the level of detail and depth of interactions possible in VR training. Virtual representations of engineer toughpad tablet devices, running a simulation of their installation software in realtime, monitors progress as the users carry out objectives related to the installation procedures around replacement smart meters. The team also started to design a new EDF Energy simulation project for power stations, that again will be covered in more detail in early 2018.
With the development team busy with wrapping up and starting VR projects, the biz dev team have been busy following up all the leads generated from the 41 (!) events attended in 2017, as well as preparing and presenting our new prototype pitchdecks for the next round of VR games and experiences we have up our sleeves. Then finally with all the work done, it was time to let our hair down a bit (for those of us who have some) and relax and celebrate the end of the year at the Christmas party, having a belly-laugh at the Brighton Komedia Krater Comedy Club.
We’re already lining up work and events to get our teeth back into early 2018 with our Director of Immersive Technologies speaking at XRConnects London, and we’ll be partnering up again with one of our learning partners Lumesse for their Learning Lounge 2018 as a side event to Learning Technologies 2018. See you there?
That’s it for the final quarter of 2017, (there’s an overall year review you can read about here,) leaving us to thank all our partners and clients who we have continued to or commenced working with throughout 2017, challenging us to create deep, meaningful and engaging experiences that push the knowledge and capabilities of the team, whilst remaining great fun to be involved with. We look forward to creating many more products and sharing more exciting news with you all in 2018, as our immediate and long-term strategies around immersive technology come into fruition.