Analog to Digital to Virtual PIXO Group worked with America’s Navy on digitizing their popular SeaPerch program. This kit was sent to schools, where students assembled and piloted an underwater vehicle (ROV). Logistical hurdles in shipping and costs lead to the development of a digital version for tablets. When America’s Navy wanted to expand this concept to reach older students and increase the complexity of the task, PIXO Group transitioned the application into virtual reality (VR).
America’s Navy wanted to repurpose an existing experience into a more relevant activation for an older demographic. Tablet games are fun, but many teens are expert gamers, demanding big challenges. Virtual Reality capitalizes on its fully immersive, 360º environment, to offer a more engaging experience. Moving the experience from an iPad to the Oculus, and then to the Google Cardboard – and virtual reality in general – was a new challenge for our team. Taking something from a flat screen, to an immersive 360º world, required the team to build a lifelike, underwater environment, in order to transport the participant underwater.
Virtual reality would capture the imagination of high school students better than the mobile app. To move the game from a tablet to virtual reality, mobile inputs were transposed to virtual controller inputs. The team then focused heavily on the immersive possibilities of the Oculus. By building a richer world, PIXO Group delivered an entire undersea adventure. For VR, elements like intersections and collisions were added to ensure the real feel. A shark attack, swarms of fish, a shipwreck and caves illuminated the environment. And for a gamer-worthy challenge, a time limit and objectives completed the experience.
The experience toured to widespread acclaim. America’s Navy was thrilled at the level of audience engagement. The success shows the possibilities for moving existing content into new technologies, instead of abandoning content when tech changes. By redeveloping SeaPerch for the VR space, America’s Navy maintained consistent branding while reaching an entirely new audience.