Sunset Gathering - Creating an XR event

In the wake of the pandemic, XR Expo 2020 met the same fate as other events three and a half months before the event. The event in the originally planned framework had to be canceled.

How was the implementation carried out?

scenery design

The previous XR Expo events were held in Stuttgart, Germany. In order to establish a real connection between the virtual scenery and the location, and to distinguish itself from fictitious gaming worlds, the evening event was virtually set in the heart of the Swabian metropolis - right next to Stuttgart's main train station. And not in its current state of construction, but how it will look after completion.

In the design, emphasis was placed on a clear, reduced formal language with a futuristic impression in a high-quality look. Our goal was always to find a healthy mix of fiction and reality. Fantasy and seriousness should result in a balanced relationship. The overall load of the scenery in terms of performance could not be disregarded.

Script

A virtual event is very similar to a real event in terms of organization. A meticulous schedule had to be drawn up. More helpers were needed to implement the event than we had originally expected.

Challenge

TIME! As expected, the last-minute rescheduling of the entire XR Expo, including the virtual evening event with numerous unknown components, meant that the participant organization and testing could not take place to nearly the extent we would have liked. Fortunately, all participants were willing to support this experiment and showed great flexibility. Many thanks again to all involved!

Impressions of the users

Audi Ingolstadt

Up to 4 participants were connected together from the AUDI Holodeck in Ingolstadt and took part in the Sunset Gathering as part of a large-scale installation (15x15m). Due to the size, the minimum distances required by Corona could be kept without any problems.

SectorVR

Participants who were either unfamiliar with the technology or did not have access to the corresponding hardware had the opportunity to participate from the Game Arena SectorVR. With several, up to 10x10m large areas, there was the option to connect further user groups from there.

Sunset Gathering Recap

What did not work? The biggest problem was AUDIO! There was a combination of conventional problems, which are also known from video conferences, but also a few "home-made" ones, or some that could have been mitigated by preventive measures in the participant briefing. These are listed in detail in the report.

 

What was positive? The feeling of being at an event! At the beginning it was reported that a pure meeting was not enough for us, because we were skeptical about how attractive it could be. The feeling of meeting others, talking with them, experiencing something together and feeling personally connected surprised us ourselves, and also coincided with the feedback of the other participants. The impression is actually very close to a real meeting and not comparable to what one knows from video conferences.

 

While there is a lot of room for improvement, the participants themselves were surprised at how positively they reacted to the experience. The overall concept of the format worked very well and was convincing. After the official part of the event, loose discussion groups formed, just like in reality.

Special Thanks! Many thanks to all supporters and partners of the Sunset Gathering:

  • Sponsors: AUDI, ITS (Infotower Stuttgart), Deutsche Telekom
  • Organizers: VDC Fellbach, Lightshape
  • Partners: Plan B, CDM Tech, SectorVR
  • Panel members/ moderators: Günter Wenzel, Henning Linn, Jan Pflüger,
  • Dr. Lars Riedemann
  • Supporters/ Participants: All supporters who contributed in the background and participants of the Sunset Gathering.


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