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SERVICENOW VR (2015)
I had started to develop the experience around a virtual tour when a Senior Manager approached me and mentioned that this could be used to assist with ServiceNow's campus tours. From a remote location, we could give customers a tour of the different ServiceNow campuses, help them understand our company culture, show them where employees get assistance for different services like IT support, and more.
I always love adding an extra layer of detail in my work because it adds a level of authenticity, engagement, and realism to the user experience.
For any customers that tried the experience, then decided visited the real campus, I wanted them to be wowed at how accurate everything was. All of the items, including picture frames throughout the space, were added in to increase the level of realism.
Accessibility was always on my mind when developing this experience, and after months observing users interacting with the in-progress VR experience, I decided to do something bold. Instead of using controllers of any sort, users would teleport around and activate interactive items by looking at them.
This solved the problem of challenging controller schemes, especially considering how new this technology was at the time.
Users had a small aiming reticule in each eye, and when they looked at something like a button or a teleporter, a small circular loading icon would start. If the loading icon completed its animation, a full 360 rotation, the action would activate. This made the experience far more inclusive because users only needed to turn their head to engage with the experience.
Near the end of 2015, the Oculus Rift VR headset was nearing its first launch, which led me to start looking into how VR could be used in the corporate space.
I tested multiple game engines, including Unity and Unreal, and settled on the Unreal Engine, which offered me the quickest way to get my concepts into the VR headset.
Through my research and development efforts, ServiceNow was more capable of understanding VR best practices, both from the experience side and from the development side.
I took the publicly available blueprints for the new ServiceNow headquarters and overlayed it with a satellite view to be able to create key areas, the lobbies, gym, TechLounge (a genius bar-like experience for employees when they need IT support), and the main courtyard.
The idea was to help customers get a real sense for the campus, no matter where they were in the world, and for them to get an accurate sense for scale and mass with the size of the buildings.
To the left, you will see the recreation of the buildings in Maya.
DEVELOPING VR BEST
Back in 2015, best practices for VR were not as well developed. What I love to recommend to artists and developers interested in VR development is to look at some of the games and apps on the Original Oculus Rift. There was no standardization for menus or how people experienced VR applications.
Part of my efforts were to understand how to most effectively use this technology, including how users should interact with them.
When the Rift fist came out, the two main control schemes were the XBOX One controller or a keyboard and mouse. While these control schemes worked fairly well for gamers, my user testing found that they were far too confusing for older generations and for users who were less comfortable with more common video game controls.
To gather this information, I conducted user testing with people in different age demographics and job roles.
Unreal Engine 4
Adobe After Effects
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