For Treefort 2017, we at Vynyl wanted to do something a little different.
A year ago, it had become clear that mixed reality tech (augmented and virtual reality) was about to hit a turning point. Anticipating an explosion in adoption and development of these technologies, we started growing our Mixed Reality team and began working on as many projects as we could.
In October, we won the Idaho Virtual Reality Council’s inaugural VR hackathon.
Eager to continue honing our skills and excited to display the possibilities to a wider population in Boise, we saw Treefort as a huge opportunity to provide a taste of what’s possible with AR. We wanted to give festival goers the power to augment reality in a cool and functional way, requiring nothing more than an install of the Treefort app on their mobile phone.
With that in mind, we set out to build a component of the app that would allow users to view fully up-to-date, interactive event schedules by simply pointing their phone's camera (using the app) at certain Treefort banners.
Our goal was to make it as easy and fun as possible to see what awesome events are scheduled at your location – no need to scroll or scan through a complicated list of multiple events and venues.
In this post, we’ll explain a little bit about the process we used to create this component of the Treefort app, describe the tools we used, and explain how to use it (hint: it’s easy).
We hope the app adds to your already-stellar Treefort experience, and if you have any questions about the AR component or Mixed Reality development in general, please reach out!
The Build Process
To kickoff the process of creating a mixed reality experience for Treefort, we gathered our team in a room to run a two day ideation sprint. We wanted to ensure the experience we were creating was not only attainable in the timeframe we had, but that it would also have the impact we wanted for a large-scale event. Before we jumped into solidified ideas, we made a list of concerns and places where we could potentially go wrong.
- Can we guarantee tracking under different lighting conditions?
- What happens to the experience if there's no wifi connection?
- Can we integrate our experience seamlessly with the existing Treefort app?
- … and so on
Once we had the potential hangups out on the table, it was easier to move forward and start discussing solutions. We drew inspiration from past AR events and added our own ideas to make it work for Treefort. The end result was a dynamic lineup schedule that tracks from banners placed throughout the festival. Users can easily point their phone at a banner to pull up the schedule, flip through venues, and see upcoming bands and speakers over the 4 day event.
AR Tools We Used
Wikitude, which enables image recognition, tracking and geo-location AR for mobile, tablets and smart glasses. The Wikitude SDK embeds in-house built image recognition and tracking technology, which can be used out of the box (although we discovered the framework isn’t 100% complete, requiring a little imagination on our part -- fortunately, that’s what we do for a living!).
3dsMax, which we used to create the 3D models that appear when the image tracking is engaged.
How to Use the A/R Component of the Treefort App
It’s super easy. Simply:
- Make sure you have the Treefort app installed.
- When you see a Treefort banner featuring the Mixed Reality icon, open the app and click on ‘Mixed Reality’.
- Point the camera at the banner.
That’s it! The first time you open the app and click on Mixed Reality, you’ll see a simple tutorial screen.
For Hackfort schedules, you’ll be able to interact with the menu by clicking through the different rooms listed at the top of the screen.
We had a great time building this component and we look forward to continuing to grow our AR/VR practice. Developing expertise in this groundbreaking field has been a lot of fun, and we’re excited to see what’s next!
We hope everyone has an awesome Treefort experience, and that our contribution makes it that much cooler. Enjoy!
You can download the iOS mobile app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/treefort-music-fest/id608181277?mt=8
And the Android version here:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.treefortmusicfest.treefort&hl=en
For clarity, Vynyl is not the primary developer behind the Treefort app, we just contributed the AR piece. Also note that the AR component applies only to the Treefort music festival and Hackfort, not the other forts.