Create a VR experience to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the SKODA Auto company. The first version of this experience would be launched at the Geneva Motor Show. The final VR experience would be a permanent exposition at SKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.
A race through 125-year history of SKODA cars culminating with the company's latest electric car Vision iV. During the experience, a user is driving 10 historic cars through 10 levels, attempting for the overall fastest time. There are alternative roads he can take and zones which speeds him up or slows him down. At the end of the race, the user gets a gold, silver or bronze medal and can compare his time with others on the scoreboard. The game itself is a solo experience but, in the SKODA Museum, visitors can simultaneously watch multiple players driving the car on the spectator screen.
SKODA Auto Time Machine is for those who do not have a lot of experience with VR. It is a casual game which the users can consume in two ways. They can compete with their friends in the museum or at any other SKODA event or they can just enjoy the experience of driving the historic cars—every car has a different speed and on-road performance—and follow the historic information in the voiceover or hints in the game environment.
The initial concept was to use a time machine to visit 10 different garages where the user could see SKODA's historic cars in the context of their respective time periods. The user would be surrounded with authentic historic materials, posters, catalogues, technical plans, and objects which are otherwise hidden in the SKODA Museum archives.
In this project, I was responsible for the art direction of the visual style of the game. After studying the historic data, I prepared concepts of all 10 levels of the game, set forth the principles of how each level should vary and how the experience should further evolve. I created mood boards and color boards for the concept artist, planned out what should be modelled and discussed with the team the building of the road for it to be in line with the script. Apart from the art direction, I was working with the dev team on the visual development, prototyping of the individual levels in AnimVR and building them in Unity 3D. I also designed the UI.
Within the game, the user does not just observe a chronological list of events, there is a whole fantastical world filled with visual hints and witty references. With every ride, the user is immersing himself ever so deeper into the environment consisting of historical bodywork and engine parts which were revolutionary for the particular car. The respective time period is reflected indirectly in the color mood, atmosphere or the way individual components are composed. Thanks to our close collaboration with the SKODA Museum, the game environment implements parts inspired by vintage advertising designs and the original technical drawings of the cars.
For the user's better immersion, we designed a 3D printed steering wheel specifically for this game. This made the game easy to control. Furthermore, the steering wheel changes in each level according to the model of the car the user is currently driving.
BSPVR, review on SideQuest
There were three challenges we had to cope with: motion sickness, the balance between the gaming concept and the amount of historic information, and setting up the expectation of the user right.
To balance all of these, we performed as many user testings as the quarantine allowed us. As to the motion sickness, we dramatically simplified the road in the first level and, throughout the next levels, we gradually introduced bends, ascents, descents, and speed-up and slow-down zones.
At the beginning of this project, it was not clear what was more important: the historical content or the race. Based on our user testing, we decided to focus on the race and moved the historic information to the secondary layer of the experience.
To make it clear that the game is a race with real historic vehicles, we created a time whirl as an introduction into the experience supported by an explanatory voiceover.