Oculus pioneered Virtual Reality at a time when the Lawnmower Man was the closest aspirational guide for what the tech could do. It’s come a long way. But even at the inception of the technology, Oculus shared concern over the “Best Practices” of VR. If you’ve ever donned a VR hat before, and chances are you have at this point, then you know VR is a trip for the senses. Some users handle experiences better than others and even so, intense experiences are tough to handle for more than 5 minutes. What makes it hard is that everyone has a different tolerance for VR.
Oculus has done everything in their power to raise awareness through an intensity warning label on every experience, to an extensive Health & Safety department responsible for educating their users on those very best practices they pioneered.
To Oculus’ credit: They have always been concerned with not only creating compelling experiences, but experiences that are safe for the end user.
Creating an Oculus Branded Illustration Style.
Most tech companies are approaching messaging with clean, sophisticated, narrative storytelling. There’s an audience for that look, people appreciate good design and animation married to each other. Oculus needed a similar look to tell their Health & Safety stories, but they have one thing the other tech companies don’t: an infinite palette of worlds to paint with. We crafted a look in two parts: A desaturated world with pops of foreshadowed color representing the quaint, almost dreary existence of real life.
As soon as a headset is lifted over a character’s eyes the world explodes into the colorful array of the second look. We wanted there to be a distinct visual difference between both worlds to build up some of the situational humor that drives the Health & Safety narrative. Watching a user flail around a virtual universe and cutting straight to him almost knocking over the family fish tank is both funny and fairly true to what happens in real life. We’re not ashamed to admit it, but we’ve walked into a few walls within the Tom Select VR Studio (our haven of VR life) ourselves. Wish there was a warning we could have watched.
STAY SAFE IN THERE, KIDDOS.
Exploring a virtual playground is a liberating experience that’s borderline addicting. With everything entertaining comes the fun police letting you know what you should and shouldn’t do.
That’s exactly the stigma Oculus is trying to avoid. By making Health & Safety videos fun to watch, grounded by a strong design and animation sensibility, they are helping users understand the boundaries of life in VR while entertaining them at the same time. They’re also incredibly fun pieces to work on.