WÄRTSILÄ FPS 2020
VIRTUAL 3D PLATFORM DESIGN
In 2020, the Finnish „Wärtsilä Corporation“, which manufactures and services power sources and other equipment in the marine and energy markets worldwide, was wanting to hold their FPS (Flexible Power Symposium) conference despite the Covid situation. Searching for an innovative solution, they intended to try a new route by going fully virtual with this event, allowing hundreds of participants to communicate and connect completely via computer and webcam in an intuitive, personal and direct way.
The German company „Greenpost“ was commissioned to fully develop a 3D-platform that could completely host this event and would be called “361°”. My humble self was trusted with the development of the complete 3D-design for this costumer-tailored solution.
Seven different buildings were needed:
A network lounge as main building, an auditorium and five smaller workshop-buildings in various sizes.
The network lounge would be the central hub into which the participants would spawn. Here they would connect to others, obtain info’s about the schedule of the conference and teleport into the other conference rooms via portal doors. It would provide space for around 300 people or more. The auditorium building would give space to several hundred participants that could attend a lecture or presentation. It would have large screens as well as a stage. The other five workshop rooms would be smaller, but possess similar interior as the auditorium.
The participants would be given an avatar to move around in the environment in a direct and easy-to-use way.
A digital interface was also needed to let the users steer, use a map for orientation, activate/deactivate webcam and mic, chat, talk, email and check the schedule.
And: the topology of the 3D-models was supposed to use a minimum of polygons to make the whole experience run as smooth as possible on older computers.
With the design, I wanted to reflect both Wärtsilä’s maritime roots and the forward-looking environmental idea of the FPS conference. It seemed fitting to design the buildings like futuristic water drops, which makes them look modern and at the same time close to nature. The huge window openings allow a fantastic view over a wide, abstracted landscape. A special feature here is also that the main building seen from above has the shape of the Wärtsilä logo, making the corporate experience immersive and unique.
The avatar has an abstracted, unified body, but the head displays the webcam of the user. That way the users are not only able to see each other’s faces, but also hear each other in a certain range of distance. The closer the louder. The avatars also have three different colors: white for the attending guests, orange for guides and blue for technical assistance – all in corporate colors.
The landscape has a low-poly design to serve performance, but also to give it a more stylized and futuristic look. The integrated wind turbine is an interactive installation connected to the topic of the symposium. A smaller model of the turbine is located in the network lounge, where three participants can play an environment-related game. As soon as there is a winner, the wind turbine starts turning – the small one as well as the large one outside.
One last thing:
The presented pictures are sketches/style frames, which show the concept in a way you could call „director’s cut“. The final product differs as the floors and walls have been given textures and additional elements have been added. But the overall impression and shapes are as shown. And of course: Brad Pitt is only a user-placeholder and his choice for the avatar reflects my nerdy humor. He is unlikely to be actually attending any event on this platform 😉
Please feel to leave me your comments, questions or suggestions.
And contact me in case you are interested in using the platform.
Greenpost GmbH, Grünwald