Cannes Lions

Silicon Valley: Inside the Hacker Hostel VR

HBO, New York / HBO / 2018

Presentation Image
Presentation Image
Demo Film

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

Inside the Hacker Hostel is a captivating real-time VR experience inspired by the Emmy®-winning comedy series, Silicon Valley. The ambition was to produce a faithful recreation of the show’s iconic homebase and an interactive experience that would appeal to both die-hard fans and those who’d never watched Silicon Valley. Modelled, textured, and lit from photo references, blueprints, and 360º room captures, the experience provides the most highly detailed and realistic VR recreation of a TV set ever made. In addition to more than 750 moveable objects, there are many iconic show elements you can fully interact with, from the Not Hot Dog app to the ‘Always Blue’ ball. The Hacker Hostel gives users firsthand one-on-one encounters with show characters—find a secret message from Jared and help Richard out of a coding crisis. The experience is a hilarious virtual playground, bringing users into the heart of the show.

Execution

Implementation

All elements were bespoke, created from the ground up to ensure consistency with the show’s aesthetic and branding.

Placement

The free experience launched with the Season 5 premiere of Silicon Valley on HTC’s Vive via the Viveport platform.

Scale

The experience is currently only available in America, but further territories are being considered. The experience has toured to international events.

Brand relevance

Silicon Valley lampoons startups and tech trends, therefore using the emerging technology of VR was entirely fitting to extend show and brand engagement.

Touch points

A supporting webpage was created on SiliconValleyVR.com and news of the release was promoted via Silicon Valley’s social media channels and in relevant media.

Materials, style elements, design choices

A fully explorable virtual 1:1 representation of the Hacker Hostel was created in Unreal Engine.

Encounters with the show characters, via videos played as live phone calls, provide the core narrative for the experience. Simplified controls make it easy for users of all capabilities to explore the Hacker Hostel

Methods and process

Highly detailed blueprint designs were used to model all of the Hacker Hostel’s floors, walls, and ceilings in 3DS Max and Maya. From the set, thousands of photo references were captured, including 360º captures of each room, so every last detail—even the lighting—was exactly right.

The show’s creative team and talent were heavily involved. Original scripted content from principal talent, created in collaboration with the show’s writers, appears within the experience. These character encounters are conveyed via phone calls—seamlessly integrating real actors into the experience. The experience is packed with more than 750 things to do, this was made possible using forward rendering.

Timeline

Initial production ran over 12 weeks, with a capture and reference on-set session a month before.

Outcome

The experience is available to download for free on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It currently has 4.6/5 and 4.5/5 ratings on each platform, respectively.

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