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A Moon for all Mankind – Samsung

‘A Moon For All Mankind’ is the world’s first lunar gravity simulation VR experience. Working with creative agency Iris and engineering experts Mannetron, Framestore proudly joined Samsung’s mission to bring space travel to all, an experience  in collaboration with NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), using the Samsung Gear VR and a custom-built rig.

A custom-designed simulator rig and IMU (inertial measurement unit) ‘spacesuit’ registers the user’s weight and offsets it to emulate the Moon’s gravity. These physical elements work in tandem with original content developed by Framestore, viewed on Samsung Gear VR and the Samsung Galaxy smartphones to transport users to a new level of experiential entertainment.

The mission sees the user land on the Moon’s surface, exit the lander, and plant their flag – with a couple of dramatic surprises along the way. Developing an experience with 4D mechanics at its core raised fresh challenges for Framestore’s VR developers, for whom 4D elements are typically an enhancement, not a driver, in virtual narratives.

The experience has a gameplay approach to it, and the team tested for every possible eventuality, because they have complete 360° ‘freedom’ in the rig to roam the Moon’s surface. Action trigger-points placed throughout the narratives prompt optimum interaction and reward, maximising the CG lunar landscapes built by Framestore’s award-winning artists.

Key CG assets include the astronaut’s own body (seen when the user looks down at themselves in headset); the Moon lander; rover; and all of the terrain. Drawing on NASA data from both Apollo 11’s mission and today, as well artistic interpretations of near-future space travel, Framestore’s artists struck a balance that sets a believable setting for the experience – all the time optimised for real time mobile VR.

Framestore also partnered with GCVRS to design authentic sound for the experience. Based on extensive research into NASA communication systems, the team created the ambient sounds within the AMFAM spacesuit, the user’s muted footsteps as they traverse the Moon’s service and a voice over that’s reflective of a communication transmission.

The AMFAM experience was introduced at the 2018 Winter Olympics and then at Mobile World Congress. It was then installed at Samsung’s flagship 837 store, in New York City and is now in place in Tokyo’s Samsung Galaxy store.

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