Project Spotlight: Dell Cybersecurity VR Challenge

A breakdown of our VR storytelling project for Dell Cybersecurity

Erik Horn

October 9, 2023

For this project with Dell, we were tasked to create an immersive VR experience that walked users through the central tenets of Dell’s Cybersecurity offerings. It was set to premiere at Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas.

When presenting our concept to the client, we were excited about making it appear as if our booth had been hacked. This was meant to be attention-grabbing, especially at a show like Dell Technologies World, where we were competing with many different high-energy booths and presentations.

A mockup from our initial presentation.

When digging into how to tell this story, we decided to utilize human characters for the first time in our existence. Over the last 6 years, our previous VR projects either used cartoon characters, robots, or just plain voice-over. This was because the required technology and level of animation weren’t achievable for our budgets and timelines. Even then, most AAA VR games that had human characters still had an uncanny valley effect. 

This is all changing, though, with the release of Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Animator. Character creation occurred in the very easy-to-use MetaHuman Creator - we were even able to have our clients at Dell weigh in while we tweaked the appearance of our “actors” live on a Zoom call. For animation, we pulled facial captures from our actors on iPhones with the Unreal Live Link Face app.

Digging into the project itself, it begins with an innocuous presentation on Dell Cybersecurity offerings...that quickly goes off the rails when a Hacker interrupts.

At this point, the user is enlisted to help defend against the hack. 

Once the hack occurs we needed to gamify and stylize Dell's offerings. We landed on using a theme park ride as our game mechanic to show how Dell Managed Detection and Response “zaps” out threats using AI - or in our case, a sci-fi laser gun.

When we needed to visualize and gamify Dell’s Cyber Recovery Vault, we leaned on a game beloved by millions, Tetris. Users had to replace “corrupted” servers with digital backups that were in classic geometric shapes.

At the end of the experience, the hacker is revealed to be Angela, another overzealous Dell employee who was wreaking havoc, just to show how it can be prevented and minimized. Derek asks her to help with "a visual metaphor for the complex IT ecosystems Dell’s customers have to manage"…so she, of course, conjures up a giant unwieldy robot. This portion utilized the mixed reality feature of the Meta Quest 2. This clip includes the raw motion capture video we used to puppet the robot using some new AI assisted tools.

At the end of the project, we were asked to translate the experience into eight other languages for the global series of events, Dell Technology Forums.

We are incredibly proud of the hard work that went into this project, and would love to explore with you how VR storytelling can speak to your audience in a new and totally immersive way.