(VRfun18) The Fatboy Slim’s concert on ENGAGE was a good moment of fun

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of participating in a preview of the concert that Fatboy Slim held inside the VR platform ENGAGE. Could I avoid writing a review for you? Of course not!

Fatboy Slim concert

ENGAGE is one of the best VR platforms for enterprise usage, and I’ve used it myself a few times to hold B2B events and presentations. Lately, it has also launched Engage Link, a full VR world dedicated to enterprise use, sometimes defined as “the Linkedin of the metaverse”. In Engage Link, companies have their own dedicated place where their employees can enter to have meetings, plus there are public plazas where people from all companies can meet and network.

People chatting in the business district (Image by Engage XR)
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?fit=300%2C158&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?fit=640%2C336&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”336″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?resize=640%2C336&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-13316″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?resize=1024%2C538&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?resize=300%2C158&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?resize=768%2C404&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?resize=1536%2C807&ssl=1 1536w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/engage-link-6.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>People chatting in the business district of Engage Link (Image by Engage XR)

When I visited Engage Link for the first time, I was surprised to find in one of its places a poster that was hinting at a future concert by Fatboy Slim. I was surprised because a concert by a DJ is not exactly what I’m expecting from a B2B platform, and so I got curious about it.

After a few months, the people at ENGAGE finally managed to launch that concert, and I was very honored to be invited to try it in preview. They told me that their focus remains strictly targeting companies and enterprises, but the concert can be a good showcase for their platform. And I would say that if the vision of Engage Link is to make business people connect, a party once in a while is also a good occasion to do networking. So I think that it may be worth for ENGAGE also to provide a bit of entertainment.

You know that I work in virtual concerts myself, so I was curious to analyze the work my friends at ENGAGE have been able to do, and especially how they could manage to build a concert on a platform that is meant for Powerpoint presentations. Was the concert a Powerpoint presentation made by Fatboy slim? Well, luckily not, it was much better…

Preliminary Space

As soon as I enter, I found this in front of me (Image by ENGAGE XR)
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?fit=300%2C159&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?fit=640%2C339&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”339″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?resize=640%2C339&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-13830″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?resize=1024%2C543&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?resize=300%2C159&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?resize=768%2C407&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-06-32-PM-429.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>As soon as I entered, I found this in front of me (Image by ENGAGE XR)

I put on my Pico 4, launched ENGAGE, and arrived at the room of the concert around fifteen minutes before the start time. When I landed, I found myself in a small space featuring a curtain and some bodyguards whose face was just one big eye. It was nice and creepy. I found there my friends Chris and David from ENGAGE, and I had a quick chat while the whopping 1.4GB of assets of the concert were loading.

After the assets finished loading, I was teleported away from the curtain place, and I found myself on a big highway road in the middle of some semi-desertic place. I had a moment of confusion when the transition between the two places happened, but then I understood: the first place was just there to entertain me while all the assets were loading.

I appreciated a lot the idea of offering a simple 3D space that you can navigate while you are downloading the assets. In other virtual worlds, like VRChat, you just look at the screen while an indicator goes from 0 to 100%, while here I could navigate the (very simple) environment with the bodyguards and already speak with the other people that were in the room, even if my experience was not fully loaded. That was smart.

Concert World

The initial place where we found ourselves in (Image by ENGAGE XR)
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?fit=300%2C159&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?fit=640%2C339&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”339″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?resize=640%2C339&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-13839″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?resize=1024%2C543&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?resize=300%2C159&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?resize=768%2C407&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-43-16-AM-965.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>The initial place where we found ourselves in (Image by ENGAGE XR)

(Spoiler alert: in this review, there are some spoilers of things that happen during the concert. I won’t give an exact description of everything, but you may miss a few surprises if you read this)

The world I arrived in, the one with the big road in the desert, had a visible American vibe, and in fact, there was a gas station with a diner in front of me… the classical one of the American movies. It was night. There was a big billboard with a countdown saying that 15 minutes were left before the concert started. I so already started thinking about boringly waiting for 15 minutes. But actually the environment I was in was explorable, so the time has gone on pretty fast.

I could go around and see this lightly cringy place, where for instance a naked guy was dancing with aliens or a man with a paper bag on his head (with a smiley on) was refueling his car. The place had some kind of weird but fun vibes. While I was going close to some parts of the environment, for instance, the alien guy, I could listen to some excerpts of songs from Fatboy Slim. There were images of smileys and of Fatboy Slim basically everywhere.

Dancing in the moonlight… with aliens (Image by ENGAGE XR)
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?fit=300%2C159&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?fit=640%2C339&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”339″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?resize=640%2C339&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-13829″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?resize=1024%2C543&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?resize=300%2C159&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?resize=768%2C407&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-8-2023-10-45-01-AM-255.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Dancing in the moonlight… with aliens (Image by ENGAGE XR)

There were some parts of this place that were fun and creative. I will mention three:

  • TVs were showing fake commercials that were actually tutorials on how to use elements in the scene, like for instance the motorbikes
  • There were motorbikes. In the beginning, I thought were just there as props, but then I saw someone else driving them, so I discovered that if I tried to use the “sit on” command on the bike, I could actually sit on it, and then grabbing the handles, I could accelerate and driving around the road. The physics of the motorbike was a bit glitchy when colliding with objects, and sometimes I had some sorts of jumps and wheelies. It was fun!
  • There was a pit I could jump into and then fall for various meters until I magically fell down on the rooftop of the diner. I love falling down in VR, so this was great for me.

I think it was a very good preliminary space for the concert. The only problem, from my technical point of view, was that the road was a large open environment, and it was hard to fill all the space with 3D elements, especially on standalone platforms. So there were some parts of the space that looked kinda empty.

Anyway, this initial hall was very good for its purpose: it let me spend my time while I was waiting for the concert, without getting bored; it let me have fun with my friend Chris; and also, it was good in setting the mood (fun and a bit weird) for the rest of the concert. I liked this technical solution, and in fact, was something that also we at VRROOM were already thinking about for future concerts.

The Fatboy Slim Concert

When the countdown reached zero, some special FX started happening, and stars were literally falling from the sky. Then a red bus arrived, crashed in front of us, and Fatboy Slim appeared on top of it and started speaking and then doing its DJ set. After the concert started, the billboard that was meant to show the countdown started showing an accompanying video for the song. And while the DJ was performing, over time some FX started appearing, like some smiles around him.

fatboy slim engage concert
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Fatboy Slim arrived and the fun started! (Image by ENGAGE XR)

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?fit=300%2C157&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?fit=640%2C336&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”336″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?resize=640%2C336&ssl=1″ alt=”fatboy slim engage concert” class=”wp-image-13832″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?resize=1024%2C537&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?resize=300%2C157&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?resize=768%2C403&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-08-AM-458.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Fatboy Slim arrived and the fun started! (Image by ENGAGE XR)

I have to honestly say that the beginning of the concert didn’t excite me. The music was good, but I was a bit puzzled. First of all, the environment was the same as before, so I was afraid I should have spent one hour of the concert in the same environment I had already extensively explored. Then the format of the concert looked a bit like in real life: “people dancing in front of a stage”, which is kinda lame in virtual reality. And Fatboy Slim was not a 3D avatar or a volumetric video: he was clearly a video recorded with a green screen chroma-keyed into the environment. He was basically a 2D silhouette on top of the bus, which in VR looked a bit disappointing.

But then some things started happening… at first, the elements in the space increased in number and size, and we started having huge eyes with legs dancing around us. Then a huge eye fell on top of us, everything became black, and when the visuals popped in again, we were in totally different settings: a highway with different cars racing: there was a bus, a yacht, a truck… and there the true fun began.

Concert GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Dancing on the highway was fun

Here I started noticing a few trends of the concert. The first one was the environment: the concert was not happening in a single location, but was a journey among different places with different moods and different interactions. This was great because staying one hour in a single place in VR would have been boring while traveling around was a lot of fun.

The second was the recalls with the initial place. Do you remember when I said that the initial Concert World was good to set up the mood of the concert? Well, it was not only setting up the mood but also giving some context for all the future environments: for instance, the policeman that was at the diner was dancing on top of his car on the highway during this second scene. And the paper-bag guy refilling his car in the initial scene was the driver of the bus we were on during the concert. These continuous recalls were going to happen throughout the whole concert… but I won’t spoil them all so that you can enjoy them if you attend the concert yourself.

He was having a coffee in the diner, and now he’s dancing with us!(Image by ENGAGE XR)
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?fit=300%2C159&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?fit=640%2C339&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”339″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?resize=640%2C339&ssl=1″ alt class=”wp-image-13836″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?resize=1024%2C543&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?resize=300%2C159&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?resize=768%2C407&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/ENGAGE-3-26-2023-1-10-54-PM-76.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>He was having a coffee in the diner, and now he’s dancing with us!

Another trend was navigation and interactions. ENGAGE is not a platform meant to let you have many interactions with the environment, because it has been designed to let you perform presentations and meetings. So most of the places had almost no real interactions. But the team managed to let you have some sort of agency via navigation of the environment. So in the highway scene, I could teleport to many of the cars that were on the highway, and dance with the people that I found in every one of the cars. In some of them, I could also sit down… for instance, it was possible to sit down on the top of the truck and dance from there. This sort of lightweight exploration was sort of entertaining.

And the concert was very rich in details: every minute something new happened: a new FX started, a new interaction appeared, or you were teleported to a totally new world. This way, it was never boring.

The last thing I noticed is that the graphical style was not the best ever. It was very… ENGAGE. As a long-time ENGAGE user, I know that the ENGAGE visual style is sort of elegant but not much refined. It’s great for enterprise use, but not fantastic for a visual performance like the one of a concert. It was ok for the crazy vibes of Fatboy Slim, but I wouldn’t find it ideal if the performance should be more glamour, like during a Beyoncé concert. You can clearly see that also from the images and GIFs of the concert: if you compare them with the ones of the concerts of The Weeknd on Wave or Ariana Grande on Fortnite, they feel much rougher. There were also some details that were clearly disappointing: for instance, in the highway scene, the skybox on my standalone headset had a potato resolution. And there was a final explosion that seemed coming directly from the original Wolfenstein 3D.

graphics engage fatboy slim
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The scenes were very rich and colourful, but the graphics were not exciting (Image by ENGAGE XR)

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?fit=300%2C157&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?fit=640%2C336&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”336″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?resize=640%2C336&ssl=1″ alt=”graphics engage fatboy slim” class=”wp-image-13835″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?resize=1024%2C537&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?resize=300%2C157&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?resize=768%2C403&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-02-23-AM-493.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>The scenes were very rich and colourful, but the graphics were not amazing (Image by ENGAGE XR)

The concert went on for 45 minutes following exactly these trends. We teleported from place to place, and every place was radically different from the others. One that I spoil you and that was pretty cool was when we found ourselves parachuting from the sky. It was totally unexpected for me, and I loved the idea of all of us falling from the sky together. At a certain point, the 3D avatar of Fatboy Slim arrived and started playing on the console while falling down from the sky. That creative idea was amazing. Every place had not only a special environment but sometimes also a customized dress for the avatars: when falling from the sky, for instance, we all started wearing paragliding suits (and by the way, talking about dresses… there were custom Fatboy Slim T-shirts for the avatars attending this concert!).

fatboy slim paragliding vr
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Falling down the sky while Fatboy Slim was performing was one of the best moments of the show (Image by ENGAGE XR)

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?fit=300%2C157&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?fit=640%2C336&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”336″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?resize=640%2C336&ssl=1″ alt=”fatboy slim paragliding vr” class=”wp-image-13831″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?resize=1024%2C537&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?resize=300%2C157&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?resize=768%2C403&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-09-09-AM-2.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Falling down from the sky while Fatboy Slim was performing was one of the best moments of the show (Image by ENGAGE XR)

As I told you above, what I really appreciated about this concert was that it was never boring. Every few minutes you changed completely environment, and in the minutes inside the same environment, I would say that every 30 seconds something different happened: sometimes was the starting of a new effect (e.g. flying smiling faces), other times a new place unlocking, etc… There have been times while during the concert I thought “ok, now I’ll probably start getting bored because I did everything I could here” and at that moment usually the environment changed, putting me inside a new place with new things to do.

There was also the billboard screen projecting video visuals during the whole concert, helping in making it more dynamic. The concert was never boring, even if you visited it alone. In my preview, I didn’t interact much with the other people, but even without the social functionality, I had fun anyway, and this is a very positive sign.

Plus I loved the crazy vibes… some creative ideas surprised me!

Virtual Reality GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY Who else wants to dance with the bigfoots?

I also loved some special interactions that happened here and there: in the initial scene, for instance, there were some big transparent balls that people could enter in so that the other people could push them and make them roll around. During the concert, there were various things you could ride. I have to say that anyway it was not always obvious what to do with these elements: I didn’t manage to enter the big ball, and I noticed some things that could be ridden only after having seen people from ENGAGE do that. It’s a trick I know well: when I attend my own performances, I usually start interacting with everything to show the people around me what are the possibilities. The problem anyway is that if they discover these things just because of me and not because they got it themselves, then there is a UX problem.

If I can say something a little critic is that sometimes I felt the need for even more interactivity. Activating things with hands, grabbing objects, throwing them… can be a lot of fun, but here was not possible. ENGAGE has not been built for it, and sometimes I felt the need of grabbing some props in the environment and throwing them at my peers. I also lacked the use of emoticons. Some features that are ice breakers in other spaces were missing here… because in ENGAGE you don’t need fun features during serious VR meetings. The only thing I could do was going next to someone else and dance… which was fun, but I felt the need to have some more interaction options. ENGAGE has the possibility of spawning 3D elements in the scene, and usually, this is a fun activity, but it was obviously disabled to avoid people from ruining the concert for others. There were some interactions, but they were just a few and sometimes not working property: for instance, at a certain point some baseball bats appeared, but when I tried to grab them, I found them in my hand with a very weird pose.

engage vr concert
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Having fun with the DJ, right here, right now (Image by ENGAGE XR)

” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?fit=300%2C157&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?fit=640%2C336&ssl=1″ decoding=”async” loading=”lazy” width=”640″ height=”336″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?resize=640%2C336&ssl=1″ alt=”engage vr concert” class=”wp-image-13834″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?resize=1024%2C537&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?resize=300%2C157&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?resize=768%2C403&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?w=1366&ssl=1 1366w, https://i0.wp.com/skarredghost.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Desktop-3-8-2023-11-10-04-AM-515.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w” sizes=”(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px” data-recalc-dims=”1″>Having fun with the DJ, right here, right now (Image by ENGAGE XR)

A little notice on comfort: the experience is very comfortable most of the times, because you move with teleporting, but some scenes and especially some interactions may lead to discomfort if you are sensible to motion sickness. For instance, driving a motorbike was good only if you had an iron stomach. And I tried it after dinner…

Anyway, apart from these details, the concert was great. I also want to stop for some seconds to say that the music was amazing. Fatboy Slim is a great DJ and during his performance, he also played some of its great successes like “Right Here, Right Now” and “Praise You”. I danced and sang a lot. This contributed a lot to the fun.

The only big problem I had during the performance was… my damn headset. After one hour with the Pico 4, I started feeling pain on my forehead, so I suffered a bit in the last part of the concert…

The end

When the concert finished, we found ourselves again in the initial highway-with-diner world. I was very sad when it finished: it was a nice trip with great music, and then we were back to the initial silent world. I had a quick chat with my friends at ENGAGE, then I had to go because my business needed me.

Let’s say that maybe also the after-party experience should be improved a bit… because it was a bit of a trauma for me to go from the super-fun to the initial empty world again… Maybe a final after-party environment with some background music would have been better.

Fatboy Slim on ENGAGE: Review

Here you are a little preview of the first song

I have to make my best compliments to the ENGAGE people: they managed to transform a business place in a party venue and make all of us have fun. The concert has been a nice trip: I loved the music, and especially I loved all the rich environments it could offer. I visited different places, I had different interactions, I found many different easter eggs here and there. It was a truly rich experience. I think that in VR we shouldn’t recreate the exact concert experience you have in real life, and the ENGAGE people managed to design a fun trip for all of us.

The experience had also its flaws, though: I felt the need for more manual interactivity and more interactions with the other users. And the graphics were not top-notch: I felt the lack of visual polish in some scenes… which was ok with the vibes of Fatboy Slim, but this is not ideal for all concerts.

But what matters is the fun, and I had a lot. Plus, as a professional, I could imagine how much work has been needed to set up this big show. Every graphical FX, every environment, every interaction… is work that artists and developers had to put in. Creating such a rich experience meant for sure months of work (the art director said 6 months of production, not to mention all the design time) and I appreciate all the effort that has been put in. That’s why I invite you all to get your free ticket and attend the concert!

ENGAGE people, for this concert I can only “praise you”…

(Header image by ENGAGE XR)

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