Wizards take Flight and Chaos at Hogwarts
Exclusively at Harry Potter Store in New York City
Wizards take Flight and Chaos at Hogwarts are two state of the art Location Based VR Experiences that take audiences inside the Wizarding World of Harry potter to experience the magic themselves. They are exclusively located in the NYC Harry Potter flagship store and tickets can be acquired in advance here.
Wevr is proud to have collaborated with The Blair Partnership and Warner Brothers as a creative partner to bring these two experiences to life and push the limits of virtual reality entertainment.
This collaboration includes creative development, interactive storytelling system design, and development and production of art, animation and interactive systems, exclusively directed by Anthony Batt & Luis Blackaller and developed by Wevr.
Art and Animation
Character Visual Development and 3D Character design were inspired by the original Harry Potter films and descriptions in the J. K. Rowling’s books. The Character Art team used a combination of Zbrush, Substance Designer and Maya to model and rig each character, and Marvelous Designer in combination with the Unreal Engine Cloth Sim to produce the wardrobe simulations every time a character is wearing clothes.
The animation team used a mix of real-time mocap and keyframed animation in a virtual production setting using Xsense and Rococo mocap suits in real time with Unreal Engine Livelink systems to capture full body human performances in combination with keyframe animated fantasy creatures. Human facial animation was keyframed on top if iOS ARkit facial motion capture with Unreal Engine Livelink.
Our technical animation team developed a blueprint-based interactive character animation system based on player behavior and gaze triggers to drive unique story experiences for every player. Charaters will appear to address every player directly at different times in the experience, and unique events would be triggered based un players distribution and actions within a scene. This truly delivers a unique story-experience where details are unique every time within a predetermined sequence of story events.
Environments and Props were also produced inspired by the visual lore established in the Harry Potter films. Extensive research trips were taken to Leavesden Studios in Great Britain, where data was collected on the interiors and exteriors of Hogwarts Castle, as well as detailed set dressing and props breakdowns. The films provided a blueprint for all magic and other visual effects, and everything that is not shown in the films was inspired by descriptions in J. K. Rowling’s books, and produced to fit the already visualized material from the films.
In addition to this, the Art Department team produced a Digital Twin in Unreal Engine for London the area surrounding River Thames from around Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to Tower Bridge. Here again, references from the films were used, especially quoting visual elements from Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Production Design, Art Direction, Visual Development and 3D Asset Production required the use of every 3D creation tool imaginable, from Houdini and Unreal Engine to simulate climate effects like a massive thunderstorm over London, to Zbrush, Substance Designer, Maya and Unreal Engine to craft in full detail every element in the Wizarding World.
Wevr Creative and Technical teams were responsible for hardware design and software implementation of the physical user experience. This includes a novel and fully interactive Broom Flight Simulation with physical effects triggered by story sequence events. During creative development, Wevr created several iterations of handmade broom prototypes, as well as tracking and force feedback systems.
Several exciting interactive features were conceived, developed and implemented on top of the flight simulation sustem to create an uncanny broom flight action experience inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This included an Interactive Battle System featuring a state machine driving Death Eater swarm behaviours; attack and defence wand spell casting system, including hands and body gesture and audio user interface controls implemented in Unreal Engine, and finally, one hundred and forty real time synchronized virtual-physical effects were designed and implemented, including interactive controls for water misting, air cannons, smell aerosols and haptics floor rumble to reinforce key story moments and the illusion of presence.
The Creative team at Wevr thanks everyone involved in making this project a reality. Warner Bros Studio, The Blair Partnership, our talented art, animation and technical teams, and our multiple collaborators: Counterpunch Animation, Beyond-FX, ASC, Source Sound, Manic Machine and Dreamscape Immersive.