Active Theory

Sky 2021

Music / Nominee
Active Theory


"Utilizing our Dreamwave platform, we were able to quickly implement ideas and create a more interactive experience for users at home." Active Theory

Q: Can you describe your project and the concept behind it?

A: At the end of last April, we went live with Secret Sky 2021. The virtual festival, presented by musician Porter Robinson, ran for 10+ hours and featured 16 artists. Over the course of the festival, 160k attendees from 163 countries explored the festival’s four unique environments and connected with each other across mobile, desktop and VR devices.

Q: What influenced your chosen technical approach, and how did it go beyond past methods?

A: For 2021, we wanted to increase user engagement with the festival. This led us to a layout with a main stage area plus additional zones you could teleport to and explore. We also included audio chat for users to encourage socialization amongst fans. Finally, we wanted to include the festival stream in the 3D environment to make the experience more immersive and to avoid making users access a different platform to watch the stream.

When did you experience a breakthrough or an "a-ha" moment during this project?

Having such large environments meant performance was going to be a challenge. To meet performance standards across all devices, we implemented procedures like frustum culling, distance-based culling and scaling the number of instances based on device performance. This combination of approaches took a big load off the GPU and helped us run the experience at optimal performance, even on older phones.


Q: What web technologies, tools, and resources did you use to develop this?

A: With many events pivoting to virtual in 2020, we launched our Dreamwave Platform, and Secret Sky was born out of that launch. Having worked with Porter Robinson on previous multiplayer listening experiences like Virtual Self, Secret Sky was a natural evolution during the pandemic as music festivals shifted online. Utilizing our Dreamwave platform, we were able to quickly implement ideas and create a more interactive experience for users at home.

Q: How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations?

A: The Secret Sky 2021 digital auditorium attracted over 160k attendees, including 50k+ VR sessions, who explored the environment for an average of 8.5 minutes each. This was an engagement time increase of 400% from the previous year and helped to push #SecretSky to number 1 trending on Twitter during the event. Fans even took to Twitter sharing their support and fan art — a sentiment we won’t soon forget.

Q: Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

A: Secret Sky 2021 came at a unique time when large in-person social gatherings were on hold and music festival goers were at a loss. Being huge live music fans ourselves, Secret Sky 2021 was an exciting opportunity for us to help fans fill that void with a memorable and engaging digital experience.
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