RUNEFEST – CREATING AN IMMERSIVE EVENTChris Wren2020-11-08T17:25:01+00:00
RUNEFEST – CREATING AN IMMERSIVE EVENT
RUNEFEST – CREATING AN IMMERSIVE EVENT
Jagex is a British video game developer and publisher. They are best known for RuneScape and Old School RuneScape, the world’s largest free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing games. RuneFest is an annual real-world convention celebrating the games, whereby players travel from far and wide to learn about and experience upcoming new game content.
This is an amazing event where its all about the players, a gift that Jagex give their online community for their shared passion and loyalty to RuneScape.
EPH Studios has worked with Jagex for the past 9 years on this annual event. Each year as RuneScape becomes more popular, and both Jagex and EPH Studios grow, we become more ambitious and more driven to be better than the previous year. We do this by really pushing the boundaries of what is expected at a temporary event. This is one of our favourite events to work on, each year it tests us, and each year we deliver.
The primary goal of the event is to use it as a real-world stage to present the new content they are release to the game, such as new realms and features. At RuneFest, guests get to try out these new parts of the game, as well visit expos, meet the people behind the game and take part in competitions such as cosplay.
At EPH Studios we love to take it to the next level and so do Jagex. This is where we make the event extra special and push it to its potential. We do it by taking the guests and actually putting them into the game. The second they walk into the exhibition hall, they are immersed into an epic real-world recreation of RuneScape. When the exhibition hall is 75m x 45m, totalling 3375sq. metres, with minimal height restrictions, it’s the perfect blank canvas for a themed immersive environment. However, it’s also a huge space and to fill it is quite a challenge!
The project starts with our skilled event designers consulting with Jagex to understand the new content they are bringing into the game as well reflecting on the previously successful years. We find out everything we can, from notable landmarks and key locations right through to the textures, colours, themes and even smells of the game! It is important that we stay accurate to the game as we recreate the environment, this is a key factor in encouraging the guests to immerse themselves into the event and its surroundings.
After lots of quizzing and questioning Jagex, we start work on the initial event design. This takes the form of a 2D floorplan, which we use to explore the guest flow and map the space. All great experiences start with a great story, so alongside this we start to develop a narrative. Throughout this process we collaborate with Jagex, bouncing around ideas and initial concepts. At EPH Studios we care, and we fully embrace the importance on involving the client at every stage of the project.
Once we have started to firm up an initial event design, we begin work on a bespoke themed proposal document. This is a presentation used to communicate our ideas for approval from the stakeholders. The proposal is filled with exciting content such as concept sketches of themed areas as well initial designs of bespoke builds. We also use 3D rendered visuals combined with artistic concept sketching techniques to represent the feeling and atmosphere of the event design. This is all built around the framework set out by the event story.
Following approval of the event design its full steam ahead! All the different components of the event are planned, designed and manufactured on site at EPH Studios. This is all overseen by the event designer and project manager, ensuring quality and care is taken throughout.
Each year we have some epic hero builds, these are the centre-stage products usually inspired by landmarks in the game. They are always designed to amaze and impress. These have included full scale erupting volcanoes, pirate ships, windmills, castles, long hall buildings and snow-capped mountain ranges.
However, to create a fully immersive environment you must account for every detail, this ranges right through to the smallest of props and features. Another reason why EPH Studios so special is our connection with Event Prop Hire. This gives us access to over 15,000 props. In addition to this we can adapt them and customise them, further integrating them into the event theme. This helps us reduce build and theming costs, focusing the budget towards quality and value.
Its also very important to keep guests entertained throughout the event. We help with this by designing and building interactive zones. A big part of the game is to level up your character and learn new skills. We have adapted this into the real-world with activities whereby guests earn skill chips. Guests must find the challenges hidden within the event and earn all of these skill chips to obtain the final chip and complete their collection. As part of RuneFest, over the years we have created the following interactive zones; Jurassic Mini-Golf, a box-hedge labyrinth, various fairground style games and even fishing (…yes fishing).
Install day is not something we dread at EPH Studios, we actually look forward to it. We plan, prepare, prototype, test build and stick to our deadlines. Unlike some projects, event dates don’t tend to move easily so the deadline its more important than ever, so we ensure everything is taken care of ready for install day!
With RuneFest, we have created immersive temporary environments on an unmatched scale. This was done with impressive event design, specialist planning, expert theming, state of the art effects, but most of all passion and care. So if you have a themed event, EPH Studios offers a turn-key solution! We will design and plan to cover all areas from theming and props right through to lighting/AV and rigging. We will also organise bespoke entertainment and activities to suit your event theme.