The Ring Experience
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
The Ring Experience lets attendees explore the story of the mysterious Halo Array through artifacts that leap off the levels and pages of some of your favorite Halo titles. At the center of the Ring Experience is a visually immersive, multi-projector, dome-based theatrical experience, featuring a never-before-seen exploration of a Halo ring, giving fans a brand-new appreciation for the sheer scale and magnitude of these ancient installations.
The experience takes place in a Remote Display Capsule dome eight meters in diameter where a direct feed from a UNSC OQ-45 Honeybee is used to fully give the viewer a full wrap-around fly-through view of a Halo rings environments, substructures, creatures, and machines.
"RDC Link Established" appears to the audience, as the dome polarises to showcase deer-like creatures on a plain.
- Gabriela: "We are patched in Recruits. Just in time to enjoy the view. Our drones initially came here to observe the wildlife that frequent this area. But now I am launching them on a different journey, one that will let us explore a domain few have ever seen before now. Halo, an ancient ringworld. Odd how a weapon of such unequaled power could seem so... surreal. Almost a paradox. But the journey that brought humanity here is a far more turbulent tale. So listen closely."
The drone flies up into space to fly to another part of the ring.
- Gabriela: "As you now know! The details of Halo story have recently been declassified. So I'll start at the beginning. Accessing archives."
- Gabriela: "In the year 2525, Humanity made first contact, a massive milestone but a deadly one as well. The Covenant was a coalition of alien species who believed Humanity to be an affront to their religion, what followed was the greatest war in human history. A war that saw entire worlds burn until their surface was only glass. It was not until we discovered the first Halo, that we truly understood what was at stake. To the Covenant, the discovery was a miracle, these rings were sacred. The truth however was far more grim. Halo was a superweapon, capable of destroying all sentient life in the galaxy with a single cleansing blast. Spartan-117, the Master Chief, destroyed the first Halo. Then soon went on to discover more of these installations throughout the galaxy. But by then, the true power of Halo, and the flood of ancient horrors they had unleased were to great for even members of the Covenant to ignore. And so we reach the final... unexpected moments of the conflict. Against the wars chaos, lines began to blur. An unlikely truce was forged between humans and a renegade faction of aliens who had split from the Covenant. We fought to defeat the Covenants remaining forces, ensuring that the rings would never activate. Together our heroes didn't just end the war, they saved all life in the galaxy."
- Gabriela: "Their sacrifice has brought us to this moment. But what happens from here? To explore that question, you'll need to dive in for a closer look."
- Gabriela: "This is the backbone of the Halo installation. The technology around you was constructed over 100 hundred thousand years ago. But as you can see, this ring is far from dormant. These tireless sentinel workers are yet another relic left behind by the original architects of this place. What you see here is all that remains of them and their creation."
The drone approaches a hatch-like system and gets sucked through it to space. With the drone flying around in space towards the next vista.
- Gabriela: "The Forerunners activated Halo as a last resort, eradicating both their enemy, and themselves. This ring, this weapon, is their legacy. With a single act, the Forerunners used these rings to wipe out all sentient life in the galaxy. They sought to prevent the catastrophic spread of the Flood. But in doing so..."
The drone enters the last vista of the experience, where a Warthog with a Spartan in it is going around.
- Gabriela: "... they may have traded that peril for another. Their decision haunts us to this day. And as the galaxy was repopulated over time, the Forerunners remained absent, their story was over, but ours was just beginning. Now the same power that doomed them to extinction, is our responsibility. And what happens from here is up to us."
The drone feed ends as the Spartan leaves the Warthog and looks at it.
A number of tracks from across the various original soundtracks of the Halo franchise play in the exhibit. They are listed below in order of appearance;
- Solace from the Halo 4: Original Soundtrack - Plays during the opening sequence.
- Tribute from the Halo 3: Original Soundtrack - Plays as Gabriela begins to recount the history of the array.
- Greatest Journey from the Halo 3: Original Soundtrack - Plays as Gabriela recounts the events of the Halo trilogy.
- Farthest Outpost from the Halo 3: Original Soundtrack - Plays as Gabriela finishes her history lesson, and takes the drone down to the surface for a closer look at the Sentinels and wildlife of the ring.
- Halo Theme from the Halo: Original Soundtrack - Plays as the drone backs out to show a wide view of the ring.
- Ghosts of Reach from the Halo 2: Original Soundtrack - Plays in the final sequence as the drone re-enters the ring's atmosphere and pans across the jungle to show a Spartan.
343 Industries partnered with Falcon's Creative Group and Herschend Live to digitally visualise elements from a Halo ring. The dome was designed to be pitched down by 12 degrees to make sure the content would appear at eye level for the audience. The layout and choreography of the experience were reviewed in VR to preview the sight lines of the venue, before rendering and compositing the footage at 7K resolution. The content was rendered using a spherical camera before being converted to a dome master format for the final presentation.
Falcon's had to develop propriety instancing tools to set-dress the 3D environments with large amounts of assets. In beginning development, they skipped a 2D storyboard animatic phase and went straight into 3D production to allow them to quickly visualize the scale and scope of what they were creating. The team employed the World Creator software to quickly generate terrain while they were deciding on camera flight paths. All assets for the scene were built in real-world scale - the Halo is 10,000 km wide and the planet it orbits is 95,000 km wide. Because of this, Falcon's had to generate several levels of detail for each terrain due to the scope of the area needed. The environments on the ring were created using landscape tiles that could be procedurally generated, allowing for quick iteration and kitbashing to construct the environments. The tiles were then placed according to the camera flight path to help optimise load and render times, with areas closer to the camera using additional LIDAR and photogrammetry to blend each terrain for additional realism. Several layers of volumetric dust were rendered for the desert environment.
The ring's fauna were generated using crowd simulation and a handful of hero animations, with all of the relevant models and textures created specifically for the experience. The models of John-117 and the M12 Warthog were created using existing models, but re-textured to match the quality bar of the other assets.
The experience was the winner of the MUSE award for the Experiential and Immersive and Exhibition Experiences categories.
Promotional art by Isaac Hannaford.
- Halo: Outpost Discovery, Experiences
- Halo Waypoint, News - Discovery Dispatch: The Ring Experience
- Falcon's Creative Group: Halo: Outpost Discovery
- Youtube: "The Ring Experience" at Halo: Outpost Discovery
- Falcon's Creative Group: Utilizing World Creator for Halo: Outpost Discovery
- MUSE Creative Awards, The Ring Experience at Halo: Outpost Discovery (Retrieved on Jun 1, 2020) [archive]