Caesar’s Army has taken the virtual concept a step further.
While many in Trinidad and Tobago have relied on Zoom, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to stage virtual events, the popular party brand has created an actual virtual world where performances can be live streamed and patrons can participate.
Antillea, the virtual world from Caesar’s CreatiV, an offshoot of Caesar’s Army, allows you to create an avatar and participate in events in two sections of Antillea: Antillea East and Antillea West. The name is a play on the word Antilles and virtually unifies the Greater and Lesser Antilles to represent the Caribbean.
Antillea, designed by local company Dingolay, is part of the AltSpaceVR platform from Microsoft. The platform allows you to hosts live events, meet-ups, classes and even bible study and gym classes in a virtual world.
Antillea can be accessed via a Virtual Reality headset or on a desktop.
With the headset, you are given an immersive experience in which you embody an avatar and use hand controls to navigate the two sides of Antillea. The desktop version also allows you to create and customise an avatar but on that version, you cannot use your hands to dance or wave to people.
This writer was given a tour via a headset at the Caesar’s Army office on Monday.
The first entry to Antillea is via a hub, akin to a waiting room. There are photos on the walls, plants and two doors with portals to each world.
Renata Sankar, Events Production Manager, Caesar CreatiV and Caesar’s Army, was my guide. She met me in the hub and instructed me to teleport myself through the door to Antillea East.
I landed on a beach surrounded by cabanas and a large stage in the distance. Sankar instructed me through the headphones to follow her upstairs to a large cabana from which the stage was visible.
She said groups of people can party with their friends on the cabanas while listening to performances that will be live-streamed to the platform.
From the cabana, we went to shoot off fireworks that were in a box. With the hand controls, you can pick up items in the virtual world and engage in activities such as basketball which is on the tutorial for the platform. You can also pick up items on the desktop version using your mouse.
In Antillea West, we visited a bar. Sankar explained that the bar provided opportunities for branding and beverage companies can use the virtual world to tell patrons about their products and engage with them the way they would at an actual fete. The cabanas also provide opportunities for branding.
Antillea West was also on a beach with a jetty, reminiscent of the Pigeon Point Jetty. The team explained that the virtual world was created with topography similar to what we know in T&T such as Maracas Beach.
The Caesar’s CreatiV team will debut Antillea this Friday and each Friday for the next month with Carnival-related events to give the public a feel for the platform. These events will be free but the plan is to host ticketed events on the platform in the future.
Sankar explained that the platform allows people from anywhere in the world to participate in events once they download the app on their laptop or desktop.
“So if you’re in New York and I am here and I haven’t you in a long time, I can see you as an avatar and talk to you as if you are right here in a face-to-face event,” she said.
Caesar’s CreatiV was born out of a need for Caesar’s Army to pivot as COVID-19 restrictions shut down the entertainment sector and forced the Government to cancel Carnival.
The experiential company is focused on using the expertise gained from Caesar’s Army to develop events for the corporate sector as well and this virtual platform is also being marketed not just for entertainment purposes but also to assist corporate entities to develop conferences, meetings and other events in a virtual world.
“We basically created a space where we could have events safely without any virus or anything,” Sankar said.
“They could use the space for any type of events, let’s say a media launch, press conference or a meeting or a retreat. It’s that kind of space that will give you the privacy to do anything so imagine having a board meeting on the beach.”
Details on the weekly Friday events on Antillea will be released soon.