As a principal sponsor of the AFL, Hungry Jacks had a business objective to capitalise on their presence in the AFL space. At the time, their sponsorship investment meant logo placement, but no real connection with AFL fans beyond occasional brand recognition. HJ’s needed a way to give back to the fans in a fun, accessible and relevant engagement.
Exploration of the young male audience identified some key grass roots activity. Passing an ball between mates is a natural go to for AFL fans. Unlike a rugby style hand pass, AFL requires players to hold the ball in one hand and punch the ball with the other to provide momentum for a pass to the other player. However, the fun was generally limited to an outdoor space away from people and breakables. We imagined the frustration of fans trying to have some fun ball passing at the office, at school, on public transport etc. We wanted to find a way for fans to play anywhere anytime.
Working with Clemenger BBDO, we developed the concept of a virtual ball passing game – Phone Footy. It would allow fans to see and pass a virtual ball between each others phones, anywhere, anytime. The concept however had some serious challenges – how do both phones know the position of the virtual ball? How can we add real world physics to a virtual object? How can we present a virtual ball within the real world?!
With the general concept defined, we developed a creative technology recommendation that identified the technical possibilities. This evolved to a backlog for a technical proof of concept hypothesising that we could develop a solution using the following iPhone hardware;
– Gyroscope to detect pitch and yaw of the device
– Accelerometer to detect movement and G-forces exerted by the pass and catch action
– Magnetometer to detect the direction the device was facing
– Haptic engine to deliver tactile feedback to the user
– Face detection to track the other player
– Bluetooth services to provide peer to peer connection
– Camera to detect the users surroundings, depth and present a real world view in the game
– Augmented reality for the presentation of a virtual ball
Extensive user testing helped us explore the UX and UI requirements to minimise the abstract virtual feel of the game to ultimately develop something that was fun to play!
The development of the solution is a world first in the combination of a range of challenging technical services – a peer to peer augmented reality app with real world physics, haptic feedback virtual gameplay.
Our product development approach meant minimising the risk for the client, while managing continuous deliveries that guided ongoing refinement for the best possible use of the iPhone hardware to an enjoyable experience.
The creative and technical development of a peer to peer augmented reality app, real world physics, haptic feedback, virtual gameplay and more – we still can’t believe it’s real
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