Remember connect the dots? A seemingly blank page freckled with black points that resembled a negative of the night sky. Take a writing utensil and trace a line between the dots, and what first appeared to be a collection of random specks magically transforms into a distinct shape. While hardly a Renaissance piece, it was most kids' (read:us) first taste at creating something that resembled art.
Red Bull, along with developer Circ.Us, is pushing dot connecting and creative boundaries with a new app called Red Bull Augmented Racing.
How do connect-the-dot and racing mesh into a singular game?
Here’s how it works: Place a few Red Bull cans standing-in as real-world dots on the ground in a pattern. Next, use the iPhone camera to trace a line over your “dots.” The app does the rest, turning the resulting configuration into a custom race track for you and other players to compete in.
Mind blown? To explain the game, we sat down with Adam Broitman from Circ.Us to discuss how he converted our favorite pastime into a racing game with endless possibilities, how much it’s not going to cost and why it’ll be more fun than killing pigs.
How were you able to integrate Red Bull cans and racing?
Basically, the building portion of the game asks you to use your imagination and some Red Bull cans to build your own track. You place the cans on the floor; point the camera of your iPhone towards the cans and start scanning the cans one by one, as if you were driving the phone over the can tops.
When you are done, you hit “build” and choose one of three scenes. In less than 20 seconds you are presented with a fly-through of your very own track. Trust me, when you get to race a track you created yourself, you’re going to be pretty stoked.
What was your inspiration for Red Bull Augmented Racing?
When Red Bull asked us to use augmented reality to combine their physical product with a gaming experience for iPhone, we were presented with a challenge.
I remember being at our office one day when John Swords, my business partner, walked into the office with a case of Red Bull and the smile he only wears when he has done one of two things: came up with a good idea, or accidentally walked into the wrong locker room.
We laid out the cans on the floor and looked at the track-like formation— then we got to work.
At its core, the technological basis of our concept employs something we refer to as advanced sensor fusion.
Apple provided us with numerous sensors on the iPhone to play with and we’re constantly trying to push the limits of what you can do with computer vision, motion data and the variety of other ways the mobile device can interface with the physical world.
We have seen the best work done with between 6 and 100 cans
So will users be competing in both designing maps and racing them?
Yes, there will be several ways to compete. Players of the game can create a track that the community can then rate. So even if you’re not the best at racing and have more of a creative mind, you can still win at this game by having built the most bad-ass track.
Each track has its own leaderboard so the best racers can compete to get the top spot on as many tracks as they want.
Is there a set number of cans required to design a map?
We have seen the best work done with between 6 and 100 cans.
How much will it cost?
Free baby, free!
In Red Bull Augmented Racing, players get to jump behind the wheel of a NASCAR similar to Kasey Kahne’s. What other Red Bull athletes and their “vehicles” would you want to work with next?
I wish we could work with all of them --there’s so much we can do with Red Bull. I’m partial to skating, so I think Ryan Sheckler would be cool to work with. I’m also a big fan of mountain biking, so Aaron Chase would be pretty cool to work with, too.
What’s your favorite car game?
That’s a tough one. I am going to go with something less obvious. At the risk of sounding old, Rad Racer, it came out in 1987 with 3D glasses. Sure, there have been better racing games, but my ten-year-old brain was sizzling.
Four favorite games of all time?
Call of Duty/Black Ops, Populous, Grand Theft Auto, and Raptor Safari.
Besides Red Bull Augmented Racing, what’s your favorite app?
I will come clean, I’m a Fruit Ninja addict. I have a 641 in Arcade mode… beat that!
What is the worst app you’ve ever downloaded?
There are so many, I cannot even pick just one. 99% of all the apps other brands put out are terrible.
Red Bull is different because they put the user’s experience above everything else. You will notice other than the car and some of the interface, you will hardly see the Red Bull logo.
When we first delivered the app, there were Red Bull logos on the sides of the track. The Red Bull team had us pull them out -- how freaking cool is that? To be clear, I’m not saying this because we are working with them; rather, we are working with them because of this.
Lastly, give us three reasons why Red Bull Augmented Racing will PWN Angry Birds.
First, in this game, you are a co-author with Circ.us and Red Bull. It is not about us telling you what you have to do -- it is about us saying, “Come make magic with us.”
Second, there are an endless number of tracks to create and you don’t have to wait until the next holiday for new levels. Lastly, come on, do you really want to throw birds at pigs or do you want race the sweetest tracks that the iPhone has ever seen?
Follow Red Bull on Twitter: @redbull