JD Sports, Boot Testing Area

Physical interaction game for JD Sports' flagship store in Oxford Street, London. The player can try out new football boots by kicking a ball against projected virtual targets and get a high score.

Year: Client: JD Sports
Role:
  • Concept
  • UX
  • Full-stack Dev
  • Project Management

Challenge

JD Sports wanted to create an exciting and unique experience for their upcoming flagship store in Oxford Street, London, with the goal of reinforcing the brand's position as innovative and fresh, by showcasing technology that captures the consumer's imagination.

The physical experience had to be fun, engaging and encourage the user to try out new football boots, as well as being a platform to run marketing events and campaigns.

The project had a very tight deadline, as the installation had to be ready for the store's opening day.

Street view of JD Sports' flagship store in Oxford Street, London

Concept

The virtual penalty experience captures the atmosphere of a real football field, where the player can try on new football boots.

The game's objective is to kick the ball and hit virtual targets on a projected goal in order to get the highest score possible before the time runs out.

The experience includes a leaderboard with the top scores of the day, as well as the players statistics.

A player kicking the ball against the projected targets in the game area.
Illustration of the steps of the game experience.

Game Experience Loop

1. The player enters the area through a gate that resembles the entrance for a football stadium.

2. Chooses a pair of boots from the display and put them on.

3. The player is greeted by a tablet where he can sign-up, takes a profile photo and starts the game.

4. As the game starts, the player kicks the ball and tries to hit as many targets as possible before the countdown runs out.

5. Once the game is over, the player is presented with their score, accuracy and place on the daily ranking.

Players signing up on the tablet before starting the game.

Marketing Campaigns

Periodically, the game is used as a platform to run marketing campaigns and events featuring brands such as Nike, Adidas and Puma.

The players can win prizes by having the highest scores of the day/week and share them on social media.

The game's background can be changed to fit the campaign or sponsor.

Technical Details

This project has everything from game and computer vision software to hardware and custom made structures.

It was quite a challenge to manage and figure out how to put it all together.
Thankfully, I could leverage the experience and learnings from a similar project that I had previously done.

Illustration of the hardware setup for the game, displaying the different components and their connections.

Hardware setup

The hardware consists of a custom-built mini pc that runs the game and tracking system.

A microcontroller takes care of the infrared lasers, turning them on only while the play session is ongoing, for safety reasons.

Customised high-speed camera for the tracking system, shooting at 120fps.

Companion tablet for the players to sign-up, take a profile photo and start the game.

Sound speakers for the audio atmosphere and sound effects.

And finally, an external monitor displaying the game inside the area.

Application Setup

The game was developed using Unity and C# for both the main game logic and the sign-up tablet, while the tracking system was developed using OpenCV and C++.

The backend handled the player scores, leaderboards and statistics, and was developed using PHP and MySQL.

This included a backoffice so the client could manage the player data and scores.

Images of the people crowd around the game area to watch the current player.

Outcome

From the opening day, the game was a huge success, with people queueing to play and others crowding around to watch it.

With up to hundred players per day in the first weeks, the installation managed to engage with the costumers and be a store attraction, receiving praise from both the client and the public alike.