To highlight the rivalry between the turbocharged Volkswagen Golf GTI and Jetta GLI, we created Rival Road. First, an interactive game you could play on desktop and mobile. Second, an RC car live stream experience you could watch on Twitch. And finally, the winner triumphed and received, a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Fastivus — a premier Volkswagen enthusiast event held in Southern California.

 

Play

Over seven days, players joined a team, customized their ride, and competed to see who could go the distance. During the week there were 30,852 games played, 89,669 miles driven, and 43,000 minutes of gameplay — amounting to over 30 days of straight play.

Designed to give players the feel of racing their own Volkswagen cars, the development team took great efforts to each, individual interaction during gameplay. Leveraging industrial designers from the hardware team, characters were designed to be indicative of the real cars, including hex color matching for the players’ cars and custom recording of actual VW engines. Highway safety standards were consulted, and legal teams reviewed each possible interaction to give a realistic feel to the game. Through this detail, we accomplished a native app feel on a web app platform, allowing users to have device recognition and profile creation through Facebook and Twitter. The resulting game was captivating, with low drop-off rate and 25% returning users.

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Watch

On July 26th and 27th, we brought the video game to life on Twitch. The nation’s six best RC car drivers were drafted to Team GTI and GLI, captained by Volkswagen Andretti Motorsports drivers Tanner Foust and Scott Speed. Teams spent 11 hours driving custom-built RC cars on the Rival Road track.

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But this was no ordinary track… The 1,800 square foot course was rigged with 16 unforgiving turns and 5 custom built obstacles. Obstacles were 3D modeled then prototyped to full-scale versions, constructed, and installed into the track.

While the track was visually impressive, the hardware team showed their true ingenuity in developing RC models of the Volkswagen product. Starting from stock CAD models, industrial designers modified the models to match the GTI and GLI real life cars, while making the same accommodations for external and safety parts as stock car racing — replacing windows and lights with sticker replicas and removing breakable parts. These revised models were then converted into models for 3D printing, printed in pieces and re-assembled. The ‘master’ prints were polished, molded in silicone, and recast in a high-temperature epoxy to be vacuum-formed as shells for the RC cars. After forming, the PETG shells were cut from their sheet, painted, and detailed to look like the real cars and attached to durable, fast, professional RC racing cars for the drivers to use and abuse. We ended up turning out 2 brand new shells every hour and finished more than 50 shells for the event.

The Livestream

The track, a driver platform, and a showroom for a real GTI and GLI filled the 4000 SQ foot set. 10 cameras captured every angle of the action, allowing audiences to experience the event in real-time via Twitch. Viewers, watching online, were able to vote to control each obstacle just moments before they were deployed.

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Tanner and Scott also took things into their own hands, driving cars, implementing surprise obstacles, and fielding questions from the audience. In the end, over 360,000 viewers tuned in, watching over 420,000 minutes of livestream and garnering a 99 percent positive Net Sentiment.

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Triumph

The Rival Road winner and guest were flown out to Fontana, CA for an all-expenses paid trip to Fastivus. Matt and Kelsey each rode shotgun with Tanner Foust and Scott Speed for a thrilling hot lap around a professional race track.

 

Behind The Scenes

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