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What would boots look like in the Metaverse? Better yet, what would they look like as part of the Fortnite landscape?
We see the answers to these questions in art created by Epic Games, Timberland, and a group of shoe designers and artists known as the ConceptKicks. And some of that “metaboot” art was created inside Fortnite.
The companies have partnered to create a one-of-a-kind design innovation experience that blends the physical and virtual worlds to reinvent product design and engage consumers in the journey, said Drieke Leenknegt, Chief Marketing Officer of Timberland, in an interview with GamesBeat. .
Based in Stratham, New Hampshire, Timberland is known for its yellow work boot which it created in 1973 and is now a well-known eco-brand.
Timberland launched a program called Construct:10061, and this time it focused on virtual design.
“The shoe is in our blood and our DNA and we have a very industrial design outlook,” Leenkneght said. “It’s about making shoes that work and at the heart of Construct is the expression of that. And so Construct is an initiative that started a few years ago as the ultimate expression of a need for us as footwear-focused innovation company.
The company invited gamers and footwear enthusiasts from around the world to enter the world of design, creation and innovation, highlighted by an immersive playable experience in Fortnite.
“We choose carefully who we partner with. For us, it is really important to partner with companies and entities that are flexible in their thinking, that are creative and that really look at what is happening and go on a journey with us,” said Raffaella Camera, Head of brands at Unreal Engine. to Epic Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Working with Timberland has been fantastic for us and we have been able to show how real-time 3D and our library and technology tools can help transform the apparel and fashion industry from concept to consumer. “
“This year, with the ups and downs of COVID, it hasn’t allowed people to be physically together,” Leenkneght said. “We were preparing the new Construct workshop. And with all this acceleration of 3D and digital design creation for shoes, we took this quantum leap because of COVID.
Elements of the multi-faceted and multi-stakeholder project include:
- Timberland Design Lab and Maker Space, in Fortnite: You can get a rare glimpse into Timberland’s shoe innovation and design process by visiting Fortnite’s Virtual Design Lab – a recreation of the Innovation Lab and space brand manufacturing in the real world.
- Meta Design Workshop: footwear innovators from Timberland’s Advanced Concepts & Energy (ACE) team, ConceptKicks and Construct: 10061, partnered with digital innovators from Fortnite Creative Studio Beyond Creation for a design workshop and build that took place entirely in the Timberland Virtual Design Lab in Fortnite.
- The result was four spectacular Metaboots, including a replica of the iconic yellow boot, as well as three original boots inspired by custom outdoor biomes created as part of the project.
- Timberland Parkour Trails: This immersive gaming experience takes place on a custom Fortnite island featuring arctic, desert, and forest biomes. After visiting the Design Lab, players complete challenges and obstacles in each of the biomes, unlocking special effects when they reach the Metaboots and return the samples to the lab.
- Metaboots, in AR: The Forest Metaboot has been recreated in high fidelity using the Unreal Engine and is viewable and accessible in AR via Sketchfab. The AR boot appears on backgrounds modeled after the forest biome and built using Unreal Engine’s Quixel Megascans.
- Prototype Boots, in AR: Eight physical prototypes from a recent IRL workshop were also scanned and placed on biome-inspired backgrounds using Unreal Engine-powered Twinmotion and Quixel Megascans. These are also accessible in AR via Sketchfab.
This all sounds a little crazy, but it’s not so crazy if you think the Metaverse is about to happen. We’re in a time of experimentation where imaginative projects like putting boots on the Fornite landscape come into their own.
Here is a code to view the Timberland Parkour Trails experience in Fortnite: GAME CODE: 4313-0063-0736.
“Timberland was built on a foundation of footwear innovation; our partnership with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine allows us to explore new dimensions as we envision the future of bootmaking and boot culture,” said Leenknegt. “We introduced the collaboration model to the Metaverse by inviting innovators such as Daniel Bailey, Zixiong Wei, and Aisha Kujk to co-create Metaboots with our own ACE designers, in Fortnite. At the same time, we invite consumers into the world of design innovation within an incredible Fortnite experience. The possibilities for logging into the metaverse are endless.
Leenknegt called Bailey an expert on boot culture and sneaker culture.
The Construct: 10061 Fortnite experience launches at Timberland’s Orefici11 flagship store during Milan Design Week, where guests can experience physical prototypes, watch live play and participate in real-time creation of a fifth Metaboot in Fortnite.
“To push them in their thinking, we launched Construct, and it’s about inviting external designers every year to come together with our innovators and drive design innovation forward,” Leenkneght said.
The brand tapped Ali “SypherPK” Hassan, who started creating videos in 6th grade and has become one of the most recognized and followed Fortnite players/creators in the world.
“Timberland has built a legacy around some of the most beloved products in footwear, in large part due to their innovative, forward-thinking mindset,” Camera said. “Through the use of Unreal Engine-based tools and virtual worlds, brand enthusiasts have the ability to engage with Timberland ® boots in ways that are not possible today, while that designers can create and collaborate in completely new ways, with the help of real-time 3D technology. It’s exciting to imagine where we can take this together.”
Launched in 2018, Construct:10061 brings together the world’s top shoe innovators and designers each year to rethink and push the boundaries of shoemaking. For S22, Construct enters the metaverse for the first time.
The team took the concept of the Metaboots and gave it to sneaker and boot lovers so they could participate and engage with the Metaboots.
“By connecting artists and creatives from different industries, we challenge and learn from each other and often come up with ideas we never would have come up with on our own,” said Daniel Bailey, Founder and Creative Director of ConceptKicks. , in a press release. “This season we brought a completely different medium into the mix with Fortnite. It was fascinating to see how the builders at BeyondCreative interpreted and manipulated existing elements to try and create the footwear designers’ vision.
The creative strategy for introducing Construct: 10061 into Fortnite was spearheaded by Metavisiona metaverse agency.
“For this project, we were really interested in capturing the design process and showing how the Metaboots came to life,” Metavision creative director Luke Price said in a statement. “It was a great pleasure to collaborate with creators from different disciplines at BeyondCreative and Construct, to discover each other’s styles and influences and to create amazing things. Metavision is focused on finding new ways to interact with the public and tell stories in the metaverse and it’s fantastic to work with Timberland and partners who share this philosophy.
Leenknegt said it was important to involve fans in the process and storytelling behind the brands and highlighted prototypes and collectibles. She said the experience for this project was in the design, so the team hadn’t worked with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“To me, this is amazing storytelling and consumers want to be part of your storytelling,” Leenknegt said. “They want to co-create it with you.”
The creations will be exhibited in store. I asked if they would consider integrating the designs into the world of Fortnite. But Leenknegt said that’s what they have now and will do more in the future. The camera said the intention was not to put the designs in the battle royale.
“We use the full suite of tools we have, from Unreal Engine itself to Quixel Megascans to Sketchfab and all the way to Fornite to help create the metaboots,” Camera said.
“The collaboration we have with Epic and Unreal Engine is really from concept to consumer,”
Leenknegt said. “We saw the potential of working with Epic and Unreal Engine to really scale the design innovation process. That’s what led us to this amazing collaboration.
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