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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 ConceptKicks. And some of that “metaboot” art was created within Fortnite.
The companies have partnered to create a unique design innovation experience that blends the physical and virtual worlds to reinvent product design and engage consumers in the journey, said Drieke Leenknegt, director of marketing for Timberland, in an interview with GamesBeat. . .
Based in Stratham, New Hampshire, Timberland is known for its yellow work boot that it created in 1973 and is now a well-known eco-friendly brand.
Timberland released a program called Construct: 10061, and this time it focused on virtual design.
“Footwear is in our blood and DNA and we have a very industrial design lens,” said Leenkneght. “It’s about making footwear that works, and at its core, Construct is an expression of that. So Construct is an initiative that started a couple of years ago as the ultimate expression of our need as a footwear-driven innovation company.”
The company invited gamers and footwear fans from around the world to enter the universe of design, creation and innovation, highlighted by an immersive gameplay experience in Fortnite.
“We choose carefully who we partner with. For us, it’s really important to partner with companies and entities that are flexible in their thinking, that are creative and that really look at what’s going on and take a journey with us,” said Raffaella Camera, Brand Director, Unreal Engine. at Epic Games, in an interview with GamesBeat. “Working with Timberland has been fantastic for us and we were 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 didn’t allow people to be physically together,” Leenkneght said. “We were preparing the new construction workshop. And with all this acceleration of creating 3D and digital design for footwear, we made this quantum leap because of COVID.”
Elements of the multifaceted, multistakeholder project include:
- Timberland Design Lab and Maker Space in Fortnite: You can get a rare glimpse into Timberland’s footwear design and innovation process by visiting the Virtual Design Lab in Fortnite, a recreation of the real-world innovation lab and maker space from the brand.
- Meta Design Workshop: Footwear Innovators from Timberland’s Advanced Concepts and Energy (ACE) Team, ConceptKicks, and Construct: 10061 Teamed Up with Digital Innovators from Fortnite Creative Studio beyond creativity for a design-build workshop that took place entirely in Timberland’s virtual design lab in Fortnite.
- The result was four spectacular Metaboots, including a replica of the iconic yellow boot, plus 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 with arctic, desert, and forest biomes. After visiting the Design Lab, players face challenges and obstacles in each of the biomes, unlocking special effects when they reach the Metaboots and bring the samples to the lab.
- Metaboots, in AR: The Forest Metaboot was recreated in high fidelity using the Unreal Engine and can be viewed and accessed in AR via Sketchfab. The AR boot appears against 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 against biome-inspired backgrounds using Unreal Engine-powered Twinmotion and Quixel Megascans. These are also accessible in AR through Sketchfab.
All of that sounds a little crazy, but it’s not so crazy if you think the metaverse is about to happen. We are in a time of experimentation where imaginative projects like putting boots on the Fornite landscape make a lot of sense.
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 brought the collaborative model to the metaverse by inviting innovators like Daniel Bailey, Zixiong Wei, and Aisha Kujk to create Metaboots alongside our own ACE designers, in Fortnite. At the same time, we’re inviting consumers into the world of design innovation within an amazing Fortnite experience. The possibilities to connect in the metaverse are endless.”
Leenknegt referred to Bailey as an expert on boot culture and sneaker culture.
The Construct: 10061 Fortnite experience will launch at Timberland’s Orefici11 flagship store during Milan Design Week, where guests will see physical prototypes, witness live gameplay and engage in real-time as a fifth Metaboot is created in Fortnite.
“To jumpstart their thinking, we started Construct, and it’s about inviting outside designers each year to meet with our innovators and drive design innovation,” Leenkneght said.
The brand turned to Ali “SypherPK” Hassan, who started creating videos in the 6th grade and has become one of the most recognized and followed Fortnite gamer/creators in the world.
“Timberland has built a legacy around some of the most beloved footwear products, thanks in no small part to its innovative and forward-thinking mindset,” said Camera. “Using Unreal Engine-based tools and virtual worlds, brand enthusiasts have the opportunity to interact with Timberland ® boots in ways not possible today, while designers can create and collaborate in ways that are completely unique. new, with the help of real resources. 3D technology time. It’s exciting to imagine where we can take this together.”
Created in 2018, each year Construct: 10061 brings together the best footwear innovators and creators from around the world to rethink and push the boundaries of shoemaking. For S22, Construct enters the metaverse for the first time.
The team took the concept of metaboots and delivered it to sneaker and boot fans so they could engage and engage with metaboots.
“By connecting artists and creatives from different industries, we challenge and learn from each other and often come up with ideas that we would never come up with on our own,” said Daniel Bailey, founder and creative director of ConceptKicks, in a statement. “This season we brought a completely different medium into the mix with Fortnite. It was fascinating to see how the builders at BeyondCreative would interpret and manipulate existing elements to try and create the vision of the shoe designers.”
The creative strategy for bringing Construct: 10061 to Fortnite was led by metavisiona metaverse agency.
“For this project, we were really interested in capturing the design process and showing how the Metaboots came to life,” said Luke Price, creative director at Metavision, in a statement. “It has been a great pleasure collaborating with creators from different disciplines at BeyondCreative and Construct, learning about each other’s styles and influences and creating amazing things. Metavision is focused on finding new ways to engage with audiences and tell stories in the metaverse, and it’s been great working with Timberland and partners who share this spirit.”
Leenknegt said it was important to engage fans in the process and narrative behind the brands and featured prototypes and collectibles. He said that the experience of this project was about design, so the team did not work with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“To me, this is incredible storytelling and consumers want to be a part of its storytelling,” Leenknegt said. “They want to co-create it with you.”
Designs will be displayed in stores. I asked if they would consider embedding the skins within the world of Fortnite. But Leenknegt said this is what they have now and they will do more in the future. Camera said that he did not intend to put the skins into Battle Royale.
“We use the full suite of tools we have, from the Unreal Engine to Quixel Megascans to Sketchfab to even Fornite to help create the metaboots,” said Camera.
“The collaboration that we have with Epic and the Unreal Engine is really from concept to consumer.”
leenknegt said. “We saw the potential of working with Epic and the Unreal Engine to really scale the design innovation process. That’s what led us to this amazing collaboration.”
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