How I Hacked Snapchat to Create the First Game Experience Using Spectacles
This all started when I got a text message from a friend at 8 in the morning letting me know that Spectacles just dropped in Venice Beach. I rushed as fast as I could and managed to be one of the first few hundred people who snagged a pair. For those who don’t know yet, Spectacles are sunglasses created by the popular social media platform Snapchat that take 1o-second POV videos with a click of a button. I’ve been dreaming of creating a cool experience made with cutting edge technology and since almost no one could get their hands on these I knew it was my opportunity.
I wasted no time and took my Spectacles out that night to a local arcade. I played around with them a bit just to see what the POV experience felt like. I played basketball, Time Crisis, pinball and finally mario-kart. That’s when it hit me! Wouldn’t it be cool if we held a race where viewers can watch from the perspective of different drivers? I wanted to create the Snapchat version of Mario-Kart.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we held a race where people can watch from the perspective of different drivers? I wanted to create the Snapchat version of Mario-Kart.
Trial Runs and Test Tracks
The following weekend I booked a reservation to race go-karts with two sets of Spectacles and sure enough it worked like a charm. When I played the two videos simultaneously it appeared like a video game. You can watch the demo here. That week I worked as fast as I could to flesh out this project and raced on six different tracks located all over Southern California. I came up with a name, designed a pitch deck, created an official logo, built the website and thought of any cool features I could integrate.
Using On-Demand Geofilters, Memories, Snapcodes, Highlights and all of Snapchats features to create the experience
The most innovative feature was the integration of on-demand Geofilters that acted as functional guages. We purchased a total of 12 Geofilters to tell our story (almost $300 total). When you’re watching the story the geofilter/speedometer changes on every snap, letting the viewer know how fast they’re traveling and what lap they’re on. This combined with the circular vision of Spectacles is what brought the games qualities to life, making it feel like you are the one driving. Last but not least Snapcodes provided the viewer direct access to the racers feed.
Editing the story was a whole other hurdle that we weren’t expecting. Luckily Snapchat had some great built-in features that helped us stitch everything together. We used “Highlights” within the Spectacles menu to pick and choose which clips we wanted and batched them together to form a fluid story.
“Memories” was a huge leap forward in Snapchat’s editing capabilities and the batch upload provided us a tool to post the same story each each day (with a different winner) for a whole week.
Finding Sponsors and Racers
Once I felt ready I approached my friends at The Future Party about my idea. I knew they had connections with brands and could get it sponsored. Sure enough four days later we were in a meeting room presenting the idea and managed to get Dole on board.
Shoot Day & Launch
The day of the shoot went without a hitch. We did four test runs, had each driver mic’d up and eventually had everyone in perfect sync. We launched the experience two days later on www.specracers.com/ and even edited a video to promote the experience (below).
Two Player Mode
When you watch the story with two phones, it forms a two player view mode, you can also watch it with one player view, but it’s just not as fun!
All of this happened so fast. From inception to launch it took a total of 7 days to create, sell, produce and launch this entire experience. None of this would of been possible without my team. It was great to have a brand brave enough as Dole ready to dive into unknown territory with such an innovative idea on such short notice. I mean… we shot this whole thing with sunglasses that shoot 10 second clips! I honestly can’t wait to see what other things people make with this new format and look forward to creating more content like this in the future. A special shoutout to Snap’s support team who were very responsive with our technical questions every step of the way. Since launch we managed to make Product Hunts top list and have had great feedback from trophy winners. The experience is going to be on Snapchat only for a little longer and can be found on www.specracers.com/. We’re all excited to see where it goes.