Build and test your very own Mack Truck with your fingertips.
Mack Trucks and Da Vinci Science Center were interested in creating a program for children to learn more about fuel efficiency through the custom creation of a Mack Truck. Given our history together, Da Vinci Science Center knew that we would be the perfect partner to help them create an interactive kiosk truck builder to complement the rest of their display, which includes the front of a garbage truck emerging from the wall. It was exciting for us to be involved in a project that we knew would be seen by thousands of enthusiastic kids and their parents throughout the year. Our first goal was to add to the original concept so users would return to the kiosk. Being the video game aficionados that we are here at Weidenhammer Creative, we thought that the project needed more of a hook to keep users coming back again and again. We needed to get the trucks on the road.
The initial idea was simple enough: Build a Mack Truck to be as fuel efficient as possible. We helped evolve the concept by adding customization and gaming elements to the project. These elements would help to encourage repeat plays in the variety of custom trucks one would be able to create but also the draw to add your initials to the daily high score.
By encouraging repeat play-throughs, it would reinforce the educational goals the program was created for. Development for this project was unique from our typical web projects because we had to account for user feedback to the touch technology. Subtle interactive touch elements had to be accounted for throughout to make it feel responsive to the user’s interactions.
The user is initially presented with a choice of what type of truck to build – refuse, vocational, long haul, and regional. Each category has two chassis variations with their own unique algorithm for fuel efficiency and scenario for the test drive. From this point on, all imagery of the trucks are custom vector illustrations based off the original CAD files.
Our team toured Mack trucks’ assembly lines to become familiar with various parts of the trucks in order to add subtle details that would make the kiosk experience authentic. The building portion included the selection of wheelbase, number of axels, horse power of the engines, fuel type, and aerodynamic fairings. A matrix was created with the Mack engineers applying points to the user’s choices and grading the fuel efficiency of the truck. This score determines how much time you had to drive it during the test portion of the game.
What’s the point of creating your own truck if you can’t add a giant squid to it? The customization portion is where users can paint the trucks, add accessories and apply custom decals to truly make it their own. There are over 16,000 possible variations right now with the ability to add more down the line.
Once the user completed their new truck, it was time to get it on the road. From a quiet suburban town at night to a hot desert at sunrise, a wide variety of locales were created to coincide with the type of truck category that was built. Because the efficiency grade determined how fast the fuel would be used, a gameplay mechanic of toggling the gas pedal on and off was included for the user to move the truck at an optimal speed. The better the user is at this mechanic, the longer they are able to keep their truck on the road to earn a higher score. This helped create a wider gap in potential scores and a gameplay loop that encouraged repeat play-through’s. We’ve been told that kids often visit the kiosk once more before leaving the museum to see if their high-score is still intact.
Built Like a Mack Truck turned into something much more than any of us had initially anticipated. We’ve visited the Da Vinci Science Center a few times to see our work in action and it’s always fun to watch kids having a good time using it. That is, until they beat our high scores.
We’d love the opportunity to show you how Weidenhammer Creative would benefit your company’s marketing needs. To set up a free consultation email Jeremy Jones, Manager of Client Relations: Let’s get started!