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Spark 5G Race Zone - Simulator

Spark had the opportunity to demonstrate to New Zealanders how 5G could make a difference to how Team New Zealand defended the 36th America’s Cup. They started by building the team their own 5G network to give them a technological advantage and excel their boat’s performance to victory.

To highlight their 5G capabilities they created The Spark 5G Race Zone - an immersive high-tech experience with seven zones, each bringing aspects of the team’s preparation to life. This was a first-of-its-kind 5G consumer showcase, a free experience that gave the public hands-on access to discover the benefits of 5G for themselves.

We created two out of the seven installations in the Race Zone, one of which was the Race Simulator. The simulator was created as a virtual interactive sailing experience where the public could race Te Ahei AC75, Emirates Team New Zealand’s sailing boat, in Tīkapa Moana, Auckland. 

Visitors could take Te Ahei on high-speed test runs to push the limits while looking for ways to make the boat go faster. 

It is a timed experience allowing up to two players, one controlling the foil trimmer & the other controlling the helm. The aim of the game is to pass through as many gates in the fastest time possible.

Spark Race Zone


Spark and Emirates Team New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand

Buildmedia's Spark 5G Race Zone Simulator project has been selected as a finalist in the Best Awards.

To create this experience we utilised the latest technology from Unreal Engine and the same physics simulator Emirates Team New Zealand uses to train on.

We wanted the game's visuals to represent a real race broadcast, including views from helicopters and boats on the water, while water & particle effects were created to help represent the immense speed of the boat.

The challenge was figuring out how to utilise Emirates Team New Zealand’s existing physics engine in an all-ages playable game. To do this we needed to create a custom network protocol solution to connect the two "engines" together.

Our initial testing found that the simulation was incredibly hard, which required working closely with the team at Emirates Team New Zealand through numerous adjustments & testing to tweak the final balance of making the game both fun & challenging.

To achieve the final experience 3x high-powered computers were set up to communicate with each other in a multi-player setting. One for the foil trimmer, one for the helmsman, and one for the broadcast cameras.

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