‘Angry Birds’ In Real Life

Check out this real-life “Angry Birds” game, set up by local tech company HONBLUE (and sister company JET Graphics) yesterday at the Pacific Building Trade Expo.

“Angry Birds” is one of the hottest, biggest video games out there, and it was inevitable that people would start to recreate it in three dimensions. There’s a huge version at the “Window of the World” theme park in China. There was a big-budget T-Mobile video that staged the game in a public square in Barcelona. And there have been dozens of home-made backyard hacks.

But this local installation is easily the best one I’ve seen. No CGI, totally playable, and most importantly, it looks fantastic.

Yesterday I was honored to be invited to be a part of the PBTE program at the Hawaii Convention Center, where Dan Zelikman and I led a seminar on cloud computing. The event drew nearly 2,000 people, and HONBLUE was its lead sponsor.

Each year, HONBLUE has a theme for its booth on the expo floor. But this year’s “Angry Birds” game was easily the best yet. I asked HONBLUE how it all came together, and marketing specialist Alex Daniels was kind enough to share the story.

JET Graphics did a marketing promotion a few months back called “This Should Be Bigger” where we encouraged graphic designers and art directors to take photos of things they thought should be bigger and submit them for a chance to win some great prizes. This became our inspiration. We thought the game Angry Birds should be bigger.

As title sponsor of the Pacific Building Trade Expo we get a large space at the expo and decided to build live action Angry Birds. The show draws architects, engineers, and contractors so we figured they would enjoy building stuff and destroying it. It also gave us a good opportunity to let people see the kinds of creative applications you can produce with JET Graphics capabilities.

The hard part was getting the slingshot just right so it was satisfying but only marginally dangerous. The set up was pretty easy once everything was produced. If we do it again we are thinking more of a structured team competition: Architect vs. Architect or Architect vs. Engineer or Engineer vs. Contractor, etc. This year JET and HONBLUE employees built all the structures.

Yoshi Honda and his crew from US Cad (who were featured in the HONBLUE area) came in full support of the theme complete with full body Angry Birds Costumes.

Daniels also provided specific details of the materials and printing techniques used, perhaps of interest to those into publishing hardware:

We wanted to provide a diversity of materials to build with that had varying shapes, sizes, and densities so the stuctures wouldn’t be boring.

The “Bed Rock” that the structures were built on were simple boxes made of gatorboard. The graphics were printing directly on the board using a UV flatbed printer. The “Wood” blocks were also direct-printed and made of coroplast. And the “Stone” blocks were direct-printed JET Mount foam core. The Tree Standees were also made of this.

The “glass” blocks were actually just cardboard boxes wrapped with Cast Vinyl printed on our Latex Printer which gives the printing more ability to flex — perfect for wrapping things like car wraps. We also used it to wrap launcher platform. The “Bamboo” blocks were tubes from spent paper rolls from our HONBLUE division. We wrapped them with Cast.

The slingshot itself was made of Plywood and Eco Board. We direct-printed the Eco board and used it to cover the plywood core. Both were cut out using our robotic die-cutter (sounds scary!).

The backdrops were Latex printed Vinyl banner material.

The setup was a wonder to behold, and was easily the hit of the expo. HONBLUE President Larry Heim said that more than a few people approached them to ask if the “Angry Birds” setup was available for party rentals. As intriguing as the idea was, of course, they’d probably have to have a chat with Rovio, which owns the game.

You can check out my video of the game above on Vimeo, on YouTube, or on Blip.tv.

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