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The tech behind the new Pick n Pay Super Cards

Retail giant Pick n Pay this week launched its latest set of collectable Super Cards, this time with a focus on cricket. The cards, which feature members of the men's and women's Protea squads, as well as stadium data, jerseys, and Protea mascot Zac, are free to any shopper who spends more than R150.
But as anyone who’s got their hands on the cards will know, these aren’t just any collectors’ cards. Collectors who scan their cards with the tie-in app (available on The App Store and the Play Store) can bring them to life using augmented reality, test their cricketing knowledge, and play a mini-game.

Sea Monster, the Cape Town-based company behind that tech, brought the full range of its capabilities to bear for the project, in what Sea Monster creative director, Jade Duckitt, says was a serious test of the company’s abilities.

“When it comes to something like the Super Cards app, it’s about more than building the individual components,” she comments. “It’s also important to ensure that they work as a cohesive whole within the final product.”

According to Duckitt, Sea Monster paid a lot of attention to getting the AR functionality right in the app.

"We wanted to have every Protea player represented, so we spent a lot of time making different animated 3D characters for each of them,” she says.

Making AR accessible

Using the latest AR technology, which is a lot lighter on memory and data, the app is also accessible to a wide array of smartphones, and not just high-end devices.

“The Proteas represent the whole of South Africa, so we wanted to build an experience that as many South Africans as possible could join in on,” adds Duckitt.

The Winning Innings batting mini-game, meanwhile, presented its own set of challenges. Getting the balance right between being easy enough to pick up, but difficult enough to keep players engaged becomes only more challenging when you enter the sporting space.

“People who play sports games expect a degree of realism both when it comes to the appearance of the players and the physics of the game itself,” she says. “You have to balance that with the need for the game to still be fun and accessible to everyone who plays it.”

Duckitt is also proud to have the Proteas be at the centre of a game built by a South African development house, rather than just “secondary characters in an internationally-built game”.

“This is a chance to show South Africans that their fellow citizens have the ability to build fun and engaging games that can keep them entertained for hours,” she comments.
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