If you’re core business is selling chunks of plastic to kids, in the shape of model racing cars and slotted track, how do you compete with online games? That was the dilemma Hornby had with Scalextic.
Spike Ltd, fronted by Michael Lawson, put together a team of hardware and software developers, a 3D animator and a UI designer (that was me) and we came up with SportWorld, a system where you can literally plug the physical track into the internet and race against other Scalextric fans anywhere in the world in real time. You can watch the race happening on your bedroom floor or as a 3D simulation on your computer.
It was a hefty interface, with several modules for building circuits and environments, customising cars, organising tournaments and racing. The style looks a little old fashioned to me now… it was nearly 15 years ago. But, hey! the tech was cutting edge. These days it would be called Augmented Reality.