Now and then: part 1

We’re 35!

This is the first in a series of short articles highlighting Binary Vision’s incredible history of digital innovation from our earliest years to today…

Then: Bodyworks (1989)

Take yourself back to 1989, if you go that far. A momentous year with the Berlin Wall torn down and the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in China. And The Bangles sang ‘Eternal Flame’ (eternally).

Meanwhile, a youthful BV was creating a radical new interaction design for the not-yet-launched CD-i platform. ‘Bodyworks’ (nothing to do with the yucky exhibitions) was years, decades even, ahead of its time. It featured:

  • Personalised fitness videos – varying the choice and reps of video exercises to each user’s fitness level. These made full use of the best available digital capabilities at the time (able to deliver about 1/9th of the screen as ‘full-motion video’.)
  • Personalised diet plans and a detailed interactive health questionnaire
  • What we then called ‘real world icons’; clickable objects embedded into a virtual Gym which the user navigated. Thirty years ago, this was a radical reimagining of interaction design.
Bodyworks - Real word icons

The exit sign, TV, bell, etc are ‘real world icons’, with the exercise video overlaid at maximum size

There was nothing in the world remotely like ‘Bodyworks’ for many years to come.

We even had to work out how to specify an interactive video as this had never been done. The solution we came to used named video scenes, linked together with flow charts.

Bodyworks - Get Fit

Interstitial ‘count down’ screens hid the delay while the CD-i player was looping back to the exercise repeat

Now: Team Tempest webapp (2020)

Here is the Team Tempest web app which we created in less than five weeks for the ‘virtual RIAT’ event (this replaced the real air show due to lockdown).

Team Tempest

I came to you with a big ask and a short timeframe and we are very happy with how everything has turned out.

Kirsten Berry, Team tempest

Key to its success (for instance, more Team Tempest hits that weekend than over the entire previous year) was the combined know-how of the project team: video game developers and artists, working hand-in-glove with front-end web developers and web UI designers.

All too often, gaming and web devs are mutually suspicious. But our team gelled right away, developing a mutual respect. They created something together which neither could’ve done on their own. An innovative, animated 3D explainer, working in-the-browser across devices, fully integrated into the main RAF website. And delivered at speed.

However much digital has changed over the years one thing has stayed the same: we’ve always loved creating captivating experiences which push the available technology to its creative and technical limits.

That’s it for ‘Now and then’ part 1. Part 2 looks at Serious Fun.

Binary Vision Co-founders