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All About Our FutureWorks Platform

on June 01, 2020

Welcome to FutureWorks, a platform to try out new innovations from the team at Zwift HQ. 

This is where we test new projects. Share consumer voices. And create a clear path of evolution between initial development and release of a final polished product. The goal is simple: evaluate exciting new features, modes, and more in order to create a better experience for people everywhere. 

The feedback we receive helps us shape the Zwift of tomorrow. 

FAQ

What is the purpose of this program?
We created FutureWorks as a way to give select members of our community the opportunity to try out new features—in exchange for ongoing feedback. FutureWorks ensures these innovations get thorough, progressive development before they’re released to a general audience.

Who is it for?
Access to FutureWorks varies from project to project. Certain new additions will typically be more private, requiring specific groups of Zwifters to help us fine-tune them. In time, we may open individual features for broader testing, but this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

How can users gain access?
Currently, when a new feature releases under FutureWorks, selected Zwifters can partake in both testing it and providing feedback so long as they have the necessary equipment.

Whether or not we reach out to the community for assistance depends on the project. Most of the time, we’ll announce a call for testers in our release notes. Other times, we’ll proactively invite users to get in on the action.

FutureWorks Projects

Pace Partners
Clubs
Boost Mode
Steering

(click for details)

FutureWorks Pace Partners

Status: Currently Testing

Say hello to Pace Partners, our newest automated pacer friends that will act as ride leaders. At first you’ll find them in Watopia, looping select routes repeatedly and offering a different level of challenge. They’re bursting with energy, with distinct personalities that aim to motivate, and they’ll never stop during a ride. The result? On-demand group rides that anyone can join.

There are currently four Pace Partners, each of them representing different categories:

  • A = A. Anquetil: 4.0 w/kg and above
  • B = B. Brevet: 3.2–3.9 w/kg
  • C = C. Cadence: 2.5–3.1 w/kg
  • D = D. Diesel : 2.4 w/kg and below

To ride with a Pace Partner, look for them on the Drop-in screen under “Join Another Zwifter?” Simply click their name and follow the onscreen instructions. For now, our Partners will operate on a schedule rather than a permanent, round-the-clock ride cycle. All this means is you might not see the option to join a Pace Partner on your next ride—don’t be alarmed, just remember to check daily from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. PDT and 10:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. PDT. 

Let us know what you think about them in our Forums


FutureWorks Clubs

Status: Currently Testing

A new feature actively developing under the FutureWorks umbrella, Clubs is where Zwift communities thrive. Our vision of Clubs will be a place for you to find groups (or “clubs”) you’re interested in joining, to help you truly feel like you’re a part of something big. 

Group rides and races will become even more intimate with Clubs-only events. Nowhere else will you find more like-minded people to dive into action with. We’ll also be bringing out Club-specific unlocks, which can be earned by riding together with your crew. 

Our first (and only) Club is Club Jarvis. Club Jarvis is where we’re currently collecting feedback from Zwifters who’ve been with us since our beta days in 2015. The OG Zwift crew, in other words. And, after we finish fine-tuning Club Jarvis, we’ll roll out a permanent Club feature in Zwift Companion, accessible to all. Time to level up together.


FutureWorks Boost Mode

Status: Currently Testing

A new type of race mode has arrived under the FutureWorks umbrella. Welcome to Boost Mode. Envisioned as a totally new, event-only feature, FutureWorks Boost Mode will introduce a meaningful power-assistance model to help equalize and strategize racing on Zwift. Currently testing in Club Jarvis with Zwift staff and original Zwift beta testers from 2015, Boost Mode will eventually be released as a FutureWorks event mode for all Zwifters. 

So how does it work? 

At the beginning of a race, you’ll pick one of three unique “Boost Cells” that will give you additional power for a certain amount of time. Each Boost Cell offers something to give every kind of racer a leg up—so you'll have to plan accordingly. Looking for victory in your next race? Want the edge in an unrelenting group ride? Select the Boost Cell that best complements your Zwift racing skills.

Each Boost Cell has an in-game weight that’s added to your own. The combination of this weight and your skills will be what takes your racing experience to the next level. Now, keep in mind, we're not giving you free speed. We’re simply offering a more creative output of your energy. Think of Boost Mode as a new form of tactical racing where timing, strategy, and, of course, knowledge play a larger role in the outcome.


FutureWorks Steering

Phase 1: Off-road Steering

Status: Released

Take control of your rides like never before with Off-Road Steering. 

One of the many long-awaited goals here at Zwift and the very first feature launched under FutureWorks, Off-Road Steering adds a whole new layer to the way you ride. A passion project for Zwift creator Jon Mayfield, this feature has been in development since our company’s earliest days. Fully control of your avatar. Earn extra XP. Rack up Drops. 

Over the course of Off-Road Steering development, we collected constructive feedback from the community that helped us improve this feature. Mike Bhatt, a gameplay programmer at Zwift, mentioned placing “analytics on the course to see where people had difficulty/success.” Once this was in place, Zwift engineers used the responses they received to “influence things like steering sensitivity, where future steering opportunities could live, and how/where the community felt it fit within Zwift’s ecosystem.” 

Now there are some things you need to know in order to participate in FutureWorks Off-Road Steering:

  • Download the Zwift Companion App on your smartphone for free. This allows you to navigate Zwift, meet up with friends, view activities, and now, steer! Find the app on the iOS App or Google Play Store.
  • Mount your phone onto your bike’s handlebars. We recommend iOmount - available at the Zwift Shop - and either a Garmin or Wahoo mount. A mount is necessary because steering is controlled by your phone’s accelerometer. Simply turn or lean left or right to point your avatar in that direction.

Phase 2: Steering comes to all Roads!

Status: Currently Testing

Ready for your most immersive and gamified Zwift ride yet? Steering comes to all roads and gives you ultimate control over your ride on Zwift! Simply turn your handlebars to steer your avatar. Find your own line into turns and take control of your pack positioning like never before.

You’ll need the new Elite Sterzo Smart steering plate (available in the Zwift shop) to enjoy this new feature. This Bluetooth-enabled device sits beneath your front wheel, allowing it to easily and safely turn back and forth. Pairing with Zwift is simple and delivers a consistent, immersive steering experience.

Steering is automatically enabled when paired. When enabled you must steer around other riders instead of riding through them. Just like riding outside!

Learn more about our latest FutureWorks addition here

 

 

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