The U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service joined the trend of virtual jigsaw puzzles with the launch of an online challenge of piecing together a 1.03 gigapixel image from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
“We are always looking for innovative ways to inspire and engage with the American public,” said Maj. Ross McKnight, AFRS National Events Branch chief at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. “The ‘Million Piece Mission’ is a challenging and interactive way to experience the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force while learning about careers and opportunities in the Air Force.”
As users enter the mission on AirForcepuzzle.com, they see the full image that shows a collection of aircraft on display at the museum’s fourth building. This image was captured after the building’s opening in 2016 by photographer John Opie. As a puzzle, the image contains 3,000 tiles and a total of 1.2 million pieces.
According to David Tillotson, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force director, the museum was thrilled to be approached by the Air Force Recruiting Service about using an image of the museum’s fourth building for a virtual puzzle.
“The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Recruiting Service have similar missions to inspire youth toward careers in the U.S. Air Force,” Tillotson said. “So it’s a perfect fit for the world’s largest military aviation museum to be featured on the world’s largest virtual puzzle.”
When users enter the website there will be a short introduction video. Then users can see the cursors of other players working on the puzzle in real time. They can choose to work alone or with other players to complete a section of the puzzle and can even invite friends into a tile room to help complete the section. It was divided into thousands of separate tile rooms to make the puzzle more manageable. These rooms vary in level of difficulty.
“The mission will require highly motivated, independent and mentally tough individuals with attention to detail in order to complete,” McKnight said. “Those are the exact same traits we need in the next generation Airmen and, just like the puzzle, we want the best qualified applicant with the right job at the right time.”
As users complete a tile room, they earn points based on the number of pieces they assemble, the amount of time spent on the section and the complexity of the image. Points are updated in real time to a universal leaderboard, creating friendly, global competition. Users have the option to play as a guest or create a username and password to save their progress and enjoy other benefits, including unlocking content, and interesting facts that, until now, could only be seen by visiting the museum in person.
“With school out, many camps closed, and not a lot of places to go outside yet, we hope this puzzle provides families and friends with something fun to do together. From across their living room or from across the country. Leave it to the U.S. Air Force to make the most technologically advanced jigsaw puzzle in the world,” said Jeff Maki, senior VP, group creative director, GSD&M.
“Million Piece Mission” is free to play and can be accessed on AirForcePuzzle.com by desktop and mobile devices.