Be the Video Game Developer

Be the Video Game Developer is an immersive choose-your-own-adventure website and mobile gaming experience built for the Girl Scouts of the USA. The website introduces girls to the world of video game design and development by walking them through the process of concepting, designing, developing, testing and launching a real game.

Client
The Girl Scouts of the USA

Launch
Play the Game!

Roles
User Experience
Flash Web Development
Video Production
Illustration
Motion Graphics

Girls guide themselves through a series of videos and interactive events, making decisions and shaping the outcome of the project. They are encouraged to let their personalities shine as they explore a world of possibilities that may not have previously been available to them.

Be the Video Game Developer

user experience & ui

The first step in the process was nailing down the user experience. We needed to determine the path our users would be taking, as well as which stages would be interactive for the user. To resolve these questions, we did a lot of research, considered (and rejected) a lot of options, and drank a lot of coffee.

Be the Video Game Developer

Wireframes

Each user interaction was wireframed with our young users in mind. Repetitive interfaces with a limited number of interaction points, as well as simple and familiar UI elements create a comfortable, seamless experience. Leveraging the wireframes, the interfaces were designed!

Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer

Game Design

With the flow established we needed to determine what sort of game the user will be creating. We landed on a top-down collection/avoidance style game. You may remember them from the old days; think NES Legend of Zelda, but with a modern twist. This type of game allowed us the most flexibility for customization.

Game Maps

We designed three game environments for users to choose from: Urban, Forest and Theme Park. There are three versions of each course to explore as you progress through the game levels, and each map is brought to life with a variety of extra characters. Additional filters can also be applied to each map for further customization.

The games that the users create all live on individual URLs and can be accessed from your desktop, tablet and mobile device. The game was built using the Tiled game mapping platform which works great on phones. The desktop controls for the game are using the keyboard, while the mobile versions have a fallback D-pad for touch navigation.

Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer

The Video Shoot

The main component of the experience was, of course, the video portion. After establishing the flow and finalizing the script it was time to cast the actors, book the space and make magic happen!

Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer

We visited a bunch of office spaces in NYC looking for the perfect spot with the bright and spacious feel of a hip tech company. We landed on a shared workspace in Dumbo Brooklyn. They were generous enough to let us invade their space for a whole weekend and turn it into our faux game studio!

Part of coming up with a faux game studio is creating good name to represent it. After throwing around some ideas, we eventually settled on coming up with a visual instead—something that appealed to a young crowd and screamed “video games!” The logo was featured at the entrance of the office as well as on the blackboard in the introduction scene.

Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer
Be the Video Game Developer

The chest mount stabilization system we used for this project was a Steadicam Zephyr. This system helps you create shots that seem to glide through a space without the use of a large dolly system on wheels.

Tracking screens were loaded up on all the interactive screens. We transitioned from the Steadicam to a stationary lock up of the displays, through much trial and error. In post production, those track screens were replaced with the UIs we designed.

Recording good audio proved to be quite challenging in Dumbo, and we had to cut a lot of our scenes short to allow a nearby subway train to pass. F train – 1, SMF – 0

Be the Video Game Developer

Game Testing

As we neared the completion of the project we went out and visited a few girls in the target age group to have them test the game. They played and we watched. It was an overwhelming success and a great validation for all the extensive work we put in. They were having fun and were eager to share the game they made with their friends.

Launch

Be the Video Game Developer was released during a Dell sponsored event called Game On: Girls and Technology. It was held at the Girl Scouts of USA headquarters and attended by professionals in the gaming industry. Girls from different troops from all over the US attended and were able to walk through the experience right then and there!

Be the Video Game Developer

We’ve seen some incredible feedback and we’re thrilled to have extended a new and interesting means of critical thinking and creative expression. With Be the Video Game Developer, we hope that girls get hands-on exposure to the world of game development…and have a little fun in the process!