Storybook Theatre

Site: https://mpower.tvo.org
Date: June 2018 – Oct 2018
Project: TVO’s mPower
Language/Engine: HTML5, JavaScript, PhaserJS

This game was created for the mPower project, a collection of educational games focusing on the Ontario School Board curriculum for Kindergarten through to Grade 6.

For this project, the goal was to create a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) game for kindergarteners. The issue with this is that a lot of these don’t necessarily apply to kindergarteners, as they have yet to learn these things. So instead, the educators elaborated that it was perfectly fine to apply the STEM concept of free-play to emotionally driven things, as understanding emotions were an important development point for children that age.

And so, the designer created a concept where the idea was to build a story that focused heavily on emotion and reflecting on that emotion. The kids would start by deciding what type of story that they would want to create: happy, sad, scary, angry, or silly. The kids would then add elements one by one and watch different reactions between the different elements. For example, a knight would react to a dragon by being afraid, or a bonfire would be extinguished with rain.

The challenge here was handling all the various cases while still maintaining a reasonable overall file size. The designer opted to create a limited amount of elements available, ensuring that the amount of reactions would still be plausible to implement within the timeline. The other challenge was working with Dragon Bones, an animation library that has very limited documentation.