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BBC Famous People

BBC Famous People

When you realise that there are 21 characters, each with 3 mini-games, that makes 63 mini-games that needed creating within 6 months – which seems unfeasible. But the way we got around that was by building game mechanic templates which could be reused multiple times...

Jon Raffe, Splinter

Famous People

Splinter has recently created Famous People; a suite of Flash games aimed at a Primary school audience; for the BBC’s Primary History site.

The project had a fixed deadline, due to it needing to fit within the annual budgeting period for that department. The suite focused on 21 famous characters throughout history, with each person’s game containing 3 different mini-games. The total of 63 mini-games were created within 6 months. The team built game mechanic templates which could be reused multiple times. Parallel pipelines facilitated a structured process flow, gave the client a good overview of the whole process and also ensured we met the fixed deadline.

While the visual, educational authoring and audio work was in production, the game frameworks were being built which could be re-skinned and re-used across all the different characters. In total there were 6 completely distinct game mechanics, which got mixed and matched depending on the story we were trying to tell for each character. We’re really happy with how flexible they became and how different all the games still feel from each other.

To make sure we kept within the short production timescales, we started each batch of game by doing four fully worked up visuals for each character, consisting of the main scene and three embedded mini-games. Across the 21 characters there are 84 different environments, ranging from Seb Coe’s Olympic stadium through to a Shakespeare-themed quiz show!

Those initial visuals then allowed our storyboard artist to sketch out a full run-through of each character’s game. Each character’s storyboard ran to 20 pages, with 3 panels per page, resulting in an immense 1, 260 storyboard panels.

Within the timescales the games went through multiple debugging phases, as well as a structured user testing session.

To find out more about how we created the Famous People games please visit our blog.

If you wish to link to each individual games please visit the following page: http://www.splinter.co.uk/lovie/bbc-famous-people/.