Tiptop

Et les fourberies de Gluton

In a nutshell

The province of Liège approached us to come up with a mobile app to tackle children's physical and mental health issues. The app will be deployed in all primary schools of the province.

  • Branding
  • Experiments
  • Gaming
  • Illustration & animation

Promoting mental and physical health for children

We were tasked to find a way to make groups of 3 to 4 kids collaborate on a treasure hunt using a tablet.

Yeah… ONE tablet… and FOUR kids… you can see how easily this could lead to a pretty serious crisis!

We came up with the idea of organizing the whole experience around selected themes such as food quality, physical activity, false advertising and understanding of emotions. Throughout their digital journey, the kids will meet several challenges that highlight those themes, one at a time, and will have to overcome them as a team.

Remember when you were kids and teamed up with your cousins to form a spy gang to crush your enemies' bones ?
That's what got us excited a long time ago, and that's what still excites any kid, anywhere, anytime!

Understanding kids

Understanding kids

Given their young age - between 8 and 9 years old - the kids involved in this program needed a playful, fun and easy way to use the app.

While they are familiar with the use of tablets, they are also eager to skip any written instructions impatiently tapping on every boring button that separates them from an exciting game.

This familiarity with mobile devices also presented a major challenge in of itself... How to make a kid amazed by yet another supposedly very-cool-app-that-will-teach-you-essential-things-about-life ?

Our answer : With a great story of course!

Story time

EPIC : "Remember when you were kids and teamed up with your cousins to form a spy gang and save the world ? That pleasant feeling of responsibility, those superpowers and that satisfaction of crushing your enemies' bones ? That's what got us excited a long time ago, and that's what still excites any kid, anywhere, anytime!"

Client : "Great! but can we try and keep everyone's bones intact?"

EPIC : "Yes... of course... let's make these kids team up to find a nerdy kind of monster that wreaks havoc inside their school and have them save him from his own damage in the end. Eventually, they will be friends and will learn a valuable lesson together!"

Client : "Deal!"

Tiptop and Gluton

So... meet Gluton! A likeable yet reckless monster that needs help to get a better, healthier life. The main goal is to find him before he causes too much trouble. At each level, our beloved wannabe detectives try to understand who Gluton is, why he is so turbulent, or why he has terrible eating habits and they try to change his bad behaviour.
And then there is TipTop, the gamemaster. He is there to guide the kids through their adventure. He sends video instructions and pieces of advice to help the team reach their final goal.

Game environment

While the activity is deployed in schools, the kids are teleported to the parallel universe of “Gluton island”, an island full of obstacles scattered among 6 different zones.

Pikchic Hill, Klochpié Lake, Fougrimace Valley and Grobobar Cave are some of the exotic and mysterious zones to explore. Each zone had to be mapped to the 'real' world environment of the kids’ school : sports hall, refectory, classroom... according to the specificity of each school.

Constraints

Schools in the province of Liège differ substantially. Some are pretty well equipped, others not at all. For example, it’s not always possible to rely on a good internet connection, nor on spacious sports hall and the location of each challenge depends on the school infrastructure. Furthermore, the number of players for each team can vary between 3 to 4 kids.

To tackle these constraints, the app needs to be quickly customisable and the tablets have to be easily synchronised by an organizer.

The kids have to go through 6 different levels involving the use of augmented reality, proximity detectors and image recognition. The different size of spaces, the light conditions and the weather in Belgium were not there to help us make the most of such experimental technologies.

Technology

For all the reasons mentioned above, we decided to rely on Unity to build the whole app. We set up a local network with a Raspberry pi to make synchronising the tablets easier, we used bluetooth proximity detectors to hunt treasures, and used Google ARCore to reveal hidden clues to the kids.
Read the technical case study

Testing and outcome

As any experimental project, user testing in real conditions and environment is key.

So we hired our kids, our neighbour’s kids, our friend’s kids and all the 8 to 10 years old kids we could find to test the app. We mixed up ages and genders to make different teams. And we were astonished by the questions they raised and the opinions they made about it.

They liked things we thought were boring and hated other things we were very excited about. This ‘reality check’ was essential to rebuild some challenges and make them better.

When the app was stable enough, we tested it in a pilot school. The kids were very excited, teachers were very worried... and we were very proud. While some bugs did appear and some tablets had to be restarted, the overall experience revealed how much kids are keen to collaborate and learn together when handed responsibilities and a device full of technology.

Character design

We designed Gluton as a likeable yet reckless monster. Emotions are an important theme of the app, so Gluton had to be capable of anger and frustration, to be subject to fear and sadness, while having a cute smile and a contagious laugh.

Food and heroes

At some points, the kids had to use printed cards to interact with the app.
We designed food cards and characters cards in a colorful and cute low-poly style.

What's next?

After a few sessions of debugging and polishing, the app is now ready to be deployed in Liège’s primary schools where more than 8.000 kids will learn about mental and physical health...
and we couldn’t be prouder.

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