The Quintessentially Kiwi World of The Vloggingtons
You’re sitting on a chilled-looking donkey named Honey Drops, and you’re ready to race. You’ve got your thumb on the space bar in case you need to throw a bagel at an opponent while you move, dodge and shove your opponents using your keyboard. Honey Drops is a surprisingly fast runner, considering the stumpy size of her legs.
A horn blows, and the race begins. With sparkling rainbows shooting from Honey Drop’s rump, you bravely navigate plates of jelly and the floor intermittently being lava while throwing bagel buns and old biscuits at your race rivals to ward them off.
This is The Vloggingtons Epicool Kai Karting game, created by a crack team of Watermark Creative artists and featuring characters from the animated Kiwi TV show ‘The Vloggingtons’. Once you’ve started throwing bagels, it’s hard to stop.
Heat up your space potatoes and try the game here (but promise you’ll come back and read about how our clever team made it happen coz good games take a fair bit of brain juice to develop).
A call from a TV producer, a year of development, and a dollop of NZ on Air funding
Julian Stokoe of The Vloggingtons production company Yoozoo approached us with the idea to create a game featuring key Vloggingtons characters. The world that Julian has created in the show is incredibly witty and quintessentially Kiwi. So it was an honour, and a giant bucket of fun, to be given the opportunity to extend the world into a game.
To help bring the project to fruition, we applied for funding from government organisation NZ on Air, and were granted the financial resources to make it happen. The funding has allowed us to release the game on the popular NZ platform, Hei Hei Games.
We had no hardline requirements to stick to, other than it should promote healthy interactive behaviour for kids, feel inclusive, feel Kiwi and be super fun! The Vloggington world already ticks a bunch of these boxes so our job was to simply extract a game from the show’s rich IP. We had the luxury of setting our own timeline, so we used the opportunity to indulge our gaming desires and showcase our animation talents. We gleaned different game ideas from watching all The Vloggingtons episodes and riffed on themes, characters, and assets to develop a game concept.
Haven’t watched The Vloggingtons? NZ residents can check them out here.
We discussed the logistics around multiplayer gaming and local co-op (where you cooperatively play with friends as a team) and deliberated how we would allow for different device experiences.
The gameplay was designed to be a fun solo and local co-op experience with a competitive edge. Players are rewarded for their creativity during the game and earn awards for successes and mishaps. Our intention was for players to learn the ins and outs of the game through discovery and replayability rather than tutorials, enabling them to work out which items to use to their advantage and which obstacles to avoid.
The game has just launched, so we’re still in the process of gathering user feedback, but from initial alpha & beta testing, it went down like an icy cold shake on a sizzling summer’s day.
We’ve already had an honourable plug on the ‘What Now’ Sunday kids TV show, which is pretty much the equivalent of a Super Bowl ad in this space! We’re incredibly proud of the final result and thoroughly enjoyed the process of making it. We’d love to hear what you, our wonderful clients think.
What are you waiting for? Get your space bar ready, and choose your character.
Send us a message via [email protected] and let us know what you thought of the game.
Raise a toasted bagel to the team who made it happen:
Lead Game Design: Shannon Jahnel Lanktree
Game Development: Josh van Den Heever
Interactive Design: Nicholas Harris
UI / UX Design: Sam Bunny
Animation: Shannon Jahnel Lanktree, Meng Hong Yong, Hollie Secomb
Producer: David Way
Artwork/Audio/Character Design: Julian Stokoe (from YooZoo)