The client came to us with a simple request
To create an interactive application to help US Army Reserve Soldiers deal with and balance demands of family, the workplace, and military responsibilities. The end result needed to be a prototype product accessible on any device and capable of being expanded to a larger scale effort.
Starting at square one
We knew that before we began brainstorming the design, we needed to identify and understand our target audience. Our analysis identified males, ages 17-26, as the target population with the greatest number of Army Reserve related challenges and issues.
Once we identified and studied our audience we needed to figure out how we were going to help these Soldiers navigate the challenges of everyday life. We knew whatever we designed needed to keep the attention of our audience through humor, fast-paced scenarios, and a squirrel…yes, a squirrel.
LIFE SKILLS MODEL
Our research led to the selection and integration of a sound life skills model modified to meet the needs of the identified population. A specific skill included controlling Soldiers’ emotional impulses through everyday situations.
FAST, FUNNY, AND ENGAGING
So we started brainstorming. We analyzed successful and unsuccessful commercial and military applications, marketing campaigns; anything and everything we could get our hands on.
Upon analysis of all the collected data, we designed and built a choose-your-own adventure game where players could experience what life was like in the Army Reserves and model good and bad behavior through decision making.
ON TO STORYBOARDING
With the ideas in place, we started writing. Wow, did we come up with some stories. When all was said and done we had developed 36 scenarios that enabled players to experience a variety of situations highly dependent on decisions made and how the user played the game.
Each decision point was linked to specific learning objectives and every scenario was visually mind mapped so we could track decision paths and edit accordingly.
... And Design
We pushed for funny. We developed 2D characters that we could animate in 3D space. We built an animation system so characters could have custom expressions. A total of 27,000 different combinations actually. It was all really cool and we did it all within six months.
It's a success!
Our Beta product was tested by more than 1,000 Reservists with overwhelmingly positive feedback. The test successfully published on iTunes for iOS devices, Google Play for Android, Windows PC’s, Mac’s, and available on all browsers with an Internet connection.
Approximately 1,700 users accessed Reserve Life across multiple platforms and devices, with 4,355 total page views. We think this is a good sign that people liked the game and will continue to play it.