“Do you know MOBY??”
Almost every K-8 teacher and student in America knows BrainPOP, and it was amazing to get to tell kids I worked there and knew their giant orange robot mascot.
As the first game developer to join the previously animation-only company, I was responsible for bringing software development practices to a decidedly art-school leaning team. This was a great opportunity to set up version control, QA, and user-testing in a blue-sky environment, and we started pushing updates extremely quickly.
Designed by the Learning Games Network, Food Fight teaches middle-school students about ecosystems, food webs, and experimentation.
Under the hood, there’s a lot of UI notifications going on to present the relevant information to both players, keep track of state, and perhaps most interestingly, somewhat realistic population modeling!
Food Fight instantly became the top-trafficked page on the entire site after its release.
Guts ‘n’ Bolts
Also designed in partnership with LGN, Guts n Bolts lets kids explore the human body by creating their very own cyborg. It’s fun.
Along with performance optimizations to handle the amount of animation taking place on the screen, a big challenge was figuring out the path planning to connect all the pipes in the game. They need to smartly connect from end-point to end-point while avoiding body parts and obscuring as little animation as possible.
Additionally, the nutrients that are carried within the blood are controlled programmatically and need to follow the path laid down by the pipes - they look wonky if the pipes are too bendy so the algorithm has to take that into account as well. All this needs to run smooth enough so the paths regenerate in real-time as the player drags their mouse across the screen!
Put it all together, and Guts ‘n’ Bolts took the gold medal at the 2012 Serious Play Conference.