Reimagining creativity, wonder, and reward for Skylanders™ Imaginators.
Kids are natural-born makers and love building, breaking, and experimenting. Yet console game companion apps aimed at the 8-11 age group were falling short of extending game creativity on mobile.
We went beyond the idea of ‘second-screens’ by creating an integral screen experience. We created robust opportunities for endless exploration, creativity, wonder, and reward.
Along with Activision and Toys for Bob, we created a platform that opened up a new revenue stream of customizable characters, all of which synced seamlessly to the console game. This became a vital part of the game’s success.
Blurring the Line Between Toy, App, and Game
We set out to create a symbiotic relationship between console and app, providing a unique way to adapt and expand the Skylanders world. Designed as a multi-tiered extension of Skylanders Imaginators, we created Skylanders Creators — a mobile experience with a difference.
For the first time, players can custom-build their own Skylanders characters and transfer them to the console game quickly and easily. Players have the ability to unlock new parts, gear or weapons; build teams; and easily share their favourite creations on social media.
The most exciting part? Using the app, kids can turn their customized characters into physical 3D-printed toys or playing cards, which can then be imported back into the game.
Finger Food was able to create an intuitive interface to encourage and nurture creativity, seamlessly transferring the magic found in the Imaginators game not only into the Creator app but the physical world too.
Expanding the Skylanders Imaginators World
One of our key aims with the Creator app was to allow kids to shape their own experience within Imaginators, dding another layer of creativity through hands-on character editing. We also wanted to ensure that the app was fun, functional, and easy for kids to use; even with limited or no Internet access.
When transferring characters from console to app, the app is able to listen for audio signals from the console and interpret these into code, turning this into the character on the app.
Expanding the Imaginators universe also meant we could broaden the product offerings outside the game. Once the character is created within the app or transferred from the console, players can order a chip-enabled, playable Skylanders figure or trading card. Players can then pull their custom character back into the game using the 3D printed toy, bringing the Skylanders universe into the real world and back again.
Finger Food was able to successfully design, build, and deliver this platform loop of endless creativity, wonder and reward.
A Collaborative Effort
Bringing Skylanders Imaginators to life was a collaborative effort between Finger Food and our client partners. Starting with Activision to design and craft the concept, Toys For Bob, to align the project with the Skylanders Imaginators console game; Demonware who rendered images for cards and t-shirts; Shapeways 3D printers; and Chirp, developer of the audio processing API that would transfer the Skylander recipe from console to app. As developers of the IOS and Android software, Finger Food was at the central point of all these technologies coming together.
It was a challenge to coordinate a solution with so many stakeholders. The Chirp API was under active development while Finger Food developed the app, we had to be very agile in our development as the console game changed, Chirp APIs were updated and services we depended on came online.
Finger Food helped define the integration points within the online store in order to maintain project momentum. We helped define the APIs Demonware were developing, which was a major challenge because there were no well-defined libraries to use. We also experimented with the Chirp APIs to modify behavior. Extensively testing with signal strength, length of tones, and compression, to ensure high rates of successful transfers.
Another technical challenge was the sheer scope of the digital content that Toys for Bob was producing. The performance available on the console is far superior to mobile, so we created a workflow to reduce the poly count of their models, down-sample the textures and re-implement many of their particle effects. Our priority was ensuring characters on the app looked as similar as possible to their console counterparts.
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