Apart of Me
Apart of Me is a serious game providing a safe space for children to explore when someone they love is dying. Playerthree were approached by Bounce Works to help conceptualise and develop an early game concept to take to potential funders.
Having successfully secured an initial round of funding on the basis of their proposal and the concept, we were able to work together to develop a more polished prototype version of the game for user testing and to help Bounce Works seek further funding for Apart of Me.
The scope of such a project is huge and extremely sensitive in its execution and delivery given nature of the subject matter. Guiding and educating children going through such am emotional and traumatic time by using a game mechanic was huge challenge to get right. However, young children are so at ease in the digital world that, to them, gaming and apps are a natural place to spend time discovering information. Traditional print outs and web based solutions currently on offer simply to not engage a child in the same way.
Playerthree attended user sessions and brainstorms with children and their families to explore and discuss some of the physical methods and guides currently employed by carers and therapists which they find most helpful. This was really insightful and beneficial to the style and setting for the game, a peaceful pleasant island that you could call your own and explore at your leisure. A place to stay and think.
There is no win or lose scenario in Apart of Me, the child is really on a quest to understand what’s happening in their life and be given some ideas, tools and methods for dealing with the process. The app through the guiding Oracle, also encourages the child to take photos of their loved one, store memories, find and talk to people they trust in the real world. Finding question rocks and taking on challenges in the game is all part of gaining experience points. Ultimately you should become an ‘Oracle’ yourself, armed with the knowledge of how to deal with the loss.
To quote from Bounce Work’s website, “Dealing with the terminal illness and inevitable death of a loved one is difficult at any age – but for a child it’s devastating, especially as our taboos around death and dying leave many children without honest, appropriate conversations, leading to negative outcomes including depression, school exclusion and criminality. By making trusted, conventional counselling techniques available to children through newly-available technology Apart of Me will provide a medium in which the taboo around dying can be gently overcome, so that children with a terminally ill parent or loved one can turn their nightmare into an experience that gives them resilience well into their future.”
Of course no app or game can fully replace the work of personal one to one counselling, but as with so many such support services there simply are not enough resources and trained staff to help every child through such a time in their lives. Apart of Me is just the starting step to helping children in a welcoming, safe engaging way.
Bounce Works secured their prototype funds from Nominet Trust. As Bounce Works are a startup, their funding was limited, but their aspirations naturally high to achieve a high quality product. Within the boundaries of budget, Playerthree were able to make the most efficient use of resources by creating the game using a mix of bespoke 3D modelled and animated assets in-house as well as third-party licensed environment objects to help speed up development. All of the design, brand and ui was created by Playerthree in-house.
Bounce Works hope to secure further funding and are actively looking for backers for the project. This will allow them to scope out the whole complete project and for us to expand the content, tools and locations within the app.