Mission to Planet 429 was a joint venture between Nukotoys and WTTW (PBS) in Chicago, and funded through a grant from the US Department of Education.
The immersive 3D game targeted 6-8 year olds, and aimed to teach children simple machines concepts (lever, pully, etc), through reading activities. The game also sought to be as beautifully designed as the commercial games that children are naturally attracted to.
Planet 429 is actually Earth, and players are "Worldsplorers" who's job is to learn about the simple machines of earth. They must find real-world examples of each simple machine in the game-world (a carnival), and scan a picture into a "splorb". When they find 4 examples, their splorb is full, and they are then able to use the simple machine as a real tool in the game world.
Unfortunately, the game was too hard for kids. I was brought into help make the game developmentally appropriate, and a better educational experience.
I created the concept and interface design for the Splorb gallery. This tool helped young players to build new concepts of simple machines by offering a compare-and-contrast interaction for simple machines discoveries. (note: Flip-a-Frog is a carnival game, and their objective is to fill their "Lever Splorb").
After students fill their splorb, they have to answer a question to activate it. Activation means they get to use the simple machine as a tool in the game.
I redesigned children's text encounters to facilitate concept development.
Delivered a 40+ page internal, multipurpose research paper that explored the efficacy and marketablity of educational video games [such as Nukotoys’ Mission to Planet 429]. This paper was to be the basis of a grant.