Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Serious Games Offering Pre-School Positive Life Lessons

Serious Games instilling core values

Via: Chugginton Production Blog - Red Knight Creating Virtual World for Kids
London-based Ludorum has been developing Chuggington, a children's IP based on three trains and their human conductors. Last October it raised £3.1 million to fund the brand after securing UK broadcasting rights with the BBC for a production budget of $7.3 million.

Now the company has partnered with Dallas, Texas-based Red Knight Learning Systems (please find my prior posting on Red Knight Serious Games For Cultural Preservation) to create "the interactive view-and-play world as well as Serious Games integrated into the world, all based on the richly animated television series.

Red Knight is creating virtual world prototypes, original artwork and learning-based games for the Chugginton's debut in the interactive arena. Targeted at children 3-6, the brand will also be rolled in books and toys next year.
The games and interactivity in the online world will offer positive life lessons and instill core values. Parents will be able to participate in the design of the children's learning and interactive experiences by designating the priority of developmental and learning events as well as the level of community interaction.

The project is novel in its blend of high production values, a virtual world that can be experienced alone or with others, and games that offer the best balance of learning and fun.

"We are honored to be selected by Ludorum to work on this fun and interesting project," said John A. Purdy, president and co-owner of Red Knight. "We're happy to be lending our expertise to the design and development of Chuggington's Virtual World."

Red Knight's team is one portion of a global network coming together to develop the online learning game. Apart from Ludorum, toy manufacturer Learning Curve, based in Chicago, Ill., and animation studio Shanghai Motion Magic Digital Entertainment, based in China, will also play major roles in its development and roll-out.

Red Knight Learning Systems, which opened its doors less than two years ago, is relatively unknown in the video games industry. CEO John Purdy said the studio is one of the first wave of "Serious Games" studios. Its prior projects include a reading tutoring simulation for Southern Methodist University.

Purdy also said the company is bidding to become the developer for a NASA-licensed multi-player game where thousands of people online can explore known portions of outer space together, learning math, science and astronomy along the way.

Launch of Chuggington in multiple media formats, including the online game, is projected for the first quarter of 2009.