We were tasked by Cbeebies to bring this charming 2013 hit show onto the web with a lovingly crafted HTML5 experience that supports the animated series and could be enjoyed on both desktop and mobile.

Aims

To build an experience that lives up to the beautifully presented Sarah & Duck animated series in terms of quality and charm, whilst simultaneously making our game as widely supported as possible. It was essential that the character and warmth of the show to be very present throughout the experience, and for the pitch-perfect animations to come through faithfully.

Challenges

The pacing and presentation of the game would need to match the audience’s expectations and echo the ethos of the brand. The approach needed to be one of gentle curiosity and explorative play, with a healthy dose of fun and good humour to go with it.

Understandably, Cbeebies were keen to reach as wide an audience as possible with this game including all major desktop browsers (going back seven years with Internet Explorer 7!) as well as a range of mobile devices. This presented a huge technical challenge because HTML5 is still very much in its infancy and support for many features is patchy among modern browsers, let alone ones as long-in-the-tooth as the venerable IE7!

Results

Through working closely with the CBeebies in-house production team, along with Karrot Media (the genius behind Sarah & Duck) we were able to make sure the experience we delivered would compliment the existing show and be up to snuff.

We set the game in Sarah & Duck’s house and have the title characters take the player by the hand and into their world. We’ve crammed the 4 mini-games on offer along with the house itself full with many of the shows esoteric cast of characters and classic scenes from the show. We also make good use of the beautiful music and voice-over artists to really bring the whole thing to life.

The house is faithfully recreated from the show and features four areas to explore. Each room has its own personality and features a bunch of interactive elements (including bonus characters) to find. The player can move through the house organically rather than have to return to a central hub or in-game menu screen each time. We thought this structural layout suited the often meandering, free-flowing nature of Sarah’s decision-making.

There’s a game to be found in each of the four areas, with each offering the player something different but always in keeping with themes from the show. We have reflex and coordination-based games such as ‘Duck Tennis’ as well as games that deal with music or memory and visual skills such as ‘Same Bread’. Tying them all together is the rainbow results screen which helps players see how they’re getting on and lets them compare how well they’re doing across the games.

The overall end result is teeming with the beautiful frame-based animation that Sarah & Duck is known for, along with authentic visuals, voice over and themes.We hope that it will stand as a successful example of how we can use HTML5 to deliver charming games across many platforms old and new, touch-based and mouse-powered without compromising on the fun!

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