The Science Museum asked us to develop an educational game to promote the opening of their revamped Launchpad Gallery. They wanted the game to be available not only online, but also in kiosk form for use within the gallery itself, and for the game to feature social and user-generated aspects.
Most importantly, the game needed to teach children between the ages of 8 -14 about the basic scientific principles of physics in an engaging manner. Careful consideration of how to include key physics-related phenomena and how to tie these all together in a cohesive experience, was critical.
In its simplest form Launchball is a level-based game with one objective: to get a ball to a goal in order to complete each stage. The player must use and master a set of blocks with physics-related properties in order to do this. The level structure and focus on the ball keeps the sense of a game whilst the blocks provide the educational touch-points across the 36 levels available.
In addition to this, a level-designer allows users to create their own levels and share them with friends, the best of which are featured on the Science Museum site. A competition to encourage people to create their most fiendish level designs has resulted in visitors building and sharing over 65,000 levels.
Within days of launching, the game was Digg’d over a thousand times, spreading the link quickly through the internet, this huge level of word-of-mouth interest means a Google search for Launchball currently returns 55,000 results specific to the game. With Launchball being blogged about globally, game walkthroughs have quickly appeared across the web, including several comprehensive YouTube tutorials by passionate fans.
In the first six months the game attracted over 2.8 million game plays rising at a rate of around 200,000 new visitors each month. To date, the game has been played over 10 million times.