Take a tour through Ancient Rome in our interactive film with game elements for the BBC, which attracted 1.2m visitors in six months

The brief

We were asked to create an interactive film with immersive gaming elements to play alongside a six-part BBC TV show about Ancient Rome. Core to the proposition was to include educational content in a non-traditional way, being discreetly informative.

The BBC really wanted to push the medium and what was technically possible at the time – an ambition we were only too happy to share.

Our response

The storyline of the game takes the form of a dark contemporary thriller set in the background of the series broadcast on television. The central narrative premise – a prop man working on the show becoming embroiled in intrigue and dark happenings – takes the story beyond the broadcast. We developed the plot in conjunction with the BBC, their scriptwriter and a Roman history consultant, and together we ensured that dramatic purpose and historical accuracy were at the centre of the experience.

The project was the first in which the BBC combined online and interactive television budgets, enabling us to develop elements from the programme within the online experience, and vice versa. For example, the game’s central character, Adam Foster, appears in the show’s closing credits as the prop man, to add that extra link and layer of credibility between the two.

We worked in 3D to plan and model the environments that the live-action was to be keyed into. The main challenge was combining the video footage with the CGI elements seamlessly, ensuring all angles matched and the filmic quality was retained. Hundreds of clips of video offer the player a raft of routes through, and a number of possible resolutions to the story depending on the choices made during their game. This created a level of depth previously not achieved online.

CDX was rolled out in four phases, sequentially unlocked as installments of the six-part television programme went to air. The game was then released to a global audience with the support of Adobe, who sponsored the international version, seeing it as great example of what could be achieved with their creative and interactive tools. The experience attracted 1.2 million unique visitors in the first six months.

"Exceptional attention to detail and high production values set this effort apart from other adventures... another remarkable production from Preloaded."

Jay Bibby,

The Results

  • Awards

    Cannes Lions - Games (2007)
    Royal Television Society - Educational Multimedia (2007)
    Flash Forward - Games (2007)

  • Nominations

    BAFTA - Best Website (2007)
    D&AD - Silver Pencil (2007)
    SXSW - Amusement (2007)
    Webby - Best Broadband Site (2007)
    BIMA - Games (2007)
    BIMA - Entertainment (2007)

  • 1,200,000

    Visitors in the first 6 months