The Dumping Ground


Play solo or live against friends in a series of messy mini-games inspired by CBBC’s landmark TV show

The brief

The Dumping Ground is the new flagship CBBC television drama taking over from the long-running Tracy Beaker series. Characters and locations from the original show are faithfully continued, with the children’s home ‘The Dumping Ground’ becoming the new focal point of the action.

The Dumping Ground is a major launch for CBBC, and reinventing the hugely popular show for new audiences has meant that a fully integrated online presence was a prerequisite. The BBC commissioned Preloaded to produce the online experience, supported by their increasingly ambitious gaming strategy.

Our response

The Dumping Ground is a suite of multiplayer games thematically linked to the key characters, locations and events of the TV series.

The suite allows the player to create their own avatar in the style of Nick Sharratt’s original series illustrations, before selecting an opponent to battle in a series of head-to-head challenges:

Cool Pool – A fun and frenetic strategy game, Cool Pool takes the basic rules of pool and creates a new and exciting arcade experience
Tricky Trapdoors – Protect your counters from falling through the trapdoors whilst trying to bash your opponents down them
Dessert Drop – Slide your choice of desserts down the kitchen table to get as close to the end as possible. A cross between Shove Ha’penny and Coin Drop with a load of messy fun thrown in!
Roller Round Up – Don your roller skates and navigate a course through the Dumping Ground, avoiding Mike and Gina who run the home. Race to collect a range of Dumping Ground goodies – first to three wins!

The player has the opportunity to play against the the full cast of Dumping Ground characters as well as challenge their BBC Connected Friends or random opponents. Each Dumping Ground character featured in the games has different playing abilities depending on their personality traits in the show.

Unique to this suite is a ‘taunts’ system allowing players to interact with their favourite characters from the show, as well as converse safely with friends. We also created a fully-featured leaderboard and achievement system which is used to extend play and reward alternative play styles respectively.

Alongside the challenge of creating fun and replayable games to a tight deadline, the BBC required core integration into their Games Grid framework and new Connected Friends ‘social layer’ enhancement. Preloaded worked closely with the BBC tech teams to develop the frameworks concurrently, ensuring joined-up production and delivery. This integration has allowed for a full multiplayer experience which is the first benchmark example of working with the BBC’s new framework.

The Dumping Ground has been an ambitious project with significant creative and technical challenges which we have answered through close collaboration with the team at the BBC. We’re hugely proud of the results and look forward to engaging fans of the show both during and after the series is broadcast.

The Dumping Ground is the most visited and played game on the BBC site.

Since launch the suite of games has had over 1 million unique players and 3.5million high scores submitted. The games have also driven BBC ID Sign-in on CBBC from 10% to over 40%.

The games are currently doing 184,000 plays per week, of which 18% are multiplayer.

The Results

  • Nominations

    Broadcast Awards - Children's (2013)

  • 184,000

    Plays per week