What happens when a would-be wizard tries to make it in the “humdrum” world? You decide! eko is an award-winning video platform that allows viewers to control the story in real time with decision points and mini-games overlaid on top of real-life actors. For the eko original series Wizard School Dropout, Bluecadet created an interactive framework for an entirely new kind of user. They’re part viewer, part player.
Project Videos and Images
A New Experience
Wizard School Dropout is somewhere between a live-action television show, choose your own adventure story, and video game. Bluecadet developed in-episode games that let users participate directly in the world of the show, “gamifying” cinematic video content to keep viewers active and engaged. How the show progresses along the 598,617 possible storylines depends not just on the choices they make, but also how well they play. That ultimately gives users a greater stake in the story.
Wizard School Dropout interactive gameplay centers on magic spells cast by rapid swirling or tapping on the part of the user. Spells fail or succeed, changing the storyline, based on the user’s actions. Bluecadet developed the gameplay mechanics and worked closely with the Wizard School Dropout production team to overlay them onto the live-action scenes. Unlike traditional game development, we had to sync the gameplay, associated animations, and UI displays with actors’ movements and the video timeline of each scene.
Our greatest challenge involved getting several different technologies (including React, Pixi, GSAP, and Particle systems) to all work together. The result was a completely unique kind of development, in both process and result. Not web development, game development, film production, or post production, but a mix of them all.
Collaboration from Day One
To seamlessly integrate our technology into the show, Bluecadet was involved in every step of the process, from conceptual development to post-production. Sharing our early prototypes with the rest of eko’s team was critical in learning how best to support the show’s complex branching storylines, provide a consistent experience on multiple platforms, and optimize performance on mobile. Later, our team storyboarded with the writers, developed shot recommendations with the director, and collaborated with the post-production house on the visual effects for the minigames.
The Future with eko
We designed a flexible visual identity and motion style for a range of UX moments, games, and storylines, effectively creating a library of activities that eko can use with other shows down the line.
“Bluecadet is a pleasure to work with, and always manages to 'wow' everyone at Eko.”