Away Media has recently been involved with CBBC in the development of an online interactive story for the kid’s TV show My Almost Famous Family. The show tracks the highs and lows of the Swann family as they try to make it as a band, and the recently launched online story continues the narrative with a series of minigames based around the children of the family as they attempt to form a breakaway group and win the local battle of the bands tournament.
The entire game is located in a 3D ‘map’ of events as they unfold, with various mishaps and discoveries along the way unlocking new content. The user is drawn into the narrative with a clever use of webcam video of the band seen as if they were communicating directly with you, and it is here where the main story unfolds. Each event is punctuated by either a video clip or minigame, with the latter requiring the user to perform a task that allows the story to advance to the next stage.
Each minigame can be completed fairly easily so that no one game is a barrier to progressing through the story, however for those who like a more competitive edge, results and highscores are logged and users can revisit a game at any stage to try and improve on their personal best. There are also some nice touches in the story where the results of your completed tasks are used directly with the narrative.
Away Media’s role in the project was primarily the development of the global navigation and game shell, with the 3D map using a mixture of Away3D Lite and native Flash 3D. The minigames were contracted separately and integrated into the main site with the help of the Away Media development team, who also looked after all server communication, asset loading, video playback and control interfaces. The end result is an engaging interactive story that treads new ground for the online portal of a TV show, mixing live action video with interactive flash games in a seamless and convincing manner. Check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/myalmostfamousfamily/