It’s finally here! After over a year of development and production, we can with great pleasure unveil our latest giant project for CBeebies – the interactive games and adventures to accompany the broadcast release of Tree Fu Tom. We’ve had 14 months of getting to grips with the rules of Squizzle, creating beautiful magic effects in Flash, falling in love with the Treelings and of course practicing our Tree Fu moves!
Created to accompany the brand new TV series on Cbeebies, our beautiful and original online offering transports children to the enchanting world of Treetopolis. Using cutting-edge webcam technology, great storytelling and exciting gameplay, the project encourages kids to explore movement by performing spectacular magic spells and participating in thrilling interactive adventures. The games help children with movement disorders like Dyspraxia, but are also designed to assist and enhance the development of all children at an essential time in their growth, engaging them with all the hidden benefits of practising movement.
Tree Fu Tom’s online universe is huge. You can practice the Tree Fu moves that feature throughout the series alongside Tom, and play six different games which, as well as serving as standalone pieces of content, are also delivered within two unique interactive storylines. This innovative ‘interactive cartoon’ format (which we first explored for Driver Dan’s Story Train) lets you play in adventures together with Tom, exploring the world of Treetopolis and helping to find solutions to the problems he faces via gameplay. Each adventure and game segment kicks off with a different webcam spell. If you’re familiar with our Airbrush project for Tate Kids you’ll know just how clever this browser-based movement control is. Here we’ve refined it even further and added the ‘magical’ component of applying special effects in real time. Our Lead Developer, Alan has been working on the development of creating fiery particles and code to track your movement since last year, and he’ll be sharing all on a Plug-in Media blog post soon.
The interactive episodes featured on the Tree Fu site were written by Neil Richards, game writer and Director at The Mustard Corporation. Neil is also part of the CMC committee, alongside our own, Juliet Tzabar – and we’ve been waiting for the opportunity to work together for some while. The TV show was animated by the guys at Blue Zoo, whom we’ve also been collaborating with on Alphablocks and Olive the Ostrich following the success of 2010 BAFTA winning project, Zingzillas.
We’re incredibly proud of Tree Fu Tom and are delighted to share our project with you after all this time!
“One of the exciting things about working on Tree Fu Tom has been the opportunity to further develop our specialist motion detection technology. We can monitor kids performing movement-based magic spells and then super-impose special effects on top of a live webcam feed in real-time. For a six-year old, being able to see yourself exploding with magic is in itself incredibly magical! It’s a really successful example of marrying technology and narrative in way that completely fits with the brand.”
Creative Director, Dominic Minns
Winner: BIMAs 2012 Multi-Platform Category
Nomination: Children's Interactive BAFTA 2012
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