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Help Kickstart Story Box, a Brilliant Free App for Kids (and Parents!)

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Simon Keating is the creator of Croc: Legend Of The Gobbos, a platinum selling and ground breaking 3D platform game released on Playstation 1 back in 1997. Way back then, Simon was responsible for designing the characters, worlds and gameplay elements for this classic game.

Since then, Simon has worked on numerous blockbusters as designer, programmer and artist, including the Harry Potter series, South Park, Blade, The Incredibles, Littlest Pet Shop and many many more.

Launching a Kickstarter funding campaign to give it life, Simon has developed Story Box,  a co-operative platform for children, parents and teachers, empowering them to read, create and share fun 3D interactive learning experiences. Here’s what makes Story Box stand out from other similar apps in the market:
  • Full 3D. Just like a real play set, most things can be picked up, moved around and experimented with.
  • Cooperative Elements. Grown ups aren’t here just to turn the pages, they can create stories and add surprises at any time using Story Box’s ‘Magic Grown Up Buttons’. Some activities require cooperative teamwork. Grown ups can hide objects for kids to find, open gates, scare spiders away.. the list goes on..
  • Story Creation. The story creator allows the user to pick from a huge range of interactive toys and place them on each page of their story.

Story Box is a new concept enabling parents to engage actively with their child’s development in a fun and cooperative way. Children have the space to play, create and discover using interactive toys with educational content that is easy to use and lots of fun. There is also scope for parents to add their own touches as and when they wish, making the whole experience between parent and child a personal one.

The app includes a story creator mode for users to create their own stories and experiences and to share them between friends and loved ones. Even at this early stage, it already feels like an amazing tool for everyone to get creative with.

Story Box will be a free app that initially includes a single ‘Story Pack’. A Story Pack includes both a story and a wide selection of interactive props which you can use in your own creations. Additional ‘Story Packs’ can be downloaded for a charge to regular users, but will be free for many of our backers. In fact, many of our campaign supporters will receive free Story Packs for life!

Features

  • Story Creation. The story creator allows you to pick from a huge range of interactive toys and place them on each page of your story. Each toy will have its own unique behaviours. Rockets will lift off to space and monsters will surprise you!
  • Short Stories. Written in the first person, these stories encourage a reaction and interaction with the app itself. Stories can be read by the parent or the app can read to the child. We’ll start off with some classics but if we hit our stretch goals we’ll be able to hire some of the best children story writers to write for us.
  • Educational. Children are encouraged to engage with the app and discover new things. In many cases children will be rewarded through discovery and experimentation.
 Features
  • Cooperative Elements. Grown ups aren’t here just to turn the pages. Grown ups can create stories and add surprises at any time using Story Box’s ‘Magic Grown Up Buttons’. In addition, some activities require cooperative teamwork. Grown ups can hide objects for kids to find, open gates, catch balls, scare spiders away.. the list goes on..
  • Full 3D. Just like a real play set, most things can be picked up, moved around and experimented with. Using Unity 3D allows us to create graphics with extremely high fidelity.
  • Discovery. Unlike many apps, children are encouraged to experiment and play without rules or boundaries. Interacting with toys in different ways offers different kinds of rewards
  • Ad free. Story Box is and always will be Ad free!
  • Sharing. We’ve already incorporated Everyplay into the app so that users can record their own creations and share these movies with friends.
  • Rewards And Goals. Some stories and activities set targets for your child. In return your child is encouraged by winning rewards.
  • Expandable. Parents can add more toys and stories through in app purchases (Story Packs). We intend to continue to add stories and content well beyond the release of the app. Planned content packs include: Space, Monsters & Aliens, The Romans, Dinosaurs and many more…
  • Community driven. We really want parents and children to help us with the ongoing development of the app. This feedback loop will make Story Box the clear winner in the educational app market.

Simon has worked for both large and small companies alike, including Argonaut, Muckyfoot and Electronic Arts. Since founding his own company in 2007, Pigobo has created several self funded educational apps along with projects for clients including Microsoft and Hasbro. Simon was also a BAFTA judge (British Academy Of Film and Television Arts) for games in 2009.

With 20 years of industry experience, Simon has spent the last 5 or so years using Unity3d almost exclusively. This experience and skill combined with current software development tools make the time right for creating Story Box.

Simon is a father of two little boys. George(3) and Liam (18 months) who have been the main source of inspiration for Story Box.

Funding Targets

Simon explains,  “We’ve kept our funding target tiny and a lot of work has already been self funded. We need to meet our minimum funding target for the following development costs:

Programming & Technical Development – £10,000 (Approx $16,700 USD)

Artwork, 3D Modelling, Animation & Effects – £5,000 (Approx $8,350 USD)

Sound FX & Music– £500 (Approx $835 USD)

Quality Control & Testing – £2,000 (Approx $3340 USD)

Software Licenses & Tools – £2,000 (Approx $3340 USD)

Kickstarter Fees and campaign supporter rewards – £500 (Approx $835 USD)

Our main funding goal is really the minimal we need to ship Story Box. With additional funding over and above the basics, we will also be able to make Story Box great. We will implement the following features:

@£30k – Additional Story Packs! We will be able to add much more artwork and audio to the basic app and improve the overall experience. Extra props and behaviours will enable users to build more diverse creations. In addition, we will add multi language support. (EFIGS)

@£40kAdvanced Story Sharing. We will implement ‘Advanced Story sharing’ by which user stories can be kept on a database and shared with friends and family members that already own Story Box. Note: The initial app will include the ability to share pre-recorded ‘non- interactive’ versions of your stories only.

@£50kAdditional Platform 1 (Windows Phone)

@£60k – Additional Platform 2 (PS Vita Version)

@£80k+ – Celebrity voice over acting and established story writers. If we should ever reach such dizzy heights we should be able to afford the skills of established writers and actors to help us on our journey.

Additionally for every £3-4k after initial funding we will be able to develop an additional Story Pack each with it’s own unique stories and interactive props ready for use in your own creations. Story Packs will be developed concurrently to additional major features and funding allotted as and when required.

The possibilities with Story Box are as endless as they are creative.

Unity 3D is the best engine we’ve ever used and we’ve used it a lot. We will be using this engine exclusively to ship for all planned platforms.”

The Team
Simon Keating – Lead Developer. 20 Years games development experience.

Maria Eugenia D’Asta – Story writer and educational specialist. MA in Media & Transnational Communications. Currently teaching at the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.

Ben Evans – Developer. Has been developing games for most of his young life, and hopes to continue doing just that! Has worked with the Unity Engine for the past several years.

Justin Scharvona – Audio. The original Croc:Legend of the Gobbos audio guru ‘Justin Scharvona’ has agreed to come aboard provided we reach our goal.

Artists – With our breadth of experience we understandably have access to some of the finest artists ready to work with us once we have funding.

Focus Testing : George (Age 3), Liam (Age 2), Rohan (Age 5), Eva (Age 7), Amy (Age 5)

To be a part of this exciting new project and find out what the rewards for your support are, visit the Story Box page on Kickstarter

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