Games media brand IGN came to us to create a hub site to promote the launch of Star Trek The Video Game – the latest release from Namco Bandai Games and Paramount. The site was to launch multi-language across 12 territories, and include a browser game which invites IGN readers to help recolonize Planet Vulcan.
Knowing the Star Trek audience are incredibly passionate about the franchise we wanted to create an immersive experience for them, and a site in keeping with their expectations of this brand extension. It was also important for the project that we worked closely with Namco Bandai, Paramount & IGN and conducted our own research to meet the brief as accurately and with the greatest attention to detail possible. So we initially embarked on a planning process to fully scope the project.
We decided to keep the game itself to be quite simple. Our audience was not only Star Trek fans but IGN readers, who knew their way around web-based and console games and we needed to keep the barrier to entry low for participation. We decided to build a series of daily challenges (over 25 days) throughout the game, and given clues as to where players need to target on the map and awarded points for their accuracy. Prizes are awarded periodically by players attaining levels of prosperity for their settlement, and submitted to the grand prize draw. Equally the narrative had to play a strong role in engaging players over the campaign period, as they progressed in an effort to re-colonize Planet Vulcan. It was decided that all in-game communications were to be delivered by The Vulcan Principal Research Council.
After going through a process of detailing a series of user journeys and user stories, the next stage was to wireframe the game hub to ensure we had captured all required functionality. This phase also helped us consider and agree the hierarchy of content by page.
The social game user interface was to be constructed in Flash, as well as the map designed in a futuristic isometric style, drawing inspiration from the concept art from the video game. We worked closely with Paramount to ensure that the detail for the map was in line with the style of buildings, landmarks, space craft and terrain of Planet Vulcan. The site hub also had to reflect detail taken from the video game, including the colour palette and typefaces.
As each of the missions within the game would have different target points, we had to create a scoring system to help us determine how accurate a player was depending on how close to the target their effort was. We constructed the scoring algorithm to score attempts diminishing exponentially away from the target. Combined with this was a time element, as players were to be given a limit of ten minutes to complete each mission.
We brought in elements of gamification by creating a series of ranks for players to achieve during the game. These were communicated through a growl notification in-game and attributing a rank badge after achieving a point threshold. Also players could earn points by navigating round the site and uncovering certain ‘easter eggs’ of points.
If you like what we’ve done with Star Trek, let us know in the comments or get in touch to see what we could do for you…