The Journey of Alvin
|Nature of the initiative||Private|
The journey of Alvin is an interactive story which allows to accompany Alvin, riding his old mower, willing to travel 400 miles to be reunited with his brother.
Alvin’s Journey could be described as as an app-movie, a small nod to the world of film; one of the attractions or points of difference is that the application takes advantage of the resources of cinematographic language. The scenes are linked by fused, straight cuts, and the users can perceive the passage of time by ellipses. The long shots and medium shots are combined and the feeling is, at times, of being in charge of a film in which one can manage the time, giving it a particular rhythm without altering history.
Of course, in the application, the story has a great weight to enhance this cinematographic air. The team believed it was necessary that the narrator’s voice had presence, recognition, and the capacity to transmit the quality of the story and to give it a trace of classic tales. There is nothing better than having the presence of two great voice actors: Pepe Mediavilla, the voice in Spanish and Nicholas Guy Smith, the voice in English.
The idea of the team behind it was to bring children the stories that had influenced and excited them as adults, and they thought it was possible, avoiding, of course, the usual ways. And so, in a night dream, appeared the character of Alvin, the protagonist of a real event which also inspired the film director David Lynch, and just like him, the team believed that many of the values in the original story – the long journey an old man in his small tractor in order to visit his brother – could be present in our history and that could be told to a child. The result is an application that speaks of another way of doing things and looking at life, and where there is a balance between the story, which allows the users to be spectators, and the interactions, the users become the protagonists, discovering sounds, playing with the characters, or painting the landscape.
The app is available worldwide at Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon. There is also a lite version for free.
Children and teens are the most active tablet and smartphone users due to the many apps designed and targeted for a younger audience. 63.5% of the App Store’s apps are for kids, 56% for children, 11.5% for infants and toddlers, 7.5% for preschoolers, and 1.5% are for elementary school children. Consumers have downloaded these apps more than 28 billion times, as young children and teens are increasingly embracing smartphone technology for entertainment and educational purposes. We decided to produce apps because of this opportunity. Most of the apps for kids aren't rounded. Our perspective is that they have a poor design or concept and they don't consider to the kids as smart as they are.
While developing this app it was decided to create a framework that allowed to speed up the production time in projects like this. Thanks to this framework and the type of product that we are developing, it’s possibile to create multi-device apps for iOS and Android at the same time, speeding up production time (15 days per app on average), In a format that also works for web browsers.
Due the nature of the app (16 scenes) and the framework that can be reused for other stories, it was considered to create a physical book as an additional business model for the company so we found an original format for The journey of Alvin: “The kamishibai”. Kamishibai, (kah-mee-she-bye) or “paper-theater,” is said to have started in Japan in the late 1920s, but it is part of a long tradition of picture storytelling, beginning as early as the 9 th or 10 th centuries when priests used illustrated scrolls combined with narration to convey Buddhist doctrine to lay audiences. Later, etoki (picture-tellers) adopted these methods to tell more secular stories. Throughout the Edo period (1603-1867) and on into the Meiji period (1868-1912), a variety of street performance styles evolved, using pictures and narration. In the 1930s, Japan suffered from an economic depression that sent many people onto the streets looking for a way to live from one day to the next, and kamishibai offered an opportunity for artists and storytellers to make a meager living. During and after World War II, kamishibai became an ever more integral part of the society as a form of entertainment that could be transported easily even into bomb-shelters and devastated neighborhoods. At this time, it was entertainment as much for adults as for children. We thought Kamishibai is a perfect solution to encourage children to tell stories in their own ways and for imaging and creating their own stories.
We arranged a deal with Sieteleguas Publishing House to release a kamishibai of The Journey of Alvin for 2016. The book is going to be distributed in the main retailers in many countries.
The role of technology
The capabilities of Adobe Flash allowed the team to create a new atmosphere in children’s interactive tales . At the same time, with Adobe Air it was also created a version for IOS and Android. We used github for controlling the different versions and Wordpress for the development of our website.
Among the development Features, it's worth to mention:
- Layout and animation with Flash CC IDE, using vector animation techniques;
- Programmation with Ad-Hoc framework developed in ActionScript 3.0. The framework manages the scenes and actions from instructions specified in a XML manifest. This feature allows to customize the app for multiple languages or different combinations of actions or scenes;
- The app is builded for both iOS and Android platforms using Adobe Air compiler;
- Integration with Google Analytics for tracking purporses. Use of ANE´s (Adobe Native Extension).
The result was a mobile app designed for smartphones and tablets for both iOS (5.1 +) and Android (2.2 +) platforms with no Ads, no IAP, no data recollection.
- 15.000 downloads so far;
- Top 25 best apps for kids 2014 by The Guardian;
- Top 10 best apps for kids 2015 by El chupete;
- Gold Laus Award. Best app 2015;
- License for creating a physical book. Agreement with Sieteleguas Publishing House;
- License for a big marketplace of children’s apps. Kidz in Mind.