Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Making of Treasure Island: Design Tests

Well a lot has happened since my last post.  We changed the name of the company from Magic IO to FlyingWord, Inc.  We decided to do Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson first and Wizard of Oz second.  We are still focused on creating interactive digital books for the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, and other mobile devices.

The app/book version of Treasure Island we are building is pretty ambitious. It's a full novel which is a much larger book project than most app/books out there. The manuscript is 200 - 300 pages depending on the layout.  Treasure Island also has a slightly different audience compared to most app/books - its for kids ages eight and up; not really small children.  This is a market that is virtually untapped in our opinion.

Treasure Island was first published in 1883 so its text is in the public domain. That was one of the attractions for us.  But really, the story is superb. A true classic in every sense.  The modern notion of pirates we have today came directly from this book which set the stereo type for thousands of books that followed.  The art work we use in the app/book is done by two different artists both of who illustrated Treasure Island books around the turn of the 20th century: N.C. Wyeth and Walter Paget - N.C. Wyeth paintings are dark and beautiful and Paget's drawings are full of energy. It's an excellent combination.

One of the things we've focused on a lot is application design. As you may know from earlier posts I, and the rest of FlyingWord, feel that good design is absolutely critical to a good product.  So, given that as our motto, we've been experimenting a great deal with different interfaces and effects.  We are a few weeks from being done with Treasure Island and the interface has evolved a lot but I thought I would share one of our early "tests" as we call them. That's where we whip up a mockup of the app book in After Effects to get a feel for how it works in practice.  It's faster than prototyping allowing us to do more iterations on design. We believe that these lightweight tests are one of the keys to creating great app/books.  The video, which was created by our talented Motion Graphic expert, RJ, is below.

Note that the music and narrative that accompanies this video is original and was created for us by very talented folks including a voice artist and a music composer - I'll talk about them in another post. For now take a gander and a listen at one of our early tests and let us know what you think!

Treasure Island for iPad from FlyingWord, Inc. on Vimeo.