Trying Our Hands at Gamification

The LeapFrog Solutions’ (LFS) adventure in creating Back to the Pond started with a relatively simple question. Could our creative team develop an interactive game? Typically, the process of game creation is lengthy—you need to account for the development of a story, characters, environments, and then the process of storyboarding, user interface and experience, sound effects, music and final authoring and release. And even though our creative team is wildly talented, they didn’t have extensive experience developing games.

First level sketch of Back to the Pond designed by Sophocles Grafas

Back to the Pond level sketches by Sophocles Grafas

But at LFS, we’re always up for a challenge so our team set out to learn how to make this idea a reality. The first step was to research a program to fit all of our needs. Using a program called Stencyl allowed the team to stretch their creative brains. Our Art Director, Sophocles Grafas, learned how to use the program in a short period of time. “The sandbox of Stencyl’s framework, along with its rich community of information made the process fun.”

He, along with our Creative Director Tom Hight, Senior Art Director Jamie Spencer and Design Intern Kelly McGrath then began to design and develop the game. They set out to create four unique levels of the Pond with the goal of helping Froggy return to the Pond. Each designer was responsible for a level and developed physical and digital concepts and created elements to give depth and richness to the gameplay.

Back to the Pond level sketch by Sophocles Grafas

Jamie was responsible for the fourth and final level. “It was designed to transition a player out of the spooky swamp, through a lush pond environment, and ultimately arrive at LFS’s festive anniversary celebration. The overall visual design utilizes soft colors and a lack of hard edges to evoke the feeling of a perfect day hopping around outside with your friends.”

A snapshot of all four levels of Back to the Pond

A snapshot of all four Back to the Pond levels

The creative team was excited to share the concept game at with the rest of us at the office a few weeks ago. We’ve been happily testing this fun game since. This being a proof of concept, we were thrilled to have a new creative tool to Make Your Message Matter®. The flexible platform lends itself to many uses, whether you need something promotional or educational.

Please check out the game and let us know what you think. And, if you would like to incorporate something as fun as this in your communications, please contact us at We can help you achieve your communications mission using this fun and interactive application.

More behind the scenes of the making of Back to the Pond:

Trying Our Hands at Gamification

…and our Creative Director deep in the creative zone.

Our Creative Director deep in the creative zone