How we are saving Aussie lives through decision-making

We are helping Aussie children learn more about water safety by playing spooky choose-your-own adventure stories

How we are saving Aussie lives through decision-making
Royal Life Saving Australia
Game Design & Development
2019 – Today
IOS and Android

Project Overview

The Something Eerie app teaches kids water safety lessons, providing them with life-saving tips. Each story takes place in a unique water location and plays like a choose your own adventure game.

We took otherwise mundane safety information that is proven to be very difficult to teach and turned it into fun content. Using a game experience, we made it exciting for children. We help children learn from their mistakes and encourage them to make safe decisions.

Something Eerie was developed for Royal Life Saving Society Australia to teach kids to stay safe in, on and around water. The app also teaches what to do in case of a serious emergency. Through making right or wrong decisions in the game, the player can learn this.

The app contains the following:

  • Several creatively written educational choose-your-own adventure stories
  • Six main characters and too many secondary characters to list!
  • Environments and places to explore as part of the stories
  • Objects and achievements to collect, to explore the stories
  • A great collection of spooky stories with an overall mystery to solve

We provided the following services:

  • Game design and development
  • Creative story writing
  • Character development and art direction
  • Environment and object development, and art direction
  • UI/UX development
  • Data analytics
  • Music and sound design

Project Execution

Royal Life Saving Society Association chose to work with Mode as their agency of choice in response to a request for proposals.

To put it simply, we stood out from the competition due to our innovative and creative approach. We created original characters and wrote many enthralling stories. Using decision-making as the basis of each story, the contents educate children about the importance of water safety. For RLSSA, we created a world that teaches water safety. Each story we wrote had an urban myth or supernatural theme. As a result, we were able to create a collection of educational stories that are all thematically related.

Throughout the stories, safety information is summed up so that players can reflect on it after play. This content is contained within the 'Things to Think About' section of the app. These materials are used in classrooms to complement the school water safety curriculum.

We created six distinct characters, Hamish, Max (the guinea-pig), Ruby, Sasha, Mooch, and Jasper. We designed each character carefully with specific personality traits; from the goody-two-shoes to the sceptic, to the no-holds-barred risk-taker.

Each story lasts about 5-10 minutes and has a mystery to solve. Characters are the key to good storytelling. The ones we created help us to tell our clients' stories. Something Eerie revolves around Ruby, a newcomer to a strange town named Eerie Creek. There are mysterious things happening in and around the town, is it supernatural or is it something else, maybe something out of this world?

Each story begins with a few concise sentences of preface text. This we crafted carefully to quickly introduce; the place, some potential evidence regarding the supernatural mystery and water safety information to pay attention to in the story.

Players can choose a story from a strange journal they find in Ruby's attic. The game unlocks new stories as they progress. Once a story is completed, users receive part of the missing page. After this is recovered, the player resolves the story's overall mystery.
During the second story, Ghost In The Woods, players must plan a day trip across a lake and explore a spooky island. As the weather conditions change during the day, the player is presented with a lesson on how to handle a dangerous scenario in two different weather conditions.

In the first story of Something Eerie, Ruby meets a group of new friends. They embark on an adventure to solve the various mysteries associated with creatures and legends that supposedly haunt the town's waterways. Each scenario provides a teachable moment in the game, allowing the player to learn from a critical decision. Making all the right safe decisions unlocks the ultimate decision pathway. The concept that steered the entire games design is that poor judgement and reckless behaviour are much more dangerous than anything other-wordly.

Project results

Participants in the Australian Swim and Survive Program have reported increased engagement and improved results, thanks to the Something Eerie app. The app as a whole creates a positive attitude toward learning about water safety, by making an otherwise boring message very engaging.

Based on the previous results gained from the Swim and Survive content on the RLSSA website. There have been positive results in Australia's target group of kids aged 7-12 with the Something Eerie game. Anonymous data analytics from the app measured and tracked the success of every interactive story played. It allowed the client to determine how successful the app is based on their KPIs, which focused on the total number of stories played. By doing this, they could tell how many children learned the lessons.

The app had to deliver the following metrics:

  • Improved engagement with Swim and Survive Program participants.
  • Participant developing a positive attitude toward water safety and gaining knowledge about water safety.
  • Increasing support for water safety knowledge delivery by swimming and water safety teachers and partners.

In the 'Things To Think About' section of the app, players can review educational messages at the end of each story. The information summarised in this section is what players have learned during the game experience.

Mode currently supports and maintains the Something Eerie app on our Apple and Google Play stores, which makes maintenance easier for the client. These services are suitable when the client lacks the resources, capacity, or experience to manage these accounts. This game was developed with expert guidance from the client. Together we created a truly exceptional and unique educational game. With the goal of saving lives, this game is making a positive impact on how Australian kids learn about water safety.

After completing each story, players can access tips and lessons learned. This app contains over 100 safety messages. Children will learn how to be safe in and around water in order to save their lives.

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