During this project, GBE worked closely with their innovative design partner, Bang Creations, and client, Worlds Apart. The aim of this toy was to launch the client’s Kids Active range of toys – stimulating both the child’s “muscles and minds”. Phase One was to create a ‘Simple Simon Says’ style electronic trampoline, with five sensors on the mat, an interface for the player, and a mechanism to detail the gameplay. Phase Two saw the product shift from a multi sensor-style game to a single sensor. This meant GBE/Bang were required to work with the client to create some innovative and exciting gameplays.
The nature of the product and market meant the designs had to be extremely durable with a huge focus on cost. All stages of development were completed with the final manufacturing requirements in mind. GBE/Bang provided the client with price and technical guidance on BoM & Far East manufacturing costs, from the masking of the integrated circuit to the final packaging of the toy. This involved one of GBE/Bang’s Far East vendors and contacts at the Chip-fabrication Company, Winbond Corporation.
A simple five-LED display unit was designed to indicate which pad the player should bounce on.
For the central processing unit (CPU), GBE used a Winbond 588 series device programmed with three different ‘Simple Simon’-style games.
Health and safety requirements meant a child should not be encouraged to jump near the edge of the toy, the design focus shifted from a five-pad array to a single switch. This challenged GBE/Bang & Worlds Apart to find alternative ways in which to build magic into the gameplay. The solution was to replace the LED array with a speaker, not only did this reduce the overall BoM cost, but it also enabled the addition of numerous gameplay features.
GBE/Bang worked with a professional voice artist to record the desired sounds, some of the animal noises were quite entertaining! These were then sampled down to 8KHz and filtered using a professional digital audio-editing package to optimise the memory taken up by the sound files with the playback quality.
The sounds were then dropped into the gameplay code in the prototype for field testing and further assessment.
After the gameplay and sounds had been finalised, GBE/Bang carried out final debugging and optimisation of code minimising the amount of memory used on the chip decreasing the overall BoM cost. Three pre-production prototypes were then built – two for the client’s marketing team and one as a ‘gold brick’ standard for the Far East vendor to use.