Sweet Saga


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3D Film Documentary on Chocolate:   Filmed in 10 countries following stories of those who make chocolate

Web & Mobile STEM Gaming:  Sweet Saga links social experiences to series play & people of the chocolate documentary 

Mobile DTV Series:  Youth Gaming Experiences (Game Show/Variety format, daily short form series)

 

METAGOAL: Produce dynamic social benefit interactive gaming for all screens that works in partnership with international organizations, educational institutions, public sector social welfare and chocolate producers.
 
SOCIAL BENEFIT GAMING FOR THE REAL WORLD
FIRST CHALLENGE:  Connect with the youth of Ivory Coast, assess educational partnership opportunities and help build an educational system that works with cacao farm life for working youth.

QUESTIONS & NEEDS:  Over 200,000 kids work in the chocolate industry in the Ivory Coast, which supplies 43-46% of the worlds' cacao crop to chocolate producers worldwide.  Is child slavery rampant or are these kids being paid for their labor? Are they allowed to further their education while working on the cacao farms? What can chocolate consumers do to help end abuses in this system?

 

Sweet Saga weaves interactive documentary & real world gameplay designed to build educational bridges between US students and their chocolate-farming counterparts around the world.  

 

Schedule

March 2010:  Game design, preproduction for documentary, research & partnership-building
May 2010:  Belize & Costa Rica first journey: fair trade co-ops, Toledo Cacao Festival, policy & transport
June 2010:  San Francisco:  engineering for chocolate production, chemistry of raw cacao
July 2010:  Peru & Chile first journey: rebuilding lost farms after disaster, crops & climate
Sept/Oct 2010:  Cote d'Ivoire & Ghana first journey:  family farms, child labor, auction, economics of compensation & production
Nov 2010:  San Francisco follow-up, filming production to sale of custom flavors (can create cocoasamples of each country's beans)
Dec 2010:  Gameplay integration with website, first site launches, clips embedded in gameplay
Jan 2011:  Second South American journey for filming: sites TBD - bring technology team for support
Mar 2011:  Second Central American/Caribbean journey for filming (includes transport game modules):  sites TBD
April 2011:  Second African journey for filming:  sites TBD - bring technology team for infrastructure building support
May 2011:  Beta game modules release to first few thousand players (first six modules only)
August 2011:  Third African Journey with technology follow-up, youth-produced media workshops & full web integration
Sep 2011:  First cut 3D documentary ready for festival submission:  Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Vancouver, Los Angeles +
Oct 2011:  Educational partnerships sprout, open game play for first 8 modules
2012:  Web & mobile game release, film for 2012 Festival season & wide release by end of 2012: science museums, family 3D (600-1000 screens), HDTV
2012:  Follow-up visits to key educational sites (Cote d'Ivoire+)

 

GAME DESIGN RESEARCH

 

Concept:  Interactive documentary and adventure game designed for social benefit: solutions to education and access gap for youth in chocolate farming and processing.
 
Imagine a universal Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game and think about the web possibilities.
If you could change any situation in this system what impact would you most want to have?
 
CONFIDENTIAL GAME DESIGN INFORMATION BELOW: DO NOT SHARE WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.  Thank you -- your insight and connecting ideas are appreciated!

 
 

MOST GAMES ARE REALLY BORING – WHY? Too Repetitive? Lack of real challenge?

Lack of personal engagement with the other players, the narrative or the actions taken? UGC?

 

Project Research Questions:

How do you create real change for those who need it most?

How do you handle appropriate civic engagement with youth?

At what age do they become able to fully engage?

 

Developing engagement capacity:

Age 7: Able to process some information about others

Age 9: Starting to become aware of the world's needs, poverty

Age 11: Able to think through with critical awareness of simple issues

Age 13: Able to digest more of the complexities of global situations

Age 15: Ready to act as change agents in their world when properly prepared

 

ASK THE AGE OF THE PLAYER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME

Do certain aspects of the social change community open up at age 13? COPPA law compliance?

 

REITERATE FROM BEGINNING:

This is a cooperative gamespace; you can work solely under your username and not reveal any personal information about yourself or your family. Some challenges may require help from an older sibling or parent and we encourage you to work together to find solutions quickly to tough puzzles. Remember that no one from Sweet Saga will ask you for personal information unless you are redeeming a reward to be shipped to your parent/guardian on your behalf. Our community managers are always around if you need help with any question about safety, trust, communication with others that promotes goodwill.

 

Gameplay modules:

Earth science and building: age 7, level 2

Math and economics: beginning at age 9, level 4

Physics and chemistry: beginning at age 11, level 6

Engineering and complex problem solving: age 13+, level 8

 

Adventure layout:

First round: Begin with identity formation, likes and dislikes, simple writing & language help

Second round: First activity: Ivory Coast, farming cacao beans from the trees with machete safely

Third round: Second activity: Ivory Coast, time mgmt sorting out how to get an education after work

Fourth round: Third activity: PIRATES! How do you get your shipment across safely? Diplomacy

Fifth round: Fourth activity: Belize, the economics of the fair trade farm – balance the books.

Sixth round: Fifth activity: Belize, coordinate the co-op partners, advocate for health care solutions

Seventh round: ACTION in collaboration: What type of farm/business do you start? Fairtrade?

Eighth round: Sixth activity: The marketplace, buy & sell beans for the best possible price, ethics?

Ninth round: Seventh activity: Fearless Chocolate Factory how to build the factory?

Tenth round: Eighth activity: Fearless Chocolate Factory build your own blend chocolate.

Eleventh round: ACTION in colaboration: Design a new cacao-based product that can help kids on the farms in Ivory Coast have cell phones so they can stay in touch with the network.

Twelfth round: The Basketball Court, Math drills tight for economics and business management

 

ACTION in collaboration: Research Questions for Players

How can we make this system better for everyone?

Do you think it's ok for young kids to work with dangerous tools to make the things you eat?

At what age should you be allowed to work with pesticides? A machete? A computer? A business?

What kind of business would you want to be involved with?

Do you think fair trade is fair to everyone in that system?

What flavors of chocolate do you like best? What chemical reactions and combinations do you want to see most?

How can we promote biodiversity and healthy farming practices by working together?

 

Structure & Reiteration

Within the game the language needs to consistently speak to creating ACTION in the real world

What is the impact? What is your passion? How do you create a solution that works for everyone?

 

Content community: Participants creating new recipes, economic models, diplomacy solutions, tributes to the chemistry of cacao, infographics, videos and other #cocoastories, gameplay tips, puzzle solutions (hidden with password keys), fandom and gameplay, machinima mashups, hidden titanium eggs.


 

 

ManorMeta: Chocolate Saga is a fast-paced digital game show for youth featuring integral STEM challenges for mind, body, heart and spirit, playable anywhere.

DML Summary: Sweet adventure documentary shot in 3D mixed with interactive web/mobile gameplay designed to bring youth into real stories within the chocolate industry. STEM learning modules include primary economics, math, chemistry, engineering, technologies for international communication and development. Youth participants build an economy of creative action through ARG gameplay.

Sweet Saga: Interactive Documentary and Game to Choose Your Social Benefit Education and Global Impact

 
 

From DML First Application:

Gameplay destinations: on the web play the role of a 10 year old farmer with machete in Ivory Coast, or the 19 year old farmhand in Belize working to balance books on a fair trade cooperative. Try to pass shipments of beans past pirates, learn to make the perfect blend and test your results in the Fearless Chocolate Factory. All gameplay learning modules are based in true stories shared through web & 3D video embedded in gameplay and edited for a released documentary of the endeavor. A community economy of appreciation and honors is peer-driven and moderated in tandem with youth creatives, interns with Amoration and digital storytelling advisers from TechSoupGlobal, Global Kids & Children Mending Hearts. Production partner Toyshoppe Systems is building the Fearless Chocolate Factory in Berkeley Spring 2010 and 3D video production will occur in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Belize, Peru, Indonesia and the US as resources allow in 2010. Academy-award winning directors have been interviewed to lead the film endeavor for 2012 festivals and general release with production support. Our aggressive transmedia production schedule rolls out gameplay to youth for 2010-11 school year and through 2012, working with service learning and extensive social networks to place video virally in 2010. 

Youth participants are active co-producers who will decide whether we set up a long term media center in Ivory Coast to promote education of working youth or find another way to communicate with peers working on farms. Approximately 100,000 preteens are working full time spraying chemicals and wielding machetes to harvest cacao beans, no school is available to them. Systemic social issues will collaboratively address tough challenges with real world implications. Honors earned for lasting impact and creative solutions will become part of the documentary & 3D web experience.

 
FORMAT&FLOW:
3D Video: Captured in Ivory Coast, Belize, United States for first phase development, will grow to feature documentary for IMAX/Science theater circuit 2012 release.
Web: Videos with live streaming gameplay & archived shows for ManorMeta:Chocolate site, embeddable formats for partners (enabled for 3D development)
Gameplay: Trivia, collaborative challenges, arts & education, some 3D & live participation in gameplay built for java, unreal engine & console interactivity with video updates from the fields
Mobile: Videos, challenges and updates integrated into mobile sites & applications, second phase development for native applications
ICHub: Ivory Coast streaming media station empowered by this process - set up mobile media cafe for video and saga uploads, educational workshop use & classroom
BelizeHub: Streaming media station empowered with this endeavor - providing infrastructure as needed for ongoing partnership development between consumers & farmers (KIVA)
ManorMeta: Production based in Los Angeles, CA with partners in 5 countries and many states actively involved in development (live & virtual engineering, collaboration processes)
 
GAMEPLAY:
Goal:  collect the 10 keys and have the highest reputation at the end to join the ManorMeta legion & heroes wall of fame
How to Win: answer challenges in all settings, collect the highest number of votes from participants, answer the most questions correctly, earn a high reputation and collect the keys
 
PLAYERS FOR LIVE GAMEPLAY:
Four live, web or console contestants both work together and separately to win prizes
Each compete for a charity of their choice and each key collected can earn rewards for the charity of their choice

LEARNING MODULES:

Math

Technology

Chemistry

Engineering: Design the new Fearless Chocolate Factory for the best possible output.  What decisions go into the process of building a new manufacturing facility for chocolate?

Biology & Geology

Public Diplomacy & Policy Development

 

LIVE GAMEPLAY:  GAME SHOW STYLE SERIES>> Live Video Streamed to Web

In live gameplay youth are given a wii-like remote to use for quick multiple choice challenges and collecting keys during challenges (at home play via keyboard or wiimote)
The game show takes place at the ManorMeta hub. Travel is simulated through 3D video and interactive challenges.  Keyboard/laptop are used for answering detailed challenges: values and mindbenders where accuracy are important and time is needed to develop the best solution.  Audience voting will determine winning entries (may be curated for youth-appropriate language for broadcast).  
 
First challenge:  The Great Race on machines with questions and keys (timed kinesthetic challenges with video and clues to geographic location)
Second challenge:  Mindbender questions related to STEM problem solving (tough logic problems)
Third challenge:  Prasad with music asks contestants to guess the culinary dish, country of origin & ingredients used (nutrition and chemistry education)
Fourth challenge:  Lightning round multiple choice questions, get through as many as fast as you can (cooperative math, design, invention, processes and tools)
Fifth challenge:  Terra geography and resource minute with video questions from a citizen in the country of the day (global citizenship & literacy)
Sixth challenge:  Quest requires solving a difficult value proposition, typing out first response in 150 seconds (social care & awareness of the whole & needs of others)
Yggdrasil Tree:  Sidekicks & heroes on the quest for the final keys, includes some research &  (timed collaborative round)
 
Audience voting:  3 challenges (charisma/movement, value challenge, leadership/compassion) determines long term reputation rankings.
 
Settings & Character Paths:
Game opens in ManorMeta, the media hub & live streaming center with large rotating crystalline stages and multiple light/LED created rooms that turn to face the audience.  
Bianca and Tony welcome you! Kids race room in the main hall includes large video screens on crystals behind the four contestants on exercise equipment, tree of life behind for final challenge.  Challenges may take you flying across the ocean to new destinations or connecting virtually with remote jungles.
The Dome Interactivation classroom for Mindbender and Lightning Round includes the resonant musical instrument & immersive screens enabled for full touch & interactivity, opens to main music stage where various composers and creator bands are featured.  In the Dining Room, Prasad opens to include food service for four and chemistry/food/nutrition challenges (adults can stand behind youth for live collaborative challenges).  
Policyhead: Bonus feature allows you to play Ama, the creator of ManorMeta, and see inside the mysteries that created this unusual "intelligent" living space.  Ama is currently in Belize.
 
BELIZE:  Follow the historic path of chocolate through the eyes of Mayan leaders, revered as gods (thanks to the chemistry of cacao?)
Work on a fair trade farm with Juan Cho near Toledo in Punta Gorda and work through the economics of producing fair trade chocolate with your village and partners (viewed by streaming video at ManorMeta)
Policyhead:  Play the decision maker who will decide whether farms should stay cooperative/fair trade or move to an open market free trade system.
 
IVORY COAST: Try the role of Ali, a 10 year old in Lilo, Ivory Coast working on a chocolate farm, and be careful with that machete! 3D action game for Wii or web play may be intense for young kids.  How many get injured permanently by this industry?  How many young kids have seen their siblings disfigured and are there ways to prevent injury at the farm?
Run the farm with Ibrahim, who has 25 acres and earns less than $10,000 a year for his family and business from the sale of his cacao beans.  Do you want your kids working with you?  Do you have a choice?
Policyhead:  Play the government leader who has been asked to step in and make sure that no children are being harmed in the farming of cacao in your country. Investigate and report, act if needed.
 
THE SHIP:  Be a trader and attempt to get the beans from West Africa to port -- move the 100lb. bags from village truck to ship and watch for pirates!  How do you decide which company to sell your beans and how do you ensure they get there? Can you negotiate safe passage for your cargo & the lives of your people?
 
FEARLESS CHOCOLATE:  As fearless chocolatier in Berkeley, CA how do you design the healthiest and best chocolate ever made?  Assist Jordan as he designs his new chocolate factory and decide what ingredients go into the very best chocolate products.  Raw?  Vegan?  Processed?  What do you think the best chocolate combination would be?  Research chocolate chemistry and process engineering with Toyshoppe Systems building team and help design the factory as it grows.  Phase two development may include customized chocolate production available on site from a handful of quality producers in the US.
Policyhead:  Play the new head of the FDA.  You have 22 chocolate-related referendums to consider on your desk including two that would like to call confections "chocolate" even if they do not contain any cacao products.  What do you think should be considered healthy and legal?  How should it be packaged?
 

POTENTIAL IMPACT:
Support for the kids of the Ivory Coast who ask for new solutions for educational growth, international partnership and insight
International gaming youth advocating for fair trade chocolate that meets their carefully-researched specifications
 
PARTNERS:
Toyshoppe Systems

Amoration

TechSoupGlobal

Fearless Chocolate

Potential Partners:

TransFairUSA

World Cocoa Foundation

KIVA

Equal Exchange

Global Exchange

Toledo Cooperative

Grassroots International

"Commitment to Ethical Cocoa" document signed by dozens of fair trade organizations

Citrusbyte
TechZulu

Endemol USA

FailBetterGames

Cafe Labs

 
Additional advisors from great organizations:
Joyce Bettencourt & Rik Panganiban from Global Kids, New York
Jacki Morie from USC/IML Annenberg, Los Angeles

Sandra Sutton Andrews, Arizona State University professor of Social Media/Education

Katy Heyning, Dean of Education at the University of Wisconsin/Whitewater
Susan Tenby, TechSoupGlobal
Jean Russell, Thrivability
Christina Jordan, Social Entrepreneurship
Amanda Coolong, TechZulu
Brad Nye, CORE HUB
Nick Heyming, Growcology
Eric Hackathorn, NOAA
 
TOOLS & PLATFORMS:
Unreal Engine

Java

iPhone application

Python?

Second Life

PS3 & Little Big Planet

Google Tools

Science on a Sphere/NOAA

MUSIC:

Steady driving rock beats with occasional dreamy moments, old world & jazz influences with some old world African drum
ManorMeta House Band: Chris Colquhoun, Jesse Wright, Molly Zenobia, Matt DeMerritt, David Hippchen, Mark Noel Miller, Alma Cielo, Devin Haas, Jason "Wysecat" Willis  "Challenge & Level Music"

"Double G" Geoff Gallegos with DaKaH Hip Hop Orchestra "Themes"

Nico Vega "Be Giving"

Amy Kuney "Chocolate"
 
BUDGET:
Game Design:  $220,000 including story integration, programming, mobile tools
Web Community:  $120,000 for community management, web modules, youth education metrics
Interactive Documentary:  $540,000 including shoots in 5 countries through 3D film release
Social Engagement:  $55,000 for smartphones and media center for remote education partnerships