Innovation is the core driver of economic growth, and innovation starts with solid computer programming skills. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for software developers will increase by as much as 32 percent by 2020. But according to statistics compiled by Code.org, only 2.4 percent of today’s college students graduate with computer science degrees. Why? The vast majority of schools offer very little in the way of programming education, and those courses that are offered are usually elective.
We aim to address the problem head on and get players excited and engaged in programming and technology through gaming.
FUN! FUN! RIDICULOUSLY FUN!
If a game isn't fun, it isn't a game. We wanted BotLogic.us players to become obsessed with solving every level with 3 stars and racking up points, without even realizing they were learning basics of programming along the way.
We wanted to introduce programming, not force it onto players. A heavy-handed approach wouldn't keep them coming back for more, especially once they've already "learned" what the app had to teach. And it wouldn't show them how rewarding and magical programming can be when it's used as a tool. After all, the real joy in programming comes from hitting the "play" button and watching your creations come to life to solve a problem, not from learning the ins and outs of a language's syntax and idioms!
In order to make the game accessible across as many devices as possible, we built the game using "standard" web technologies with nothing more than simple HTML5, CSS, and JS. We believe firmly that the future of technology is in the web, and we want to be a part of the movement to harness the power of technology and open it up to as many people as possible. This means that the game is functional on most modern web browsers for computers, smartphones, and tablets.
We wanted to put the idea of "programming" in the player's hand as a tool from the start, but do it in a fun environment free from fear or hesitation. People are often fearful of technology and especially programming because it seems so far out there and complex that they couldn't ever understand it, when the truth is that programming can be fun! Ultimately even if people don't end up becoming programmers, everyone can benefit from having a fundamental understanding of how programs work and challenging them to use their logic and spatial reasoning skills on a daily basis. BotLogic.us is the perfect opportunity to create a fun, engaging game that gets players excited to come back and program everyday!
LAUNCHING OUR PROTOTYPE!
The response to the launch of our prototype on August 1st has been amazing! We have seen traffic rolling in from across the globe, fueled by enthusiastic press coverage and the support of our incredible community of evangelists.
As of this writing, over 61,000 levels have been played with over 187 million points awarded to site visitors from 189 countries.
OUR GOALS: $100k+
While we’re thrilled with the response to our prototype, we’re committed to making BotLogic.us the best, most compelling, most FUN way to introduce fundamental programming concepts to future innovators. And with your help, we know we can do it. We’ve compiled a list of improvements we feel are essential to the game’s success, and we’re estimating a cost of $100,000 to complete them by June of 2014.
With the funding, we plan to implement the following improvements:
ENHANCE THE GAME EXPERIENCE
Optimize for mobile: We want to optimize the game for mobile devices by taking the current code and creating "native" applications that can be downloaded through the various app stores, initially for iOS and Android devices specifically, and possibly Windows Mobile if we have time / use the right tools. Native applications will improve performance of the game's animation and audio capabilities, while also enabling offline play and better user progression tracking.
Enable offline play: We want to provide an "offline" experience for desktop users as well by creating a "downloadable application" that can be played from anywhere, anytime with or without an internet connection. We also hope that creating a bundled application will help overcome some browser version issues that limit some players' access to the game due to unsupported technology, mainly those using IE8 and below.
Improve level navigation: The level navigation as it stands is a simple drop down list that allows you to select the level you want to play, but this is a far cry from what we want it to be. What the game really needs is a screen showing the user visually which levels they have completed, how many stars they received, and which ones they still need to complete. The level navigation screen (and storyline in general) will really help tie the game together at a fundamental level giving the player a sense of why they are running around repairing things along the way.
ADD ADVANCED PROGRAMMING FEATURES
Advanced programming concepts: The game introduces the player to the idea of building a simple program with basic "code" syntax displayed, but we want to take this to the next level. What the game really needs is user defined functions, if statements, and loops. We've designed some basic UI around these concepts, but we just didn't have time to get them implemented in the prototype and need time to do this right!
Drag-and-drop and improved program editing: The game is lacking the critical feature of being able to move commands around in the queue, which often means players end up scrapping their programs to start from scratch instead of being able to simply add the command they missed or rearrange things. Technically players can do this in the "terminal/code window", but that area has limitations that aren't immediately obvious either, like the fact that you have to use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the desired location to edit or that the user has to hit the "enter" key after changing the code for it to be applied. We want to streamline the "program building" process to be as logical and easy to use as it can be.
Expansion packs: The game needs more content, characters, and themes, and expansion packs will allow us to do that. Expansion packs give us the ability to release a solid set of "free" content to keep the game easily available in the classroom, while also providing a means for us to make money to continue to develop and release fresh new content for the game. Initially we're thinking of pricing these expansion packs at $5 to $10 per pack depending on the amount of content, levels, and other features that they'll include.
CREATE TOOLS AND MATERIALS FOR EDUCATORS, PARENTS, AND PLAYERS
Add management tools for teachers and parents: We believe that BotLogic.us has a lot of potential uses in the classroom and educational environments, and we want to release some tools to make it easier for teachers and parents to manage and track students progress through the game over time as their abilities progress.
Level packs for "age appropriate" play: We want to build some "level packs" to help make more "age appropriate" material. This would allow teachers to easily jump into a set of levels catered to reach a specific age or difficulty level of the users. We think this will help teachers to keep users of all ages engaged throughout the experience, and has the benefit of giving regular players (aka adults) the ability to play the more challenging level than the ones meant for a 4 year old.
Develop curriculum: We know teachers are busy, and we want to make their jobs as easy as possible when it comes to introducing BotLogic.us to the classroom. We want to develop curriculum around the game with lesson plans, guides, and supporting materials that we can offer to teachers along with the free version of the app in order to streamline the process of introducing BotLogic.us in the classroom and ultimately getting children excited about programming.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
The game is free, and will remain that way for the final product! We will be releasing expansion packs for $5 each to extend the game with new levels, characters, themes, and features.
Pledge $1 or more - BASIC PLAYER
Get 1 expansion pack and feel good about helping inspire the next generation of innovators!
Pledge $750 or more - "Konami Code" - LIMITED QUANTITY (1)
- You get to define the top secret code that will be used to unlock a
secret character in the game! If nobody buys this, there will be no
secret character, but if you do, you get to give us guidance on what the
character should look / sound like too.
Pledge $2,500 or more - SMALL BUSINESS SPONSOR - LIMITED QUANTITY (15)
Company logo in BotLogic.us game credits, and in press/marketing for our first expansion pack release.
50 expansion pack downloads for employees to give to kids or the school of their choice
Pledge $5,000 or more - SUPPORTING CORPORATE SPONSOR - LIMITED QUANTITY (5)
Company logo in BotLogic.us game credits.
Featured spot on BotLogic.us homepage for company logo/link to website.
100 expansion pack downloads for employees to give to kids or the school of their choice.
Pledge $10,000 or more - CORPORATE SPONSOR - LIMITED QUANTITY (3)
Company logo/link to website in BotLogic.us game credits, Kickstarter campaign page, and Botlogic.us home page
Company logo on all Botlogic.us press/marketing for the campaign and 1 year following the release of the full game version
First expansion pack download for all kids at a school of your choice.
"The ability to change the program via the text box was very good"
"I like the cute robot and concept, and I look forward to the app!"
"I liked that the game was simple for my child to understand."
"I like how it is fun but you are also learning to code."
"I had fun figuring out which way was the best way to get to the goal."
"It was good to know that the game challenged my son to think logically to construct the instructions. "
"I liked the simplicity and clarity. I like that you can use the arrows and see a graphical display along with the text as you add moves."
"My kids enjoyed it and it was easy to learn, it just needs more levels and more challenge"
"I liked the noises it made as it went through the maze, I just wish I had the ability to choose different robots and make them have infinite energy!"
"I like that it's available online and can be played on ANYTHING!"
"We are using it for our year long coding program for 5th graders."
"We are using this as a Free choice time or as an intro to our programming unit."
"This will be a simple introduction to the beginning of our computer logic unit"
"I can use this in my curriculum to teach kids about logic processes."
"I have already used it in several of my classes as a computer programming activity. I teach technology classes and use several computer programming resources such as Scratch and Alice."
"I can use this as part of our children's early introduction to programming for 4-11 year olds. The games primary strengths are that it is engaging, colorful, simple to use, and allows the children to progress independently."
Brad Wedell, Lead Robot Tinkerer
Brad is a husband, proud puppy parent, developer and entrepreneur with an extensive background working with start-ups as a founder and as a developer. Brad's lifelong passion and dream has been to help others and build games, which makes this the perfect opportunity to make magic happen!
Alex Fidelibus, Lead Robot Design Fabricator
A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Alex has been a graphics professional for over 20 years. He started a multimedia company in the 1990s and has been designing custom UIs and websites ever since. His broad portfolio includes design for children's books and entertainment.
Amber Pelon, The Education Expert
Amber brings 11 years of experience as a K-8 teacher—including running a K-8 computer lab—to her role with BotLogic.us. Amber has an MBA in Operations Management, and has been a project manager for 4 years at a software development company.
Kelly Drill, Community and Education Outreach Coordinator
Kelly is a mom, a marketing professional, and an advocate for STEM and Gifted and Talented education in public schools. Kelly’s eclectic resume includes 3+ years of business ownership and 7 years of small business development experience.
?????, 2-3 developers and level designers still to be determined
We have a couple of people at Dolphin Micro that have expressed interest in helping out, so we may go that route, but we are also going to looking into finding other people who want to join the team as well. We have a few people in mind, but we didn't want to put too much effort here until we are sure about funding. We are sure though that we will need help, and we believe with a quality team we can achieve great results.
Eric Scott, CEO and Co-founder, Dolphin Micro Inc.; former Scratch game instructor; game developer
Jason Kibbe, Middle School Grade Gifted School Teacher
Shannon McClintock Miller, K-12 Teacher Librarian Van Meter School and Educational Consultant Mackin Educational Resources
LET’S DO THIS!
We’re so grateful to our growing community of supporters for their insight, engagement and evangelism thus far. We couldn’t have done any of this without you. Now it’s time to take BotLogic.us to the next level. With your help, we can transform our prototype into the best learn-to-program game on the web and start fueling the imaginations of future innovators!
THANK YOU. We can’t wait to share the next steps of this exciting journey with you.
The greatest risk to BotLogic.us and our players is that our Kickstarter campaign won’t be successful since we're nearly out of funds for the project! We’ve established a goal of $100,000 which is necessary in order to take BotLogic.us from a highly used prototype to a full-featured market worthy game with supporting educational content by the summer of 2014.
If we don't achieve our funding goals, will have to put the project on the backburner. That means we will have to work on it during our free time to make the changes it needs and it will take A LOT longer to build the full featured game. That also means it will us very sad and tired and stressed out people since we'll have to go back to our day jobs and instead give up our free time to finish the game. If we get funding, it means we can work on this full time and dedicate the proper resources to the project to make it as fun, engaging, and educational as we KNOW it can be!
For our Kickstarter backers, we’ve done our best to mitigate any sort of risk by offering rewards that we are 100% confident we can fulfill, whether we’re supported by a handful of backers or more than we could ever have imagined!
As for BotLogic.us itself, there is no question as to whether we can deliver a game that is both fun and educational, and our existing prototype is the proof. We may have to re-prioritize features as we make progress and get feedback from players and our advisors, but we absolutely WILL build a game that accomplishes our goal of making it FUN to learn programming.
We plan to address the improvements we need to make and will continue to work closely with our advisory team, Board of Directors and player community to ensure that we’re always moving in the right direction.
We’ve already done the hard part: determining whether or not the game concept is viable and whether or not we can build it. All that’s left is to put our noses to the grindstone and make BotLogic.us the shining star it has the potential to be!
In order to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get excited about programming, we have decided to keep the game itself free to play and download, and will be offering in-app upgrades through "expansion packs" to extend the game with new levels, characters, and themes. Initially these expansion packs will be $5 - $10 each, and Kickstarter backers will receive a code to unlock the packs in the game itself. This allows us to keep offering fresh new content so that we can continue to keep players interested and engaged in the game itself.
Right now, the game is built with HTML5, CSS, and JS, and is supported by most modern browsers on computers, smartphones, and tablet devices.
Unfortunately, IE8 and below doesn't support the technology we're using, so users would have to upgrade or use another browser to play the game.
Some smartphone and tablet devices also have issues playing HTML5 audio, so sound is currently disabled on those devices.
In terms of our campaign and goals, we plan to address these limitations by taking what we have and bundling it as a "downloadable" application to make better use of the available technologies on the devices where the game will be played. This means creating an app for the iOS and Android app stores initially, as well as coming up with a way to "bundle" webkit along with our game code into a downloadable application for desktop computers (right now it looks like that will be done with a plugin called "node-webkit").
****KONAMI CODE (UUDDLRLRBA)**** You get to define the top secret code that will be used to unlock a secret character in the game! If nobody buys this, there will be no secret character, but if you do, you get to give us guidance on what the character should look / sound like + All rewards at INNOVATION LEADER level
*****SMALL BUSINESS SPONSOR***** Company logo in BotLogic.us game credits, and in press/marketing for our first expansion pack release + 50 expansion pack downloads for employees to give to kids or the school of their choice.
**SUPPORTING CORPORATE SPONSOR** Company logo in BotLogic.us game credits + Featured spot on BotLogic.us homepage for company logo/link to website + 100 expansion pack downloads for employees to give to kids or the school of their choice.
*******CORPORATE SPONSOR******* Company logo/link to website in BotLogic.us game credits, Kickstarter campaign page, and Botlogic.us home page + Company logo on all Botlogic.us press/marketing for the campaign and 1 year following the release of the full game version + First expansion pack download for all kids at a school of your choice.