Use your vacuum skills to play hockey with Lyla and her friends!

The Challenge

Create a fun game for kids and adults that highlights creative problem-solving, strategic play, and critical thinking for a brand new PBS Kids animated show.

Through various stages of sketching, wireframing, prototyping, user research, and design rounds, Vacuum Hockey was released to great fanfare for the new PBS Kids show, "Lyla in the Loop" as one of their flagship games, and a connection to one of their scheduled episodes. Integrating variables and levels to unlock, this pong-like game of hockey can be played and enjoyed by all ages in a single or two player game.

The Process

Key goals were defined, with the following recieving high priority...

  • Variables that define how the game is played.
  • Various fields and levels that provide obstacles to further strategize what variables to use.
  • Two player option on Desktop and Tablet.
  • Advancement or leveling as the game progresses.

With the key goals of the game understood, exploration into how to represent the different variables presented in the game began, and what connections they had to the playing field and game play mechanics. Sketches and wireframes provided a starting point to understand these associations and how the user interface could be shown.

Continued exploration for the user interface ultimately provided an opportunity to test the core ideas of the games. Children were given an opportunity to play a simplified build of the game, and game play was assessed through observation and questions. Kids were already enjoying the concepts and were having fun exploring the variables in the game!

The Result

Design and asset creation solidified the gameplay, and everything started coming together for the final release. Dedicated iteration during the design phase helped the developers craft a game that is being enjoyed by many on the PBS Kids website.

In the first 4 weeks following launch, Vacuum Hockey accounted for 3.7 million game starts out of 4 million on the PBS KIDS Games App, and was the #1 game in the measurement period. On, Vacuum Hockey accounted for 2.2 million game starts out of 2.3 million, and was the #1 game played on the website.

© 2024 Jeff Ross | Developed using the Foundation framework. You are awesome.