Vliegwerk conceives & builds digital stuff that makes your users more motivated, engaged and happy by injecting playfulness.
We call this Playification.
We craft playful user experiences
In our experience, playfulness can make people intrinsically motivated to perform or complete tasks, or get them more involved. Playful products are more fun to use, which is a big step towards making them better.
We devise better user experiences for all kinds of products and services by injecting playfulness. Our weapon of choice to do that is digital media. We love creating websites and applications, thinking about digital marketing campaigns and social media strategies.
Vliegwerk is serious about play. We're not selling game-layers to put on top of existing stuff, because we don't believe that works (read more about that). Instead, we carefully use our knowledge of and experience with games to come up with brand new concepts and strategies for your products and ideas.
The people at Westtoer asked us to come up with a concept for a 'gamified' app to guide people who want to make a tour of WW1 Battlefields in Flanders. The application had to reach a broader and younger public than the existing offline maps & signs.
After driving around in Flanders Fields and examining just about every application that has been made on this topic, we developed a broad vision on apps for Battlefield tourism. What do people expect from an app when they visit Great War battlefield remains? How can you reach a bigger audience? Is it even possible to apply a game layer in this context?
We explored different options in the use of story telling, game mechanics and augmented reality and combined them in an innovative concept for the application. Our last step was to translate this idea in technical requirements and interface specifications. Our resulting functional specification serves as the foundation for a third-party app developer to build the application (release expected fall 2013).
case (2009-2012) plan belgium
After years of making printed publications, An and Elise at Plan Belgium wanted a new and original way to inform youngsters about Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They asked us to collaborate with 12 highly motivated young volunteers to design and develop an online role playing game.
We studied different concepts to explain the MDGs to people between 14 and 18 years old. The key game mechanic we proposed, was to empower them to make up their own actions, plans and proposals to do something about poverty, inequality and poor health conditions. This way, we figured, players would be challenged to think about those problems and at the same time they would achieve a better understanding of MDGs.
In the resulting game (Trek je Plan, or the French version Objectif Plan), players claim and manage a village in the West-African country Benin. They undertake a range of actions to improve the welfare of their villagers, but if they're not happy with the available actions, they can propose new ones to a jury. Once approved, the actions become available for all other players.
Trek je Plan was launched in September 2010, with a follow-up in French and for schools in 2011. The campaign exceeded the initial goals and anticipations, both quantitative (number of players reached) and qualitative (the degree of involvement in the game and the campaign). We're currently working with Plan Belgium on a new online game about gender equality and access to education for girls (expected in April 2013).
other people & companieswe've played with
So far, we've been working with Stad Antwerpen, 11.11.11, Hotel Hungaria, Crefi, Muzemix and others. Contact us if you think we might play together.
What gets people playing? That is the challenge that keeps us up all night. While we love good game mechanics and clever rulesets, we believe that people play because they expect to have fun, not (only) because they want to win or get rewarded for playing. That's why we like to think of our products as toys, rather than games.
We apply the concept of playification
Playification is all about applying this 'search for fun' in non-game contexts. Our starting point to achieve this, is looking for ways to make products and services playable. This means much more than simply turning them into games, which is what happens when you just put some game mechanics (like badges and leaderboards) on top. Playification involves rethinking the entire user experience in such way that playful interaction and intuitive behaviour is triggered.
Playification is the website that addresses you as if you were a monkey, the traffic light that lets you play pong while you wait, the app that challenges you to become world champion in taking a holiday,… Have a look on our facebookpage if you want to see more examples.
By the way: we love to talk and discuss playification, gamification and how games in general can be applied in non-entertainment contexts. Keep an eye on our slidesharepage where we'll post our slides and presentations on this topic and please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to hire us for a presentation.
In our spare time we go insandbox mode
Every now and then, Vliegwerk switches into sandbox mode. We get to play around with digital media, try to explore the boundaries of games and toys, and ignore anything that has something to do with clients.
The Vliegwerk sandbox is our very own Playification Lab - where we turn our ideas into proofs of concept, or even fully operational products. The ideas, insights and skills we create this way, help us develop better concepts and strategies for our clients.
Twitter seems to be the world's most popular #firstworldproblem ventilating shaft. There can't be any train delay without someone - frustrated or desperate - alerting all mankind via a tweet. Because we are deeply concerned with our fellow humans, we made www.thetwerapist.com, a web-service to sympathise with tweeps in severe need.
To help a pittiful fellow-tweep, simply reply his tweet with "/visit @thetwerapist". A time-slot in the busy schedule of the twerapist will be reserved, at which moment the tweet will be featured on the homepage of thetwerapist.com. Everyone can show his sympathy by leaving a message on this site, or by replying or retweeting the original tweet. To wrap things up, the patient receives a prescription (after all he has to explain to his employer why he lost three hours of productivity…).
We built twerapist.com as a five-finger exercise: experimenting with twitter, building a site over a weekend (we almost managed…), toying with technical features like oAuth, responsive frameworks, css preprocessors and so on,… Now, we have a new ambition: trying to find out how to use a service like Twitter as a game platform. Then using that knowledge for any kind of social media campaign, conversation-starting-service or communication strategy.
CheckinManager is a strategic social game built on the Foursquare platform. You'll be assigned as a manager of your own team of friends. This allows you to select, train, ditch, transfer or tackle them. By scouting your friends check-in behaviour correctly, you are competing with different managers worldwide to become Champion. You'll get 'automagically' drafted in several competitions and tourneys in which you'll have to climb up your way to the top.
CheckinManager is a Foursquare Football Manager in which your own friends will star as the Ronaldo's and the Messi's. A social game where only your own friends have impact on how good you'll do. Choose your friends wisely, just like your papa told you.
For the moment, CheckinManager is in a semi-public beta (invites only) as a browser-based game. We're planning to turn it into a native iOS and Android app sometime in 2013.
other stuff & ideas in the pipeline
For the moment, our favourite toys are the Foursquare API and Arduino. That's why we made LedWars, a small game in which we collect Foursquare checkins in De Hoorn, our HQ. The current standings: Team Green (Joos): 3951 Team Blue (Kurt): 2899 Team Pink (Yannick): 2301 .
The Vliegwerk Headquarters are located in Leuven (Greater Tielt-Winge Area, Belgium) and are populated by a bunch of experienced game-designers with a passion for
penguins digital media.
We would love to talk with you
We love playing, thinking about improvements for our education, transportation and other society system, eating the perfect home-baked bread, watching women's football and proposing to our fiances with an Arduino-toolkit (- well, not all of us).
Let's talk about what we can do for you. Contact us via mail, or say hello when you're around. You'll see one of the following faces and there will be plenty of coffee or wine (depending on how late it is).
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