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Interview with Benjamin Chong

The Dream, World Explorer Edition, by Swipea, is, in my opinion, one of the best storybooks made with Kwik till now. What the team did (besides the great story and beautiful illustrations) for activities in the Happy Bazaar, was simply amazing (honestly, I have no idea how they make some of the activities without coding Smile)! Ben was kind enough to share some of his experiences building the app with us. Enjoy!

The Dream_Story Scene

Tell a little bit about you and your company?
Gamebit Labs is a new startup developing mobile apps, specifically children apps and ‘games’. We’re a small team of two but with earth size ambitions. There’s me, Ben the founder and my illustrator, Hau. We’re based in Malaysia and we started actual operations in January, 2012.

What is The Dream about?
The Dream is an ‘activity storybook,’ designed to help kids learn moral values and new cultures through story, discovery and play while engaging parents to be involved in this experience. The Dream is the 1st activity storybook in our World Explorer series and it explores the Arab World. The app consist of three main parts: the Story, the Happy Bazaar which is the mini-game section of the app, and DIY paper craft for Fans.

The Dream_Edu Minigames in Bazaar Door Layout

How did Kwik help you to build it? Any favorite features?
Talking about Kwik, there’s a funny story to it. I found out about Kwik since it was in version 1.5. I thought it was an interesting software but i didn’t take it very seriously because i wanted to make ‘games’. In January, 2012 I hired a programmer because both me and Hau can’t code. Unfortunately that person decided to join another company a few days before he was supposed to report to work. All of a sudden, Kwik became very important to us, but could we make simple games out of it? We decided to make the best possible app we possibly could with Kwik, despite its limitation and The Dream, World Explorer Edition is the outcome, 100% made with Kwik.

The Dream_Learn Historical Places

Initially, we had a tough time with Kwik. We couldn’t get things to work. We couldn’t get the Read To Me function to work, but this was just the initial learning curve. When we understood Kwik, things got done very quickly. My favorite feature is the duplicate scene function where you could import PSD and Kwik settings into a new scene. My next favorite function is the Image Switch function, we used that a lot of it in our app.

Any trick/tip you would like to share?
We had this idea for Amira’s Kitchen mini-game in The Dream. This mini-game is about guessing 3 right ingredients to make a cuisine, and ‘IF’ you get them right it will reveal a button to a fun fact. The problem was how do you reveal this button regardless of the sequence the player gets the right ingredients? It’s a little hard to explain in words, maybe this picture will explain better. Using these layers and the hide/unhide function in Kwik we could simulate the experience we wanted.

Amira Kitchen_IF Layer

The Dream_Learn Arabian Cuisines

What is your overall experience with us (product and services)?
Kwik is a really great tool. We knew from the start that it was meant for non-programmers and it had limitations. We tried not to let that stop us, and if you put on your thinking caps, to a certain extend you could create simple games with Kwik.

What is next for you and your company?
We’re busy doing two things right now, promoting The Dream and planning our next book with new games using Kwik 1.8. It’s in the drawing board, so hopefully we’ll see it in April. We’re really excited about Kwik 2, so we can make more fun games for our storybooks.

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