Make365 - Storybook App


Prior to our trip to Florida I started looking for apps to download onto my phone to, hopefully, entertain Oliver on the 5+ hour plane ride. I came across this storybook app for Busytown and became quite enthralled with the idea. While Oliver didn't understand the story, he did enjoy interacting with the characters on the screen.

The storybook is essentially setup as a sequence of pages in which each page has a set of actors that shake when you click on them. They may also play a sound. Going to a page will also start some init script to do something, like start the dialogue or to start a mini game.

I e-mailed LoudCrow because their Verso Story Engine was apparently in private beta for developers to use. They e-mailed me back quickly, but inquired what I was planning to use the system for. I figured that saying "I just want to mess around with it" wouldn't be a good answer, so I never replied. I did, however, start thinking about how I would and could implement my own.

I assume that the Verso Story Engine would be presented to me like the interface in Flash Pro, so I figured I wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel and make a whole ton of tools for the project. Just use Flash Pro as is and do some coding. What I wanted to do was have that code only written once so that it would initialize automatically as a player/reader/child went from page to page. This way I would only have to worry about the basic stuff (the "fun" stuff) that spanned across the entire story, namely the actors and what actions they performed. Code once, reuse everywhere.

What I ended up doing this afternoon was create a standard "game stage" movie clip that contained as many frames as there were pages in the story. Inside each frame (or page) would be n number of actor movie clips. Inside each of those actors contained data, specifically marking the movie clip of type "actor" and the sound ID it should play when clicked on. Every time a player went to a different page, the game would automatically scan the frame for new actors and assign them their proper click actions.

What I have now is a strong foundation and engine for my own storybook apps that I can export to Android, iOS, or web. If you have Flash installed and are checking this out in your browser, you can interact with the demo below: