Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Ripple Effect

Art used on Ripple Effect landing page

Back­ground art evokes the var­i­ous types of loca­tions where work hap­pens.

Safe­ty is a top pri­or­i­ty for Shell. As part of its con­tin­u­ing effort to improve process safe­ty, we worked with Shell to cre­ate Rip­ple Effect: a game aimed at mak­ing oth­er people’s safe­ty a per­son­al con­cern. Rip­ple Effect empha­sizes the col­lec­tive nature of risk man­age­ment and con­nects Shell staff and con­trac­tors glob­al­ly, from office to front­line.

Early concept sketch for Ripple Effect

In the ear­ly stages of the project we explored the many con­cepts involved with process safe­ty through sketch­ing.

The game is played in com­pet­ing teams whose mem­bers are dis­trib­uted across the globe. Each team mem­ber is giv­en a pro­duc­tion sta­tion on which they can pro­duce resources and take safe­ty pre­cau­tions. The actu­al qual­i­ty of the sta­tion is ini­tial­ly unknown and needs to be assessed. Teams mem­bers need to com­mu­ni­cate about their local sit­u­a­tion and about how best to dis­trib­ute their actions as a team to opti­mize their joint out­come.

Ripple Effect character art

Play­ers are assist­ed by a num­ber of advi­sors, each with her or his own spe­cial­i­ty.

We col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly explored the top­ic of process safe­ty in a series of design sprints. Issues were boiled down to con­cepts and verbs that could be trans­lat­ed into a game. One key fea­ture of the game is that both office and front­line (on-site) employ­ees can play a role in a team. Front­line employ­ees have few­er plan­ning respon­si­bil­i­ties but have an eas­i­er way to gath­er sit­u­a­tion­al infor­ma­tion. The design process was based on iter­at­ing on prototypes—initially phys­i­cal, lat­er digital—that were test­ed with tar­get audi­ence rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

A small agile team devel­oped this design into a high fideli­ty ‘pilot’ ver­sion of the game. An addi­tion­al chal­lenge was that because of the very glob­al scale of this project the cloud solu­tions (Heroku and oth­ers) we nor­mal­ly use to build things quick­ly could not be used. Rack­space turned out to be the solu­tion that fit the bill and offered mature serv­er man­age­ment. We built a set­up on their plat­form that did most of the things we need­ed to do. We did devel­op­ment on a local envi­ron­ment that was repli­cat­ed for pro­duc­tion and that we could update and scale as nec­es­sary.

We deliv­ered the game after eight weeks of devel­op­ment and ran the game with a glob­al group of 100 Shell employ­ees. The test val­i­dat­ed the core premise and laid out a clear course for fur­ther devel­op­ment into a full ver­sion which is slat­ed to take place in 2014.

  • Project credits

    Concept by Hubbub in collaboration with Demovides.

    Design and development by Hubbub: Kars Alfrink (project lead), Tim Bosje (game design), Alper Cugun (engineering), Niels 't Hooft (copy), Dylan Nagel (production), Joost Stokhof (art) and Bastiaan Terhorst (visual design).

    Commissioned by Shell.