What We’re Into – February 2014

As you can tell from our 2013 wrap up, it was a busy year here at CloudKid, and 2014 is shaping up to be one too! Don’t worry, though, we still find time to consume tons of different types of media when we’re not busy producing our own! Here’s what’s been inspiring us lately in this year’s first edition of “It’s What We’re Into”.

A Sitcom: The Goldbergs


Originally launching its pilot on Hulu, ABC’s new family comedy, The Goldbergs, has all the nostalgia and humor any child of the eighties needs to feel right at home. Narrated by Patton Oswalt, the series follows the eccentric Goldberg family as told through the eyes of their youngest child growing up in the early eighties. While the show is not groundbreaking, it has smart writing and an amazing cast, including Jeff Garlin (for those Curb Enthusiasts) and Wendi McLendon-Covey (of Reno 911 and Bridesmaids fame) as the family’s dysfunctional parents. Filled with constant nods to the many iconic toys and movies from one of the flashiest decades, The Goldbergs is definitely a show to check out if you want to laugh and reminisce about DeLoreans, mom jeans, and VHS tapes.

An App: Yummly


As self proclaimed foodies and tech geeks, we’re always looking for the best tools and apps to help us in our culinary adventures, and we found just that with Yummly. Billing itself as the “ultimate kitchen tool”, the Yummly app is a beautiful, streamlined interface that provides an aggregate of recipes from around the web. Yummly allows users to search for recipes by ingredient, diet, allergy, nutrition, price, cuisine, time, taste, meal courses and sources. Over time, as users save “Yums” (favorite recipes) the app learns preferences and uses this information to make recommendations. Users can also choose which ingredients from each recipe they want to add to an in-app shopping list, making sure there’s no excuse not to get cooking! This app is as beautiful as it is functional, and we’re excited to keep cooking (and eating!) with it.

A Game: Duet


Duet is one of those games that you sit down to play for a minute, keep telling yourself “just one more try,” and then look up and the sun has gone down. You maneuver two connected orbs through a vertically scrolling maze of walls that move, spin, and even start to disappear as you progress to harder levels. The design is stripped down and simple, the gameplay hypnotic, with tight controls and difficulty that fires neurons we haven’t used since Super Hexagon. Not to mention the gorgeous electronic soundtrack by Tim Shiel (AKA Faux Pas), which stands on its own as an album and won’t even arouse suspicion that you’re listening to a video game soundtrack.

A Short: The Expedition

CloudKid’s very own Louie Zong was featured on Cold Hard Flash last week for his short, The Expedition. Louie is an insanely talented artist, musician and animator, and The Expedition features all of these talents in one bite-sized nugget of a short. Did we mention he did EVERYTHING himself in only a week? Don’t worry, he makes us feel like slackers sometimes, too!

Grover’s Winter Games Launches


As HUGE fans of Grover, we’re excited to announce the launch of our latest Sesame Street game: Grover’s Winter Games! Launched this week to coincide with the start of the Olympics, the advanced HTML5 experience features ice skating, skiing and snowboarding mini-games. After choosing who they want to play as, kids are guided through each sport with funny cinematics and voiceover from Grover. Each mini-game features a unique curriculum, multiple levels of difficulty and an open-ended free-play experience to increase replay-ability.

We’re super proud of the finished product and are excited to keep pushing the limits to create the highest quality HTML5 games possible. Hope everyone near and far enjoys playing!

Cartoon Tuesday


We’re suckers for a good tradition at CloudKid HQ: we never miss apple picking in the fall, we gather every Friday for a team lunch, and now we’ve officially added Cartoon Tuesday to our roster of rituals. As content creators, we love dreaming up new characters, worlds and ideas. A huge part of this creative process is finding inspiration from and looking critically at the works of others. Enter Cartoon Tuesday, a weekly gathering of the CloudKids to watch animated content.

We’ve watched everything from the Power Puff Girls (taking a look at the story and shot composition from an early episode of the break-out series) to Gumball (discussing the unique multi-media style of the series) to Gravity Falls (talking about the challenges of making a complicated plot accessible). So far, it’s been a great new tradition, and we’d love to hear some of your suggestions for must-watch toons!

2013 Recap


It’s that time of year again… you know, the time for complaining about how much snow we’ve already gotten, for recovering from holiday food comas, and, yup, you guessed it: for the annual CloudKid Year-in-Review! We know we say this every year, but seriously guys, this was a crazy year! Check out some of the highlights:

  • Produced 2 pilots for Nick Digital, slated to launch in their app in early 2014!
  • Created the transmedia suite for Peg + Cat.
  • Launched our first original web series, OZMAT.
  • Produced three games for Sesame Workshop: Jessica’s Joyride, Let’s Build It, and Grover’s Winter Games (launching early 2014).
  • Redesigned and animated Romo, everyone’s favorite iPhone robot, .
  • The App Store featured two of our apps: Hectic Harvest and The Big Gig.
  • LA Unified School District chose Fresh Pick to be installed on student tablets.
  • Helped kick off a Boston chapter of the Children’s Media Association.
  • Landed our first TV development deal (stay tuned!).
  • Landed our next big transmedia suite gig for an upcoming PBS KIDS show.
  • And last but not least, our greatest accomplishment of 2013: Donut Thursday.

As always, we’re proud of everything we accomplished in 2013, and we can’t wait to see what this year brings! Stay tuned, and Happy New Year to all!

OZMAT Creature Tumblr


We are excited to introduce the OZMAT Creature Tumblr! Now that OZMAT has officially rolled out, we wanted to highlight all of the awesome creature-related content in one place. Animated creature tests? Got ‘em. Top secret dossier files and photos? You betcha! Unreleased animated GIFs? Bonus! We’ll be rolling out all of this content on the Tumblr over the next few weeks, so be sure to share, follow, and reblog with your peeps.

Happy (Treat-Filled) Holidays!


It’s no secret that CloudKids like a treat from time to time (after all, we do celebrate Donut Thursday, and we have a year-round, candy-filled Jack-o-Lantern). So for the past few years, our holiday party has also included a homemade treat exchange. The gang really outdid themselves this year, so we thought we’d share some of our favorite recipes with you all.

Want to impress your Grandma with some fancy french macarons? You’re welcome! Wishing Hanukkah hadn’t come and gone already? Get festive again with these Nutella rugelach. Want to show your Italian pride for Christmas Eve today? Try these yummy Spumoni cookies. You can thank us later! And if you’re still hungry, check below the break for more CloudKid approved recipes. Happy Holidays!

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OZMAT Testing Chamber Process


A major component in the OZMAT world is the underground government facility where the series takes place. During the development process, we wanted to make sure the OZMAT testing chamber (where the creature tests take place) felt as real as the world we were bringing to life (as well as the live-action sets we built). The only way to achieve this realism was to build a 3D model, something we had never done before. We rolled up our sleeves, teamed up with Vando in Barcelona, and figured out the process as we went. Everything went according to plan and we learned so much from the experience, that we wanted to share the design process with y’all.

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Jessica’s Joyride Launches

Jessica's Joyride Game Screen

This summer, we collaborated with the folks at Sesame Workshop on our first game for their older-audience show, The Electric Company. The show’s site, which relaunched last week, underwent a full redesign to highlight Prankster Planet, the animated/interactive spinoff of the hit live-action TV series. We were thrilled to create an advanced HTML5 game, Jessica’s Joyride, as part of this work. The game is a side-scrolling, chasing adventure that takes place across four worlds and reinforces a rhyming curriculum.

Using the existing Prankster Planet style as a jumping off point, CloudKid produced all artwork, UI design, animation and programming for this experience. As always, we loved tackling creative challenges throughout the production process, which included pushing animation and sound potential in an HTLM5 experience, creating comic-book inspired cinematics to tell the game’s story, and producing a tie-in activity where kids can make mixes with the rhyming word they’ve collected. We’re super proud of the results, and are excited for you all to finally play the game! Hope you enjoy!

OZMAT in the Guardian

OZMAT Guardian

Last Thursday, the Guardian featured OZMAT via a guest post written by Dr. Elias Lipton, the the fictional hero of the web series. In the science-leaning article, Dr. Lipton makes an impassioned case for scientific advancement and OZMAT:

In many ways, 2013 has been a wonderful year for humankind. The Higgs boson has been identified. We are discovering ever more habitable planets across our Milky Way galaxy. Just today I read that a team led by Mike Thewalt at Simon Fraser University held a fragile quantum memory state at room temperature for 39 minutes. Thirty-nine minutes! That shatters the world record! The head tingles at the ways in which ultrafast quantum computing could change our world in the not-too-distant future.

Alas, I now fear that such major technological breakthroughs will be few and far between in the coming years. We may in fact be heading toward a period of prolonged stagnation in scientific advancement. No, I’m not talking about fewer young people interested in mathematics and science. And no, I’m not talking about a sluggish world economy slowing down research. I’m talking about a future without OZMAT. 

Read the entire article here and be sure to check out some of the comments at the bottom of the post. OZMAT was created and produced by CloudKid.

GTA V: Transmedia Phenom


The gaming world was taken by storm this fall with the release of Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V. Gamers had been left without a new major installment of GTA since 2008 (Grand Theft Auto IV), but we’re pretty confident to say it was worth the wait. And we’re not the only ones: GTA V broke gaming records in its first day alone, selling $800 million worth of units, and going on to earn $1 billion in just the first three days. A billion dollars. In three days.

So, how’d they do it? We took a look and created for your viewing pleasure the “3 Simple Steps to Creating a $1 Billion Masterpiece – GTA V Edition”.

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