Game based learning & schools platform for Relationships Education.
Make connections. Explore relationships. Write your own story.
Relationship Goals is a gaming-based digital tool and web platform for schools. It helps neurodiverse young people and those with learning disabilities (SEND) to understand and practise healthy relationships. Digital development is funded by the Tech for Good fund.
The Tech for Good fund is set up and run by Comic Relief and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The fund enables digital innovation in non-profit organisations working to improve people’s lives through technology.
Tech for Good technology partner
Tender is a charity working with young people to prevent domestic abuse and sexual violence. They asked Milo to be their Tech for Good technology partner. We were tasked with helping them with the user experience design and development of a gaming-based digital tool. The objective is to increase capacity to help children with mild to moderate special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The accompanying web application transforms the digital services that Tender offers to schools. The digital platform helps deliver Relationships Education to vulnerable groups of young people. Through the digital platform the game and workshops can be set up and tailored to a learners' individual needs. Teachers can track students' progress, gaining insight into learning outcomes that they have achieved.
Game based learning: To create a gaming-based digital tool to enable young people with special educational needs (SEND) to engage with sensitive topics from a safe distance. To develop empathy and to “rehearse” for real-life scenarios. To explore their rights, expectations and choices in relationships in a fun and age-appropriate way.
Digital platform: To create a digital service for schools to support the delivery of Relationships Education. Enable teachers to tailor the gaming-based digital tool to a learners' needs. Track pupils progress against learning outcomes and generate student reports.
UX design and co-design workshops
Our UX team co-designed every aspect of the game in partnership with neurodiverseyoung people, their schools and caregivers. When we asked, young people told us emphatically that they wanted a fun and engaging role-playing game. We co-designed the characters, stories, gameplay and visual design. The game would help them navigate the complexities of relationships and to help build their confidence.
Narrative game progression, themes and levels
Our UX design team worked with talented scriptwriters to develop the characters and create a narrative driven game. The game enables players to “rehearse” for real-life scenarios by allowing them to make choices in a safe environment. The script was written in such a way that the game can be configured for primary and secondary schools. The themes and language adapt to ensure that the levels are age appropriate.
Level design and topic progression
The game has five levels and three mini-levels, each of which explores a different topic about relationships. These topics increase in their complexity and maturity as the game progresses. They cover topics such as empathy, personal space, online safety, peer pressure and consent.
Fresh Start: The player has arrived at a new school and wants to get to know their classmates. But, with so many different personalities in one place, can everyone get on and respect each other?
The Photo: Embarrassing photos of someone known to the player are being sent around the school against their will. Their friend confides in them that they are also being pressured to send a photo by someone in class. Can the player help them work out what to do?
Cupcakes: It’s the school bake sale and the player is starting to get to know their classmates really well. Some of their friends want to play a prank on another friend in their group: what should they do?
Red Flags: As friendships get closer, navigating everyone’s feelings gets tricky and people feel left out or get jealous. How does the player deal with this? Also, two of their classmates are now in a relationship! But something doesn’t seem quite right... Can the player work out if their relationship is healthy and support their friends?
Moving On: Every relationship goes through difficulties and resolving conflict is hard. Two of the player's friends are a couple, but one of them wants to end the relationship. Can the player support them to do this in a healthy way and feel confident about their next steps?
Relationship health and romance scores
The player's choices determine the health of the relationship and romance score that they have with each character. Choices are linked to one of the learning outcomes for each level. This means that adults can effectively support young people with Relationships Education. They can see what topics they understand, or find challenging and may need additional support with.
Dating other characters
Whether a character will go on a date is dependent on the Relationship and Romance score with the player. The Relationship and Romance scores are balanced to reflect the outcome of the player choices during the game. The dating mini levels focus on building young people's understanding of romantic or intimate relationships and include:
Asking someone out on a date
Going on a date
Breaking up with someone
Students can create their own character using a highly customisable Avatar Builder. The Avatar Builder enables them to choose from a wide range of facial features, skin tones, hairstyles and outfits. The avatar is displayed next to the choices that the player is making.
Onboarding and in-game support
Throughout the game players are supported by Shay and Mr Hill. Friendly and supportive grown-ups explain how to play the game and highlight important concepts in Relationships Education, like consent. Shay checks-in with players to ensure that they are comfortable when taking next steps with other characters. Players are supported when dating or ending relationships.
The player can read background information about each character. The character profiles give insights to the personality, values, likes and dislikes of the game characters. They help players make informed choices whilst playing the game.
At the end of each level the player participates in a tournament round. Tournaments test their knowledge and understanding of the learning outcomes through a series of fun interactive activities.
The game characters are all voiced by professional actors which brings the game to life for players. It also helps students with visual impairments, or low levels of literacy play the game. The game pauses as each dialogue or action is presented. This gives the opportunity for players to move at their own pace through the game. They can take as much time as required to re-read or re-listen to dialogue before making choices. A settings panel enables players to configure the game to meet their individual needs. They can decide whether to include SFX or Voice Over audio.
Customisable online game engine
The digital tool is supported by a highly customisable online game engine. The game engine allows non-technical teams to script, set up and publish new game levels without assistance. The game engine was built using Strapi, an open-source headless content management system (CMS) and includes:
Scenes: Set up scenes by adding backgrounds, UI layout, characters, and character emotions in the scene.
Script: Adding script and linking sequences together
Player choices: Adding player choices, linking choices to game outcomes and balancing the scores for Relationship and Romance health
Tournaments: Creating fun mini-games from a library of game types and linking them to learning outcomes
Dating: Creating the conditions for dating each character
Onboarding: Creating help files and in-game onboarding sequences for explaining key features
Profiles: Creating profiles for each of the in-game characters
Media: Uploading voice over audio files and linking them to script and player choices
Digital platform for schools
The digital tool, workshops and reports are managed via an easy to use digital platform designed specifically for teachers. Teachers set up workshop groups and create game accounts for students. They can configure the chapters available within the game. Additionally they can decide whether students can progress at their own pace or require support from those leading the workshops. The language used in the game can be tailored to meet the needs of different age groups. The schools platform includes:
Accounts: School and user account management
Training: Training resources for teachers
Workshops: Workshop setup and game configuration
Reports: Reports for students, workshops and schools
Digital innovation in Relationships Education
Tender is utilising digital innovation to protect vulnerable young people from sexual assault and domestic violence. Relationship Goals aims to create a lasting, positive impact on how neurodiverse young people approach real-life social interactions. They are groups that have consistently been left out or ignored by conventional relationship education. By educating young people to recognise the early warning signs of unhealthy relationships, we prevent them from becoming victims or perpetrators. Relationship Goals empowers them to have healthy, equal relationships that enrich their lives.
Growth of digital services
The Relationship Goals platform expands the scope of the digital services that Tender offers to schools. It supports the growth of Tenders educational programmes and increases the number of young people that can participate. Schools can tailor the game-based digital tools to meet the needs of their students. They can track pupils' progress and support the delivery of Relationships Education.
Tender is currently piloting the game and digital platform in schools. The aim is to scale the service nationally during 2022-23. During this time Milo will be supporting Tender as their Tech for Good technology partner. We will be improving the game and digital platform, and respond to feedback from young people and schools.
Accessing the service
The game is available to play online in the browser and on iOS and Android devices. To find out how to access the service please visit the Relationship Goals website or contact Tender.
App design & development services
Game, mobile & web application development
A multidisciplinary team was necessary for the creation of Relationship Goals. We helped with user experience design, game design, web design, character design, illustration, web application development and game development.
Game & user experience design
Game design document (GDD)
Character design & illustration
User interface design
Voice over recording & SFX
Game & web application development
Game engine development
Unity game development (web, iOS & Android)
Web application development
Headless CMS (Strapi)
Heroku cloud application platform
Multi device testing
Support & maintenance
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