Update a set of popular digital books that were live on app stores but had not been updated in a while.
Reviewed and updated the legacy technology for optimized performance on the latest devices.
Sesame Workshop, an American nonprofit organization responsible for the production of several educational children’s programs – including its first and best-known, Sesame Street – was looking to update some of its popular digital books.
The Monster at the End of this Book and Another Monster at the End of this Book were two of the most popular titles ever published by Sesame, both in their physical and digital forms. The two books had been on the app stores in legacy technologies since 2018 and Sesame was looking to refresh these to prolong their shelf life.
Tintash was engaged by Sesame Workshop in 2020 to work on this project.
Through an RFP process, our team diligently evaluated the legacy code and art assets and concluded that it was best to port the apps from the existing cocos2d-x framework to Unity. Besides enabling smoother performance across the latest iOS and Android phones and tablets, this would allow incorporation of key contemporary features such as the analytics support and integration of relevant thirdparty services.
We devised the project plan following a careful review of the existing art assets and animations. The art assets had to be re-used with the highest fidelity to stay true to the Sesame brand. At the same time, the animations had to be perfectly timed via careful engineering and testing since all the interactive elements in the digital books followed strict pedagogical guidelines that could not be compromised.
Our engineers identified at the outset that a fair amount of the architecture could be re-used between the two books and hence planned accordingly. Since the complexity of art and animations could vary greatly across pages, we developed each page of the books meticulously using the Spine tool. The team alternated between automating the animations where it was practical and manual development where it was required in order to stay true to the original product.
We brought these properties to Amazon Fire TV as well, the first of such efforts by Sesame. This was a key component of the launch plan and involved setting up carefully choreographed interactions across that hardware.
The team worked on a tight timeline to have the app updates ready in time for Sesame’s marketing campaign of their HBO launch in November, 2020. We prioritized and delivered a set of essential pre-launch tasks to ensure the app was live for the big event, following that up with some post-launch items.
The final products live on the app stores were tightly integrated with the Sesame APIs, including their cross-promotional efforts, and were hence robust to serve in the foreseeable future. We at Tintash take great pride in having contributed to Sesame’s mission of educating children and ensuring the goal was not compromised in a year marred by the Covid challenges.
Through the course of this project, we worked closely with Sesame’s product team. We would have weekly meetings to discuss progress and prioritize features, documenting those discussions using shared project management tools such as the Jira board to ensure both the teams were perfectly aligned.