Former BBC children’s presenter Jay Jay Burridge's Supersaurs series with Bonnier Zaffre has been turned into an augmented reality app.
Burridge created Supersaurs as a “six-part, global, adventure series for children” which explores what the world would like if dinosaurs had not died out but instead evolved into something else. It combines “classic storytelling with stunning illustrations thrillingly brought to life with the free digital app”.
Unveiled on Tuesday (6th September) ahead of the publication of book one, Raptors of Paradise from the publisher's imprint Supersaurs on 21st September, the app has been developed in partnership with BAFTA award-winning gaming studio Preloaded.
Burridge, who is a sculptor by trade and studied at Central Saint Martins, told The Bookseller how he helped create the illustrations "layer by layer" and that he had been "living in the Supersaurs world for three years".
The former presenter of children's art programme, "Smart", described how the app, which he created with video game designer Nicholas Lovell, includes two modes, 'look' and 'play'. 'Look' "helps to keep the book in the reader's mind" when it is on the shelf while "play" enables interaction with illustrations in the book itself through a number of 'missions' which the reader must solve.
He also hopes that the new Supersaurs imprint will exist beyond the six books in the series as he has other series planned. He said: "Creating this imprint [within Bonnier Zaffre] makes us feel like we're a small independent record label within a bigger agency."
The paperback of the first book will be published in February with each hardback being published every six months.
A Bonnier Zaffre spokesperson said: “It captures Burridge’s vision: to bring the book to life and to add depth to the characters, while immersing readers in thrilling adventure stories. The app encourages readers to search the pictures for hidden objects and solve puzzles, bringing them back to the book again and again.”
Readers can see animations for roaring ‘saurs’ and dancing "Raptors of Paradise" with artwork from Burridge and illustrator Chris West popping out of the page in augmented reality.
Game designer Nicholas Lovell with Jay Jay Burridge
The spokesperson said: “They hear the sounds of the exotic Aru Islands where Raptors of Paradise is set while they can spend hours completing a series of missions to discover hidden objects and unlock secrets as one of seven playable characters.”
Burridge said: "I had always envisioned an augmented reality version of Supersaurs: finding objects hidden in the 100 images throughout the book or discovering secrets that did not exist on the physical page. Having spent many years creating the world of Supersaurs, I am thrilled to see it come to life and I’m really looking forward to readers around the world discovering Supersaurs through this combination of epic storytelling, magnificent artwork and ground-breaking technology.”
Lovell, author of The Curve (Portfolio Penguin) which explores how direct relationships can be forged through the internet, described the app as a "step change in how stories are told".
“We’ve taken several solutions - particularly Unity’s game engine and Vuforia’s image recognition technology - to create an app which lifts the book into a whole new era of augmented reality,” he said.
The World of Supersaurs: Raptors of Paradise by Jay Jay Burridge is published on 21st September by Supersaurs (an imprint of Bonnier Zaffre) priced at £10.99 hardback
The Supersaurs app is available to download for free on the App Store for iPhone and iPad and on Google Play for Android devices.