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Night Kitchen produced Rocket Lab, an animated rocket science activity for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s How Things Fly website. We reimagined this activity, previously only available on a touchscreen in the gallery, to be fully accessible online with HTML5. With a fresh graphics approach, streamlined game logic, and a brand-new set of accessibility features, learners of all kinds can visit online to design and test rockets. 

Rocket building example

Key to the success of this project was replicating the features and animations of the original Windows-based game in a web browser. To do so, we leveraged our knowledge of HTML5 and web animation with our experience in Unity, the original game development environment.

A demonstration of selecting rocket components for the interactive.

Rocket Lab project demo

Players are charged with completing three missions of progressing complexity. Each mission has different requirements for Cost, Risk, Control, Weight, and Aerodynamics that challenge players to think critically about their design choices. Examples of historical rockets are provided so players can compare their builds to the real thing. Learners will find that building a successful rocket requires trial, error, and constant improvements researched by scientists and engineers. The random chance of failure is all part of the experience – it is rocket science, after all! 

Rocket Lab game screen

A rocket exploding in the interactive.

If you have a new game concept or one built in an outdated technology that you would like to re-envision, let us know and we can collaborate on it together!