Controller of CBBC Richard Deverell said:
[Adventure Rock] is a good example of the way we need to go. The thing that interests me is that children are at the vanguard. And that is where we are taking Children's BBC.
Adventure Rock consists of a large virtual world which players explore using customised avatars. They are accompanied by Cody, a floating robot who guides and helps the player.
The game starts with a tutorial in which Cody teaches the player how to control the avatar. Following that, the player is 'dropped' onto Adventure Rock, and is free to explore. There are a number of continuous tasks to do, such as collecting the hundreds of cog-shaped tokens, or pages torn from a book, the purpose of which is currently unknown. In doing these, the player gains points. There are also a number of different 'studios', including an art studio, a music studio and an animation studio, in which the player can create their own animations etc. which can then be submitted to CBBC.
A short while ago a strange rift appeared on the CBBC website leading to an unknown world. A decision was made to send in two of our hosts to study the strange world. This is the report they sent back from a world that holds more questions than answers...
The website then continues in the style of a blog written by the hosts sent to explore the world, detailing various discoveries made by the hosts. The blog goes on to detail how the hosts are returning to the studio to examine the pages found, and that they need more help, and will hence be sending in CBBC users to investigate further.
The project will also study why the BBC chose to make Adventure Rock a closed world where users' avatars cannot meet or communicate, and what children think of this.
Research workshops have already taken place in December 2007 and January 2008, with 75 participants aged 7-11 years, in five mixed socio-economic and ethnic groups located in Scotland, Wales, N Ireland, and England. At this workshop the children were asked to talk about imaginary spaces and places, and suggest what they would like to see in a virtual world. Six weeks later, during which the children were asked to explore Adventure Rock, a second workshop was held in which the children made creative suggestions about what they would add or remove from this virtual place. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire regarding their feelings about their children participating in this virtual world. In addition, a researcher spent time observing the producers and hosts of CBBC, completing a detailed research diary, which was then used to note congruencies and disparities between producers' expectations and children's own responses.