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Follow Santa and his elves with Santa Tracker.

For three years in a row, we've helped build Google Santa Tracker — a massive Christmas calendar with loads of fun.

‘Tis the Season

We’ve had the pleasure to build 17 interactive scenes for the calendar over the past three years. It’s a fully responsive experience with lots of animations and playfulness.

Santa's village is the entry point to all the individual games and scenes.

Santa’s village is the entry point to all the individual games and scenes. Each one is built as a separate App making it easier for the team to work in parallel.

Built from mobile up to big screens
Built responsive from mobile up to big screens

Decorations

The overall experience was directed by our friends UPPERQUAD. The design features colourful flat elements such as moving animals and elves in different colour outfits.

The playground scene features many fun animations and eyes that follow the mouse.

All design elements are vector based — a good approach to keep things flexible and resolution independent. As always, we made everything work on different kinds of devices, this year we even added support for Chromecast and Android Wear integration.

Bringing it to life

Apart from coding the colourful characters and their surroundings, our job was to bring the whole experience to life. Animations and interactions should feel natural and work nicely together to make scenes playful and as fun as possible.

Many of the scenes were fully fledged games, such as the matching game where you play against the clock to beat santa on his own playfield. We built the logic for these games with multiple levels and score keeping.

Santa Tracker Matching Game

We also integrated with many cool Google services such as the Street View Panorama and the Text-to-Speech API. The translations scene lets you listen to your favourite holiday greetings in 20 different languages — including Elvish.

Santa Translation scene

Our office buddies Plan8 did an amazing job with the sound design for the whole project.

Technologies

As always, when working with Google, we got to play with a lot of new toys. This year Santa’s factory was upgraded to use Web Components (using Polymer) and the new Web Animations specification.

You can read about our experience transitioning from GreenSock GSAP to Web Animations on the blog.

“14islands were absolutely amazing in what they could do, despite challenging deadlines and working with brand new technologies. We are hugely impressed with their work and always appreciate the chance to collaborate with them.”

Phil Ruppanner Phil Ruppanner Creative Director / Founder at UPPERQUAD

The best of all gifts

Working with the Santa Tracker team is always a joy and we look forward to reuniting the familiy for next christmas. A big thanks to everyone who made it a success: Google, Upperquad, Ueno, Aranja and Plan8.

The site has won multiple awards both years we were involved:

Check it out

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