Cross-platform gamification application to support government initiative

Don’t Mess with Texas

Program-Ace facilitates the government initiative to reduce littering with a gamified solution as a support and motivation for in-school educational

Background Info

Bakery Agency, an independent creative company, together with Don't Mess with Texas® (DMWT), a governmental littering campaign organized by the Texas Department of Transportation, have jointly developed an idea to extend their target market from 18- to 35-year-old males and females towards a younger audience. Their idea laid in finding the most engaging way to explain to school-age children the real price of litter and teach them how to properly dispose of trash.

At the time Bakery Agency contacted Program-Ace, the company was actively working towards a few possible solutions, including an educational game. Considering that people remember more than 90% of what they do, and the best way to educate children is through a game, we advised upon bringing a gamified educational solution to middle and high schools as well as kindergartens. Being an entirely governmental-funded initiative, the campaign needed a team that could handle the development process on time and on a budget. As well-known storytellers and innovation bringers, Program-Ace were chosen to implement this strategy in real life. The final game that features a confrontation between a little armadillo, named Dillo, and the gang of raccoons, including Randall the Raccoon and his Vandals, serves as a gamified component of a government drive to decrease littering in Texas and the area.

Dillo properly disposes of his trash and coaxes others to do the same. He is a good citizen; he picks up litter and tosses it into DMWT trash cans, but the invasion of Randall the Racoon and his gang into the village forces this brave armadillo to set out to confront the culprits and clean up the messes they made. The game has a Game Map, which includes a map of Texas landmarks, where players can select new levels to clear as Dillo encounters and confronts members of Randall’s gang.
Juan Carlo Carvajal
Juan Carlo Carvajal
COO/Managing Partner
Program-Ace has been well organized, with detailed schedules as to how the project was to be executed. The client was very happy with the game, and at one point said that “they couldn’t believe the game looked so good.”
Program-Ace has been recommended by my company to other colleagues and business owners in town that are looking for development services. I would definitely do business with Program-Ace again and hope that we can continue our relationship after the conclusion of the project that we are working on together.
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Business Challenges

Engaging Storytelling
As the main purpose of the game is to educate children about the danger of littering, we were challenged to create a storyline to inspire kids to follow Dillo on his hard work to decrease littering.
Motivation Point for Little Ones
Program-Ace were asked to create a game that encourages students not to litter while not overshadowing the theme that anyone can make a difference — even one little armadillo.
The game also needed to be enjoyed by students with disabilities, so we were challenged to create an alternate version of Dillo’s adventure.

Approach and Solution

The Program-Ace team has performed cross-platform development to allow players to enjoy Dillo's adventures on multiple platforms, such as iOS, Android, and any web browser. Also, the game has been designed for two different modes - 2D and 2.5D. Program-Ace's professional game developers also created all valuable assets for the game, including:

  • Gameplay
  • The basic and advanced game mechanics that determine the game’s progress.
  • Point System
  • The algorithm for the point system that calculates the score based on the amount and quality of litter collected, enemies defeated, time on the level, achievements, etc.
  • Characters and Environments
  • The Program-Ace team created the behavior and abilities of each character, counting Dillo, the Vandals, Litter Force, etc., and the environments in two different styles - low-poly and flat vector.
  • Backgrounds
  • In addition, Program-Ace experts created background elements with several layers of depth: foreground, midground (interactive area), and two background layers for each level.
  • Stages & Levels
  • Our team designed the environment of each stage for every level, taking into consideration unique features of areas within Texas, flora and flora and fauna, terrain, weather, and so on, which are reflective of the actual real-life counterparts.
  • Litter Distribution System
  • Our team designed the system to generate the amount of litter and its quality on each game level. Also, we created the litter found in stages that include styrofoam cups, water bottles, fast food bags and wrappers, bottles, candy wrappers, diapers, apple cores, cigarette butts, etc. based on how they reflect in reality.
  • Level Elements
  • Most level elements have been created to mimic the real environment it is based on and have small, atmospheric animations (leaves rustling, water flowing, clouds moving, etc.)
  • Cutscenes
  • Our team also created and animated the cutscenes that occur between levels as the game progresses. These cutscenes serve a mainly educational purpose.

    In order to make the game accessible for students with disabilities and give them the same gaming experience, we made an alternate version of the game in a choose-your-own-adventure format. This format, while text-heavy, is supplemented by a voiceover. The player assumes control of Dillo on his journey through Texas, helping him make decisions, aid animals in need, defeat enemies, and clean up the landscape while pursuing Randall across the state.

    Players interact with the game by choosing from a series of options based on Dillo’s current situation. There are no wrong answers, but Dillo’s progression is affected depending on the player’s choice. Players who opt to help out animals in need or go out of their way to pick up more litter will accrue a higher score than players who skip over these “side missions” in favor of progressing the storyline. Along the way, the player gains information about Texas, littering, and its consequences between stages, similar to the original game experience.
Support Texas anti-littering initiative - play Don't Mess with Texas

Technical Information

The team of one game designer, two 2D artists, one animator, one sound effects artist, and one developer finished the above-mentioned scope of work in 3 months.
Unity WebGL JSON 3ds Max


Not only the current generation of technologically-proficient students can benefit from this type of education, it also can be beneficial for:
Elementary school
Government Facilities
Educational cross-platform game

Value Delivered

This cross-platform gamification solution became successful across schools and educational facilities and helped our clients receive the following benefits:
  1. The game exclusively is credited to help the Texas Department of Transportation reduce litter in the area by roughly 32%;
  2. Attracting over $2M donations and investments into the initiative to help decrease the problem of littering;
  3. Helping the government develop social responsibility and embrace a more ecologically-friendly behavior applying gamification mechanics;
  4. Attracting a younger, technologically-native audience between 10 and 18 years-old.


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Tell us more about your business needs to help us serve you better. The more detailed information will allow us to route your inquiry to the most appropriate person in our team.
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