Meet the Team: Ululab!

Behind the woolly mammoth of Slice Fractions: School Edition, there is an owl, the animal of Ululab’s logo. This Canadian start-up based in Montreal was cofounded in 2012 by three friends: François Boucher-Genesse, Jean-Guillaume Dumont and Dany Joly.

Meet the team who wants to create state of the art conceptual learning games.

Why did you decide to start Ululab?

FBG: I’ve worked a few years at Bungie as a gameplay designer on the Halo series. Unfortunately, I didn’t think mainstream game companies would make games focused on delivering learning experiences any time soon. I therefore left and started a master’s degree in education in order to find the best way to use video games as an educational tool. I’ve worked on a few educational titles and confirmed through studies the tremendous learning potential games can offer.

JGD: At that time, I was a teacher in the process of finalizing a master’s degree in education in the same university. Frank and I talked a lot about ways to leverage good game design as a powerful tool to learn complex concepts, but to materialize our ideas, we needed Dany’s expertise.

DJ: When they contacted me, I was working for Microsoft. I had an amazing experience there, but I wanted to do something more meaningful. So, I joined the team to create innovative games that will improve education hoping to have a positive impact on society.

What core values guide your game design?

FBG: Many educational games are gamified school exercises. They have their utility, but we think there’s room for more games that help children discover complex concepts. This is why we choose to develop games based on conceptual learning. We also strive to create an original game design directly inspired by the concepts themselves, instead of trying to retrofit an already existing game to the content we want to teach.

What’s your motivation?

JGD: The educational game industry is extremely challenging, not only for a start-up like ours, but for all the companies we know in this market. However, it’s also really rewarding when on daily basis you receive testimonies of parents and teachers who share with us how Slice Fractions had a positive impact on their kids’ or students’ learning. Knowing that our work can impact children’s success at school keeps us going everyday.

What valuable lesson have you learned so far?

DJ: Since the beginning, we’ve taken time to learn as much as possible. At every step on our journey, we humbly listen to all comments and suggestions from our partners, advisors, customers and players. For example, we’ve tested 12 mammoth sketches for Slice Fractions main character. We were convinced that children would choose a cute and polished version. Instead, they chose the one with the most strange and weird design. We’ve kept it in the game and people love it! The main takeaway is that you should always plan enough time to test, playtest and collect feedback.

Could you explain your relationship with
GlassLab Games Services?

FBG: We’re honored to work with such a nice team and with all the other amazing game developers. We can feel the team spirit and the goodwill that everybody put in this project. Teachers wanting to use games in their classroom face many challenges, and this is one of the first teams we have met who we think can truly help them.

Slice Fractions: School Edition is one of six high-quality, high-impact games made by leading game developers who are part of the GlassLab beta partner program. The awesome game, combined with real-time reports and instructional resources, is now available on GlassLab Games!

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