A digital leopard against a pink and purple background

His Dark Materials: My Daemon

To celebrate the launch of His Dark Materials Season 2 and create an engaging user experience for new and existing fans alike, HBO tapped Framestore to build His Dark Materials: My Daemon, an augmented reality (AR) iOS app that lets users discover their very own daemon.

Effects Simulation
my daemon leopard character on a phone screen with the text 'discover your daemon' on the left

As a first-of-its-kind entertainment app with wellness benefits, My Daemon brings narrative elements from the show into daily life, with their daemon encouraging users to participate in activities that contribute to overall health in mind, body, and spirit. Users make progress in the app by taking part in fitness activities like walking or running as well as self-care, such as taking some time out, breathwork, watching a movie, or reaching out to a friend. My Daemon also integrates with a Watch iOS app to allow users to connect with their daemon through a simplified interface at any time.

Inspired by the series in which daemons are unique to each person, the app features a variety of possible combinations of animal type, skin, fur pattern, and personality, which are determined through a short, visually engaging introductory quiz. Users gradually unlock new AR animations as rewards and can share photos and videos of interactions with their daemons to social media feeds.

my daemon characters from his dark materials and quotes

We were able to identify an object from our own culture that parallels the idea of Phillip Pullman's daemons in many ways; our mobile devices. They're always on, and rarely further than arm's reach.
David Estis
Creative Director, Framestore

The app also detects everyday activity through Apple Health and Spotify, syncing with favourite fitness, sleep, and meditation apps. Daily habits, hobbies and new challenges become fuel to progress further. The app can be experienced in three different ways:

Connect with your daemon

In these casual, funny interactions, users tell their daemon how they feel to receive personalised recommendations for wellness activities. Users can connect with their daemon on the Apple Watch, too!

Play with your daemon

This is where unlocked AR animations come to life. Users can let their daemon explore and react to the world around them, unleashing their creativity through capturing photos and videos to share online.

Journey with your daemon

Users can follow the footsteps of His Dark Materials’ characters, like Lyra, by completing a series of curated activities that mirror experiences on the show, including fan favourites like Iorek, Serafina Pekkala, Lee Scoresby, and more.

location and awards descriptions from his dark materials

Leveraging Framestore’s work on the His Dark Materials series itself, the studio’s global teams across the television, immersive and animation departments collaborated closely and utilised a selection of the show’s assets to create the highest quality AR experience.

The team also wrote over 1200 lines of copy and worked with professional comedians to establish different personalities in order to make the daemons feel like real, distinct beings.

The original concept was for a location-based entertainment (LBE) instalment for Comic-Con 2020, a strategic pivot in the wake of COVID led HBO and Framestore to design an experience that fit with the new landscape and provided accessibility for a wider fanbase. 

Created in Unreal Engine 4, the AR characters are some of the most high-fidelity to hit the platform to date. Estis adds “Pairing the AR capabilities of the iPhone with Unreal, we allow fans to see and interact with their very own daemon within their own environment."

My Daemon is available to download on iOS and Apple Watch devices in the U.S., Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

four my daemon characters


Executive Producer
Christine Cattano
Senior Producer
Ezequiel Asnaghi
PJ Stegall
Production Coordinator
Victoria Nieves
Creative Director
David Estis
Game Designer
Jesse Johansen
Jesse Johansen
Lead Designer
Pavel Fernandez
UX/UI Designer
Elle Phan
Development Lead
Claude Dareau
Luis Tolosa, Linshen Xiao, Anna Dickinson, Jihyun Lee, Nicholas Wood
Lead Artist
Cenk Kilar
CG Artists
Jessica Soderstrom, Xiaolai Zheng, Andrew Trout, Youran Lyu
Tech Artist
William Arterton
Yiyuan “Coy” Yuan
Lead Animator
Marco Marenghi
Francisco Dias, Kevin Rooney, Yarim Machado, Edwin Schaap, Taylor Hodgson-Scott, Nico Cappuccio
George Saavedra, Minji Sohn, Rob Garcia
Ryland Duncan, Caroline Drew, Stephen Mann
Creative Strategist
Kevin Maguire
Audio and Sound Design
Keywords Studios
Lead Systems Engineer
David Lennox
Systems Engineers
Devin Cantor-Sternin, Raymond Gumti, Andy Campos, Kevin Dela Cruz
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