Escape Theory Gaming For Life… views are mine, and not affiliated with The White Agency or Nomad


Goodbye Coinland

We are saying ‘farewell’ to my proudest video game project. After four years, Coinland has closed.

Most Australians at my age would have fond memories of Commonwealth Bank initiatives that were offered to them in primary school (elementary school) such as a free ‘Dollarmites’ savings account that encouraged making small, weekly deposits during class. For four years Coinland has taken this to the next level, teaching children the importance of saving (virtual) money, earning interest, finding jobs, using ATM cards and even donating money for a selfless cause - all through a browser based video game.

For over 160,000 Aussie children, Coinland was almost certainly their first MMORPG experience, and our support team receives streams of fan-mail from parents praising Coinland, and from children who are having a ball.

When Coinland was announced to close, we received offers from parents who believed that their children have learnt so much from Coinland, that they were willing to pay a fee to keep the free game running. A child sent us an email saying how upset they were about Coinland’s closure, and how it was cruelly coinciding with their sister’s Coinland-themed birthday party.

Coinland was a winner of several Australian industry awards at launch, and just before the decision to axe Coinland, a port of the game for iOS and Android was ready for submission, which I’m certain would have been a hugely successful evolution of the game.

I’m proud to have been part of Coinland, and I wish that you could have experienced it too.

See Coinland being played by an expert here!



Moving from ActionScript to Lua

So I've finally started to build my next game with Corona SDK. I don't develop on Mac very often, but since I positively need the next game to play on iOS, there's little choice!

First impressions of Lua are kinda meh - I think AS3's strict typing has turned me into an ECMA Script Nazi. In the first few tutorials, I keep finding myself trying to typeset my variables.

Listeners are taking a little effort to get used to, and no semi-colons after each line? This will take a little time!

I blame most of my problems on the lacklustre features of TextMate + Lua bundle, compared with FlashBuilder. There's just no replacement for drop-menu code hints. Huh... that's right, maybe I should download Eclipse and find a Lua plugin instead.

Will post more about my new quest!

UPDATE: got Eclipse running with LUA plugin, but no Corona specific hinting...



Jake and the Neverland Pirates

first posted on the white agency blog

Ahoy mateys!

I'm pleased to present Jake and the Neverland Pirates: Secret Hideout, a browser-based game based on Disney's kids' series.

After weeks of development, I'm convinced that the team has created a best-in-class competition game, designed to encourage sustained audience participation.

Key features separate this game from the pack:

- Episodic, unlockable content: Watch Jake and his mates on TV and listen out for special codes to unlock more items.

- Enhanced gallery experience: Designed to look like a Neverland ocean, populated by islands - users can browse a virtual map in all directions to see and vote for their neighbours.

- Prizes: Win DVD's or even a trip to Disneyland Resort, Hawaii in judged competitions.

See you on the high seas soon!


Filed under: Flash, Game Design No Comments

Zombie Ninjas available for Android

The beta of Zombie Ninjas has finally been published on Android Market!

The development cycle from Flash to Android is now complete :)

Still to come:

- Sounds

- Music

- Leaderboards

- Sharing on Facebook

I will make another post when the game is complete with music, sound and a working leaderboard!


RIA, Animation and Industry Processes

This week I presented a guest lecture for the firstyear students at the UNSW school of media. It was a pleasant trip down memory lane as I visited the same school I graduated a few years back.

Brigid Costello, my lecturer, generously allowed me to set the students' Flash assessment task, so I look forward to seeing the result of their work.

Unlike the previous years, a much smaller group of the students were actually looking to pursue a career in animation or web development. In fact, the majority of the students turned out to be journalism majors, so I did my best to tailor my presentation for the writers in the room.

After working in the industry for almost 5 years, the process of design, development, approval and deployment had been drummed into my approach to work, so it took some time to put myself into the shoes of a uni student once again.

The life of students are jam packed with parties, drinks and the occasional assessment, so I did my best to emphasise the importance of actually planning out projects before diving into them. Secondly, I kept bringing up the importance of open communication to the client and getting consistent feedback. Of course, the theme was not just applicable to Flash or digital advertising, but to everything in general.

Judging from the oohs and aahs when I showcased some of our work, I think I got at least some attention to the importance of approaching work in a structured manner, but I think the real test would be to see the quality of the Flash assessments created by a class of journalism majors in 2 weeks' time.

Will post updates!