I was lucky enough to judge the Swansea Metropolitan University‚Äôs recent Casual Games Awards 2009. The students presented their projects, based on projects set as part of their syllabus.
Tom Orchard won the BSc award showing a strong, commercial idea for a Snickers game featuring Mr T from the A-Team.
Richard Morgan won the BA award with a racing game that was not far off commercial standard and a first class side shooter too.
There is some very strong work coming out of the University at the moment and we are working closely with them in their second semester ‚Äď giving the modules a more commercial flavour. We‚Äôll be giving the students a project or two based on real-life commissions with real-life deadlines.
Well done Tom, Richard and all of the shortlisted students.
We have just completed an interesting little online campaign for Visit Wales.
Based on a concept dreamed up by the Visit Wales team, we designed and built an email and Flash app with a truly retro flavour.
Our illustrators based the execution on those wonderful little 3D wooden puzzles that you can still find in specialist toy shops. Combined with a retro illustration style and packaging, it‚Äôs a fine looking campaign that extols the virtues of the varied regions of Wales, including horned beasts, waterfalls taller than Niagara and our very own monster of the deep called Teggie.
Take a look here and enter the competition to win a hamper full of Welsh goodies.
We have just launched a brand new kiddies website for Lee Valley Regional Park ‚Äď the largest open space within the M25 stretching 26 miles from the East End to Hertfordshire.
The new site features a bunch of little guys called The LeeVs‚Ä¶
LeeVs love nothing better than playing in the wind, chasing each other, racing each other and generally running around having fun together. They enjoy floating down the river, paddling in puddles or cycling around their Regional Park.
The accessible site features extensive use of Flash for interactive games and character animation that really brings the LeeVs to life.
Lucy Hose, the Regional Park‚Äôs Marketing Manager, said ‚ÄúThe new site has been designed to encourage children to learn through having fun and to find out more about the Regional Park and the environment. We‚Äôll continue to update the pages and youngsters need to keep a look out for competitions which we‚Äôll be running on the pages. My favourite game is Rob the Ranger!‚ÄĚ
We pulled out all of the stops to get the site looking fantastic for the youngsters ‚Äď our illustrators worked
very closely with our Flash team and created a whole virtual word for the LeeVs to inhabit. The site features lots of little surprises that delight youngsters.
For example, you‚Äôll be reading about birthday parties in the park and all of a sudden, a little bright blue bug will wander around the screen, or a LeeV will ride his bike right past you and even pop a wheelie for you.
More kid‚Äôs sites in the pipeline
We are just about to launch another two sites for young people, a bit closer to home, but we can‚Äôt say too much about that yet.
Matt Howard, our Technical Director and Information Architecture guru said ‚ÄúThere are a whole different set of usability rules to apply to sites for younger audiences. We have lots of experience designing for children of all ages for clients like Careers Wales, Welsh Assembly Government, DTI and the Mid and South Wales Safety Camera Partnership, so we have learnt a lot along the way‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúOur illustration team have even been commissioned to design and produce a whole visual language for youngsters with special educational needs (SEN) and this has been so successful it looks like it will be rolled out across Wales and hopefully nationally‚ÄĚ.
From a design perspective, designing for kids is just very good fun. Why just have a ‚Äėhelp‚Äô link when you can have an animated wriggly worm pointing the way!
Our creative team have been working on a series of Flash designs that have been commissioned for Adobe‚Äôs Acrobat 9 release.
The model in the designs above is our very own eMarketing project manager, Sali. The guys have also just completed a double page spread for Men’s Fitness magazine and just about the whole team appear in it (in various states of undress!) ‚Äď you‚Äôll have to wait to see that one.
You can take a sneak peek at the Adobe work here.
If you have a few minutes (and a webcam), take a look at this and then go and try it. Jaw droppingly amazing fun!
As soon as we have a spare hour or two, our guys can‚Äôt wait to start playing with this stuff. Watch this space.
To celebrate the feast day of our very own St David, we have devised a ‚ÄėHow Welsh are you?‚Äô interactive quiz for our good friends over at www.wales.com.
Even if you are born and bred in Caerphilly, it may still hold a few surprises for you. You don‚Äôt need to be Welsh to have a go and you even get a certificate celebrating your honorary Welshness at the end of it.
We have worked with Welsh schoolchildren to create a game, allowing pupils to create their ‚Äėperfect school councillor‚Äô.
The game was designed an built by our illustration and Flash teams, based on sketches and ideas from pupils at Ysgol Niwbwrch, Anglesey, after the Schools Councils Wales ran a competition to win prizes of up to ¬£1000 for their school.
The youngsters‚Äô ideas were amazing ‚Äď and the presentation of their game was first class. We have heard that they are very happy with the end results. Tough customers indeed!
They state that the new Flash Player is still compatible with existing content and is available for developers and designers alike to test their content and products before official release.
Flash Player 9 marks the first time a major Flash Player release has been made available before its accompanying Flash authoring tool. The next Flash authoring tool, code named Blaze, is expected to target Flash Player 9. No release date as yet, but a preview release that supports ActionScript 3.0 is expected to be made available through Adobe Labs.
Look out for Flash 9 and the next generation of flash movies!