Category Archives: Blog

AS3 Helper Class – RandomBoolean

We are building an AS3 Helper class to speed up development on Actionscript 3 projects. Feel free to use these methods in your own Helper class, or to share your own methods that you find useful.

RandomBoolean()

public class Helper
{
	/**
 	* Returns Boolean true or false, randomly.
 	*/		
	public static function RandomBoolean():Boolean
	{
		return  Boolean(Math.floor(Math.random() * 2));
	}		
}

Usage

var coinTossIsHeads:Boolean = Helper.RandomBoolean(); //coin toss will randomly be heads or tails

Comments

Sometimes you just need to randomize between true or false, like a coin toss. Since the code is only one line, it may seem extravagant to make a method out of it, but i find it easy to use this way.

For more AS3 Helper Classses and a pile of other useful stuff, check out our Flash and Actionscript 911 feature.

Unfun(ded)

Our application for the Ontario Media Development Corporation’s Screen-Based Content Initiative has been rejected.

We announced that we were throwing our hat into the public funding ring back in June (Ontario Government Backs Up the Money Truck), and hinted a little at what we’d submitted a few months later (Untold Entertainment Goes for the Gold).

Soup Line

Untold Entertainment joins swarms of other screen-based businesses in the soup line at the onset of the Second Great Depression

It was our very first application. We were a long shot. It was still a worthwhile exercise. We don’t really have oodles of experience planning and preparing budgets, so it was nice to get a little more financing and administration experience under our belts. An industry friend tells me that we made it to the final round, because most of the applicants he knew received their rejection letters weeks ago.

Needs More Zazz

It would be helpful to have a little more feedback explaining how we fell short. Otherwise, we’ll just keep making the same mistake with every application. My gut instinct is this: our app centred around XBox Live Community Games as a distribution platform. The platform was a big unknown while i wrote the application, and the app was reviewed as the platform launched and fizzled. The industry friend i mentioned was approved, but his distribution platform was the iPhone, which is sexy sexy sexy.

iPhone! Convergent media! Interactive TV! Two-box initiatives! Flying cars! i think you have to play a bit of buzzword bingo to get these funding types excited about your project. From what i’ve seen, the focus tends to be much more toward the type of content and the innovation in delivering that content, rather than the quality of the content itself … which is why, in my opinion, we see a lot of terrible content coming out of Canada. There seems to be no pressure to make good content – it’s more about who the content appeals to, and how the content is experienced.

i limit my criticism to the age 4+ crowd. There’s a lot of great preschool stuff coming out of Halifax that i watch with my daughters. The rest is Anne of Green Gables: Beating a Dead Horse and The Comedy Network Presents: A Brutally Unfunny Comedian Laugh-Tracked Within an Inch of His Life.

Man, these sour grapes are delicious!!

Word.

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Torture is Still Taboo in Gaming

i’ve been watching a discussion over at Raph Koster’s blog (subject: I am Speechless) on the subject of torture in games. Now the author has broken it out into its very own post. In typical Koster style, amidst plugging his book, he waxes pedagogical, throwing out game theory terms to dismiss torture as bad design. “The utilitarian feedback is a mess!” he cries, sounding more and more like Comic Book Guy.

Comic Book Guy

But Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills. You’re from two different worlds!

Raph pulls it out of the nerd fire in the final few paragraphs by admitting his actual moral outrage over the inclusion of torture in gaming.

Honk if You Hate Murdering Hookers

i’ve written a heap of posts lately about morality in gaming, and to see the topic cropping up all over the place, i begin to wonder whether it’s finally an issue on the industry’s radar. (Or is it just that news media tend to criticize games more harshly around the holidays?) The more i read, the more i learn that i’m actually not the only person who abhors a lot of the M-rated content in today’s best-sellers, but that there’s a moral minority of insiders growing slowly more vocal on the topic.

Coming out of a tradition of wonderful story- and character-based graphic adventure games from LucasArts and Sierra Online, to training in the industry while the walls crashed down around me and games like DOOM began to take hold, i look forward to a future where the games are less about soulless criminal joyrides, and are a shade more uplifting.

The Games are Back! The Games are Back!

Some of you who visit regularly noticed that we redesigned untoldentertainment.com in early November, thanks to the deft art-fu of our new Art Director, Mark Duiker. The original site had a Games page, but we had nowhere to showcase our non-games projects – storyboards, applications, etc. So we decided to throw all projects onto a Projects page, losing the Games page altogether.

And lo, what havoc it hath wrought on our traffic:

Untold Entertainment's game graph

Dang.

It didn’t take long for Mark to figure out that ditching the second-most-popular section of our site (next to the index page) caused our traffic to shrivel up and die.

To remedy this, we’ve added a Games section to our main nav, and we hope to see our stats gradually improve over the next few months.

Your Visitors Want Games

Meanwhile, it’s worth noting the power of Games on the Internats. Games have this uncanny ability to spike your site traffic, encourage repeat visits, and some say they can even cure scurvy.

If you want to see the kind of magical pep that casual games can bring to your website, contact us here at Untold Entertainment!

info theAtSymbol untoldentertainment.com

Live Bloggin’ My Toboggan

toboggan

i’m incredibly excited to be live blogging for the first time in my life. Live blogging is where you blog an event as it happens. It’s awesome for exciting live events, like press events where companies announce their exciting new productsLIVE!

i don’t have any live press events to cover, so i thought that i could live blog an exciting action-packed event from my life instead. i’ve decided to live blog a trip down the snowhill on my toboggan. So here we go – my first foray into live blogging!

[December 5 2008]
[2:04:19 PM] Alright – here I am at the top of the hill. It’s a fairly cold day, and we’ve had our first snowfall here in Toronto where the powder has actually stayed on the ground. The hill is covered with a fresh frosting of nature’s dandruff, and i’m ready for sledddin’.

Tobogganing is a winter activity in cold countries where you go to the top of a steep snow-covered hill, sit on something slippery – a sled, a piece of cardboard, a stiffened corpse from an Inuit mob hit – and slide down.

My choice of toboggan is something called a Krazy Karpet, which is a brand-name sheet of plastic with two hand-holds cut into one end. You sort of sit on it and curl up the front like a magic carpet from the Arabian Nights stories. While i’m preparing to go down the hill, i’ve dug up this Krazy Karpet teevee ad from the 70′s:



[2:04:20 PM] It’s pretty cold out here. -12 degrees celcius. i don’t know what that is in Fahrenheit … but think of a cold number, and that’s probably it. My cheeks are red and i can see my breath. My nose is running a bit. i’m looking down the hill. It’s very steep. There’s a bit of added excitement because the snowhill ends at a busy road, but no one ever gets enough speed to get that far. Still, the sound of rushing traffic at the bottom of the hill is enough to get my heart racing.

[2:04:21 PM] i’m pushing off with my feet now

[2:04:22 PM] Okay – the Krazy Karpet is moving

[2:04:24 PM] i’m slooowwwly cresting the hill

[2:04:28 PM] Ok – here we go

[2:04:28 PM] I’m over the hump now and picking up speed

[2:04:30 PM] Wow! i’m FLYING down the hill! The snow is really stinging my cheeks. It feels like thousands of tiny frozen porcupines repeatedly sitting on my face.

[2:04:32 PM] i hit a bump

[2:04:33 PM] i hit another bump

[2:04:34 PM] It’s an extremely bumpy ride. The sheet of plastic is so thin, my butt feels like it’s clamped into a paint mixer.

[2:04:36 PM] I just hit this giant sheet of ice, and i’m going way faster than the other sledders on the hill. i’m getting way closer to the road than i want to be.

[2:04:38 PM] Okay – i’m almost at the road. i hope i slow down soon.

[2:04:40 PM] i’m digging my boots into the snow to slow down my Krazy Karpet, but i’m not slowing down.

[2:04:41 PM] Oh MAN. i’ve skidded right off the snow and onto the road

[2:04:42 PM] All i can hear is the sound of screeching tires all around me

[2:04:43 PM] i’ve been hit by a car. A car just hit me.

[2:04:43:12 PM] i’ve blacked out. i’m lying unconscious on the road. My Krazy Karpet flew out from under me and is skidding across the street. My body is not flying anywhere. It is under a car.

[December 6 2008]
[2:18:22 AM] i am in a coma.

[December 7 2008]
[3:41:02 PM] i am still in a coma.

[December 8 2008]
[1:19:37 PM] i have awoken from a three-day coma. My family is surrounding my hospital bed. They look very happy to see me open my eyes. They say they love me and they want to hug me. They seem upset that i am live blogging. My wife is trying to pry my laptop out of my hands. Her joy has given way to anger. Now she is yelling at me. She’s asking why i won’t stop typing.

She’s crying now. She’s leaving the room. The rest of the family looks disappointed. They look like they’re too embarrassed to say anything. There is an awkward silence. Somewhere, outside the hospital room window, i hear a dog barking.

[1:19:38 PM] Man, i friggin’ love live blogging!!