Interrupting Cow Trivia – Alpha

Interrupting Cow Trivia - Alpha

Interrupting Cow Trivia is Untold Entertainment’s first multiplayer game. Programmed by our amazingly talented game developer Jeff Gold (ue_jeff), ICT is currently in alpha, which is a game industry term for “I can’t believe you published that game without graphics.” Interrupting Cow Trivia will be a constantly-evolving project for us, with new question packs being released regularly, along with graphics! And yes, to answer your burning question: there will be cow.

Oh, yes. There will be cow.

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59 thoughts on “Interrupting Cow Trivia – Alpha

  1. Ryan

    Thanks, Rasmus! Aside from graphics and sound, if you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see in the game between now and Beta, please let us know! We consider player feedback during alpha and beta stages very carefully.

    – Ryan

  2. Phil Peron

    This is already a lot of fun just playing it solo! I can’t wait to try it out against others.

    Are you planning on heading toward a game show style or more of a table-top setting? I think the former could really be that intangible “thing” that keeps people glued.


    1. Ryan

      What’s a “game show style”? What’s a “table-top setting”? i’ve VERY interested in any feedback on how we can make the game sticky and encourage repeat plays.

      We have a visual style we’re planning, and it’s unique to this genre. The game won’t look like a game show – too typical. This is Interrupting Cow Trivia, after all.

  3. Phil Peron

    Haha, indeed. “Game show” and “table top” don’t seem to be as helpful as I thought…

    I kind of see it like this: On the one hand you could present a very flashy audio/visual feedback-rich environment where the player feels constantly stimulated or a more relaxed, I’m-with-friends-playing-trivia setting where it’s pretty calm and all about flexing your brain…

    You know those silly machines they stick in bars? Folks belly-up and stick bills in them hour after hour? If you watch one some time, they’re not all that bad to look at. You can see the appeal. Even though you may not get them all correct, you’re still visually and aurally stimulated for getting even a single question right.

    Pretty powerful stuff. Add a cow and you could possibly melt minds. ;)

  4. Erik

    Way too slow, if you don’t know the answer it’s just boring. More letters & faster, please.
    Clicking anywhere on the game area should set the focus to the input textfield.

    Some way to access old guesses is required, if you ‘know’ the answer but is missing the last S you just wanna punch somebody.

    That’s it for me.

    1. Ryan

      Thanks for the feedback, Erik! We’ll definitely think about speeding it up. Having more players in the game will help with this too.

      You can see the chat transcript by rolling over the button in the bottom left corner, next to the input field. This is probably just an art problem? A better icon might make it more obvious.

    2. Ryan

      Erik – Sorry! i wasn’t hearing you properly. You want something like an IRC client or the Windows command line where you can press the UP/DOWN arrow keys to cycle through a list of things you’ve typed previously, right? That’s a really good suggestion. We’ll get on that.

      – Ryan

  5. Rasmus Wriedt Larsen

    I’ve been playing it a little more now, and I must say, I’m having a hard time answering those questions (I’ve tried TV and music so far). So my suggestion is that players can write questions themselves, then you just need to aprove them. That would also save you some time, and possibly make a community of people that loves trivia.
    Maybe there could be a special mode you could enable where once or twice in a game there would pop up this box a few (or just one) word(s), and the one who wrote those words first would get some extra points – this would make some diversity from just answering questions…

    1. Ryan

      Phil – Wow. You know what’s super-weird? We’ve already had an artist design the cow for the game, and his regular job is building graphics and games for those bar kiosks you’re talking about. Bizarre!

  6. Mark

    Maybe a really simple mode so that people are racing for the answers that everyone knows instead of just one person in the group?

  7. Mark

    Perhaps users can rate the difficulty of each question after the answer is given or the game can count how many clues it takes for users to get the right answer.

    This way you can dynamically create difficulty modes or ramp up the difficulty of questions. I’d like to be given a few easy questions to hook me and get me warmed up before I get into the more difficult questions.

  8. Mark

    I’m curious what the stats are for adding levels of difficulties. Maybe it’s not even worth it. I just like playing easy games. It’s nice to relax when playing games.

    1. Ryan

      Mark – adding difficulty levels is certainly doable. i’d opt for the automatic route. The game is too fast-paced to worry about grading q’s on the fly.

      But there’s a design problem. ICT is a multiplayer game. If you say you want an easy game, that’s fine for you, but you may be jumping into a room with 9 other ppl in it (one can hope). What if all 9 ppl want difficult questions?

      A few people have commented on the fact that they think some of the q’s are too challenging. i’d suggest that’s just the nature of trivia. You know some, you don’t know some. And it’s not until you get other people playing with you that a question seems less difficult. Let’s say there’s a question you’d never get on your own, but you’re playing with other people and two other people guess it correctly at the same time. Is it still a difficult question? No. You just chalk it up to the fact that YOU didn’t know the answer at that point. It only SEEMS more difficult when you’re playing alone. My bet is that people who say the game is too challenging were playing solo.

      The difficulty ranking might come in handy with the Challenge Mode we’re planning. That’s where you enter a friend’s email address, and then you answer 10 questions. The game gives you a score, and sends an email to your friend asking him to answer the same 10 questions. Then you compare scores, and one person is the awesomest. That’s where i could see you wanting to choose a difficulty mode.

      – Ryan

  9. Andy Smith

    The only improvement I have to offer is standardizing the number of hints. A few times it would only show two hints and I was waiting for the third before answering.

  10. Ryan

    Andy – yeah, that’s a good suggestion. The game is versatile, and sometimes the number of hints is dependant on the question pack you choose. Acronyms and Rhyming Words only have one hint. Not sure how to convey that …

  11. Michael

    Happened to jump on at the same time as another person playing Movies. He thrashed me, then I thrashed him. Despite the lack of graphics and all, it was really fun! Reminds me of iSketch, and I love iSketch.

    I”ll be interested to see how this plays with a full room. Oh, one thing I wondered about: the two of us kept “scooping” each other, posting the correct answer just after the other did. Based on the name, I assumed this would be recognised somehow, perhaps with a moo. Is that going to happen, or am I speculating? :)

    1. Ryan

      Michael – it’s like you’re reading my mind!

      It might be too tricky to moo when two players “scoop” each other, but the plan is that when one player dethrones the player who holds the streak, there’s some moo action. And the player with the streak gets an upside-down crown-like udder next to his name.

      Even though there’s no real perk yet for logging in with your Untold Entertainment login/password, we’ve seen a modest boost in our membership. Today, we’re working on displaying your message board avatar in the game. MJW – i think you’re one of the only members who has one!

      More membership-related features are on their way. i’m even toying with the idea of removing ads for people who log in as members (once ads are actually implemented.) What do you think of that? Would that be us shooting ourselves in the foot?

  12. Michael


    I didn’t realise at first that my account was the same as my forum login; it’s neat the way you linked them like that.

    Well, *I* certainly wouldn’t mind it if I could get rid of the adverts just by logging in ;) I take your point about shooting yourself in the foot. I guess it depends whether you’d rather focus on getting people signed up to your site, or on ad revenue… and I know you’re not the kind to sing of the wonders of MochiAds. To be honest, I’m surprised you’re going for a 10-15 second ad break between every round, that sounds pretty frequent to me. Unless you could keep chatting during them, I guess.

    Actually, I wanted to ask you something. Since micro-transactions seem to be the flavour-of-the-month, with both FGL and Mochi releasing their systems, have you considered doing something with those?

    1. Ryan

      Michael – game integration is just the start of the wizardry Jeff’s starting to pull with our membership system. It’s going to be really exciting!

      i’m not a big MochiAds fan, true. It’s not really their problem – it’s more that i’m not a fan of the free-to-play model in general. But maybe i was approaching it all wrong? We’re building ICT strictly with distribution in mind. Ads are literally an afterthought.

      You’re right – maybe an ad every round will be too frequent? i like that it would break gamesup into discernable chunks. We’ll try it on and see how it feels.

      Maybe i have the wrong mindset about micro-transactions, too? To my mind, you have to have the right kind of game to support them, and that type of game is usually a larger endeavour than we’re used to. i’d rather sell vanity items (hats and jackets), for example, than gameplay-essential items. i don’t like it when players can’t play together because one person has paid and the other hasn’t, as with Rock Band or Crackdown. i also feel that players are going to be swamped with microtransactions by this time next year. It might be nice to NOT offer them. Anyway, i worry we’re too late to the plate. By the time we build a game to support them, players will be nickeled and dimed to death.

      Are you delving into microtransactions MJW? What’s your plan?

  13. Kilby

    Ah, IRC-style trivia… brings together two things I’m good at: trivia and typing. Even in its current art-less state, I could play this for hours.

    Even though there are 500 music questions, I ran into dupes a couple of times in an hour of playing. You’re gonna need a TON of questions… but if the ad revenues are coming in, writing new questions shouldn’t be so bad.

    Other thoughts:

    – Allow a little more time to pass between clues in order to give players more time to think of (and type) the answer before the next clue.

    – Answer choices seem like they are pulled from a list in random order. This could be a problem. If the answer was Michael Jackson, you’d want Off the Wall to come up before Thriller because a lot more people know the latter than the former. To fix this, group the clues for each question into easy, medium, and hard categories. Pull a random choice from the hard clues and show it first. Repeat for medium and then easy.

    1. Ryan

      Kilby- thanks for the suggestions! The question draw is currently random. i agree – it shouldn’t be. We should mark the questions in any given play session to prevent dupes. We’ll definitely add more question packs, but would you believe that the Music – Albums pack took about 25 hours to write? That’s a huge time investment! “Albums” will likely be the most difficult music pack. We’re planning Music – Songs (just the hits!) and Music – Lyrics (again, well-known stuff).

      Grading the albums by difficulty is … difficult. Takes a lot more research. i know 70’s music, but i’m totally clueless with country. Who am i to say what an easy, medium and hard country album is? Anyway, we’re taking everyone’s considerations about difficulty under careful consideration. Thanks for that feedback.

      And you’re the first one to mention IRC! Definitely our inspiration :)

      – Ryan

  14. Nokill

    To bad nobody is online at this time but I can see that this should be a fun game to play :)
    Reminds be a little of the online Teteris game, good luck on further development

  15. dVyper

    This game seems to not like me. First time I tried to play the game showed a message saying connecting to server and hung forever. Second time I got to log in. I then selected a game and pressed ‘enter game’. At that point the game started but the game list screen was still visible so it looked a mess. The third time I played I got no such issue. However after the 6th or so puzzle (I was playing the acronym game) after I completed the puzzle the next puzzle didnt appear – the game remained blank :-S

    1. Ryan

      dVyper – Wow! Sorry you’ve had so many problems with the game. Help us out: what browser are you running? Which version of the Flash player?

  16. Michael

    Ah, IRC! I totally forgot about all those hours wasted in #trivia ;) Didn’t connect the dots until now, but you’re right, that’s exactly what this is like.

    Ryan, Jeff, I can’t wait to see what you do with the site integration!

    I’m not so keen on using MochiAds either, but for a different reason — I don’t like the lack of control over what something I’ve created is selling. I can see that ads feel natural here, though. Phil mentioned a game show, so a commercial break is a fine analogy :)

    What made me think it was perhaps too frequent was my own experience. I jumped into the middle of a round, a little confused about what was going on, happened to get a bunch of questions I didn’t know the answers to (or was too slow — I think I ended the round on zero points!), and if I’d been asked to stop and watch an ad for 10-15 seconds before continuing, I’d probably have quit. After playing for longer, though, I got more into it, so I don’t think I would have minded an ad break so much.

    iSketch enforces a little break between rounds where everyone gets to relax and say “good game” and so on, and it really adds something, so I do agree with you on splitting the game into chunks.

    Micro-transactions… I dunno. I really like the idea, but it might just be the technology side of it that fascinates me. It’s easy to imagine that *other* players will be happy to spend 50c for some item in a game, but I’ve rarely done it myself. I’d like to see MTs used as a way to buy extras for a game that’s already complete, like paying a bit more for the Special Edition of a DVD, so that’s probably how I’ll use it, if at all. I’m not so keen on “pay $1 to unlock level 5”; that feels like shareware rather than micro-transactions, and I don’t think people are ready to accept browser-based Flash games as shareware right now.

    You make a good point comparing it to Rock Band, because I guess the “obvious” way to use MTs would be to make “80s Music” a purchasable trivia category. It would suck if everyone that wanted to play that round had to buy it. It would be particularly irritating to new players if their friends only ever played in the premium rooms.

    I hadn’t considered MTs becoming the new preloader ads. In that case it WOULD be nice to see some games without them!

  17. Kilby

    My first reaction to “writing 500 questions in 25 hours” is that it sounds easy… until I did the math and saw that it comes out to 3 minutes per question! That’s pretty speedy. Adding difficulty-levels might not make sense from a development / time investment standpoint.

    I agree that gauging question difficulty is far from an easy task. I’ve been writing questions for quiz bowl tournaments for a number of years. One of the two major question types, the “bonus” question, is usually a three-part question with one easy part, one medium part, and one hard part (spoiler alert: that’s where my suggestion had its genesis). It takes a lot of time, effort, and skill to ensure a consistent bonus difficulty across an entire question set.

    There are a few ways to gauge difficulty, such as seeing how many hits a Google search returns or looking at category-specific lists (i.e. box office receipts). But you’re right… if one doesn’t know the subject matter, it’s going to be hard to make a good judgment call. For instance: let’s say there are two films (Film A and Film B) released the same year. Film A makes $30 million. Film B makes $2.5 million. Does that mean that Film A is more culturally relevant than Film B? What if I said that Film A was the critically-panned Sly Stallone film Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Film B was Reservoir Dogs? Oops… :)

    1. Ryan

      Kilby – Alright, stop. You’re not going to come into MY house and slam Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. How DARE you dishonour the memory of Estelle Getty, and cast aspersions on the cinematic genius of Sylvester Stallone, star of Cobra, Death Race 2000, and F.I.S.T.??

    1. Ryan

      Drat! What kind of error are you getting? Is it a port problem? Do you have an older version of the Flash player?

  18. Andy Smith

    I see what you mean about different packs having different number of hints, but maybe some sort of hint counter, like HINTS: 1/2. I just find myself not putting full thought into some questions until I see all the hints, i tend to stare at the blank space where the next hint should go.
    Would you consider setting it so that every TV show question has 3 hints, etc. Standardize across categories?

  19. Sarah

    It just says connecting to the server and never goes anywhere. It’s probably that the flash player is way outdated. I’m working from Windows 2000, lol! Cheapo Government!

  20. Michael

    I noticed a little typo in the rhymes round: “tipsy gyspy” (“gypsy”)
    Also, hitting the up key seems to go back to your last-but-one answer, is this right?
    Anyway, still great fun :) Waiting for someone to accept my challenge…

    1. Ryan

      Thanks, MJW! We’ll correct the typo ASAP.

      The UP key problem … are you saying that if you type five things and hit the UP arrow key, it’ll show thing #3 (instead of thing #4)?

      It should show thing #4 – the last line that you hit the ENTER key to submit.

  21. Michael

    I mean if I type “1 [enter] 2 [enter] 3 [enter] 4 [enter] 5 [enter] [up]” it’ll display “4” in the box. And then if I press [down] it’ll show “5”. If I then press [up] again it’ll show “3”, and once more will make it show “1”! Confusing.

  22. Rasmus Wriedt Larsen

    When you have to log in (because one of course made a user) it would be nice if you could use TAB to change focus from the username field to the password field. Just a little adjustment. It would also be a nice little feature if your username/password checker could tell if the username existed and the password was incorrect or it was both – as of having many usernames this could make things easier for many people.

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  27. Ryan

    Kaolin – leave it to a wordsmith to tackle the Wordplay category! i don’t think it’s our most popular :)

    i am considering paying India to play the game at launch so that the game rooms are always stuffed with people. That might kickstart it enough to grow a regular player base.

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  33. Jimmy

    Just poured a ton of feedback into my response, only to have it wasted because of not filling out my address (text wasnt saved when going “back”)…not doing it again. High potential, sparks tons of ideas for improvement.

    1. Ryan

      Jimmy – DRAT! If you’re feeling charitable in the future, i’d love to have even a glimpse of your feedback. We carefully consider everything people tell us about our games, and have made a number of changes and improvements to this title based on player feedback. Thanks for playing!

  34. Kaolin Fire

    I’m getting a TON of email notifications (added as a friend, added as an foe, …)

    Well, 11 so far this morning. :) Just FYI if you thought some testing flag was keeping emails from being sent.


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