Introducing Spellirium

i’m very excited to announce Spellirium, an epic word puzzle adventure game.

Spellirium Logo

Spellirium will do for word games what Puzzle Quest did for Bejewelled. You will play in a fantastic dark fantasy world armed with a small wooden grid of letter tiles – the SpellCaster – which can change reality with the words you spell.

Spellirium has been in our development queue since we founded Untold Entertainment. We were so booked up with contracts that we couldn’t get cracking on it.

Budge It

In fall 2008, we applied for a provincial government grant called the Screen-Based Content Initiative.

Me: i can haz munny?
Government: Noz.

You suck!

The jury rejected Spellirium for a few reasons:

  1. the $150k (!) budget was too large for a casual game prototype
  2. we failed to adequately assess market risk
  3. we did not include project oversight in the budget (ie we didn’t include a role for a producer or a project manager)
  4. we weren’t clear enough about what we were building

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

Later the next year in Spring 2009, we came back with a 70+ page document for Spellirium and applied for the Interactive Digital Media Fund, also offered by the Ontario government. This time, our project description was meaty and picture-laden at 25 pages. We included time and money for a producer. We wrote a solid market analysis. And we reduced our budget to around $80k, half of which the government would front if we were approved.

Once more, our application for Spellirium was rejected. Here are a few of the reasons:

  1. the budget was too small
  2. the jurors were not confident that we could produce a game of sufficient quality at the $20 price point we proposed
  3. one juror played the very early proof of concept version of the game, and didn’t like it

Needless to say, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort for a little two-man shop to keep itself going and to write up enormously demanding applications like these. The government invited us to re-submit Spellirium for another review some time in November. The prospect of going through this process a third time is harrowing, and we could use your help!

Introducing the Rubber Room

The Rubber Room

It looks so cozy!

We want to address that one juror’s concern about the Spellirium prototype, so we’ve made it available to you to play in the Rubber Room, the new section on the site where we’re putting all of our gameplay experiments and half-baked ideas. We would LOVE for you to try out the prototype, and then give us feedback. Let us know if you like it or if you don’t like it, and give us details either way. If you are a lurker, now’s the perfect time to stop lurking and post a comment, because we could really use your help!

Your feedback will help us decide whether or not to carry on with Spellirium. And if we DO decide to keep at it, your comments will help shape our next application to the IDM Fund.

Thanks so much, everyone!

Try our new game Spellirium and tell us what you think!


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9 thoughts on “Introducing Spellirium

  1. Merve

    I have one main problem with it, when I lasso words nothing happens. It doesn’t seem to register more than 2 letters and even if I lasso 2 letter words, when I release the mouse button nothing happens. (btw grats on Bloat being on jayisgames the other day)

    1. Ryan

      Merve – you use the two-letter wide cursor to swap letters. You need to hold down the mouse button to lasso the letters and form a word. The game only accepts words with three or more letters.

      (PS – THANKS for tipping me off to the JayIsGames coverage. That’s great news! They’re linking to someone else’s site, but i’m trying to correct that)

    1. Ryan

      Merve – at first, i wrote a much less insulting response. But then i re-read your comment, and wondered if you weren’t grasping the lasso concept. Sorry about that.

      The game might have been published for FP10 … we’ve re-published and targeted Flash Player 9. Please clear your cache, give it another shot, and tell me if that fixed the problem.

      – Ryan

  2. Merve

    Nup, still not working (if it helps I’m on a mac, firefox, FP10).

    I was surprised to see bloat on jayisgames, even more surprised when it was a direct link to the swf, on somebody else’s site :P

  3. Merve

    Gave it another try this morning and it seems to be working now. One thing that would be cool is the ability to reset all the blocks after a you have made a certain amount of words :)

    1. Ryan

      Thanks for sticking with it, Merve. “Resetting blocks” sounds like an in-game item, no? That’s a good one, for when your grid gets snarled up with consonants.

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