Category Archives: Blog

Spladder

Untold Entertainment was commissioned by marblemedia, one of our preferred clients, to create a game for Splatalot! Splatalot! is a kid-targeted mash-up of American Gladiator and Japanese obstacle course game shows like Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. The program airs on YTV in Canada, on BBC in the UK and on ABC in Australia.

The second segment of Splatalot! has the contestants assembling a ladder to escape a pit, while the adult Defenders (think “Gladiators”) shoot goop at them. marblemedia called the game Spladder (splat + ladder – you see?). They wanted a more puzzle-oriented game than the catapult and obstacle-based games in the show’s suite, so we built the fun puzzle platformer game that you see above, in the style of Abe’s Oddysee or Lost Vikings.

Lost Vikings

(What ever happened to the Lost Vikings developer? Meh – probably faded into obscurity.)

It’s Been a Slice

We used the Citrus Engine to build Spladder. It’s a framework of classes that speed up platform game creation. Citrus uses Box2D for its physics bodies. It gives you some great customizable character control and a level editor out of the box. The engine wasn’t quite set up to handle tiled platforms (in the examples, every platform is a discrete art asset) – strong-arming that to work was probably the most challenging aspect of development. That, and the level editor eventually became more of a hindrance than a help, to the point where i wound up hand-coding most of the levels in xml. The latest version of Citrus Engine drops the level editor so that you’re free to use your own solution.

Citrus Engine Logo

Juicy.

The art and animation in Spladder are by veteran Canadian kids’ game artist Elizabeth de Fazio, who was an absolute joy to work with. marble’s Johnny Kalangis and i hammered out story details together to build an enjoyable game that we’re quite proud of. i hope you like it!

What is Untold Entertainment? Read Me First!

i’ve finally arrived in Seattle after being bounced out of customs for a soon-to-be expired passport (although they managed to treat me like i swam across a river with a belly full of smack-filled balloons).

Ryan Henson and Cassie Creighton

Ryan Henson Creighton: NOT a drug mule. (Photo by Brendan Lynch, also not a drug mule. The little girl looks suspicious.)

If you meet me at Casual Connect this week and want to know what Untold Entertainment is all about, here’s a cheat sheet:

  • We just released Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure on the iPad. It’s a game i made in a weekend with my 5-year-old daughter Cassie. The iPad version is selling well, and has been featured by Apple. We continue to ship ponycorns merchandise around the world. We’ve received an insane amount of press for the game.

    ponycorns

  • Ponycorns was made possible by UGAGS (the Untold Graphic Adventure Game System), our internal game engine that we use to make games quickly. We’ve built three other games with UGAGS, and are working to prepare the engine for an eventual commercial release, for which we’ve seen a lot of interest. Ask me (Ryan) about investment or licensing opportunities with UGAGS.

    UGAGS

  • The service side of Untold is alive and well. We specialize in web and mobile games for kids, teens, tweens and preschoolers. Our clients to date have mostly been kids’ broadcasters and teevee production companies. We’re happy to talk to you about your upcoming projects.
  • DID U KNOW that Canada is home to a number of tax incentives for video game development? Partnering with Untold Entertainment on a co-production could unlock a sizable labour rebate. Untold has successfully procured government funding for a number of projects and initiatives. Ask me how you can save money by working with us!
  • While the original productions side of our business is still growing, we have a number of interesting projects in development, including a puzzle/adventure game called Spellirium, and a mobile game modeled entirely in clay.

spellirium

puttyCrime

i hope to meet as many of you as possible this week. Have a great show!

- Ryan

An Education.

Big news today as Adobe evangelist Lee Brimelow points out that the iPad version of Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure has been featured by Apple in their New & Noteworthy section:

Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure iPad

Heck yes!

I’ll Buy THAT For a Dollar

i’ve heard a little murmering about the game’s price point. For your education and edification, here is a list of five things to occupy your kid that are more expensive than Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure:

brussels sprouts

A pound of brussels sprouts.

clown kid

A ticket to the Terrifying Clown Bros. Circus.

haircut

A haircut.

smoking

A pack of smokes.

peanut butter

A jar of peanut butter.

Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure is $2.99 on the iTunes App Store. i leave you with The Oatmeal. Seacrest out.

Hooray! It’s Ponycorn P’toosday!

Today marks the iPad release of Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure! Now you can take Poo-Pants, Fluffybuns, Lady Fuzzwuzzle, Orangeboy, and (inaudible) with you wherever you go. Impress your extended family! Accost sour-looking strangers in waiting rooms! Play it for a pick-me-up when the boss isn’t watching!

To celebrate, we’re showcasing the work of some dyed-in-the-wool ponycorn fans.

Ponycorns at Anime North

Mike Barltrop is an educator who showed Sissy’s Magical Ponycorn Adventure to his high school students so they’d be without excuse – if a 5-year-old could pull off a game, he can expect a lot more from them. Mike enjoyed ponycorns so much that he painstakingly re-created a number of Cassie’s drawings and dressed up as the game for the Anime North nerdfest in Toronto:

Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure Anime North costume

For serious.

To put Mike’s ponycorns passion into perspective, the game was released on May 25th. Anime North started the following Friday and ran the length of the weekend. And people at the conference recognized Mike’s costume. Awesomazing!

The Star’s Crayon Forgery Shenanigans

We spotted one piece of fan art that was no less hilarious than Mike’s costume, but unbelievable for a different reason. When the Toronto Star posted its story about the ponycorns’ meteoric rise to prominence, the online piece had two images in its gallery: a shot of Cassie playing the game, and THIS:

Sissy's Magical Ponycorn Adventure Toronto Star forgery

Also for serious.

It doesn’t take a keen eye to see that this image is actually a forgery, created by an adult employed at the Star. When we saw this image on the site, we were a little baffled. We have a stack of original crayon art from the game that we could have sent to the newspaper at a moment’s notice. This kind of thing is in keeping with some of my other dealings with news media, like my interview with CityTV from a while back where they grabbed one tiny soundbite from me to prove the point they were trying to make, and completely discarded everything else i said. Hilarious! If you don’t already watch the news and read the paper with a cocked eye, i hope you’ll start today.

We asked the Toronto Star to correct the article, and the picture was removed in short order.

UPDATE

Now it’s ME doing the retracting. The wacky lads over at Shh-Mom.com have confessed to penning the offending artwork which, in its original context, isn’t offending at all. The folks at the Star must have grabbed it, thinking it to be genuine. i’m glad we got to the bottom of this. Has it restored my faith in traditional news media? No. Question everything!

Flannery’s Fanfic

We’re saving the best for last on Ponycorn P’toosday. 9-year-old Flannery, proud owner of a plush ponycorns mega-pack, sent us this fantastic storybook featuring the extended adventures of the ponycorns gang. Enjoy your face off!

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Ponycorns Fanfic

Get Some

If this is your first exposure to ponycorns, pick up your copy on the iPad today! The game is also available on the BlackBerry Playbook and in your browser.