Tag Archives: Projects

A Lotta Dessert

Untold Entertainment produced A Lotta Dessert, a simple patterning game for preschoolers, for TVOntario’s TVOKids.com site.

The game design document, graphics of Lotta’s house and face, and her voiceover, were provided by TVO. Untold Entertainment produced the remaining assets and created the game based on TVO’s specifications.

UX Jr.

If you’re curious about the conventions of preschool game development, A Lotta Dessert showcases a few tricks:

  1. This is a preliterate audience. The only text in the game is the title, and absolutely everything is voiced over.
  2. There is no “play” button on the title screen. After a brief countdown, the game automatically begins.
  3. Mice are lousy input devices for preschoolers, who often struggle to use them, so the game doesn’t require any drag n’ drop actions. Everything boils down to a single click with generously-sized hotspots. (See Mouse Control for a game we developed to help small children practice using a mouse)
  4. Visual patterning is reinforced through sound.
  5. The “answer” is entered twice, to confirm comprehension (otherwise, the player could just be clicking around and “winning” coincidentally).
  6. Little-to-no chainsaw violence.

Untold Entertainment is an industry leader in preschool game development. Contact us to talk about your upcoming project.

Ryan Goes to Camp

i think i only missed one Toronto game community event last year. It was called GamerCamp, and it was on a Saturday. i skipped it because Saturdays are family days, and i wanted to spend some quality time with my wife and kids.

i’ll never make that mistake again.

GamerCamp

GamerCamp : worth forsaking your family for

People came back positively RAVING about GamerCamp. i knew this year that i just HAD to be involved.

Thus Spake Ryanthurstra

i am thrilled that Jamie and Mark, the awesomazing organizers behind the event, invited me to speak (after a teensy bit of grovelling). (… from me, not them.) They wanted someone with experience in educational game development, and Untold Entertainment’s got it. In addition to the educational preschool games we’ve built for Sinking Ship Entertainment, we’re currently working on a project funded by a high-ranking ministerial body of educational governance. i admit it sounds a little dull, so i wanted to spice it up a bit.

Here’s the advice the event organizers gave on titling my talk:

You can call your talk whatever you want and by no means self-censor. Try and make your title a declarative statement or provocative question.

(For example, Dragonette has a song called “Get Your Titties Off My Things” and if they wanted to speak at Gamercamp and call it that, I’d high-five them.)

So without very much deliberation, and because i absolutely love high-fives, i decided to call my talk “Get Your Titties Off My Things : Adventures in Educational Gaming.”

Titties and Education Don’t Mix

hot for teacher

Apparently, no one’s hot for teacher.

In updating the site, the organizers had a last-minute change of heart and decided to censor the talk title. Since it didn’t make much sense any more (not that it made any sense to begin with), i decided to re-title the talk “SCUMM-Sucking : Adventures in Educational Gaming“.

What do you do when you LOVE building LucasArts and Sierra-style graphic adventure games, but you have to take boring educational service work to pay the bills?

>Get MONEY.
>Use MONEY on GAME.
>Give PRESENTATION to GAMERCAMP.

SCUMM Bar

Time to nip in for a pint of Grog™.

The educational project is an experiment in teaching deadly-dull guidance counselor material by speaking the students’ language – the language of video games!

i’ll also be talking about how i leveraged the educational project to add features to UGAGS (the Untold Entertainment Graphic Adventure Game System), which is my attempt at building a Flash version of the LucasArts SCUMM engine. (They used SCUMM to make Maniac Mansion, The Secret of Monkey Island and others.) The client benefits from our increasingly feature-rich engine, we get a better product that we can use to make awesome games in the future, and everybody wins!

Including you! Come out to GamerCamp in Toronto November 13-14 to hear the tremendous line-up of speakers, eat some cupcakes, jam out to a crazy nerd party, and battle your hangover to hear about UGAGS the afternoon following the big bash.

Best Ed – Hedge Your Bets!

Hedge Your Bets! is one of two games that we developed (the other one being Crossing Dog) with kids’ teevee producer marblemedia, for 9Story Entertainment‘s cartoon show Best Ed. Hedge Your Bets! is loosely based around an episode where Ed and Miss Fluffé the hamster/fortune teller get “stranded” in a small grove of trees in the middle of a populated playground.

marblemedia asked us to create a maze game using assets from 9Story’s repository. Since the show was animated in Flash, all of the assets were .fla files. We had an absolute blast diving into the repo and choosing from so many gorgeous art and animation assets. We had researched mazes a few years back and learned that it’s a fairly simple thing to train an AI player to solve a certain type of maze. Since then, we’ve always wanted to build a maze game where you race an AI player to the exit. This project was our chance to build that exact game!

marblemedia took care of the title screen, HUD and audio assets for the game. Best Ed currently airs on Cartoon Network TOO in the UK, pan-European Cartoon Network, and on ABC in Australia.

(note: the High Scores functionality at the end of the game is tied to the broadcaster, and has been disconnected for this standalone version)

Best Ed – Crossing Dog

Crossing Dog is one of two games that we developed (the other one being Hedge Your Bets) with kids’ teevee producer marblemedia, for 9Story Entertainment‘s cartoon show Best Ed. Crossing Dog the game is loosely based around an episode of the same name.

marblemedia asked us to create a Frogger-like game using assets from 9Story’s repository. Since the show was animated in Flash, all of the assets were .fla files. We had an absolute blast diving into the repo and choosing from so many gorgeous art and animation assets. In the Crossing Dog episode, Ed wears a hat, sash and whistle. Since we couldn’t find enough run cycle rotations of Ed in that costume, we dreamed up a scenario where Ed had lost his whistle and can’t stop the cars, so he has to carry each kid safely to the other side of the street. It’s a slightly bent concept that meshes nicely with the off-kilter, Eek! the Cat-style humour of the show.

marblemedia took care of the title screen, HUD and audio assets for the game. Best Ed currently airs on Cartoon Network TOO in the UK, pan-European Cartoon Network, and on ABC in Australia.

(note: the High Scores functionality at the end of the game is tied to the broadcaster, and has been disconnected for this standalone version)

Eye in the Sky

We created this spot-the-differences game for Sinking Ship Entertainment’s Are We There Yet? World Adventure kids’ travel teevee show.

 
The Sinking Ship team wanted to evoke the feeling of playing  a fun game with your brother, sister or friend on the way to some far-flung destination.  In Eye In The Sky, you and your travel companion stare at the back of two airliner seats trying to find subtle differences.  The differences themselves are randomized across three rounds, with enough differences to spill over into multiple games to encourage repeat plays.