Seriously though, this years' games are pretty good. The activities themselves are pretty simple concepts, along the lines of memory / watching games, point & click and speed-counting. No frustrating learning curves etc etc. The most exciting part of it all, from the programmers' point of view, is the delivery method. We're starting to move away from Adobe / Macromedia Director as a delivery method for our flash content, and into new realms - ones which allow snazzy shaped windows and faster build times.
However, internal projects always get a rough ride - being testbeds for new technologies - and this is no exception.
The inital aim was to really break the mold. Instead of last years' online game, we'd have an application, with a multitude of games. Furthermore, we could use new technologies to create a transparent-desktop application, to really 'wow' people. Mark had created an awesome carousel in flash, and previously written some nice, technically-clever games for various clients. Everything sorta... clicked together. Brilliant when that happens.
As it turned out, we couldn't get transparency compatible with Macs and the transparent desktop applications suffered a heavy loss in framerate on the PC. While that's ok for simple applications, fast-paced animations (such as custom cursors) were rendered pretty useless. End-clients are rarely forgiving if your products aren't perfect, so the transparency got canned. Luckily, we had a few die-hard programmers (myself included) who campaigned for the inclusion of a transparent version - if only to prove it could be done - and we got our way.
Go get it!
The 'Gold version', the recommended application that we unveiled to our E-Newsletter subscribers, is a 4Mb application with both PC and Mac versions. Recommended / required screen resolution is 1024x768, and it runs in fullscreen mode. Undoubtably the best version for playing the games, but nothing we couldn't've produced in Director.
You can download the transparent-desktop version from the 'Under development' section of the downloads page. Obviously the transparency is the reason for downloading this, because it's just much more awesome to look at.
With codename 'Pandora' being due for release in January 2008, we hope to have a much more efficient, transparent-desktop version of the festive games available in early 2008.
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