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William Hill Betlive

Score_Boards_Football_TenniOver the last couple of weeks we’ve been working on some updates to an old project that I designed and produced last year for bookmaker William Hill. Looking at it again, against the backdrop of the ongoing World Cup, made me think it was worth putting down some thoughts on the project, where it came from and how its doing now.

‘Betlive’ is a Flash application we developed as part of the complete website rebuild that William Hill undertook over 2008/9. This was a massive project for them; not only redesigning their brand and website but also moving their entire back-end infrastructure from an existing in-house solution to OpenBet, which is pretty much the industry standard platform for serious players in the online gambling industry.
William Hill took this opportunity to overhaul their live betting offering and put this at the heart of their website experience – which is where we came in.

Deal or No Deal Live – new features!

CaptureWe’ve put an update live for our social multiplayer version of Deal or No Deal, it includes a number of new features that we’re hoping its small, but loyal, community of fans will enjoy.

The most noticeable change is that we’ve added a feature allowing players to auto-join a match mid-way through (no more hanging around waiting for the next one to start), a counter that keeps tally of how many times you have beaten the Banker – helping players reach a number of in-game awards. Free gifting is a cheeky way of adding chat icons and communicating with other players online, and we’ve updated the way the game connects to the game server – solving some of the connection issues that have plagued the game for some users since its launch December last year. Read More

ROAR 2010 edition

roar_2We just launched an update to one of the children’s BBC’s most successful online games ever: ROAR.

ROAR is an Endemol (Remarkable) show shot on location in a UK wildlife park, it follows the lives and exploits of animals and keepers over a series of weeks. The game of the show takes a similar premise by providing kids with their own park to manage. To play the game you must set up a park, choose what kind of habitat you’d like for your enclosure (types include African Savanha, Indian Jungle etc), animals and their food and feeding schedule. The aim of the game is to successfully set up your park and keep your animals for several days, at which point they breed, the enclosures are cleared out (the animals are moved to another park) and you get the chance to try your hand at looking after a different kind of animal.

As a game for 6-12 year olds the gameplay is light with an emphasis on returning to the park daily to modify the settings chosen for each animal, things are spiced up with questions and conundrums posed to the park keepers upon their return.

The success of this game is largely due to the ‘cheat code’ mechanic that provides a direct call to action from the show to the game – every episode of ROAR contains a segment where a new cheat code for the game is revealed, players can enter these codes into the game to reveal new features: animals, treats enclosures etc. It has proved to be wildly popular and a testament to how powerful TV can still be at stimulating online activity. The game needs to run on BBC designed technology designed to handle as many as 150 thousand concurrent users – the peak they can expect following broadcast.

The new game update provides a general rebuild of the UI and is one of the first projects to be built on the BBC’s new FORGE platform. The game provides new content and some new features, whilst still allowing players of the existing game to continue playing their parks.

To play the game you’ll need to set up an under 12’s account with the BBC, you can find the game here: ROAR 2010 Edition

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Luc Houselander

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