Fierce Fun develops game for the Ombudsman for Childrens Office

Fierce Fun was tasked with creating an innovative game for the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO). The OCO is a human rights institution that promotes the rights and welfare of young people under 18 years of age living in Ireland.

Their website is aimed at educating children and young people about their rights. They were looking for a game to make their site more interactive and fun. Their requirements included:

  •      Interactive and fun thus motivating the child to continue to learn within the website
  •      Colourful, attractive and age-appropriate for 8 to 12 year olds
  •      Compatible with embedding within their website system
  •      Compatible with mobile, iPad and desktop platforms

Based on our analysis of the OCO requirements, Fierce Fun proposed to create an Endless Runner type game. Endless runners are a variant of the platform game genre. . With their simplified controls and speed, they have become extremely popular on mobile devices. The game project was designed and delivered within 4 months. The client was very happy with the game and it is now live on their website.

Game: Rights Runner
Rights Runner is a 2D endless runner type game where you play the role of a young superhero who has to travel across the world to collect all of the children’s UN rights. A tornado has scattered them across Ireland, and it is your job to gather them all in your rights book. Your superhero collects energy hearts to keep them active and has to avoid many obstacles on their journey. Each right will be represented by one word and you have to jump to collect the individual letters that make up that word. When you have got the word, you will unlock a rights charter, with the full details about that particular right.

Game Screenshots

AgriKids Virtual Reality App

Fierce Fun was contracted by AgriKids to create a virtual reality app as part of their digital product range. AgriKids was founded with the vision to create a concept that would engage, educate and empower children to become farm safety ambassadors. Through this ethos, the company has developed a collection of innovative products for children to create dialogue and positive awareness in homes and classrooms on farm safety awareness and practice.

As a highly innovative farm safety promoter, AgriKids were looking to explore the potential of virtual reality apps to educate children about real farm safety issues. The design brief was that the app should allow users to freely move around a virtual farm. The app would teach users what the different safety signs mean and where they belong. The virtual farm would need the follow areas:

  • Chemical store
  • Slurry pit
  • Bull Pen
  • Electrical point
  • Farm entrance
  • River / Water area

The VR app was developed for the Oculus Right was tested at several agricultural events. It proved very popular with young children and their parents!

App Screenshots here:

Game Rating for Parents

As the graphic quality and production values used in console games are on a par with movies, it is important for parents to consider which games are suitable for their children. Children can play games on a variety of devices from consoles to mobiles. Regardless of the device, the game’s rating should be checked to see if it suitable for young player.

There are various game rating systems used around the world. PEGI (Pan European Game Information) is the system used in Europe and Ireland. Essentially PEGI is an age rating system used to classify games. It is similar to the film rating system where you are tags such as PG (parental guidance) and R (restricted). Age ratings are a simple way to help parents decide if the content is appropriate for their children.

PEGI does not take into account the difficulty of the game – it only considers the age suitability of a game. So, if you buy a PEGI7, there is no guarantee that your 7-year-old will like it.

Game Rating

Here are the PEGI Ratings:

PEGI 3
FOR THE YOUNGEST – VERY MILD
The content of apps with this rating is considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical cartoon context is acceptable. A child should not be able to associate the character on the screen with real-life characters; they should be distinctly fantasy. The app should not contain anything that are likely to scare young children, including bad language.

PEGI 7
FOR DEVELOPING CHILDREN
This is similar to PEGI3 but may contain some content that could possibly be frightening for children. There can only be very mild violence in a PEGI 7 e.g. think falling into water, getting hit of the head – again, more cartoon like, nothing realistic

PEGI 12
MORE REALISTIC
With this rating, the games are becoming a bit more realistic. They may show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy characters, or non-graphic violence towards human-looking characters or animals. The game character will look more lifelike. Their clothes and attire will be more typical of male and female game characters. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.

PEGI 16
REAL LIFE CONTENT
Once the depiction of violence or sexual activity reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life, this rating is applied. Stronger inappropriate language, encouraging the use of tobacco or drugs, and depicting criminal activities can be content of apps that are rated 16.

PEGI 18
ADULT ONLY
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes a depiction of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence (motiveless killing, violence towards defenseless characters or sexual violence). It may also include graphic sexual content, discrimination or the glamorisation of illegal drug use.

Hopefully you find this these rating useful when considering game content for your children. Another tip would be look at the game trailer and screenshots before purchasing a game. The game trailer will give a quick overview of the gameplay and is useful in assessing its suitability.

Playing Online or Mobile Games – Protecting your Children’s Privacy

The traditional view of safe gaming content for children is having non-violent content without any adult themes. Much like movies, parents should follow the rating guidelines attached to the game. The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) rating system is widely used in Europe and Ireland. As a parent, you should not let your child play a game that is not PEGI rated.

However, PEGI only considers appropriate gaming content. What about your child’s online information? Even without registering an account, most games track your gameplay data. Free-to-play games rely heavily on advertising, so they track as much player data as possible. So how do you protect your child’s online data?

Well to start, you need to make sure that the publisher/developer of the game has an available privacy statement, regarding their content. They need to acknowledge and comply with GDPR and have a nominated Data Protection Official. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are the regulations in EU law on data protection and privacy. Essentially GDPR  aims primarily to give control to individuals over their personal data .

Also, parents need to be aware of games that need registered accounts. Children (under 13) should not set up game accounts. They should be setup by the parents. For older children and teenagers, parents should still be aware of any game accounts registered. Even though they may not be commercial accounts, younger players could still be supplying personal information via the account. For many game companies, information in the new currency and players of all ages need to be aware of this.

 The best advice for parents is to stay involved when your child is gaming. Like all online content, it is very important to maintain an open dialogue with your children on their online activities.

Fierce Fun plans to make Irish kids smarter!

Press Release for Mindframe Arena: 16 January 2020

Fierce Fun plans to make Irish kids smarter

It’s time to wean the kids off Fortnite and try a new game developed in Ireland

Who would have thought that video games can help in your child’s development? Well, they can as part of a ‘balanced diet’ of educational content. Irish game developer Fierce Fun has just released their digital board game Mindframe Arena - a ‘Smart and Safe’ game designed for a family-friendly environment.

As games like chess can be off-putting for some children, Mindframe Arena is a great way to introduce children to intellectually stimulating activities such as board and strategy games. Based on classic board games like chess, Mindframe Arena requires skill and strategy to play – yet it is easy and fun to learn. Research has shown that playing board games can help in the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Peter Lynch from Fierce Fun states “From showing the game at events and conventions in Ireland, we found that 7 to 10-year olds really enjoyed it as did their parents.”

Irish parents can rest assured with the following Smart and Safe game features:

  • No in-game chat or messaging
  • No graphic violence
  • No analytics or tracking
  • Parental purchase & social media locks

Mindframe Arena is available  as a free download on Google Play and the Apple Apps Store.

Apple App Store Page
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/mindframe-arena/id1490433142#?platform=iphone

Google Play Page
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FF.MindframeArena&hl=en_IE

YouTube Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzC3_gNplPM&t=21s

Media Kit URL:
https://1drv.ms/u/s!AvOVpBTawgOGgq1D5tAa1oJpBE7kIQ?e=DL1OfL

 

 

Terminus Demo

Terminus was a game we created a long time ago..... in a galaxy far far away...

Well it was the 2000s and it was created in Aboe Flash, so a long time ago. We were between projects so some of the team created this shooter demo. Mark created some amazing graphics for it and it pushed the limits of what could be done in ActionScript (Flash programming language) at the time. As the guys only had limited time to work on it, we could only create a small game demo. We showed it at some recent game conventions and players loved it... even thought it is over 15 years old. Hopefully we will get back to it some day!

Terminus game page

Best practice for Cross-Platform Games – Facebook

We are truly in the era of cross-platform gaming. With the advent of mobile phones as gaming devices, playing games is not restricted to any place or time. Gaming has become THE ubiquitous entertainment activity – everyone (well almost) is a now a gamer.

Whereas before, game developer’s choice of platform was restricted to PC and consoles - now they must consider Web, mobile, VR and other dedicated devices. In addition, gamers tend to play the same title on many devices , depending on their location and environment. For many game developers and publishers, the only choice is to go cross-platform. Despite the extra development effort in doing this, it substancially increases the likelihood of reaching their target gaming audience.

Planning a cross-platform games project needs to start early. To ensure a smoother and consistent player experience across different platforms, we would recommend using the Facebook SDK for certain app features.

Facebook recommends the following:
- Handle notifications, requests and stories consistently
- Synchronize Game State across platforms
- Encourage people to play on other platforms

For more advice on your cross-platform game strategy, check out this Facebook post.

Cross platform games

App Marketing Tips from Amazon

You have just finished your latest game or mobile app and you think it is going to be the next big thing! BUT how is anybody going to find your app. Hundred of apps are released each day and look at the size of your phone screen – how many apps do you scroll though…. 20 or 30… at best. Most users only see a tiny portion of the apps released daily. So, what chance has your app? .... will it be seen by anyone ?

It is difficult but thankfully there is help at hand. Amazon have their own apps store and have published this useful guide to help you get your app visible. In summary, their app marketing tips are:

  • Write compelling product features and descriptions
  • Select good keywords (app store optimization)
  • Link to your product page
  • Choose the right screenshots
  • Invest in video (vitally important)
  • Respond to customer reviews (particularly negative ones)
  • Get featured on the Amazon Appstore
  • Get featured by media pros (blogger, tweeters, influencers, youtubers)

The guide is located here. Well worth a read if you are close to publishing your app. Good luck!

app marketing tips

The State of Computer Games – 2019

Fierce Fun game research

We recently came across an excellent piece of research from GlobalWebIndex on the current state of video gaming.  Some really interesting facts from this research include:

Demographics

  • Gamers are getting older - a quarter of all 45-54s also say they have an interest in gaming.
  • Older players are more likely to be female - more females cite gaming as aninterest (19%) than males (17%) for 55-64s.

Mobile

  • Not surprisingly smartphones are extending their lead as the most popular gaming device.
  • The East is where mobile gamers rule - .ore than 7 in 10 internet users inAPAC and the Middle East and Africa are gaming on their smartphone.

Console/PC

  • The decline is console game has stabilized. Consoles now serve as a household media hub, as well as a gaming device.
  • PC gaming is still very important - just under 1 in 2 internet users are gaming via PCs/laptops

Spectator Gaming

  • Spectator gaming continues to grow - with over a third having watched a live gaming stream in the past month, and over a quarter having watched an esports tournament.
  • A quarter of console gamers visited Twitch in the past month

VR

  • VR is still only for early adopters. Of those who play games on any other device, only 5% own a virtual reality headset

Mindframe Arena – A ‘Smart & Safe’ game for all the family

We have just published the full version of Mindframe Arena on Google Play. This version is compatible with most modern Android phones and tablets… and best of all, it is free to play. The game comes with the entry-level characters called Tecs. You can play the full game with these. If you want more powerful advanced Tecs, you can purchase them within the app.

Mindframe Arena - A family friendly game

Mindframe Arena is a digital board game when you control a group of characters called Tecs. The goal of the game is to get your Tecs to the end of the Alpha worlds. To do this, you battle other players on a V-shaped game board. Each Tec can move a certain distance and has a spell specific to them. They can cast both attack and health spells. As you progress in the game and collect more Tecs, you need to figure out the best set of Tecs for each battle.

So why do we call Mindframe a smart and safe game? After some initial playtesting, we found the game was very popular with 7 to 12-year-old children. We also noticed that many of the parents liked the game as well and could play with their children. This non-violent game was designed to stimulate a player’s mind and not just their hand-eye coordination. It is based on classic board games like chess and requires skill and strategy to play. Even though it is a strategic game, it is fun to play and the game’s colourful graphics make it appealing to younger players.

Research has shown that playing challenging board games helps in brain development. With these types of games, a player will only progress through skilful planning, mathematical reasoning and critical thinking…. all while having fun!

 From an online safety perspective, the game has the following features included

  • No in-game chat or messaging
    • No graphic violence
    • No analytics or tracking
    • Parental purchase locks
    • Parent ad/social media locks

Download it now for free here on your Android phone or tablet – or search for Mindframe Arena on your device.  Players can play on their own or they can play against another player on the same device. Try it and let us know how you get on !