Fierce Fun at the New Frontiers Showcase

DIT, in association with Enterprise Ireland and IADT run the New Frontiers programme, which is designed to help incubate and grow new Irish businesses. Several companies have come through the programme and gone on to bigger and better things. As a way of sharing these success stories, passing down advice, and arranging some good old fashioned business networking, they organise an annual showcase event.

Last Friday, on the 5th of December, Fierce Fun was able to take part in this event, demonstrate some of our products, and speak with other businesses in the “Hothouse” programme. Peter Lynch and Jackie Jeter attended the showcase and were both very impressed with what they saw and heard.

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There were five alumni of the programme, including Alison Stroh, from Dr. Coy’s Healthfoods, and Adrian Walsh of Checkventory in attendance. Both businesses have been quite successful in recent years, and fostered partnerships with more established firms. Dr. Coy’s products, for example, are available in stores like Brown Thomas or Avoca. Sean Mitchell, the CEO of Movidius gave a fantastic keynote address on adjusting to meet market needs and cracking into potential markets. Movidius, after graduating from the programme went on to achieve great success in the US markets over the last few years. For a digital company like Fierce Fun, which offers a product which is instantly available in all markets around the world, Movidius provides a great example for adapting our marketing plans and how to break into international markets.

The event gave us a great opportunity to showcase our company to potential investors, as well as getting some cheeky free beta testing done. Peter brought along his phone and demonstrated the Big Bad Quiz to a number of people. All of the reactions to the game were positive, and of course, since the game is designed to be a challenge, not many of the testers got past the first few rounds. For us, who have spent the last few months designing, writing and creating the game, this was a great thing to see.

Fierce Fun: HTML5 Cross Platform Capability

What is a cross-platform app? It is one application that your customers can use, regardless of their phone, tablet or PC type. Most consumers now have at least one of each. Even for large companies, it is difficult to continually update your applications to work on all possible platforms. Think of a cross platform app as being like a central point, with different platforms and devices connecting to IT, rather than having individual apps to suit each platform.

Building separate games and mobile applications for each device (iPhone, iPad Android, Windows Mobile) can be time consuming and expensive. It requires different frameworks, languages and developments skills.

The HTML5 standard is now complete and ratified by the World Wide Web Consortium (the guys who set all key standards for the Web). Using browser technologies, it allows companies to support all consumer platforms with one production process. More importantly, as it is now standardised, it will ensure future compatibility for your HTML5 applications

Fierce Fun uses HTML5 to create media rich highly interactive games and mobile applications.

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If you like more information on our HTML5 cross platform development technology, don’t hesitate to get in contact.

What makes a good trivia game?

Making a good trivia game can be a tricky thing to do. First, you have to actually create a lot of interesting trivia questions, then you have to present them in an interesting way. We have seen many simple trivia games come and go without creating much of a following, while game-shows like Jeopardy and Family Feud are still going strong after decades. Why? well, the answer is two-fold.

First of all, they have a host. The host is a vital part of a game, whether they are making friends, sharing jokes, grilling contestants with tough questions, or just declaring them the “weakest link”, the host brings something unique and fun to the show. Second, each game-show has a theme, and just like the host, they can vary from unforgiving questions, to light-hearted fun. When it came to creating the Big Bad Quiz, we here at Fierce Fun took that information on-board.

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Thus, the Bag Man was born. He is our answer to hosts like Bob Barker or Anne Robinson, and his style of hosting is reminiscent of the “You Don’t Know Jack” series of quiz games. The Bag Man is sarcastic, insulting, but always encourages you to try a bit harder, to get the extra bonus points, or just to wipe the smile off his bag.

When making a game, especially  mobile game, you need to consider the time constraint that people will be under. Consumers can’t devote an entire hour to a single session on a game. You need to be able to make a game that is engaging enough that it can be played during a quick-five minute break, or while commuting to or from the office. At the same time however, there needs to be a facility in place to keep people’s attention span over longer periods of time. Again, we looked at game-shows for the answer.

Rapid fire rounds were the best solution we found. You could quickly fly through a round or two while waiting for the bus, save your progress, answer a few texts, then come back to the game a little while later and pick up where you left off. Each round takes about ninety seconds to complete, which makes it perfect for “burst players”. In a survey of gamers in the United States, 44% of respondents said that they played on their phones for less than 30 minutes a day. Since the rounds are paced so well, and there is no limit on the number of rounds you can complete, the game can last however long or short you want it to. The biggest games these days, like Candy Crush, or Flappy Bird, also subscribe to this idea of rapid-fire gameplay.

 Finally, we added some really tricky questions to the mix to liven things up, especially as you get further and further into the game. The rounds might go by quickly, but they won’t all be easy to finish. Adding that to the fact that there are almost two thousand questions, and they all appear in a random order each time you play, means that the game will be fresh, and tough every time you open it up.

So that’s our opinion, a good trivia game needs to have a unique host, the ability to be played for short or long periods and above all, needs to be fresh every time you play it, in order to keep players interested.

 

Synchronised Gameplay System

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Fierce Fun has developed a software technology called Synchronised Gameplay System (SGS), that allows players to experience the same gameplay on different platforms.  SGS technology combines a structured platform profiler and a user analytics system to ensure that game content and progress is synchronised on Web, social and mobile platforms. It allows players to move seamlessly between different platforms and never lose their previous gameplay and progress.

Monster Madness: Ireland’s First Commercial Mobile Game?

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When clearing out some old files, I came across this newspaper page. Remember when you were looking for a new ringtone for your Nokia – Mobile Sheriff was one of the many mobile content providers in this area. In 2002, we were given a prototype Nokia 3410 to work on. This was one of the first Java J2ME gaming phones – this was the beginning of the mobile app industry. Unlike the sophisticated mobile developers portals now, we only had a bare bones API and in the great developer tradition “you have to figure out the rest yourself”. One day I will write about the fun we had trying to get the game on the phone – a degree in electronic engineering was required. We also became masters at writing Java in a non OO style – not an easy thing to do but necessary owing to memory restrictions..

After 4 months of blood, sweat and a lot of tears, we finished the game in late 2002. It was all of 37k in size. The game involved destroying the monster Kethlu and his minions, protecting your base and capturing key pieces Even with the memory restrictions, Monster Madness featured:

– huge enemy bosses with 16 levels

– small attack monsters, with varied attack patterns

– 3 different weapon systems: laser beams, atomic fire and sonic shockwaves

The game was published by Trust 5 in February 2003. It was localised into French and distributed by more than 20 mobile publishers. As far as we know, it is Ireland’s first commercial mobile game. Who knows, it may see life again on the iPhone.

See the original ad here

Mobile App Development Services

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Need a custom mobile app quickly. Fierce Fun now offers a complete mobile app development service covering consultancy, UI and UX design, cross platform development, testing, QA and publishing. Our cross platform technology allows us to publish your rich media apps on both mobile (Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire) and desktop (Windows and Mac OS) platforms. If you need advice on native apps or mobile Web publishing, contact us today and we can outline the various options of getting your products on mobile.

Computer Games – Digital Marketing Ireland

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So you need a game quickly for your next digital marketing campaign. At Fierce Fun, we have large library of pre-built games that can quickly be configured for your online or mobile campaign. These games are cross platform and can be published on either mobile (iPhone, Android) or online/social platforms. Our game library includes action, adventure, arcade, card, casino, music, puzzle, racing, sports, strategy and word games.

Tax Incentives to attract Game Development Companies to Ireland

taxThis issue has come back into focus again as the UK government is now granting tax breaks to computer game development companies. Qualifying companies can get up to 25% relief on their development costs. Others countries such as France and Canada has also successfully introduced tax incentives for video game development companies.

Why are they doing this and what is the implications for the Irish games industry?

Currently the global games industry is worth over $80 billion. It is now the largest entertainment industry sector. As computer games are essentially software products, they can be developed in any country in the world. Forward looking governments realise the significance of this industry and are doing everything they can to attract game development talent and investment.

Ireland should be doing the same. We have a small (but growing) number of indigenous game start-ups and some high profile multinational game support companies. The IDA has done well to attract these multinationals to locate in Ireland but in general, they are here for the same reasons as most other multinationals. They are not here for game development talent – most don’t do game development in Ireland.

Typically countries offer a 25 to 40% tax incentive to game developers. To compete, Ireland should offer a flat 50% tax relief rate against qualifying development costs and only for the creation of original IP (intellectual property). With these stipulations, this tax break would ensure that only high value jobs are created. Within a very short period, we will get international game development companies locating their R&D teams here. Like the music business, the games industry is a hits driven industry. 1 in 5 games breaks even, 1 in 10 makes a profit. The top 10% makes the majority of the significant profits. So for a country to have a successful games development industry, you need a critical mass of developers. We don’t have the numbers yet in Ireland.

An attractive focused tax incentive would be a good start. As the UK has recently introduced their games tax incentive, Ireland should introduce one in the next budget. It is a competitive global marketplace for games development talent, we need to act quickly.

Games as a Service

cloudcomputingThe new buzz word in video games. Games as a service (GAAS) represents a new approach toward game development. With the heaving influence of mobile and social platforms, game developers are now seeking to provide a playing service to their users, rather than a single purchase or download.

Game players now want new content and features on a ongoing, sometimes weekly (or even daily basis). This means that traditional developers must fundamentally restructure their teams to work in this on-going manner.

Thankfully at Fierce Fun, we are setting up a GAAS developer from scratch. Our teams and systems are oriented towards combining design and use analytics in one workflow process. More to come on this later.

Online Games for Digital Advertising

gameads-300x196I am still surprised when I have to convince people how useful games are as advertising tools. For the last 2 decades in the US, games have been successfully used by companies such as McDonalds, Coca Cola and Ford to promote their brands and products. With the massive growth of casual games (social and mobile), more or less everyone is now a gamer.

So why are games effective advertising tools? Like hot toffee, they are sticky. Sticky content is the holy grail of online content – keeping users engaged for much longer than traditional text or image content. Better still, games are interactive so it is much easier to impart lasting brand messages. For any Irish digital advertiser, I would recommend consider using a game in your next digital marketing campaign. They are cost effective as you can re-use digital assets from other elements of your campaign. Also Ireland is a nation of video game players so you will have a receptive audience.

Contact us to find out how online games can boost your digital marketing campaigns