Dinky Bomb – multiplayer game

Back in 2002 some colleagues and I built one of the web’s first and most popular online multi-user Flash games, Dinky Bomb.

After the dotcom we were working for folded (NOW.com / Gamer TV), Dinky Bomb was apparently sold to EA and subsequently acquired by Atari, who have unfortunately done little with it. Gone for now, but not forgotten – there are a few YouTube videos out there, including this one, which features Dinky Bomb as part of a TV game show from way back then… good times!

A Dinky History

Dinky Bomb was an online multi-player Flash game, built for the converged service Gamer TV many years ago (2002). It was one of the first real-time multi-user experiences on the web in Flash technology (originally Flash 5, connecting to a Java socket server backend using Flash’s then new ‘XMLSocket’ capability).

It grew to become one of the most popular web games, with all of the Dinky Bomb servers almost always full! A special level was built for the TV game show ‘Hi-Score’ which you’ll see in the video above. Since then, Dinky Bomb has been redeveloped into ‘Dinky Bomb Deluxe’, using a different lobby system and a Java-based physics engine. This was shortly before Gamer TV closed its web arm to concentrate on TV, selling off much of its content to a third party. Subsequently, Dinky Bomb has been acquired by Atari, who have done nothing with it :/

The team at the TWI (IMG) run NOW.com / Gamer.tv converged services, which designed and built the original Dinky Bomb game were:

  • Liam O’Donnell – concept, programming, game design, level design, sound design, animation
  • David Pharo – game design, level design, interface design, character design
  • Chris Reinke – character design
  • Tom Butler – logo design
  • Ciaran Tuohy – server backend
  • Stuart Law – server backend
  • Sungsoo Lee – additional graphics
  • Fran Atkinson – thought up the name Dinky Bomb (thanks Fran 🙂

It’s unfortunate that I was kept out of the loop about Dinky Bomb’s sale and redevelopment – not a lot has happened with it since, but you can read more about this here.

FreeYourBuddy Web game

FreeYourBuddy.comFreeYourBuddy is a video-based ‘advergame’ I produced for GT/VML for a Windows Mobile campaign. It’s a lot like Subservient Chicken, but you need to chat to Buddy and direct him to solve puzzles in order to escape the confines of the computer in which he’s trapped. Continue reading FreeYourBuddy Web game

Mercedes Bend – Physics based banner animation

What I love even more than creating animation: creating challenging code-driven animation.

This banner actually won some awards apparently, including NMA Campaign of the Month and was shortlisted for Cannes Lions.The line dynamics itself is just Hooke’s law stuff – basic physics. It took some experimentation to get a smooth curve drawn from end to end. Basically, it is a bezier curve and the ‘control points’ of the previous and next points need to be in line.

The cars follow one of the line’s points with differing elasticity and damping, but the real pain in the backside was drawing the dashed line via code, in crummy early ActionScript, which had no API for programmatic dashed stroke drawing at the time. Luckily, I’m super persistent :)Read more from Bannerblog

I love this banner. A passerby mentioned the vans perhaps look too similar to each other (exactly the same, actually, aside from the color) but the interaction is instant and fun as hell to play with. Well done!

Posted by:Pace on November 11, 2007 8:53 AM

Good simple ad and the interaction is great, one thing that would really tighten the ad up is the line, the copy at the start feels a bit jarred, and I don’t think you need the line; ‘Life is tough, so are we’.

It should say; ‘Which is the safest van around?’ you roll over and then the line; ‘All our vans have ESP for safer driving’. Merc logo would then appear(Yes I know the client would love that).

Still a very good ad.

Posted by:Kevin on November 12, 2007 2:16 PM

what a fab execution of such a simple idea! love it.

Posted by:dubbs on November 12, 2007 8:08 PM

yeah. great execution. the smoothness of the interaction is very premium like.

Posted by:Wolo on November 13, 2007 12:47 AM

very clever. nice and simple, as well, gets the message accross in the right way.

Posted by: on November 13, 2007 6:02 AM

I kinda like it – but theres just one thing thats bugging me. The Blue van skids off the road, and it slides down to the right and comes to a stop in the banner space while the other van keeps driving. Shouldn’t it skid off the road and disappear up the banner as it has now come to a stop and is no longer moving along with the other van?

Or maybe I’m thinking about this too much and need some work to do… Pass me that D&AD annual.

Posted by:DrJones on November 13, 2007 10:55 AM

Interactivity with a purpose. I like it.

Posted by:Rob on November 13, 2007 9:28 PM

indeed, a very simple idea, but superbly executed. congratz.

Posted by:sparehed on November 22, 2007 11:32 PM

Motion Graphics / Video Production / Games / Apps