Balancing Act in Vancouver
I’ve just come back from Team Coopers’ first transatlantic exhibition. I was the lucky one selected magnanimously by Tim to go out and take care of a small game made to drive booth activity at a medical congress in Vancouver, Canada.
“What’s all that mean?” I expect you’re crying at your screens in eager interest. Well for us it meant the chance to create a fancy-schmancy mini-game using the fun and intuitive Wii-Fit board. For some time now there’s been libraries such as WiiFlash made for handling inputs from Wii controllers, which are just fancy bluetooth devices. Combine this with an agency whose client who is trying to sell a drug to help post-transplant patients balance their body levels and what do you get?
… A Wii board marble maze! Made in a tight turnaround of a fortnight with all hands on pump we cranked out a fun, innovative, robust and most of all addictive game. I should know, I saw the doctors come back time and again to try for the high score, the Japanese, Turkish and German delegations being the top scorers. Using nothing but the balance board and a Wii-Mote for the menus, so no ungainly wires, players had to balance themselves to roll balls through our 3D mazes, racing the clock.
It was great fun to make (including lots of jokes about balls!) and kudos due to Kyle for making the game work using Papervision for the 3D screens and Jiglib for the physics, and to Simon for sorting Wii-Mote connectivity. It’s a great fusion of several technologies blended for fun.
For the end client the game meant a great way to increase booth activity, which of course raises brand awareness. This was previously done through give-aways such as branded pens, key-rings, USB sticks etc. However regulatory bodies now frown upon the practice leaving companies, and their agencies, looking for other incentives. This is where the game excels, by raising peoples curiosity with the temptation of a challenge, especially when they see others having a go.
My experience at the congress was a great one. The agency we work for, who created and ran the booth were great fun to be with; I ended up in direct competition with Toby and Claire for the high score. It was great to get out of the office and see people directly playing our game, and I learnt a lot about what the audience needs and expects which will be good for future projects of this kind and games in general. It is so rare to actually see our work in the real world, normally it’s only online, direct contact with the audience obscured through the mystical interweb. The Vancouver convention centre is absolutely massive, situated right on the coast overlooking the harbour, fantastic to watch the float planes coming and going. I was in Vancouver over last Christmas and was blown away by how much warmer it was! Thanks to Tina, the booth hostess for showing Toby and me some hidden gems of the area.
All in all, I’d say it was a fantastic opportunity and a great experience that worked well. Here’s to more of this for Team Cooper in the future!