A Web Win-Win: We Win a Gig, You Win a Car

web-win-winCheck Out Our New Project and Win a Car

Yup, it’s a web win-win situation. I landed a web game writing project recently, and it’s now hit the inter-web-nets. I was a contributing writer on Toyota/Scion’s new web game, Unlock the tC, which highlights the Scion tC.

I can say, as objectively as I can, that the tC does seem like a sweet little ride. It’s the sporty car in the Scion line, and you can actually win trip to LA and a shot at a free tC in the web game if you crank on all of the objectives.

Hey, This Web Game Has Hardly Any Writing

The tC web game is fairly complex, containing multiple mini-games and a lengthy cross-country journey rife with decision points. But you might notice that… uh… there’s not a lot of game writing in it. And that’s intentional.

Instead of writing quantity, this web project was more of a challenge in terms of tone, style, functionality, and variety. Since it’s not a full RPG, there are certain points where we couldn’t assume the player has done action A, and other points where we couldn’t force the player to do action B. The writing always had to be performed with an inherent understanding of the web game’s underlying technical structure.

At the same time, we wanted to provide the player with lots of choices and capture the real flavor of a rip-roaring cross-country adventure. The player’s actions needed to be logical within the fictional framework. The visuals had to be fresh and the voice did too. We’re pretty pleased with the results. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Even If You Don’t Win the Web Game…

When creating the web game, we also tried to encourage gamers to visit the sister site scionav.com as much as possible. If you have a moment, take a peek, because it has a lot of cool art, music, and video, including several albums worth of free MP3 downloads from top DJs.

Many thanks to the client/production company, Haley Miranda Group, for the opportunity to work on this project.


Keynote: Steve Jobs Announces iPad Newton

Steve Jobs Debuts iPad Newton at Keynote


World, meet the new iPad Newton. As suspected at Patently Apple, which noted in March that Apple renewed their Newton trademark, Steve Jobs announced at a conference keynote that Apple has transformed the past into the future by introducing the iPad Newton.

The iPad Newton improves on a number of issues that are well-known to iPad 1 owners. The WiFi antenna has been relocated for stronger reception, and the screen sensitivity has improved for typing purposes.┬áJobs also pointed out the product’s “downwardly compatible” mode which converts the iPad Newton to a black-and-white PDA with a maximum resolution of 336 x 240 pixels and the inability to differentiate between letterforms. Although included mostly for nostalgia purposes, the black-and-white mode also enables the iPad Newton to run off four fully-charged AAA batteries – for up to 7 minutes, according the presentation notes at the keynote.

Steve Jobs described the iPad Newton as the “realization of the original Newton’s promise to bring awkwardly-sized personal computing to satchels and man-purses around the world.” Jobs continued his keynote by listing the six women’s purses that are large enough to accommodate an iPad Newton or original iPad without a tailor’s or leatherworker’s expertise.

“We sold the Newton, warts and all, for $1000 in 1993,” Jobs said. “We’re asking $600 for this sucker now. Who says our products are marked up beyond reason?”

Steve Jobs Keynotes Dissected

Okay, we admit that Steve Jobs hasn’t leaked any such thing. In a long summer we have to amuse ourselves with something, like an imaginary keynote.

Steve Jobs’ keynote technique is something of legend, actually. Known as a Stevenote, a Jobs keynote is greeted with sometimes slavish anticipation and can herald the advent of industry-changing technologies. The Steve Jobs keynote even has its own wikipedia page. Persuasive and commanding, Jobs often opens with sales figures and performs a mock close as the anticipation grows for the expected announcement. Then he’ll turn around and return to the mike with the phrase, “There is just one more thing…” which usually elicits raucous cheers.

It’s corporate theatre – people cheering for a product announcement they could probably recite with 99% accuracy – but it’s certainly more entertaining that most keynotes, and the audience is in on the joke.


Austin LAN Party Discounts

If you’re looking to get your game on with dozens of other Austin PC gamers this summer, you’re in luck. Mayhem Team, a very inclusive group of gamers operating under the admirable slogan “Character Above Skill,” is setting up a massive Austin LAN party at the Omni Hotel at Southpark, a good south-central location. The event, called “Operation Lone Star: 2010,” is July 9-11 and runs all weekend (Fri 12p-2a, Sat 8a-2a, Sun 8a-2p). It’s a bring-your-own-PC event with Battlefield Bad Company 2, World of Warcraft, Call of Duty 4, and other Battlefield games all on the likely docket. Prizes will be raffled off.

Shawn, aka “Rip187,” has contacted us with a set of special offers for Austin gamers:

  • $20 for Daily Gamer admission (single day, access to Sapphire level prizes)
  • $75 for Friends of Mayhem (swag bag, $89/night group hotel rate, shuttle ride to the airport, commemorative shirt, entry into all vendor drawings, keepsake ID tag)
  • $150 for “Full Boat Experience” (all of the above plus dinner on Friday and Saturday).
  • $25 extra for DG or FoM will get you entry in all the special raffles.

If you like the experience of playing videogames in the company of others, a LAN party like this is worth checking out. The Omni is at 4140 Governor’s Row, 448-2222. The event is sponsored by a huge list of recognizable names, including Thermaltake, Discount Electronics, Alienware, Intel, Enermax, Crucial, and CoolerMaster. I’m sure some of their products will show up in the raffle. If you’re interested, check out their site or fill out the contact form here and we’ll forward the info on to Shawn.