The core of the FYREBUG platform was the Game Creator; an interactive guide enabling users to build their own game. Taking cues from Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube, I sought to capture user creativity and customization as it applied to gaming. The Game Creator drastically widened the field of play, giving anyone the ability to create and play the games they envisioned, without limits or restrictions.
To balance the application’s complex depth with an easy-to-follow interface, I pioneered a collapsible “Jacob’s Ladder” menu to intuitively guide users through the creation. The simple, interactive process would tally each step, compiling a game to the user’s liking in real-time with just a series of clicks; select a game’s Hero, then select the Villain, then the background scene, etc.
A single dialog contained the entire process, minimized load times, and masked the complex code. We even introduced a tier structure, so beginners could build a game in one or two clicks, while experts and “frequent creators” were given the freedom to customize hundreds of details. The result was more than 500,000 unique, user-created games. CLICK HERE to see more about the GAMES.
Users were also able to upload their own assets through the FYREBUG Item Maker. Again, the application had to be easy for beginners and powerful for experts. Using focus groups to drive the R&D, I introduced guides to scale, rotate, flip, type or draw on an uploaded image. Users would highlight the sections of an image they wanted in their game, while the cropper was utilizing the user’s “form” as the actual ActionScript hit-test boundaries. Once set, every image was collected in an overall library, fed directly in to the Game Creator to be offered during creation. I introduced “universal assets,” stripping the parameters from the assets and having the game control the elements. This meant the user could create a single image for any step in any game, or every step in every game.
FYREBUG’s B2B revenue stream focused on leveraging our applications for client use. I was able to market the game templates as a WhiteLabel plug-and-play gaming app, ready for a client’s content and brand. FYREBUG powered clients like Sports Illustrated, WWE, Simon & Schuster, PBS, Fox, Lionsgate, and more. The widget based design of our games could be coupled with that of our Game Creator, allowing easy integration of our platform onto a third party site. The result was a steady stream of gaming wherever FYREBUG was found.