Casual Games Portal

  • Unique cartoon-style fantasy universe
  • Consistent and contemporary user experience
  • Facebook integration
Expertise
Business Intelligence
Verticals
Media & Entertainment
Lifestyle

The customer, who specializes in innovative systems development for the casual games industry, decided to build a new branded website that would host a number of fun and attractive casual cash games, jackpot lotteries, and a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG).

Calendar
12
Duration
Months
Gears
6
Efforts
Person-years

Context

The Customer envisioned a unique cartoon-style fantasy universe and needed an experienced one-stop software vendor to bring the idea to life. Cooperation with Iflexion started after the successful development of a pilot project, which greatly impressed the Customer.

Solution

The solution is a complex online cartoon game universe which consists of several parts:

  • Massively multiplayer online game (MMOG). An online skills-based casual game, played by users for fun or cash in their browser via a plug-in.
  • Lottery. Registered users can buy lottery tickets for the points won in the MMOG. The winner is identified randomly between 5 and 10 days after the jackpot is created.
  • Casual games. Lots of games are available for the users: Slot Machine, Roulette, Treasure Hunting, etc.
  • Facebook application. Users can play portal games on Facebook when signed-in.
  • Sophisticated front-end. A fancy looking interface provides access to all features listed above. It also ensures multi-browser compatibility.
  • Administrative panel. The customer staff manages the public website via an access-based administration panel; the functionality contains user and account management, reporting, game management, etc.

Development Process

Iflexion business analyst carried out a detailed analysis of customer needs and investigated the technical environment. When the requirements were specified and documented, our portal developers turned to architecture design. Overall, there were seven iterations in the project, including prototype creation, beta release, and post-production stabilization. A prototype released at the beginning of the project enabled the customer to better understand the future solution and fine-tune the requirements. This prevented costly mistakes and helped launch a better product in the end.

System Highlights

  • Rich immersive user experience: there are dozens of unique locations to explore, games to play, and characters to interact with via an attractive 2.5D user interface.
  • Separate business processing engine: some operations are required to run independently from the portal and game sessions, so the engine schedules and executes tasks in an asynchronous manner.
  • Facebook integration: users who are signed in to their Facebook accounts are recognized by the portal.
  • Great scalability and performance: the portal supports a geographically wide-spread user base with varying bandwidth availability and network lags and can be easily scaled up and down in future. An unlimited number of users can play a game simultaneously due to distributed application servers hosted by Amazon services.
  • Reporting on business-critical data: administrators receive generated reports that include drill-downs, graphs, and statistics.
  • Robust integration with a number of third-party services: the portal supports CommerceGate, OfferPal, and Zong.

Technologies

The data access tier of the application had to manage considerable amounts of data and at the same time allow rapid development to follow the project deadlines. MySQL database server and Hibernate technology were implemented at this level.

The solution is to be hosted online and at the same time provide powerful back-end capabilities. We chose Java 6 EE and Spring Framework as a free platform perfectly matching these requirements. The Spring Framework acts as the business logic layer performing many common tasks (such as Hibernate integration, transaction management, user session management, etc.).

The presentation layer was implemented using open source JSP and OpenSpace, which renders and displays the game universe.

The games were developed with Flex and ActionScript and integrated into the universe, so that the users were able to play games in the virtual world. The MMO game world was built with a graphical technique called 2.5D isometric tiles, which delivers very immersive user experiences, even though it is not full-blown 3D.

Results

The implemented game universe was launched and is accessible to anyone with internet connection via the customer’s website. The portal hosts a number of casual games and the game world, where thousands of users interact simultaneously. A great number of players from geographically dispersed locations are able to enjoy these games due to portal’s great performance and scalability.

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