Stage Sweeper Game from The Family Values Tour

Stage Sweeper was developed to promote the 2006 Family Values tour. The lead agency developed the basic concept for the game (which tied into the tour's website and other promotional efforts), and contacted me to do the actual Flash development.

Click to play in a new window (some functions have been disabled).

On a project like this, where the main elements are already created and approved by the client before I'm even involved, my creative input is fairly limited. The agency provides the static layouts, individual elements (like the animations of the player himself - one of their employees, if I'm remembering correctly) and ideas on the game play - though that tends to evolve over the course of the project. Then it's my job to take those pieces and put them together, structuring and programming the game in Flash. My right brain takes a bit of a rest for these kinds of projects.

The game is pretty simple: the player must jump over obstacles on stage without being tripped up, collect bonus items, and perform tricks using the arrow keys while diving off the edge (some lower-scoring examples are provided in the instructions). There was (though it's been disabled) a high score function which tied into a database to collect player information for a contest the agency created. It was a nicely integrated campaign.

It would have been nice to include visual representations of each band during their respective level, but you'll only see a few shadowy figures holding instruments (and not even animated) in the background. Creating animated versions of each member of five different bands would have been as much if not more work than the developing the game itself, and it may have even been a distraction to see them right behind the player - but still, that would have been pretty sweet.

Figuring out the scoring system was, as expected, the most tedious part of the project. I created a complex formula, based on the level (1 through 5), the player's speed, and the jump angle (which determines the final jump). Then that number gets multiplied by another factor and becomes the "Jump Quality Bonus" - which is then added to a "Passes Left Bonus" (the number of lives remaining) and a "Jump Style Bonus" (the final trick, based on the key combination). Lots of testing on that one - by me and the agency.

And to this day, Stage Sweeper remains the only project I've worked on that allowed me to include the term "Smacked Ass" (it appears when your player burns to cinders after failing to jump over a flashpot). The agency and client loved that one. I've got to find ways to use it more often.

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