Skiparken

A Flash game made to help kids become more interested in slalom and cross country skiiing.

A Flash game made to help kids become more interested in slalom and cross country skiiing.

Skiparken (The Ski Park) was made for Barnas Skiklubb (The children’s ski club) which is a part of Norges Skiforbund (Norwegian Ski Society) to help promote a service where kids can log the kilometers they ski, and get medals based on the total distance they go during a season.

Background

Kids can log kilometers if they go cross country skiing, slalom, snowboard, telemark and even doing ski jump. We wanted the game to reflect that and built 2 games in one. We made it so that it would be easy to add more games and slopes in hope that the client would expand the game, but that never happend.

The kids can organize in groups to be able to compete with e.g. classmates from a different class. It’s like the jogging competition that Nike has going with the Nike+ community. This proved to be a successful feature. In addition to compete in groups, one can also compete one on one by comparing statistics.

Skiparken

Cross country

This is probably the most original of the games. You see your character from above and you click the mouse to go forward. You can’t click too fast as your stamina will run out, but you can refill your stamina with hot chocolate, chocolate plates and oranges that you find scattered around the landscape.

Slalom

The slalom game is a bit more action oriented. It’s viewed from behind and the goal is to get to the bottom of the slope without hitting too many rocks and trees. You can make up for the points you loose when falling by picking up coins that are for some reason scattered around the slopes. I know, it doesn’t add to the realism but it was necessary.

Skiparken

Everyone’s a winner

Barnas Skiklubb is a big club. They have about 16.000 members. To not risk ending up with endless highscore lists and thus making it difficult for newcomers to enter the highscore list, we divided the list in two. One for a all-time high, and for the best of today. Even if you couldn’t make it to the top of the all-time high list, you can still be the best of today’s competitors.

Technicalities

The game was made in FlashMX 2004 and the performance of the Flash Player wasn’t very good, so we had to come up tricks to improve the performace.

It was the slalom game that was the most CPU demandig game. For that game I designed a 3D grid that followed the terrain of the background image. The grid consists of rows and columns of 2D coordinates which we used for positioning the trees, stones and coins. It was only a matter of giving the object a certain row and looping through the coordinates for that row. The grid was dense enough to give the illusion of movement. This system did also have the benefit of making it easy to pause the game when the player fell.

All of the graphics and animation were hand-drawn in Photoshop and Flash.

Statistics

These numbers are from October 16th 2007.

Since January 2005, the game have had a little more than 8.700 unique players. Collectively they have gone 195.000 km on slalom and cross country skiing. The slopes are pretty long in the game. A curious fact is that the players havent spent more than 74.000 minutes walking 195.000 km. That tells us that a single kid have spent about 8 and half minute walking 22,5 kilometers. That equals an average speed of 158 km per hour. Now that’s fast!