On the third day of Christmas...

Our 2016 Christmas project, 3 French Hens gave a modern twist to the classic one-arm bandit game. Playable from our office window using a mobile device. When the player matched 3 images, they won a prize, delivered by our very own Createful elves!

Our idea

Like many of our projects, the idea began in a ‘Be Createful’ meeting. Preparing early, we started thinking about Christmas in the last few weeks of summer. The session began with a mind-map, we shared what we each felt represented Christmas. Santa, snow, cheesy music, good food… mince pies! With a board full of festive words, we began to think about Createful at Christmas.

In 2015 we designed and developed GIFmas, a purely online project that integrated with Twitter. Like every year, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated the office.

One of our interns at the time also created a festive post-it window display. The window display gained a lot of attention from people passing by. In fact this received more attention than GIFmas, so this was a clear sign!

We are very fortunate to have large windows facing Holdenhurst Road, a busy main road near Bournemouth train station. There are two bus stops outside our office and a variety of people walk past daily. So we all agreed to use the windows to our advantage in 2016.

The next challenge was to come up with an idea that was interactive, great and possible to do in time for December alongside client projects.

After chucking around a few ideas we all agreed on a game combining our expertise in web and mobile, much like a one-armed bandit game, using modern technology.

How we did it

Before any development or design began, we created variations of a flow chart, mapping out how the game would work. This was a great way to clearly see the process and flag up any potential issues. The flow chart showed the user’s journey, displaying how the window screen, mobile site and desktop site would look at each stage and which technology was needed behind these displays.

We placed a screen in our window, which worked as the game screen, and passers-by used their phones as the ‘controller’ to spin the tumblers. The screen in the window displayed a URL for users to visit on their phone. The screen also displayed a code for the player to enter along with their name. The code was changed regularly, to stop users playing the game away from the office.

Our development team built an admin page, allowing the whole team to control the game settings with little technical knowledge needed. The admin page included the following:

  • A drop down menu to switch between ‘Playing for prizes’ and ‘Playing for fun’, we switched between these depending on if we were in the office or not.
  • A button to manually change the code to play, this code automatically changed every hour anyway.
  • A button to manually reset the game once a player had won, meaning we had enough time to deliver the prize before the machine reset.
  • Variables, allowing us to control the probability of each item showing in the tumbler. This was used to make sure the golden hens were only won once.

Overall, the game was a success and we had a lot of fun with it! If you want to find out more or have an idea similar to 3 French Hens that you want to create, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!