It has been a long time coming, but we have finally started our comeback in games development, with a new game called Maze Racing Robots, for the Samsung Internet@TV Apps platform.
Maze Racing Robots was submitted to Samsung to start both the QA (Quality Assurance) process for submitting Samsung Apps, and also as part of our entry to the Samsung Smart TV Challenge, a European developer competition to develop apps for the Samsung Internet@TV platform.
Paul Ireland, Director, Abstract Worlds Ltd.
When Abstract Worlds Ltd was formed back in 1998, our original intention was to design and develop great 3D games for the global market. To this end we have already achieved our goals with a number of world firsts in the 3D PC and Java phone gaming fields. Close Approach was the world's first 3D accelerated action game to be developed in VB. StrangeMaze 3D was the world's first 3D first person action game using a Doom/Wolfenstein 3D style 3D raycasting engine to be available across all Java mobile phones.
We knew this would be a risky uphill struggle financially, which is why we hedged our bets and also undertook less risky and more steady work in designing and developing websites for UK clients. Over the past few years our web design and development work has easily overtaken our gaming work, yet it has remained the unsung hero of our repertoire whilst we officially promoted ourselves as a gaming company. The demand for our web work has grown through client referrals, whilst at the same time the game market has declined. Even Eidos, the UK creators of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, said in 2004 that they were 'too small' to make any money in the game industry!
We have therefore decided to refocus on web design and development, and fully exploit in the web field the special technical and artistic skills we originally gained in the gaming field. Later in 2006, we will launch our awebapart.com an exciting new do-it-yourself web design sitebuilder and webhosting service aimed at UK businesses. Once the sitebuilder is ready, we will also move this website over to it, and restructure this website to reflect our new focus.
This does not mean that we are abandoning games. We will continue to sell our games in the shareware market and our other distribution channels. In the future we will also introduce new games as freeware and free games to act as viral marketing and sticky content tools for websites. We will still continue to adapt our 3D engine technology to other uses apart from games, including 3D interface components for websites, which may be incorporated into our website services or sold separately as software products.
Paul Ireland, Director, Abstract Worlds Ltd.
1st March 2005 - StrangeMaze 3D goes live in India
StrangeMaze 3D - our 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game for Java mobile phones - has now gone live in India with mobile network operators Airtel, BPL Mobile, and Hutchinson-Essar.
"In a world economy which sees ever increasing service and manufacturing outsourcing to India and China, and a UK which is importing more than exporting, we take pride in being different, and designing and developing products here in the UK for export to the global market, including India and China." - said Paul Ireland, director of Abstract Worlds Ltd.
9th June 2004 - StrangeMaze 3D goes live with Thailand's largest operator AIS
StrangeMaze 3D - our 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game for Java mobile phones - has now gone live with Thailand's largest mobile operator AIS.
The game is available at iiLCorp's newly launched J2ME game service "Amusement Arcade" at the AIS mobileLife portal.
With over 60% market share, AIS is the largest operator in Thailand. With 14 million mobile subscribers, AIS is also the largest operator in Asia outside China, Japan & Korea.
1st May 2004 - StrangeMaze 3D goes live with China Mobile
StrangeMaze 3D - our 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game for Java mobile phones - has now gone live with China's largest mobile operator China Mobile.
The Simplified Chinese version of StrangeMaze 3D was used for this release. The launch of StrangeMaze 3D in China demonstrates how a simple yet innovative 3D game can appeal to different cultures on a global scale.
China Mobile, CMCC (China Mobile Communications Corporation), is the largest operator in China with over 138 million customers.
5th December 2003 - Close Approach 3D asteroids shooter PC release
The latest version of Close Approach, our 3D first person asteroids shooter for Windows PCs, has been released and is available to buy directly from us.
Close Approach v2.03 has improved graphics and is a smaller size (1.3Mb) ideal for downloading. A free 2 level demo is also available.
18th September 2003 - StrangeMaze 3D gets multi-lingual
StrangeMaze 3D - our 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game for Java mobile phones - now has versions available in Simplified Chinese, Italian, Spanish, as well as the original English version.
Click on images to view a larger version of the image...
StrangeMaze 3D is now fully localisation-ready, allowing translations for titles, menus, all on-screen text, and even logo images within the game. StrangeMaze's localisation engine supports single byte character sets (e.g. for English, Italian) and multi-byte Unicode character sets (e.g. for Simplified Chinese). This allows us to introduce different language and corporate branded versions of the game when asked to do so by our regional partners and clients around the world.
18th August 2003 - StrangeMaze 3D goes live with Vodafone in Italy
Abstract Worlds' first Java mobile phone game StrangeMaze 3D - a 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game - is now available with Vodafone Live in Italy. StrangeMaze 3D, published by AnfyMobile in Italy, is the world's first Java phone game to sport a smooth realtime 3D engine like the Wolfenstein 3D engine and be available for most Java phones.
"By having faith in our content, providing game language translations and securing distribution via operators, AnfyMobile have delivered our games to completely new audiences" - said Paul Ireland, director of Abstract Worlds Ltd (UK).
"Vodafone required us to provide innovative 3D games, something different from the same common arcade clones found everywhere, so we secured the exclusive italian distribution of Blazers and Strangemaze3D. Vodafone chose to launch our games, trashing hundreds of common games offered by others." - said Fabio Ciucci, CEO of AnfyMobile (Italy).
27th June 2003 - StrangeMaze 3D goes live with Nextel in the US
Abstract Worlds' first Java mobile phone game StrangeMaze 3D - a 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game - is now available with Nextel in the US. StrangeMaze 3D, published by MicroDevNet in the US, is the world's first Java phone game to sport a smooth realtime 3D engine like the Wolfenstein 3D engine and be available for most Java phones.
30th April 2003 - Abstract Worlds delivers 3D mobile gaming to Asia and Europe
Abstract Worlds' first Java mobile phone game StrangeMaze 3D - a 3D first person, maze puzzle, racing game - is now available with operators in Asia and with web portals in Europe. StrangeMaze 3D is the world's first Java phone game to sport a smooth realtime 3D engine like the Wolfenstein 3D engine and be available for most Java phones.
Working with iiLCorp has allowed Abstract Worlds to launch the game with CSL (formerly HK Telecom), and Macau's operator CTM.
StrangeMaze 3D has also gone live with Chunghwa Telecom in Taiwan, distributed by iaSolution.
Closer to home, through Abstract Worlds' agreement with Macrospace, StrangeMaze 3D is now live on Macrospace's ProvisionX platform, and thus available via ProvisionX clients such as Swiss operator Sunrise and midlet.com. StrangeMaze 3D has also gone live at Partymob, UK-based InfoMedia Service's consumer brand, which advertises J2ME games in national newspapers and magazines alongside their portfolio of ringtones, logos and other mobile entertainment products.
"April 2003 has been a busy month in terms of going live dates for us" said Paul Ireland, director of Abstract Worlds. "We still have a lot of distribution channels to open up using the traditional regional distributer / operator / portal business model. Which is why ever since StrangeMaze 3D was launched by us in February 2003, we have offered global gamers the option to download a trial version and buy the full game directly from our website at www.abstractworlds.com, rather than wait for the normal local distribution channels to open up."
10th April 2003 - Abstract Worlds at Mobile Entertainment 2003
Abstract Worlds Ltd. exhibited at Mobile Entertainment 2003, Business Design Centre, London, 8-9 Apr 2003. The following photographs were taken during a rare quiet moment at the stand... Tracey Lawman (pictured below) was playing StrangeMaze 3D of course:
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Mobile Entertainment is the world’s largest mobile entertainment event. Although the exhibition was small compared to other gaming exhibitions, the fact that it only focuses on mobile entertainment meant that we were extremely busy and generated a lot of interest. With 2003 being the year when Java phone gaming really starts to take off on a global scale, we felt that our attendance this year was crucial. It is very important to make people aware that we have been there right from the start of this new exciting industry, and demonstrate the innovative 3D technology and content for Java phones which we have been quietly working on for the past 2 years in preparation for 2003 - the year when Java phone gaming really starts to happen.
At the show we demonstrated StrangeMaze 3D - the world's first Java phone game to sport a smooth realtime 3D engine like the Wolfenstein 3D engine and be available for most Java phones. This is our first Java mobile phone game, as we have invested a lot of time and effort into creating the 3D engine first and getting it to work on the whole range of slow and fast Java phones. Now that the 3D engine is ready, and our first game has gone live, it will be easier for us to deliver a new 3D engine-based game every one or two months. Some visitors to our stand were treated to sneak previews of an early beta of our next game AltShooter 3D, a 3D first person shooter set in a colourful surreal world.
5th February 2003 - StrangeMaze 3D Java phone game released
StrangeMaze 3D is now officially launched. We have a free 2 level try before you buy version which you can download now OTA (over the air) via your Java phone's WAP browser (if your WAP service provider supports Java downloads). If you like the game you can unlock it into the full 100 level version by purchasing an unlock registration code directly from us, either by phoning a premium rate number for UK gamers, or by making a secure online credit card payment from our e-commerce store for global gamers.
7th November 2002
New animated screenshots of StrangeMaze are now available.
23rd September 2002
Video footage of StrangeMaze, our 3D first person maze racing game for Java mobile phones, is now available. The video clip shows the game running on the Nokia 3410, 6310i, Motorola T720, and Siemens MT50 Java mobile phones:
Lower quality video clip (1.7MB)
Higher quality video clip (3.5MB)
19th September 2002
The following photographs were taken of the Abstract Worlds stand over the 3 day ECTS games industry exhibition, Earls Court, London, 29-31 Aug 2002:
Click on images to view a larger version of the image...
Visitors to our stand were treated to a sneak preview of the latest version 3 beta of Close Approach for the PC and demos of StrangeMaze running on Nokia 3410, Nokia 6310i, Siemens MT50 and Motorola T720 Java mobile phones. If you weren't one of the lucky few then don't despair since we have prepared Windows wallpaper of the new artwork for Close Approach v3 and a StrangeMaze video clip (lower quality 1.7MB or higher quality 3.5MB) for your viewing pleasure.
On the whole we came away from the exhibition feeling very positive. ECTS 2002 was the first exhibition we have attended as exhibitors. It was a last minute opportunity for us, we only found out we were exhibiting a week before the show was about to start. There was a frantic rush to get everything prepared, but it was worth it. We got to show off our wares and get direct feedback, we made contact with companies interested in publishing and distributing our products, and we also made some surprise contacts which might lead to opportunities in other areas not typically associated with mainstream gaming. Watch this space for more details in the coming months...
28th August 2002
Abstract Worlds will be exhibiting at the ECTS games industry exhibition, Earls Court, London, 29-31 Aug 2002. At the show we will be demonstrating StrangeMaze, our 3D first person maze racing game for Java mobiles phones, and previewing an early beta version of Close Approach v3, the latest version of our 3D accelerated first person asteroids shooter for the PC. At the show we will be demonstrate StrangeMaze running on currently available Java mobile phones (Nokia 3410, Nokia 6310i, Siemens MT50) and the new colour Motorola T720 - a Java mobile phone which hasn't even been released in the UK yet.
30th July 2002
Close Approach v3 announced. Close Approach v3 will be launched in the second half of 2002. As yet unpublished, the game will be available to purchase online from this website.
1st June 2002
An early beta version of StrangeMaze, our 3D first person maze racing game for Java mobile phones, is now available on a private beta release for potential publishers.
22nd February 2002
Close Approach v2 available in CompUSA stores. Although our publishing contract with Crystal Interactive expired in July 2001, Close Approach v2 has finally made it onto shelves at CompUSA stores across America for $9.99. CompUSA is the leading retailer and reseller of personal computer-related products and services in the US.
1st December 2001
The design and development of Abstract World's first 3D Java mobile phone game has commenced. Tentatively called StrangeMaze, it will be a 3D first person maze racing game. The game will make use of our low-end multi-platform 3D raycasting engine.
1st August 2001
The design and development of Abstract World's low-end multi-platform 3D raycasting engine has started. This will be an ongoing research and development project for Abstract Worlds. The engine will originally be designed, prototyped and developed in Visual Basic for the Windows platform. Later, the engine will be ported to Java and J2ME for use in Java mobile phones.
1st July 2001
Close Approach publishing contract with Crystal Interactive Ends. 2 years ago, after realising that direct internet sales alone were not a viable means to fund future development, Abstract Worlds entered into an exclusive worldwide publishing contract with Dutch publisher Crystal Interactive, with the intention of getting Close Approach sold in retail channels. Unfortunately the publisher was experiencing problems of its own and failed to deliver a single copy of Close Approach to retail shelves. The original Dutch company Crystal Interactive headed by Alex de Vries has now been sold to an American company headed by Riza Rahman, and we are now considering non-exclusive retail distribution deals.
16th May 2001
Abstract Worlds signs a licensing deal for its high-end 3D engine technology with Eurosoft Systems (ESL). With this deal, ESL will use our high-end 3D engine to drive the web-based virtual reality viewer component of ESL's theatre booking system VRTicket. The virtual reality view will give customers an idea of the different views of the stage available from different seats in the theatre. The same 3D high-end engine we use in our game Close Approach will now be applied to a more business oriented application.
28th November 2000
Close Approach v2 demo released.
9th August 2000
A lot can happen in a year in the world of computing... unfortunately this is not also the situation in the world of retail publishing. Our publisher has failed to get a distribution deal with Close Approach v1. Despite this, we have been improving the game ready for a v2 release. The good news is that the front and back CD cases have now been designed and our publisher Crystal Interactive has informed us that Close Approach v2 will hit the retail shelves by the end of this year. Rest assured, Abstract Worlds has been improving the game during the last year, so watch this space in the coming months for more details and a free demo of Close Approach v2.
29th June 1999
Abstract Worlds signs a 2 year publishing deal with Dutch publisher Crystal Interactive to bring Close Approach to your local games retailer. Due to the exclusive nature of our publishing contract, we can no longer sell the game directly over the internet. As such the full version of Close Approach, which could be purchased directly from our website, has now been removed whilst we work towards a retail version. In the meantime the demo of Close Approach v1.1 is still available for download.
7th Feb 1998
Close Approach v1.1 is released and is available as shareware which can be downloaded and purchased over the internet.
23rd November 1998
Close Approach v1 is launched and is available as shareware which can be downloaded and purchased over the internet.
1st July 1998
The design and development of Abstract World's first 3D accelerated PC game has commenced. Tentatively called Close Approach, it will be a 3D accelerated first person asteroids shooter. The game will make use of our high-end 3D accelerated engine for the PC and will be developed in conjunction with the 3D engine.
14th May 1998
Abstract Worlds Ltd. is officially formed. As an independent software company based in the UK, we will specialise in the development of software that delivers the 3D experience. Initially we will commence work on designing and developing a high-end 3D accelerated engine for the PC based on DirectX and Direct3D which can be used with Visual Basic (VB). We can then use this engine to develop 3D applications for both the business and the home markets.