Flying Lab - "Bakugan Dimensions"

Bakugan Dimensions [online Battle game] developed by Flying Lab for Spin Master.

Russell programmed all of the UI of the core battle game in Spin Master's Bakugan Dimensions ActionScript based MMO. He also played a significant role prototyping and streamlining that UX and gameplay, and other UX in the MMO.
The animated 3D Bakugans were programmed by John Zipperer using Away3D, which John stripped down and highly optimized for the game. Kevin Tatroe, Jeff Close, and Eric Lee programmed the server side aspects of the Bakugan MMO and battle game using ElectroServer and Python. Jeff Close oversaw all development as development lead.
Eric Rea, Jonathan Stroh, and Kyle Steed did the UI graphics. The very many monster animations (many more than shown here) were done by Jessie Wu, Lindsey Krassin, Theodore Warnock, Fiona Turner, Brad Warren, and Sean Hewitt, amongst others.

The target audience for Bakugan Dimensions was boys between the age of five to thirteen. In its first month Bakugan Dimensions had an average of 45,000 battle games played a day, with upwards of 120,000 active users and a growth rate of 10,000 registrations a day, quickly developing a strong following. Spin Master acknowledges that the Bakugan Dimensions site boosted Bakugan toy sales at least ten percent, resulting in significant profit for Spin Master's toy division. Bakugan Dimensions was launched May 2010 in the US and April 2011 in Europe and Canada. The US site was taken down in June 2011 (soon after it was launched in Europe), to the dissapointment of many US kids.

All of the video below was taken just prior to the US site being taken down on June 30, 2011. Adobe Flash Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Battle vs Ella

Video showing the player battle against another player called Ella.

For other battle videos see Battle vs Marucho and Battle vs Queen Serena.

2010

Battle vs Zel

Video showing the player battle against another player called Zel. Zel forfeits the battle early, so at the end of the video you can see the battle progress screen displaying advancement of each the player's Bakugan.

2010

Collection Stats

Video showing the stats for a player's collection of Bakugans that they have online. This player has the Pyrus Neo Dragonoid, Pyrus Fencer, and Pyrus Hyper Dragonoid toys.

2010

Bakugan Title

Video showing the Bakugan Dimensions title screen and the choose server process. As Bakugan Dimensions was a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game the player was required to choose a server on which to play.

2010

Localization Demonstration

The greatest lesson of working on Bakugan Dimensions was that localization should never be an afterthought done at the end. To be done properly, localization needs to be considered first and formost when developing.

This demonstration shows that localization can be made easier if UI widgets are created upfront to handle localization from the outset. Fonts containing the various glyphs for languages such as Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean are stored and loaded separately as needed. The most important trick to localization is that all fields and values have unique keys.

Adobe Flash Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Localization

Click on the window to make sure it has focus, then press the number keys to see the text localize to various languages.

2011

Zookazoo

From November 2007 to November 2008 Russell worked full time as a senior Actionscript 3 (AS3) programmer for KD Learning on their ZooKazoo social networking environment for kids. ZooKazoo was managed in Palo Alto, with programmers in Seattle, and a main office in Burbank, Los Angeles, where the bulk of the animation was created. Zookazoo stopped developing as of December 5th 2008 after failing to secure further funding, falling prey to the stock market crash. Zookazoo was taken offline entirely at the end of May 2009.

One of Russell’s tasks at Zookazoo was to integrate various games being developed in Hong Kong, India and Seattle into the Zookazoo site with a common interface/API, and a system to award ‘Kazoobits’ for gameplay. To establish an example methodology to do this he developed a very simple ‘Simon Says’ game that was used as a sample template for outside developers to start with. Later, he also developed a sample ‘Dodo Drop’ multiplayer game which, like ‘Simon Says’, was intended as a starting template for outside developers to build games, ‘Dodo Drop’ being an action multiplayer example, while the earlier ‘Simon Says’ a single player example.

Thumbnail Play Description Date

Dodo Drop

“Help the mother Dodo Bird get her eggs safely to the ground. Wait for ‘GO’, then use the spacebar to drop the basket. Use the spacebar again to open the parachute in time for a safe landing. Timing is everything!”

The Zookazoo server is no longer up, so this game no longer plays multiplayer, but it can be played here as a single player game with the other players controlled by the computer. You are player 1, with the pink egg.

2008

Simon Says

Like many of the Zookazoo games, ‘Simon Says’ was graphically reskinned for different environments. There was a Jungaloo version, called ‘Bang a Bongo’ and a Hiphopolis version, called ‘Scratch n’ Match’.

2008

Crusades Prototype

A prototype for an educational strategy game covering the period of the Crusades was presented by Russell to The Learning Company and Mindscape in 1999. It was received favorably by The Learning Company, but their games subsidiary Mindscape felt that the market was more receptive to fantasy games and suggested the inclusion of magic, declining the historical approach. Soon after this prototype Russell began pursing his undergraduate, and then graduate degree, and Lowke Media (then Mocaz) ceased to operate on any significant scale.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Crusades (Map)

Posted here is the strategy portion of the Crusades prototype.

1997

Crusades (Combat)

Posted here is the tactical portion of the Crusades prototype. This prototype became key in Russell's thesis project for his Master's in IT, which involves a more detailed online version in ActionScript.

1998

Spelling Spree!

Spelling Spree! was released by Houghton Mifflin Interactive in October of '98. Russell Lowke DBA Mocaz, subcontracting under Six Red Marbles, was "Lead Architect and Programmer" on this commercial educational Mac and Windows CD ROM. Spelling Spree! was a 1998 MIMIC Award Finalist in the category of K-12 Educational Multimedia Title and was marketed by Houghton Mifflin in both the school and home markets. There were five spelling games on the title.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Crazy Maze

Crazy Maze involves navigating the bunny through a multi-level maze. Kids must try to dodge floating bunnies and they can enter doors and tunnels to be transported to other areas fast. They go up and down ladders, collecting the letters of the spelling words. Great arcade fun!

1998

Word Chuck

Word Chuck involves choosing a beaver boat for Dobie and navigating him around in the water, shooting at targets that contain the correct letters or groups of letters to spell the given words. Kids pan left or right, and the targets change after a short period of time, providing some arcade-style challenge.

1998

Bumper Cars

In Bumper Cars, players direct their bumper car to other cars that contain the next letter in the given spelling word.

1998

Whack-a-Word

In Whack-a-Word, players choose a mallet and play against Bruno the Bear. They try to smash the letters in order to correctly spell the given word and collect points.

1998

Proofread-o-Rama

Proofread-o-Rama, here, kids must read a short story that contains some words from their word list that are misspelled. First, the misspelled word has to be identified, then the correct word should be typed in.

1998

Credits

Here’s the credits screen for Spelling Spree! This would appear for a few seconds whenever the user quit from the CD-ROM.

1998

Early Internet Action Game

A very early Shockwave Frogger game, done at a time when bandwidth was low and playing an action game over the Internet from a browser was almost unheard of.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Frogger (net)

An adaptation of Frogger designed for play over low bandwidth internet. The code behind this game is the same as for the larger version shown below, only the graphics have be made small for low bandwidth and settings tweaked for an older audience.

1997

Jewels of the Oracle

Russell programed and helped design twenty-four puzzles for the hit CD-ROM game Jewels of the Oracle which was released by DISCUS in March of 1995. Jewels of the Oracle won international recognition with Best of Show at MacWorld Expo San Francisco 1995, and Product of the Year CD-ROM Professional Magazine.

These puzzle games are now over twelve years old. They have been converted from Director version 4.1 to Director/Shockwave version 10.0. and posted here for your enjoyment. Unfortunately not all the puzzles survived the conversion process, and are not fully featured as originally intended as they are not running from their CD-ROM shell. To make the puzzles generally more accessible I’ve been slowly rewriting them (from scratch) using ActionScript, the most accessible rich Internet environment possible. Once I finish rewriting a puzzle I take it down from here and post it in its ActionScript form under the Projects tab.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

3. Square of Ganj Dareh

Turn the nine small squares so that the numbers revealed add up to the same amount in each horizontal row, vertical column, and along both diagonals of the larger square they form.

1995

5. Path to Mahiman

Move the blue ball through the cubic maze to the yellow shape on the same side of the maze as the starting position.

1995

6. Path to Utsavah

‘Walk’ (move) the calipers across the tiles from the starting position in the upper left-hand corner of the board to the ending position in the lower right-hand corner of the board.
[Under construction/repair]

1995

7. Harmony of the Hassuna

Assemble the five shapes into a square.

1995

8. Hall of Spheres

Move the spheres so that each column contains only spheres of the same color. To move the spheres, drag them from the column they start in to the stone gears below it and click on a gear (it can be, but doesn't have to be, the gear the sphere is in, depending on the direction you want to move the sphere). The gear will turn, and if there is no other sphere blocking the way, it will pass off the sphere it is holding to the next gear.

1995

9. Runes of Eridu

Complete the sequence of nine tiles (for which three are already in place) by selecting those that fill positions three through eight at the top of the board from the 36 available in the pool below.

1995

10. Assembly of the Planners

Arrange the 24 shapes in the frame such that they cover the entire red portion of the board.

1995

12. Hall of Order and Succession

Slide the tiles so that each one is placed over its matching pattern engraved on the stone frame holding them.

1995

13. Parity of Jalam

Move the water from tank to tank until the total amount in the group of tanks on the left wall, middle wall, and right wall is the same.

1995

14. Hall of Hidden Links

Match the twelve items two by two through identifying a common characteristic for each pair.

1995

15. Horses of Asvah

Arrange the nine tiles in their frame such that the painted horse halves on them create horses of a solid color (e.g. yellow head, yellow tail; blue head, blue tail).

1995

16. Seal of the Girsu Gates

Slide the mixed-up tiles to their proper places so that a complete picture appears.

1995

17. Memory of Bhandam

Assemble the pictures in the squares that are revealed briefly when you click on them into a single, larger picture.

1995

18. Panditah of the Seventh Mountain

Arrange the 20 bricks in the 20 spaces on the board such that each number created horizontally and vertically is evenly divisible by seven.

1995

19. Wheels of Time

Place the tokens on the wheels such that no two tokens pass by each other when the gears are moving. To release the tokens, pull the levers on the left wall one at a time. To place the tokens, turn the wooden platform to the wheel you wish to place the token on and drag the token onto the platform. To turn a wheel to allow for the placement of another token on the same wheel, or to see how the gears move, throw the lever on the right hand side of the machine.

1995

20. Hall of Ascendancy

Arrange the ten tiles in their frame such that the symbols along the edges of each tile match up with those on the edge of each tile that touches them.

1995

22. Kutu of Ekakin

Eliminate all but one of the spheres on the board. When you ‘jump’ a sphere over another, the one jumped over will be removed from the board automatically.
[Under construction/repair]

1995

23. Hall of the Sun

Use the beetle to push all of the pebbles into the hole at the bottom center of the puzzle board.

1995

Credits

Credits for Jewels of the Oracle.

1995

Jewels of the Oracle Prototypes

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Shunt (prototype)

One of the original puzzles used to pitch and get funding for Jewels of the Oracle. This puzzle was to become ‘2. Hall of the Nightsky’ in the final product. [There is a bug with this puzzle where if you click drag on one of the corner gears the whole gear often disappears. This bug appears to have been introduced when upgrading to the latest version of Shockwave and certainly didn’t occur in the original.]

1994

Horses (prototype)

One of the original puzzles used to pitch and get funding for Jewels of the Oracle. This puzzle was to become ‘15. Horses of Asvah’ in the final product.

1994

PBS Games

Russell Lowke DBA Mocaz, subcontracting under 360kid, programmed two online interactive games for the PBS web site in their ‘Dragon Tails’ section. These games were received very favorably by PBS, and the site as a whole was nominated for an award by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council (MIMC) in the category of General Education. These games are an interesting mix of Flash assets running in Director. At that time Flash scripting wasn't mature enough to make even a kid's maze game so Director was used for the programming.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Treasure Hunt

Navigate a dragon character around a maze to collect items in a certain order.

2000

Sticker Story

Arrange various sticker images to tell a story.

2000

Educational Games

These educational game prototypes were developed for Brilliant Interactive Ideas (BII) in Sydney Australia. They where designed for flexibility between graphics and code, being specifically created so that graphics could easily be substituted, and the games reused in different guises over a suite of different CD-ROMs. Four separate CD-ROM titles were originally envisioned. BII were acquired by Sega Australia in 1997 and changed their focus from traditional children's CD-ROM products to online three-dimensional Multipath Movies. Their educational CD-ROM suite was dropped due to increased marketplace competition, and these games never saw publication.

These games are not in their CD-ROM Shell so the ‘Menu’ and ‘Help’ buttons do not work. ‘Help’ instructions were never written for these games, but most of them are fairly intuitive, with the exception of Mancala, for which I have included instructions.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Word Search

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Asteroid

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Battleship

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Dominoes

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Frogger

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Hangman

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Hedgehog

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Maze

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Pattern Recogniton

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Mancala

Object of Game: Each player attempts to collect as many birds as possible before one of the players clears his or her side of birds.
The Board and Trees: Each player has a side of the board (top and bottom). The four trees nearest each player belong to them and their mancala tree is the tree on their right.
How to play: Players alternate turns. In his or her turn each player selects a tree of birds from one tree on their side of the board. The birds sow themselves around the trees around the board, including that players mancala tree—but not the opponents mancala tree. Example: If there are 4 birds in a selected tree one bird will be placed in each of th next 4 trees.
If the last bird lands in the players own mancala, that player goes again.
If the last bird lands in a empty tree on the players own side, he captures all the birds in the tree from the opponents tree directly opposite that tree.
How to Win: The game is over when a player has no more birds in play on the board. The winner is the player with the greatest total of birds in their mancala + any remaining birds on their side of the board.

1997

Casino Games

These casino games were developed as part of the Megamall Lifestyle Browser, a Home Shopping/Internet Hybrid CD-ROM for Mac & Windows, produced for Interactive Digital Options, Sydney Australia.

Adobe Full Shockwave Player required.

Thumbnail Play Description Year

Blackjack

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Poker

[Description coming when I finally get around to writing it. Try it for yourself.]

1996

Roulette

Click drag your chips onto the Roulette matt to place your bets, when you are satisfied with your choices press the ‘Spin’ box to commence the roulette wheel spinning.

1996

Experimental Movies

Experimental movies made by Russell while living in Boston and working on his undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Thumbnail Play Description Date Length

The Pill: History of a Boston Club Night

Quirky, ever-evolving, and ten years old: The Pill is a Boston institution, a Britpop-influenced dance night that has survived five changes in venue, the vicissitudes of club management, and the evolving tastes of its attendees.
Produced and Directed by Russell Lowke; Directed and Edited by Anne Hjortshoj.
Every Friday: http://thepillboston.com/

Oct 2007

17:08

Cherry

Disparate characters interweave their small tales of love and loss against a familiar background of drinks and smoke. Cherry features music from the Dresden Dolls and Ad Frank.
Produced and Directed by Russell Lowke; Written by John Cotter.
Click here for a Director's Statement and Movie Synopsis
Official Selection TARTAN ROAD Film Festival 2006

Oct 2005

20:03

Bon Savants - Why This Could Never Work...

The Bon Savants’ performance of Why This Could Never Work Between Us at the PAN9 September 16th 2005 Show. See their website at: http://www.bonsavants.com/

May 17th 2006

3:53

Dresden Dolls - Missed Me

The Dresden Dolls’ performance of Missed Me with Andy on violin at the PAN9 2005 October 8th Benefit. See their website at: http://www.dresdendolls.com/

Oct 8th 2005

5:03

Dresden Dolls - The Last Day of Our Acquaintance

The Dresden Dolls’ performance of The Last Day of Our Acquaintance at the PAN9 October 8th 2005 Benefit. See their website at: http://www.dresdendolls.com/

Oct 8th 2005

5:47

Fluttr Effect - Hollywood Is Porn

Fluttr Effect’s performance of Hollywood Is Porn at the PAN9 October 8th 2005 Benefit. See their website at: http://www.fluttreffect.com/

Oct 8th 2005

5:29

Lifestyle - Everyone’s in love with you

Lifestyle's performance of Everyone's in love with you at the Abbey Lounge on May 23rd 2006. See their website at: http://www.lifestyleland.com/

May 23rd 2006

4:32

Ad Frank

Ad Frank at the PAN9 September 24th 2005 "Better Living Through Cynicism show. See Ad’s website at: http://www.adfrank.com/

Jan 2nd 2006

6:58

Sideshow Players with Molly Crabapple.

The Sideshow Players with Molly Crabapple at the PAN9 October 8th 2005 Benefit. Molly's website is at: http://www.mollycrabapple.com/

Oct 8th 2005

4:40

Crusades

A short 3D animation with a crusades theme, created using the Maya software by Alias. Produced for CSCI E-21b Advanced Topics in Visual Effects with Adrian Mendoza, a course at Harvard University Extension School.

May 26th 2004

3:12

At the Abbey

Catullus’ own luck in love rubs off on one of his admirers. Produced for Introduction to Video 295-2 with Amy Sharp, a course at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. This project was the first time I’d ever really used a video camera.

Mar 16th 2003

8:53

Computer Science Class Work

Graduate and undergraduate computer science class work done by Russell Lowke while at Harvard University Extension. Please note, Summer School classes (those prefixed with an ‘S-’ instead of an ‘E-’) are not archived online by Harvard, and so do not have a live link to information on the class.

I’ve locked some of the archives as I doubt the instructors would appreciate my solutions (correct or otherwise) being accessible on the web.

  Icon Class Description
.zip

INDM E-450

ALM: Information Technology Project. Advisors Scott Traylor and William Robinson.

My Masters Thesis document "Chevalier," as submitted in June 2006 and published in Grossman Library, Harvard Extension School.

CSCI S-I

Communication Protocols and Internet Architectures with Len Evenchik

CSCI E-236

[C++ and OpenGL, TCL] Advanced Computer Graphics with Hanspeter Pfister

CSCI E-234

[C++ and OpenGL] Introduction to Computer Graphics with Hanspeter Pfister

CSCI E-225

Object-Oriented Programming in C++ with Kenneth Basye.

My final project for this class was an Asteroids game for Windows (source here) written using OpenGL. I later expanded upon the game and converted it to ActionScript to make it accessible on the web.

CSCI E-124

[C++ and Java] Algorithms and Data Structures with Michael Mitzenmacher

CSCI E-21B

[Maya 3D modeling] Advanced Topics in Visual Effects with Adrian Mendoza

CSCI E-247

Design Patterns and Java with William Robinson

CSCI E-160

Java for Distributed Computing with Charles Sawyer

CSCI S-L

Advanced Website Development Using XML with David Heitmeyer

CSCI S-111

Intensive Introduction to Computer Science Using C++ with Henry Leitner

CSCI E-215

UNIX Systems Programming with Bruce Molay

CSCI E-113

Introduction to C, UNIX, CGI Programming with Bruce Molay

CSCI E-119

[Java] Data Structures with Jeff Parker

CSCI E-50

Introduction to Computer Science Using Java I & II with Henry Leitner

Essays

Essays written by Russell Lowke as an undergraduate at Harvard University Extension.

  Icon Name Description Date # pages
Essays

The Irish Fool

CELT E-114 Early Irish Historical Tales with Tomas O Cathasaigh

Apr 21st 2003

8

Tara and Cashel

CELT E-114 Early Irish Historical Tales with Tomas O Cathasaigh

Mar 10th 2003

7

Hawthorne & Melville

ENGL E-70A American Literature I with Mason Lowance

Jan 20th 2003

6

Promised Land

ENGL E-70A American Literature I with Mason Lowance

Jan 16th 2003

16

Galileo

PHYS E-5 Introduction to Modern Physics with Jeffrey Borenstein

Dec 3rd 2002

13

Kangaroo Court

STAR E-170 History of Film: The First 50 Years with Charles Warren

Dec 2nd 2002

8

Comrade Alexander

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Jan 15th 2002

10

Malevolent Heaven

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Jan 12th 2002

3

Persecution in Mecca

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Dec 18th 2001

4

Fish Talismasn

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Dec 18th 2001

4

Christian Heroes

FORE E-111 European Culture in the Middle Ages with Jan Ziolkowski

Dec 12th 2001

5

Sacred King David

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Nov 20th 2001

3

Hell & Hades

FORE E-111 European Culture in the Middle Ages with Jan Ziolkowski

Nov 6th 2001

5

Palace of Xerxes

HIST E-100 History and Film I with Donald Ostrowski

Oct 16th 2001

2

The Crescent & The Cross

CREA S-165 Writing Grant Proposals with Frank White. Please note, this is not a real grant proposal but one written for a Summer School class.

August 14th 2001

40

Origin of the Solar System

ASTR E-8 Cosmic Evolution: The Origins of Matter and Life with Eric J. Chaisson

May 9th 2001

7

Origin of Yankee

CREA E-35 Basic Journalism with John Lenger. This piece was printed in the Friday, Nov 10, 2000 edition of the Allston-Brighton TAB.

Nov 7th 2000

3

Propaganda of Adams

EXPO E-26 Advanced Academic Research and Writing with Monika Wadman

May 11th 2000

22

Black Death

EXPO E-25 Academic Writing and Critical Reading with Lisa Ratmansky

May 17th
1999

15

Crossbow and Longbow

HIST E-1146 Medieval Warfare and Crusades with Nathaniel Taylor

May 12th 1999

15

Antique Game

If you're an old Mac enthusiast you might recognize this game, which did very well as Mac shareware between 1993 to 1997.

Galactic Frontiers is a strategic Macintosh computer game that was developed between 1988 to 1991 as a hobby. It was produced and designed by Russell Lowke, programmed in Pascal by Arthur Street, and originally marketed in the U.S. through Soft Stream International. Later, Galactic Frontiers became an established Mac shareware title, and was included on the Best of Inside Mac Games 1993 to 1996.

Thumbnail Link Description Year

Galactic Frontiers

Effectively now an antique, Galactic Frontiers still runs under Mac O/S 9.2

1991

Credits

Here’s the credits screen for Galactic Frontiers.

1991

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