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Watch out! You might get Sprung!

February 25, 2005

Watch out! You might get Sprung!

Multiple award-winning Kiwi animation specialist Flux Animation Studio is the creative force behind a funky new game receiving rave reviews in the United States for its animation.

Sprung, a dialogue-based dating game, is being released onto the New Zealand market today (Friday, February 25). It is designed specifically for use on the groundbreaking Nintendo Dual Screen (DS) released in New Zealand yesterday (Thursday, February 24).

Nintendo DS takes animated game playing to a whole new level with its dual screens and touch-screen technology.

A 32-strong team at Flux worked in collaboration with the company’s
New York-based partner, Hornet Inc, over a three-month period to undertake the massive task of animating Sprung, which required more than 200 individual animated character responses. Sprung is one of the first animated games designed specifically for use on the Nintendo DS product.

Hand-drawn in a complex, traditional two-dimensional animation style set by Flux Illustrator and Director Jamie Jang, Sprung’s 12 animated characters have many different responses all linked to ambient drawings. Popular with the teen and pre-teen market in the United States, the game requires players to adopt the persona of one of the characters in order to get a date with one of the other characters.

Programming was done by Guillemot, a division of United States software giant Ubisoft.

Flux Animation Studio producer Rose Woodman says the crew’s extensive experience in television character animation served the game medium well.
Flux Animation Studio recently formatted Sprung for use on mobile phones, and is developing a follow-up dual-screen game in collaboration with Hornet Inc.

Flux Animation Studio

Managing Director Brent Chambers established Flux in 1997 using a basement garage in an inner Auckland suburb as the company's first offices. Today, Flux employs 34 people, including traditional 2D as well as 3D animators, and is based in central Auckland premises that house state-of-the-art technology.

Its affiliated partnership with New York/LA-based Hornet Inc. came about through working on the New Zealand Dairy Foods’ ‘Welcome to Anchorville’ campaign with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellington in 2003.

At that time Saatchi's brought Hornet Director Mark Baldo to New Zealand to co-direct ‘Welcome to Anchorville’ with Brent Chambers. Mark had just finished working on the feature film ‘Ice Age’ and had a window of several months before beginning with DreamWorks where he is currently directing ‘Puss-in Boots’, a new feature that is part of the ‘Shrek’ franchise.

The ‘Anchorville’ collaboration was a huge success and Hornet Co-owner Michael Feder asked Flux to form an alliance between the two companies.

The partnership was formalised in 2002 during a trip to the United States partly funded by Trade and Enterprise New Zealand.

“Trade and Enterprise New Zealand has continued to support us at Flux,” says Brent. “Murray Jeffrey – our Client Manager at Trade and Enterprise - has helped to arrange funding for our trips abroad to meet with our international partners and has regularly taken on a role as our international public relations person.”

Successful joint projects with Hornet include a substantial campaign for United States company Orbit Gum featuring 3 silent spots playing on the Wrigley's Times Square jumbotron, one of the most famous billboards in the world.


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