WORK

Dudefactory

Published with permission.

About

DudeFactory is a fun and easy-to-use web site for creating an MSN Messenger avatar.

The male or female character ("Dude" or "Dudette") is built from various body parts and items such as heads, noses, mouths, eyes, hair, shirts, trousers and backgrounds. This character can be a small version of the user or a total fantasy creation. With literally millions of combinations of parts the possibilities are endless!

Dudefactory avatar builder

Unique Aspects of DudeFactory:

  • Very easy to use with a visually-driven interface
  • High quality illustration and animation by award-winning UK & American artists
  • Large number of components in 30+ categories with regular additions
  • Added value high-resolution and mobile phone background downloads available

Solution

The web site was developed using Adobe Flash and extensive use of Actionscript. The download rendering functions are written using VB.NET 2.0 and GDI+.

We prepared a component authoring guide which was sent to each artist to ensure design consistency and adherence to strict technical requirements.

We also developed several asset management tools in VB.NET which compiled multiple flash resources into a single SWF file.

Outcome

Dudefactory has been used to create over 2 million avatars since it's launch in 2004 and receives around 30,000 visitors each month.

Dudefactory was originally conceived and implemented as a paid-for service using premium telephone and SMS numbers for collecting micro-payments. Due to increasing competition the service was eventually switched to an ad-supported model using Google Adsense.

The web site has been running error-free and without interruption for years.

Technologies

VB.NET 2.0, Windows Services, VBScript, JavaScript, XML, HTML, CSS, Adobe Flash, ActionScript 2.0, Adobe Photoshop, GDI+, Flasm, SWFCombine, SWFDump.