North Texas Daily

Gaming company supports Denton with app

Gaming company supports Denton with app

Gaming company supports Denton with app
November 05
23:00 2014

John Hoang / Intern Writer

Little d, a Chihuahua sporting a bright red Mohawk, scurries from square to square excavating whatever treasures lay beneath the surface. As he digs for gold coins, he must avoid Cluck Gable, a tenacious rooster guarding the square from thieves and vagabonds.

An app known as Dig Little d features this encounter for users to experience on their mobile phones.

To facilitate foot traffic in the downtown area and to support businesses around the city, From the Future gaming company created the mobile app Dig Little d. The program features parking spaces, eating venues, upcoming events, and with the latest update, a game featuring rewards for users.

Denton Convention Bureau has collaborated with local businesses to promote the app, which was released on Sept. 29.

Communications director Veronica Maldonado views Dig Little d as a way to give Dentonites a guidebook of convenience for whenever they decide to venture downtown.

“From the Future was looking for a way to connect with the community,” Maldonado said. “ They wanted to do something for the city of Denton. They love it here.”

Activating apps

With construction and road development blocking off many businesses on Hickory Street, some local merchants struggled to support themselves financially. The Denton Convention Bureau, along with other local entrepreneurs, gathered to find a solution for this stagnation of business.

After brainstorming ideas, the Denton Convention Bureau decided to create an app but lacked sufficient funding. It was then that it was introduced to From the Future.

“We told them our budget and most other developers would have laughed at us,” Maldonado said. “But they said what we’ll do is use that money from the budget for the app and the rest will be pro-bono.”

Despite receiving limited funding for the project, From the Future decided to create Dig Little d, filling the financial gap with its own money.  CEO Mike Christian saw an opportunity to give Denton a gift as well as gain exposure for their company. After deciding to take on the project, the team began to brainstorm new ideas to create appeal for a broad audience, beginning with a mascot for the game.

“We thought we needed a main character to help center the focus of the game,” Christian said. “With a main character its easier with game ideas and such.”

A Chihuahua had been used for many Denton Convention Bureau campaigns, so From the Future decided to make it the game’s mascot, naming him Little d. The idea for his opponent originated from a rooster running loose within the streets of Denton, and the team found the name Cluck Gable from a Reddit post. With the character concepts created, they could implement their ideas into a game.

“It’s been in development since spring and part of the summer,” Christian said. “We worked on it between other projects. It took longer than it normally would in real time.”

The development was split into two phases. The first phase involved showcasing businesses around downtown using the program Foursquare to manage the data.

The second phase was creating the game, including coming up with gameplay ideas.

“We wanted something professional and polished,” Christian said. “[That’s] hard to do on a shoestring budget.”

Driving Little d

The game had been created to broaden the appeal with a humorous and entertaining component. The player controls Little d and must tap on a square to begin digging for gold coins while avoiding the roosters.

If Cluck Gable catches them, they will use up one of their three lives and lose coins. The player only has 30 seconds for each round and for every round completed, a new rooster will appear. The gold coins can be redeemed at the Denton Convention Bureau for prizes such as t-shirts, postcards and gift cards for stores around downtown.

“I would like to see a lot of downloads and a lot of people using it and redeeming prizes,” Christian said. “I would like it to be useful.”

The app consists of six tabs including venues, events, parking, dentonradio.com, train schedules and updates about the Hickory Street project. By creating an easy-to-use and accessible app, Christian hopes it will catch on in popularity within the Denton population.

“I think that people that do discover the app find it useful, and at the very least amusing,” Christian said. “So far it has all been very positive. The problem is just finding people to discover it.”

Many local businesses have been involved in supporting the app by hanging up posters and providing gift cards, seeing it as a positive influence for their enterprise and for the prosperity of Denton. Beth Marie’s co-owner Bob Moses sees it as a way to bring people to his shop.

“[Dig Little d] promotes the breadth of Denton, while providing Beth Marie’s to specifically promote our business with scheduled specials via Foursquare,” Moses said.

Since From the Future doesn’t have the resources to market the app, the Denton Convention Bureau has been working to advertise and give exposure to the new program. Maldonado sees their collaboration with From the Future as a step toward giving Denton new prosperity.

“The only thing we can do from here is expand and continue to build on it,” Maldonado said.

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CEO Mike Christian

Featured Image: The home screen for the Dig Little d app created by From the Future. Photo courtesy of Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau

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