Logo Rob Buckley – Freelance Journalist and Editor

Flash games with Bunchball

Flash games with Bunchball

Rob Buckley shows you how to add interactivity to your site with a Bunchball game.

Finding good reasons for people to keep coming back to your web site is always hard. Interactivity is one of the best ways to foster an audience, since it allows you to build up a relationship with your visitors – and breaking up is always hard to do.

What form of interactivity you choose is often determined by your own capabilities. If you can write regularly about things other people are interested in, a blog can be a great way to get visitors coming back. If you have the creativity, podcasts and videos can also be great ways to enhance your site.

But making your own videos and podcasts requires a certain degree of skill and discipline, as does blogging. What if you don’t have the skills or the equipment to make a great movie, a podcast would be no better for your site than a direct line to the Speaking Clock and updating your blog more than once a year would be a challenge?

Fortunately, there is a solution. Games. Thanks to the miracle of Flash and Bunchball (http://www.bunchball.com), it’s possible for you to embed some cool games in your site with just a few lines of code. These ‘widgets’ range from simple games like adding captions to a picture through retro-Arcade classics like Asteroids and Space Invaders to ice-breaking games where players have to answer questions about themselves.

If that were the end of Bunchball, it would a nice freebie but wouldn’t necessarily keep people coming back to your site instead of anyone else’s site that used Bunchball. What’s more useful is Bunchball’s multi-player options that allow you to play against your site’s visitors. You can set the questions or be the opponent. If you’re great at Pacman, your site could be the site other champs come to face off against the master.

Bunchball also plugs in nicely with chat technologies, such as Skype and Yahoo Messenger, so you can communicate with other players or let them chat with each other so they can gang up on you.

To use Bunchball, you’ll need a blog to which you can add entries or whose templates you can alter; alternatively, you can just add them directly into the HTML code of your web pages. You’ll also need a web browser other than Safari if you’re a Mac user, since Bunchball’s AJAX has some problems with Safari’s duff JavaScript. Other than that, you need nothing more than your trigger finger.

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