ScreenPlay

Interactive Screensaver Engine, Circa 1994

As it started to become evident that PC Dynamics was going to be in the screensaver game for a while, I created this common engine/player with a core foundation of code libraries to make the process more efficient and to provide some level of consistency across our products.

One of the key provisions of this engine was to support playing nearly any screensaver, irrespective of the publisher. The ability for users to mix and match was important because one of the lessons we learned from the Engergizer Bunny screensaver was that asking users to choose a new product to displace their existing (already paid for) product was a major point of friction. Why couldn't they have both?

ScreenPlay also included intrinsic support for interactive modules to move the genre out of a strictly passive mode. I felt adding some simple elements of game play would shift the paradigm toward something more useful and fun, and hopefully provide an additional incentive for people to choose our products over the competition.

The interactive components introduced with ScreenPlay turned out to be wildly popular and became an indispensable feature for all future projects. In fact, we took this concept to a whole new level with the MyCorkboard screensaver which we introduced a few years later.

ScreenPlay was used in about a half-dozen new products over time, including NASCAR, Popeye and some freeware projects. But of course, with the rapid rise of the Internet right about this time, people soon stopped paying for screensavers and it was time to look for other sources of revenue.

My Role

All coding for the engine and player pictured above.