Ensequence is providing the authoring software for a new interactive TV word game on Channel 4 developed by freethinking, a company established by two former Two Way TV executives.

WordDrop is a standalone word game available around the clock to satellite viewers from the interactive menu on Channel 4 in the UK. The pay-per-play game allows viewers to score points by using their remote control to build words from falling blocks of letters. Think of Scrabble crossed with Tetris, and then for legal reasons think of something else.

It is the first of a series of games being developed by freethinking using the Ensequence on-Q Create authoring tools.

Founded by Jason Malaure, who was formerly at Two Way TV, freethinking has previously concentrated on back-end systems and games for cable platforms.

“WordDrop was our first satellite development for Channel 4,” explained Tracy Munro of freethinking. “We were looking for a software tool that would speed up development and ensure a smooth pass through testing. The software was intuitive for our developers to use, and enabled us to go from concept to air in just a few weeks.”

Ensequence has a scripting language that enables relatively complex application behaviour to be created within a visual application development environment, allowing concepts to be simulated and tested extensively prior to broadcast. The closest analogy is perhaps Macromedia Director.

The ease and speed of application development particularly pleased Iain Marsh, Executive Producer at Channel 4 New Media. “I was impressed with the fact that I could have both sight of and input into the development process all the way down the line without impacting the timeframes or cost of the end product.”

For Ensequence it is another important step in proving the potential of their interactive television authoring software. “Interactive games are a growing revenue prospect, and provide a perfect opportunity to showcase the stability and ease of use of our on-Q Create software suite,” commented John Holland of Ensequence.