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					                                             Microsoft Silverlight
                                             Customer Solution Case Study

                                             Digital Agency Powers Casual Games with
                                             New Web Technology

                                             “Because we’ve long relied on tools and technology
Customer: Terralever
Web Site:
                                             from Microsoft as a foundation for our solutions, it’s
Customer Size: 30 employees                  exciting to see what Microsoft Silverlight 2 can help
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Professional services -
                                             us accomplish for user experience.”
information technology                       Chris Johnson, Managing Partner and Founder, Terralever

Customer Profile                             Business Needs                                     When Microsoft first provided developers
Based in Tempe, Arizona, Terralever          Formed in 2002, Terralever is a digital            access to the Microsoft Silverlight™ cross-
provides customers with interactive design   agency that delivers a mix of innovative           browser, cross-platform plug-in, Terralever
and development services, as well as         strategy, design, development, and                 used the new technology to create a concept
online marketing strategy and search-        marketing for clients’ online operations.          game called Zero Gravity. That project
engine optimization.                         Technology is central to business at               captured the attention of Miniclip, a casual
                                             Terralever, and the company depends on the         gaming site based in the United Kingdom.
Software and Services                        Microsoft® .NET Framework and other                The site boasts more than 43 million unique
 Microsoft® Expression®                     technologies from Microsoft to provide             visitors each month, as of December 2007.
  − Microsoft Expression Studio              customers with solutions that maximize             Although many of Miniclip’s 300 online
  − Microsoft Expression Design              return on investment. “We’ve found the .NET        games—which include strategy, puzzle, and
  − Microsoft Expression Blend™              Framework allows our customers to extend           multiplayer games—use Adobe Flash
 Microsoft Visual Studio®                   and build on their existing investments as         technology, the firm wanted to explore the
  − Microsoft Visual Studio 2008             opportunities and business needs change,”          possibilities of Microsoft Silverlight. Because
    Professional Edition                     says Joel Neubeck, Director of Technology          it is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework,
 Technologies                               for Terralever.                                    Silverlight helps a wide range of developers
  − Microsoft Silverlight™                                                                      create rich Internet applications.
                                             Terralever continues to update its services to
                                             reflect trends in the consumer Web industry.       Solution
                                             “We’re seeing more demand for small,               Terralever built two games for Miniclip using
                                             interactive components of Web content that         Silverlight, the Microsoft Expression® Studio
                                             would exist in someone’s Facebook or               family of design tools, the Microsoft .NET
                                             MySpace profile, for instance,” says Chris         Framework 3.5, and the Microsoft Visual
                                             Johnson, Managing Partner and Founder of           Studio® 2008 development system. The first
                                             Terralever. “We work with our customers to         game, a puzzle game called Zombomatic,
                                             envision how functionality or games can fit        used all the features of Silverlight 1.0. To
For more information about other Microsoft   into different contexts.”                          build the second game, a more complex
customer successes, please visit:                                                               puzzle and adventure game called Tunnel                                                                   Trouble, Terralever used a prerelease
version of Microsoft Silverlight 2. “As a
platform for online games, Silverlight provides                            Figure 1. Tunnel Trouble, an online
more computational power than other                                        game that uses Microsoft
approaches. Silverlight also offers other                                  Silverlight 2.
capabilities that make for a more interactive
and rich experience, such as better
integration of high-resolution video,” says
                                                                        “Not only does Silverlight support all the
To create the visual aspects of the Silverlight-                        major browsers, but we could also run the
based games, Terralever designers used the                              debugger in Visual Studio against the Mac
Microsoft Expression Design illustration and                            platform, and then step through the code as
                                                                                                                          Cross-Platform Capabilities
graphic design tool. For the storyboard and                             we would for a machine based on the
                                                                                                                          Silverlight works with all major Internet
Web interface, the designers used Microsoft                             Windows® operating system,” says Ryan
                                                                                                                          browsers, helping Terralever simplify the
Expression Blend™ design software, which                                Plemons, Developer for Terralever.
                                                                                                                          process of testing and debugging its games
automatically generates XAML, an open XML-
                                                                                                                          in different environments. In addition,
based markup language for graphic interfaces                            Benefits
                                                                                                                          applications built in Silverlight integrate well
that developers can access in Visual Studio                             Microsoft Silverlight adds another valuable
                                                                                                                          with HTML environments, can easily
2008. “There are two important requirements                             tool to the technology toolset at Terralever
                                                                                                                          consume a variety of Web services and data
for interactive design toolsets. First, they need                       and fits with the company’s strategy to build
                                                                                                                          through language integrated query (LINQ),
to be accessible by everyone on the team and                            flexible, extensible solutions on Microsoft
                                                                                                                          and can be quickly ported to run as desktop
facilitate a streamlined workflow. Second,                              technology. “Because we’ve long relied on
                                                                                                                          applications on the Windows operating
they need to offer a solid feature set. Visual                          tools and technology from Microsoft as a
                                                                                                                          system using the .NET Framework.
Studio and the Expression products hit both                             foundation for our solutions, it’s exciting to
those targets,” says Chris Hill, Designer for                           see what Microsoft Silverlight 2 can help us
                                                                                                                          Familiar Development Environment
Terralever. Because Expression Studio and                               accomplish for user experience,” says
                                                                                                                          Terralever sees several business advantages
Visual Studio 2008 both use XAML to describe                            Johnson.
                                                                                                                          of using Silverlight to create interactive
the interface, Terralever’s design and
                                                                                                                          applications. “One of the things I’m really
development teams found it easier to                                    Faster Time to Market
                                                                                                                          excited about is the opportunity to tap a
collaborate than in the past, boosting the                              Silverlight, Expression Studio, and Visual
                                                                                                                          deeper pool of .NET developers and mentor
efficiency of the work and speeding time to                             Studio 2008 help Terralever combine design
                                                                                                                          them about creating interactive
market.                                                                 and development teams in a way that was
                                                                                                                          applications,” says Neubeck.
                                                                        not possible before. Previously, Terralever
Expression Blend helped Terralever designers                            designers created animations and interface
                                                                                                                          The opportunity to create rich Internet
work with the timeline of their game                                    elements that developers had to recreate.
                                                                                                                          applications in Silverlight using the C#
animation. “Expression Blend uses a time-                               Now, designers and developers work with
                                                                                                                          programming language was exciting for the
based approach to the timeline, as opposed                              the same elements and source code, helping
                                                                                                                          development team at Terralever. “We were
to the frame-based approach available in                                to streamline workflow and speed the
                                                                                                                          able to start creating rich Internet
other tools. The time-based method makes it                             project. “Expression Studio and Visual Studio
                                                                                                                          applications straight away in Visual Studio.
easier to understand how your game                                      work together to remove that level of
                                                                                                                          We didn’t have to learn a new language,”
animation graphics will actually appear to the                          interpretation that previously slowed the
                                                                                                                          says Plemons. “It’s a pretty big deal for me
player and helps ensure a consistent result                             project and sometimes clouded the
                                                                                                                          personally because an early career
across machines,” says Hill. The games work                             designer’s original vision,” says Neubeck.
                                                                                                                          aspiration of mine was to be a game
on a variety of platforms, including the Safari
Web browser from Apple.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published March 2008

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