MANILA, September 4, 2003  (STAR) Swords and spells and a dangerous journey will keep adventurers busy on their Sony Ericsson P800 as "Aramith’s Quest: The Summoning," the award-winning interactive game from ePLDT, now comes free with the Sony Ericsson P800.

Current P800 users can visit the Sony Ericsson booth at Rustan’s department stores in Metro Manila and Sony Ericsson interactive stations in Memo Express SM Megamall and North EDSA, to have the game installed for free.

ePLDT developed the action and adventure fiction game for the mobile platform as an entry to Sony Ericsson’s global challenge to develop original applications for the P800, Sony Ericsson’s flagship mobile multimedia communications product.

The P800 features a built-in digital camera, a large full-color touch screen with stylus, high-speed Internet access, triple band access, a video and audio player, PDA features, Bluetooth, infrared and USB connectivity and flight mode for use on a plane.

Its PDA functions can also be synchronized with common PC applications, making it virtually a mini-mobile computer.

"Aramith’s Quest" won along with other applications from Germany, Russia, United States, Sweden, Finland, France and Thailand. Entries from around the world were judged on their innovativeness, practicality and "coolness" factor.

"It took us three weeks to design and develop the game. Much of the time was spent developing the actual code. We didn’t have much time and resources to add bells and whistles, but the final software was very much like how we planned it to be – simple and concise," said ePLDT ContentDev head Buddy del Rosario.

His team included former Fil-Cartoons artist Anton Gustilo, who handled the overall game design and art production; Leomar Valiao, a GD designer who is into martial arts and music; content engineers Elmer Andes Jr., a PC game and anime enthusiast, and Rick Emerson Ong, who enjoys bowling and the stock market, who both tackled programming.

With their combined interests in movies and reading, the team set out to create a strong narrative for the game.

"The old adventure games in the PC, where Aramith’s Quest was based on, are perfect for mobile handsets because they’re small in code size and fun to play. We took advantage of the fact that nobody had ever done this type of game for a mobile phone before," Del Rosario said.

"We also took a chance that those who can afford the P800 are probably the ones who played Zork and old Lucas Arts back in the 80s and would appreciate the nostalgia," he added.

Developing a game for the mobile platform rather than the standard PC presented them with the challenges of small memory and screen area plus having to deal with a different input device like the P800’s innovative stylus and keypad.

"Our biggest challenge was to keep the game size small while maintaining visual impact on such a limited screen," he said.

ePLDT’s Content Development Group actually specializes in Web design and application development for which it has gained industry recognition.

Joining the Sony Ericsson competition with just a month to go and against the rest of the world at that, the team actually did not expect to win.

"Coming from the Web, this is a new medium for us. Even if we didn’t win, we learned a lot and that would help us in our future game development stints," Del Rosario said.

Sony Ericsson subjected "Aramith’s Quest" to final quality certification tests before launching the all-Filipino developed mobile game for the P800. The game pumps up the fun for Sony Ericsson P800 users and adds some national pride to their mobile lifestyle

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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