After a series of false starts on an energy consumption game we decided to skip ahead to a timely game of balancing the budget . The game is actually a reprise of a popular budget balancing game we created in 2003 — we’re regularly asked for the source code for that game, and while we do have it, it is a bear of a maze of a mess that no self-respecting programmer would want to try to wade through in search of numbers and texts to change. For this game, we did use Flash, which made it significantly easier to find programmers. It is no secret that I have a strong predisposition towards free and open source software, but there are just a whole lot more Flash programmers out there looking for small jobs.

Original game in hand, we worked with a Flash programmer to build out a whole new version of the budget game, this time with text and numbers stored in an external XML document. This change means that anyone with an eye for detail (XML is an unforgiving standard — a tiny error can trash the whole thing) can edit the XML file and produce their own game of balance.

That turned out to be a good thing when the game got delayed by several weeks and we had to scramble to re-organize the content to reflect a dramatically changing budget landscape!