Disney has announced ‘Story,’ an Apple iPhone/iPad application that can automatically group your personal photos and videos and combine them into a narrative to tell a story.
According to the app’s mission statement (via its description on its official Facebook page), ‘Disney has been telling the stories that you love for generations. Now, we can help you tell yours.’
The app description continues to outline what it does and how it goes about doing so. Using date and GPS data associated with photos and videos stored on the smart phone, Story automatically groups them together in a ready-to-share package, which can then be shared via social media outlets such as Facebook and email, on the official Story.us website, or even embedded on personal blogs.
Additionally, the Story packages can be customized by choosing from a selection of themes, layouts and adding personalized captions to complete the story. The app also supports saving the Story project to Apple’s iCloud for future enjoyment and reference.
‘When we become moms, our phones instantly become the go-to device to capture the spontaneous moments of family life. Before we know it, we have thousands of photos and videos on our phones,’ said Brooke Chaffin, senior vice president, Disney Interactive Family. ‘Until now, there hasn’t been an easy or well-designed way to liberate this media, see the narratives that we create, and tell the stories we want to share.’
Disney Story also has an official Twitter account at @DisneyStory but has yet to offer anything in way of teasing the app.
Disney Interactive has provided us with the gallery of images below demonstrating Story which will soon be available on the Apple AppStore:
Walt Disney Parks has also been developing automated storytelling processes for its guests which will combine guests’ smart phone photos as well as photos from the Disney PhotoPass service.
Title: Toy Story: Smash It! (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: February 27, 2013
Platforms: Apple iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad), Android Soon
Pros: Familiar intellectual property, addictive play, well executed spin on popular mobile game franchise
Cons: Restart button isn’t immediate
Review: Toy Story: Smash It!, a new title from Disney Mobile and Disney Mobile Studio Prague, is a physics oriented game that’s sure to make any player anything but angry.
On the day its new Disney Junior series, ‘Sofia the First,’ launches, Disney has also released Sofia the First: Story Theater for Apple iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices.
The app contains two modes: the first is an interactive storybook, a retelling of the Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess movie which is narrated by Sofia (Ariel Winter) and features audio clips from the movie as well as dozens of individual animations.
The other mode is the theater mode in which the user chooses multiple ‘cutout’ elements such as main characters, backdrops, props and even background music. Once each of the elements is chosen, the user is able to press the record button and record an audio track (dialogue) while moving the elements around the backdrop. After halting recording, the ‘production’ can be played back and even saved for later enjoyment.
The innovative theater mode appears to work well, although there was a bit of a learning curve. For example, though the backdrop consists of just a small portion of the stage, the theater mode records only elements that are in front of it. This actually means that you are able to keep props and characters out of view until desired. Also, characters are abnormally large against the backdrop by default (and props are small), but they can be resized with the usual pinch to zoom, as well as rotated. The resize and rotate functions even work while recording, allowing for some interesting use of perspective and overall weirdness. The app’s description even boasts multi-touch to allow friends to work together to move multiple characters at once.
For more information or to purchase ‘Sofia the First: Story Theater,’ click here.
As for the original televised film itself, it will be available to own on Disney DVD with special Royal Sing-Along mode on March 5, 2013 and is now available for pre-order. The DVD is set to include bonuses such as a ‘Princess in Training Activity Kit’ featuring stickers and tiaras.
Just in time for the theatrical release of Monsters Inc 3-D on December 19, Disney Mobile Games released ‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ last night for Apple iPhone, iPad and iOS Touch devices ($.99).
‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ is a side-scrolling action platform adventure that has players dashing through locations from the movie as their favorite Monsters, Inc. characters. Players find themselves on a spine-tingling mission as some of the most popular scare team duos, including Mike and Sulley, to find and rescue Boo from danger.
Players run, jump and power through three frightening worlds and 48 hair-raising levels inspired by the movie, tackling the Rooftops of Monstropolis to the Ice Caves of the Himalayas. Fly with jet-packs, attack with ray guns, dodge and blast through obstacles and mischievous monsters, using over 20 explosive power-ups and the ability to call in partners to save Boo.
Brought to players by Disney Mobile Games and developed by Get Set Games, the makers of Mega Run, the launch of ‘Monsters, Inc. Run‘ promises Monsters, Inc. fans a monstrously fun run adventure through a world they’ve only seen on screen.
‘Monsters, Inc. Run’ features include:
- The ability to play as four Monsters, Inc. scare team duos!
- Dash through three worlds and 48 exciting levels!
- Master levels with over 20 explosive power-ups!
- Take on familiar monsters from the movie!
- Go on an endless running adventure in Endless Mode!
It’s not a new concept at the core, but Disney Interactive (NYSE:DIS) plans on launching a new platform dubbed ‘Disney Connected Learning’ in late 2012/2013 which will allow parents to actively monitor their child’s performance in learning-related activities. What makes this particular implementation unique is that it will run under Apple iOS and Amazon Kindle devices, along with Facebook and other platforms, and encompass more than thirty separate games throughout the year, featuring familiar Disney characters as they educate players via Disney’s Learning System. In addition, an API will be exposed that will allow third party developers to integrate Disney’s K-5 curriculum which was developed in partnership with Stanford University and the University of Georgia. The native and third party apps will allow to progressively test skills with the child and report back to a separate parent-specific app that will allow feedback on the child’s progress.
While this is a new frontier for education for the company, it is no stranger to producing educational materials for children. Disney Educational Productions has produced and offers several series of DVD videos including the popular ‘Science of Imagineering’ series. In addition, Disney Consumer Products owns and operates Disney English centers in China, which uses Disney characters and stories to promote English as a second language.
Disney Publishing Worldwide announced today the release of Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book, based on Walt Disney Studios’ highly anticipated stop-motion animated film directed by Tim Burton, Frankenweenie, in theaters October 5, 2012. Capturing the creative process from concept to completion, the interactive book integrates videos, vibrant music, and original sketches to offer readers a fully immersive behind-the-scenes look into the making of the movie. Available on the iBookstore, this book is Disney Publishing’s first to be created with Apple’s iBooks Author.
“We’re thrilled to give fans a look at how Tim Burton and his creative team brought Victor Frankenstein and Sparky to life in the town of New Holland,” said Lyle Underkoffler, vice president, Digital Media, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “Using iBooks Author, Disney Publishing was able to include more digital content than ever before—including previews of animated storyboards documenting the transition from sketch to screen.”
Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book incorporates a brief history of the 1984 live-action short film and details the upcoming full-length stop-motion animated feature, including a foreword by Academy Award®-winning actor Martin Landau (the voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film) and introductions to over 200 resident puppets of New Holland (with a special introduction to Victor and Sparky), as well as a look into “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition,” now on tour.
A chapter on the film’s music includes previews of each track from the original motion picture score by Oscar®-nominated and GRAMMY®-winning composer Danny Elfman and from Frankenweenie Unleashed!, a 16-song compilation of music from and inspired by the film, featuring artists including Karen O, Neon Trees, and Kimbra. Both albums will be available from Walt Disney Records on September 25 and can be purchased directly from within the book.
Using Apple’s iBooks Author app, Disney Publishing was able to include video, audio, multi-touch, and 3D widgets to create a robust storytelling experience that enlightens Frankenweenie fans of all ages. Readers can watch interviews featuring producer Allison Abbate and executive producer Don Hahn and explore the art of stop-motion animation with Tim Burton, while younger fans can create their own “chalkboard collage” using the film’s characters.
“Thirty years after he first visualized Frankenweenie as a student at CalArts, Tim Burton has finally made the movie he dreamed of making way back then,” said Martin Landau, voice of Mr. Rzykruski in the film. “The eBook reveals how a truncated, live-action version made by Tim three decades ago evolved into the 90-minute, black-and-white, stop-motion (Tim’s favorite animation process), 3D motion picture that he visualized all those years ago. It’s wonderful that Tim has managed to keep Victor and his friends young, energetic, and alive for 30 plus years.”
Frankenweenie: An Electrifying Book is available for free exclusively on the iBookstore in 32 countries around the world.
An instant* success (* just add water!), the game went on to introduce several free expansion packs, two variants of gameplay and spinoff apps including ‘Where’s My Water? FREE’ and ‘Where’s My Perry?,’ based on the popular Disney television series, ‘Phineas and Ferb.’ Before long, an entire line of plush and other collectibles were introduced and the loveable reptile is set to star in his own web series before long.
To celebrate the momentous occasion and many milestones of WMW?, Disney Interactive has released this infographic through its brand new tumblr blog. In addition to the game’s many accomplishments, the timeline continues beyond today, teasing both the web series as well as a new ‘black & white’ mode, said to be inspired by Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie. In addition, a recent update to the paid version includes a special birthday bonus level (tap the cake on the main screen).
They’ve done it again! And by ‘they,’ I mean Disney Mobile’s Creature Feep, and by ‘done it again,’ I mean created something almost entirely new. Disney Mobile today launched ‘Where’s My Perry?‘ for Apple iOS and Android devices and the newest entry into the immensely popular ‘Where’s My Water?’ has already been garnering raves from fans of both Swampy the Gator and Disney Channel’s ‘Phineas and Ferb.’
While some of the mechanics are the same, keeping it true to the franchise, Disney has once again successfully introduced ample gameplay design changes to warrant being its own standalone game worth paying for. Whereas Swampy required water to take a bath and Cranky required poison to make his ‘food’ algae-free, the premise here is that Perry the Platypus /aka/ Agent P is needed by Major Monogram at the OWCA (Organization Without a Cool Acronym), but the tubes he usually uses to transport himself are jammed. The objective is to use water (and steam) to power the tubes to send Perry tube-surfing so he can save the world, or at least settle disputes between Major Monogram and Carl.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz has other things on his mind, however, and that’s to stop Perry the Platypus for the last time on each level. To do this, he has three -inators strategically placed throughout each level: the heat-inator, the freeze-inator and the celeberate-inator. The last is the easiest to explain since it just sucks up whatever it can and transforms it into a party (via confetti). The first two make up the core physics of the game, turning water into steam (and vice versa) and water into ice (and vice versa). So for example, if a heat-inator strikes ice, it turns it into water. If it strikes water again, it turns to steam, and the whole process can be reversed. In addition, there is a new liquid called sludge. Sludge has an amazingly high viscosity (much, much more than ooze) and it can be really tricky to work with. In addition, sludge, which is normally black and neutral, can be affected by -inators, making them have the same properties and effects when they touch water. Sludge can cover grates and while blue sludge and orange sludge affect water, as well as cause a explosion when they come in contact with each other, black sludge doesn’t interfere with regular water. Essentially the physics are pretty intense on this iteration of the genre and they often make the game far more fun and challenging to play.
Like ‘Where’s My Water?’ items are collected throughout the levels and they, in turn, unlock bonus levels. Here the items are OWCA files. Some are files on other members of the OWCA (or as some prefer to call it, ‘a petting zoo with hats’) and some are files on Dr. Doof’s -inators. All of the dossiers are taken from the ‘Phineas and Ferb’ series and offer up some good (and ‘brief’) reads. While Swampy’s bonus levels involved using the accelerometer to mimic the same gameplay, ‘Where’s My Perry?’ bonus levels involve guiding Balloony (from ‘The Chronicles of Meap’ and ‘Meapless in Seattle’) through a scrolling screen much like the balloon levels from ‘Where’s My Water?.’ After tri-gnoming the first four introductory levels, I started on the bonus levels and I have to say my first reaction was ‘what the heck?’ However, after playing a few more levels, my reaction completely changed to ‘no, really, what the heck?’ It just seemed so ridiculously easy and — for lack of a better word — dumb. My sentiments did change, however, as I progressed further through the bonus levels as it started to require using elements from the regular game to help Balloony reach the top without popping or being pushed off the edge of the screen. Add to this that the screen scrolls by itself, with or without Balloony, so it can be a challenge sometimes to coordinate everything just right.
Achievements also exist, but they’re pretty primitive right now and I managed to get most of them just from playing the game through the first time. I would expect that to change as more levels get introduced. Like the other games in the franchise, new levels are expected to be delivered in the future at no additional charge.
And, of course, there are other contributions from the television series. Voice talent recorded specifically for the game which interjects itself as you play (it can smartly be turned off if you — ahem — grow weary of Carl’s voice over and over), complete with sub-titles, which can sometimes get in the way of gameplay, but can also smartly be toggled on and off individually. Completing levels usually rewards the players with a little animated vignette which depicts Agent P’s arrival to the OWCA headquarters and, of course, lots of other tributes along the way.
All in all, as a well-documented fan of the franchise, I have to give ‘Where’s My Perry?’ two thumbs and a sore index finger up. Although it took only a couple of hours to get through it all, it was incredibly entertaining and I can’t wait for the next installment. ‘Where’s My Perry?’ is an instant classic five years in the making.
Disney’s ‘Where’s My Perry?’ is $.99 and available now for Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices via the App Store and should be available for Android devices shortly.
Disney Studio All Access Finally Launching This Month? (Introducing Disney Everywhere’s Movie Cloud)
Now that Disney (NYSE:DIS) has finally gotten its ‘TV Everywhere’ initiative off the ground, as we first reported earlier this month — with even more networks such as ABC Family on the way, along with cable providers beyond Comcast — the focus now shifts to Disney’s extensive film collection.
An announcement made last week on Disney Movies Online has raised some eyebrows, causing some to ponder if DSAA/Keychest’s time has finally arrived. Certainly the changes coming to DMO on June 27 are worth the contemplation: accounts for those under 13 not permitted; accounts only for United States users; and a slew of films that won’t be available for viewing online for the foreseeable future.
More curiously, however, and perhaps more to the point, are the following domain names very recently registered by the company: DISNEYANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYEVERYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIECLOUD.COM, DISNEYMOVIESANYWHERE.COM, DISNEYMOVIESEVERYWHERE.COM.
While it’s possible Disney Studio All Access may finally reveal itself to the world this summer (see our sneak peek for more details), what we’re more likely to see is an interim phase in which Disney Movies Online simply goes mobile on Apple iOS and Android devices.
As far as DSAA is concerned, Disney has officially been maintaining a ‘wait and see’ attitude, monitoring the successes and failures of UltraViolet, the only competing service. UltraViolet has managed to rack up more than 3 million accounts since its debut, most of which as a result of a push campaign by Walmart this year, but continues to confuse and disappoint its customer base.
You may not be able to watch and play Flash content on your Apple iPhone and iPad devices, but thanks to an innovative app from Disney, you can now use your iDevice to control one. The free app, titled Brave Utility, allows players to use the amenities of their Apple iOS device to play a game on Disney’s website that runs on a desktop browser, effectively replacing the mouse.
The game, titled Disney/Pixar’s Brave Ultimate Target Challenge allows the player to virtually shoot arrows at targets, racking up as many points as possible within the allotted time period. The player first chooses their character from the film, each with their own respective stats, then takes the field, selecting one of several different types of arrows to shoot at the targets. Each type of arrow has its own properties and the number of each type of arrow is in limited supply.
While the game can use the mouse to aim and shoot the arrows (and quite well at that), Brave Utility allows players to use the accelerometer to aim and swipe to choose arrows and subsequently shoot them.
An ingenious idea and noble effort to be sure, but certainly not without its challenges. When launching the app (which is designed for iPhone, but works just as well at x2 on the iPad), the player is prompted to enter a code that’s provided by the web game. Unfortunately it took me embarassingly too long to realize that the reason why I could not see a code was because the web app uses ports 843 and 9700 and they were being blocked by my computer’s firewall. Once I temporarily disabled the firewall, however, the app worked as expected. At least up until that point.
The app, using a WiFi connection, seemed amazingly in sync with the Flash game on my PC, but as soon as I would go to fire an arrow, the app would go automatically into pause mode with no way to escape out of it. Unfortunately there was nothing to do until the round ended, leaving me with 0 points. After several attempts, however, I was able to actually play the game using the iPad, only to find the aiming via accelerometer slow and clumsy at best.
The few reviews that have been posted for the app on iTunes seem to have had more successes with it than I, so it’s probably worth trying out and surely your mileage may vary.
For more information on Brave Utility, visit the App Store.