:)Smilie Ltd. was incorporated in November 1996 and began trading in March the following year. The founding Directors, Andrew Ball, Chris Edwards and Alex Aylesbury set up the company with two objectives; to secure independent game development deals to publish unique game ideas, and to develop Internet based business exploiting their combined knowledge, abilities and, above all, enthusiasm about the Internet and its future prospects.
In late 2000, the company structure was transformed and the main company in charge of day-to-day operations is now :)Smilie Ventures Limited with two key employees being appointed to the Board of Directors of the new Company - Damian Slee and James Meston. :)Smilie Limited continues to exist as a major shareholder of the operating company.
The first project embarked upon by :)Smilie was developing a number of JAVA games which could be played online in any browser. The company has sold these games to a number of content aggregators and other website design companies including Bertellsmann BV, BT LineOne, Stern Magazine Online, PlanetFootball and other businesses as far afield as Canada, the US, Germany, Austria, Australia and Portsmouth, Hampshire!
Alongside the online games, :)Smilie has been involved in producing a number of websites, mostly for local clients, but also including contracts for Next PLC and games giant Empire Interactive. :)Smilie has always prided itself on providing bespoke solutions for every client, rather than churning out bland, formulaic sites like a large number of bandwagon chasers. It is through this approach that :)Smilie maintains a high level of customer satisfaction.
Once the Internet side of the company had become established, :)Smilie began to develop the computer games creation side of the business. Titles developed in the last 18 months include; game design, graphics and programming for one of the first Gameboy Color titles Gex - Enter the Gecko; game design and graphics for both Earthworm Jim and Commander Keen on Gameboy Color; graphics and 3D modelling for PC and Playstation based Martian Gothic; and various graphics components for a number of other games.
During this time :)Smilie has also developed two officially licensed products through Telstar Electronic Studios based on the cult series South Park. These are The Official South Park Desktop Themes and Screensaver, based on the first series, and The Official South Park Desktop Organiser, based on the second series, featuring stand alone desktop components such as a CD Player, Address Book and Personal Organiser.
One of the latest projects has been the development of PC based emailable marketing applications utilising the innovative Digimaskô technology. Working alongside, and assisting with, the development of the core SDK, :)Smilie's developments have been an invaluable contribution to the launch of the proprietary technology on an eager world.
The future of :)Smilie is focussed in three areas; Internet Products, Online Games Development and AAA Games Development.
The majority of the Internet work :)Smilie provides will be the technical and hosting side of the business - developing and enabling eCommerce and Data solutions, together with the hosting and provision of email and technical backup of smaller sites designed by 3rd parties. :)Smilie will continue to design and implement websites for SME's and complementary product and marketing microsites.
As mentioned, :)Smilie's first development was a range of single player browser games. The aim for the next 12 to 18 months is to establish :)Smilie as one of the leading, high profile providers of quality single player and multiplayer games on the Internet. All the games and backend systems will be developed using Java driven technologies. :)Smilie is currently developing a multiplayer server system which will remain within the :)Smilie copyright and will be made available for resale to 3rd party developers, while providing a solid foundation for development of further Java games.
AAA Games Development
The main drive behind the foundation of :)Smilie was to produce AAA computer games for PC and console. This ambition remains. The pool of ideas and talent available to :)Smilie remains undiminished. Through carefully planned R&D :)Smilie will follow the traditional lines of developing working Demos, together with full product designs, scheduling, marketing assessments and costings, and then sourcing development and publishing deals. There are also plans to publish our own AAA games through new online channels.