Facebook users can create games for their cellphones through an application developed by Wellington software company Instinct Entertainment.
Instinct director Dan Milward says Facebookers may add the Adobe game suite application to their Facebook profile.
"Anybody can make games," Mr Milward says. "They can select the tools and characters and create levels, then send them to their friends. They're Mario Brothers-type games, not puzzles or quizzes. It's about getting a creating tool out there."
Game creators develop their levels with a goal in mind, such as rescuing a damsel in distress - a character created by Instinct. Or they can base their levels on other incentives, such as time limits.
"We wanted to give people an idea, so they weren't starting from completely nothing."
Once a level of a game has been created, it is stored in an online database. People can access the levels in the database using any Flash Light capable cellphone.
Games will be vetted for quality and those not up to scratch will not be made available.
Feedback from engineers and developers has been positive.
"Vodafone is interested in this as well. They want to get into Facebook because everyone is on Facebook."
Instinct hopes the Facebook platform will help it to sell the application to games development companies.
"This creator takes all the programming time out of making games. Rather than spending months making a game, they can use the application to import graphics."
He says tertiary institutions could also be interested in the application as a way to teach game development. Advertising agencies seeking to develop games for clients are also a target market.
Mr Milward says the idea for the game creator came to him when he was in China on business two years ago and was told by the games branch of Kongzhong - a large wireless entertainment company - that only a portfolio of 100-plus games generating US$100,000 a month was worth investment.
"That pretty much writes off any New Zealand games development company. Even if we came together and pooled our games, we still couldn't come up with the goods.
"So I thought we could have the community creating games and feeding them into a main game suite. Eventually people will be able to access the thousands of games they've made on Facebook."
He says Instinct will create a Chinese version of the creator and market it in Asia.
"It's a massive market."
Instinct Entertainment, which recently won a deal to provide a mobile version of Wikipedia to Singapore Telecom, has four staff.
- The Dominion Post