Monthly Archives: March 2014

Making Madness

Here’s my story/plan for bringing Morning Madness from concept to the people of earth.

Initial Concept

The idea for Morning Madness came to me one day during the mad rush to get lunches made, get the kid ready for school and get myself ready to head to the office. On the train ride to work I scribbled some drawings and some rules onto a piece of paper. I picked up a pack of index cards for the train ride home and by the time disembarked I had a few dozen cards and the first version of the game ready to play. I played the first game with my son Domenico. He loved it. He and I spent the next few weeks coming up with ideas for cards. Soon after I played a few more games with family and friends. Everyone that played the game was having fun. Perhaps I was onto something.

Refine, Rinse, Repeat

Each new iteration of Morning Madness took between a week and a month to produce. After the new deck of cards was ready I would round up some play testers and play the game. During these play sessions I would pay attention to how people interacted with the game and how people interacted with each other. With each iteration ideas for improving the game were recorded. Cards were added, modified or removed. Rules were changed. Here are three examples of how the game was improved…

At one point I observed that when a player would “lose a turn” they would become bored as their opponent played two turns in a row. I replaced “lose a turn” with “steal a card” and the game became more engaging.

Players wanted to play a second Calamity Card when the first one was blocked by an Item Card. I changed the rules to allow players to do just that. This change made for a richer, more engaging play experience.

Play testers wanted their Characters to be able to wear Clothing Cards from either gender. I changed the rules to allow it. People laughed more during these gender stereotype-free play sessions. The games were faster and more interactive.

Make It Look Awesome

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At the time of publishing this post I am focusing on making Morning Madness look amazing. I anticipate that it will take a the next six months (or more!) to finish all one hundred and eleven cards.

Packaging, Beta Release

Once I have the game looking great it will be time to iron out my marketing strategy. This will involve designing the packaging, getting some test runs printed and sent off to reviewers.

The Rest

Marketing, funding, getting the game into people’s hands…all very important steps. I have a rough sketch for all of that and will be sharing it when the time is right (and when the sketch is a bit less rough).

Pancake Mistake

Artwork 2

Pancake Mistake
2014

Daft Punk, Beck

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Daft Punk, Beck
by Domenico
Link

Test Post From WordPress Mobile App

Mic check.

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The Play Testers

After more than a bit of head-scratching, doodling, printing, thinking and lots of other stuff Morning Madness is at a point where it plays beautifully. This would not be possible without the play testers…friends and family who have played countless rounds of the game in it’s various states of incompleteness. Thanks be to the following folk…

Gary & Jenny Carpineta
Jonathan Cook (who also has a game in the works)
Lisa Cook
Everett & Louis Dean
Al, Grace and Moira Everett
Mandy Justice
Andrew Looney (The co-honcho over at Looney Labs and creator of Fluxx)
Jessica & Patrick Sharp
Antonette & Clément Vasseur
Domenico Vigliotti & Annabella Cook (Morning Madness expert-level play testers)
Anna-Marie, Chip, Rona and Nessa York (aka the The Steampunk Family)

Birthdaymenico: A Birthday Letter To My Son

Dear Domenico,

Today* marks the first day of the ninth year of your existence as a human on this strange planet known as earth. Nine years ago today my world became full of joy, excitement and diapers.

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I remember the moment you were born, the nurses rinsing the goop off of you, your mother and I holding you. I remember the day we brought you home. That night I cranked the baby monitor up as loud as it could go. I laid in bed and listened to you breathing. You kinda sounded like Darth Vader. Soon after your mother and I decided that it would be better (and quieter) to have you sleep in the room with us.

I remember about a billion diaper changes between the time you were born and the time you were fully potty trained. Once it became apparent that you would no longer need diapers I remember throwing you in the car and driving to Toys R Us to buy you a toy to celebrate the occasion.

I remember your first words, your first steps. It took you a while to learn how to pronounce the letter D properly. For a time I was known as “gah-ghee”. I would return home from work and you would be waiting for me by the window screaming GAH-GHEE!

There are about a million more memories that I could recount here, but I will save some of those embarrassing moments for future letters that I post on the internet for the world to read.

This is the first year that I will not be with you in-person to celebrate your birthday. I wish with all of my heart that I could be with you today. I have instructed your mother to give you lots of extra hugs and kisses from me…so be prepared!

Love always,
– Gah-ghee

* I published this a bit early due to the time difference between here and Australia

Waterford Arts & Jazz Festival

A few of my illustrations will be on display at the Waterford Arts & Jazz Festival this Saturday (March 29th). For more information head over to https://www.facebook.com/waterfordartsandjazz/

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Dinner Strikes Back (Fancy Art Show Edition)
2014

Catbox Catastrophe

I recently stumbled across this piece from last year and was reminded of why I stopped moving forward with Morning Madness last year. My workflow at the time had me hand-drawing each piece of art, scanning it in and then tracing the lines using the pen tool. I’m rather particular about the thickness of lines in my work, and was quite new to Adobe Illustrator at the time. This meant that each piece of art took me a really long time to produce.

Thankfully I’m a bit better with Illustrator these days and have recently added a Wacom Cintiq 13HD to my toolkit. Creating digital art with the Cintiq is a joy.

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Catbox Catastrophe
2013

Underwear Scare

Iteration three of Morning Madness (a family-friendly card game that I’m working on in my free time) is hot off the presses. I enjoyed a game with Bella, my resident seven-year-old expert play tester. Afterward I made a few tweaks to the game. Game mechanics that involve a player losing a turn are gone. Calamity cards that have your opponent discarding one or more cards can now be played at any time. These two changes ensure that the game flows nicely and that all players are actively involved in the game at all times. I cannot wait to share more about this game publicly, but need to wait until I work out the legal mumbo jumbo.

Meanwhile I have begun working on iteration four, which I hope to be the final version before I order professionally printed prototypes to send to game reviewers and then seek funding for production. The design goals for iteration four are to (1) have each card looking amazing and (2) the addition of flavor text. Here is an example of a near-completed card with flavor text…

Artwork

Underwear Scare
2014

“I Object To Objects By Reference” or
“The Power Of jQuery Compels Me”

I’m working on a sexy piece of software at the moment. It’s for somebody else so I can’t share the details. What I can say is that I was tasked with creating a custom object-oriented MVC JavaScript framework. I’m deep in the heart of AJAX country and am really enjoying using JavaScript and jQuery.

I ran into a gotcha today when attempting to overwrite a JavaScript object with a blank one. Here is an example that highlights my issue…

As it turns out these lines of code were the offenders

These ‘copies’ of the aDeveloper object weren’t making copies at all…they were making a ‘shallow copy’ or a ‘copy by reference’ each time. This means that when I modified this.chris to say ‘I like monster movies’ I was also modifying the aDeveloper object.

In order to make a true copy (or ‘deep copy’), I struck down the offending code and wielded the power of jQuery.

jQuery to the rescue! Here’s the entire solution.

OK codeslingers, that’s it for now. Go make something great!