Games, Design & Game Design

Archive for the ‘Design Practice’ Category

Post-Soviet Post-Apocalyptic Robot Action

In Design Practice, Game Design, Links, Promo on March 8, 2012 at 3:17 pm

In case you haven’t had your fill of giant fighty robots, I present to you the Kickstarter for my next microgame publishing project. Check out the project page for all the details!

Vesna Thaw Promo


Winter Cleaning

In Design Practice, Product Design, Promo on February 15, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Just a little heads-up – I did some resorting of my website, hopefully to make it parse a little easier at first blush.

Also, I finally put up a fun little project that I’ve had sitting around for a while. They originally came out of some of my early casting experiments for my thesis work, and I ended up finding them charming in their own right. I present to you: Nubs. Little things, just for fun! Check out more ways to use them at my site, or if you want some of your own, I have sets available at my store for only $5!


Hard white Nubs, as miniature elements.

Thus, I strike against February malaise.

In Vino Veritas (Custom Wine Rack)

In Design Practice, Design Process, Product Design, Self-Reflection, Sketches on December 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I have a little problem with ordering wine on the internet. I wish I could say that I’m a customer of discerning taste, but it’s more like I get coupons from totally unrelated purchases and figure that if I’m going to eventually drink 12 bottles of 10$ wine, I might as well get it delivered all at once and not have to shlep down to the liquor store every weekend.

At some point, I lost track of my purchases, and a couple different orders all came at once.

18 bottles of wine

18 bottles of wine, original storage solution

This, of course, demanded that I make a wine rack to hold these fine beverages in style. I think I have one more round of revisions to make to be totally happy, but this is the current solution:

In Vino Veritas mark 2

Current version of the rack. 18 bottle capacity + internal shelf.

Materials & Process: CNC machined .5″ baltic birch, blue wood stain (face) and Xact-2-Form .5″ cement form material (sides and back). Drawn in Rhino and Illustrator, cut with a custom Shopbot rig at my work. Machining time about 2 hours, plus another hour or so of sanding and finish. Pressure-fit slot construction, no fasteners or glue. Overall dimensions ~ 31″ wide x15.5″ tall x 8.25″ deep.

Full process, detail shots and more info after the jump. All images are click-to-embiggen-able.

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Pause, Stop, Pause

In Commentary, Design Practice, Self-Reflection on November 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

So it sure has been a little busy around here since August.

In real life, my fabrication gig has proved to be much busier than it was originally envisioned – which is good, because it’s keeping me employed, but it sure was an adjustment getting back into real making after two years off. Also, in a big case of “when it rains, it pours” I had accepted a couple of freelance projects just before starting that job, which meant from mid-July through the beginning of October I was just working all the time. An exhausting adjustment. Real work is different from school work, I remember that now!

Fortunately, October saw things slow down a little on the work front, but it was bookended by travel (a lovely short vacation at the beginning, and a rad friend’s wedding at the end), and I really wanted nothing to do with anything that wasn’t right in front of my face.

And then it was November, oh snap!

Work seems to be settling into a more predictable pattern, for now, and I’m actually doing some low-key personal designing (a wine rack for my kitchen, and maybe some other things), which is refreshing. I’m also noodling about (re: completely overhauling) a big game project that I’ve been working on off and on since before I went to school.

The main thing for me, now, is trying to rediscover the fun in what I like to do. Something about going through the grad school process really seemed to drain the joy out of me – I would be willing to chalk it up to my personal wierdness, but I’ve had this conversation with most of my classmates and everyone seems to have experienced the same thing. I don’t know why this is so, but it kinda really sucks. Something about the pressure of the critical environment combined with the lack of confidence in our own abilities? I dunno.

I’m hoping that just making some small, simple, unambitious things will help me find my way back to the fun. We shall see.

Be Ashamed Young Prince Is Go

In Design Practice, Game Design, Promo, Publishing, Roleplaying Games on July 10, 2011 at 11:45 am

Witness the Murder of Your Father and Be Ashamed, Young Prince is now available for purchase.

Here’s all the info

Here’s the MagCloud page to buy it in print for $5

Here’s my page to buy it in PDF for $2


BAYP Cover

Where Is Done

In Design Practice, Exhibitions, Links, Self-Reflection, Thesis Work on June 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

The opening for our thesis show was last Monday afternoon/evening, and it was quite a day! In brief:

My final critique went as well as could be expected. The jury was up out of their seats, poking at things and asking lots of questions, which is always nice. Energy in a critique is a joy. There were some very cogent critical points brought up at all levels of the design, from the mechanics level to presentation to marketing/distribution, but overall the response was positive and I walked out feeling pretty good about it.

My department head invited me to be one of two student panelists on a round-table discussion centering around the central question/statement of the show (Where Is Where, indeed) and the relationship between art and design. The format was pretty odd to me, and I felt like the time alloted (an hour) was a little long, but it was a very interesting experience. My classmates told me afterwards that I was making the most sense, which means that I either succeeded at trying to state my opinions clearly and simply, or failed at speaking on the same level as the professionals and academics on the panel; either way, I’m glad that I had the chance to participate.

Oh, and then I got an award! My department gives out merit awards for “exemplary work,” thanks to one of our long-time and generous patrons Betsy Karp, and I was one of the three recipients in my cohort. So I am now an award-winning designer. Fear me, world!

Then the reception was loud, crowded and fun. Lots of congratulations and champagne, and the school’s news magazine interviewed me, which was weird but kind of fun in it’s own way.

Overall, a successful day, I think.

Much like the Milan project I’ll be keeping a list of press outlets that cover the SAIC AIADO+Fashion thesis show Where is Where.

(last updated 6/30/11)

Thesis Update: Just Work

In Design Practice, Design Process, Game Design, Product Design, Promo, Thesis Work on May 2, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Since getting back from Milan, I’ve had to refocus on this whole thesis thing pretty hardcore. On the plus side, as the semester winds down (one week of classes left!), all of the other classes are slowly falling away. Soon, it’ll just be us and thesis, battle to the death, for about a month.

On the one hand, it’s going to be a lot of work, because I really, really want to have a quality final product for the show in June. On the other hand, at this point it’s “just” work. The games have started gaining that momentum where it’s becoming obvious which parts to let fall away, which fold into each other, and which feed the development of the next stages. This is the fun part (twitter whining notwithstanding).

To that end, photos!

I have my critique week critique in a couple of days, so most of my energy is going towards having some playable prototypes for that. Hopefully after I’ll have some kind of insighful analysis. Until then, pictures of rubber pants should suffice.

Test Pants

Test pair for my final molding method, still on the mold.

More pics after the jump.

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Milan Buzz

In Design Practice, Links, Milan, Promo on April 13, 2011 at 4:55 am

We have pretty limited internet in the apartments, so I’m not really online much over the course of this week. But in brief: Milan is rad, there are a million billion designers and design shows here this week, and it’s a pretty amazing place to be right now. Our space (Spazio Rossana Orlandi) is wonderful (check out this Core77 overview with pics), and the reception to our show has been really positive so far. Someone from (leading Italian design+architecture) magazine Domus came by during our last day of install, and wrote us up already, which is pretty sweet. Link:

If we get any other coverage that I come across I’ll update this list. Last updated 7.17.11.


Business Card Porn

In Design Practice, Product Design, Promo on April 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Can’t resist.

New Business Cards

New business cards for Milan, front

New Business Cards Backs

New business cards for Milan, backs

Printed by on their “Moo Green” stock. The ink bleeds into the stock a little more than I would have anticipated, but overall I’m pretty happy!

LOADED (it’s official!)

In Chicago, Design Practice, Links, Milan, Promo on March 18, 2011 at 10:03 am

Loaded Banner

(From the press release, links added by me)

Chicago, IL—Emerging designers from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) will present new work at Milan’s premier independent design showroom, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, during the Salone Internazionale del Mobile (International Furniture Fair), April 12 –17, 2011. Their exhibition, LOADED, is the result of an intense two-semester design studio directed by Helen Maria Nugent and Jim TerMeer, both professors in the department of Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects (AIADO) at SAIC.

The provocative objects presented in LOADED exploit the history, physicality, and currency of two catalytic materials: iron and sugar. In addition to the exhibition’s 13 original designed objects (lighting, tableware, and jewelry), two of the projects—one in sugar, the other in iron—will be produced in multiples specifically for the show. Elements of the exhibition design also engage in this investigation, resulting in custom cast-iron display fixtures and sculptural sugar props.

LOADED explores the ways in which an object’s value is essentially fluid—continually shaped by our global systems of trade, by real or man-made states of scarcity and abundance, by cultural ideologies, and by human desires. Designers include: Brian Anderson, Amma Aning, Morgan Carter, Ryan Chorbagian, Valerie DeKeyser, Cecilia Gomez, Stephen Gulau, Lee Won Joon, Charlie McArthur, Jordan Morrell, Lauren Mosakowski, Nathan Paoletta, Ciara Taylor, Daniel Whiteneck, and Zhe Zhang. Iron projects are cast in collaboration with the Chicago Crucible, a boutique metal foundry operated by SAIC alumnus Lloyd Mandelbaum (BFA 2008).

High resolution press images from the project are available online at Project summaries, process images, and more information will soon be available at

Other presentations at Spazio Rossana Orlandi during the fair include projects by Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison, Jaime Hayon, Humberto and Fernando Campana, Muuto, Piet Hein Eek, and Raw Edges (Shay Alkalay + Yael Mer).