Games, Design & Game Design

Archive for the ‘Product Design’ Category

Early Stages of Mayhem

In Design Process, Game Design, Product Design, Sketches on March 30, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I’m working in a new board game. I’m pleased with how the first stage prototype is coming along, so I wanted to share! (click to embiggen)

Prototype 1

The first run-through

Prototype 2

First runthrough, the map at the end of the game.

Prototype 3

Second run-through, three players

Prototype 4

Second runthrough, three players, map at the end of the game.


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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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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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!

Milan Proceeding Apace

In Design Process, Milan, Product Design, Promo, Uncategorized on March 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

Unfortunately, my video capability for my last (and I think final) dripcast was hamstrung by a collection of old batteries, none of which were capable of providing more than a minute of video at a time. But, in short, my casting guy figured out a solution to the keying-in problem, enabling us to separate the coin metal from the iron die without any problems at all! I was, in the end, able to cast one bowl out of $20 worth of nickels, and one out of $20 of quarters. In addition, I brought some plastic consumer goods to try. The polypropylene bowls didn’t really melt (they just burn away), but we had astounding, and weird, success with a $20 spindle of blank DVDs.

Three Successful Bowls

Three successful bowls! Nickels, Quarters and DVDS (clockwise from left)

In addition, I cast $20 worth of sugar (which is a LOT of sugar, btw), and $20 worth of decorative candles (mmm, Fig+Patchouli).

Check out all the (many) pics after the jump!

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Milan Process – Failing Forward

In Design Practice, Design Process, Milan, Product Design on March 10, 2011 at 11:04 am


Things I Learned:

  • I brought twice as much material as I had estimated I’d need. It ended up being barely enough to make one piece. Later, I was told the rule of thumb is bring at least 4 times what you think you need; if you waste half your material twice, then at least you’ll get one thing out of it.
  • Molten metal behaves completely differently from any of my prototyping materials (wax, quick-setting plastic). It was really cute how I thought I could approximate it. It’s so much more dense and viscous even at it’s most molten (or at least it’s most molten we could achieve with the oxy-torch) that it didn’t flow the way I thought/hoped.
  • This experimental casting process is totally experimental. I had hoped to get finished pieces; I barely got one kinda-sorta-prototype out of it.
  • Not being able to actually do it myself is intensely frustrating, even when working with a really chill guy that is absolutely on board with making my crazy idea work.
  • Sandcasting is NOT the process to use to make a precision die. The flaws in the iron surface gave the currency material plenty of opportunity to key in, making it necessary to chisel the material off the die. Extremely not ideal.

Also, the prototype itself really doesn’t have the attractive quality that I had hoped for. So, the idea is expanding and changing a bit – instead of casting different kinds of change ($2 of pennies, $2 of nickels, etc), I’ll be assembling the same face value of various goods as well ($20 of plastic toys, $20 of fine chocolate, $20 of aluminum foil, etc) and casting those over the die. Dematerialization and Rematerialization of value, indeed.

Read on for pics!

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Process for Milan

In Design Practice, Design Process, Milan, Product Design on February 26, 2011 at 11:37 am

If all goes well, I should have final pieces within the week!

The project, called More Than It’s Worth, comes from consideration of the intangibility of currency in the modern digital networked world, and what other potential values of the physical totems of money we can find.

The final pieces will be the same amount ($2.00) worth of US currency, melted and drip-cast over a cast-iron die. Each bowl in the series is made of one type of coin (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar coins), demonstrating the curious relationships between face, melt and aesthetic value of each.

Some pics of the plastic prototypes (the making of which is show in the video up top):

More Than It's Worth Prototypes

Prototypes Closeup

More Than It's Worth Prototypes 2

Prototypes of "dollars" "dimes" and "nickels" Top View (from left-right)

More Than It's Worth Prototypes 3

Prototypes "dollars" "dimes" "nickels" (from left-right)

Food Court Frenzy!

In Design Process, Game Design, Product Design, Sketches, Thesis Work on February 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm
Food Court Frenzy! Promo

Food Court Frenzy! Prototype

Food Court Frenzy is my second game exploration that’s made it to prototype. It’s for 2-4 players (though I imagine it could have more, maybe up to 6). You have won a shopping spree at the local mall food court! Each player has 100$ and takes turns rolling 1 six-sided die and moving around the board. You have to buy and eat the food at the stall that you land on; money is handled with tokens, and food is represented by marbles. Cheaper food counts for more marbles, and vice versa. To eat, you place your marbles in your suspended balloon, representing your stomach. The first player who is unable to place a marble in their balloon, or who knocks over their balloon stand, ends the game. That player loses for sure, and then the player with the most money remaining wins!

There are a couple of other winkles (the circle in the center is the “Bully Circle”, with a chance of having a free turn, having money stolen, or being force-fed a marble), but that’s pretty much it. It is stupidly fun, at least for adults who don’t take themselves too seriously.

The next major design challenge (other than running some simulations on the board to see if the space distribution makes sense) is the actual units used as the stomach stands. I think anthopomorphic is the way to go, and just today started prototyping in acrylic.

Food Court Frenzy! Stand Prototypes

Food Court Frenzy! Stand Prototypes

I’m very pleased, and excited to keep developing this one! More pics (mostly from the initial playtest) after the jump.

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Games About Food

In Design Process, Game Design, Product Design on January 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

For my graduate thesis, I will be designing a game, or more likely a series of games, about food. Specifically, I’m aiming to create analog (as opposed to digital) games that aim to inform and educate players about the systems involved in bringing food into their bellies, and hopefully empower players to make better choices for themselves about what and how they eat.

Sound lofty? A little, I suppose. But I think its (a) achievable and (b) important. I want to, in some small way, connect people with what they eat in a mindful and helpful manner, without being public-service-announcement-y. And I love games (obviously), and the power that they have to engage and immerse people into constructed realities.

The first phase of the project will be what we’re calling “investigations,” a series of quick, intense projects meant to really work out exactly what this project is going to end up looking like. My goal is to figure out exactly what will make a fun game. It should be rad. I hope to post my progress here, both to track how things are going, and to provide drafts of games for perusal, feedback – and maybe some playtesting…

I’m excited!