John Bintz's Blog


Scrum for One Week Thirteen: CHARACTERS!

This week I started serious work done on the Character Cards for the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! Kickstarter.I managed to finish 25 of them, roughly 20% of the total number of cards to draw. Some rough calculations showed that it takes about 20-25min to draw a single card. The plan is to rip through the cards for backers I'll be shipping to, so that they get their rewards first. Local pickup folks can wait 'cause they won't be getting their games until the end of August.

Last week's sprint goal was Finish 3 Music Comics and finish up content for a secret project. I only got one comic done, sadly. I need to step it up this week and get some comics done, but I also need to keep cranking away on Character Cards, so I'm going to go for the ambitious goal of Finish 4 Music Comics and 18 Character Cards. Content for the secret project will have to wait. Lots to do!

Last week's kaizen was Keep Your Desk Clean. I'm going back to Stay off Reddit. Been wasting too much time on there.

Tomorrow is Bmore into Comics. Yeah!


Scrum for One Week Twelve: Gimme The CASSSSSSSSHHHHHH

This week, Amazon finally released all of the funds from the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! Kickstarter and I got my refund back from a show that was canceled eons ago, so Tongue-Tied Lemur, Inc. is swimming in cash. Like a duck.

Last week's Sprint Goal was, as usual, Finish 5 Mid-Life Chorus comics. I got four done, but instead of the 5th, I came up with a T-shirt and a print for the earworm character I came up with for Mid-Life Chorus. Awesome. This week's goal will be Finish 3 Mid-Life Chorus comics and work on (project you'll hear about shortly). I've produced 36 of the 48 comics in the series, so I can slow down a bit and move on some other things. I know this week I'll be drawing a ton of Character Cards for Can't Catch Me, Olivia! too, but those I can easily sneak in the cracks when I have time. I've had one story following me through sprints, which means it should have been a Release, not a Feature. Oh well, live and learn.

Last week's kaizen and this week's kaizen will be the same: Keep Your Desk Clean. Still not great at that.

This week will also have some con prep, as Bmore Into Comics is on the 26th at The Windup Space! I hope to see you there!


Scrum for One Week Eleven: Loose-end-opolis

This week was all about loose ends related to the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! Kickstarter campaign. Lots of drawing, proofing, testing, and ordering things, as well as handling surveys and questions from backers. There were also a lot of outside things to do, all of them fun thankfully.

This week's Sprint Goal was Finish 5 Music comics. I got 4 done. But I also scored a gorillion points. So I did all right on that. I'm keeping that goal for another week, until I can start scaling back on Mid-Life Chorus production since the buffer will be prety filled up.

This week's kaizen was Keep Your Desk Clean. Eh, I was all right at that. I'll keep that one, too.

Also, I've decided to bail on the 5th Street Games/The Game Crafter project. I did pledge at the Designer level to Unpub 5, so I'll have a different game ready for that instead. Up this week: those five music comics and some prep for Bmore into Comics. Yeah!


Scrum for One Week Ten: Kickstarter Followup

This sprint's not quite over yet, but it's close enough. There were so many Kickstarter-related tasks this week that I managed to knock out a ton of points, not that that matters a whole bunch of course. Art-wise, I drew a few more Mid-Life Chorus comics, created a new Dawn's Dictionary Drama customizable print (where I modify the print for the buyer), and started assembling The Purloined Patoot Prosthesis into a minicomic for an upcoming show, Bmore into Comics. I'm going to have enough things to sell there this time that I should be able to at least cover table costs, if not moreso.

My sprint goal was to Finish the Kickstarter Page for (secret project) and finish 4 Mid-Life Chorus Comics. Yes, I'm planning for the next Kickstarter now! I did finish four comics, though one of them was a redo of an earlier one I didn't like. I'll allow it. I'm going back to the old standby of Finish 5 Mid-Life Chorus Comics for this sprint.

My Kaizen was Don't Waste Time on Reddit. I kinda did that. I'm going back to the old standby Keep Your Desk Clean for this sprint.

This sprint will involve coordinating Kickstarter rewards, art for Can't Catch Me, Olivia!, and more con prep for Bmore into Comics.


Scrum for One Week Nine: Kick it out of the park

I was away for a few days this week, so I had dropped my Team Strength to 50%. That still didn't stop me from knocking out a ton of little stories on Monday and Tuesday, and one big one while I was away. So now my velocity is ridiculously high. Oh well. This week was also the week the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! Kickstarter started, which means that my backlog is soon going to fill with lots of fulfillment and custom art tasks in the coming weeks. This means I should get as many Mid-Life Chorus comics done so I don't blow through my buffer on that.

Last week's kaizen was Relax. I kinda did. It was quite a busy week, even when away on vacation, so it wasn't as relaxing as I hoped it would be. This week's kaizen is back to stopping the dopamine fixes: Don't wast time on Reddit.

Last week's sprint goal was Have a Successful Kickstarter. Unless every single backer backs out now, it will be. That's one of the perks of having a very nice, low goal. This week's sprint goal is Finish 4 music comics and start a new marketing effort. :)


SVGGVS 0.0.12: New The Game Crafter parts and Landscape mode

In perparation for a few new games I want to put together, I've done some code work on SVGGVS. The latest release has two nice changes:

Support for new parts on The Game Crafter

In my 5th Street Games contest entry, I'm going to need Small Square Tiles and Square Shards for the modular board and resource & crowd tiles. So I broke out the original hard-coded Poker card PDF code into a more generic layout engine, and added size definitions for those two part types. You would put them into the Card Size field in your spreadsheet and away you go! As I need different parts for games I'll add them. If there's a part that's not listed that you need, pull requests that add more part types to the EXPORT_DEFAULTS are more than welcome!

Landscape card support

Another feature I need for my contest entry and another upcoming project is landscape cards. I am not going to make them in Inkscape rotated, because that would be ridiculous. So I added support for post-export card rotation to SVGGVS. If you have cards in your game that need to be rotated, define a new Cardfile that specifies the c.orientation = :landscape property in the config and references a separate rotated SVG file. Yes, your rotated cards will be in a separate PDF that you'll have to join together, but it does mean you won't have to create your cards sideways.

Grab the latest version with gem install svggvs. If you have an existing project, bundle update svggvs in that project directory will install the latest version and reference it in your project.


Scrum for One Week Eight: wow much kickstarter prep many stories very points

This week was mostly abbout preparing for the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! Kickstarter campaign. I made it out to an event at The Windup Space to promote the game and project a little, and managed to play a few rounds of it as well as drop off postcards. Additionally, I got a ton of comics done for my upcoming music memoir comic Mid-Life Chorus. At this point, I'm halfway done (24 completed) with all the comics that will be in the series. I did some more work on my 5th Street Games/The Game Crafter contest entry, and I hope to get some more playtesting of it done this coming week. Finally, there were some smaller loose ends & project prep things I managed to finish.

Last week's sprint goal was Finish 5 Music Comics, and I definitely did that. This week's is Succeed at your Kickstarter. Let's hope I've done enough legwork and preparation for it to succeed.

Last week's kaizen was Browse Reddit Less. Eh, I kinda did that. This week's is Relax. I'll be going away for a few days, and I plan on doing just that. I'll be bringing my GPD G5A for some digital gaming, basically every board game I own for some tabletop gaming, and a pair of swim trunks for lots of pool time. If you follow the Kickstarter's updates, expect lots of pictures of me by the pool, with a beer, toasting to my (hopeful) success.

This also means that, for this week, I'll be using Pivotal Tracker's Team Strength modifier. I set it at 50%, 'cause I'll be away for a few days and won't be able to do a whole lot (I can't really do art, for instance, but I could hack a little on the Can't Catch Me, Olivia! mobile app), but I might get bored one evening and want to blog or whatever. That means the values of the committed stories in this sprint total 50% of my normal velocity, but we'll see how many of those I get done when I start getting into that pool. :)


My 5th Street Games/The Game Crafter Contest Entry Blog Thing #1

So I've decided to put together an entry for the upcoming The Game Crafter/5th Street Games contest that is due September 1st. I used Boardgamizer to come up with some mechanics and came up with the following:

  • Mechanics: Pattern Matching, Action Cards
  • Theme: Faire, Waste, something else
  • Victory: Something not that interesting
  • Constraint: Must be stressful

I decided to make a series of mechanic that involved the following:

  • "Recipes" of patterns that you have to build using resources taken from spots on the board, drawn from a deck, one per player
  • A modular board, with a pathway that cuts through the middle, for players to move on
  • A "delivery cart" that runs around the board, replenishing the spots on the board with resources
  • A queue of resources that need to be delivered
  • A space where resources from the queue are moved to the delivery cart for delivery to stores
  • Action cards that move your player pawn or the delivery card, as well as performing all sorts of other actions in the game
  • Each player gets a certain number of action cards and has to plan their actions to retrieve resources and mess with other players

I'm trying to be very limited in what I add to the game. I started off developing the game with just a basic board, a spread of action cards with no actual actions on them, just movement values distributed from 2-6. I created a few recipes to start with, and started tuning.

After a partial playthrough or two, I started to see where the game needed additional interactions between players, the delivery cart, the board, the queue, and the stores. The majority of the additions were to the text on the action cards:

  • Add an item to the queue.
  • Make the cart discard an item.
  • Make the card drop an item in the space it leaves from (a player can then pick it up if they move into the square and end their turn).
  • Interact with a player when you pass through them or land on their space (more destructive if you can land exactly on their space).
  • Draw more cards into your hand.
  • When the cart and players are in the same quadrant of the map, bad things happen to those players.
  • When the cart runs through a player, it does a lot of damage to the player.
  • When a player runs through the cart, it does a little damage to the player, but still some damage, so it's not a good idea to get near it.

There's still some tuning that needs to be done to the game, but it's definitely pretty stressful, especially when there's contention for a particular resource. I need to really tune the availability of the resources so that they're scarce, but not that scarce.

More updates as I hammer away at it some more! I hope to have the mechanics and rules worked out by mid-July, so that I can spend most of August doing artwork and fine tuning.


Scrum for One Week Seven: A New Contest!

This week's sprint was decent. I didn't manage to get the seven comics done that I wanted to, mainly because I decided to start putting an entry together for The Game Crafter's 5th Street Games Contest. I think I have a good idea, which I'll be blogging about here while I work on it. I've lowered my sprint goal for this week to Finish 5 Comics, which, if I can keep up the pace, I'll be able to have the art for the comic done by the end of July.

My kaizen for this week was Keep My Desk Clean, which I didn't do too great about. I'm probably going to do a thorough desk cleaning this Saturday, then let it ride while I spend this week Not Spending So Much Time On Reddit. Well, except for /r/asoiaf. That's going to explode this Sunday.


Scrum for One Week Six: Comics Time

This week went pretty well. I managed to rocket through a ton of comics for my upcoming one-shot comic project, as well as took care of some small related tasks for that. I still have a crap-ton of comics to draw for that (I've finished 13 of 48, and some are way more complex than others) so my sprint goal will be Finish 7 Comics, as opposed to the 5 I has before. Kickstarter stuff had gotten in the way with an earlier attempt, so now I have to play a little catch up. Plus, I don't anticipate getting too much else done from June 23 to June 30.

My desk is still a mess. Keep Your Desk Clean stays as the kaizen.

Kickstarter work for Can't Catch Me, Olivia! has slowed down, thankfully. Now it's just a matter of waiting and making sure the rest of the pieces fall into place. Additionally, I don't have to worry about doing any time-consuming video editing, which took up a day or two last week as well. So I should get a lot of drawing done this week. I hope.

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