Second Weekly Report

I have no idea how it’s already the end of my second week with WGE, but it is. This week was a short week, because Greg and I didn’t get back to Los Angeles until Monday evening and then I took Tuesday off to work on my job for Georgia Tech, and then I had Friday off as well (well, mostly).

On Wednesday, when I rejoined the WGE effort, I worked on listing the company on several listing sites. Greg and Myles had compiled a large Google Doc of all of the online websites where their competitors are listed, in the hopes that they might get themselves listed on those sites as well. So I went through the Doc, site by site, and submitted the company to be listed. Most of them were fairly easy, but some of them have a reviewing process that takes a few days. Next week, I’m planning on going back and checking if the listings have been processed yet.

I also helped finish up the Catalina Clockwise checklist. I had helped Myles compile some of the Clockwise checklist for his event last Saturday, but this was a more complicated game, so it required more preparing. I had some more insight on what exactly goes into a Clockwise event, and the answer is a lot of props and a lot of work. Thank goodness for the checklist.

The props checklist was just fine and fairly straightforward to get all gathered. The actor situation became a bit muddled when we were suddenly short an actor, and then short another one. Thankfully, on Thursday, we were able to book two actors to take their place, so it ended up alright, but it just reminded me that you’ve always got to be on your toes for things you need to do.

Thursday I was the ferry booking master. In order to get to our event on Catalina Island for our client, we need to take a ferry. We also needed to book tickets for our actors, and since our actors were booked last minute, I needed to book the tickets last minute. The Catalina Express, however, fills up fairly fast. I was on the phone with Catalina Express at least three different times that day, trying to figure out which trips were still open and convenient for our actors. I was however able to successfully secure the tickets.

Greg and I also took a look at the Bachelorette Blowout Kits since we needed to assemble one that had been ordered from Canada. We updated some of the instructions, printed them out, and got it all ready to ship. I dropped it off at the post office on my way home. These kits are a good way to spread the brand name all over and with minimal effort. I mean, obviously it took effort to put the kits together initially, but now it’s really just pulling folders, and putting it in a box. There is customization available, but this kit didn’t order that.

I also got to take a field trip to Ozzie Dots, a local costume store, to pick up two cowboy hats for the Clockwise game. That was also fun.

Friday was initially another day off because Myles and co. were heading up to Boston for his wife’s college reunion and Greg was going to referee a roller derby tournament. However, I woke up to an email from Myles asking for some help. As the World’s Most Superior Intern, I leaped into action.

E3 is happening next week, and WGE is participating as part of IndieCade’s booth. Their game is called E3gomania. It’s a Trivial Pursuit-type game. Players are asked trivia questions about video games, and (I think) when they get a question right, they get to move forward through a path that is laid out on the ground. However, instead of players themselves moving through the paths, they have real-life avatars. And in E3gomania, these avatars are hunky dudes. Now, this is intended to be a critique on the common, but totally sleazy habit of video game booths using “booth babes” to attract people to their booths. Instead of hot women though, we’re having hot men.

My immediate reaction to this is thumbs up.

So what Myles wanted me to do this morning was two-fold: find a place to buy wrestling singlets for our hunky male avatars (they apparently can’t be shirtless at E3, which honestly seems stupid, because I’m pretty sure the booth babes have their big ass boob cleavage all over the place, but whatever) and to then hire the male actors.

Well okay then. I mean, I guess I can do that.

If you insist.

So I put out an ad on Craigslist and then waited. I had been planning to go to Griffith Park Observatory that morning, so while I was getting dressed and eating a snack to get fueled up, I fielded maybe half a dozen applicants. I sent Myles my two choices, two very respectable looking men who could get the job one. I then took off to go to the Observatory and go for a hike.

Upon getting to the Park and the beginning of the hiking trail, I had two more applicants in my inbox who put the rest to shame, so I quickly emailed Myles to let him know I had hunks that out hunked the other hunks. It was pretty fun to play talent agent for the day, although I’m not going to lie, it’s still a little bizarre to keep getting half naked pictures of strange men in my inbox.

Oh, right, and wrestling singlets. Right that other thing I was asked to do. Well, it turns out, no sporting goods store in Los Angeles carries wrestling singlets. This seems silly. After calling at least 10 or 12 different sporting goods stores, I finally had the idea of dancing unitards. So I Googled some dance stores, and the first one I called had pretty much exactly what I was looking for. So I’m hoping that that will work out just fine.

This week was certainly short, but still full of things to learn from. The most memorable one was a story/concept that Myles told me. To start out, he told me that he was trying to make the phrase Pencilution at thing (to which Greg immediately replied “Myles, stop trying to make fetch happen. It’s not going to happen.”). Pencilution is a reference to the story of NASA engineers who spent a lot of effort trying to develop a pen that could write in the zero-gravity environment of space. The Russian cosmonauts, on the other hand, decided to use pencils.

Myles described that a similar type of situation happened to him last year at E3 when he was putting on Dot Race, which was a Twister-like racing game. Myles cut out the vinyl spots from Twister games and then glues them to a huge piece of other fabric in order to make the track. A lot of people played this game, so the Dot Race track went through a lot of wear and tear. On of the days, Myles was mending the Dot Race track by regluing the roughed up dots and repairing the fabric. While he was doing this, a man walked by, took a look at what he was doing, and simply said, “Spray paint and stencils.”

A pencilution is a solution to a problem that really isn’t as complicated as we make it. Sometimes there are just way simpler solutions than we can think of because we’re so deeply involved in the project. Dot Race was based on Twister, so Myles’ thought process made sense to just reorganize those dots. However, it took a third person’s perspective, who wasn’t so close to the project, to realize the simpler solution.

It was an interesting concept to think about. That’s why iteration and playtesting is so important, among other reasons.

Something else that I really spent my time on this week was working on the orientation game for WGE’s second summer intern and a classmate of mine from Georgia Tech, Adam. Adam’s going to come work for WGE after I leave in June (I know, what will you do without my blogposts?), and Myles asked me to create a game for Adam to play when he gets here. I can’t actually remember if he asked for me to make it like an orientation game, but that’s what I’m going with.

I’ve been actually really excited to work on that. It’s been a lot of fun. I’m creating a game that combines several of WGE’s games into one mega game that gives the intern (whoever it may be) a taste of what it’s like to work with WGE and what their games and brand is.

When I started out, I made a list of all of the things that I thought were really important and needed to be discussed in an orientation. These are all things that I learned within my first week with WGE, and they include basic things like “this is where the props are” to “this is an example of part of a WGE game.”

After I made that list, I figured out a way to incorporate them into the game. The hardest one to figure out was the Green Binder of Roles. As I’ve mentioned previously, the Green Binder of Roles, is a binder that contains all of the roles that Greg and Myles do as part of WGE. This includes everything from CEO to game master to sales, etc. This is a super, super important binder to WGE since it’s a small business and there are only two people running the business. Anyways, because it’s an important part of the business, I really wanted to find a way to include it in the game. However, it really is just a binder full of white and black text, and that text is pretty dense. How am I going to turn this into a game play element? I tossed around a couple of ideas, but I think I’m settled on turning it into a trivia game (hey, I wonder where I got that idea…). Even if the intern gets the questions wrong (which, they’re kind of supposed to), it will give them an idea of what all goes into running a business like this.

I’ve got all kinds of plans for this game, and I’m really excited. I’m going to use the WGE QR codes (yes, I am going to use QR codes in my game because I have been converted by the power of the almighty Microsoft Tag, so help me god), there are going to be 12 clues to find, 6 of them will be puzzles or challenges. Completing each one will give the intern a piece of a larger QR code, which you can only read if you gather all of the pieces. Or at least that’s the plan. I haven’t actually tested if you can cut apart one of those codes and then put it back together and still have it work.

I am also going to make a client document (which I have already started), a game checklist, and a game day folder. I won’t be here when the game is run, so I’ve got to make sure that my checklist is every bit as good as the iterated versions of Clockwise and Play Stations.

I went to an artist event last night in downtown LA with my housemate. Since I don’t draw, I brought along my notebook and made furious notes about the intern game, which I have called Save Clocky. Here are some of my notes, I’ll post them just for fun.

notes1 notes2 notes3

I clearly wiped myself out at Griffith Park today because it’s not even 10pm and I’m exhausted. Maybe it was all that male model searching.

Anyways, Greg and I are off to run the Catalina Clockwise tomorrow, which will be an all day event. I’m excited to finally see Clockwise in action. It’ll be a good long day. I’ll post an event recap for y’all when I get back.

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