Story Speaker — ingenious interactive fiction for Google Home, games written in plain english in Google Docs
Engare — gorgeous new game inspired by Islamic art and architecture
Jazzari — make music with Javascript; try the Partly Purdie example
Echochamber.js — LocalStorage comments viewable only to the person who made them
Universal Paperclips — new game by Frank Lantz, in which you play an AI making paperclips (via)
Protanopia — free iOS comic that uses the accelerometer to change perspective
deeplearn.js — hardware-accelerated machine learning in the browser
SolarBeat — sonification of our solar system with the WebAudio API (via)
Short Trip — absurdly charming hand-drawn train journey; hold left or right to move
The First Web Apps — the stories behind five web apps that launched in 1995, with extensive research and interviews
AI Spy — absurdist “I Spy” with a very literal Google Cloud Vision
80s.NYC — street view of mid-80s NYC compiled from 800,000 city-commissioned building photos

You Think You Know Me

Five months ago, my wife Ami came to me and said, “I have an idea for a card game.”

This was a shock for a few reasons — we don’t play much tabletop in our family, sticking mostly to videogames, and Ami’s never shown interest in game design of any kind, tabletop or otherwise. (We’ve been married for 18 years, and you think you know someone…)

Her idea was You Think You Know Me, a card game inspired by the friends she followed on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and the people who followed her, and the lives that all of us have projected online. Her game would challenge what we thought we knew about our friends, and in the process, deepen our relationships with them.

Within days, she had a handwritten paper prototype, writing hundreds of cards on every conceivable topic. She started playtesting it with friends and family, in different sized groups, refining the game rules, seeing what worked and what didn’t.

It was clear there was something unique there — every time we played, it brought out laughs and surprises and led to interesting stories and anecdotes and little tidbits about everyone’s lives, over and over again. It was definitely a game, with rules and a winner, but it was much more about conversation than competition.

She finalized the design and rules, and I helped with the card and packaging design based entirely on her vision. She did all the research, and within three months, she had a full-color, 500-card professionally-printed boxed prototype in hand.

This is Ami’s first Kickstarter project, her first game, and, believe it or not, the first time I’ve ever written about her on I’m writing about it here because I think she’s made something great, and frankly, I want to see it blow up.

Her minimum goal on Kickstarter will let her print 1,000 copies, the minimum print run for working with AdMagic, the indie game printer behind Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and countless others.

So take a look, watch the video, and grab a copy for yourself. Thanks!

Instagif Camera — copies the three-second GIF to a Raspberry Pi cartridge with its own display, fading in Polaroid-style
Hiveswap — the Homestuck adventure game, five years in the making, is out on September 14

Fuzzco and Me

Two months ago, I quietly started a new job—as the Technology Director at Fuzzco, a creative studio with offices in Charleston and Portland.

With XOXO on hiatus, I spent the end of last year closing the Outpost and the beginning of this year getting Upcoming launched. But both of those experiences made me realize a couple things.

First, I missed collaborating with a team—in person. I’d worked on my own projects for the previous five years. After the Outpost closed, I was working entirely by myself. It was lonely, and I think my work suffered for it. I need people to bounce ideas off of, and to be surrounded by smart and creative people to inspire new projects.

Second, it was clear that my web development skills were rusty after spending five years focused on running a festival and community-building. Web development moves so quickly, and my experience with modern frontend tools and techniques was too limited. I love the web medium, and there are so many exciting things happening right now, and I wanted to be a part of it again.

A few months ago, someone posted a link to Fuzzco’s Creative Technologist position in the XOXO Slack’s #jobs channel, and the more I thought about, the more it felt right to me.

I was already familiar with Fuzzco from their stellar design work, including their work for MailChimp, Slack, and Andy McMillan’s Build festival, and my friend Eric joined last year as their Design Director.

Fuzzco was looking for someone who could push the edges of art and code, expanding their capabilities and what they’re known for. And I was looking to catch up on the modern web dev stack, and spend more time experimenting with new tech: HTML5 audio/video, dataviz toolkits, AR, WebVR, web animation libraries, machine learning, and much more.

In some ways, it’s a departure from anything I’ve ever done. And frankly, I wasn’t sure if it was a good fit—part of why I waited so long to announce it.

This is my first time doing client work, but Fuzzco is very prolific and I’m afforded the opportunity to incorporate whatever stack I like with each new build. For someone hoping to play with a wide variety of tools, it’s sort of perfect.

It’s also my first time working in an office environment in a decade, and I kind of love it. It’s a great team of artists and designers, and they’re pushing me to be better in every way.

And I’ve learned more in the last two months about web development than the previous five years combined. I built Upcoming in a self-imposed vacuum, and I’m already deep into planning where I can take it with everything I’ve learned here.

Even more exciting for me, Fuzzco brought me on to build out a new dev team, one of my favorite challenges and something I’ve done multiple times in my career at companies big and small.

One of the things that I love most: Fuzzco is a small company, 14 people total, independent and founder-owned by the couple that started it 12 years ago. They’ve never taken money, grow sustainably, and treat their team like family. They have some of the best design talent I’ve ever seen, and they want their technology team to match it.

We’re looking to hire two developers immediately in Portland, and if you’re the kind of person who cares about the things I do, you’re quite likely the kind of person I’m looking for. Take a look and drop me a line at [email protected] if you’re interested.