Faza: A Cooperative Sci-Fi Board Game

Hi Everyone!

For the past year I've been working on a side project, which I've been calling Faza. It's a cooperative board game set in a science fiction future. I'm hoping to have it up and running soon, and I've already put together a website. Please check it out, and share this with your friends that are into sci-fi and board games!

Faza Cover Art
And here's a quick video of the game in action.

Binaural Beat Generation, Creating an Illusory Sound with Code

A little while ago I came across a phenomenon known as binaural beats. It's an auditory illusion that's created when two tones are presented to each ear separately, meaning one ear can't hear what the other ear is hearing.

I was curious in exploring this and wrote a brief piece of code using processing, which you can try out below if you download the processing environment.

What I also thought was interesting is the ability of a binaural beat to generate synchronous neuronal activity corresponding to the following mental states:
I tested this code on myself for about 10 minutes and was able to quickly enter a meditative state. Anyways, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Balance Bike Reaches 250 Downloads!

It's been a while since I've written anything about Balance Bike, the educational android app I released last year. Young kids engage through pictures, touch, and sound to learn words, colors, numbers, and letters. 

This project was my way of teaching myself how to do android programming. I also haven't been marketing it, people have been discovering it organically and the app has finally reached a milestone, 250 downloads! It only took a year. :)

You can download it from the play store.

Balance Bike: A Learning Game

User Research Presentation by Michael Margolis

I came across this really great presentation and explanation on how to quickly do user research in the context of the startup. The presenter, Michael Margolis, is a Google Ventures partner and has been doing this kind of work for more than twenty years. He works with the GV startups to help them understand their users and to figure out how they should build their products in order to meet the needs of their users.

One argument that sticks out from his lecture is the reason for observing users. He argues that the importance of observing users is to understand the 'why' of particular user actions. He compares observing users to looking at detailed website analytics. Analytics will reveal what people are doing, yet it won't reveal why they're doing what they're doing. Seeing the metrics of a certain website funnel, or being able to see the data of people dropping off at a certain page doesn't give insight into the problem that might be causing users to drop off. Discovering the 'why' behind a certain problem will then reveal the solution.

I Don't Always Farm, But When I Do, It's Vertical

Two weekends ago I had the bright idea to grow some of my own vegetables in a cardboard box. After a quick trip to the hardware store to get some soil and seeds, I was on my way. I grabbed the easiest veggies to grow: radish, spinach, microgreens, and mixed greens. The results are below.

Well, there it is. The vertical farm by my window. I will follow-up with another post showing progress.

Well, There It Is

Exploring Tuva's Embed Feature

At Tuva, we've heard from users they want to use Tuva's tool for analyzing their own data. We also noticed that occasionally, people analyze a dataset that they want to share in an interactive format. So, we explored this feature, and I'm creating this blog post as an example of how Tuva's tool appears within a blog/article format.

Board Games: Competitive vs Cooperative

I'm feeling a general sense of frustration with competitive board games, like Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Risk, and the like. When I play these games I end up in last place, or near to last place, and I'm left with nothing to do during the game. The rest of the players continue the fun as I then sit by myself, sip a drink and ruminate over the rule book to see if there was something I could of done differently. Was it my luck? My inability to strategize? Maybe a bit of both.

Enter cooperative board games: a few years ago I played a cooperative board game called Defenders of the Realm. At first I was drawn in by this game's attention to detail, visually stunning renderings and beautifully crafted backstory setting the stage for the players. Then, I was blown away by being able to get feedback on my strategy as a newbie from other players and also coordinate my moves with other players. I was hooked, and inspired.

Ever since I learned about cooperative games as a genre, I've been itching to design my own cooperative game. About four months ago I began designing and testing it out with friends.

Stay tuned for updates as I continue development! And in the mean time, let me know what you think of competitive and cooperative games in the comments section below. What do you like about them? What do you hate about them? How well does it hold your attention throughout the course of the game?

A prototype of the game I'm working on.