Version Cue & Office Christmas Gifts

In a sleep deprived, oddly written, earlier post, I extolled the virtues of Version Cue while lamenting virus scanner induced latencies. I want to revisit Version Cue again and show how helpful it can be for a project.

Leading into the holidays,I had this really odd idea for a set of gifts for the big bosses where I work. They both have odd catch phrases that they like to use (I think this may be a wide spread phenomena and I might be guilty of thinking that way too many things are "tremendous") while one has this thing for eating cereal at random times of the day. We'll skip the project for our cereal eater as I managed to unload that task onto others. Instead we'll focus on a perpetual, eternal and always present desire to take our organization "To The Next Level!"

So I have an odd habit of random segueing among topics, much like Governor Gatling in Benson, only I manage to occasionally not open my mouth and share the transitions (oddly enough, Benson was the first tv show to mention the Internet, as ARPANET - thank you wikipedia, my trivia yet grows). So I made the jump to Chutes and Ladders and decided that it would be clever/amusing to repurpose it for my boss and express the history and future of the company in boardgame form.

This might be a good time to share that I just don't learn some lessons well. During my brief stint as a midshipmen in the NROTC, I learned, but obviously didn't take to heart, that NAVY is an acronym: Never Again Volunteer Yourself. Sometimes I can't help myself, I suppose.

Looking at boardgame layouts on google images, two things became readily apparent: this game sucks as soon as you can read and 100 squares could become a real PITA to develop. So I redesigned the game. I had planned to use Visio, but apparently that requires you have it presently installed on your machine. Frick. I was left with Photoshop or Fireworks. I only use Photoshop to create extendscript solutions for those who actually have talent, and Fireworks had been collecting dust, so-to-speak; might as well try to do something with it. The results are very weak, but they got the idea across:

On the upside, it gave me a chance to actually look at Firework and there are some interesting things going on. I don't suspect my artistic talents are ever going to materialize, but there're definitely features that I want to explore.

With a concept in hand, it came time to start scouring the company network for photos and images. I had shared this concept with other co-workers, and really found myself doing this because one of them really liked the idea and pushed. She also got someone else to do the cereal oriented thing and she rouned up most of the photos. So it worked out well. Anyway, game concept in hand, supporting artwork gathered, time to take it to my brother and his artsy confederates. He has recently become fixated on the notion of production workflow and this was a nice test run piece for them to use as an experiment.

I try to be as smart as possible, and this time that manifested as my simple directions: I trust you guys implicitely. Do what you have to do. I'll provide any additional information you might require.

[The above image is the near final version of the board game - it is missing an arrow, though that would not be obvious to anyone.]

[These are the final version of the outer panels. The left is the back, the center the spine and the right is the front.]

So they found an exclusive-to-Target version of Chutes-and-Ladders and began an episode of Pimp-My-Boardgame. I don't really know the details of actual production; graphic tools, aside from the extendscript I have writen, are not where I like to live. The Version Cue process is nice though. I have seen the progression of the concept (neat to see it laid out and get some insight into the process), and have worked with the pdf reviewing. Though we are still working through some rough spots, perticularly art project management (we should have known and acted ahead of time we would need photo-sticker paper and spray adhesive), we are carving a decent workflow.

As I start to help automating the flow, I am anxious to try out PatchPanel and Switchboard, I'll blog about anything interesting along the way.

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