Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 9, 2013.

Update #21

"smoothly and on schedule"

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Hi everyone,

We had a great meeting yesterday around design and development progress and things are moving along smoothly and on schedule.  ("Smoothly and on schedule"  might be my new favorite phrase.)  

Tony is currently integrating Jessie's art  into the prototype for Mass and Volume to take that to the next level, while Nathan and Jessie turn to our next module, Countdown (working title).    I  am personally looking forward to fleshing out the character and style of Digi with Derek.  Derek has spent a lot of time in elementary and preschool classrooms...experience that is definitely reflected in his sense of humor!

I also want to give a shout out to the folks at Wiggio.  I am completely in love with how easy it is to use, and with their on the spot conference call generation.  Now don't spoil it for me and tell me that others do this well, I am really enjoying the honeymoon phase. 

More soon,

Andrea and the Outthink team


Update #20

3-2-1...

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BANG!

We've pulled the trigger and now have an amazing team hard at work again.  

Milestones

The schedule below was created to reflect the design needs for UI and art, and is a good illustration of the pace we are setting until we move from Beta to Gold. While our pivot path required scrapping our earlier code and prototype, the game mechanics and instruction have not changed. Since both have been user tested, the team can move quickly. 

The Team

Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games is joining Tony Garcia, Mike Stout, and Jessie Rauch to complete the design and programming of our game.  It's a reunion and mutual admiration society  for Nathan, Tony, and Mike who all worked together at Insomniac games.  Put these three together with the multi-talented Jessie Rauch, the creative director responsible for all the conceptual art for the first prototype, and we are sure to realize something special. 

We also have an amazing team riding shot gun: instructional designers Melinda Sota and Derek Shanman, along with master teacher Sujata Bhatt, making sure the instructional integrity remains,    Amy Cloud, now a full time Editor at Simon & Schuster, sticking by us to make sure we set the right tone, and fellow backer and friend Mark Kawano, CEO and Founder of the extraordinary storytelling app,  STOREHOUSE , keeping an eye on our UI and design.      We will of course be hitting up Alex Kaminsky who just accepted a full time job as Creative Technology Lead at Wieden + Kennedy to look out for all fellow gamers.  (We know we will always have a piece of Amy and Alex's hearts, so you can be sure we will be trying to lure them back when we successfully raise for platform development.)  

We also want to give a shout out to Lesley Mathiesson and Peter Hastings of Inkling Games. Inkling has been phenomenally busy making games for themselves and others. Still excited by our goals,  Inkling helped us transition to our new Dev team and is staying in the loop reviewing our game docs and builds.   Lesley and Peter have both worked with Mike, Nathan, and Tony. 

And then of course, there are all of you.  We cannot thank you enough for your tremendous patience, and for the emails of support during a year that had a lot more downs than ups.    We are so excited to be back on track and sharing updates with you about what we are accomplishing together.

So, as Nathan emailed all of us at our new kick off....

Let's get this party started!

Andrea


Update #19

This will be our year

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Welcome to 2014.

While we wish this was our January 2013 update, we are at the same time stoked for 2014. Our team may still be resource challenged but we made good headway despite the holidays, a septic backup, frozen pipes and flooded basements, and freelance! We reworked a few of the game mechanics, tabled one for later, and borrowed the game we had built for density to rework into the mass/volume story. We will need to confirm with user testing that learning is not impacted, but based on how we staged the early gameplay, we don't expect it to be. Derek (Instructional Design), Mike (Game Design) and I are now reworking the design document and spec to reflect complete development needs. Our programmer is still wrapping up a project that went past deadline and we are working to dovetail the two pieces as soon as we can so we can deliver end of Q1.

As if we needed reminding that understanding this stuff matters, Mother Nature caused some serious damage to the U.S. last year. According to a just-released report from the National Climactic Data Center (NCDC), seven extreme weather and climate-related events each caused more than $1 billion in damage. Despite the fact that tornado activity was below average in 2013, with only 900 reported, tornadoes accounted for three of the seven most extreme weather events and were the most deadly of them, causing 54 fatalities.

I also received an email recently that got me all fired up about how important it is for current and future generations to understand the weather and climate forming around us.  I can't imagine any of our backers don't believe in Global warming, but if that describes you, be warned: you may be offended...

Thank you all for your patience and messages of support.  This has not been the journey we expected and I can't express how much we appreciate you continuing to trek forward with us.

Andrea

__________________

Andrea --

When record-low temperatures swept across the country last week, we heard from so many of the usual suspects eager to deny climate change.

Folks like Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, and leading climate change denier in Congress James Inhofe all quickly jumped in to declare that the cold weather disproves global warming.

But then something different happened: People who actually understand the science pushed back -- strongly. Here are just a few examples:

-- On the "Today Show," Al Roker took a minute to pull up the entry for the polar vortex from a meteorology glossary dating back to 1959, mocking the notion that the term was some climate conspiracy -- and it was pretty awesome to watch.

-- Politifact gave Rush Limbaugh a "pants-on-fire" rating for his allegation that the polar vortex was something fabricated by the media to try to blame global warming for the cold weather.

-- Matt Sampson and Carl Parker at the Weather Channel filmed a great short clip destroying the notion that a polar vortex could disprove global warming.

That's how you know that, together, we're successfully changing the conversation on climate.

Across the country, more people understand that extreme weather -- of all types -- is happening more and more every year, and it's because our climate is changing.

And it gives me hope that we're getting closer to the day when the reality of climate change is understood by a majority in Congress, too.

We have a lot to do to hold climate change deniers in Congress accountable. Will you forward this email to a friend and ask them to join you in making sure that climate change denial doesn't go unchallenged for a second in 2014?

Thanks for all your hard work -- keep it up,

Ivan

Ivan Frishberg Climate Change Campaign Manager Organizing for Action


Update #18

November Gratitude

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Thanksgiving is around the corner and I wanted to send you all a quick note of gratitude for your continued support through some challenging months. Around this time last year, we came to all of you via Kickstarter.  In January, after a thrilling campaign and pledges from 740 friends, family, and science education fans, we made our minimum goal for the mass/volume section of our tornado app. 

  We’ve spent the last year working through challenges- most striking, resource issues as team members took on outside work to keep our money focused on core product development, and a move to the DC Metro area that was both professionally and personally demanding.  This combined with product challenges for the weather room itself led to the last update where we explained why we decided to temporarily pull back from the weather room and bring the original  Mass/Volume goal to market. It was a hard update to write, because the larger vision is still what we all want to see realized.  Plus we'd wanted to over-deliver for the folks who believed along with us.  But with the team stretched, delivering a more immediately viable product seemed the smartest and most practical way to go.‬ Unlike a lot of storied startups, we have been very judicious with our money--which is still all in the bank, but that also compromised the rest the classic time/money/resource triangle.   Fortunately we have two new awesome folks who have joined the project to help get this delivered in Q1.  Derek Shanman, PhD, with experience in both instructional design and teaching (Grade 2- college) and Game Designer, Mike Stout who worked with our Inkling programmer, Peter Hastings on the beloved Ratchet & Clank. Together, we’re all pushing to make our vision a reality putting our the step out into the market for feedback.

Attached is a short video of my 6 year old daughter Jazzy playing with a Mass/volume game build called Recycling. While the game is still rough (no music, voiceover,  bug fixes or polish) and not meant for her age group, she nailed the concepts in minutes and quickly got into it.  (She also sweetly supports her mom. Kids are the best.)

http://youtu.be/1gVFw8_v9o4

with much gratitude,

Andrea


Update #17 - For backers only

Mass Volume and Your Input Requested

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For backers only. If you're a backer of this project, please log in to read this post.


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