by Aaron Stanton
Earn badges and RPG level-ups for the books you read.
This project was successfully funded on December 17, 2012.
Earn badges and RPG level-ups for the books you read.
See full bio
Use this space to cheer the creator along, ask questions, and talk to your fellow backers. Please remember to be respectful and considerate. Thanks!
It's amazing to me that BookLamp has come so far. I have been following Aaron & co. since the CGHM beta in 2007. Wow, seven years! I just went back and read some of the emails from that time period and it's interesting to see what the goals for the project were back then. That was the first confidentiality agreement I ever signed (before the aim of the project was public). Here's to another seven years of success for you guys.
Now we know what happened, for anybody that still looks here: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/07/25/apple-acquires-startup-booklamp-for-between-10m-to-15m-
While great for Aaron and his company, it's definitely a disappointment for me. I was looking forward to this on Android, and I think it's safe to assume that this technology will not be available for Android any time soon. If ever.
Glad you refunded, it really was the least you could do while retaining a modicum of scruples.
If you were an early supporter of the game, you got some limited edition game cards or bookmarks...
I received those ...sorry this didn't work out they way you wanted it to through this KS, good luck in all your future endeavors.
Really sorry the game isn't going ahead as planned - I hope you guys have got something cool lined up and haven't just had a huge disappointment. Best of luck with whatever happens!
So... basically he got a $110k interest free loan for 15 months. Did anyone, anywhere get anything promised? Or was it all smoke and mirrors?
Quite disappointed that this didn't work out. The game was a great idea, and I was really looking forward to it. I hope the new direction and new company provides equally good opportunities, and I hope that we hear about the new plans soon.
Dissapointed that this ended up being vaporware, but I'm happy to see that the honorable thing is being done. I've decided I'll be donating my refund to the local county library.
Demo links are down, and a Google search for news related to Booklamp brings up this press release:
Wondering if the two are related, and if so whether the game's dead for good. Would be good to have that answered by the end of this week as Aaron promised in his last update ...
cryptic update about new direction your parent company is going. Boobklamp.org site has gone dark with similar vague message. Trying hard to remain positive here.
@Michael Fair enough. Working on it now.
@Aaron, I did say that, if March 1 came around, and there was no update, I'd be helping to harass. Well, I wound up getting busy and not remembering to check for this. No updates, so it's time to harass.
What's happening behind the curtain?
Any updates? Is this vaporware?
@David & @Michael: As much as I wish it were not so - David's right to be asking questions. The lack of an update is an indication of something unexpected in bringing all the components together, and us trying to figure out what that means in terms of getting things into the wild. It's disappointing, given how definitive I tried to be in naming Feb. as our release target - our "line in the sand" - but my next update is not going to be an announcement that you can download the first version of GoB from the app store. It's just not there yet. I'll be more specific in my next update, which I'll try to make shortly.
@David One frustrating thing is that "sometime in February" can be as late as February 28 (29 in leap years, but this isn't one). We are more than halfway through, true, but there's still more than 1.5 weeks.
Basically, I'm saying I wouldn't expect a response yet. Now, if March 1 comes around and we don't have an update, I'll help harass Aaron :)
Well, it's "sometime in February" and there hasn't been any more updates. Care to let us in on the secret of the new target date?
Hey, RandomDonationName, in the last update I mentioned that we were targeting sometime in February for release. That's still our target at the moment. Sorry I wasn't more clear on that.
David - the website is important for library and school access, too, since it's not good to assume that everyone has smart phones. The App is being built with an eye for both the Android and the iOS first, and the web version will roll out shortly after.
I would really like to know when we can expect the mobile app. The overly verbose delays have been piling up, could you just post an approximate release date?
You mentioned that the mobile apps will be rolled out soon. When would you expect the website version to be available as i have neither an iphone nor an android
That should probably have been "tact"...
Your comment made me smile - I appreciate your tack, there. :) I was also about halfway through an update when your message came in, and that sort of kicked me into finishing it before heading home from work tonight. So, just posted an update. Hope that helps.
Have a good night - and never hesitate to poke me like this.
Hello, Aaron! I know that, right now, you very likely *don't* have the ability to post an update, and I understand why. Christmas is more than a little hectic for most everyone, and then New Year's, etc. I'll just ask, if you would please, to post an update shortly after the holidays are done?
I think that's an issue across Kickstarter, actually. The logistics of executing on a Kickstarter are very different than any other project I've worked on before; they tend to be so heavily influenced by the people that are encountered throughout the campaign that the concepts that are initially funded grow throughout the project. It's almost always a good thing - a fan of the project offers to help expand some aspect of the original project, for example - but it also may be part of the reason that so few Kickstarters, especially the larger ones, seem to have done a good job of estimating their completion time.
I've had a similar experience as you. Of the 20 plus campaigns I've backed, very few have delivered on time. Either very few people on Kickstarter are good at estimating completion times, or there's something about the nature of a Kickstarter campaign that makes them harder to predict than normal projects. I think it's the later, but it's hard to nail down why, exactly.
And to your point - if we do it right, not only will it be there for your toddler to play, but also - when the time comes years from now - for your toddler to play with his/her toddlers, as well. We'd like to build something that lasts.
Thanks for the frank comments Aaron. I'm suppose my question was a culmination of a couple things. This was the first project I ever backed on Kickstarter. Your project being such an awesome idea I was incredibly excited about the whole Kickstarter medium for financing and supporting indie projects. Since then I've backed a few others and out of all the ones I backed that were successful only ONE has even come close to being delivered on-time and I think that was only because they already had a product that they were just tweaking. Live and learn I suppose. One positive out of it though is my toddler might be reading by the time you guys have something for us to play! Thanks again.
Thank you. Very much appreciated. I'll kick back and be patient. I'll also admit to looking forward to sharing this with my nieces. I think they'd enjoy it a lot.
Not at all, Michael - you needn't worry, because one of BookLamp's original founders is a pretty heavy Android user (as well as a number of the engineers), and he wouldn't let us get away with being iOS only. The actual complicated portions of The Game all tend to happen on the server side in terms of pre-processing, not so much the device, so releasing on multiple devices should be fairly straight forward. The device is mostly a delivery mechanism. We're exploring cross-compilers, of course, but however it's done it's certainly on the radar. We have a LOT more experience on the team with iOS than Android, but cross platform is an essential element for us, don't worry. The goal will be to try to release on both at the same time, or very near each other.
That definitely does, and I appreciate it. Those are details I definitely did not know. One question got raised for me, though: I'm an Android guy, but didn't see that mentioned, while iOS was. Would I be overly annoying if I asked how that app is coming along?
Jonathan - So, I think there are a number of fair answers to that, but I think what you're probably asking for is an acknowledgment that we missed our deadlines, are working on it, and are sorry about that. So first, yes, we did miss our late August deadline, and I apologize. We're currently running about three months behind our target, and working hard to get caught up. The upside is that I think the delays have been for the right reason - it's a lot of work to get all our partners onto the same page, and it's more so when there's lots of interest. I think there are a number of details on why our original deadline was aggressive, but if I were in your position I think I'd be less interested in those reasons than a genuine acknowledgment of the issue and plans to correct it.
Andrew & Michael - To both your points, I will make sure I focus on a larger project picture in the next update, when I sit down to write it. Briefly, re. StoryDNA 2, we couldn't start the illustration work until StoryDNA 2 was largely nailed down, so the fact that we're in illustration mode means that StoryDNA 2 is under the belt. We've also started the iPhone development and I believe we're on track to release the first version of the iPhone app in December. It will have the primary features of the game, ability to earn points and badges, and provide a game board to help guide book discovery; we'll use it as the iteration point to begin bringing The Game interface to a larger audience. Honestly, the scope of The Game of Books likely means that it's something we'll spend a lot of time and passion on over time - no game has ever implemented this sort of exact interaction between data sets and industry players, so this is by no means a one time-and-forget release. Tom and Mike (our former-Blizzard app developers) are getting into the application side of the data hard work the rest of the team has been doing so far. I think it's going to come together well.
I'll spend more time on it in the next update. Hope that helps shed some light on everything.
@Johnathan This project might not have hit the target of August, but a year from initial ending of the kickstarter is not problematic. I've got a couple that I backed towards the beginning of this year that, if all goes on time, I won't see until the end of *next* year.
What I am concerned about is that the past several updates have discussed the badges that are being made, but I've not been able to find (since around June) discussion of things like StoryDNA 2, or the progress of the required iOS/Android applications for this, or the online digital deck. Aaron, would it be possible to get an update that discusses those in a bit of detail sometime soon?
Any updates? We've seen a few pieces of art, but how about the project as a whole?
Just one question. Do you think it's reasonable to wait more than 12 months for a return on your investment?
Any updates on the project?
I've gotten this question a few times, so I figured I'd post about it here, as well. Regarding our target roll-out date, I'll be sending an update on this soon, sadly with the subject of, "Fair Warning..."
At this point, it's become clear that we're not going to hit the initial August release date. That's both good news and bad news, actually. Bad news because we underestimated the time it'd take to deliver, good news because the primary reason we underestimated is because we got a great deal more positive response from our publishers and libraries than we expected, and so ended up having to re-evaluate the scale of the physical and digital production side of The Game.
Until we get through the illustration of a few more badges, it'll be hard to judge how much time we'll need. We're working with a very talented group of artists (as you'll see soon), but it'll take a round or two of badgecrafting to see how quickly the illustrations take place. Indications are that they'll be pretty quick. The other good news is that this phase should be a lot more visible as we progress (since we'll be posting new badges as they're forged), so you'll be able to get your own sense of progress, as well.
I'll have to get back to you on the new targets. I'll see if I can hit that in the next update or two.
Thanks again, and I apologize, as well.
Thanks, Kamil - appreciate the enthusiasm. I'm working on an update now, but also - if it's helpful - remember that you can get a more ongoing updates that are much smaller on our facebook page, which doesn't require a Facebook account to view. http://facebook.com/booklamp. We'll be soliciting reader input on naming some of the badges that we'll be passing to our artists soon, so keep an eye out for the surveys that are there (sadly, we don't have an easy way of doing this through Kickstarter's tools, that I know of). Thanks, though, Kamil - it means a lot to us that you're keeping an eye on us. I'll talk to the guys and see if perhaps someone else on the team would be interested in helping post updates from their perspective, as well. So, your request is noted. More updates. :)
Please for more updates. I couldn't wait for Game of Books, and you send updates only every one and half of the month.
No worries, Aaron. I just poke at the various project I back periodically. I like to have some idea of what's going, and you're pretty good at keeping people in the loop. Thank you. Now if only all the creators had the same attitude, I'd be happy with *every* project I've ever back :)
Hey, Andrew - I can probably help with this; the only cards that have gone out already were to backers that selected the playing cards as their primary reward. Since we can only send out surveys once per backer, if you selected anything else you'll get your cards when the majority of rewards go out closer to launch, when we collect information for the other rewards. That said, you will get your cards - in fact, I'm looking at your set right now; looks like Set 275. All the reward cards have been printed, but only the first round have actually gone out to people that selected the cards as their primary reward - the rest will come when we send out the other rewards. You selected the special in-game badge as your primary, so we'll collect mailing info for you when we're ready to roll that reward out with the game. Does that help? Feel free to message me directly, if you like, as well.
P.S. Michael - I didn't deliberately ignore your question, either. By the time I saw it, I'd already written the next update, and simply posted it, instead. :) But I appreciate your keeping up on what we're doing. It's helpful to be reminded that part of the job is not just building, but also talking about what we're building, etc.
I never did receive any cards. Any update on this?
Any update on the update? :)
Hey, Daniel, it's still a bit away. The earliest target for initial releases is still August, but that being said, you can see some of the work (and provide feedback) we're currently doing at http://gameofbooks.com/demo. These are still test bed implementations, and the actual beta will be more stable and unified. I'm at Book Expo America at the moment, working with our publishers on their involvement with The Game, but will be posting an update in the next day or two. Everything is coming into place, I think - it's just taking a bit longer with our partners than I expected. We're getting there, though. :)
I'm excited, too. Really looking forward to getting the tools out there for you to work with. :)
When do you guys think we'll get beta access? I'm so excited!
Hope all is well, looking forward to the cards and game.
I've got my own little crowd sourcing fundraising going on - please check out the site, share in your social media and please consider a donation. http://www.gofundme.com/writevickiwrite
*found it* (obviously, since there's a comment from me attached to it :-) )
### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
### Dreamfall Traveller ###
Should be there now - also, don't forget that you can get a more "stream of consciousness" updates from the project on Facebook (http://facebook.com/booklamp). You don't need a Facebook account to see the updates. Not that getting updates here isn't perfectly good, as well (and tends to be more "official"), just so you know it's available if you want. :)
*looks for update, doesn't find one, leaves again*
### Member of the Pinkerton Road Cavalry ###
### Dreamfall Traveller ###
Thank you for replying. I know that any given project has the people very busy. I try not to be one of those people that's always in your face. Just like to keep in touch and see how things are going.
Looking forward to the update!
Good timing, Michael - I was actually on Kickstarter (in a coffee shop in California, at the moment) writing an update when your comment came through (partly why I saw it so quickly). :) You should see an update momentarily shortly.
And thank you for caring enough to check - that's appreciated. :)
So, are there any updates to share with KS? It's been a bit over a month, and that's when I (personally) tend to start questioning what's going on with the projects I've backed. Thanks in advance for any info!
Good to hear, Aaron. Just starting with http://www.goodreads.com/book/most_read would seem to make sense.
Have you considered taking book donations? I've got plenty of books destined for a charity shop that could go to you instead (apart from that I'm in the UK).
Deebster: It will, actually, in a few different ways. For one, The Game will - I believe - provide a fun and different incentive for publishers interested in working with us. But as importantly, for the first time we're in a position to potentially purchase and manually review and score titles that are popular, but we don't have any information for, yet. We are a friend of publishers, but it sometimes takes time to work with them on an entire database of books. Like any review site, we prefer to work with the publishers to get access to review copies, but sometimes on key books it's more time efficient to go down to the bookstore and purchase the book to review it.
While our budget for that sort of thing is limited, I think an ongoing and targeted effort to try to plug the holes around the most obvious titles is probably worthwhile. One thought we might do and have been discussing in creating a Goodreads list that people can suggest books we're missing, and then vote up the ones that are most critical. Then we can use that list to identify which publishers to approach, and which books we may specifically seek out for review.