Shutting Down My Most Visited Website, MovieStop.info

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MovieStop.info was a popular one page site I quickly threw together that listed the locations, addresses, and phone numbers of all the Movie Stop stores (they sell used and new movies) because the franchise didn’t have an official website. I never made a penny, and payed for the domain myself. Well, it’s been 3 years now, Movie Stop finally has it’s own official site, and it’s time for the sun to set on my lovely MovieStop.info. It served its purpose well, got hundreds of thousands of visitors, and now it’s time to let go and move on. Screenshots and eulogy inclosed. read…

 

Idea: Beautiful ‘Park Lots’ That Lure Potential Customers

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Massive asphalt parking lots in front of Walmarts and Targets might be full during the holiday season but are usually half to 2/3 empty during the rest of the year. And they’re also a huge waste of space and lack greenery. Yet at the same time, there aren’t enough parks around our neighborhoods, and the ones we do have are usually… not very well maintained. So what if businesses set up and maintained parks in the middle of their mostly un-used parking lots? Not only would it fulfill a need for more greenery but when park visitors need to go to the bathroom or eat, they’ll head straight for the store and become customers who would have otherwise never been. Also park visitors might curiously wander into the shops to see what’s on sale. read…

 

Invention: Infinite Scroll + Pagination Hybrid UI

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On sites like Twitter and some Tumblr blogs, instead of having to click next page to load new content you just scroll down and when you reach the bottom, the next page automatically loads by AJAX and appends itself to the bottom, meaning you can just keep scrolling down and have new content load. I really like this, it doesn’t interrupt flow but the draw back is that I can’t tell where exactly I am which emotionally worries me. I also can’t skip forward and it really sucks for sites with lots of content (thousands, even just hundreds of images and videos on one page can cause massive slow downs and crash the browser). So here’s a hybrid solution that still separates content into pages and loads them when you scroll down but also allows you to skip around. read…

 

Redesign (Abandoned) For Steam “Ambassador Pages”

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This redesign was only 10% complete before I abandoned it due to time constraints and other projects. It was suppose to be a full blown re-envisioning of Steam’s game pages (optimized for TV screens) which were going to be called “Ambassador Pages”. Basically, a universal profile (unofficial site) for a game that has everything from videos, demos, user submitted screenshots, reviews, forums, tips, faqs, and strategy guides accessible from one page. Sort of like what IGN and Gamespot have, only with Steam’s “add to cart” option to buy the game. This way Steam can use the pages to attract visitors and directly advertise the games for sale on Steam. Resulting in a win/win/win situation for fans, publishers, and Steam. Increasing traffic to Steam’s online store, creating a community around games, and increasing sales. read…

 

Idea: Synced Windows Instances Between Computers

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I like having multiple computers but I HATE maintaining multiple computers. I wish I could completely sync my desktop and laptop as if they were the same exact computer just in a different form factor. I want the same files, same updates, same account, same settings, same software and games on both computers. I want them treated as if they were one. So here’s what I propose: read…

 

Invention: “Lane Spacers” aka “Signaling Gutters” for High Speed Highways

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These came into my mind a few years back as a way to keep vehicles further away from each other on the highway thereby making it more obvious when vehicles merge into other lanes. In other words it’s a way of visually warning drivers that you’re merging into their lane (because 99% of drivers are bastards who don’t use turn signals or ignore other drivers using them) and it’s also harder to cut someone off or accidentally drift into their lane. Vehicles can use the gutters to signal that they are changing lanes by driving one tire in the gutter so your vehicle stand out from the others and lets drivers know you are preparing to enter their lane. It also might have a psychological effect on drivers, making them more likely to stay in their lane and less likely to merge around (which is what causes random traffic backups [traffic waves]). read…

 

Idea: Hybrid ‘Donation Based Ads’ for Wikipedia and Other Sites

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This may or may not speed up funding but it’s worth a try in my opinion. Basically show ads until you reach your funding goals, while enabling donations to speed up the process. Theoretically, users will get sick of the ads and will donate to get them off the site quicker. Either way you reach your goal. read…

 

Invention: “Scrollbar of Contents” UI

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Not to be confused with my “Content Aware Scrollbar” which inspired this. There’s a very specific type of content that this would be suited for. When the main content is separated into sections but needs all those sections to be on one page (programming code, law, app list) and needs quick links (Titles) to the sections which are proportional to where they are on the page, the Scrollbar of Contents would be appropriate. This would be perfect for a list of apps on a tablet computer. And if any of the apps have an error, alert, alarm, or notification, you’d see a red dot on the Scrollbar of Contents. read…

 

37 Things I Hate About The Internet

This is a post dedicated to all the things websites have done over the years to piss me off. Some are obvious like my rants against ad overload, others are more obscure like using text-shadow incorrectly and making your site’s text all blurry. I’ve committed some of these atrocities myself in the past. We all have. So it’s important we learn from them. If you have any to add please do so in the comments, I’ll post them here. read…

 

Idea for a Non-Violent, Open-World Game Called “Rabbit Tales”

First, I did NOT draw the box art, I photoshopped 3 other talented people’s creations together to make a temporary box art mockup (see credits section). You know what’s missing? Good games for kids. Games for kids AND adults that are calm, relaxing, completely non-violent, adventurous, and open. So here’s an idea for a game called “Rabbit Tales”. Far from my usual zombie slaying, I know.

You play a grey rabbit on a calm, relaxing island who can transplant various plants by eating their seeds and pooping them out in another location. If you’re not cool with a game about a rabbit crapping out plant seeds then just replace the rabbit with a squirrel that buries plant seeds instead. Anyway, there are no humans in the game but there are lots of derelict ghost towns and junk heaps that humans left behind. As the rabbit you can transplant trees, bushes, grass, and vines near or inside buildings until the plants overtake and destroy the structure completely, making it disappear. Thus returning the site, the city, and eventually the entire island back to nature. Different buildings require different plants to destroy them. The more plants you eat the more you level up, getting faster, and being able to eat more. You can also attract animal friends to help you by planting lots of their favorite type of flora. After you return an entire island to nature, the moon disappears and creates a low tide, thus revealing a sand bridge onto the next island which will be randomly generated to have more buildings, larger cities, and different plants, environments, and animal friends. Because the “island worlds” are procedurally generated, the game could go on forever, with larger and larger cities as you progress.

read…

 

Redesigning Steam’s In-Game Overlay UI

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I actually think the current in-game overlay is decent but for me personally it’s too chaotic. Informative but messy. So here’s a few mockups of a redesign I was working on for a while. read…

 

Redesigning Steam’s Pre-Launch Messages

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Here’s a slicker, nicer looking pre launcher for Steam. I’ve optimized it for TV screens as well, and even mocked up what the error messages should look like. read…

 

Redesigning the Steam Client (Multiple Mockups)

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Just for fun, I made mockups of a redesigned Steam client that’s a little more friendly to navigate. I don’t think my version is any better visually, and keep in mind I don’t consider myself a graphic artist, but layout wise I really like it over the original. read…

 

Rebranding Steam For A More Casual Audience + Fun with Steam Logos

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Refusing to make games for casual gamers has cost the game industry billions in lost revenue. Even today (post FarmVille, post Nintendo Wii), hard core gamers and developers still use the term “casual gamer” as if it were an insult, as if they were a lower form of life not worth acknowledging. I think it’s because the type of people most likely to become game developers are hard core gamers themselves, who in turn end up making games for other hard core gamers, because that’s what they assume the market wants. Thus completely ignoring the casuals when statistically, casual gamers make up the majority of overall gamers. This is why masterpieces like Mass Effect and Gears of War will only sell a fraction of as many copies as casual games like Cooking Mama and Nintendogs. Let me remind you that there are more people that play “Casual Social Network Games” than the combined number of PS3s, Xbox 360s, and Nintendo Wiis sold worldwide. Even looking at console sales, see how featureful Microsoft’s and Sony’s consoles are? Yet Nintendo’s dinky little Wii console outsold them both. Why? Because it’s simple, friendly, and looks easy to play. Likewise, If Valve wants Steam in every household, it needs to be simpler, easier, and more casual friendly. read…

 

Re-Envisioning Steam As An All-in-One Digital Marketplace

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The digital store landscape is changing quickly and I’m worried for Steam. For now things are going great, but as video games reach mainstream appeal, more digital distributors like Apple and Amazon will want to sell games. Competition between digital distribution services fighting over the “All-in-One Media Marketplace” title will increase significantly. Already, Apple’s iPhone has surpassed Sony’s PSP in handheld gaming market share. Competitors like Games for Windows Live, GamersGate, GOG, GameTap, and games for the iphone & ipod have poped up over the years. Most importantly, Valve’s bigger competitors, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, have invested in enormously diverse digital stores that sell everything from music, movies, tv shows, books, and apps. And games are next. For Valve’s competition to create an all-in-one marketplace all they have to do is add one component to their store, video games, which they’ve already started doing. On the other hand if Valve wants to create the same all-in-one digital marketplace to compete and hold its ground it’s going to have to add numerous components that the competition already has and is experienced with. Hold its ground or branch out? I’d hate to have to make that decision, but lets pretend like Steam should and will branch out. read…

 

Creation: Minimize to System Tray (Notification Area) Button

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This is one of the biggest flaws of Windows and Linux’s UI. Using the close button, which is suppose to exit a program, to instead minimize a program to the notification area (aka system tray) where it can continue to run but not have any windows open. All it takes is an extra button added next to the “X” close button but no one wanted to do it so here we are boys and girls. Lying and tricking users into thinking a program closes when it really continues to run in the background. Or worse, annoying them with notifications telling them that the program is still running in the system tray. This is like duct-taping a flat tire. If it’s broken it needs to be fixed, not Jerry-rigged. read…

 

Redesign: A More Playful Informative Slideshow

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If you visit SteamPowered.com you’ll notice images of featured games on sale are shown in a slideshow. Normally I hate slideshows because they force users to look at content in a linear fashion without any thumbnail previews of all the slides that users can directly skip to. So today’s creative exercise is to make slideshows more eye catching, informative, and more likely to be flipped through. read…

 

Idea for Bringing Steam into the Living Room (no it’s not another set top box)

2 months ago I had a radical idea, which today I’ve learned Valve has already been working on. If it’s what I think it is, it will change everything. I don’t think the majority of people want another set top box like GoogleTV and AppleTV? And what if everyone was wrong about the PC dying out? I think the PC is just getting started and I’m sure Valve does too. Just 1 hour ago I read about Valve working on “Big Picture” mode for Steam which will allow Steam games and content to be played on any TV in the house. So they beat me to it. Damn, lol it would have looked amazing in my portfolio. I think we’re both talking about the same technology. Here’s my version anyway. read…

 

Logo for ‘Journeys in Japan.com’

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I got this idea over a year ago when my best friend & old roommate moved to Japan to teach and over skype showed me around his apartment and explained to me how different life was over there. I found it fascinating. In fact, there are lot of people who want to visit Japan and know what it’s like to live there. YouTube videos of Americans living in Japan get lots of views and some YouTubers even get sponsored by Google (Google actually pays them because their channel attracts so many viewers that it earns Google ad revenue). Journeys in Japan was an idea I had for a video blog site with corresponding YouTube channel and community that posted high quality travel, interview, and Q&A videos of Japan. There would be multiple correspondents living in Japan that would film videos of themselves touring Japanese cities and answering questions on Japanese culture and lifestyle.  read…

 

Branding & Logo for Plus Ad Agency

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About 3 years ago, my lack of knowledge, lack of skills, lack of capital, too much competition, and some unfair state business fees, caused the failure of my first business, a tiny ad agency called Creative Marketing Materials, LLC (more on that story later). The main problem was that I wasn’t solving a customer’s needs any better or differently than other competing ad agencies. Plus I was only 1 person. So I came up with a successor, Plus Ad Agency. A very niched, very different, creative firm that was to provide solutions other ad agencies weren’t. Mainly gorilla marketing, viral marketing, reverse graffiti, completely non-traditional advertising, flash crowds, mobile banner advertising, etc… I noticed none of the other guys were doing things like that. They all basically offered the same things; “corporate branding”, logos, business cards, billboards, Google Adsense. Traditional stuff. So I planned out what services I wanted to offer, realized I didn’t have the talent or money to provide those services and gave up on the idea. But the logo, and url, PlusAdAgency.com, are still with me just in case I want to go back to the world of advertising some day. read…