August 22, 2012 : 11:48 PM
Make Your Own Whatever
A small R&D project has gone into BETA. Konstructorz is a merging of a lot of old project art into one platform for kids to creative anything.
I love watching kids create crazy stuff like these Dragon Ball Z type characters from the assets we provided.
There's a weapon and robot set coming soon. With a Mexican inspired monster set and then we'll be done until we grow the audience. That said even without any real pushing we have had 22,000 visitors in just over a month. So it can only go up from here.
The site targets young boys in an effort to have a core audience for advertisers and brands to buy. If we went broad we'd end up with less focus. We're looking to spin off a girlie version of the site once we build an audience.
Posted at August 22, 2012 : 11:48 PM
February 18, 2012 : 11:48 PM
5 Simple Ways to Make Facebook Better for Brands
There's no doubt that brands have drive the success of Facebook in the last year. Every major campaign is plastered with a Facebook URL and brands are pouring millions into advertising to grow their fan base and reach people who would never normally visit their boring brand websites.
But with all that support and money being spent I can't help but feel Facebook needs to up it's game to give brands a much better product. Sure for the users it's fine, people seem to enjoy the sub standard photo feature while Flickr cries in the corner. But for brands and those spending millions we expect a little bit more.
Here's my list on how to make Facebook better for brands. Anyone have other suggestions? I'll check in with my team and see if we can format this into a sexy Slidehare pres which have been quite popular lately.
1: Better Analytics
Simple fixes for the insights team:
2: Better Editing Options
3: A Better Spam Filter
Also there needs to be a way to ban pages from tagging your brand in a post too.
4: Let us upload a tiny profile pic. FFS
5: Better Photo App
Seriously though we'd all just settle but better insights. It's also reduce the need for all the 3rd party apps and services that just present the same data in slightly better ways.
Posted at February 18, 2012 : 11:48 PM
February 20, 2010 : 4:15 PM
Lavaball Iphone Game
Soap's first iPhone game Lavaball is now in the App Store. It's free, its fun and it's easy to play. Waste 5 minutes playing Lava Ball. Part Monkeyball part Pocket God.
"You are Mr L'ava L'ava, volcano deity of the Pee Pee Islands. Once upon a time the Pee Pee feared and worshipped you, but times of peace have made them lazy and complacent.
I've seen images and a beta of our next game (a paid game) and it's looking awesome. And Mark's next iphone Unity3D game is looking even more fun. Again it involved killing lots of people.
We also have a useful app (we make those too) that's in the final stages. It's something I'd use daily.
Note: Our first app for the iPhone was Glass Busker but it's not really a game.
Posted at February 20, 2010 : 4:15 PM
January 17, 2010 : 12:01 PM
Top 10 Flickr photos for Soap
Here are the top 10 photos (well pieces of content) on the Flickr account that are not weapon designs. The reason for that is the weapon designs make up 80 of the top 100 viewed images. This is due to the popularity of our old site Build Your Own Weapon.
Not surprising the top photos are mainly light drawing ones
Look how chubby Rob looked!
A huge different to my personal Flickr account's top 5 photos but it makes sense as we don't have any boob photos at work.
Posted at January 17, 2010 : 12:01 PM
January 6, 2010 : 9:08 AM
Predictions for Digital in 2010
During the slow days between Xmas and New Years we at Soap Creative decided to put together a prediction list for what we think will impact on digital advertising in 2010. There is a mixed bag of stuff in here. Some we know (like new iPhone in June/july) but other we hope will happen. Some are focussed on the Australian market (the internet filter) while others international.
It was a lot of fun and I think we'll do one of these each year.
Posted at January 6, 2010 : 9:08 AM
July 13, 2009 : 12:40 PM
Japanese Blog Part
Posted at July 13, 2009 : 12:40 PM
June 7, 2009 : 1:31 PM
Lean Pockets Quesadilla Breaks
And if you think that's a lot of games we have two more for Marvel done but not live and another multi-player game that involved shooting chickens. You could say "shooting at your cock" but that would be rude and in poor taste. We're also starting work on 2 more for various clients now.
So yeah it's been game central at Soap lately but the quality and level of games we have been producing is better than we have ever done before. I look back at the games I made in 2000 and laugh. Although I still think Bogan Surf is a classic.
Posted at June 7, 2009 : 1:31 PM
Civil War Online for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
The biggest game Soap has ever worked on is now live. Civil War Online is a turn based multiplayer game which launched as part of the site for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 which falls under our HeroHQ site we built for Activision for all their Marvel games.
This is a small dream come true for me as when I was in highscool I played Heroes of Might & Magic the game all the time. And the best part was the battles. Civil War Online took inspiration from this. It's also our second multiplayer game we have made. The first being Biggest Battle in History for Night at the Museum 2. The good thing about CWO is that the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 community we have is very active. And since the game launched 2 days ago we have had over 3,000 battles. Considering the shorted battle we have recorded is 3 min and the longest 1hr with an average of 12 min for each battle that's quite amazing. Every time I login I see between 20-70 people online battling away.
We still have a couple of bugs in the game which we are fixing which is understandable for such a complicated game.
The game also works on 2 levels.
1: 1 vs 1 battles: This is the main game. You battle another person with your team of 4 Marvel Superheroes
2: Pro vs Anti: each battle is part of the Pro-Registration and Anti-Registration sides. Which ever team controls the most grid positions on the battle world wins the round.
We took inspiration from Tom Clancy's End War for this one. Rather than just having your battle mean only something to you, your battle is now part of a greater war. Picking where you battle is also a strategic choice. You want to control the map so battling on a position which is dominated by the other team is a waste. Choosing a neutral or even position is the way to win. It seems the Anti side are less strategic with their choice as they are losing bad this round (rounds reset every week) but in terms of overall battles are not far behind.
We also got to make a sexy PV3D world map. Although we failed in creating a Earth representation in hexagons that easily wraps to a sphere. We had to change it to a generic grid just days before live.
We also did something sneaky to the MUA2 community. Initial forum chatter was heavily weighted towards the Anti-Reg side. So before we asked the community to choose a side we threw them a curve ball. We offered 500 hero points to the users who sided with Iron-Man and the pro side. Not only is this true to the comic book story but it also convinced some of the heavy hitters in the community to switch sides. It also generated lots of talk and debate which is exactly what we wanted.
I've had a blast working on HeroHQ as Ive found comic gamer fans to be the most passionate and active people on the web. They really get into it and are really appreciative of our efforts. I've never been thanked/praised so much for doing work from a community before.
The added benefit is that we have learnt so much as a company from HeroHQ as to what works and what doesnt when running a community and forum of this size. We now have 10,000 members who have posted over 220,000 times on the forum. That's in 4 months! We now get over 50,000 posts to the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 part of the forum a month.
The previous game had 30,000 members who contributed 120,000 posts over the entire campaign so we are punching above our weight right now.
I look forward to seeing the community grow as we get closer to the release date in September 09. Having a 6-7 month lead up to a release has been an interesting one. Considering the first MUA game is 3 years old now it's surprising how much traction this has gotten.
Oh and if you want to say hi on the forums I'm DrTruffle.
Oh and here's a sketch I did for CWO I found which we used to pitch the idea. Amazing how you can hardly tell the difference between my sketch and the final game.
Oh we pushed for Hexagons as they are 50% better than squares.
Posted at June 7, 2009 : 1:07 PM
This is one of my fav type of games and the level of polish on this bad boy is amazing. Not the norm to tell the developer and the designers to STOP working on it we need to push it out there.
The average game time on this so far is 20 min which is 2x our normal standard. It's understandable as the game mechanic is for longer games.
When you get a brief such as "game for a TV and HAS TO integrate with the product features" it's quite tough. Trying to convey 2ms, 200mhz, divx and engergy saving into the one game was a challenge. In fact if LG had not of liked the Tower Defense game idea we were all out of ideas.
Posted at June 7, 2009 : 12:56 PM
Online Advertising Categories
Recently we have been working on a lot of flash games at Soap. You can call these advergame, branded entertainment, brand games brames whatever but the fact is that online advertising seems to be far more valuable to the consumer than any other form of advertising. In fact the only thing traditional advertising is good for is funding free content. There would be no American Idol without advertising.
When I look at online I see these major trends in categorization of how brands advertise online.
- Plain Advertising: Product message here and buy now
On most traditional advertising mediums such as radio, TV and print you usually just got "Plain Advertising". But with digital there is a heavy shift away from this.
The added bonus is that with online you can do all 4 categories in the one solution.
I feel bad for traditional advertising people who provide no real worth to any of their consumers. They just sell stuff to people who don't need it. As interesting as the 90 second epic TV (read short film) is it'll be forgotten once the media campaign is over. Where as with online you have a chance to affect peoples behavior and have them using your solution for years to come.
Now I need to think of examples of where this happened. Nike+ seems a good example, various online communities from brands have done well too. I'll follow this up with examples once I have had time to think.
Posted at June 7, 2009 : 12:41 PM
April 23, 2009 : 11:04 PM
Games are Going Off
Our latest game Gripz has seen 1.3 million visitors clocking up 1.8 million games in 3 days. Gripz Globe Skater is doing really well. Oh and an average time of 9 minutes 41 seconds. Buzaaang!
MRD Escape has clocked up 8 million visitors and 13 million games since Feb 9 again with an average game time of 10 minutes and 14 seconds. Seems that 10 minutes is our benchmark.
I can only imagine the stats for games like Peggle and Bejeweled would do. And hope one day I will be involved in a game that takes over the world like that. I could then go around saying "Oh your mum likes to play XXXXXX?...... I fucking made that game!"
Also a different type of game we recently did for Lynx called Primal Instinct is now at 18,000 registered users and still going strong. Thats with cinema and press advertising kicking in this week. The average game time on this is our biggest at 11 minutes 31 seconds. We're getting 80% return users to the site too which is great.
Iron Man Flight Test is still out #1 game which just broke 25 million visitors and I don;t know have many games but the usual is between 1.4 - 1.7 games per user. So let's call it 35 million games to be safe.
We've done over 150 games at Soap but it's only lately with the talented crew that we have really done some awesome games. My skills behind flash were never good enough to push it and we are finally getting to a point where the games we do are right up there with the best of them. We still have a little way to go in terms of stripping back ideas to core gameplay and also generating unique game plays but we're getting better.
I know it's cheating as games are easier to create than a highly strategic campaign and the brands and clients we work with are more fun than a bank or bum creme but we sacrificed quite a bit to get to this position. As banks and boring brands pay much more for boring work than fun work.
Compare the stats for these games above to "viral" campaigns and games blow viral out of the water. Both in terms of visitors, engagement levels and consistency in results. Unless you're "The Viral Factory" which for me can't seem to do wrong and make the best virals in the world and have done for years.
Posted at April 23, 2009 : 11:04 PM
March 1, 2009 : 11:20 PM
Working with US Based Companies
We got a document that outlined how US companies do business. It had some tips for us Aussies. Matt from our US office found these points.
A few truisms from the Austrade doc that I found funny when called out…
Posted at March 1, 2009 : 11:20 PM
February 10, 2009 : 12:21 AM
Wolverine and the X-Men MRD Escape game
This (for me) is a top 5 Soap game for sure. We put a lot of work into this one and it's easily expandable to add more levels. It's also our second only platformer game. Which is weird as I grew up playing those type of games. It's also our first game to use pixel art.
There's robots to kill, wires to cut, alarms to deactivate and 10 levels to escape from. Pretty good for a free flash game.
We're also testing a few things with this game that will pay off in future games.
The next 4 games are all solid too ending in Dec 09 with a game I've been wanting to make for ages. All games for 2009 for Marvel will use our UI they liked it so much.
Posted at February 10, 2009 : 12:21 AM
February 7, 2009 : 2:42 PM
Rexona Australia's Greatest Athlete
Find out about the show here
Posted at February 7, 2009 : 2:42 PM
January 20, 2009 : 1:21 AM
For some reason (due to all the Google traffic we get) I thought Sleevage had good SEO. but it seems I had it all wrong. It's terrible. None of the posts are indexing on Google. Just the main artist headlines.
Search for CD Cover and we come up in the top 10. But search for something from a post and nothing.
Mike said it might have to do with all the drop down data at the top of the page. The actual post data is at line 900 or something. Ive done a temp fix but we wont know for a few days if this fixed it.
We're rebuilding the site now but it's interesting that the more we posted on the site the harder we made the site to index.as the links pushed the content down.
I'll link up this Portishead entry and hope in in 2 days we can see some real search results.
Posted at January 20, 2009 : 1:21 AM
January 17, 2009 : 6:16 PM
Wolverine Game Forum Admin
I am one of the admins on the forum until the full moderator team get set up and the developers of the game jump on board. I am usually one of the people who post infrequently and have little time for forums (too busy) but as I have a vested interest in this one I'm putting a few hours a day into it.
It's actually quite fun being the big cheese and people on there (just a few hundred right now) seem very interested and enthusiastic. I can't wait will the full site launches as there will be heaps more to talk about but I look forward to this being a great little forum over the next year.
Posted at January 17, 2009 : 6:16 PM
January 15, 2009 : 11:10 PM
Imagine if every time you flushed the toilet you were charged $1 in water usage. 50c if you have a water wise toilet. I think that people would either piss in the sink (seen this in 3 TV shows/movies in recent times?!) or just be more awar of how much water they are using.
The same is for plastic bags. "Oh double bag it" might be used less if the pay for plastic bag trials were to continue. They do this in Amsterdam.
It was great to hear Australia is phasing out incandescent light globes too.
I've heard a little bit of buzz (during the lets go green phase) of agencies going carbon neutral. I was even going to do a post on Bannerblog on this until I realized how ungreen we are :(
Trust me when I cry a secret tear when I go to the printer and see half a ream of paper with jst junk printed on it. Not junk as in "emails" but actual printer error junk... half a ream which the printer kept printing until it ran out of paper. I'm the kind of guy who prints 4 up on a page when I have to print. That and staff leaving their little monitor lights on (vampire power graph here)
That said I happily leave the PS3 and XBOX on stanby 24-7 so the hypocritical nature of my statement is not lost.
I know that I wont live to regret it, i'll be dead before any of the major ramifications of this generations waste takes hold but I feel guilty about my carbon foot print.
If I ever buy a car I'll implode with guilt :)
So to my point. I wish that basic services cost more. Energy is cheap, water is not even considered an expense at all and plastic bags are disposable. If having a 12 minute shower cost me $4 in water I'd consider it a luxury that I can enjoy occasionally. Safe in the knowledge that most people will be taking shorter showers to save money not the environment.
Posted at January 15, 2009 : 11:10 PM
January 5, 2009 : 10:32 PM
Custom Moleskine Notepads for 2009
We got 2 of these for every staff with a character at Soap. Which is everyone with more than 3 months under their belt.
They turned out pretty good but I'm too in lobe with my tiny cahier moleskines to go big. Bit I'll use it as a sketchbook.
Don't worry Matt and Christian you're are being sent right now :)
Posted at January 5, 2009 : 10:32 PM
January 3, 2009 : 5:24 PM
Soap Xmas Party Visualised
I was able to grab the bill from this years bar tab at the end of the xmas party. Last year they said I couldn't have it which sucked as we went waaay over budget on that one while this one was under budget.
Anyway here's some top level stats. We consumed a total of 786 drinks! which comes in at 156L.
That's pretty good for a party of around 75-100 people. That's more than 7-10 drinks per person. Some like the Pineapple juice was a 4L jug and that counts as one drink.
Here's some crappy excel visuals.
Posted at January 3, 2009 : 5:24 PM
Google Adsense Earnings
What better way to start than with a post about everyone's favorite topic. Money! I'll add that to my fav topic stats and mix them into a long personal post.
I have been using Adsense since March 2007 when I added it to a few of the sites I owned and others I built for clients but the clients either don't exist anymore or didn't want to maintain the sites.
Here is a monthly breakdown of earnings per month from Jan 08 - Dec 08. This includes search, content and feeds.
That massive jump was October where WTFcostumes earnt itself a right to exist and guaranteed it will stay for 2009. I was going to let it die to free up time for other sites.
I have gone further and broken down how the earnings are divided. Let's look at the comparison of Ads for content vs Ads for search.
That's 9.8% of my revenue earnt by people searching a site and clicking ads at the top of the results. I had no idea people would actually click these ads but it seems they do. I increased my earnings by 10% by doing nothing. If you use the blogs built in search functionality you might consider going around it.
The Google Search is perfect for blogs as it also indexes comments and combines the 3 blogs I have on Bannerblog (banners, news and jobs) into a single search stream. Sadly since installing Disqus I think the comments are no longer SE friendly :(
Adsense for Feeds I only added in the last 2 months of 2008 and the amount was so small it didn't even show up on the chart. In actual fact I've found the revenue earnt by these to be so small it seems useless.
One interesting way to look at my Adsense revenue is to compare revenue generated from sites I own and have created from scratch (bannerblog, wtfcostumes, theslipperytruffle) and others I have built for clients in the past that they no longer want to maintain. These range from stuff created in 2000 to 2005.
When a client says "I don't want to pay for the hosting" or "that promotion is over just let the site die" it pains me. We at Soap need an archive of our work and some sites are still generating a lot of traffic. One site we did in 2004 that still receives over 50,000 visits a month. So let's compare the earnings from the two types of sites
49% of the revenue is from such sites. Crazy. I know of one site we did that we added a referal link onto it. So every time someone bought the product we could track the earning and also get a 5% commission. The client at the time said that was fine. Out of the 20 or so retailers we linked to we could only put a referral link onto 1 of them. The rest didn't have a system in place. We still tracked outgoing links though.
That single link (to a retailer I have bought off as they suck) has generated over $10,000 of direct sales. This is over many years but this is one of 20+ links and at a retailer that doesn't have the best prices or even a very good site.
It was only recently the client asked us to "kill the site" & "take it down as we have a myspace page" instead.
"You're making a mistake because of X & Y" I said. This site isn't huge but SEO wise and revenue generating it's doing OK. Also your audience is so wide that a Myspace page will alienate half of them. Still they persisted and we obliged.
Clients who treat websites like "digital plastic bags" are wasting their money. Even if you want a site to be "killed" there are better ways to handle it than just letting a URL and hosting expire. Oh you can't afford $25 a month on a site that's generating direct ROI?
Anyway I digress as I don't want to complain, I want to talk $$$ and stats.
In addition to Adsense I also monetized Bannerblog buy bringing on a sponsor. Rather than mess up the site with Adsense (which aren't pretty) and also would not have worked as well as the content on the site (banner ad for dog food) isn't usually relevant to the audience (marketing and digital professionals) unless those have pets but this isn't the point.
Take a look at many of the marketing blogs you visit. Some have sacrificed ease of reading and athetics to earn a little bit of cash. Some require you to scroll past a bunch of ads to read the actual article. Very annoying on mobile browsing.
Eyeblaster came on as a sponsor (great fit for the audience) and it meant I have one invoice and guaranteed income for the year. No need to worry month by month. EB got a great deal I feel as the CPM and CPC costs are tiny and that's no taking in account the brand exposure to a very targeted niche audience. But again beside the point I'm trying to get to here.
Here's a break down of Adsense revenue vs sponsorship revenue vs my salary.
13% of my salary was earnt by blogging and adsense for 07/08 financial year. Which for those not in Australia is July 1 2007 to June 30 2008.
Not bad you might say but if you consider the number of raw hours I put into blogging you're looking at sweat shop salary.
Full Disclosure: My actual income from Soap is not 100% salary. There were payments from previous years earnings/dividends that I had deferred but this isn't added to the chart above. There's no perfect science to this :)
Another interesting way to look at it is my earnings (salary + blogging) and the % of that I donated to charities. I donated over 2x as much in 07/08 than I did in 06/07 and that was 4x as much as I did in 05/06. The chart showing how much I have donated to charity over the years is below. I can't find accurate data from previous years (different tax accountant) and the ATO is shut. I'm hoping I can ask for my entire ATO history to be sent to me. This seems like a reasonable request?
This looks impressive but then if you compare last years to my earnings below it comes to 4%. Well 4.2% if you want to nit pick.
I'm not sure if 4% is high or low. I'm assuming it's higher than most people. I did have a mortgage at this time however no baby, pet, drug or alcohol problem to feed.
This 4% was bolstered by my 25% donation of Bannerblog revenue.
Here's the breakdown of blogging and adsense earnings to charity payments.
It ended up being 25.7% so that extra .7% is pure good karma!
So to wrap this post up I would like to set a challenge to all bloggers who also pull down a normal salary.
And that is "Donate 25% of your external earnings to charity"
Most bloggers I know personally also have full time jobs that earn them good money. So why not donate whatever you earn from the side projects to a worthy cause? Most of these friends don't actually earn tht much from their blogs so 25% of $10 isn't much but it's the principle.
If you earn your living from blogging alone then this challenge isn't for you as I don't expect anyone to donate 25% of their full income to charity. That's nuts!
And for those that say most bloggers don't earn anything check this recent poll on Problogger. That's per month. So while some earn hardly anything others (a smaller percentage) are rolling it.
Posted at January 3, 2009 : 12:03 PM
December 17, 2008 : 10:48 PM
Secret to remembering stuff
For the last few months I haven't been able live/work without my Cahier Moleskins. I always thought it was Cashiers.
I originally had the retro Marvel ones but these are impossible to find in Sydney (trust me I went to 5 different books stores around Sydney.
Ive had and still have other moleskins but what I love about these is the cheap price ($14 for a pack of 3) the soft cover and the small size. It easily fits in my jeans pocket and you can sit easily with it in your pocket. Also by the time it runs out it's worn down and I just chuck the old one in a box for keep sake and crack open a fresh one. No lugging around 9 months worth of stuff in the one booklet. They last a couple of months max.
I got the idea from Russ from Tequila Sydney after I saw him jotting down URL's and other stuff during a conversation with him. Seemed like a good idea for keeping track of all the shit that gets said outside of browsers and IM.
I also went and bought whoever wanted them in the office and a few people have caught onto it. I should ask them how they are finding it and if it has helped them.
The only thing I dislike is that Moleskins are so "trendy" but I guess there is a reason, they are good. I also bought super mini ones at a book store earlier in the week. These are super small and I guess I bought them for the cute factor and the fact I could get a different color other than the cardboard brown.
I wish everyone had a tiny notebook with them at all times as it would mean more people would reply to emails or actually do what you ask of them without having to be reminded. It's much quicker to jot stuff down analogue style than typing on an Iphone keyboard.
Posted at December 17, 2008 : 10:48 PM
December 13, 2008 : 1:49 AM
The Bait and Switch Recruitment
The Bait and Switch is used by companies when trying to employ someone. It's a way of promising the world then when employed the company goes back on those promises.
I have lost out when trying to employ people by having other companies "bait and Switch" on potential staff. Sadly I'm used the "tell the truth" style of employment which never has the gloss of the "bait and switch".
Let's say your agency does boring work and isn't highly regarded in the industry. When recruiting this is easy to fix as you say "we want YOU to help turn us around. We'll have you leading the team to take us into becoming one of the best. We have lots of great work in the pipe line"
Simple, you turned a negative into a positive. Only thing is it was all a lie. But that's fine as switching jobs is a real hassle and after 6 months they'll forget you even told a few porkies.
The hard thing when competing against a "bait and switch" is that your offering will never look as appealing to the potential employee. You won't tell them everything they want to hear as you can't promise the world.
The hardest thing is if the person doing the bait and switch plays hard ball and you don't even get a chance to respond. The potential employee is coerced into signing a contract right away leaving you with no options at all.
The only way you can combat a bait and switch is to reason with the person and let them know they are being played and hope they are smart enough to see through it.
I will say that anyone who runs their own business should take a course or get mentoring in how to talk to people when in a recruitment phase. I sure could have used some tips.
We've been lucky at Soap that our reputation has attracted lots of good people but lately it's been harder than it used to be, but then again our standards have risen too. We've also had to put everything into packages lately stating all the bits and pieces that go into it. This just makes half the time we're talking about money and fine details than the role.
We've also missed opportunities with people by replying a few days late or being out bid by an obvious bait and switch (which the person said to me later that this was the case)
Recruitment is a weird experience and those who are in a position to hire poeple will know this. It's like speed dating with a written commitment if you want to see more of each other.
Posted at December 13, 2008 : 1:49 AM
October 27, 2008 : 10:13 PM
Soap Creative USA
This is just a brain dump on my thoughts about our new LA office. It's probably the most exciting time at Soap that it has ever been, business has never been better and the type of projects we're working on has never been more varied.
While it was actually official a week ago lets call today the first day of Soap USA. We've gone and opened an office in LA. Century City (the Nth Sydney of LA) to be precise which is a temporary solution. It's both a scary and exciting prospect for many reasons. Only once did I really lose sleep over the decision.
As an independent agency we've been self funded from the start. So opening an office is quite a hurdle. But it was actually easier than buying our office and the subsequent purchase of the place next door.
Luckily we have a business focussed partner who looked after the majority of this "paper work". There's much more to these things that you first imagine. Lots of things to sign and decisions to make. The easiest decision we had was who to get to run the office. For me there was only one choice and that was our current client Matt Griswold. He was one of those rare clients that really pushed us to do better. He also got just as excited (if not more) by our ideas. He was also a client I could send over ideas for other clients and get a good honest opinion.
The plans for the LA office have been in the works for over a year. My first trip to LA was part of that plan. Secure more US work and then use that as a base to expand. We went from 5% revenue to around 20% revenue from Uncle Sam. All this as the Aussie dollar climbed to 97c to the USD.
But within the year the financial systems have changed considerably. Right now it's at 60c to the USD which means the budgets for us just went up 30%-35%. From good to great.
While things seem bad, people are still going to the movies, watching TV and playing video games, the two markets our clients over there are in. They aren't buying property, investing or buying SUVs and luxury products.
They will also be buying more alcohol too. Also a new president and a new year should see some changes too.
For the last 6.5 years Soap has been my hobby and job. Myself and the other partners aren't savvy businessmen and we're not entrepreneurs we just like what we do and tried to do our best. If we were those things I probably would be living in a penthouse apartment on the Gold Coast. Funny thing is after 6.5 years we've only just hit our stride. The projects we're being offered, the clients we're working for and the budgets to work with have finally matured. The team we have has never been stronger too.
This reminds me of one digital CD telling me he had a "5 year plan" for his agency which ended in fail. If you plan to get out in 5 years then you don't really make to make a difference you make decisions to pad your pockets.
Funnily enough the actual cost itself to set up the office hasn't been huge. In fact the full outlay is less than some agencies spend on their Xmas party.
The most exciting prospect for me is a personal one. Running a business has its ups and downs. A few times in the last 6 years I have felt trapped, wanting to take a year off and travel or work over seas was not an option. But now that is possible (well the work overseas bit is). It also allows us to offer the option to the staff to work in the US office.
It will be an interesting 12 months as the office grows into it's own entity.
I also wonder what other people think about this move. We could have as easily just sold and then looked to exit in 3 years with earn outs. But I think we've now secured more potential growth and worth than we ever could have earlier.
Funnily enough while trying to grow the US side of things we've also had huge growth locally after just being awarded the digital accounts for two major brands. We're also nominated for B&T's Digital agency of the year 2008.
Phew lot's of stuff to process over the next few months for us and many more decisions to be made. We're in hiring mode now and seeing some pretty talented people this week which is a tough part of the job trying to hire people.
Posted at October 27, 2008 : 10:13 PM
October 10, 2008 : 12:02 PM
Posted at October 10, 2008 : 12:02 PM
October 4, 2008 : 5:16 PM
Google Adsense Visualized
Please excuse the terrible design elements I really just wanted to graph my Adsense account rather than create something worth hanging on a wall.
I've been playing with Adsense since March 2007 and have found it a great way to earn pocket money. I don't put much effort into making money from it and for the first 6 months I donated 100% to Oxfam.
Here's the key figures charted against each other.
Some sites earn almost nothing with Adsense while others regularly pull in lunch money daily. WTFcostumes my sexy costume blog has recently become a major earner due to the fact that Halloween is closing in. It's SEO isn't perfect but I'm relaying on Google for all my traffic right now. I'm hoping that search traffic will triple soon with Halloween getting closer. But after that it'll soon go back to being a quiet site.
Notice that Clicks vs Earnings is not a perfect mirror. The cost of the click varies greatly day to day and the location of the clicker. Also this is runnign across multiple sites and some sites get much more per click as the content of the site is more advertiser friendly. Or it's more relevant. Ads on this blog due to the word truffle being in the title are all recipe based?! Even If I post about movies and DVD's.
You are forbidden to disclose how much you earn through Adsense so I will say that you could not quit your day job with my Adsense earnings but you could support a smokers habit.
Posted at October 4, 2008 : 5:16 PM
Aussie vs USD
Lots of talk about how doomed the USD is but check it against the Aussie dollar. It's clawing its way back. This is over the last 3 months
If it sits at this level for a while I'll be happy. If it goes even higher yay for us as we spent very little USD but receive quite a bit from clients. Even my adsense is feeling the 25% boost!
Posted at October 4, 2008 : 4:18 PM
Soap Creative Showreel 2008
Trying to squeeze in 6.5 years of work into 2 minutes is hard. (well the earliest project in here is from 2005) There's still lots of projects I love that didn't make it but you cant put everything in. We also do a lot of work that doesn't fit into show reels well. Applications, banners and social media stuff. But this is more of a HYPE reel to get people excited and to show off.
I'm still hoping we can change the music as the current track is different (which is good) but it doesn't suit the work or say much about Soap in terms of attitude. It just feels old. It's also a very flat track. A few hit points here and there but there's probably a good reason this type of track isn't used in showreels.
Posted at October 4, 2008 : 2:52 PM
July 31, 2008 : 10:04 PM
Getting Things Done GTD
I finally finished reading GTD by David Allen (who looks like my old friend Adrian Rice). I'm now going back and creating a checlist of next steps I need to do to really get organized.
The book is a fantastic resource of common sense tips and insights into how to become less flustered at work. I'm a list junkie but now I know how to make and manage my lists better.
Its the first time in ages I have wanted a Mac so I can use Omnifocus which was imspired by the book. But I'd rather wait to change for another year or so.
Posted at July 31, 2008 : 10:04 PM
July 23, 2008 : 7:58 PM
Ive eaten 4 Banana's this week. More than I had last year total.
I am Bananaman. We also get fruit in the office and I swear we went through 3 KG of Banana's in 2 days. Hungry people.
Posted at July 23, 2008 : 7:58 PM
July 20, 2008 : 4:42 PM
Twitter only keeps the last 80 entries
I was asked to write an article about my experience at Cannes this year. 900 words! So I thought I'd do the easy thing and just edit my twitter feed down to the best pieces.
It was then I found out that Twitter only keeps the last 80 entries!. WTF. So I've lost 50 entries to the interweb. I did a search and found other people trying to collate a years worth and ran into the same trouble. I was able to fudge the first few days but it's sad that I no have no digital record of that period in my life.Maybe I'm missing what Twittering is meant for but it seems silly for there to be no way to archive properly. Even provide a way to do it off the Twitter servers.
So now if you ever Twitter a major event in your life be sure ot have a backup plan in place or you're fucked.
Posted at July 20, 2008 : 4:42 PM
May 22, 2008 : 1:20 AM
The Happening Experiment Sydney. Pitt St Mall
Posted at May 22, 2008 : 1:20 AM
May 17, 2008 : 11:00 AM
The Evolving Digital Market
I was chatting to Mike the other day about how much the work we do at Soap has changed in the last 12-18 months. The type of work, the clients and the expanded team are all obvious ones but I was more referring to the marketplace and tools available.
For me the change has been for the better and things have gotten easier to produce good results (if not more complicated due to all the options.)
Here's a list of things in the last 12-18 months that have become part of my my daily working life.
Mike would have to add Twitter to that list but I've got enough on my plate to not micro blog my life.
Some tools I wonder how we ever managed without them!
The next big thing is Flash 10. This is a huge visual update for the player. Flash 9 brought with it just AS3 which did wonders for performance but didn't add much in the way of Eye Candy. Flash 10 though is the Eye Candy step we've been waiting for. It's hard on enducing the stuff that the player can do.
It's the same WOW factor that 8 had over 7 but multiplied and I can't wait.
Posted at May 17, 2008 : 11:00 AM
March 21, 2008 : 5:36 PM
Places I Eat Sydney
I finally got around to mapping all the places I eat in Sydney. I'll be getting the other Soap people to add in their regular eateries too. This should work well for an iPhone.
Posted at March 21, 2008 : 5:36 PM
February 23, 2008 : 12:57 PM
Terry's Greatest Chops
Posted at February 23, 2008 : 12:57 PM
February 6, 2008 : 10:58 PM
I asked Jim to take a snapshot of his After Effects project for the Jumper project we did for 20th Century Fox. This is just half of the project.
Posted at February 6, 2008 : 10:58 PM
January 27, 2008 : 5:28 PM
Big Day Out Sydney 2008
I spent the day on Friday following Terry around as he made his way through the Big Day Out at Sydney. Terry is the official/unofficial mascot of Cornetto Ice creams. It certainly worked better than two guys dressed up as a Cow and Squirrel :)
I was filming as Brad was taking photos. Rob also filmed half the day too.
There was way to much eye candy out there on the day. Thank you summer! It also helps to have a huge guy dressed up right next to you to attract the attention of everyone.
We didn't get hassled by anyone the whole day and the vibe was really good. No fights (except for a little problem in the main stage in the Circle of Death) but that was our fault. Video of that coming soon!
There were a lot of Aussie flags and Southern Cross tattoos. Australia is becoming very patriotic and where as a few years back wearing an Aussie flag would have been considered lame. I'd say 20% of people had some form of flag motif on.
Posted at January 27, 2008 : 5:28 PM
January 2, 2008 : 10:56 PM
Soap's 5 Year Bowling Outing
I finally got around and spent an hour editing the footage I took at Soap's 5 year bowling outing. This was shot in March 2007. I forgot where the footage went and have since found it. I didn't take any footage at our other outings.
This is one time I actually shot specific footage for editing (I like 2 shots) but again my camera skills and lack of footage hindered by already terrible editing skills. Definitely need to cover more angles and choose more dramatic angles.
Here was 2006's Xmas party Go karting. The edit here is better although there is not much footage to work with.
I don't even want to think about 2006's Xmas party footage. I took heaps of the Sumo suit fights and more but I think it's best if no one see's that scary footage. All i have is this 15 second clip of Matt being flipped by Ross. I've added music to cover my annoying "Steve Urkle" laugh.
The thing about shooting video is it still requires editing and grading and unless you do it within a week of the event is a waste of time. I can't seem to grad the video how I treat photos. It just doesn't want to play ball the same way.
Posted at January 2, 2008 : 10:56 PM
November 24, 2007 : 11:53 AM
Recent Soap work
I came back to work after two weeks holidays and two new projects were launching on that day. We've also got a few more great projects launching in the next few weeks and some even bigger ones early next year. We had a dry patch at Soap Creative for a few months with not many projects launching. Mainly due to the large Seeker project that took up everyone's time and pitches for new business. One big one we lost and a bigger one we won.
Here's a brief overview of three new projects we just launched in November.
Ever wanted to see what you'd sound like as a chipmunk? Now you can with Munkyourself with Alvin and the Chipmunks. In theaters December and January worldwide. We created this using Oddcast Technology. The record by phone feature is pretty amazing. This was created for 20th Century Fox US. The site is being rolled out across 9 languages and 12 regions and is already going pretty well with little media support. The media is due to start one every language is complete.
The geometry of the chipmunk 3D model was supplied but due to the Rhythm and Hues using proprietary software. They couldn't just export the model for us. We had to extensively remodel and tweak the character in house. We also modeled and textured the 30+ clothing items for the chipmunk. Patrick our 3D guy did a great job getting it to look close to the Alvin models in the movie. Rhythm and Hues have a huge team working on this. We just had one guy so I think we did pretty good.
A smaller project we just launched is the Hitman Challenge. This time for 20th Century Fox Australia. Fox had partnered with In The Mix and suggested a Hitman Shooting School game type game. Funny we had suggested a Hitman Training Academy game and git knocked back :)
The basic idea is you have 10 games a day in which to train. Your score accumulates over each game. The more times you play the bigger your score and the better chance you have of winning a trip to any music festival in Australia.
We team feature was built to allow people to start teams. Initially we tried to remove the teams feature from the brief as the deadline was tight and this was the largest component of the project. So I'm happy to be humbled as the team feature seems to be going off and a really good feature. It did take the longest to build. The game itself was a few days work while the team feature, with all it's complex user flows and the like, took over a week I think to fully bug fix.
There's also prizes for who has the biggest team. Right now it's close between the Queensland Gamers League and DDB Sydney teams. The only downside to a promotion like this for the user is that people who hear about it early have the best chance of winning. Anyone starting now is a week behind in scores and at a massive disadvantage.
The disadvantage for us is the In The Mix URL means that after the promotion ends we have little control over the page. Archived links for our portfolio will need to change. But this is a small issue I guess.
We had a little over 2 weeks to put together this Toy Creator for Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. A new Fox Walden family film.
Luckily we could reuse our Design Tool Engine so the code was no worries. We had Ron illustrating the items right away from a set list of toy parts and Rob designing it.
This launched November 2 and has since had
Also the quality of submissions is fantastic especially seeing as there is no prize or incentive for users to submit anything. They are just doing it because it's fun.
Over the next two weeks we're also launching a game for Vivendi Universal Games, another Zipper game for National Geographic Kids, a slick site for Samsung. 2008 will see two large promotions for Unilever launch. So we're going to finish off 2007 with a influx of new work and start 2008 with a bang.
If you want to work in Sydney, Australia, have a passion for online and the will to do kick ass work then check out our site and email us at jobs at soap.com.au
Posted at November 24, 2007 : 11:53 AM
September 24, 2007 : 7:50 PM
see something. feel something
The site extends their latest tag line "See something that makes you feel something". It's the first step in many to position Foxtel away from just price based offers and more towards emotional ties people have with their TVs.
Posted at September 24, 2007 : 7:50 PM
August 7, 2007 : 9:48 PM
One more TED talk
If you can sit through the songs you get to hear a great talk
Posted at August 7, 2007 : 9:48 PM
TED: Creativity In Schooling
Posted at August 7, 2007 : 8:32 PM
Red Bull Air Race 2007
Posted at August 7, 2007 : 12:50 PM
July 12, 2007 : 10:42 PM
Seek the Signs for The Dark is Rising
We have just launched the first part for the official site of The Dark is Rising movie called Seek the Signs. It's the latest from 20th Century Fox and Walden.
This is the first time I've been able to read a script for a film that hasn't been shot yet. It's great fun. It makes brainstorming ideas for sites a lot easier when you know the movie back to front. Rather than just going off a trailer.
The movie is out October 5 and is based off a famous series of books written in the 1940's.
Also check out the MTV intern promo they are running with So You Want to be a Movie Intern. It's quite interesting and I'm jealous as I'd love to work on the set of a film.
Posted at July 12, 2007 : 10:42 PM
June 18, 2007 : 12:05 PM
Flame On Ginger!!!
We just finished a site that lets you send a video of yourself on fire. We also did the Myspace Widget thing aswell seen above.
Posted at June 18, 2007 : 12:05 PM
June 17, 2007 : 11:17 PM
Back in March I decided to put Google Adsense on a few old sites Ie had done and other misc pages that still generate OK traffic. This was mostly out of curisity rather than to make money.
I put the code on a handful of pages here and there (this sites archive pages included) and let it go. I also told Brett that I would donate all the proceeds (100%) to his Oxfam trail walk fund raising. This way all the dirty Google money goes to a good cause and I don't feel bad karma wise.
Well it's been 3 months and the Adsense is now earning more than my regular monthly donation every 2 days! And it's showing no signs of slowing down. If I was still paying rent it's be paying my rent and then some. While part of me wants to keep it all I know that I need to honour my donation promise. But it is hard to resist.
Some pages are performing amazingly well. Others bring in hardly anything. As some of the pages are flash I had to create alternate content to make the Adsense work. Otherwise it just shows up ads purely based off the page title.
Checking the Adsense stats is addictive. It's stats but with a $ value associated with it. The more traffic you get the more money you earn (usually)
So if you have a niche page that still gets some decent traffic (around 1,000+ views a day) then hook it up with AdSense and earn some cash on the side. And why not make all the money you make through this your regular donation to charity. I say niche as if you're page is about are particular topic (cars, music, games) then you'll hav a better chance of getitng relavent Google ads. If you put it on a blog liek this one that has no theme or makes any sense then don't expect many clicks.
Click the button below to sign up for AdSense. It'd take about 15 min to get started and then you can sit back and lets the pennies roll in.
Posted at June 17, 2007 : 11:17 PM
April 20, 2007 : 4:21 PM
Currently in the US and A
I'm in NY right now and having a great time. I just went to the Comedy Celler and saw my first live stand up show. NY is spoilt for choice with 10+ comedy places to choose from. Sydney has 1 I think. I;m unsure as no one goes. Well no one I know.
I havent been able to take that many photos but I'll make sure to upload what I did when I'm back in the AU and S
Posted at April 20, 2007 : 4:21 PM
April 13, 2007 : 10:18 PM
My Other blog is a Webby Finalist
The title of this post woudl make a good banner for this blog. Considering it's a hodge podge of crap with badly written entries it's amazing my other blog is actually up for a webby in Business. It's a crazy world. Anyway if you have a spare 2 min please vote for us as we're currently getitng our little aussie asses kicked.
Posted at April 13, 2007 : 10:18 PM
In an effort to road test things properly I have set up a Jaiku account. I'm always skeptical of this type of stuff but we'll see how it goes. As I'm off to NY and LA next week (fuck yeah!) on a biz trip it will be good to see how it works with my Mobile.
Posted at April 13, 2007 : 8:27 PM
March 3, 2007 : 10:46 PM
Build Your Own Weapon Entries
I sorted many of the Build Your Own Weapon entries (all 12,000 of the fuckers) into smaller groups.
I'll say it again that this is still the fav comp I've been involved in and I can't belive the time spent on these entries. Some of these are 2 years old as we ran the comp at the end of 2004.
Posted at March 3, 2007 : 10:46 PM
February 23, 2007 : 9:52 PM
With the ability to export a jpeg from a flash file now a reality, I have taken up the mission to export all the Build Your Own entries we received a while back (and are still receiving) for the Saveyourself site we build for 20th Century Fox.
Posted at February 23, 2007 : 9:52 PM
February 5, 2007 : 7:27 PM
Frubalia: The Home of Roll-Ups
This is the first launch and there are more games and activities being rolled out over the next 12 months. The site introduces kids to the Frubas and the world of Frubalia. Uncle Toby's Roll-Ups have now been fully rebranded with the Frubalia characters on them.
It's been alot of fun to work on and somethings are still a little rough around the edges but others like the Fruba Fling game are just perfect.
We worked with Morph Marketing on this site. They actually created the 10 Fruba Characters that inhabit the world. We were then tasked to create the world they live in.
The site seems to be going well and the main TVC campaign started yesterday so it should really sky rocket the traffic now.
Almost everythign we wanted to do with the site is there now. A few things got lost on the way but the majority made it in.
I have never been so nervous to launch a site before. I'm really proud of this one but also with all the login/registration stuff, the amount of money being spent promoting the site and the fact this is the largest site I've done it all add to the worry. I'm pretty sure kids will like it. The tests we did showed a good response to all ages and genders. Time will tell I guess.
Posted at February 5, 2007 : 7:27 PM
December 13, 2006 : 10:13 PM
Go Kart Action
Sadly I was the slowest of the guys on the day :( I love Lah's drive off the track. Its the one at about 54 seconds. This was the racing that caused my bruise you saw earlier.
Posted at December 13, 2006 : 10:13 PM
December 11, 2006 : 8:29 AM
Soap Creative Xmas Parry Super Sumo Action
It's taking a while to edit all the footage we shot but here's a taste. This is when Matt went head over heels for Ross :) See if you can spot my very nerdy laugh at the end. These are the super sumo suits we hired for the party.
Posted at December 11, 2006 : 8:29 AM
November 17, 2006 : 7:43 PM
Talking at Online Open day in Perth
I did a talk on "kick ass" examples of online advertising yesterday in Perth, Western Australia at an event called Online Open Day. There were around 150 people which seemed to be mostly clients with a few agency peopel thrown in.
I was in the middle of other more research based talks with lots of charts and data which made it easy to stand out. Also I was just presenting other peoples work (all examples from Bannerblog's archives) so I didn't have to do much thinking just selection.
This is the second talk of this kind, the first I did for Eyeblaster at their educational day, and it went pretty well. I hope this will flow onto increase readership of Bannerblog and even if lucky a few pieces of work from the crowd on the day.
While I'm no Anthony Robbins I am getitng the hang of speaking to large crowds. It'd be easier if I had to do the same talk multiple times as then you could get the timing and jokes right but sadly the industry here is too small to do repeat shows.
Posted at November 17, 2006 : 7:43 PM
November 5, 2006 : 9:38 PM
Deal Signed with Eyeblaster
I organised a deal with Eyeblaster to sponsor the Bannerblog site for 3 months. I initially proposed a 12 month deal but people are skeptical when it comes to paying money so we went with a 3 month trial.
It's funny how companies can pay a lot of money to be part of an event (say AIMIA awards or Internet Awards) but is skeptical when it comes to a site like Bannerblog. I guess this is why salesmen earn their money. They convince people to fork over big wads of cash. And all I'm good at is convincing marketing people to like our ideas.
Now all I need is Hasbro to sponsor my Mr Potatohead Mashups and I'll be set for life.
Posted at November 5, 2006 : 9:38 PM
October 17, 2006 : 7:50 PM
National Geographic Kids Halloween Ecard
We just completed this fun project for National Geographic Magazine in the USA. It's a Halloween Ecard Maker. They are tryig to run a comp where the best ones get printed in the mag but with such strick legals over there in the USA it's quite tough.
Nathan J did the awesome illustrations and we designed and coded the interface. I'm really happy with this and even though we have reused this engine a few times I think this is one of the best uses of it.
We initially had a few more items but they were removed as they were too dangerous. You can see them above. The axe, exposed brain,anythign devil related and the sickle. Doh. But luckily Nathan make a whole bunch of new items that were just as cool. And not so violent. I'm sunsure what that big pink thing is but I trust Nathan that it's something cool.
My fave is the Frankenstein mask and the frog eyes.
One thing we had troubles with (i say we but all I kept doing was saying I didnt like it ) was a logo for the game. Below is the 5 versions we went through until Brad stepped in and saved the day.
We also went through many revisions of the interface. Again, mainly as I kept pushing Ron to do more. You look at the initial designs and the final ones as it's such an improvment. The top image is the final designs
We've got a a fe wmore jobs lined up for National Geo and one thats just getting approved now. I really like doing stuff for kids as you can have alot more fun and be silly.
Posted at October 17, 2006 : 7:50 PM
September 29, 2006 : 10:35 PM
Earth Wallpapers Stats
EarthWallpapers.org was linked up on the Google Maps Mania site and also somewhere on BBC.CO.UK. I can't track absolute paths on my stats so it must have been fleeting as the hits were up and then down the next day. The initial link on Kottke.org was a great start to the site. My only dissapointment has been the dismel Digg activity. I woudl have thought it would get more than 12 diggs. But I guess Digg is more of a tech crowd than designers.
So far the average has been 705 unique visitors a day. Considering people can also access the pictures directly through my Flickr account that's pretty good.
I did a few tweaks to the site today with the latest wallpapers taken the background and after every click it loads int he current wallpaper. I also made the link text in the current location green to make it more obvious you can visit the locations on Google Maps.
Posted at September 29, 2006 : 10:35 PM
August 16, 2006 : 10:12 PM
Back from the Dead!!!
My Hard drive which died in March has been revivied!!!! They rang today to say the 98GB of crap I had on there is saved.
It has taken 5 months of waiting but I never gave up hope.
A big thanks to the guys at Xyber. Even if t did take 5 month due to my Dell's obscure and impossible to find HD model. (The HD I ordered from Ebay has never arrived so if it ever does I';ll have 3 of the mofos.
For those who need their data recovered contact the guys at Xyber. This is the 3rd time in 5 years they have saved my bacon. Or halal pork free bacon.
Xyber Computer Service Centre
Complete Macintosh (and PC) Service and Data Recovery Centre
Tel (02) 9906-7976
Fax (02) 99063620
28 Chandos St, St Leonards, NSW 2065, AUSTRALIA
Posted at August 16, 2006 : 10:12 PM
August 10, 2006 : 7:07 PM
Red Zero Launches
The initial brief for a "virtual magazine" many mionths ago stipulated they wanted the "page turn: effect. After pushing back on the client I thought we had won this battle.
Then as months pass the client kept asking for the page turn effect and we finally relented. Luckily Mike was able to decode the infamous code to allow uis to do all the dynamic stuff we needed for this magazine. And also make sure it played back at a decent speed. Flash 8 saved the day for Mike by allow pages to be cached as bitmaps and reduce load times considerably.
it was a huge learning experience for the designers of the magazine. We designed the framework of the magazine but the spreads and everything else was Pac Magazines.
We had many meetings with their designers to show them the possibility of the web and that you don’t have to lay everything out on the page. Issue 2 of Red Zero will be a lot tighter I feel as the designers now have a pretty good grasp of what’s possible.
I had little to do with this project after the initial functionality spec and think it's turned out pretty good.
There's a few spreads in there that look a little rushed but we had little control over this. Hopefully issue 2 will utilise online more by allowing more video, interviews, music streaming and other stuff like that rather than just trying to replicate the feel of a traditional magaizne.
Posted at August 10, 2006 : 7:07 PM
July 29, 2006 : 4:39 PM
Sony HC3 HDV Handycam
We just bought the Sony HDV HC3 handy cam for our office on Friday. We just tested with tapes and importing today and couldn’t be happier with the quality.
We shoot a lot of still work for projects and have never had the ability to do video. As more of our work involves video we decided to get one of our own. We also needed it to do those "viral" videos that seem to be in vogue right now.
We bought it from a retailer we found on Shop Ferret which is pretty good at comparing prices. Don't pay the 2,299 mentioned on the Sony site as that's a rip off. Even still $1,900 for a HDV camera is amazing value.
I guess Sony will make their money on all the accessories we need to buy now ie battery, tripod, case and other shit.
So look out for more videos which will be f better quality than the two I have on Youtube right now.
Posted at July 29, 2006 : 4:39 PM
July 24, 2006 : 11:18 PM
Myspace Flash Hack
In an effort to stop a Myspace flash hack from spreading, Myspace has introduced strict new counter measures for any piece of flash embeded into a profile. Sadly this means any external links no longer work. I hope they fix this as it really limits the amount that advertisers can do.
I mean you put a link to say "Check out BRAND X" in a piece of flash on a profile and the user cant even click it if they want to.
I doubt these new measure will be in splace for long as it seriously reduces the scope of what can be done on myspace for advertisers. And seeing as it's the advertisers paying the bills right now they will get their way.
Posted at July 24, 2006 : 11:18 PM
July 16, 2006 : 6:33 PM
In an effort to understand the juggernaut that is Myspace, I have created a myspace profile for myself. Some knob already had Mrtruffle so I had to become DrTruffle. 11 friends and counting!! Wow, I'm like so cool.
if only myspace was as well put together as Youtube or Flickr. But sadly It's a bit of a hodgepodge and if it wasn't for the huge userbase of kids on their no advertiser woudl touch it.
Posted at July 16, 2006 : 6:33 PM
July 15, 2006 : 7:07 PM
Software Management for a creative agency
If you run or are thinking of starting your own company here's my tip. Keep track of your software from day 1. We now have a team of 17 people and keeping track of every licence, disc and serial number is quite tough. Especially when any one of 6 people can make a purchase.
A perfect example of this is we have 7 copies of Office for Mac but only 6 Macs with two people have conflicting serials.
Other times we have the CD & box but can't find the serial or receipt and other times we have the receipt but no CD or box. Half the software if bought online with just a serial number and email as proof of purchase.
Staff borrowing and losing the CD's is also another problem.
We've tried to keep all the CD's in a CD holder and separate them from the bulky boxes as this makes it easier to find the CD you need.
Starting next week we'll do a major software stocktake and create a workflow for any future purchases. Always through the same person with serials and receipts logged in a central area. Any new installations will be run through that designated person with any conflicts fixed.
Software is a major investment with a every new staff member requiring between $4-6k worth of apps. Luckily management staff are cheaper with only about $1-2k worth of apps needed.
I'd be interested in hearing how other people manage their software or if they too have similar problems. Maybe their is an application you can get that makes this a simple process?
Posted at July 15, 2006 : 7:07 PM
July 6, 2006 : 7:37 PM
Posted at July 6, 2006 : 7:37 PM
June 6, 2006 : 6:40 PM
Pingball: A case study of sorts
We've just completed our first Pinball game for Artie Lange's Beer League movie. Here’s some more info on how the game was made and how it came about. We’re very proud of this game at Soap and had spent an extra 2 weeks over deadline polishing it up. Luckily the client had already pished back the release of the film so there was no pressure to get it out quickly. The brief that came to us was to do a game to promote Beer League. A film starring Artie Lange (who we later found out was on the Howard Stern show so that’s the big draw card). The only requirement was that it contained the image or reference to “The Pitching Machine” which is from a funny scene in the movie. See below. After throwing around initial ideas for a baseball type game, or a target shooting one Brad threw in the idea of a pinball game. Usually I say as they are almost impossible to code properly in flash but the idea fitted so well. When brad said to have the girls legs as flippers when knew that was it. We actually didn’t pitch any other ideas to the client. It was this or nothing. Brad’s initial sketch The client loved it (dream client, dream brief) and we proceeded forward. We had a backup plan to just create a tween version of a pinball game, meaning no code just everything would be animated and random to give the illusion of a real pinball. It was a cop out but our fail safe. Luckily our new flash dude Chris was eager to get started and this was his first project with us. We found a Flash Phsics Engine which would help build a pinball game and from there it all went smoothly. The hardest part was finalizing the game play as pinball’s are quite complex creatures and although they seem simple they aren’t. You not only have to make it work but make it fun. We bought the Pinball Hall of Fame for PSP to practice up and learn from the masters and there is plenty of pinball info online too. (Nerd Fact: when I was in highschool I played pinball all the time at the arcade. I actually joined the Pinball League which met once a week to play in a comp. I have a 1 Billion Point Trophy (which I didn’t really earn) and my fav pinball’s are Adam’s Family, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Indiana Jones) My dream was to always own a pinball at home and hopefully oneday that will still come true. There was only one problem with the design of the game and that was the client though “The Pitching Machine” girl looked like an amputee. Which in the Howard Stern type audience isn’t really a problem but we had to tweak the flippers slightly to have shoes. Oh and we had to add the glove appearing to pick up the ball as it came back down. They didn’t want it “going back into her” We also added a mini game with Artie chugging a beer, which Chris did while waiting for approval on other game elements. I think Artie himself would be flattered with this vector version of himself. As he gets older maybe we can do a cartoon based on him Design wise you can see version 1 shown below was expanded on for version 3 shown below. The film also stars Ralph Macchio the Karate Kid! It must be in his contract not to mention it as not hint is made in the film. The only sad part for us was that no new audio was recorded for the game. We sent a list of what we wanted but only get edits from the film. Oh and that we didn’t get to do the main movie site as it’s a little rough around the edges. The game is as un PC as they come and it was great just being able to throw what ever you wanted into an idea and the client liking it. I’ve never said “douche bag” or “fuck nuts” so much in my career. You can see the other sketches and designs from the project on this flickr set.
Here’s some more info on how the game was made and how it came about. We’re very proud of this game at Soap and had spent an extra 2 weeks over deadline polishing it up. Luckily the client had already pished back the release of the film so there was no pressure to get it out quickly.
The brief that came to us was to do a game to promote Beer League. A film starring Artie Lange (who we later found out was on the Howard Stern show so that’s the big draw card). The only requirement was that it contained the image or reference to “The Pitching Machine” which is from a funny scene in the movie. See below.
After throwing around initial ideas for a baseball type game, or a target shooting one Brad threw in the idea of a pinball game. Usually I say as they are almost impossible to code properly in flash but the idea fitted so well. When brad said to have the girls legs as flippers when knew that was it. We actually didn’t pitch any other ideas to the client. It was this or nothing.
Brad’s initial sketch
The client loved it (dream client, dream brief) and we proceeded forward. We had a backup plan to just create a tween version of a pinball game, meaning no code just everything would be animated and random to give the illusion of a real pinball. It was a cop out but our fail safe.
Luckily our new flash dude Chris was eager to get started and this was his first project with us. We found a Flash Phsics Engine which would help build a pinball game and from there it all went smoothly.
The hardest part was finalizing the game play as pinball’s are quite complex creatures and although they seem simple they aren’t. You not only have to make it work but make it fun.
We bought the Pinball Hall of Fame for PSP to practice up and learn from the masters and there is plenty of pinball info online too.
(Nerd Fact: when I was in highschool I played pinball all the time at the arcade. I actually joined the Pinball League which met once a week to play in a comp. I have a 1 Billion Point Trophy (which I didn’t really earn) and my fav pinball’s are Adam’s Family, Creature from the Black Lagoon and Indiana Jones) My dream was to always own a pinball at home and hopefully oneday that will still come true.
There was only one problem with the design of the game and that was the client though “The Pitching Machine” girl looked like an amputee. Which in the Howard Stern type audience isn’t really a problem but we had to tweak the flippers slightly to have shoes.
Oh and we had to add the glove appearing to pick up the ball as it came back down. They didn’t want it “going back into her”
We also added a mini game with Artie chugging a beer, which Chris did while waiting for approval on other game elements.
I think Artie himself would be flattered with this vector version of himself. As he gets older maybe we can do a cartoon based on him
Design wise you can see version 1 shown below
was expanded on for version 3 shown below.
The film also stars Ralph Macchio the Karate Kid! It must be in his contract not to mention it as not hint is made in the film.
The only sad part for us was that no new audio was recorded for the game. We sent a list of what we wanted but only get edits from the film. Oh and that we didn’t get to do the main movie site as it’s a little rough around the edges.
The game is as un PC as they come and it was great just being able to throw what ever you wanted into an idea and the client liking it. I’ve never said “douche bag” or “fuck nuts” so much in my career.
You can see the other sketches and designs from the project on this flickr set.
Posted at June 6, 2006 : 6:40 PM
May 25, 2006 : 10:00 AM
We've created these funky badges for people to put on their websites/myspace profiles. This helps spead the word of XPlanet and creates a stronger bond with the users. We hope anyway :)
Worked out pretty good and I can't wait to see if people use these on their Myspace profile.
Posted at May 25, 2006 : 10:00 AM
May 22, 2006 : 8:58 PM
Posted at May 22, 2006 : 8:58 PM
May 18, 2006 : 9:24 PM
X Planet is live!!
This is our most ambitious project yet, not only due to the complexity of the task but the fact this site is a global promotion. It's not just a local Australian site it's being promoted throughout the world by Fox to promote the film.
We created the concept and a prepared a mockup to be presented in the US at the Fox Global X-Men Summit. Which is every region of Fox in a big conference hall talking about how they will promote X-Men 3?
The initial idea was to have much more content from the first 2 films ie locations, the actual mutants from the movies with their locations and key events marked on the map but this was scaled back to concentrate on the community aspect of the site.
I still feel the site would be stronger with all that auxiliary content as it would allow users to really immerse themselves into the X-Men universe. But we’re just happy we’ve been able to push a risky but interesting idea. Another game, puzzle or competition would have just fallen into the “forgettable” bin which most things do.
Shane, Brett and Ron have been working feverishly over the last month getting this MOFO live, again I’m humbled to work with such a great bunch of people. The best advice I’ve heard is to always hire people smarter than you.
We expected more involvement from Google as we're using their Google Maps technology but they were understandably busy with other stuff. It’s funny as Google Maps kept going down for us in the office but was OK for everyone else.
Here is a grab form the initial flash mockup we did exactly 2 months ago. You can see it’s changed quite a bit. The only thing we were told late in the game was that that Xplanet had to match the official site’s looks and feel.
We’ve already had 1000 signups in the first 24hrs so I’m hoping this is a good indication that this will snowball.
Bannerblog is still to receive any press locally besides being linked up on every major international advertising blog. But hey I'm blaming Ashadi for that as maybe he's bad karma :)
Posted at May 18, 2006 : 9:24 PM
May 16, 2006 : 8:40 PM
I have been interviewed by The FWA. Amazingly no money exchanged hands for this to happen :)
I don't want to seem like a total brown nose but The FWA is consistantly the best source for whats happening online.
I just hope we get more of our work on there in the future as it's tough when there's 25,000 submisisons a year and only 365 spots to fill.
Posted at May 16, 2006 : 8:40 PM
May 10, 2006 : 8:40 PM
I have been selected as a judge for the 2006 Asia Interactive Awards.
Sadly this is judged all online, so no gravy train trip across the globe with my goomah. Oh well maybe next time.
Posted at May 10, 2006 : 8:40 PM
May 9, 2006 : 8:20 PM
I was meant to have this done before I left for holidays but it's finally done.
Soap Games has 47 flash games so far with 2 more coming this month.
Posted at May 9, 2006 : 8:20 PM
March 30, 2006 : 10:13 PM
Off to Europe
I'm off to Europ for 4 weeks! So updates to here will be more sparce than usual if at all.
Ive got 2 days of work for D&AD and then 26 days of doing nothing!
But i should have a shit load of photos and stories when I get back.
Posted at March 30, 2006 : 10:13 PM
March 29, 2006 : 11:26 PM
Flying Cat is Live!!
3 years and 3 weeks ago we started a site for Flying Cat toys. They make Nathan J's Scarygirl toys. But due to the owner being so busy with running the company there wasn’t time to get any content.
So the project sat dormant for all those years. Suddenly Jon Burgerman emails and wants to get it live. And within 2 weeks of collecting content the site we all thought no one would ever see is live.
This is the only site I have "designed" for Soap. Rob usually handles that but back in 2003 when we were a small team there was room for me to step into the designer shoes. Although Rob did guide me along the way and finish off most of the sections.
Flying Cat has a pretty good roster of designers. Nathan J being their star designer but Tokyo Plastic is a pretty big name around the web and TADO has a big fan base, Jon Burgerman is new to the toy scene but has a big following with his artworks and people like Ghostbot and Curtis Jobling have some great artwork to work from. These are just ones I know off. Koji and PUSH seem to have been around for a long time aswell so Flying Cat is poised to release soem really cool stuff.
And speaking of Curtis I liked his stuff so much I bought two artworks from him this week. The guys worked with Tim Burton and his style is great.
Here they are below. This will be my second originals after the Nathan J ones we got for the office last year.
Posted at March 29, 2006 : 11:26 PM
March 28, 2006 : 7:17 PM
The Hills have Eyes Game
We (Soap Creative) have just finished a game for Fox's horror remake The Hills Have Eyes. You'll need headphones or speakers to enjoy this one though.
Check out Mutant Hunt game here.
This was the game I had to create that montage for. Check out the before and after here.
Posted at March 28, 2006 : 7:17 PM
March 21, 2006 : 8:40 PM
4 Years Old
Today marks the 4 year anniversery of starting Soap Creative.
We registered as a PTY LTD company on march 21st, 2002. It feels like alot longer actually but 4 years is a long time in run your own business world and alot has happened both good and bad. But luckily for us, mostly good.
Posted at March 21, 2006 : 8:40 PM
March 17, 2006 : 8:21 PM
The hard drive on my lappy shat itself last night and I've sent it to a data recovery company today to get fixed. They said they normally have a 70% success rate for drives like mine where the head breaks.
This is an important lesson to all you MOFO's to back yo shit up. Lucily I will have only lost a month of photos and a small amount of work as I keep most stuff on the server and I just backed up 2 DVD's of photos last week.
But HD fuck ups like mine can strike at any time and it's like a punch in the nuts.
Posted at March 17, 2006 : 8:21 PM
March 14, 2006 : 6:25 PM
We got one of these heavy MOFO's for the office and it's great. MacMAME is so much better and we'll get it hooked up to the PS2 later.
Definetly worth having if you want to really play the MAME games properly
Posted at March 14, 2006 : 6:25 PM
March 10, 2006 : 7:53 PM
The Real Australia games
The games we built for The Real Australia are now live and "bloody" free.
A big thanks to Limmy for his work on the Tan and Fishing game. They turned out great and no you didn't have BO.
Some Insight:The reason behind re-skinning Bogan Surf which we build way back in 2001 was due to budget and also it's suitability. We also had other concepts which did not suit a conservative tourism client. We had to even remove the comment "WTF!" from the surf game due to it being offensive.
Initial client request were for something "viral" but as much as that word gets thrown around these days unless it was going to be a killer viral we didn’t want to bother. We felt fun games would work better than a conservative "viral" idea. It's like porn.
No one wants to watch that shit you see in Blockbuster when the hardcore stuff is so much better. The same goes for viral. Sure it's “he he" funny or cheeky but it's not going to "viral" unless you let us go nuts.
The fishing game for me is the most fun as I haven’t seen many good fishing games as it’s quite relaxing. The use of the mouse wheel (on PC) is great fun as is the cut the line feature Limmy added.
This is the final piece of work for the The Real Australia campaign which ended up looking nice. Nothing too amazing but suits the needs of the client and the site should live on after the promotional period rather than disappear into nothingness. They are planning on using this for training and informational purposes.
Again the most fun on this project was the concept stage although this was a hard nut to crack. It’s funny we won this pitch against Tequila and a few other agencies when we weren’t confident, while we lost to Tequila on another job we though we’d cracked and were a shoe in.
In our initial concepts we proposed covers 30-40 destinations. Some with a minor amount of information others like you see on The real Australia site with a full blown montage. Time and content permitting we settled on just 14. In hindsight 40 would have been too many and the minor destinations a waste of time. Just like choosing yogurt at the supermarket has become a chore, due to choice, so would have navigating the site.
Posted at March 10, 2006 : 7:53 PM
February 25, 2006 : 8:55 PM
Bannerblog in CR
Our site Bannerblog was mentioned in Creative Review's March issue.
This is a quality mag and the hits seem to have gone up as a result. We didn't send them the link I guess they stumbled upon it. I'm pretty chuffed.
I just wish the Australia media would show some interest in the site. We've sent press releases (even though I think a link alone is enough) and nothing. Why send a press release? It's to make their jobs easier I guess. Writing 20 words on a site must be tough. Just check the link, make up your mind and publish the MOFO Just just rehash what we send you as that's lazy. This is exactly why people like reading blogs more as these aren't just press releases regurgitated.
I'm sounding like a bitter man with a chip on my shoulder but I guess I was naive to think people actually gave a shit what they publish.
Posted at February 25, 2006 : 8:55 PM
February 11, 2006 : 8:03 PM
Date Movie Game
We just completed a game for Date Movie. We wanted to keep this one simple and also try a new approach. PIxel art instead of the usualy vectors. I think it turned out great and Mike did an awesome juob building it. Dave our new designer animated Rob's initial pixel art and designed the remianing screens for the game and Brett did the sound effects. I myself didn't do much for this besides throw the initial game ideas into the ring. Oh and I also made Mike put in the secret 10,000 point bonus video :)
Hopefully we can do more games with this pixel style. Although we have a long way to go before we can animate like this guy. His pixel art work is amazing! I cant stop watching his Bell Commericals.
Posted at February 11, 2006 : 8:03 PM
January 21, 2006 : 2:30 PM
Ad Blog Awards
Bannerblog has been shortlisted in a the Ad Rag Ad Blog Awards. You can vote for us here
Posted at January 21, 2006 : 2:30 PM
January 18, 2006 : 9:35 PM
Two Shortlisted Entries in AIMIA 2005
It's always good to know your entry fee's didn't go to waste. We have two projects in this years AIMIA awards.
The only bad thing for us is this year seems to have the best set of shortlisted entries which means it doesn't look good to coming home a winner. Although K-Kash did kick ass in the stats and sales generated.
Looks like the bride chequebook needs to come out again :)
Check the shortlisted entires here.
Sadly Mambo didn't make the cut but there isn;t really a category for it in AIMIA.
Looks like Soap will get to check out Adelaide. We will hopefully catch some of the comedy festival while over there.
Posted at January 18, 2006 : 9:35 PM
January 17, 2006 : 10:49 PM
We (and by that I mean Mike and Brett) have finally finished out Trailer Crashers rip off site for TripleM's The Cage.
While very happy with the end result it's doesn't feel the same knowing it was heavily inspired by another site. And one thats very high profile. (ie we can't hope noone notices)
In our defence we did propose a heap of other concepts and also added slightly to the Trailer Crashers idea (ie not a straight copy) but that's only a small defence.
But hey money is money and the client is a good client so sometimes you just have to shut your cake hole.
Posted at January 17, 2006 : 10:49 PM
January 12, 2006 : 9:05 PM
Office Fit Out
We've finally got our ass in gear and organised an office fit out. Most of our development before this has been in the BBQ area :)
Posted at January 12, 2006 : 9:05 PM
December 22, 2005 : 5:19 PM
Macromedia Crap Site of the Day
We finally got a site we did (www.samsung.com/au/theinsidejob) listed on the Macromedia Site of the Day on the worldwide site. We had previously a few under the Asia Pacific subdomain but none here. We were quite chuffed.
But today I saw the next day's winner and felt like someone was taking the piss.
It didn't even send me the tree I made :(
Posted at December 22, 2005 : 5:19 PM
December 12, 2005 : 8:50 PM
This is our new staff illustrations. We had robots, then monsters, then 80's characters and now Superheroes. View through flickr for a larger version which looks really shmick.
Here's the few that didnt make the cut. First is the lesbian goth version of me, then Mikes Silver Surfer and Adam who left to freelance before the illustrations could be finalised.
Posted at December 12, 2005 : 8:50 PM
November 27, 2005 : 7:00 PM
Off to London
I'll be off to London in April next year for the D&AD awards. I've been selected as part of the large international Jury for Online.
I couldn’t be more excited an honored to be part of D&AD. I initially thought the email I received form them was a joke or I had then compete against everyone else for one of the spots. But all was legit and I not only score a free flight to London I also get to be part of one of the biggest awards in the world.
Friend Marshall Heald (who looks after Noise) was also selected as part of the digital craft jury so I'll have another Aussie there. Another 4 Aussies have been selected and a couple of Kiwis.
The rest of the online jury is top shit working for companies I respect greatly. I just hope they aren't all wankers.
This will also be a chance for me to have a bigger holiday overseas and I’m hoping to visit France, Amsterdam and Italy while overseas.
This is all happening as our company Soap starts to get into stride and pull in bigger clients, better briefs and get our name out there in the industry. It’s also becoming a harder beast to manage and stay focused.
There’s always that feeling that you haven’t done as well as you should have but this only helps stay you to driven rather than complacent.
The hardest thing is not to compare yourself to others and worry about what’s in front of you.
2006 should be a big year for us and with a few more additions to the team we will have everything in place to “take over the world” as they say.
Posted at November 27, 2005 : 7:00 PM
November 12, 2005 : 11:58 AM
While it was great to win, it seemed everyone entry bar one entry got a bronze. So it felt like "everyone gets a medal day" on sports day :)
Life on Mars from Tequila was the only finalist not awarded in our category.
I award that my WTF Silver Question mark award for BS.
The other part of award that confused me was the same campaign winning multiple awards for different executions. Sure the print ad looked great but should the other execution also win? Wouldn't it be better to just award the campaign rather than each ad individually? Same shit different smell if you ask me. Award the idea not the specific execution.
Posted at November 12, 2005 : 11:58 AM
November 10, 2005 : 9:29 PM
Internet Awards Video
Check this video of the Internet Awards when they announce the award we won. It looks likewe were already walking to thr stage before they called it. haha That's ego's for you!
Posted at November 10, 2005 : 9:29 PM
October 24, 2005 : 7:57 PM
Hoff at the ARIA's 2005
Part of the deal for doing the ARIA awards website was to also have our logo on the media wall. I didn't think i would be this excited to see our logo next to the Hoff or Missy Higgins.
I doubt it will lead to any work for the company as it's better served for branding of a consumer brand but hey it looks cool.
More photos from the night and behind the scenes tomorrow.
Posted at October 24, 2005 : 7:57 PM
October 10, 2005 : 11:30 PM
Bling My Bomb
All the blurs, glows and the effects are all Flash 8 coded. Mike and Brett did an awesome job doing all the litle things like radio, background transitions, car bounce effect and upload photo that really polish off the site nicely. Normally I have to build the sites by myself and these extra bits would have not been done or left till 2-3 weeks after launch.
I'm more proud of this site than all my others based on what I learnt and the the final product. Flash 8 was a dream to work in (save for a few security sandbox issues)
I can't wait till flash 8 becomes standard as these is so much you can do it's crazy. Even the grafitti on the rollerdoor is all vector.
Posted at October 10, 2005 : 11:30 PM
September 30, 2005 : 8:09 PM
K-Kash: A Case Study of Sorts
DECEMBER 2006 UPDATE:
If you want a special KKash code try "TRUFFLEKING"
The brief was to design a site that would be called K-Kash where kids could login enter codes to receive K-Kash $$$ and then spend them in an online store. They wanted it to be a vault of some sort like Scrooge McDuck and they also had the idea of a character called Pig Daddy and showed us a sketch of a Piggy Bank with a punk hairstyle. All in all a great brief with lots of scope.
After getting approval to proceed we went into look and feel.
Then the client wanted to go more bitmap as the kids these days are very cynical and would think the vector is too cute and therefore lame. The majority of K-Zone readers are male ages 8-15 so it needs to talk their language nit just be quicker to download.
Pig Daddy also went through a few changes before settling on the final one. It also involved me shooting Christian in a purple pimp suit and Pig Mask which was a lot of fun. Brad had a friend who ran a costume shop and got all the gear, faux bling and a pimp hat with purple feather.
Click here for a few more Pig Daddy shoot photos
Below is the 3 bitmap versions Pig Daddy went though before coming to the the final solution. We needed to find a design that was cool but also easy to animate.
Here is a version of Pig Daddy no one elsze saw and it's one I attempted. As you can see not worth showing.
So we ended up with a more photo real vault and a mix of all the Pig Daddy versions together. My fav is still version 2. Ron also spent a few days animating P Daddy. The moonwalk still cracks me up.
Here's the final vault which you can see on the main site now.
Along with this we also made K-Kash notes for the magazine inserts. We were told to make it look like real money. I didn't realise the amount of detail the guys put into these. Must have been heaps of fun :)
These were designed doubled sided and printed on clear plastic to make it even more like real money. The $100 were randomly insterted ointo issues of K-Zone for lucky kids.
Here is version 1 which didn't look to much like real money (we thought the client would get in trouble but it seems not)
And here we see the final versions.
And that's it. The sites been going for almost 2 weeks now and theres 18,000 members! They are pushing it hard in the mag and online and there are some awesome items for sale in the vault.
I had fun building the site and adding the 70 or so Piggy comments that P Daddy says. The site has already done 132GB of traffic in a month! so I'm not looking forward to the bandwidth fee for that one. Lucky we hosted in the USA or we'd be screwed.
Posted at September 30, 2005 : 8:09 PM
September 27, 2005 : 9:51 PM
F.E.A.R and Night Watch
The guys at Soap complted this Night Watch and F.E.A.R comp page in my absence and the prize is pretty cool. Great work Brett.
Our flash team is now 3 with another flash dude starting in a week taking us to 4. Which I'm really excited about as not only does every one know their shit but we'll have the resources to really pump out quality work with a high level of finish. Oh and it means I get to rest more :)
F.E.A.R the game actually looks pretty good and adds something extra to the normal 3D shooters.
And a big thanks to Emery Frost for designing those rating labels for games and movies which are almost impossible to implement online without having them stick out like dogs balls. Even their specs show their utter lack of knowledge of screen based media. They require the warning labels to be no smaller than 2cm in height.. WTF!?
Posted at September 27, 2005 : 9:51 PM
September 18, 2005 : 6:58 PM
Hunter Valley Weekend
Everyine at Soap and partners just got back from the Hunter Valley. This was the first time I had play proper golf and I quite enjoyed it. I did lose about 8 balls in the 9 holes we played but It was fun.
Will post some photos soon.
Oh and the place had the best breakfast spread I have ever seen! Except for the lack of waffles it had everything you could think of + spaghetti ?!? I haven't eaten so much food before 11am ever.
Posted at September 18, 2005 : 6:58 PM
September 12, 2005 : 9:43 PM
Get Into It
We just launched Get Into It for the lovely ladies at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment today which has ben a lot of fun to work on.
Brett our new flash guy worked on the majority of this with me just doing bits and pieces while i work on another site. All the content and the competition mechanics were built by Brett too.
Posted at September 12, 2005 : 9:43 PM
September 4, 2005 : 5:00 PM
Bannerblog.com.au is back from the dead
As well as losing Happy Snaps and this site I also lost Bannerblog. Which happened to be the most popular site of the three.
Luckily (as strangely) someone had a complete archive of the site. So all that needed to be done was repost all the data in MT and rebuild the templates.
The new site looks better thanks to Ashadi's revised design*, and we'll be adding news, and a user rating system.
Posted at September 4, 2005 : 5:00 PM
August 28, 2005 : 10:23 PM
Desktop Create Awards
Every since seeing Happy Gilmore I've always wanted to win a giant novelty cheque and last Friday we did that at the Desktop Create Awards. We not only get a nice glass trophy which looks nice but we get $5k which makes it better than a Cannes Cyber Lion as I don't know of any other awards with a cash prize?
If you want to meet new people just walk around with a giant cheque under your arm. People can't help but come up and chat.
Posted at August 28, 2005 : 10:23 PM