Me Make Monster! Launches
Click to make some monster stuff.
I've launched a new project - a new venture, if you will - and it's called Me Make Monster! I'll create a more detailed blog post in the future, but for now I invite you to check it out and play around with it. And hey, if you have a kid - especially boys 7-10 - and you get them to check it out, I'd be especially interested in what they have to say.
I've kept the purpose of the site very simple - you make a monster out of various parts, name it, and then you apply your finished monster to a variety of products on Zazzle. The products are created on the fly using Zazzle's API, which imposes a high-res image (generated from the vector monster parts in Flash) and adds it to templates. That was certainly not the fun part of this project, but working it out meant a very smooth handoff from the MMM site to Zazzle, which will hopefully entice customers to make a purchase.
As far as the monster is concerned, you can select pieces for the head, eye brows, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, body (really the torso), arms, legs, and "extra", which can be a tail, wings, and other stuff that appears behind the monster - essentially attached to its back. For some parts (eyes, brows, nose, mouth, ears) there is a blank option - essential for creating some specific monsters, like a Mummy - Mummys don't have noses, in case you didn't know.
You can also select the color (one color per monster only) and a texture (which can also be blank). For each piece except the body/torso, you can enlarge or shrink that piece, and move it up and down - all within certain tolerances. There's also a Reset button that brings it back to its base position and size, and a Random button that selects a random body part, size, and position. I've also added Reset and Random buttons for the full monster - clicking the Random All button is a great place to start - you can keep going until you see a monster you like, then jump in and start tweaking it.
Something I wrestled with was hair and clothes. At first I was going to exclude both because of technical resasons - I wanted the body parts to be varied, so I knew Frankenstein's Monster hair wouldn't fit on a Dracula-style head. Same thing with clothes. But I eventually I decided I really wanted to add those features - I couldn't make all the kinds of monsters I wanted to without them. So I created those functions, but as purely on/off options - each head and body part has one discrete hairstyle and clothing option. That way I don't have to worry about elements fitting - or not fitting.
I thought about going with a sequential setup - like Mad Men Yourself, where you select one body part at a time, and move forward and back. This may have been easier for the core demographic I'm targeting (boys 7-10) but it also slows things down, and because it doesn't present all of your options at once, it can be less satisfying to use. We'll see - I've got some beta testers playing with the site now - hopefully their feedback on the interface is encouraging. I trust 'em.
There were some technical hurdles to overcome (and some I'm still overcoming) but I wanted to get the site up and running first, then start cleaning things up. So - it's up! Check it out if you're into monsters (is anyone not into monsters?!) and let me know what you think.