alpha « Tidepool News

(posts marked [alpha] were sent to the Kismet alpha team)

Hi folks,

I hope all is well, and that your holidays were wonderful.

Last month, I started a year-long software journey called Project Kismet, aimed at making educational software and courseware for young ages.

You’re one of 84 people I’ve chosen for special access, since in the past you’ve helped me or shown faith in me. This is my way of saying thanks.

For a glimpse of what’s to come, have a look at:

Tidepool is just one part though.  Project Kismet will also combine ideas from other projects such as Storymill, Storybot, ACORN, and Realness.

More details will arrive in coming weeks, including a new website, trailer, business plan, and first download.

** Please let me know if this email is the best way to reach you, and whether you’re interested in following along.

Take care,

Hi all,

Every Monday, I’ll write and post a short chapter for an eventual book about Project Kismet, written for a non-technical audience.

I’ve sent the first chapter in this email.  Later chapters can be found each week on my blog at:

Happy reading!


Hi everyone,

In this week’s email, I’ll show you two of the ways I’ll maintain High Visibility throughout Project Kismet.

FIRST is the issue tracker, which details every task that needs doing, how long it should take, and how far along I am.  (current status)  (full tracker)

NEXT are the brief version screencasts (aka videos), posted whenever I get something working.

These will appear on the website soon, but for now you can click these links …

0.0.1 … 21-Dec-13 … hello world
0.0.2 … 22-Dec-13 … world and item framework; SVG paths
0.0.3 … 31-Dec-13 … KM-1) battlezone browsing; KM-2) item and property panels
0.0.4 …  2-Jan-14 … KM-12) local persistence
0.0.5 …  3-Jan-14 … KM-3) generic items and shapes

Tidepool development will resume next week after I go live with the new website and trailer.

ALSO, I just posted this week’s book chapter, yet another way I’m trying to stay visible.

I do know that everyone’s super busy, so I don’t expect you to read or watch all of this.

Just know that if ever you’re curious how things are going, you can follow along at any time.

Take care,

Hi everyone,

I’ve finally finished the Kismet Business Plan.  Attached find the 14 page PDF, which represents my best first effort to describe the whole thing.

In a week or so, I’ll launch the website and four minute trailer, so if you’re short on time, wait for the cliff notes.

For those asking about investors, I should have more to say next week on the website.

All comments and reactions are much appreciated, so put on your most skeptical VC face and tell it to me straight!

Take care,


Hi <name>,

The Project Kismet website, video trailer, and stock offer will go live next Monday, February 24th, at 12 noon ET.

To get in, you’ll need your personal codename, which is:  <codename>

Please confirm you received this email by simply responding with “I got it”.

This will save me time, since otherwise I’ll have to call you to make sure these emails are getting through.

Your codename entitles you and four others to lifetime free crystals in the Tidepool world, which is worth real money.

It also entitles you to buy stock in our business, paying over ten months with a credit card.  Details are in the business plan.

Take care,

Hi <name>,

I’m thrilled to invite you to the new Project Kismet website:  <address>

Put your codename in to create an account.  You can make a total of five unlimited accounts, so share with those you know.

Click TRAILER to view our 4 minute video, explaining all things Kismet.  Please forgive the 3D movies marked “PLACEHOLDER.”  They will be replaced with actual gameplay later.

You can also pledge to buy company stock by clicking INVEST.  Shares can be bought for as little as $25 a month for 10 months.  Stock is limited, and will be offered on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Now with all the prep work behind me, I can finally get back to the part I most love … coding Tidepool!

Take care,

Hi everyone,

Some of you asked about the Kismet business plan changes.

There are two primary differences in the newest version …

1) we changed the subscription rate, which greatly changed the projections

2) on advice of counsel, we reclassified some personal loans to capitalization, leaving the business free of debt

Here is the latest copy, which is identical to the version on the website right now.


Take care,

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note this week to let you know we’re making steady progress on Tidepool.

Follow along yourself on our new Tidepool channel on YouTube:

Every day or so, I post a two-minute video showing off each new feature as it’s finished.   Please subscribe.

You can also read more about these videos in this week’s book chapter:

In other news, I need your help thinking up inappropriate words for young children … words we don’t want seen as usernames or item names.

I’ve wired up a simple “reserved words” database which you can add to.  Feel free to reserve non-curses too, such as your family names, etc.  For those that speak other languages, please include curses in your mother tongue as well.

(be prepared to see profanity here … this is the one time in life where cursing is actually a *good* thing 🙂

Take care,

Hi everyone,

Java 8 was released last week, which is very good news for Tidepool, given the greatly improved 3D capabilities.

Since my last Monday mailing, I’ve made extensive use of these features, which you can see in our latest screencast:

We’re now using real topographical maps for the terrain.  If you by chance have a few extra minutes, please help gather topo quadrants for Tidepool.  Any region (in the US) is fine … perhaps around your house!   Major cities will certainly be needed.

You can find out how here:

We hope to have a good amount of topo data by the end of June.  I’m hoping to crowdsource this.  Any help is greatly appreciated.

If you find a better way to get this data, or if you’re in another country and want to research the availability of other topo maps, I’m all ears.

If you have Dropbox, you can upload the topo PNGs here:

One thing I left out is that you should also upload the KML file, which is linked in the USGS email.  Put all PNGs and the KML in their own directory in Dropbox.

If you don’t yet have Dropbox, let me refer you so I can increase our disk space.  We’re going to need it!

Simply say, “Refer me to Dropbox” and I’ll do it right away (even if you don’t do any topo work).

Take care,

Hi everyone,

We just reached $30,000 of the needed $75,000, which puts us two-fifths along on the funding meter.


You can always check out the current progress and breakdown on the “Money” page:

I’ve also completely re-worked the roadmap, which you can read about here:

You can also have the roadmap explained in this new video:

Take care,