Monday, October 10, 2011

GraFighters Launch

Picture this: You are in a the middle of a lecture, group meeting, or trying to do your homework. Unable to concentrate on the material at hand, your pen starts to stray. All of a sudden, what was supposed to be your notes or homework assignment is covered in an epic collage of inked characters;  some are big and strong, others little and clever, and maybe there's even a self-portrait stick figure or two. Have you ever wished that you could breath life into these characters and your college-ruled canvas would turn into a battlefield of graphite champions and ballpoint pen-powered villains?  GraFighters, a Syracuse University startup, has made that dream a reality for #2 pencil wielding doodlers everywhere.

graFighters: An Online Game for Hand Drawn Characters

What is graFighters? Dave Chenell (@Dave_Chenell), co-founder of graFighters and iSchool graduate student, explains it as "an online game for doodlers that brings your drawings to life."  I couldn't have summed it up better myself. Dave and co-founder Eric Cleckner (@cleck) first had the idea to bring their characters to life during the 2009 spring semester while taking an iSchool course called Virtual Business 3.0. They were given an assignment to develop a business plan for 2025 and as Dave puts it "graFighters was one of our tamer ideas." Rather then waiting sixteen years, here they are two years later with a fully functioning, awesome product that is true to their original vision.
How to Bring Your Doodle to Life

When you first log on you are prompted to upload a beastly warrior, or  in my case, funny doodle. You go through the edit phase where you remove the extraneous pieces of your drawing (like the extra paper) and identify the limbs and other various body parts. Then it is run through graFighters' super secret, ultra complex, ridiculously cool algorithm known only as Cornelius. Cornelius analyzes your character and based on its various aesthetic characteristics and scores your drawing in five different categories. For example, your smaller, lightening character may be faster then my big basher; but if my character can get a hold of yours, he has more power.

My Zombie Monopoly Mayor has had some success, but there are some very intimidating characters that creative doodlers across the globe have been uploading that I'm scared to put him against.

GraFighters, in beta now, is nothing short of pure awesomeness. The evolution of this game will be, in my opinion, as exciting as the development of the iPod into iPhone. Get over to GraFighters today and see what your doodles are made of.