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Valve Economics

"Rather than continuing to run an emulator of you in my head, I thought I’d check to see if we couldn’t get the real you interested in what we are doing.”

That's how Gave Newell got an economist to join the company.

 

... the notion that a computer game company has surreptitiously and quite spontaneously created virtual economies that it comprehends as ‘economies’ (which deserve study and regulation) was enough to write back instantly: Yes, I was interested!

That's the response of the economist you'll be able to read on a weekly basis on this blog.

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Blockchain is games' new tech obsession

Blockchain technology, in effect, provides a highly secure, theoretically unalterable, and widely distributed (across a large number of locations / computers) ledger.

It's an interesting and possibly even revolutionary system for handling the recording of transactions; that's why its first application was for a virtual currency, and why many of the other uses being investigated are essentially things that would previously have used a centralised ledger, such as land ownership registries, some forms of contracts, or copyright data registration.

These are solid applications in which blockchain technology might offer significant improvements over the approaches currently being employed, though more research and testing is definitely required. However, they're perhaps not the exciting, revolutionary potential that blockchain's more starry-eyed devotees insist lies within their new technological wunderkind.

Vivalist's insight:
The author is skeptical about the "buzz" around Blockchain, and nonetheless provide some examples of how this tech could be beneficial to games.

His main 'fear' is that ICO's don't have a legal framework. I would personally see this as an opportunity rather than a threat ;)

Joke aside, there are countless possibilities for which eTrust would be beneficial for games and their development, but as he mentions, the most tangible and concrete ideas aren't the sexiest.
Mostly, it would allow for better management of ownership. He mentions ownership of the actual game, but fail to address ownership of User Generated Content for possible business transactions between players or between publishers and content creators.

And that's just one example. Without being familiar with the IT implications of the blockchain tech, I'd be mostly concerned with how this decentralized tech 'impacts' server and reactivity for in-game use in terms of loads and lags... other than that, I don't see any reason to "pump the brakes".
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The Surprising Science Behind Balancing 'Rainbow Six Siege'

The Surprising Science Behind Balancing 'Rainbow Six Siege' | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

The result of [the 'clash' between game designers and data analysts]  was the subject of a presentation at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Analyst Geoffroy Mouret and game director Leroy Athanassoff talked about how they learned to trust each other’s respective teams.

Vivalist's insight:
Great to read an article about game designers eventually understanding that havon 'control' on their game wasn't the point - relevance and fast adaptation to an issue is way more important to bring a game to the next level in a live environment.
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Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson stop-motion magic revealed in new video

Isle of Dogs: Wes Anderson stop-motion magic revealed in new video | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
exclusive look behind-the-scenes of how a unique team of 25 animators and 10 assistants brought the vision of a canine-only island off the coast of Japan to life.
Vivalist's insight:
Awesome video showing what it takes to produce such an ambitious project. I'm so happy that Wes Anderson decide to stick with traditional "real-life" animation for the most part, because it helps keeping the techniques alive and even to improve them using new techbnologies.
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Google publicly launches ARCore 1.0 on 13 phones, will begin expanding Lens preview

After playing around in the experimental phase, Google is bringing its ARCore augmented reality platform to its 1.0 release with availability on over 100..
Vivalist's insight:
Google just launched a SDK for its ARCore and announces a list of compatible phones, recently adding some Chinese brands / models to the list.

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100 Million Downloads: How Hypercasual Mobile Games Are Rewriting the Game Design Rulebook

100 Million Downloads: How Hypercasual Mobile Games Are Rewriting the Game Design Rulebook | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

hypercasual [mobile games] require mechanics that are simple to pick up and hard to master, all coupled with the urge to chase a high score.
Making money from the genre requires a serious investment in a large variety of ad partners, all while making sure their integration feels natural.

Finally, clear and simple visual themes along with strong and bold branding can get the most clicks when running campaigns to massive audiences.

If you do all of this perfectly, then who knows, you might reach the lofty heights of an eight-figure app store success.

Vivalist's insight:
interesting read on game design specificities for the mobile market.
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L'Été se raconte en feuilleton sur Instagram

Chaque épisode quotidien est publié à 11 heures précisément, de manière à fixer un rendez-vous et à créer une nouvelle habitude parmi les lecteurs. Les versions album et « story » sont diffusées à la même heure. Rapidement, il apparaît que chacune correspond à des usages distincts : les deux tiers lisent la version album et le dernier tiers suit la « story ».
Vivalist's insight:
Article revenant sur la production du "feuilleton de l'été"

"coproduit par ARTE France et Bigger Than Fiction [et qui] a été diffusé quotidiennement en juillet et août derniers [via Instagram]. L’opération a été couronnée de succès : plus de 78 000 abonnés en deux mois et un total de 3,8 millions de vues."
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Disney is making a Star Wars holochess game with augmented reality

Disney is making a Star Wars holochess game with augmented reality | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

Earlier this year at WWDC, Apple showed off an augmented reality demo that used an iPad to recreate the famous Dejarik holochess game from Star Wars. It turns out that was more than just a tech demo: today Disney announced that it is creating an actual augmented reality platform that it will use to bring that game and other projects to life.


Via Gary Hayes
Vivalist's insight:
Augmented Reality carries a huge potential for gaming experiences, and doesn't suffer from the same "obstacles" than Virtual Reality - being technical or societal.

And having Disney and Apple going in this direction will clearly help driving investment toward AR.
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Gary Hayes's curator insight, July 24, 2017 8:18 AM
Quote "The product uses two pieces to work its magic. The first is a new augmented reality headset, made in conjunction with Lenovo. The device then pairs with a user’s smartphone to do the rest of the heavy lifting. A number of different applications were teased, including the holochess game — which put the animated, holographic monsters on top of a table or other surface — as well as a battle where tiny augmented reality Rebel cartoon characters faced off against an AT-AT."
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Wes Anderson Accidental /Reddit

Wes Anderson Accidental /Reddit | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

40K+ people are gathering on this reddit page to post pictures that seem straight out a Wes Anderson movie.


Plus de 40.000 personnes sont réunies sur la page Reddit «Accidental Wes Anderson» et postent chaque jour des clichés qui semblent tout droit sortis de l’univers coloré et fantaisiste du réalisateur.

Vivalist's insight:
This referencial "user generated content" is a tribute to the director strong creative vision.

ENG article here:
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A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020

A Studio Ghibli Theme Park Is CONFIRMED for 2020 | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
In just a few short years you could be rolling in Totoros and soot sprites.
Vivalist's insight:
As the article mention, it'll be quite a challenge to accomodate theme parks traditional attractions and the message usually  carried in the studio's creations.

Can't wait to see what they eventually come up with. That'll put Nagoya /Aichi Prefecture / Honshu Island on "my" map :)
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Warhammer Fans Showed Us Their Finest Work

Warhammer Fans Showed Us Their Finest Work | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
We went to a tournament to speak to 40k enthusiasts about their love for the game.
Vivalist's insight:
A good paper on what make the Warhammer Fan Community so interesting. I always appreciated the sight of those kids hard at work on their painting job in Gamers Workshop boutiques wherever I go.

"When I was a kid I found it hard to play because of all the rules, so I spent my time painting them."

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Thomas Anglaret / Google – Play The World

Thomas Anglaret / Google – Play The World | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
Scrolling the globe to locate iconic shoot locations, users navigate seamlessly through an action-packed library of over 500 movies. Using Google Street View and YouTube, each famous movie moment appears with an anamorphosis effect in its real world location.
Vivalist's insight:
Great use of location-based entertainment. Unfortunate this project seem to have been taken down (the link on the webpage redirect to the regular movie play store)
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#AR not #VR excites Apple - much more relevant to their 'smart' devices.

#AR not #VR excites Apple - much more relevant to their 'smart' devices. | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
Today’s KGI report is just the latest piece of evidence that Apple has serious plans to somehow work with 3D space. Acquisitions, supply chain reports, patents and even comments by Tim Cook a…

Via Gary Hayes
Vivalist's insight:
Not that I usually relay Apple's communications, but it is always interesting to see where they put their money. I am not surprised of their conclusion as AR seems to be way more easily deployable than VR. It's pretty much there already, no fancy hardware or resource demanding software required. Just ideas for execution and a few technological tweak along the way.

And Niantic Labs projects, among others, already showed the huge potential of AR when it comes to entertainment (as a whole, because in today's world, I do count information as a form of entertainment)
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Gary Hayes's curator insight, February 22, 2017 6:39 PM
Quote "I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently. Most people don’t want to lock themselves out from the world for a long period of time and today you can’t do that because you get sick from it. With AR you can, not be engrossed in something, but have it be a part of your world, of your conversation. That has resonance."
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Lego Boost is robot building for the rest of us

Lego Boost is robot building for the rest of us | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
For now, it looks like the perfect step ladder to the richer and deeper Lego Mindstorms.
Vivalist's insight:
Lego has been flirting with the maker movement in many ways, but they had not yet a kit for young children on their own.
They do now as the brick maker unveiled a 543-piece Lego setat CES in Las Vegas that seems to both affordable and accessible for those who won't to play with Lego robot without going to deep (yet) into coding.

"The Lego pieces are all traditional and you can even use your existing Lego set pieces with it and the coding is largely confined to code-blocks that already have lots of instructions baked in and fully compiled."

The only downer is that the companion app only seems to be available for iPad (for now?)
 


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Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Creator Dean Evans Departs Ubisoft

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon Creator Dean Evans Departs Ubisoft | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

“The way I look at it is, without trying to s--- on anyone, we’re at this point of the age of the designer-saur,” Evans says. “There are going to be major changes coming in. When you speak to people about the next generation, you know who the designer-saurs are because they’ll start talking about PlayStation 5 or whatever the next Xbox is. They’re not talking about kids. You’ve still got 40-year old dudes making games for 40-year old dudes. No one’s going to f---ing care. That’s the balance that needs to shift.”

Vivalist's insight:
I regret Dean's departure from Ubisoft the same way I regretted Brie Code's departure a while ago. They understand what is coming, and I have no doubt they will carry this message out there:

Video Game industry is now entering a more mature phase and gaming has to be more inclusive in order to fulfill the expectations of more potential gamers. This will lead to increase diversity in both game design and 'platforms' games are played on.

I do believe that PC, mobile, consoles are silos from the past and both tech and business opportunities will create a momentum for more original gaming experiences. The future looks bright, but as in politics, you first have to deal with a vocal minority or narrow minded people who wants things to remain as THEY like them.
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How Rare Studios made gamers part of its crew for Sea of Thieves

How Rare Studios made gamers part of its crew for Sea of Thieves | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

Rare isn’t like most studios – it decided to take the public along with it on the journey. The team would share snippets of the game, videos and images with the public and release playable parts, even though it was nowhere near finished. Rare listened to all the feedback they got from gamers and moulded Sea of Thieves accordingly.


As a result, Rare has a game that most people want because they have asked for it. It’s an unprecedented approach to making a major game.


“We have been making Sea of Thieves in this very public way; people have been playing the game as we’ve been making it,” Duncan states. “We’ve spent the past year in what we would class as a very open development. Every time we add stuff we test it at scale with thousands of players. Part of that is because of the way we have built Sea of Thieves, which is a shared-world adventure, so you can’t really test some of our design ideas unless you’ve got lots of players. Because the game is fundamentally about how players are going to react and act, it’s hard to simulate that. So, we’ve got to put it live, have players play it, tweak and change.”

Vivalist's insight:
The article is featured on a Microsoft news platform, so don't expect much objectivity in praising the 'open development' inititiative - as if no other developer was doing EXACTLY JUST THAT at the very moment :)

And yet, there is something about this game dev that truly feel unique. It's perfectly illustrated by small token of appreciations for the community involved in alphas and betas (more here on a previous post about the game http://sco.lt/8b2ZNJ).

And I find the two-fold aspects of the progression interesting... where most games will take you to the "end-game" of being super powerful and all, here, the game "starts" at this point were you reach legendary status. Then, you can truly leverage on the pirate experience AND your bragging right :)
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Google Maps helps developers make massive real-world games

Google Maps helps developers make massive real-world games | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
The Google Maps API makes it easy to convert real-world fixtures like buildings, roads, and parks into game objects in the Unity game engine, which is used by millions of developers. Developers can take those objects and animate them, adding texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of a game world.
Vivalist's insight:
Lots of game developers have been playing around with Google Map in the past.


But these games were small developments barely "tinkering" with the tool without fully leveraging on its potential.
And yet, AAA games developers spent fortunes on re-creating parts of the real world for games such as Watch Dogs or Grand Theft Auto.

Google Maps team released an API that now allows game developers to use real-world maps in combination with Unity in order to produce their game maps based on real-world info.
Real-world map info will be update frequently so the content is always reflecting the state of the world as it is (change in roads for example).

Game design often use real world information without relying solely on it - for the sake of game pacing for example, so the API hopefully allows for creative freedom when using the data.
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Rare is already immortalising players' most memorable achievements in Sea of Thieves' world •

Rare is already immortalising players' most memorable achievements in Sea of Thieves' world • | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
It's an incredibly cool way of celebrating the spirit of the game, with Rare striving to create an experience where the accumulation of stories, rather than the acquisition of XP, marks a player's rise to the stuff of legend. And what better way to bring that into focus than by making those stories a permanent, tangible part of the world?
Vivalist's insight:
Here is a great initiative by Sea Of Thieves' studio Rare. THe game isn't released yet, but they started honoring alpha & beta players" achivements with hidden "monuments".

It's smartly leveraging the appeal for epic stories in pirates' tales, and it will surely engage the community to do crazy in order to be noticed and immortalized.
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Nintendo unveils Labo, DIY cardboard add-ons for the Switch

Nintendo unveils Labo, DIY cardboard add-ons for the Switch | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
If you thought Minecraft was the best thing for kids on the Switch, get ready for Nintendo to (once again) blow your mind. Behold Labo, a set of DIY tool
Vivalist's insight:
Nintendo announced sets of cardboard add-ons for the Switch. They are called Toy-Con and cost about 75$.

It's all cardboard along with springs and some low tech mechanics and a software to use it with the intended purpose.

UPDATE [early February]: the hint at customization that was quickly teased in the trailer has been tried at the New York hands-on event:
"[Toy Con] uses simple “building blocks” to let you program your devices. They’re essentially “if-then” statements. When you open up the program, you can select from a number of blocks based on input options for your Switch’s controllers, then connect them to other blocks based on output options. [...]
This is how Nintendo Labo users will be able to expand beyond the six types of cardboard creations included in the Variety Set or the one included in the Robot Set. [...]
You can mix and match different programs’ functionality—using the fishing rod to play music, for example—and you can even add extra Joy Cons to build even more elaborate programs."
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Art project for train passengers 

Art project for train passengers  | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
The art project "Bewegtes Land" transformed Germany's Saale valley into a 30 kilometer long stage, entertaining passengers in passing trains. Some 500 residents and volunteers took part along the Jena-Naumburg route.
Vivalist's insight:
This is such an original theater performance!
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Team Toulouse - Pirate's Cove and DIY table games

Team Toulouse - Pirate's Cove and DIY table games | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
Here is a great example of DIY table game creation by the very talented Team Toulouse (FR).
Vivalist's insight:
Two members of the very talented Team Toulouse created this oversized yet scaled version of Pirate's Cove. It is mind blowing!

Here is a Catan example for DIY table top game insipration
and another in a complete different league

I also found these beautiful Game of Thrones and I'm sure there are plenty more

It's great to see passionate DIY artists create enhanced boardgames that provide a more immersive and qualitative experience. Then you can take a step further and create your own game... like I did ten years ago with Narcopolis http://myu2.free.fr/narco/narcopolis.html
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A board game based on ‘The Shining’ actually exists! Download it for FREE!

A board game based on ‘The Shining’ actually exists! Download it for FREE! | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

The Shining two-player boardgame was created back in 1998 along with assistance from Stephen King [...] The prolific author even acted as the games very first tester. Best of all? You can download the game FOR FREE and put it together yourself.

Vivalist's insight:
This is good news for those, including myself, who did not know such a game has ever been designed or released.
I will proceed and make my own deluxe version of it using all that my local fablab can provide.
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This Brilliant Mechanical Computer Is Built for Gaming

This Brilliant Mechanical Computer Is Built for Gaming | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
Turing Tumble is a computing "board game" for kids and adults alike.
Vivalist's insight:
I first heard of the creator of this Turing Tumble through an article on the hovercraftr he built for his kid. There I was already kind of impressed.


Turns out the guy created a mechanical computer inspired by Turing Machine mechanical way to process algorythms... making it a great tool to introduce kiddos (and grownups as well) to computing and programming.

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World Chase Tag

World Chase Tag | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it

dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of the most played and
popular sport in the world - Chase Tag. Otherwise knows as 'it', 'you're it!' or 'Tig' (UK), 'Tag, you're it' (USA), Trap Trap (France), Onigokko (Japan), Tikkertje (Netherlands), Lovitca (Croatia), Na honenou (Czech Republic) or Ostrakinda (Ancient Greece), we organise meetings and events to play chase tag.

Vivalist's insight:
Parkour has always interested me as the ultimate way to combine a playful mindset with mindful playset. But, it's development was mostly done through tricks and freestyle at first, only showing part of its potential.

Then people started going to the gym more - except that it was the street they took. Then other dance in trees while others climb some insanely tall buildings for fun.

https://www.facebook.com/MisterBigJump/videos/248144598992800/

This ultimate version of chase tag offers yet another aspect of parkour, bringing schoolyard fun to the next level. 
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"Enter Sandbox": Audi Takes Inspiration From Child's Play For New Campaign

"Enter Sandbox": Audi Takes Inspiration From Child's Play For New Campaign | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
Meet the Sandbox 2.0, courtesy of Norwegian creative agency POL.
Vivalist's insight:
If the execution and playability go beyond the ad campaign, then the words "sandbox video game" will never have been best suited.

It is yet another illustration of VR's great potential - but not as home experiences, but rather 21st century arcade which are starting to pop up in big cities but would take years to gain momentum. It's just the beginning.
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Google’s Improbable Deal to Recreate the Real World in VR (and Maybe Teach AIs to Live In It)

Google’s Improbable Deal to Recreate the Real World in VR (and Maybe Teach AIs to Live In It) | relevant entertainment | Scoop.it
In providing of the cloud infrastructure that underpins Pokemon Go, Google has seen the thirst for virtual and augmented reality firsthand, and now, with Improbable, it hopes to push even further into this burgeoning market.
Vivalist's insight:
"You can think of SpatialOS as a cloud computing service for building virtual worlds, whether they run on desktop computers or VR rigs like the Oculus Rift. This service runs atop the Google Cloud Platform, the tech giant’s growing cloud computing empire, and the two companies just opened a SpatialOS alpha program that lets coders prototype and test their own virtual worlds. [...]
As developers build more complex virtual worlds, this provides AI researchers with better ways of training the next generation of artificial intelligence. Games have long offered a proving ground for AI, but SpatialOS can help expand this proving ground, providing a way not only for AI agents to learn the successor to Second Life, but to navigate real city streets or even trace the path of contagious disease."

Then I read the part where "Otto, the robo-vehicle company owned by Uber, is training AI agents on Grand Theft Auto as a stepping stone to more advanced self-driving cars" and I FREAKED OUT ;)
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