Future Cutting Edge Technology for Virtual Reality

Infinadeck is a new company that is developing and manufacturing the world’s first omnidirectional VR integrated treadmill. This innovation would allow the user to be able to walk within the virtual reality in perfect sequence with real life, thus making the VR gaming experience unlike any other. As a personal virtual reality headset owner, I tend to get ill with motion sickness in VR after about 30-45minutes of playtime. This happens because viewing the motion of my character in the game while I remain static in the real world throws off the balance that you feel when in the real world. This omnidirectional treadmill can rid all VR users of the feeling of motion sickness because their bodies and their virtual characters would be in perfect sync with each other. The only issue with this new piece of equipment is that it is bulky and bound to be expensive. Other than those, this technology could break bounds into newer technology that could further enhance virtual reality experiences. I believe Virtual Reality is going to grow more and more until it becomes common-place like console and PC gamers. What are your thoughts on the omnidirectional treadmill? And what are your thoughts on new advancements in virtual reality, not just in games, but other experiences such as education, emergency training, fitness, etc?

Also to have a better grasp as to what this technology would be like, there is a movie called “Ready Player  One” that has a perfect example of an omnidirectional treadmill.

Source: https://www.infinadeck.com/

Console vs PC

The war between consoles and PC have been a gruesome one in the gaming industry, many people have debated which is the better way to play games, there are even a dedicated community on reddit called PC master race (https://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/) with 3 million subscribers, the reason for such communities to exist is very simple, they believe that PC is better than console in general.

Let’s start this off with some history info, in 1972, the very first video game console was introduced, it was called Magnavox Odyssey, but the first real one to be purchased in many homes was the Atari 2600 that was released in 1977, it was known for classic titles such as pong, throughout the years, consoles have kept improving, currently the most popular video game console is the PS4, released in 2013.

Now let’s take a look at PC, computer gaming wasn’t a thing until the video gaming industry crash of 1983, after 1983, there has been a rise of “bedroom coders” that have made their own games but console games were still more popular then, PC gaming became popular and mainstream starting from 1990s and onwards.

Why do so many people believe PC is better than console nowadays? First of all, PC is a lot more flexible, when you buy a console, you may only select pre-assembled machines from companies when you try to obtain a PC, you have a variety of options and have the freedom to build it yourself. PC games are also very easy to mod, which have led to many player-created content games thrive such as Minecraft, gmod, Rimworld.

Do you prefer to play games on console or PC and why? And what is your view on the whole console vs PC war?

Video game Microtransactions

Do you remember when games used to come out to be completely playable, little to no bugs, nothing you need to pay to unlock, no DLCs and can offer hundreds of hours of entertainment? Those were a simpler time.

Monetization in video games has seen a drastic change in recent years, nowadays, more and more games releases felt unfinished, just to realize that some content was probably cut to be sold as DLCs later. More and more games greet you with a banner telling you there is a deal going on and you can get 10 shiny loot boxes for only $24.99. There are even a few very notorious examples of a company putting a full $60 price tag on their games, and forcing players to pay more in-game to unlock content or to progress their characters. In this Reddit thread , a user named MBMMaverick expressed his displacement about EA locking a key character “Darth Vader” in their game “Star Wars BattleFront 2” which the user has already paid $80 for, EA’s response replied stating “The intent is to provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment for unlocking different heroes.” Which were quickly massively criticized by Reddit users and this comment would become the most downvoted comment in the history of Reddit (668K downvotes.)

So what exactly is wrong with microtransactions? In my opinion, microtransactions are fine as long as they cosmetic and doesn’t impact gameplay much, I believe microtransactions can indeed provide players with a sense of pride and accomplishment, but the boundaries are very vague and difficult to pin it down, Call of Duty World War 2 has a genius execution for microtransactions, while you are opening loot boxes, you go into a lobby where people can practice shooting or just chat with each other, when you open a loot box, your loot box content is visible to all other players in this lobby, so when you get a lucky pull, you can show them off to all nearby people and sometimes people log in just to go onto this lobby to watch people open loot boxes.

Overall, microtransactions are not exactly a bad thing, but some companies have way overdone and in turn ruined the reputation of their games such as NBA2K19, which 65% the users reviewed the game as “would not recommend.” , Fallout 76, which suffered a chain of catastrophic events that lead to the game’s swift death just a few weeks after it’s initial release and many others.

Reddit Post: https://www.reddit.com/r/StarWarsBattlefront/comments/7cff0b/seriously_i_paid_80_to_have_vader_locked/dppum98/

NBA2k19’s steam page:

https://store.steampowered.com/app/841370/NBA_2K19/

Did Bungie Save Destiny 2?

Destiny 2 was one of the most anticipated games back in 2017 named one of the best shooters games to be release. After about 3 months of the game being release, the game disappointed almost all of the players after players progression through the game went fast and close to all players were out of content to play. This discourage players making them stop playing the game. People were anticipating a game with a lot of content that would require a long grind to even get close to the “end-game” stage of the game. Instead people received a game that was so casual they breezed through the story and end game missions and raids in less than 3 months.

 

But, things seemed to have changed with the recent DLC called “Forsaken”. Forsaken adds some of the most asked features including random-rolls on weapons, rather than preset modifiers, a collection tab allowing players to require weapons they have already found or unlocked that they have gotten rid of, a triumph tab allowing player to see what they have completed in the game, a brand new story where player find out what happens to one of the main character Cayde-6, and a new raid with some of the most challenging mechanics. In a recent article from theverge.com says, “what Destiny 2 did offer just wasn’t that fun”.  Only time will tell how fast players get through all the content but as of right now, it seems like Bungie have revived their game Destiny 2

PS4 Pro vs Xbox One X

PS4 Pro and Xbox One X stamp a noteworthy move in support gaming. Comfort ages have been cleared out for an iterative equipment mode. At any rate, that is the thing that the present picture is.

The two machines will bolster all current PS4 and Xbox One titles separately while including a lot of new features and equipment changes.

PS4 Pro is utilizing an enhanced variant of the first model’s chip with a marginally supported clock speed. The Pro now keeps running at an amazing 2.13GHz, while the vanilla comfort lingers behind at 1.6.

The Xbox One X is powerful on paper. It has a new custom eight-core CPU timed at 2.3 GHz and a noteworthy new custom GPU timed at 1.17 GHz. This GPU incorporates features from AMD’s Polaris engineering and presents to 6 teraflops of processing power. (That effectively beats the Xbox One S, which has 1.4 teraflops.)

The Xbox One X additionally has 12GB of GDDR5 RAM. Microsoft says this is sufficient for strong 4K (3840 x 2160) gameplay at 60 outlines for every second. The Xbox One X likewise underpins High Dynamic Range, and additionally AMD’s FreeSync to forestall screen tearing.

The PS4 Pro has an indistinguishable AMD processor from the first PS4, but it has been overclocked to 2.1 GHz. (The PS4 Slim is timed at 1.6 GHz.) The eight-core GPU likewise incorporates highlights from AMD’s Polaris design and offers an impressive 4.2 teraflops of figuring power. It has less RAM (8GB) than the Xbox One X. Its Boost Mode has prompted expanded casing rates in some PS4 games, however client and press reports have expressed that casing rates aren’t generally reliable. Some of this fluctuation relies upon the diversion. For instance, PS4 exclusive Horizon Zero Dawn ran topped at 30 fps, while yielding at 4K on the PS4 Pro.

Since dispatch, the PS4 Pro has made its mark with a variety of enhanced specs and the recently added Boost Mode. Presented in PS4 refresh 4.50, this new component amps up the performance of all PS4 games to changing degrees, improving a few titles by right around 40%. It’s the best PS4 cycle available today, in spite of the fact that it’s not so much justified, despite all the trouble for those without a 4K television.

Engaging Our Brains Through the Virtual World

How do video games affect how we learn?

Games have a very specific reward process associated with actions taken by users. It is a combination of wanting and liking. Wanting is the motivation and drive to gain something you like, and the liking is related to interest, delight, and fun. These two aspects combine to engage the user.

Games today track billions of data points daily about all of their users. Games track habits: what you spend your time focused on, wether you gain interest in new things easily, how you play (what is your “play-style”).  This data is used in the creation of something called the reward schedule. Games create tasks that are neither too hard nor too easy, and they use probability across 100 million users say to decide a rate of reward to time consumed to engage. For instance, box opening sounds like it might be a boring thing to do, but if you open a box and there is a 15-25% chance that there is a pie in the box then it isn’t too hard to gather 10 pies, and if you gain 10 pies then you get a reward.

So back to how do video games affect how we learn, or more specifically how CAN they affect how we learn. Tom Chatfield believes there are 7 video game concepts that are proven to work that we can bring into the real world to improve our learning.

  1. Experience bars measuring progress
    1. This allows for a goal to be seen but instead of aiming for the goal you aim for the steps that progress you experience bar to completion
    2. So with a big essay being your goal, set the milestones at research, writing the first paragraph, writing the second paragraph, writing the into, and writing the conclusion. While that sounds like the process normally taught in schools it still is boring and difficult to measure how far along you are in completing your task. So the research is 10% of the way there, the first, second and third paragraphs of body are 20% each towards your final goal, and the intro and conclusion are those final two 10% steps. All of this breakdown is important because it allows you to know just how much you have completed of the full final quota so that you and your magnificent brain will be engaged in the current section you are on.
  2. Long-term goals broken into multiple short-term goals
    1. Trivia crack is a good example of this;screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-04-23-amscreen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-04-32-am screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-04-08-am
    2. While winning 500 games sounds like a lot (and it is), winning 25 and then 100 makes that journey a little easier and reminds you of that final achievement and how sweet it will feel when you have won 500 games.
    3. This can be applied to work in the real life by breaking down a long term goal into smaller segments, and using trivia crack and the experience bar as a tie in you can say whenever you achieve expert you are 5% of the way to completing emperor, and when you complete king you are 20% on the path to completing emperor. Another good example of this is Khan academy and their badges, progress rates, and total completion of subjects.screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-12-06-am screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-12-22-am screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-12-30-am  screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-13-27-am screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-12-11-25-am
    4. The system works in a way that you are presented missions, and from missions you earn badges that increase in magnitude from the meteor level all the way up to the black hole badges. At the meteor level you can complete “Just Getting Started” and “Making Progress” which require you to master 3 and 7 unique skills respectively. At the Moon level you can complete “Productive” and “Hard At Work” which require 15 and 25 unique skills. At the Earth level you can complete “Work Horse” which requires you to master 50 unique skills, and in the Sun level there are achievements for mastering 100, 150, 200, 300, 350, 400 and 500 unique skills. While mastering 500 seems like a lot 3 doesn’t, after three are completed its only 4 more, and after 7 are complete you only need 8 more for 15, then 10 more for 25, then 25 more for 50 and then only 50 more, 50 more, 100 more, 50 more, 50 more, and 100 more until you reach 500. In all those achievements you see an increasing distance between each one but by the time you are at 100 skills mastered 50 more doesn’t seem like all that much, and by the time you’ve mastered 400 and earn the “Newton” achievement another 100 is easy peasy just to get that final “Da Vinci” achievement.
    5. What all of this achieves (I’m using that work so much, sorry to anyone who is reading this) is turning what seems like monumental tasks that might make you quit at the starting line into easy achievements and by the time you’re almost at the finish line you look back and realize how incredible what you’ve done is. The point of these progression systems and short tasks is to keep you and your magnificent brain engaged until you complete the full task.
  3. Rewarding Effort
    1. Again focusing on the previous points, rewarding effort is something that our society has come to ignore. Failure is typically a one and done deal and you have officially thrown away all that time you spent. Video games and organizations like Khan academy turn the journey into something that is rewardable. The task then becomes meaningful even if you fail. Failing isn’t an end anymore, and its not a waste to fail, in fact failing will increase the amount of rewards and “credit” you have in video games until you succeed. Then in a system where failures are rewarded and success is rewarded even more, you create motivation to participate without fear, and without needing to weigh risks and benefits. You are essentially able to “salvage” your efforts and turn everything you do into a worthwhile use of your time. This can open a veritable host of new activities and endeavors you can embark upon that previously you would’ve been too afraid to even try, or think about trying. The point of all this is to keep you and your magnificent brain engaged in the end task.
  4. Rapid, Frequent, and Clear Feedback
    1. Consequences and Your Actions. In our day we have a lot of “bad things” happening, like for example, global climate change, pollution, bombings in the middle east, homeless communities growing instead of shrinking, lack of clean energy, and a lack of innovation and improvement in schools and teaching. All of these are incredible and fantastical problems, but it is very hard for people to learn and understand these problems when consequences are so distant in space and time. If you can model these problems for people in a way that they can manipulate the models and receive feedback then they can understand what the problems are, how they are nuanced and potentially how they can be fixed. These models can be made using the previous three learning methods gleamed from the video game medium. Moving away from the models and big issues for a bit: rapid, frequent, and clear feedback is something we see in video games all the freaking time. You don’t pay attention to the side vents in Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 and immediately you get jumped and die. So on your next try you remember and from that first death on you never forget the vents because that moldy Chica scared the crap out of you.hqdefault
    2. Or in Battlefront, for those who don’t know battlefront is a star wars game where you are either an imperial trooper, or a rebel soldier. The game takes place in 6v6 up to 20v20 matches in huge maps. In the supremacy game mode (20v20) As a grunt soldier basically your job is to run at an enemy controlled post and try to take it for your team.images
    3. You can die a lot and I mean a LOT in these matches, sometimes within 10 minutes you can die up to 30 times just trying to break past one blockade that the opposing team has set up. After each death a good player is able to recognize why they died and they can try new things to try and break through. With many tasks that require problem solving including boring subjects in math, chemistry, or physics sometimes the best way to learn is to receive rapid feedback as soon as you make a mistake with the hope that you remember and don’t repeat those mistakes. This style of learning can keep you and your magnificent brain engaged in the process of problem solving.
  5. The Element of Uncertainty
    1. What is exciting about a reward, is the reward. I know thats basic knowledge, but what I mean is whats REALLY exciting about some rewards in video games in a chance that you can unlock very good rewards. Many games use systems of “loot boxes” or “loot crate” that have a chance of for example giving a common item 60% chance, a rare item 25% chance, a unique item 10% chance, or a legendary item for a whopping 5% chance. Most of these systems can be bought with real world money, good examples of this are League of Legends Hextech chests which cost a pretty penny.screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-1-11-04-am
    2. As you can see youtubers will spend up to $500 buying these Hextech chests because they are searching for a “legendary” unlockable. In this case Hextech Annie is a skin which requires 10 gemstones and to get gemstones you need to unlock Hextech chests. The only problem is these gemstones are so incredibly difficult to get, the youtuber who dropped $500 and goes by the name of Redmercy had a total of 324 chests and only got the 10 gemstones after unlocking 321. Thats nearly a 3% chance to get a gemstone from a box essentially that costs $1.50 USD, and its a virtual box. That video got around 3 million views and 50,000 likes. So Redmercy definitely made his money back, and his video shows that we all love an uncertain chance at a legendary reward. This mostly has to do with the levels of dopamine in our system after we manage to get an amazing reward like that. I can say from personal experience that the feeling is great, I know this because I play a game called Overwatch, in overwatch you gain experience after every match and every time you level up you receive a loot box. These loot boxes contain 4 cosmetic unlockables like “sprays” that you can drop on the map during 6v6 matches, or skins which change how the character you are playing is seen by other players. When these 4 unlockables come out of the box they appear as flipping coins that are thrown up and then land on the ground with a hologram of whatever you received. The spinning coins all emit a colored light based on their grade, Common is gray, Rare is blue, Epic is pink and Legendary is a golden color and their chances are approximately 58.2%, 31.7%, 7.55% and 2.55%. When one of those spinning coins is yellow it really makes your heart flutter because you know you got a good item. This kind of reward is different from a flat reward because of the contrast between legendary and common. Maybe the effort you put into leveling up and unlocking a loot box should really be giving you rare and epic items only, but if you make the lowest possible reward the “common” grade, an item that really isn’t worth your effort appear about 60% of the time, and you make the highest “legendary” grade, something you didn’t really work hard enough for, appear about 3% of the time then the legendary’s contrast against all those commons makes it so much sweeter when you unlock it. Just as with League of Legends, these boxes are also available for purchase at about $40 for 50 boxes, and even though all of these items are only cosmetic and you can unlock them for free, you still see “unboxings” on youtube, even up to 200 loot boxes for about $160.screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-1-11-38-am
    3. All of this is important because you can see that when the rewards are uncertain, they have a high chance of being less interesting and a low chance of being fantastic, our brains are producing dopamine which we then crave and that brings us back to keeping you and your magnificent brain engaged with whatever learning activity we are participating in.
  6. Enhanced Windows
    1. Enhanced windows are more focused on the dopamine responses to rewards and how we can manipulate these windows of time to enhance our learning. This is broken down into two parts, with the first being memory and the second being confidence.
    2. So memory, how exactly do these enhanced windows affect learning you ask confused. Well, during these enhanced windows when the brain is producing dopamine, it is at an elevated state which provokes an emotion that greatly increases engagement.
    3. So Confidence? (I say unconfidently) Yes Confidence is something all humans gain after being rewarded for completing a task, we begin to get braver and we become more willing to take on more difficulty and more risks. It becomes harder for us to lose our engagement by becoming discouraged.
  7. Other People!?
    1. What do popular games and eSports like League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, Smite, Battlefront, Battlefield, Call of Duty, Madden, Fifa, NBA2k, No Man’s Sky (pre-launch), Diablo, World of Warcraft and Penn State Football Games all have in common? They are all gatherings of large people that require collaboration. In the video games a small or large group of players need to collaborate to win a match or achieve an object or complete a large scale raid. Things like guilds, or clubs exist because we as humans enjoy being in groups. We are classified as a gregarious species because we gather in herds, although that sounds funny it is extremely true that we work well in large groups to overcome tasks that would otherwise be impossible for individuals to complete alone. This works on small scales like 40 person guilds in MMO’s, and its true on large scales with the good ol’ U.S. of A during the cold war being an example. Against a large threat or difficult task humans come together to do amazing things, such as sending men to the moon on technology that is basically less sophisticated than a calculator you can purchase for $20 at Walmart.
    2. An old example of good collaboration in video games comes from Tom Chatfield’s ted talk (linked below scroll to 12:35), he talks about an old video game called Everquest in 1999, in this game there were two boss dragons, and to kill them you had to team up with up to 42 people in what is called a raid (where a large group of people focus on attacking a stronghold or boss). This was a problem because they only dropped about 3 good items even though 42 players were participating. To fix this problem Players came up with a way to motivate each other to participate in these raids multiple times.screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-2-30-08-am
    3. The community created a virtual currency called “Dragon Kill Points”, and every time you queued up for one of these raids you earned some of this virtual currency. The community tracked these points on a website separate from the game (as in not run by the game developers, only the players). After these items dropped the players who participated could then bid for the items they were interested in. So if you save up points from 10 raids then on your 11th raid if you had enough points to outbid others then you could receive the items. These points were non-transferrable and unobtainable using real world currency. This is essentially in Tom’s words a self-enforcing, voluntary currency. So if you wanted the items that were important to you, then you had to work hard for them. This system kept everyone involved, motivated and engaged in participation because of the rewards.

So how do we translate all of this into education? We create a “Grand Continuity” where learning becomes a personal investment for students. We can break large tasks down into many small tasks, and have every task large and small calibrated on an “experience bar” so that students can know easily how much they have completed and just how much is left to reach 100% completion. We can build in good reward systems that give a well deserved reward after completion of a not too difficult and not too easy task. Education will not be method teaching and then release, instead it will be effort centric with consistent attention and feedback during learning. Group learning can become voluntary, self-enforced and participation focused where rewards are given more often to those who participate the most. Video games are an entertainment medium that require individuals participating to learn more about the game in order to play better, win more and receive more rewards. Video games have about 3 decades of constant research and testing, with sample sizes in the tens and hundreds of millions, and all of video games evolution has been with one goal in mind: engage the user and hold that engagement as long as possible to the fullest extent. Engagement is really what we lack in the current education system and some of the more innovative groups like khan academy have realized this and are adapting to create the best learning environment possible.

I have a few final things to say, first is this: not all humans are going to work well together or even work well against each other, there must be some give when groups are needed or there will be large amounts of push back (that would be the wrong kind of collaboration).

The second thing is this: Video games are great ways to model the real world in the virtual one, interacting with and manipulating models increases our understandings of the consequences of actions taken or not taken, thus, I am of the opinion that we need programs (short ones) that have distinct quest lines (many small tasks that lead to completion of a big task) that lead participants through the issues we face and what the consequences will be if we do nothing.

Lastly: I believe the power of data is badly underestimated by most people. All of this talk of rewards and incentives is total hogwash if you do not have data to determine: the correct moments to give rewards, how we should calibrate small tasks to lead to the completion of large tasks, how much effort deserves reward, what elements should be uncertain to motivate action and provoke excitement, and what kind of feedback is necessary to promote engagement. If you have enough data with a large enough sample size to accurately determine all the afore mentioned requirements then engagement is possible in anything if you add: experience bars measuring progress, consistent rewards for effort, elements of uncertainty, short-term goals that build into long-term goals, and rapid, frequent and clear feedback. The key and final ingredient necessary to hold focus is to add incentives and set people up to collaborate and compete with growth and improvement as the goal.

Sources:

https://www.khanacademy.org/

Facebook is Becoming a Gaming Console

As if Facebook didn’t have enough power already, they are now taking on the gaming world too. Ultimately, Facebook has just released a brand new feature to their Facebook Messenger app and Facebook app called Instant Games, which allows users to play various games from their news feeds or through instant messaging with one another.

There are currently 17 games available, with more to come. All of the games are based on receiving a high score and beating other’s high scores, not about reaching new levels and traveling through various worlds and dimensions. Some games already included are Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Galaga, Words with Friends, Shuffle Cats Mini, and more.

Facebook’s global games partnerships director, Leo Olebe, said that part of this new feature is bringing back nostalgia for players, by including childhood games we know and love. He also confirmed that Facebook wouldn’t go game crazy again, like back in the Candy Crush games, and not to worry about getting millions of notifications and requests.

Some may say Facebook is even a little late in the gaming world, according the article. Google has Google Play Games, YouTube has YouTube Gaming, and Amazon has Twitch to play games. Facebook is just adding to the list.

In class we talked about gamification, and how many of us now play the majority of games on our mobile devices. Facebook, and all of these companies, are quickly realizing this and jumping on the bandwagon fast.

What I found most interesting, and what is relevant everywhere, is that many social media outlets or applications want to do it all. The niche markets that we once had are disappearing, and now the big power companies are fighting it out to see who can have the most features. This way, consumers will go solely to their application for everything, whether its keeping in touch with friends, playing games, watching videos, and more. My question is – just how much power can they get?

https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-instant-games-pac-man-space-invaders/

Nintendo to launch Super Mario Run in December

super-mario-run

Nintendo has revealed that their new Super Mario game will be released on December 15th on the App Store for iPad and iPhone downloads. The game has a price tag of $9.99 which is a noticeably steep price for a mobile app. This game will be Nintendo’s second franchise to enter the realm of mobile gaming, but is very different than the previous Pokemon Go app. Pokemon Go was released on July 6th, 2016 and had an overwhelming response from the public.

For many, Nintendo’s approach to the mobile market was a surprise but to me, and probably others with a Nintendo-filled childhood, it seemed sort of inevitable. Nintendo has always been the leader in handheld gaming, with popular systems like the GameBoy and the DS. Some of their franchises, such as Mario and Sonic, are very popular globally. Nintendo noticed the $38 billion dollar industry and made a wise business choice to dive into the waters, using their popularity to boost sales. If another company made a game where you walked around and caught fictional creatures it may have done alright, but Nintendo’s long-time fans of the Pokemon franchise devoured the content and the app broke a multitude of records.

While Nintendo is not predicting nearly as much success for Super Mario Run, the app is sure to make waves in the app industry. My only concern for the game is the steep price tag. While $10 for a video game is traditionally not expensive, maybe even cheap, the price stands out in the App Store. I don’t work for Nintendo and I’m sure they have experts for this but I think if the price is even cut in half, a lot more people would be willing to purchase the game. They must know how dedicated their fan base is and how we’ll probably buy a Super Mario game for the iPhone regardless of the price.

The source link has more information on the topic with quotes from Nintendo executives and outlines the future of Nintendo.

Source: https://www.thestreet.com/story/13894575/1/what-december-s-super-mario-run-release-means-for-nintendo.html

 

League of Legends World Championship

Recently the world of eSports has been getting a lot of press. This month, the Philadelphia 76ers became the first North American profesional sports organization to acquire an eSports team when they bought both Dignitas and Apex. Dignitas is a well established franchise and Apex is a startup. However, both will operate under the name Dignitas now. Both of these teams are in the League of Legends Championship Series which is the North American regional league. However, neither of these teams are good enough to compete in the League of Legends World Championship that began on Thursday, September 29. This tournament is the largest in the world, comprised of the best teams from every region, and is comparable to the FIFA World Cup.

If you’re looking for an entertaining tournament to get invested in, this is certainly the one. Personally, I don’t play League of Legends, but one of my roommates plays and has gotten me to watch a few matches in the tournament. Only four days into the tournament and there’s already a lot of drama. INTZ e-sports from Brazil defeated the highly favored EDG from China and Counter League Gaming defeated the number one seed in South Korea, ROX Tigers. The tournament goes until November. If you decide to get involved the League of legends e-sports website can be found here and the streaming services on Twitch TV can be found at this link. Or if you would just like to know more about the 76ers acquisition, the article can be found here.

Until Dawn and its User Learnability

When I was in elementary school, the kids in my class were always after the same books to check out from the library each week. These weren’t just ordinary books to us. We were able to control what happened next in the story. These “Choose Your Own Adventure Books,” published by Bantam Books, was a great way to get kids excited to read, knowing that we were the ones choosing what happened next.

Recently, a group of friends and I discovered how we could choose our own adventure in a more thrilling and interactive way. Until Dawn, a PlayStation 4 video game released on August 25th, 2015, is described as an interactive movie/survival horror videogame. Each decision you make in the game has a butterfly effect and determines what situations the different characters get into and which characters survive until dawn. The game is actually designed as a single player game, but my friends and I all chose different characters within the game that we would control, and handed the controller around when each new character was on the screen.

 

A couple weeks after staying up all night to finish the game, we talked about user learnability in class and how it is important for game designers to think of ways to make new games easy for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time that they encounter the game design. This instantly made me think back to Until Dawn. In the beginning of the game, the game would tell the users how to go about performing tasks. This includes things like giving specific directions on whether they should be pressing X or Y on the controller in order to climb a fence, or instructing the users to not move the controller at all in order to keep their character from drawing attention when they’re supposed to be hiding from someone—it is like the tutorial is built into the first few minutes of the game.

In addition, in the beginning of the game, users are given more time to make their decisions. As the game goes on, the helpful directions are taken away and the time given to make decisions on what the user wants their character to do or say decreases, since by then the user understands how the game works.

 

If you are interested in “choose your own adventure” types of books and games, I definitely recommend checking this game out. I think it is a great game to help us see how game designers attempt to enhance user learnability. I included the trailer link below:

And for those of you who may have also already played it, I’d love to hear what your thoughts on this type of gaming are!

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Until_Dawn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventurehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Until_Dawn