At 9:00am on 4/19/2017, I attended the ECGC Keynote: The Intersection of AI & Play: Making Data Science Actionable, presented by Paedra Boinodiris, at the 2017 East Coast Gaming conference in Raleigh, NC
ECGC Keynote: Paedra Boinodiris- The Intersection of AI & Play: Making Data Science Actionable
This is the 9th East Coast Gaming Conference, and even though she got married last week, this is part of her honeymoon. She began by talking about science fiction.
WE began by viewing, ‘Playtest’ in BLack Mirror. That show is certainly a distopian view of tech and the future. In the show, material is fed directly into the brain, and used to create some feedback to better engage the viewer. Then we moved on to Star Trek holodeck, Ender’s Game videogames, and then into games.
Games are powerful instruments of change. They are powerful instruments for helping people to think outside the box. To recruit, assess, change cultures being the holy grail. So much data is out there, but it is tech-centric and not people-centric. Why should people care? how wwill it affect them? why should viewers believe. What should they do with the information, and are they supposed to remember this a year from now?
THere is a huge problem to find what to do with the data itself. We discussed Watson as a way to mine information in ways to find patterns. WHen this is blended with experiences which are engaging, it can be a fantastic experience.
VItuozo – assess your critical thinking in roughly 8 minutes. How do you act? how do you shift your strategy based on failure. It also builds teams for your.
Hazardous software cyber simulation suite. Rather than 1 API for watson, we now have 50+. WIth 4 different domains for data insights, language, speech, vision . THe language AI can mine written text but also has tone analyzer. Working with tweeted data, the Met built a dress with the ability to change colors of the dress. Watson Personality Insights allows us to see the personality of the subject. How might that affect an RPG? give us your twitter handle, and we’ll build a character based on your tones, etc. People love to learn about themselves. Curate info of the player and create a better game!
Star trek-like Watson Dialog uses natural language to interact with the computer. YOu can feed it data and train the ai to learn more about it. We saw a disadvantaged teen program at Connally high school reskin the minecraft game based on their works. In their version, you fly a nanobot into a diseased body to fight virus. Watson gives feedback into the game to develop a complex ecosystem. They could stand up an instance on IBM bluemax, and manage the projects directly. ONce they see their worlds come to life, they can become fully engaged. That’s the hope of every teacher.
emotivinsight: coding to use the force to move items with their mind was shown. An interesting start 🙂
Data Insights allow games to see what the proper level of engagement is. this was used with edtech for Sesame Street software. It gathers information about the
Watson similarity Search was used to recognize tumors. Watson was used in conjunction with database materials to recognize problems before they occur. Seeing robot legs and chests, it might ask, “are you building a robot?” Watson AI can be trained to have drones play a frightening noise when being approached by birds of prey. We can teach it to recognize faces and emotions.
In the world of VR, Watson speech can help youadjust or interract based on the physics you’re creating. While these are nice, blending these together is truly exciting.
IMagine you were to create an empathetic chatbot. Tone analyzer + text to speech + speech to text + visual analyzation of face+ IOT + dialog. WHat if the chatbox knew your personality, knew your history, could talk with you about what you’re interested with and able to access written information on how to work with that.
What if this could help us train? what if it could recognize when a student or policeman were depressed? Could you use this to make highly customized training and effectiveness tools. Of course, but how?
How can we engage young children in “New Collar” careers? We are using games and gamification to bring students up to speed on quantum computing, design learning, etc. The public schools are a difficult nut to break into. Its not about throwing an idea over the fence, its more about breaking the mold and getting people on board while being totally invested. We’ll see a lot more in education with serious gaming.
When this gets focused on serious gaming in the workplace, there will be mountains of businesses who will DEMAND that we have graduates with this knowledge, but how prepared will we be?
See her weekly gamification podcast at http://www.Gamesatwork.biz
At a 10:15am session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Lucas Blair spoke to the Design Track audience about Designing Achievements That Matter.
ECGC Conference: Designing Achievements That Matter
Achievements. Some people hate them. Some people love them. Some people have to have them all.
Lucas got interested in achievements as he became an Accomplished Angler in World of Warcraft. This achievement was not a main focus of the game. Getting the achievement allowed him to get a special title (salty). This was a meta achievement requiring multiple achievements from multiple categories.
Chris Hecker at GDC 2010 gave a pivotal talk: Achievements considered Harmful. It was a packed room. Most people were upset. He showed research that extrensic motivations for rewards aren’t helpful. They aren’t fun and working toward the rewards for the players is more important than the fun of the game.
Dissertation: Lucas’ dissertation was on The Use of Video Game Achievements to Enhance Game Play. It was a study to see if we are using rewards to trick players into achieving things they don’t really want. The study used 20 different variables to look into what makes an achievement effective. We made games and then tested their performance. The results? (Its complicated.) Its more than just rewards and the rewards are bad. Some people didn’t have an effect and other results were overall achieved!
Why does it matter?
Achievements are ubitquitous. All pc, mobile, and console games have achievements. They are in badging and education. Other industries copy what games do. People really look to game industry for guidance. Sometimes it is straight up copied, without ideas being introduced. In reality, it can be more extrinsic rewards. Rewards can change your life:
- a memory
- context (where you fit what awesome)
- information (how you’re doing, what is good behavior)
BEFORE WE DIVE IN
The rest of the talk is the stuff Lucas Blair think about and the questions he asks himself. He admitted that he didn’t have all the answers to the questions. Only you know the audience and what the game should be. Truth is, its complicated or it should be. For many failed participants, achievements seem to be given at the end of the game development process, and not thought about.
HOW IS THE ACHIEVEMENT EARNED
Completion: Killed a boss
This is often a progress marker in linear games. For the mundane they are instructions (join a public party). Can it be improved upon? Maybe some kind of different strategy. You cannot really kill a boss, because its still around for others, or it comes back. A boss fight is a marker how far you’ve come. A better example is WOW. If you kill the same boss, but no one dies, no health loss, or win without healing, several different options become available as achievements. These are better achievements. They cause interested gamers to strive to be better.
Measurement: Collectng 100 thingies
Can the achievement itself be incremented? Is the difficulty appropriate? This is just a measure of performance. Either you did something or you did not. You can kill 10/50/100/1000 boars. You can go low and be cool completing the minor goal, or you can seek mastery. Some achievements are really hard.
Have both. But have more “real achievements” that are outside average gameplays. Milestones are not great achievements, because people do that anyway. They have played, not really achieved.
If its easy and everyone does it, what is the purpose of the achievement? It doesn’t make you amazing- everyone gets a trophy and no one cares.
What kind of hard is “HARD”? Time, RNG, performance? Grinding things out can be fun or NOT FUN. Do you need 1000 tries to really get something required to begin an achievement?
When will the players earn them? first play through? If expectation is they should achieve in the first time, is that an achievement-worthy performance? Different levels can be built into the game to amp up difficulty and implement more challenge without extra coding.
Have an even spread throughout gameplay and then a cluster of difficult achievements at the end.
BORING VS EXCITING
Not everything in a game is exciting on its own: grinding, exploring, crafting are not. For normal activities there needs to be a great reward. Here’s the incentive for the massive boredom. People will fight dragons no matter what, but they may not fish or garden in a game. Exciting things don’t need a nudge, just different levels of challenge.
Have achievements which can be completed, but next playthrough you should have options for more grinding and greater achievements.
META and INCREMENTAL
meta: an achievement for achieving achievements. Are the achievements required logically grouped? Is the reward worth all the time and effort involved? Is the juice worth the squeeze?
incremental: progression of related achievements. Do the achievements themselves drive performance? Are they spaced properly? Is there enough meaningful content between achievements.
aggregators: does the score mean more than the achievement? Does the % of completions matter? Can seeing that 45% have earned this achievement and 1% have bothered to achieve that achievement matter? Does it mean the same to the programmers as the user?
HOW MANY ARE THERE?
How much content is there? WOW has over 3,000 achievements for solo play.
Do the players have choices and can they differentiate themselves? Can a player ever actually get them all? Should they try? What is the Goldilocks number for your game.
POSITIVE vs NEGATIVE
Does it match player expectations and mindset. Negative mindset might let you know you need to try harder.
Some games have negative achievements because the game is so difficult.
- Dark SOULS II: This is dark Souls.
- God of War: “Getting my Ass Kicked
I use all positive. If you have negative be very careful. It can be disheartening and raise bad feelings
EXPECTED vs UNEXPECTED
Does the player know there are achievements? Do they get ignored? You want the players to know there are goals and you should actively go for them. If they pop up randomly and you don’t care, that’s bad. If you allow them a mental model so they can see the achievements and try them out.
Are they striving to earn them? Can they be used for creativity?
SOLO, CO-OP, GROUP, or COMPETITIVE
Accommodate different player types. Can players FIND other players? guild level achievements? Is your game competitive? is you audience competitive? What is their experience level of the person? Low level players are often no competition in the game.
PUBLIC or PRIVATE
Achievements can be an identity for a player. History, expertise, preferences, imply a play style, speed runner, completionist, etc.
However, it can be baggage. “Want to participate with us? Link me your ‘X’ achievement.” Is this a negative? If a player cannot join with others because of a progression issue, is this discrimination? How can you enter a dungeon if you cannot enter a dungeon? How can you join a high-level party if no high-level party will let you join them because you haven’t gotten far enough on your own? Achievements have now stopped you from playing the game. Negative achievements could stop you from playing further.
Can you showcase or share different things with different people? For example, could you show one player that you’ve beaten 1000 orcs to join their group, but show other people that you’ve failed to beat the dungeon because you need help?
During or after play: when achieving, will you receive immediate or delayed feedback? How disruptive will this be? Think of the paperclip from MS Word. How much did you LOVE Clippy?
everyone loves lists and grids. WHow do players encounter the achievements. if only there was a better way to resent them. Skill tries. PATH OF EXILES
Why don’t we represent achievements like skill trees?
Achievements are a glimpse into the mind of the designer. Achieve the things we want you to be! Consider presenting your achievements in a way so that students and players know what to achieve. Show them all at once presented clearly. Allow students and players to Make a plan to get there.
Promote goal setting. If you get one but don’t read it, you don’t care. On the other hand, if you make a plan, people can see where they want to be, and they provide context and hierarchy education (digital badges) individual achievements don’t really matter. The context they are in matters more. The pathway skill tree matters more. The path is your identity. If they are on a pathway and plan to make their goals. If the game knows you are trying to achieve these goals, how will it effect their gameplay? How can The programmer or program get them there? Is it time? Speed, Power, etc.
WHO MADE THEM
Game designers do, and choose to make them or not. Why not achievements makers? DODA. It could be a closed system. I’m going to do this thing, to this degree, with this tool.
After his presentation, he opened things up to a Q&A session
What do you think of hidden achievements
Hidden achievements can be found, so its not being hidden, but if you cannot set a goal for themselves, it can be addressed. There are some secrets that are fun, but its more for second playthrough. It might be a teaser to let people know on second playthrough.
Kill someone on the development team?
Random encounters are kind of fun. They can make interesting memories. People like novelty.
Trading card sytems with steam and wii?
A lot of the following items are trophy or achievements, etc. its just a question of symantics. They are pretty useless, but should have the same outlines.
What about locking people out of achievements when skipping ahead?
Designers are probably showing an implied hierarchy, but it should still let people skip ahead. It seems unfair to achieve the conditions, but fail to receive the achievement
Some requirements for achievements require high amounts. Gears of wars needs 100,000 kills. It might disincentivize new players. Few if anyone will earn it, but those who do will grab lots of attention by telling EVERYONE.
Lucas Blair PhD is co-founder and game designer at little bird games. firstname.lastname@example.org
At a 3:15pm session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Ken Turner spoke to the Serious Games Track audience about Quality Assurance: QA Practices and their role within the gaming industry.
ECGC Conference: Quality Assurance: QA Practices and their role within the gaming industry
What is quality assurance? Quality assurance is the testing portion of the development cycle. One of the biggest assets of being a QA Professional. Flexibility. CHanges occur day-to-day, hour to hour minute to minute. You’ll need a plan b, c, and d.
What else beside play games does QA do? I made “such-and-such” game. You may not create the pieces but you help to make it better by pointing out successes and failures. A certain level of quality must exist in the game. to obtain this is where the group comes in. QA makes sure that the game runs well.
Testing if a game works in black and white. but there are functioning grey areas as in which QA does the majority of their work. Does multiplayer work? does that mean can I get IN to a multiplayer game. Do the characters spawn in? can they see each other? can I win/lose the game? will I have a report after the game? can the players interact with one another? How well does it work? to what extent does it work? Thats the QA Dilemma.
Sometimes QA is looked down on because there isn’t much of a postive effect. More artists makes great art. More programming is adding features. Adding QA only finds more bugs. So when should it be used and when not? its the most expensive portion of dev process.
Should QA happen at the beginning or the end? Beginning is nice, becasue iterations can be effected agile fashion. however, its expensive because you’ll be running at the beginning and end. At the end, many bugs will exist, and may cause massive reworks or rewrites. Its cheaper at the end though, because you only test one lump.
Often, the QA job is to focus on budget and throw red flags up. It means checking the budget, knowing the types of programmers you have, the features and quality that you need, and what you have the time to do.
Students seem to want to test only at Beta Stage, because they seem to fear that they won’t like the game at alpha. The tech definition of Alpha is that all features should be present. Beta should be near shippable quality. if you had a gun to your head.
Most materials in programming with a game company stops automation because proprietary software would not allow it. IOS based automation tools do exist, but the best testing and the best tools are made by humans and humans make mistakes. So don’t forget to test and test your testing device. Don’t forget that partners will not share their software.
Does it work, and does it work well. Get those testers. Gameplay testing. Interview them and feel them out to decide whether they like the game. Its scary because the majority of the work is done. Again, this comes back to the idea of testing early or testing later.
For smaller companies, QA test as often as possible.
QA testing needs to test AFTER the product ships. On release, everyone goes on vacation except QA. Cartridge had no chance to fix bugs. Now with broadband, that info is pushed directly to you and you cannot play without it. Updates are certainly patchable.
Now, release dates are vague: “fall”, because QA is no longer in control of when the game drops. Marketing has been telling people when the game will drop, and the public needs to get the materials on the dates/times promised. QA’s job is to get the product out in quality. Marketing wants it out on time. In the end, decisions need to be made and priorities must be made.
QA is great to get in. It is the gateway department because you get to interact with every other department. YOu have to explain the bugs to them, and they’ll tell you why it happened. QA is hard work. Start there, ask for advice, work hard, and you have a great chance to move into the company by taking the initiative. QA role is to enforce that level of quality and let the other departments understand.
Ken Turner is a Faculty member of the Simulation and Video Game Development team at Wake Tech Community College
At a 11:30am session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Daniel O’Keefe spoke to the Serious Games Track audience about the Power of Games.
ECGC Conference: The Power of Games
Transforming education through transforming teachers through game design
- draw triangle
- draw some circles
- draw filled in circles
- draw 2 upside down v
- draw lines above
- Put rectangle under the triangle
- compare your work with your neighbors
Can vague rules encourage the participants to come up with different results? Can non-specific directions encourage creativity?
Game-like learning principals
- everyone is a participant
- learning feel like play
- everything is interconnected
- learning happens by doing
- failure is reframed as iterations
- feedback is immediate and ongoing
- challenge is constant
Who is out there?
What type of people were in the learning environment at the conference?
- <li?Game developers (3)
- People who want to be in game industry(4)
- Those in Gaming education (5)
- Non-game education (2)
- Game teaching in High Schools (1)
How can we create a games and learning ecosystem where teachers and learners have designer identities?
How can we be making things, yet still realize that students aren’t automatons?
Teachers need competencies:</h2<
- learner-centered: They need to be on the top of the latest tech and methods
- collaboration: Teachers need to be able to work within groups and communities
- data driven: Using what they learn actively to promote their skills
- reflection + iteration: Thinking on what they’ve done and adjusting, creating an environment where failure is ok
- strategic thinking: Problem solving
Learning warmup above was important in giving freedom of choice to players. It is a workshop in teacherquest. where we have teachers and students build together.
- empower teachers
- increases student engagement
- re-imagine what teaching can be through games and game-like learning.
Can the game be engaging, can teacher reflect on that, and use games in the classroom? What is the relationship between fun and challenge, and how can we put teachers through that?
This presentation was not really what I was hoping it to be. It was a big talk about what TeacherQuest does.. People hoping for information on the power of games seemed disconnected. I chose to stick this presentation out, but I probably would have left. I was hoping this would be a numbers-based discussion in which participants could walk away with plans, ideas, and activities which THEY could put to use in their classrooms. Instead this was a pat-on-the-back session. Most participants were active for 10 minutes, and then ended up looking at phones and mobile devices.
In the future this presentation should be participant-oriented rather than “Here’s what we do… buy our services.”
Daniel O’Keefe is the regional director at the institute of play, a team of designers, strategists and game designers.
At a 9am session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Phaedra Boinodiris spoke to the Serious Games Track audience about how Serious Games effect change.
ECGC Conference: Serious Games to Effect Change: The new business model in serious games
How the space is evolving and how we can use technology to evolve the space
WomenGames.com was started by Phaedra and a family member because no games were pointed or marketed to women. In fact, women were not encouraged to work in the industry. In the early days, the trend of ads and advertisements for video games began with families. Shortly thereafter, it starting to show only boys. This disenfranchised many women gamers. Once the Wii came out, more women and families began to be shown in commercials and advertisements. This prompted her to begin working in earnest to get back into gaming. Phaedra pursued her MBA to begin a business and get loans to get her business off the ground. In school at UNC, she worked on “case competitions”. This would allow students to come together with other colleges and pitch answers to real client issues. Her breakthrough project had to do with a problem business process management for IBM. She realized reading the papers provided that the problem was really just one of creating a proper strategy.
She pitched a video game to gauge, assess, and teach. The Vice President of IBM in attendence was interested in having a proof of concept to create a business process management game. He proceeded to grab her at the meeting, and request that she build and code a bpm simulator. Her first example INNOV8 was a call center environment. Character had to talk with employees and management and find out how the call center process was working. Required talking to people, and identifying issues and possible solutions. Suggested solutions could then be mapped out and used to determine their effectiveness. It was a hit, and she was hired. this was the innov8 engine.
innov8 2.0 was built to teach marketing tools for clients and business. it was an even bigger success, and IBM sales were enormous.
CityOne was her next roject, a smarter planet game. It was a simulator for a city with challenges. How can you effect change in a city systems? What steps might be needed to make an electric car for a smarter grid. How can we use games to explain the things we already do? With the success of this item, fast company listed them as a top serious games company
Working examples of current serious games include:
- civilization for sustainability
- fold-it for process options and complex problem solving
- WOW for talent management
- Eve online for strategy
- Tetris to teach PTSD
- Candy Crush for recruitment
So, how can you leverage games for management? Everyone wants it cheaper, faster, and customized for their businesses. That is the real opportunity for gaming businesses.. 99% of companies use their dollars for professional development, with a special focus on skills training. Games can be used to train individuals to do specific tasks quickly and often encourage them to try again if they fail (perform emergency surgery, fly a helicopter, etc.). Once you can create a game which can include real data, you can integrate strategic execution, teaching a skill and optimizing learning.
Last year, HR summits across the globe began focusing closely on serious gaming. Serious Gaming has some obvious advantages for HR. It is:
- rapid dev
- tested mechanics
- repeat play
- real data
How can you deliver on that?
We know you have built components that can be reused and repurposed. The future of game design is MODULAR design. Companies are outsourcing parts of games that are not ancillary to their business. Its same with software development. This is not a new trend.
Building modular components for your games and your designs allows you to sell not only your game, but also the pieces of the game. It would not be unthinkable that the pieces of what makes your game great might also be used by other games to make them great.
BLUEMIX- cloud based offering
What if your game could leverage Business Process Management Software? After innov8 2.0 — a game for marketing— was built, Dept of Defense became interested in their work. She presented her software at an enterprise architecture conference, and she was invited to present to the department of defense. They asked “How can we vet our playbook to be able to visualize the complexity of the situation, collaborate with one another, and communicate about issues well before boots are on the ground, and dollars are invested?” She presented a similar set of ideas to attack the problems she had been shown. She posited to them the idea of a game in which the actions and their reverberations could be shown.
“There is a confluent of gaming engines out there,” she noted “a deluge of data available to us at all times, and the ability to include this data in the game.”
She was asked after the even if she could show a game to demonstrate how they might affect an experience like logistics for getting aid to a country like Haiti in the midst of takeover or natural disaster.
She knew of a designer who had built a Resequencing engine for the game Achron (find at: http://www.achrongame.com ). The game allows players to go forward and backward in time. The engine was usable for process invitation. People can play the main characters or the adversary (could be manmade disasters such as alqueda, or natural disasters such as earthquakes, etc). As you play, you are effecting process change.
Could our team use this for commanders to optimize missions for platoons to examine and try again? With out team, we were able to integrate real data and make adjustments in real time. So one scenario could be played again and again, and different iterations might have topographical changes, troop and boat positioning differences, and natural disasters or uprisings that could be triggered at the hands of a secondary team or player. Teams could go head-to-head with real updating.
This was such a success they also requested the creation of another game called PointRecon for recon analysis, that worked in a similar way.
In healthcare, BreakAway Games created Code yellow, a hospital process optimization game. Certifications were needed to keep hospitals up to date. Most customers enjoyed a game in which a fictional hospital was setup and participants effected process change to assure that they received their certifications and training. However, not all were satisfied. Many wanted to see their own data reflecting in the game, not canned games, but their own hostpital numbers data and floorplans. They approached Phaedra and IBM to find out: “Can we base this on a service, piping information through the cloud?” This would allow them to create a modularized system into which The game hooks into hospital data fields and online records and floorplans.
Watson (the computer AI) looks at a question and gives answers with a percentage of confidence (see jeopardy, and the book 4D gaming with Watson). Watson was experimentally placed with a simulations similar to CityOne. Using a city plan, watson can react to placements of fire stations, etc. Rules are created PRIOR to game launch, and Watson can work within those rules to create challenging gameplay. Imagine the rules integrated with Watson on a broader scale, or within YOUR game. Rather than a developer setting every mission, an artificial intelligence can take city data and codes into account before on real historic data, etc. what will that mean for defense, public policy, etc. What if scenarios can really help build a city more efficiently?
City Resilience Game
What if your game had real analytical computer engine behind it? Serious games are good for assessing your work personality and leadership. Kenexa is the standard IBM process for assessing potential employees. The project gives a multipage assessment upon completion. How you approach the task tells them about you and how you work individually and in a team environment. The future of HR is in analytics.
Workright created the game: The Guardian Angel. Biofeedback and sensors were integrated into clothes and helmets. These items of work uniform (helmeted sensors, clothing with GPS and biofeedback) were used to locate persons on the construction jobsite to note how their bodies reacted when in certain zones, how and where they traveled in the site, and how their bodies reacted to area of the jobsite. It is interesting to find out how your analytics might gauge biofeedback to help create a safe work environment and process change.
What if your game had a social wrapper?
The Next Grand challenge is to see how larger companies and systems can leverage social tools in their business enviroment. IBM’s Grand Challenge leveraged social tools to leverage worker participation. This materials was covered pretty heavily last year. Find the article: ECGC: Gamified Talent Management: Using RPG design to motivate employees and redefine work.
Bluemix is a platform specifically built for gaming. The need for this system comes directly from students and business owners who have an idea to get a game off the ground but may not have the ability to purchase all the front-end work, or may have a great component and no way to bring it to the market.
Monetize their IP. Build your market and win together. Developing on bluemix can be built as a web service. Integrate your service or game with other services, and then sell it. 130 million people play with IBM services. (here she talks about working with IBM as a business partner)
Bluemix is made on SOFTLAYER ( cloudant ). Thursday you can sign up to meet with a bluemix consultant. The Watson incubator lead will be looking for projects to fund new materials. See games at work.biz
If I’m a small studio, why is this interesting to me?
If you don’t have the bandwidth or funding to make your own AI, bandwidth, etc. BLuemix is pay as you go, and has a free trial. Use their services to meet enterprise-level clients without having to spend up front.
Success metrics: what can you plug in to give back to clients:
What are the success metrics? What do I need to show? When you build your own platform, you need to integrate into that platform how to cough up those metrics at any time. Bluemix has those capabilities already built into the system and they can be adjusted live.
Without a client, will I have to make my own use cases? There are wide ways to go about this. You might break into groups of participants or not. Bluemix has built-in analytics and that can be used.
Business and gamification. Those who ignore this… where do you see them going?
Few notes: a large trough of disillusionment on gamification. because points, badges and leaderboards are enough to cause change. But it fails. Those who go about this the right way find work attitude, process, and participation go up. I suggest you read this book on motivation THE BOOK DRIVE. What motivates us is a sense of self-direction. I encourage you to read the book and think about if the book is giving them mastery, purpose, self-direction, etc. you really want this to be as engaging and enjoyable as possible
You talk about fast turnaround times. How big were your teams?
innov8 and DOD games. innov8: 1-3 months per iteration. Teams of 7 part-time people. Artist, sound, etc. For large data-integration and AI-integration, they aren’t ready to integrate. We create a canned diversion of this. As data sets become available, different iterations will change. With a cloud model, times have drastically increased. However, we can’t wait a year for the military to have ISIS training. How can you create a game that changes and is customized with new data in a modular design environment? Only through integration of live data, and that is what makes Bluemix and cloud data integration so exiting.
how does bluemix work with twitter?
What are people saying about the game? Learn more at the bluemix booth.
As a teacher, what within bluemix would be valuable?
We will have an academic initiative, but its coming slowly. To leverage a free trial, join the academic roster. Then you’ll be able to find out as soon as possible when that’s available.
Learner metrics with bluemix.
Kenexa team will be looking to move onto bluemix. Once that is integrated, you’ll be able to find many ways to use our HR metrics.
Using Watson would compromize gameplay because no programmer could be involved. However, no programmer can access all info fast enough. Watson is really to mirror the real environment, because that’s what we want. In gaming, Watson could be an advisor for the gamer. If you have certain players, what is the best gameplay methods to win? Can Watson recognze patterns and advise in real time? If you could use a game to teach Watson faster, that would be fantastic.
Phaedra Boinodiris is the Global Lead for Serious Games and Gamification at IBM
At a 2:00pm Keynote session in the East Coast Gaming Conference held in the Raleigh Convention Center, Mike Laidlaw spoke to the attendees about …
ECGC Conference: Keynote Speaker— Mike Laidlaw
The ECGC conference will be held on April 19,20,21st next year 2016. Be looking for that.
We began with a the trailer for dragon age inquisition.
What is a creative director? What is it that they do? They are responsible for All games, all creative products, our spinoff animated series, comics, and anything related to Dragon Age. Every item must be coordinated so they are in the same world and follow canon. For the games things are different, but every aspect of the game must gel with everything our readers know from comics, fit with every animated episode, and match up to every idea already placed about the series.
Dragon Age Inquisition was ambitious. Our initial idea: Let’s run on 5 platforms at once and use this as the new game plan, OH, and let’s also use a brand new engine. The game would include everything that you’ve come to know and love about the series, but also include massive use of exploration, a new facet of getting lost in the world.
inspirations for open world gameplay
open world content
the power system
Throughout the agenda, we must always fulfill this razor: “the challenge: immerse yourself in a vast world of companions choice and consequence”
Who else is doing it well? It’s good to be inspired by other games, but you cannot rip them off note for note. Then you’re just copying. And that’s obvious to everyone. Every 2 weeks Our team would pick a game and play through it. They’d discuss what the game did well, and what they did not. Communication is key. If there isn’t a shared vocabulary, things begin to fail.
- SKYRIM: incredible freedom of space and role. the joy of cresting a hill and finding something cool “down there”
- SID MEIERS PIRATE: the power of theme. self-directed goals & multiple vectors of success. Multiple playthroughs are often required to make everything work through.
- FALLEN LONDON & SUNLESS SEA: the power of abstraction and allowing players to create their own connections. If something is not supposed to be available yet, the note which springs up might say: “Has the player met constable bob?” vs. Connected: the constables.
- XCOM-ENEMY UNKNOWN: Example of a counter-objective: EU added more story to the xcom formula. Story beats reward for gameplay. Story brings more story rather than achievement bringing more story
Strategy1: Multi-region open world.
Advantages: Strengthen each region with its own narrative. Create diverse, distinct visul palettes.
We sought to answer the following questions: what the overall feel of this locale? Why would I, the inquisitor, come there? What is special about it? How does my presence here advance the inquisition or hinder its foes?
Emerald grove- A wonderous forest. A band of refugees here have information for you and at the end of the day you cut off supplies to foes, and gain an ally.
We repeatedly ran into the problem that the first 5 or 10 minutes people didn’t understand what to do. A character sets the first camp, lets you know what to do, and where to go. This narrative character seem contrary to your role in the story, but keeps the theme strong.
Diverse palettes. You needed to move from region to region with no visual trouble. A series of choices make the game fun is what is seems from the outset. However, a series of compromises are what the builders will experience.
Strategy 2: shared content strategies
Content for the levels consisted of three major types:
- Placed, crafted content.
- Shared, systemic content.
- Designer hugs.
Systemic content used shared libraries of assets for consistency and ease of maintenance (pre-fabs could be placed, but our team could alter each instance). One update to the search system would allow all objects that reacted to that system to instantly respond to the changes without touching individual instances. In effect, one edit would allows for many updates, instantly and simultaneously.
Designer hugs: nooks and crannies of exploration that gives you a fun, neat reward. Big games that allow for an open area, and have neat effects will generate a buzz. It rewards you for making the right choices.
Strategy 3: Reviewing content.
Issues with in-room content reviews:
- long play length of area.
- Reviewing one path/perspective.
- out of context issues.
- directing player experience.
- content was at different levels of completion.
The best way to circumvent these issues was to ask open ended questions to the team. We took those focus testings to the team and their ratings. By offering what they COULD do, players wanted to reach those goals. The team used inhouse heatmaps to see where people spent time on each level, where fights happened the most, where people died. This allowed them to tweak the areas, distributions of bad guys, and power levels.
Areas for improvment- plots
Open area plots were sad and lame. It was new to them and new to the team. The company budgeted lots of time and writing for plots, however,the quests very, very simple with little or no trouble to complete.
There was several systems. The systems appeared repeatedly in several sessions. People came to expect them, to prepare for them, and to be bored by them.
Put the jump in the game. Seriously. They put banter in the system to help keep the game live. However, players were more engaged by the ability to jump while moving.
How can you make it so that as a player you can progress the story without doing exactly as you’ve been asked to do? The Advisors within the game are smart, but help you understand that you’re still making the decisions. They took a complicated GUI and added bickering and resonance to the gameplay.
Operations were the core objectives, things that must happen.
Power had been earned, so it could be used to open new areas. Any area you opened should have enough power to open another area, so that you never achieved a zero-sum power solution. Power mechanics allowed you to continue buying and getting awesome armor, wtc. without hoarding. It allowed for a fluid economy. The open world idea allows the spoilers will not occur if they share the experience.
Completionist players had far, far too much power. And our team had to deal with that. As did the hinterlands pacing.
WHile it was a major struggle, looking back I feel:
It was a big game, the team worked hard, we did well.
Mike Laidlaw is Bioware’s Dragon Age Creative Director
Freelancer’s Guide to Hustling Online, Professional development at the East Coast Gaming Convention (ECGC), 3/24/14
You can freelance in multiple genres, but the materials discuss here are primarily for writers. However, I stress that this can be applied to any freelancer. Freelancing is a trial by fire. If you want to be successful, research clients, research fleelance websites, and other freelancers. You should hustle online because sooo many clients are online, looking online, and you have Sooo many options to choose from online.
- Is a self-employed contractor
- Can fire any client
- Can establish their work style and work schedule
- Can choose your projects
- Is allowed to set your own wages
Keep excellent records of your earnings and expenses. You are legally responsible for your own taxes 4 times a year. Consider if you need to open a sole proprietor business or llc.
Research work-for-hire agreements. Read up on the law. Make sure you transfer rights to the client in the contract. You do have a contract prepared, right?
Experience lets you know how to manage your time. It will let you know what each job should entail, cost, etc. It will also give you confidence. Again, get records to know this, and review your records during down-time to establish a baseline for times and fees. If you’re inexperienced, build your portfolio. If you have completed work done under an NDA, just ask the owner of the rights if you can use it. Your samples are like free advertising for them and their products. Look for smaller jobs that you know you can do quickly (not cheaply!) to gain experience,
professional rates vs. Semiprofessional rates.
Sometimes its okay to earn semi-professional rates. Semi pro rates are less (1-4 cents per word). When choosing to take semiprofessional rates, understand and hold fast to the idea that these rates cannot be for something that takes little time, not full time, or even part time.
Passion is great and keeps you going, it lets you be better at what you do. However, many people will try to take advantage of that… They think: “you have passion- so what.”
“Passion” to clients means:
- no experience.
- I might lose my passion…
- Don’t pay me much, I’m passionate.
- Passion is an emotion, could be drama
Don’t ever use: Aspiring, Student, Amateur, Looking for experience. Say what you are, and OWN IT. be confident. People are spending money. You are a writer, a game writer, a designer, a developer. Say it.
Things to consider while freelancing
Have a website where people an find you. It doesn’t have to be best ever, just show you can be professional looking. Make your online material is FANTASTIC! watermark your portfolio samples and convert them to PDF if you can. Specify what kind of work you do and have a veriety of samples that illustrate your range. Connect social media accounts, and destroy or distance yourself from accounts that might make you look unhinged. Promote your business where its appropriate, but do not spam sites or forum comments with your links
Explain what your value is, avoid problematic buzzwords. Talk about your experience. Proofread everything twice. Then do it again. Then get someone else to check it.
People lowball because”
- They need experience
- They are trying to establish themselves
- They don’t know what to charge
- They can always raise it later.
Don’t lowball. Clients will equate your skill with the price you request. Lowballing makes it difficult to raise prices. Lowballers have rates online, and new clients will expect the old rate. repeat clients may not be able to meet the new rate. Lowballers ruin everyone’s cash flow- And clients end up having poor expectations.
So how do you set your rates?
Your rate can be based on education , previous work history, the current market rate, your work in field
Consider your living expenses: rent groceries, car payment, loans, debt
Thrive, not survive: Consider the following pricing sets
Writers guild of great britain 70-95 hour
Editorial freelancers copywriting 40-50 hour / 20-25/word
Search for: “How much should I charge pdf” online
Contracts and clauses
Have a work-for-hire contract. Specify the number of revisions. You can get templates online or hire a lawyer/ Note what the work entails, how to pay you and how much , how you will be credited, breakdown of milestones-dates of sending work, getting paid, when to receive feedback- a full description of deliverables, feedback options and payment. What you will be payed when work goes beyond the scope. Attach payment received to milestones because you need money in the process. Getting paid after first draft and each revision, for example.
Work-for-hire must assign the rights to someone else, so include “all rights will transfer to client upon final payment.” In your contract. This notes that any lack of payment will have you keeping the rights for the work produced.
Jobs longer than 1 week should have a retainer for your services- This retains time on your scheduling calendar. It identifies a serious client and protects you for non-payment. The client bleeds a little bit, sacrificing something to get the work.
Where to look online for work?
- craigslist and similar sites
- freelance sites.
Read the Terms of service (TOS), read the contract agreements, find out if you can you use your own contract? Know how to add your own agreements so they’re legally binding, know how jobs are awarded, find out how freelancers are paid through the platform, review the types of jobs posted. People will get away with things!! Send in your Bid with a proposal. Read everything about how the site works.
People are looking to scam freelancers, and great clients too. Don’t try to compete on price. Get the price that’s right for you. They expect YOU to know the right rate and educate them. TRUST YOUR INTUITION. Don’t dismiss postings with a lack of information. Ignore clients who seem too demanding in their communications- if they seem like jerks in writing, they’re probably jerks. Determining amount of work needed and the budget. If the amount i laughable, dont bother. Review feedback client has given and received on freelance websites- are comments nasty or complementary? Do they show jobs uncompleted and what were the freelancer responses.
Contacting a client
Focus on: Your expertise as its relevant to the client job, thoughtful questions to engage client, give fee for job. Talk qualifications only if they relate to the job. Don’t go into detail, just give a taste. Send query letters if you want. show your interest in the project, your ability to identify the client/project need, encourage the client to respond/start a conversation.
Always include a preliminary fee. Give a breakdown of costs, talk about miletones, mention all rights will transfer upon final payment. Always be professional. Always send smaples. give them something to look at. Send relevant samples if you do have it. Write the proposal, send it, and then forget it. If you wait for responses, you’ll miss other opportunities.
Establish professional relationships.
Set boundaries. Set hours and meeting times, come to an agreement. Always be professional in communication and feedback. Don’t get blackmailed into good feedback on a job for less/no payment. Help clients understand what they need. Give advice, and don’t take over the project. If anything goes sour, you want the client to look like a chump, rather than you or equal faults. Ultimately, you are not the client, and its not about YOU. Its about them and their needs.