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  I Mull Over ‘Manhunt 2’ On City News Tonight  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Roving reporter Amber MacArthur is doing a story on Manhunt 2 today, and roped me in for some soundbites. I was able to play about 10 minutes of the ultra-violent game while we chatted. Amber and I were treated to all sorts of Halloweenish sights during the first few minutes of game-play, including needle-stabbings and poop-flinging. Frankly, I was expecting more but based on what I've seen on YouTube, the action gets more disgusting as the game progresses.

If all goes according to plan, you'll be able to catch the segment tonight (6pm and 11pm Eastern, I believe) on City News, provided you're not already needle-stabbing or flinging poop at local kids during their trick-or-treating.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  Canadian/Portugese Firms Co-Produce International ARG  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
A new serialized, video-based Alternate Reality Game called The GOT will be launched in January 2008 jointly by Canada's The Nightingale Company (film and TV producers) and Portugal's beActive (known in Europe for its work on Sofia's Diary). According to The Nightingale Company, the series will follow a young woman who turns to the web when she becomes convinced the planet is in "grave danger."

According to Nightingale, game play will be aimed at mainstream audiences, and will involve "'against-the clock' international competition" as well as hallmarks of ARG play such as online collaboration, in-character interaction, and clue-hunting. Judging by the info in Nightengale's news release, we'll be able to watch the video component of the game from two angles simultaneously. Hopefully this will be a feature and not a gimmick (it's hyped more like the latter than the former).

Fortunately, at least one of the Nightingale team has previous puppetmastering experience: Adam Clare, the firm's Online Properties Strategist, was one of the co-founders of TorGame, a successful urban ARG adventure launched in 2006.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘CSI:NY’ Meets ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I wasn't able to catch the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, but thankfully other bloggers were on the case. Here's a link-dump from around the blogosphere about this TV / virtual-world mashup...

  • Good, short review of CSI:NY's Second Life crossover episode. Sounds like the TV episode was solid. How will the Second Life side measure up?
  • Virtually Blind reviews the recent CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, including the in-world experience: "While it has flaws, it is head and shoulders above any mainstream virtual world tie-ins we've seen so far."
  • The Second Life Herald's Pixeleen Mistral notes that some Second Life merchants attempted to game-jack incoming CSI:NY viewers by adding CSI-style search terms to their store descriptions. Clever!
  • Roundup of some mini-reviews of the CSI:NY / Second Life crossover. Mixed results, still expecting more discussion of this over the next month or so. How many people signed up to play the Second Life experience?
  • About CSI:NY / Second Life crossover, Tateru Nino says "large numbers" registered for SL, but the custom OnRez viewer download failed for many. "No flood" of newcomers to SL. "The Jury is still out as to whether the whole shebang will be a hit or or a miss.
  • Prokofy Neva muses about the aftermath, noting SL signups log-ons [thanks for the correction, Prok] actually went down from 41k to 38k during "this supposed 'rush.'" Reportedly about 700 avatars in-world on the CSI islands.
 
     
 
   
 
  3 comments  
  links for 2007-10-14  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
The Electric Sheep Company, a large third-party developer of virtual-world products and services will soon launch its own window into the world of Second Life. The pending client software (known as a "viewer") has been commercially licensed by Second Life maker/maintainer Linden Lab, according to an official press release.

Based on a limited range of screenshots and online discussion about the upcoming viewer, it appears that the Electric Sheep Company has gone a long way in addressing one of the chief problems facing new users: The interface. Historically, Second Life's viewer has been difficult to use, suffering from the classic "designed by engineers" syndrome plaguing many graphical user-interfaces and software applications.

Continue reading: ‘Electric Sheep’ Improve ‘Second Life’ Interface
 
     
 
   
 
  4 comments  
  ‘EVE Online’ Seeks Citizen Journalists  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-09 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Players of sci-fi MMO EVE Online have been invited to apply for in-world reporter jobs as part of the "News Clones" wing of EVE TV, a web-based broadcast by the makers of the game for its players. According to the official call-out, the EVE universe is too large to cover with EVE TV's original staff: "Stationing reporters and correspondents across the Galaxy means we can cover more events, investigate more stories, and offer a broader scope for news."

News Clones, a sort of citizen journalist team, will be unpaid, but will receive special social status and broadcast credits. Applicants need only to possess "decent" English skills and the ability to file stories on time... hardly a high standard in reporting, but given that EVE has already had success with its own in-house magazine and its (paid) fan contributors, it's likely some skilled News Clone reporters will emerge to cover EVE from the inside out.

Continue reading: ‘EVE Online’ Seeks Citizen Journalists
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-10-01  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-09-26  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
  0 comments  
  Blocking Eyesores in ‘Second Life’  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
An independent developer has created a Second Life client with the ability to make eyesores--such as ugly in-world content--disappear. Chris Carella discusses Able Whitman's brilliant "Mute Visibility" feature, available in the "Able Edition SL Viewer," pointing out some brilliant suggestions for additional functionality:
The concept could be extended to visually mute avatars, their attachments and any objects they own. With some changes to the server code you could potentially give Mute Visability options to land owners, who could set parcel wide rules, mitigating common land griefing problems (first suggested by Argent Stonecutter). Kooky Jetaime has an interesting idea around “intelligent” muting. If a threshold of avatars on a parcel visually muted an object it would be visually muted for everyone.
Carella mentions a visual trust network, which is a great way tap into crowdsourcing. I'd add that block lists should be able to be easily shared among avatars, so that avatar A and avatar B can instantly synchronize their views. Some interesting social consequences are bound to emerge from any visual blocking system, but we won't know for sure until something like Mute Visibility is widely adopted.
 
     
 
   
 
  2 comments  
  ‘Fallen Alternate Reality Game’ Wins Primetime Emmy Award  
 
 
Posted 2007-09-11 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Congratulations to Xenophile Media for their Primetime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Television" in recognition of the Fallen Alternate Reality Game. Designed and created with Matt Wolf of Double Twenty Productions, the game was an intensive promotion and tie-in to the ABC Family TV movie Fallen which aired last summer. As part of the Xenophile team, I played a critical writing and design role on the game. Because there's a press release out already, I can finally talk publicly about some participation numbers: 2.8 million visitors to the game's web site, and 250,000 players. Nice!

This is the second major award the game has received this year, and the second Emmy award for Xenophile's lauded alternate reality games. Thanks, Xenophile, for inviting me to write stories and develop game-play on these projects. I love my work.
 
     
 
   
 
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Dinozoiks wrote:
Wow! Thanks for that Tony. Just posted a bunch of other tips here... http://www.dino.co.uk/labs/2008/45-tips-when-designing-online-content-for-kids/ Hope it helps someone... Dino...
in Dino Burbidge's '10 Things To Remember When Designing For Kids Online'


yes, many of the free little games are crappy. but as an artist who has recently published free content on the itunes app store,…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


I vote for popup radial menus. Highlight a bit of text, the push and hold, Sims-style radial menu pops up with Copy, Paste, etc....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


Hey Tony! A client of mine is looking to hire an internal Flash game dev team to build at a really cool Flash CCG…
in Dipping Into Toronto's Flash Pool


Yeah, there's a lot of weird common sense things I've noticed they've just omitted from the design. No idea why though....
in More iPhone Gestures, Please


It also bears noting there's no mechanism right now for a developer to offer a free trial for the iPhone; the App Store isn't…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


@GeorgeR: It's on my shopping list :) I've heard good things about it as well. And Cro Mag Rally. @andrhia: meh, I don't know…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


...you get what you pay for, you know? I actually bought Trism based on early buzz, and it's truly a novel mechanic. I've been…
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


The only one I've heard good things about is Super Monkey Ball. Have you given that a whirl yet?...
in Free iPhone Games Are Awful: Strategy?


Advance warning: this frivolent comment is NOT RELATED or even worth your time ... But whenever i hear "Collada", i think of that SCTV…
in Electric Sheep Builds Its Own Flock


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