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  ‘Project Gotham Racing 4’ Impressions  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-05 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I spent about a week in Quebec City a couple years ago for my honeymoon. Playing Project Gotham Racing 4's Quebec City tracks, I swear I could spot the B&B where my wife and I stayed. Certainly human memory is flawed, but my impression is that PGR-developer Bizarre Creations did a spectacular job of recreating the city streets. The mirroring is so well-done that over the entire course of the track I never felt lost, passing by many of the sights and tearing up many of the streets I'd spent days wandering around as a tourist. It's rare to be able to practically navigate game-space based on real space.

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  Quick Links for 2007-11-02  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-02 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Kaneva To Focus On Platform Over Biz-Dev?  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-31 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Much like Linden Lab has moved to distinguish between Second Life (the experience) and Second Life Grid (the technology platform), Kaneva (the company) seems to be moving towards separating Kaneva (the virtual world experience) from Kaneva the technology platform. Confused? If it's any consolation, I feel like I just drank a pint of whiskey upside-down.

According to an email newsletter I received from Kaneva founder and CEO Christopher W. Klaus, the company will focus on expanding its platform's functionality and toolkit in order to better facilitate partner-developed experiences during the first half of 2008. Partners include IBM (known for being bullish on virtual worlds), Turner Broadcasting (which announced a TV network for Kaneva), and Target (which sells Kaneva currency cards).

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  links for 2007-10-30  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  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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  ‘LivePlanet’ Dies In ‘Second Life,’ ‘Warcraft’  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-29 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
As I predicted, a pair of news sites launched by LivePlanet to report on social world Second Life and game world World of Warcraft failed to live up to expectations.

Neither Grid World News, which aimed to be "the premier media outlet for Second Life," and Azeroth World News, which boasted it would "exclusively report all the news within the [Warcraft] universe," have been updated since the beginning of October, after having been announced a few months earlier. Judging by the site archives, activity was most frequent in the summer of 2007, when the projects were announced. Contributions seem to have dwindled significantly since then, with next to no obvious input (in the form of blog comments) from either Second Life users or Warcraft players.

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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.
 
     
 
   
 
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  I Could Catch A Monkey  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-24 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Word has it that Delhi is crawling with aggressive monkeys. I heard on the radio last night that there are 15,000 monkeys and only three monkey-catchers in India's capital. Apparently Delhi is desperate for more monkey-catchers. With the knowledge that aggressive monkeys are a real and sometimes deadly problem, and with no knowledge whatsoever about the qualifications or specific responsibilities of a monkey-catcher (outside of the obvious), I respectfully submit that this has "video game" written all over it. Here's my high-level pitch...

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  Linden Lab Rolls Out Google-Powered’Second Life’ Search Engine  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-20 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Linden Lab announced yesterday that a new, Google Search Appliance-facilitated search system for Second Life should be available both to Second Life users and outside web surfers "in the next few months." The new system, which funnels data from the virtual world into ordinary web pages, replaces a legacy system so past its prime that a number of third-party developers have invented their own public search tools, such as the Electric Sheep Company this year, or Wet Ikon in 2005.

Land parcels, resident profiles, groups, scheduled events, individual objects, and articles in the Second Life Wiki will be indexed by Linden Lab's new search engine. "Mature" content will be flagged as such in search results, and objects on public land which are marked for sale will be indexed by default. Second Life residents will be able to manually exempt objects from search, addressing privacy concerns raised by The Electric Sheep Company's search tool earlier this year.

Because official search results will be published to public web pages, Linden Lab expects in-world content to be indexed by web-exclusive search engines such as Yahoo! and Google. Presumably search results across all engines will include direct links (known as "SLURLs") to in-world content, and RSS feeds so interested parties can receive alerts when Linden Lab's search engine finds something they're looking for.
 
     
 
   
 
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  A Little Toronto Gaming Action  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Here's a handful of local gaming items for my fellow Torontonians:

1) Three former students of mine have formed their own game development company, chiefly using Flash and Virtools as development platforms. They have recently finished two edugames and are looking for a business manager to help their startup get a foothold in the services market:
The ideal business manager will be an enterprising visionary with a strong desire to make a name for his or her self in the video game industry, be a rain maker able to develop business, and be a project manager able to coach a highly creative team toward on-time completion. On top of all of these hard skills, the right business manager will be an individual of superior character with a heart of gold.
This team is creative, hard-working, and driven--if you can help them, please send an email to photius at shannonware dot com.

2) Every Wednesday at the College St. Diner / Tiger Bar: Show off your Guitar Hero II skillz. "Super Cheap Pabst Blue Ribbon" and no cover. Scary.

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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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