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  Phantom Compass Partners With IT GlobalSecure  
 
 
Posted 2008-07-08 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
I'm happy to announce that my company Phantom Compass has partnered with IT GlobalSecure to offer security features integrated from the ground up into our digital and cross-media games. Phantom Compass is in the business of "productive play," and with IT GlobalSecure, we're going to be able to offer our clients and end-users expertly-crafted safeguards against hacking and exploitation. What's the good of a "serious" game if it hasn't accounted for security? From the press release:
Social gaming is growing rapidly and faces increasing security challenges: educational games include high scores that can be hacked, advergames and social games collect sensitive personal and demographic information, and many games need secure payment processing. The partnership between Phantom Compass and IT GlobalSecure brings the best in innovative game design and security to our clients and their customers.
Thanks to IT GlobalSecure's Steven Davis (author of the fantastic Play No Evil blog) for his support. With IT Global Secure, my company can offer a level of secure game data and systems design that other boutique developers aren't even thinking about, let alone capable of offering.
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Links for 2008-05-12  
 
 
Posted 2008-05-12 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Quick Gaming Links for 2008-01-06  
 
 
Posted 2008-01-06 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Evil Video Streams Threaten ‘Second Life’ Cashflow: Report  
 
 
Posted 2007-12-01 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Linden Lab has warned users of Second Life that QuickTime-based video streams may be used to "crash or exploit" Second Life's client software. The Mercury News paints a more sinister picture, alerting us that "security researchers have found a flaw in Second Life virtual world [sic] that allows them to strip a user’s character of all of its in-world money."

Since Second Life currency is easily converted to American dollars, there's a real risk here: Users of the virtual world may have dozens to hundreds to thousands of "Linden Dollars" on hand at any time. In the past 24 hours, the equivalent of about $1.5M USD has flowed through the system. So how to avoid getting robbed? Linden Lab's advice is for users to turn off video streaming, despite the company's ability to turn off streaming for all users across the virtual world until Apple fixes QuickTime. This strategy is reactive in my view, as Linden Lab plans only to act if it discovers a malicious stream. Affected users will receive "appropriate assistance," whatever that means.
 
     
 
   
 
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  ‘Xbox Live’ Friends To Be Publicized:  Opt Out If You Like Privacy  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-26 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Microsoft announced via its Gamerscore blog today that as of December 4, 2007, adult members of the Xbox Live gaming service will have their friends lists exposed to the rest of the community. Previously, friends lists were private. Members will automatically be opted in to the new system, and will have to manually opt out if they'd like to keep their friends list protected.

According to Microsoft, Xbox Live members can opt out of the loosened privacy system by visiting an administration page and setting either "Friends Only" access or "Blocked" access. By default, the friends lists of all members aged 18 and up will be set to "Everyone" access. Minors will be disallowed from making their lists open to all, and are automatically given "Blocked" status.

Continue reading: ‘Xbox Live’ Friends To Be Publicized:  Opt Out If You Like Privacy
 
     
 
   
 
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  Do Gamers Make Better Baggage-Screeners?  
 
 
Posted 2007-11-19 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
"Security screeners at airports might do a better job spotting weapons if they spent their downtime playing video games - specifically, wasting aliens in lurid first-person shooters like Halo 3," The Boston Globe's Christopher Shea wrote yesterday. The 3-page online article resonates quite well with my quickly-written 2006 proposal "Airport Screening Is A Badly-Designed Game."

Specifically, Shea finds, as I mentioned last year, that even trained security professionals have trouble distinguishing harmful from safe objects; the human people have trouble finding exceptional objects (like guns) amid a sea of common objects (like toiletries). Additional information Shea gleaned from scientific sources shows that moving objects are easier to spot--yet X-ray scanners show stationary objects; first-person shooter gamers erred less in threat-identification tests than non-gamers. A number of interesting solutions are summarized in the article, none of which seem to involve making airport into an MMO (that was my semi-serious proposal), but some of which suggest that gaming might not be as unrelated to crucial security tasks as we might have thought. Sweet, sweet validation.

Also see my proposal for turning prison surveillance into an MMO and Dave Edery's article "Using Games to Tap Collective Intelligence."
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-10-30  
 
 
Posted 2007-10-30 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Child Protection In ‘Second Life’ Isn’t A Software Issue  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-22 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Sparked by a moral panic earlier this year, two German firms have launched a contest for the creation of software intended to block minors from accessing adult content in Second Life.

Child protection in Second Life isn't a problem software can solve effectively. Second Life, like booze and porn, is meant for adults, not kids. Prior experience tells us kids can't be prevented from getting their hands on booze and porn. All parents can do is raise their children "virtual-street smart," establish and enforce sensible rules, keep their Second Life passwords to themselves, and hope for the best. And, like any purveyor of adult material, Linden Lab has little choice but to make Second Life more difficult for minors to access, even if it makes access by adults more cumbersome.
 
     
 
   
 
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  links for 2007-08-17  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-17 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
 
     
 
   
 
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  Sony PS3 to Embrace User-Generated Content  
 
 
Posted 2007-08-14 by Tony Walsh
 
 
     
 
Reporting from the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival, Gamasutra brings word that Sony's microworld Home will eventually be opened to user-generated content. Beyond avatar and residence customization, Home users "will be able to share other content that they have created -- photos and videos of themselves, and user-generated content tools such as their own t-shirt designs," project director Peter Edward reportedly said, adding "We'll also be giving out tools to allow scripting, java minigames and so on." Sounds like Sony's willing to get its hands dirty with managing user creativity--opening the doors to user-generated content has major benefits in terms of customer retention, but raises a swath of critical administrative, legal, social and security issues. [Update: such as Flying Cigarettes, Talking Condoms and Virtual Homelessness]

On a related note, I was flipping through this month's issue of Game Developer Magazine and noted that Epic's Mark Rein says that the upcoming Unreal Tournament 3 for the Sony PS3 console will facilitate user-created game levels ("mods") created on a PC. This should extend the shelf-life of the game for quite some time. I'm not entirely clear as to whether the mods will be able to be distributed through the PlayStation Network, but that would be ideal.
 
     
 
   
 
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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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