An real Android game platform? Finally?

I think it’s safe to say that this could be a big deal. Google may be preparing to unveil an Android gaming service in the vein of Xbox Live or iOS’ Game Center. That’s the indication from a leaked build of Google Play Servicesobtained by Android Police, which appears to reveal several details about a platform to be known as Google Play Games. The file contains references to achievements, in-game chat, matchmaking, cloud save syncing, and leaderboards, along with a green controller-shaped icon. It is, as they say, developing, but a platform that links games into the overall Google ecosystem could be a big deal in the...
Active Design Podcast Episode 004—Chris Bennett

Active Design Podcast Episode 004—Chris Bennett

Episode 4 is up and out! This week’s interview is with Chris Bennett. He’s a game Game Designer specializing in engagement to create better real-world experiences. This episode we go really deep, discussing the big picture of the fundamental elements of what makes mobile work, and end up getting into some solid techniques (and driving metaphors) that will help designers understand what it takes to get any product over the finish line in a way that will resonate with your audience....

Why is this man smiling?

Whether or not Facebook Home is a “success” the reviews are in, and they aren’t good. But even as we’re being treated to yet another round of Zuckerberg sad faces—left over from falling stock stories, I’m sure—it’s hard for me to see the down side to all this for the interactive-media giant. After all, Facebook has never cared much about the individual user experience. That’s a means to an end. Facebook’s actions only make sense when you think about them in terms of gaining and maintaining as large a footprint as possible on the internet. And while the rest of us are trying to find our tribe, Facebook still believes in cultivating a the mass market. When you ask people why they use a particular piece of software, or go to a particular website, they often explain how it aligns with their desires and goals. They’re interactive experiences are about doing something for them, whether it’s making a reservation or cleaning out their inbox. But interactive entertainment is a fuzzier proposition, and in several important aspects Facebook has always been far more like a game than a tool. Not only does FB simplify and simulate a real-world interaction (human conversation), it does so in a highly constrained (and inter-mediated) way through defining its users as a set of attributes such as how many followers they have, the things they liked, and many more (mostly hidden). Limits can simplify and facilitate the user’s experience, but they can just as easily cause frustration if and when we reach the limits of the utility of that experience. Touching the edge of the...

Determining If Creating User Development Tools for Your Game is Worth the Trouble.

I’ve started seeing a lot of games like this one that allow users to create their own content. It’s also clear that the age of the empowered player is here, with Little Big Planet, Minecraft, Bad Piggies, and other various construction based games burning up the charts across multiple platforms. It’s great that it’s happening. Developers always dream of turning their development tools into a consumer experience, especially when they’re proud of the software they’re building. But there are pitfalls to this desire, and they’re worth paying attention to. The challenge at the core of any experience is to make sure that it’s as fundamentally entertaining as a game woud be. Building a content creation engine that’s fun for users to play with is one of the most challenging tasks you can take on as a designer. It’s is also time and resources that are being taken away from the game experience with the added risk that building an outward facing tool set may end up diminishing the quality of your internal tools. Mobile development already has a great deal of foundational work that has to be done to cover the needs and expectations of your users, your platforms, and your business model. Adding in another layer is probably more than most devs can handle, and is more than most users...

Tracking the Media Apocalypse: Eric Schmidt says that television is ‘over’

I’ve been talking to a lot of people about the oncoming media apocalypse and how the big corporations are fighting to stop it through legislation and propaganda. During those conversations its become more and more clear to me that we’re not waiting for the end of media as we know it, we’re already deep in it. It turns out that the head of Google has my back on this one. Speaking at a gathering of digital advertisers in New York City last night, Mr Schmidt refused to forecast when internet video would displace television, instead declaring: “That’s already happened.” “It’s not a replacement for something that we know,” he added. “It’s a new thing that we have to think about, to program, to curate and build new...

Active Design Podcast Episode 003-Maxwell Bogue

Episode 3 is here! This week the Active Design Podcast features an interview with Max Bogue—CTO of Wobbleworks and creator of the 3Doodler Pen. [display_podcast] SHOW NOTES Active Design Podcast Episode 003 – Max Bogue SHOW NOTES 00:30 Xbox Console Announcement 01:30 The Atari 800 04:30 EA Layoffs 05:00 [The 3Doodler!] (http://www.the3doodler.com/} The Video is here as well. 06:00 Skeumorphic to Flat 09:30 Wowee 12:45 Rovio 22:00 Tonka Power Tools from Hasbro 45:00 PLA Material 36:30 The Big Trak! 37:30 Artisan’s Asylum The Hexy hexapod 42:22 Bunnie’s Blog 43:00 Build of Materials...

Glitching with Adventure Time

If you haven’t seen this episode of the show, it’s not just an amazing tribute to low-poly modeling, but really captures a cultural moment in the cross-hairs of entertainment and technology,...