Tag Archives: AC Brotherhood

The mobile reward

We love the words ‘free’ and ‘rewards’. In this I am no different. This setting all started when I was taking a look at some version of ‘merge life’ iPad game. The game starts nice enough, challenging enough and I saw the warning ‘absurd amount of advertisements’ yet initially when I started that was not really the case. So after 10-15 minutes I had reached stage 2 and the game was oddly satisfying. It was then that the advertisement wave hit me. Close to one advertisement EVERY 30 SECONDS. Yes, that was absurd and after 2 advertisements I deleted the game. But the mind took a wander and I remembered something from the AC Brotherhood time. Yes Ubisoft did do good things, even innovative things. But the idea got twisted in my mind to something more. I wrote in a previous article about games for Amazon Luna, not sure if I did this (I have written over 2000 articles). There are two stages in this.

Stage One
Board games. Most forgot about the power of board games. They are simple games, but a setting we always return to. We do not need to kill everyone (I mostly do). There is tranquility in a game of chess, a game of checkers, a game of Monopoly, a game of Backgammon, a game of Shogun (and so on). But what w forget is that most people prefer to play alone. Now, there is some need to connect to like minded people, people who just want to play a game. For them there are three options. Set up the Luna to facilitate for 2-4 players, connect to up to 3 online players and play alone with computer managed NPC’s. The powers behind consoles and streamers forgot about that, didn’t they? Now the optional connected IP is separate and for another day.

Stage Two
When it comes to rewards, Ubisoft forgot a side (it was fair enough) but when we have mobile games they could lead to a lot more visibility. For the example I will use the Fable Pub games. You play the games and you get the rewards. In the mobile game it might be about money, yet the goal is to get to the 5 star (might have been 4 star) point. When you get there you will get 2 rewards. So each game there (Keystone, Fortune’s Tower and Spinnerbox) will result in a direct reward, a weapon, or an outfit that is linked to Fable in Amazon Luna (just as an example), the second reward is a Luna Key. Each board game will get a Luna Key, so if you play 4 games, each of the 4 games will get a key. And the Luna key will open a special option. So in the examples given Chess will give you a new board and a new chess set, Backgammon will give you a new board and stones (there are Indian, Egyptian boards and stones), Monopoly will give you an NHL, NFL or other city board, Shogun has additional colours and Japanese family crests and so on. Additional rewards that can grow the interest in other games and that is beside the setting that could be offered. All stages forgotten or ignored and why? Is the setting of a Luna Key so complex? Is the setting of offering the player something more not enticing? I would think that with all the bugs Ubisoft introduced they might go overboard pleasing the customers they so often disappointed. 

The stage of giving a player more is important (and growing in need), especially now. There are the bugs the glitches, yet when you add the congestion it comes down to the choice of limiting yourself to urban players, or give rural players options to play when there are too little. There is also the need to feed the beast (the players), they need to go to work, they need to be somewhere else and setting a stage where the player can optionally play a fitting mobile game (like Ubisoft did for AC Brotherhood) where the player can play to get a new unique 5 star blade, pistol, outfit or whatever. A stage that adds to the game, not replace it, or circumvent thresholds. Offer more, offer unique and they will love the brands they embrace even more. Machiavelli stated (in some form) “There is such a gap between how people actually live and how they ought to live that anyone who declines to behave as people do is schooling himself for catastrophe” it gives the setting for leaders to adhere to needs, but there is a hidden side here. “There is such a gap between how people expect rewards and how they should see them that anyone who declines to lead as people expects them to do is schooling himself for massive setbacks” It comes down to the stage of what exactly is a reward, if it needs to be earned (not paid for) it will grow in value, and gamers are all about earning showing that they had the goods to play the game. As an example CDPR (makers of Witcher III) created an in-game game named Gwent, we got to play for extra’s and it became a separate game too, now that game makes well over a million dollars annually. People got into the game and now it is a separate game that is leading gamers to more and the gamer has become willing to pay. The setting is that it is free and as people get into it they will spend the few dollars they need to get more cards and expansions. For streamers it is not that easy. The enticement of a monthly fee needs to be there, so as games add more value, the threshold for gaming THERE lowers and people become more eager to play and will play for all the free rewards, which is an oxymoron. As gamers get more by playing, they will play more and call other people to their cause. Yet we must not forget that at times the player needs a solitary moment and as systems accomodate that, the gaming borrow will become ever more comfortable. Consider the board game Man, don’t get angry (Indian: Pachisi). A 1914 game that so far has sold more than 70,000,000 copies. Yes most in an era that is pre IBM PC XT, yet we have always returned to places of comfort, for nostalgic reasons, for the simplicity of play and for the stage of pure randomness. You see too many games are all about changing the setting of what the dice do, too many are seemingly less random than we think and within ourselves we see that, even if the brain is not detecting it yet. You think it is chance that you are one square away from winning when the ‘computer adversarial pig’ throws double six? We automatically feel that it is bad luck because we see ‘dice’ but we forget it is a computer animation and that setting is starting to bite more and more, so the power of real randomness, of a real chance to win is becoming more and more important. In this as Amazon is developing games and Google is not, they have the advantage (I do not know where Netflix stands at present). And it is up to Amazon to create the most comfortable burrow (read: man cave) we can have before the competitors catch up. For now they are all about ‘Let Ubisoft do the cool stuff’ (glitches included), it is about comfort levels, especially in gaming. Niccolò Machiavelli wrote about this in 1513 (yes over 500 years ago). The greed driven seem to ignore it, the lesson was quite clear and whilst the greed driven come up with more versions of some form of Antón Castillo we can just investigate the list and see that games like Call of Duty did make $20 billion, but it is a mere 20% of what Pokemon made and Pokemon for the most is Nintendo only. There is an upside to tailoring to fun, it is what the people want and it is a lesson Microsoft (Sony too) have forgotten to much, too easily and too completely and it makes Nintendo the real threat to Sony, Amazon could go a similar route and surpass Microsoft more easily than they think (the fact that Microsoft is often in denial helps too). 

As I see it the consoles (streaming or not) is one, yet the ability to correctly connect a mobile or tablet has a lot more going for it than most realise and as that link is more and more visible the connected system (console or streamer) will reap additional rewards as well.

Just a thought, enjoy the day.

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Before life was, I was

Yup, there is the ego, floating over your head, look to the right, no, your other right, look about 43.8 degree higher (if you are outside) take the second star to the right, yup, there I am. So as you might have guessed, it is time to talk about god-games and whatever I consider here, is free to use in any Sony exclusive game.

To see this, we need to go back to the foundation of god-games. My introduction to this type was in the 80’s when Little Computer People came to the CBM64. We all see the age of Peter Molyneux as the stage of the ‘true’ god games, but it is out in the open to accept or reject that notion. And in all this, most of us might remember the game Black and White. It was a more god game than most god games and even the guy upstairs agrees, right Hades? 

Yet what if we create a game where it is merely part of the game, not the game itself. For example, if we set to an example most of us remember ‘Assassins Creed Brotherhood’, consider that the game remains the control of Ezio Auditore, yet the god side of it is that we can to some degree control the actions of NPC’s. An example, Ezio is running through town, and that is fine, but in the god side we unleash rain on the area and as a result all the courtesans hide inside their houses. Ezio loses an ability to his side. This is a crude version. 

So if we use the divine powers in Black and White, it is a direct option, what if it becomes indirect? Like drawing a line in the sand, the ants will find another path, but that is as clear an option as it comes. So what happens when the game is about indirect channelling and it becomes about indirect guidance. Not as a setting in the game, but as a setting towards the game? So like Batman fights his opponents in Arkham knight, we influence the brutality of those around him, we set the premise of depression of the victims around him, it changes the game, it changes his focus, whilst the gamer does not see a change in the player, the stage we see in detective mode of Batman and we see the criminals are at some point terrified, Batman instilled this, but what happens when we set a secondary stage that affects the persons in the area, but Batman cannot directly influence that. That stage is influenced by the the NPC’s, not like the stupid wave like behaviour we saw in AC Unity again and again, but a sort of herd like behaviour in NPC’s, it changes the entire setting of the playable area and we forgot about that, thee gamer (and the developer was so focussed on Ezio Auditore, Batman, Edward Kenway, they forgot to set the influence stage on the population when Batman, Poison Ivy, or Vaas comes into the level. Yes, there was some attempt (AC Unity) the the fear was where we see street run away in front of you was a failed attempt at this. A stage where we can only influence a second tier (up to a point), is something we have never faced. In this I grab back to the Black and White part. Until we set the premise where an evangelist is created by their own choice, the influence is limited. So we can directly interfere in the game (buildings, infrastructure), yet the NPC influence is only limited. Games like Spore, Black and White set the action as direct. I want to change that, give a much larger challenge where the person having the finger needs to think where he draws the line for the ants.

It is a speculative setting, but that is all that I can offer in a conceptual setting. It is conceptual, because it has never been done before and evolution of games happens in a stage where things are new and never done before, there was always the first one. And that is what we are aiming for, something never done in gaming before, upgrading the level of gameplay down the line, and that was all that gamers want, a new level of play, we all want that, because sooner rather than later more of the same becomes tiring. And for the most, the sandbox games has left the NPC part of their game to too much of a limiting factor. So we need to change that side of things if only to make sandbox games more realistic and more believable.

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As the heart thumps

We are only two days away from the E3, those who are into gaming will wonder ‘what will we see next?’ We all feel that way, yet lately, the more I see of Elite: Dangerous, the more I await its arrival on PS4. For now it is a Microsoft exclusive. I remember the day I became ‘dangerous’ I had been playing it for quite some time. Consider the screen below. This was the screen we drooled about. It was on a C-64 and it was ‘da bomb’ in those days!

Lave

So many hours, at first jumping short distances, hoping no one would attack me, but after my first pulse laser, I got to be cocky (and got killed in the process). Now we see the next gen pics, one is the PC, the other is as I was told the Xbox One edition (this is not a cut scene, this is actual game view). If you think that ‘it is all about the resolution’ then you are quite frankly a nob (or a dweeb). I have been and will remain a Sony fan (I still love my Xbox 360), there is no denying that this game is beyond amazing!

XB1_1

Most information on the XB1 edition so far, I got from YouTube. As I played the original and have had decades of gaming experience (which is why I knew the flaws Microsoft is fixing now, were a solid known issue for me 6 months before the system was released, and not all have been fixed by the way). Now, most gamers will be the Mario kind, or the Grand Theft Auto kind. This game might not appeal to either, yet, I feel that the flight simulator and Role Playing Game kind will truly love this game, and we are in for a lot more heart elevation than just this game!

To get a good initial look of the game then watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grIGMs3Kj4k. The man talks clear but waffles a little in the beginning. He is going through it all clearly, so bear with his explanation, because it is worth it! If need be, skip the movie to 4:45, now you see the first glimpse on how a mere idea in 1984, becomes something truly amazing when the computers catch up to the imagination of an individual, in this case the imagination of David Braben and Ian Bell.

This is not a 30 hour game, this is a game that will keep you busy for many months, if not years to get it all to a worthy level, but let that not stop you, because as you evolve from one ship to the next one, you will be able to transport more goods, have better protection and go hunt criminals. The openness of the game that was, was already impressive, the size of the new edition is beyond anything you can imagine. We are talking a few million times larger than the original. For those who like the idea of space exploration, this is one of two games to get.

What is amazing is not just what it looks like now, it is the fact on how the navigation systems from 1984 are still at the core of what is now, it was the most innovative look and now, this view is the centre of aligning your ship and weapons systems towards your enemies. And it does not just ‘seem’ to be the best, as you watch the game on YouTube you can see how fluent the controls seem to be, especially as we consider the response from Blitz ‘Oops! We’re going the wrong way’ moments later it is all back to normal.

The other game to get is ‘No Man’s sky’, but that one I will leave alone, because, too many people are hyping this game, based on the same materials most saw (YouTube and so on). So we will wait for actual release date information.

What is interesting is that leaking information is not just limited to the political branch of the media, it seems that Dishonored 2 information has leaked. Dishonored was the stealth game on 360/PS3/PC, which had open levels and had a steampunk look to it all. The interesting part is that there was no set way to do the game, stealth or kill everyone, you got to choose. Another interesting part was hat when I replayed it on the 360 a while after I completed it, I found in more than one level another way to get the game done, which is awesome, because that gives a clean ‘open level’ approach, something that I am a big fan of. There is still question whether it comes and whether it is a leak or a ‘miscommunication’ but gamers live for these moments, because Dishonored 2 was not in the open pipeline and a fan will get overly enthusiastic when a sequel arrives of a game he is a fan of.

At this point, the Bethesda conference is only 12 hours away! 12 hours until the Fallout 4 trailer will get additional support and information to those who love that game (that would be me). 12 hours after that the show takes off for thousands of gaming fans! There will be joy, there will be tears and there will be outrage. The latter part might be a bit much for Ubisoft, but there is no way to tell how they will fix previous blunders and how they will appease the deserting population they have experienced. Time will tell and on that part I will not speculate at present! I still feel that they could turn it around and rebuild what they had lost, it just takes one truly visionary person (often not found in a board of directors).

Ubisoft does its presentation 20 hours after Bethesda, Bethesda has a 12 hour leap on Microsoft too, so whatever news they bring will get unadulterated limelight for the better part of a day. The rumours are ripe and some state there will be more than just Fallout 4 and Doom, but again, they are just rumours and Fallout 4 is pretty massive sized news, especially as it comes out this year, so that means within the next 6 months.

So why more on games? You see, games are getting to be a much more important part in the lives of people, many of them not into gaming at all. Gaming is now a major player for Trademarks and let’s take a look at patents!

You see, IP Australia tells us “Software inventions must be industrially applied. Software that is merely a procedure for solving a given type of mathematical problem is not patentable”, yet when we look at the The Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) we see the following “Under the Act an article is industrially applied when, with the consent of the copyright owner, fifty or more items are made from it, which we see in section 77, 17. If the design is not able to be registered, for example because it is not new and original, it will still lose copyright protection once it is commercialised section 77“, now we get to the part that matters: “By registering a design under the Designs Act 2003 (Cth), for example a design for a kettle, the owner obtains a monopoly in that design but, unlike with copyright, the protection is only for a maximum of ten years and not for the life of the owner. With copyright the owner does not obtain a monopoly. If two people independently prepare a drawing of a kettle neither infringes copyright in the other’s drawing. The registration of a design gives the owner a monopoly in that design and the owner can prevent another applying the design, or any fraudulent or obvious imitation of it, to any article in respect of which the design is registered [see s 71(1)]

This jewel comes from the Legal Commission of South Australia (at http://www.lawhandbook.sa.gov.au/ch11s12.php).

New we get back to the gem, the jewel of gaming, Elite. I mentioned that navigational part of the game, which is the kettle. Was it registered, is it protected? Let’s not forget that ‘it will still lose copyright protection once it is commercialised [s 77]’, which gets us to the need for protection for these games and the growing powers of trademarks and Patents. Yet, trying to get a Trade Mark or Patent after you gone public is another matter, so what legal protection did these new makers prepare?

Consider the uniqueness of the Elite navigation display, how protected is it? You might think that this is a joke, but it is not. A new game will cost between 20-150 million dollars, so you need to get it right and make sure you have your protection in place. Even though larger productions are less likely to fear Trade Marks or Patent infringement (usually they fear industrial espionage), but having the protection just makes your case stronger. So here is the Crux for some of the new Law firms. If you take time to visit the E3, how many products are in need for protection? Who has actually done the full scope of this? IP is an evolving market, the protection required will increase with every iteration of the game. You see, the gaming industry has arrived in the location, the hardware industry was in 1998. Now that makers will return to an annual release of a game, an iteration of the original, the game will also face the danger of a ‘white’ version. A look that is similar (but not ‘looks alike’) that provides the gameplay the gamer would like. You see, no matter how their marketing division brings it, Assassins Creed 2, AC Brotherhood, AC Revelations, AC3 and AC Black Flag are in many parts similar, as such, game makers have had 5-7 years to catch up, 3-5 years for those who waited for the second one to become a hit. As such, in light of the fact that re-engineering can usually be done in 40% of the timeframe, the need for legal protection will increase almost exponentially. Do you think that no one else is now thinking of a ‘new’ GTA5? The game brought in a billion dollars, so YES! There is someone trying to flog of a new game offering a similar game. It only takes one innovative part for the original to feel the pain of losing a market share. There is however a change, you see, some still feel the following description: “Obtaining a patent is a long, tedious, and expensive process, that it can be challenged by the examiners and later by others in court“. Yet the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), which is internationally accepted, has an international patent, which does not have the same threshold patents used to have, which means filing is easier and most important cheaper!

If we look at the definitions in section 39.1 of the PCT treaty, we see :”(vi) computer programs to the extent that the International Searching Authority is not equipped to search prior art concerning such programs“, yet is that not a failing of the organisation? The fact that a billion in revenue cannot be protected, is perhaps slightly ludicrous. Again, in Robert Bosch v Siemens we see: “However, it is not to be inferred from these rules that searches or examinations in the software field are to be ruled out in international authorities. On the contrary, it seems to the board that according to the PCT searches and, if applicable, examinations of this type can and may very well (perhaps even should) be carried out if the competent authority is appropriately equipped“.

So, the victims remain as international authorities are ‘trying’ to get equipped? There is enough here to see a needed evolution that not unlike Torts will go on a case to case bases. The case on Sega v Fox Interactive, Electronic Arts, and Radical Entertainment regarding a US Patent, which was settled for an undisclosed amount. There the core of the infringement was the navigation system, the copied one was ‘too’ similar.

The core of gaming is expected to exceed 80 billion in 2015, that target is already likely to be exceeded, so as we see that gaming is now expected to overtake BI Intelligence market revenue by 1300% (yes thirteen hundred), we can surely see the short path we have in view as the need for software patents are required to strengthen an iterative market. Even though there will be some protection in Trade Marks as the branding of a game is too similar, consider the quote “if the novel elements are functional, the item cannot be copyrighted: although it might be eligible for patent protection“, which takes us back to Elite as a first example. Its navigation is quite unique, I have not ever seen it anywhere else to that extend and now as the larger masses go to play, such protection is more and more an issue. Take into consideration that the affordability of patents are now a fact, giving an option to patent, until opposed (which still needs to be decided), we have enough to see the change in the gaming industry, IP is taking a foothold, so when you follow the E3, see how often you hear the term, ‘our new IP’, because that part will take centre stage as per last year. So where are you now in all this?

More interesting, which law firms are considering evolving their portfolio with the gaming industry, which is only an $80 billion market for now!

 

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