Researchers Use Video Game to Crack the 'Language Code'

May 18, 2011 -

Carnegie Mellon University's Lori Holt and Sung-Joo Lim and Stockholm University's Francisco Lacerda are using video game training with a mock "alien" language to replicate the challenges of learning languages as an infant. The research found that listeners were to quick recognize word-like units. The study was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

To uncover how spoken sounds are decoded by the brain, the research team designed a video game narrated in deliberately distorted speech. The soundtrack (unintelligible babble in any language) was the only source of instruction for the 77 adult players in the study. After only two hours of play, the participants could reliably extract world-length sound categories from continuous alien sounds and apply that learning to advance through the game.

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How Kinect is Helping Parkinson's Patients

May 18, 2011 -

Serious games developer Red Hill Studios has developed a series of games designed specifically to help Parkinson's patients using physical therapy. Red Hill is working with the UCSF School of Nursing on the software, which uses Microsoft's Kinect. The software offers users specific motions and gestures that have been proven effective in improving the gait and balance of those suffering from the disease.

"These games demonstrate the value of combining innovative health game designers with a top flight clinical team," said Bob Hone, creative director of Red Hill Studios. "Creating games that are both fun to play and provide concrete medical benefits takes a special kind of team. We are much more than the sum of our parts."

From Red Hill's web site:

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Valve Considers Putting a Real-World Value on Players

May 16, 2011 -

In a recent Develop interview, Valve head honcho Gabe Newell said that his company is looking for new ways to charge customers. One of the more novel payment schemes involves a community member’s popularity. Apparently, if you are a social pariah in the Valve community, it may cost you more money if Newell's payment idea takes hold. Newell says that the "same price for everyone" model is a "bug."

"The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone. That's actually a bug, and it's something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products."

Instead of basing the price on what a product is worth, Newell wants to base it on "what the player is worth."

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Games For Health Conference Registration Discount

April 18, 2011 -

The seventh annual Games for Health conference is gearing up for its launch on May 18 and registration is opened for those planning to attend. From May 18 – 19 (registration on March 17), join hundreds of game developers, health professionals, and leading researchers will attend the event to brainstorm and debate how video games and video game technologies that can work to improve health and healthcare.

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How Sand Mantis and a PS2 Controller Help Deal with Waste

April 14, 2011 -

Here's an interesting story about real world technology that has a minor connection to gaming. Developed for Richland, Washington-based CH2M Hill, the technology is called the Sand Mantis, and it is described by its creator as a new tool that takes rock salt-based waste, and turns it into a fine, powdery waste.

The technology, which is used inside giants tanks, is controlled using a PlayStation 2 controller. After the Rock Salt waste is smashed into a fine powder, it can easily be sucked out of the tank and disposed of. The technology helps CH2M Hill reach their goal of less than 2,700 gallons of waste per tank. It will also reduces cleanup costs; the $2.7 million dollar tool replaces the original $12 million per tank cost estimate. CH2M Hill is best known for creating engineering solutions for waste management and water treatment.

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Brad Wardell: Steam Taking Away From Valve's Game Development Efforts

April 13, 2011 -

According to Stardock CEO (the company that used to own Impulse before it sold off its digital distribution platform to GameStop) Brad Wardell, Steam is holding up Valve's ability to develop its various game properties in a timely fashion. Wardell made his comments in a recent interview with IndustryGamers. In Wardell's opinion, the resources needed to continually operate and manage a digital distribution platform as massive as Steam has led to a slowdown in Valve's game development capabilities over the years.

"Even though Valve is in Seattle, where you can get developers everywhere, [Steam's] had an effect on their own development schedule," Wardell told IndustryGamers. "There's not been a new Half-Life in a long time; a lot of people have complained about that."

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$430K Raised for Japanese Relief by TF2 Community

April 11, 2011 -

Valve has thanked the Team Fortress 2 community for its hard work and generosity in raising a whopping $430,543.65 for the Japanese disaster relief fund. That massive number represents the sale of three limited-edition hats and two noisemakers that were added to the Mann Co. Team Fortress 2 game store at the end of March. While those hats and noisemakers disappeared the indelible imprint of the community's generosity remains.

Below is the message that Valve left the community via its official Team Fortress 2 blog on April 8:

"Nice work, everyone! We're excited to share that, thanks to the generosity of the TF community, in two short weeks we managed to collect $430,543.65 for the Japanese disaster relief fund. It's been inspiring to watch gamers around the world come together for such a worthy cause.

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GameStop Acquires Impulse, Spawn Labs

April 1, 2011 -

GameStop is up to something big. The company announced that it has acquired a streaming technology company and a popular digital distribution platform. The company announced that it has acquired Spawn Labs, a streaming technology company and has entered into an agreement with Stardock systems to purchase Impulse. The Impulse acquisition is subject to closing conditions and is expected to be complete in May 2011.

Spawn Labs becomes part of the GameStop network, and will bring its game streaming technology to GameStop's suite of digital game products and services. Once the Spawn Labs integration and testing on a new consumer interface is complete, users will gain access to a wide selection of high-definition video games on demand.

Impulse is a digital distribution platform that allows users to download and manage games. The Impulse suite is comprised of a client, Reactor technology for DRM, and publishing tools.

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National STEM Youth Prize Winners Announced

March 30, 2011 -

The winners of the Youth Prize for original game designs have been selected by the National STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Video Game Challenge. The 12 U.S. students (grades 5-8) were announced by United States chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra.

The science-themed "You Make Me Sick!" was awarded the Grand Prize in the Developer Prize category, and a collection of math games called "NumberPower: Numbaland!" received the Collegiate and Impact prizes. Filament Games' Dan Norton and Dan White won the grand prize, and will receive $50,000 for their game about bacteria and viruses.

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Team Fortress 2 Hat Sales Raises $300K for Japan

March 30, 2011 -

According to the official Team Fortress 2 blog, over $300,000 in virtual hats have been sold - all to benefit relief efforts in Japan. The hats were introduced last week and proved a big hit among players. The three hats are the "Humanitarian's Hachimaki" ($7.99), the "Benefactor's Kanmuri" ($19.99) and the "Magnanimous Monarch" ($99.99). Valve did not reveal exactly how many hats were sold but $300,000 is a very big number by anyone's accounting. Here's the thank-you note from the TF2 blog:

"Wow. Seriously, people, WOW. We knew you had it in you, but we're still amazed you've raised over $300,000 so far.

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Inventing the Future of Games Symposium Details

March 21, 2011 -

Inventing the Future of Games, a day-long symposium taking place April 15 in Silicon Valley, aims to explore the possibilities of the next decade of gaming with luminaries from the industry. Sponsored by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Games and Playable Media, the symposium will gather academia and industry leaders to discuss the advancement of game design and technology.

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Jack Thompson Threatens Valve over School Shooting Mod

March 17, 2011 -

We have to write a story about Jack Thompson today. The anti-video game firebrand and former Florida attorney fired off a letter to Valve Software threatening to do something (we're not sure what he is threatening to do because he hasn't indicated the consequences in his letter to Valve's CEO) if the company doesn't do something about the Half-Life 2 mod, "School Shooter: North American Tour 2012."

Before we get into what Valve can actually do about a mod it has nothing to do with, here is Thompson's letter:

Kodu Game Lab PC Released, Design Competition Announced

March 16, 2011 -

Microsoft today announced the release of Microsoft Kodu Game Lab for the PC and the launch of the nationwide Microsoft Kodu Cup 2011 competition. The Kodu Cup encourages students ages 9 to 17 to design, build and submit their video games using the Kodu Game Lab software. Microsoft Kodu Game Lab is available for free at fuse.microsoft.com/kodu. The game design tool lets kids build their own video games using a simple drag and drop system to implement various game functions, add art and icons.

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Zynga Supports Japanese Relief Efforts

March 14, 2011 -

Zynga has launched a fundraising initiative across more than seven of its games in partnership with Save the Children to support relief efforts in Japan. Zynga will donate 100 percent of the purchase price of newly created virtual items to the Japan Earthquake Tsunami Children Emergency Fund, created by Save the Children to support the children of Japan’s ongoing needs.

In addition, Facebook is donating all of its Facebook Credits generated through the in-game purchases to support the fundraising efforts.

A rundown of how players can donate - from Zynga - can be found below:

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Japanese Companies Line Up to Fund Earthquake Relief Efforts

March 14, 2011 -

Following Friday's devastating earthquake, several major Japanese game publishers have announced campaigns to help with relief efforts. This is much needed as the latest statistics estimate that nearly 10,000 people have died and 15,000 are missing.

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Video Game Charities Invade PAX East

March 9, 2011 -

The Gamers Outreach Foundation and Able Gamers Foundation are invading PAX East in Boston on Friday. The groups are teaming up to host a special panel called "Gamers Doing Good." Penny Arcade Expo takes place in Boston, MA, March 11-13.

The point of the panel is to have an intelligent discussion on how video gamers can be used to help others, and how gamers can combine their passion for gaming with charitable contributions. The panel is scheduled to take place on Friday at 5:00 PM in the Cat Theatre. Panelists include Stefanie Shea and Zach Wigal of Gamers Outreach, along with Mark Barlet, Steve Spohn and Ben Herz of The AbleGamers Foundation. Avery Alix of PopCap Games (moderator) will also be on hand, as well as Christopher "Frost" Sheffield of Radioactive Nerd.

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GamesAid Offers 3DS to Best Horse Tipper

March 7, 2011 -

UK-based games industry charity GamesAid has announced its newest fundraising initiative around the forthcoming horse-racing event, The Cheltenham Festival. The Festival features four days of jump racing and hundreds of equine stars on hand for National Hunt racing. To celebrate the event and to raise some cash for a worthy cause, GamesAid has launched a tipping competition where fans will have the chance to put their skills on the line and win a Nintendo 3DS.

Donated by Konami, the 3DS comes with a copy of PES 2011 3DS. Nintendo also donated three further launch titles: Super Street Fighter IV, Pilotwings Resort, and Nintendogs. Participants need to pick twelve horses from a pre-selected list of entrants scheduled to run at the Festival from March 15 - 1. Depending on how the horse runs, they will either score or lose points for players. The highest total score takes the first prize.

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Harrisburg University of Science and Technology Hosts Video Game Panel

March 4, 2011 -

Game designers, producers, programmers and technical directors will serve as panelists at the "Establishing a Career in Video Games" event April 15 at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Panelists will include representatives EA, Schell Games, THQ, and Firaxis Games.

Panelists will share insights on what it takes to bring a product to market, how to land a career in the video game industry, and provide tips on how to make it in the interactive entertainment industry. Charles Palmer, executive director of the University’s Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies, will moderate the panel discussion.

Harrisburg University is the only higher education institution in Central Pennsylvania currently offering an academic program in video game design, development, programming and art during the 2010-11 academic year, according to research from the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

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Red Dead, Minecraft Shine at GDC Awards

March 3, 2011 -

Rockstar Games' Red Dead Redemption was a big winner at last night's Game Developers Choice Awards, along with Minecraft, Cut the Rope, Mass Effect 2, and Limbo. Red Dead Redemption picked up the Game of the Year award, Best Game Design, and Best Technology. Minecraft was named Best Debut Game, Best Downloadable Game, and won an award for Innovation. Limbo won for Best Visual Art, while Mass Effect 2 earned an award for Best Writing, and Cut The Rope won Best Handheld Game.

Legendary Sega developer Yu Suzuki won a Pioneer Award for his work on such classic titles as Outrun, Space Harrier and the Shenmue series. EA co-founder and current Digital Chocolate CEO Trip Hawkins presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Populous and Fable designer Peter Molyneux.

The full list of award winners are below:

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Dream.Build.Play 2011 Registration Opens

March 2, 2011 -

Microsoft today opened registration for the 2011 Dream.Build.Play Challenge, its game development contest that encourages independent developers to create games using its XNA Game Studio software. The Dream.Build.Play competition charges developers to submit original playable games built with the 4.0 version of it development toolset for Xbox 360, Windows PC, and Windows Phone games.

Judges will pick winners based on how fun the submissions are to play, creativity, uniqueness, and how well they are produced and polished. Four winners will be selected to receive a part of $75,000 ($40,000, $20,000, $10,000, and $5,000 depending on their ranking). Winning entries will also have an opportunity to get an XBLA publishing contract.

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SOE G.I.R.L. Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted

February 28, 2011 -

Sony Online Entertainment is now accepting applications for the fourth annual Gamers In Real Life (G.I.R.L.) scholarship at www.scholarshipamerica.org. The student awarded this year's scholarship will receive up to $10,000 toward tuition and other educational-related expenses and a paid internship of up to 10 weeks at one of SOE's development studios (not including room, board, transportation and living expenses).

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Former Vicarious Visions Employees Form Play Eternal

February 24, 2011 -

Former members of Activision's Vicarious Visions have banded together to form a new development studio in Philadelphia called Play Eternal. Company management includes Vazquez and Brandon Van Slyke, who have both worked on the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance series, and Louis Tranchitella and Michael Worth.

The company will focus on digitally distributed content for consoles and other platforms, and plan to use Trinigy's Vision engine for its first game.

"The market for premium digital services on consoles continues to grow, and we're excited about the possibilities the space offers", said Van Slyke, chief creative officer of Play Eternal. "The talent we've been able to attract is perfectly aligned to develop highly polished and engaging games for digital distribution to the core audience."

Source: GI.biz


The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment Kickstarter Campaign

February 23, 2011 -

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (The MADE, for short), kicked off a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. The organizers hope to fund the creation of a small "starter museum" in the San Francisco Bay Area to house The MADE's existing collection of works. The fundraising campaign will run until April 18, and already the project is 7 percent funded. With 53 days remaining the project already has 128 backers and has raised $11,722 of its $20,000 Goal.

In order to encourage Kickstarter donations, The MADE will be giving away copies of PC games, donated by Kalypso Media, including 3 signed copies of the newly released Dungeons. Additionally, a signed, sealed copy of Pathways Into Darkness for Power Macintosh is on offer to the top donor. Pathways into Darkness was one of Bungie Studio’s earliest game releases.

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Nexon America Has $1 million in Funding for the Right Projects

February 22, 2011 -

Nexon America announced today that it has $1 million in funding for promising game concepts. Dubbed the Nexon iNitiative, the program is designed with the intent of attracting promising independent video game projects and providing funding to support continued development. The online gaming company is accepting submissions through April 30, 2011 at the official Nexon iNitiative website. Games with strong online and multi platform elements will get serious consideration, as will game concepts that align with Nexon’s goals.

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Former Rockstar Developer Working on 1979: The Game

February 17, 2011 -

Navid Khonsari, a former writer and director for Rockstar Games, is working on an interesting game that retells the real story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover in Tehran, Iran. Khonsari is responsible for the "cinematic feel" introduced in Rockstar's breakout hit, Grand Theft Auto 3, and for his work on Remedy's Max Payne series and Alan Wake. After leaving Rockstar, Khonsari formed Ink Stories with his wife in New York City.

Speaking to Russia Today (interview on the left), Khonsari said that he wants to tell the story of the Iranian Revolution with a focus on the U.S. Embassy takeover that ultimately led to the Iran Hostage Crisis. Khonsari wants to tell a deep story based on different perspectives from a multitude of playable characters:

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Public Voting Opened for National STEM Video Game Challenge

February 17, 2011 -

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop announced that public voting for the National STEM Video Game Challenge for collegiate and professional developers is open to the public, and runs until February 25. The public can vote on over 35 submitted projects that  highlight the importance of the STEM fundamentals in education.

Besides a substantial cash prize, the team earning the most votes will be awarded an exhibitor full access package for Game Connection and the 2012 Game Developers Conference. All of this year's entries try to teach students about math, science, technology and all of the key elements of the President's STEM learning initiatives.

Find out more at the Cooney Center's web site.

Source: Serious Games Source


Justice Sandra Day O'Connor to Keynote Texas Game On! 2011

February 11, 2011 -

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been named the keynote speaker for Texas Game On! 2011. Her keynote will address the importance of game-based education. Specifically she will talk about iCivics, a game-based learning platform designed to teach students about the importance of playing an active role in our democracy.

Warren Spector of Junction Point (and the man behind the original Deus Ex and the recent Disney game Epic Mickey) will also speak at the event.

Other sessions scheduled for Game On! Texas 2011 include the panel "Texas Higher Education Game Development Education," and a video game design workshop for amateur developers.

Game On! Texas 2011 takes place April 12 (8:00 AM - 7:00 PM) at the AMD Lone Star Campus in Austin, Texas. Tickets cost $40 per person. For more information check out the event's web site.

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Video Game Bar Association Launches

February 10, 2011 -

The "Video Game Bar Association," an organization that aims to connect lawyers working in or representing the interactive entertainment industry, has formally launched. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the group's ultimate goal is to be a worldwide organization supporting individuals that represent the industry on all types of legal matters. According to a GameIndustry.biz report, the group has sent over one hundred invitations to legal professionals in the United States and Europe.

Board members include George Rose, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at Activision Blizzard; David Anderson, vice president of business and legal affairs for THQ; and Patrick Sweeney, head of Reed Smith's Video Game Practice.

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Gamers' Voice launches Recruitment Drive

January 25, 2011 -

UK-based gamer lobby group Gamers' Voice announced this morning that it is looking for volunteers to help the organization grow in 2011. The group makes the following pitch to gamers in the region:

"If you have ever wanted the chance to defend video games and the people who play them from uninformed bias and undeserved ridicule, then now is your chance. The UK video games industry has two trade bodies who represent their interests. Those being; TIGA and UKIE. But consumers of video games in the UK also need a high profile advocate, which is where we come in."

Those interested need to have an understanding of the video game industry in the UK, must love gaming, must reside in the UK, and must put aside a few hours a week.

They are particularly interested in individuals with unique skills: web designers, graphic designers and writers.

Dead Space 2 Delayed in Germany

January 18, 2011 -

It looks like the German government is not happy with the violent content in Dead Space 2 and wants changes to the game before it is released in the region. The main cause of disagreement from the government: Friendly Fire in multiplayer. Naturally, these changes will make it so that gamers in Germany will not have to wait for the game on various platforms until sometime in February. EA announced the delay in a press release this week, saying that the game would be released on February 3.

The single player campaign from Dead Space 2 remains uncut and identical to the international version of the game, but multiplayer has been altered to appease the government. Germany is very touchy about games that let players kills "humans." Many shooters require alterations before they can be released in the region - like turning human enemies into zombies or robots, ot changing red blood to another color.

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Craig R.Ok, my internal debate was short-lived. If Win10 is still a year out, I'm not waiting that long for an SSD, so on Win7 I will remain.09/30/2014 - 7:52pm
Matthew Wilsonits called windows 10, and I am happy to get the start menu back.09/30/2014 - 7:18pm
Jessy HartIs this stuff about Windows 10 legit? Is it actually called Windows 10 or is it just some stupid joke?09/30/2014 - 6:57pm
ZippyDSMleeSo I been trying to play Bioshock Infinite I got all the DLC,ect but do not want the extras to make your charatcer over powered from the start.....they force you to take them which is quite annoying......09/30/2014 - 6:45pm
Craig R.I need to upgrade to an SSD, still seriously debating moving to Win8.1 from 7 at the same time09/30/2014 - 6:07pm
Craig R.Win10 is probably Win8.1 with more cleanup and the Start button back.09/30/2014 - 6:06pm
Sora-ChanAhh, it's just weird seeing someone's post all of a sudden have replies from days prior before it was posted due to that.09/30/2014 - 5:49pm
MechaTama31sora: I broke the ordering intentionally, as AE's and my conversation had squeezed the text boxes down to be quite slim. I replied to an earlier post of his instead of the one I was actually replying to.09/30/2014 - 5:46pm
MechaTama31So, 9 would have been the good one, but they are skipping it to do two crap ones in a row?09/30/2014 - 5:41pm
Sora-ChanSo, judging from the poll post for #gamergate, it looks like too many thread replies breaks the ordering of posts, as seen with the recent post from Infophile.09/30/2014 - 5:31pm
Andrew EisenOr no! It wasn't Y3K compliant. Microsoft thought it best to super future proof its OS and skipped straight to 10 which is Y3K compliant!09/30/2014 - 5:01pm
Andrew EisenJust tell them it wasn't Y2K compliant.09/30/2014 - 5:00pm
Craig R.Looking forward to having to explain to coworkers down the road what ever happened to 9 *sigh*09/30/2014 - 4:57pm
Craig R.2k was crap. XP was solid, 7 is good, 8.1 is actually really good once you make it look like 7 :)09/30/2014 - 4:52pm
Sora-Chan@MP As someone who has used each version of windows since 3.1... I prefer Vista over 7 for various reasons. The only thing I give 7 over Vista is preformance. They really screwed up a bunch of things when making 7. Also, XP was a pain. 2k was better.09/30/2014 - 4:13pm
Jessy Hart@E. Zachary Knight Is that show called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures?09/30/2014 - 3:34pm
IanCWin 8 isn't bad, it just can't decide whether to be a desktop OS or a tablet OS.09/30/2014 - 2:40pm
IanCI think its a way of getting round giving it free to Win 8 users...09/30/2014 - 2:39pm
MaskedPixelanteWindows alternates between bad and good versions. XP was good, Vista sucked, 7 was good, 8 sucked, therefore 10 will suck, QED.09/30/2014 - 2:18pm
E. Zachary KnightPerhaps they are calling it "10" because on a scale of 1-10 of how awesome it is, it is a clear 10.09/30/2014 - 2:06pm
 

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