Project Spark – Developing your own games is getting easier

How would you like to develop your own game? Its getting easier and easier with new technology. Many schools love minecraft because it gives students the ability to create their own worlds. Many schools lack the ability to create games due to money because games cost a lot to develop. Well project spark takes those ideas and puts them together in one game. Essentially the point of project spark is to create a world, just like minecraft, except you can make it a game that you can share and the graphics are very good. Project spark is currently in beta form and not released just yet to the public. I was lucky enough to be invited to the public beta this weekend so I will post my thoughts after playing. For now, here is the link to their website.

What is project spark:

Some example games:

Titanfall Beta Review

I had a chance to play the beta version of titanfall this weekend. I was able to reach the max level offered and play for several hours, so I believe I am able to give a fair review. First off, let me say this game has gotten a ton of hype. That is usually not a good thing. I have been burned in the past by games that got so much hype and turned out to be major letdowns. However, this game has gotten hype from e3, as it won best game, and people who had played the game. So I was a little more intrigued to get my hands on it. So here is my review:

The good:

Graphics – graphics are great. I think the graphics on the 360/ps3 were great and these are just a bit better. Not that graphics make a game but they are pretty good.

Camping – finally a FPS game that people cannot camp. You can get 1-2 kills in a spot but you will be killed if you stay there.

Game time – short games. This is great for people that might only have 15 minutes to kill. Also keeps things moving if your team is just getting killed by another.

Options – tons of options. You can be a sniper, you can melee, you can shoot an automatic gun, you can be a mech, you can have your mech follow.

Mechs – Mechs are fun. Fun to use, fun to have follow you, and fun to kill.

Jumping and movement – I love the double jumping and wall running. Its cool to get up buildings and also tough to kill a pilot that is moving fast.

Sprinting – unlimited sprinting is a nice feature. Keeps the game moving.

Maps – maps are a good size and made well. You cant hide and you also will not spend the whole game getting into the gameplay if you die.

Fast pace – Very fast paced. You cannot sit still

The bad:

Loading screens – this was the only bad thing I found in the game. I thought these were pretty generic. Have some cool stats here or maybe a good picture.
stats – sometimes I could not see my stats.
Pilot vs ai – I wish I could tell who was who on the other team. Make it clear its ai/pilot.

What I would like to see in the final version:

Ranks – definitely needs a halo 3 type ranking system
Competitive playlists – definitely needs ranked vs fun playlists

Overall:

Honestly I have not felt this good about a game since I played halo 3. I believe every FPS fan should have a copy. I dont think people can say this game is bad, they might not like it because they do not like FPS games but they should recognize it as a game that is going to change a genre.

Score:

90/100 (the final game could be more or less)

Play this game to help cure cancer!

This is a very cool idea. I would love to see more people doing things like this. My Gaming and Simulation class is currently evaluating this game while I am at my conference next week:

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/play-to-cure-genes-in-space

The game
The mission of Genes in Space is to collect a fictional substance dubbed Element Alpha. This represents genetic cancer data, which might underpin certain types of cancer.

As a recruit of the game’s ‘Bifrost Industries’, your mission is to collect the valuable and tradable substance Element Alpha and rise through the employee ranks by:

Mapping your route through the densest areas of Element Alpha.
Following your route as you fly through space collecting as much Element Alpha as you can, destroying asteroids along the way.
Avoiding and shooting asteroids to get to the next level of Element Alpha collection.
Upgrading your ship to become more powerful and trading your Element Alpha for more points.

Download from Apple App Store

Download from Google Play

How a High School Teacher Is ‘Gamifying’ World News

This seems very cool:

“When I started teaching, the average ninth grader looked like a zombie in class,” Nelson toldMashable. “One night when I was lesson planning, I took a break and literally checked my Fantasy Football team and I had this realization that I was learning a lot about the NFL — things about football and the NFL I wouldn’t have otherwise learned.”

The next day Nelson proposed the idea to the class. At first, the idea was met with skepticism, mostly due to the students’ lack of familiarity with how Fantasy Football works. But after the students became familiar with the format of the game, they warmed up toFantasy Geopolitics — both as a game, and as a new way to learn.

“My students started asking to do more with [the game]. They wanted to make trades, form alliances and so I just started listening,” says Nelson. “Whatever they wanted to do to control their own learning experience, I did it. Now, they playfully trash talk about their countries and become fans of those countries, which spurs them to want to learn more. It’s almost like they are trash talking each other into learning more.”

“I’m ‘gamifying’ learning. I’m ‘gamifying’ news to get them over the hump and not see reading the news as some difficult task.”

As for the format of the game, Fantasy Geopolitics is simple. It starts with a draft session, during which students select a team of three countries (the U.S. and China are banned due to their domination of the news) and then the players track stories about those countries in the news.

Using the Times Developer Network API, provided by The New York Times’, Nelson created a website that tracks how many times a country is mentioned in the news, and students get one point for every mention.

Full Story Here

Founder of Atari on Education

Pretty interesting take on the future of education from the founder of atari Nolan Bushnell:

“A lot is happening in the sphere of education, but at the same time change is very slow. How do you think technology can revolutionize education, and what is it that you are trying to accomplish?

The main thing with education is just do it bigger, faster, better. How can we teach kids more stuff in a shorter amount of time and with less money? One of the things people are doing, which I think is a false path is what I call “teacher in a box,” take a lecture and put it on the net.”

Well Nolan, I have to say I agree. Here is a link to the full interview

Nintendo Power Glove

Think the wii, ps eye, or kinect were the first motion controllers? In 1989 nintendo released the power glove. While it looked awesome as you can see in this commercial, it didnt work at all. I know because I got one that christmas. It was returned 2 weeks later. While it looked really cool, it just didnt work.

 

xbox one’s best feature and how it can be applied to business and education

I recently obtained an xbox one. After a few weeks of playing around I have found what I believe is an awesome feature with tons of potential in gaming, education, and business. The feature? The Kinect recording feature. Essentially this is basically like an in game DVR service. So when I am playing a game and I do something that I believe is cool I can say ‘xbox record that’ and it will automatically record the last 30 seconds of play and put that away in my stored videos. Now this is awesome because it does not interrupt my gameplay at all. I dont need to press a button, stop playing, or go back and watch a clip later on to choose a part I want to have.

Now how does this apply to business and education? Well in all of my classes there is an archive that is basically a recorded video of the class. The problem? Its 3 hours long each week. Just imagine a student looking for one chunk of information from that class and having to sort through all of that video. Just imagine if during the class the student could place some kind of marker on the class so that they could come back? This would be like taking notes without having to actually take the notes and thus not distract the student from listening. This exact thing could take place during business meetings and such. Now I realize that there are recording devices out there that do this kind of thing but its not seamless and as easy as xbox’s kinect.

What happened to Nintendo? The WiiU’s failure thus far

President wont resign, stock takes major hit…this is the news today: http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/17/nintendo-ceo-iwata-says-he-wont-resign

So what happened? Well the wii u is just not doing well. Why? Well there are a few reasons that I will break down here:

1. Poor Name. Seriously what were they thinking. Wii U? It makes no sense. It does NOT signify that this is a new console. In fact, I had to look it up to really try to figure it out. I thought maybe it was just an upgraded wii. Sure I get that Nintendo wanted to use the same household name ‘wii’ but even wii 2 would have been 10x better. Anything really would have.

2. Games. Where are the big blockbusters? When the n64 was released they had zelda and mario 64 at launch. That is how you launch a nintendo system. Nintendo knows this. Where is the new zelda? Where is mario kart? Where is Super Smash bros? They are coming out over a year after console launch. Bring back metroid, megaman, etc. These games will sell the console. But they needed to be there at launch and over holidays. Too late for Q4 of 2013.

3. Online play. Get with the program nintendo. I know its gotten much better than it was when wii first came online but its now 2014. Check out what MS/Sony/PC are doing with online multiplayer and multimedia and at least make yourself competitive with them.

4. Hardware upgrade. The wii u was not as powerful as old gen xbox 360/ps3. Really? I get wanting to keep prices down and we do not care that much about graphics but Nintendo really needs to step it up here.