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Green Capital Digital Challenge Registration Opens!

November 4, 2014

There is a great gamejam/hack opportunity coming up that DebbieCo is helping organise!

Bristol 2015, the company established to facilitate Bristol’s year as European Green Capital, is asking Europe’s brightest minds to identify new ways that software can be used to tackle environmental challenges in cities in the European Green Capital Digital Challenge. This will include a 48-hour Digital Challenge Hack Weekend on the 6-8 February hosted during Digital Bristol Week, produced by the BBC.

This two stage challenge will see teams of developers together with digital and environmental experts compete for the chance to scoop cash prizes of up to £50,000 to stimulate innovation in the development of software applications and games, addressing five environmental challenges: energy, transport, food, resources and nature.

Andrew Garrad, Chairman of Bristol 2015, commented: “The Green Capital Digital Challenge is about bringing together creative digital experts to generate innovative thinking that facilitates change. We hope this challenge will create software applications and games that enable businesses and many different people to easily engage with and think about our environmental challenges and make positive changes in their everyday lives.

This challenge will be a key component of Digital Bristol Week and sits within a wide-reaching programme of activities and events that will showcase Bristol’s achievements and ambition in green technology.”

Stage 1: 48-hour Digital Challenge Hack Weekend, 6-8 February

Stage 1 begins in January 2015 and culminates in a 48-hour Digital Challenge Hack Weekend in which teams of up to five people will come together over the weekend of 6-8 February at Bristol’s Watershed to create apps/games, competing for a prize of £50,000 to develop the full product to launch.

At this stage judges will select between three to six finalists, each of whom will receive £5,000 to develop their ideas further.

Stage 2: Digital Challenge Final and Awards Ceremony, 20 April

Stage 2 will see one of the shortlisted finalists receive £50,000 to develop a full product and see another team win a Peoples’ Choice Award of £10,000 for further development work. 

The Digital Challenge Final and Awards Ceremony will be hosted at the Youth Summit on 20 April 2015 in Colston Hall.

How to get involved

Teams can find out more information and register to take part now at: www.bristol2015.co.uk/digitalchallenge to express your interest in being selected to attend as a team. The organisers will select the best teams with the requisite skills to give the Challenge the best chance of success.

The deadline for expressions of interest will be 1 January 2015 and the selected teams will be notified by 16 January 2015.

This Digital Challenge is part of a yearlong series of activities and initiatives that make up the International GreenTech Festival.

To keep up to date on all the latest news and events from Bristol 2015 you can also follow @Bristol_2015 on Twitter or join the conversation on Facebook www.facebook.com/Bristol2015.

#Cthulhu Links Worth Checking Out! #CthulhuThursday

October 23, 2014
The Shuttered Room (via Blackgate.com)

I’ve been a bit busy so unable to post of late, but that does not mean I’ve forgotten about Cthulhu Thursday! So Here’s a few images and links you might like!

I’ve backed the Kabuki Models project on Kickstarter - it’s well worth checking out!

cth_kick0

It has all the look you could possibly need to start your own cult!

cthu-kick3

This collection of amazing H.P.Lovecraft covers from back in the day are still stunning!

The Shuttered Room (via Blackgate.com)

Our Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land game is in the Mixer 9 Bundle.

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (iPad screenshot)

Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (iPad screenshot)

Finally check out this licence plate!

Gaming for Good at Bath Digital Festival

October 17, 2014

I’m taking part in this event on 29th October:

Games are doing much more now than just fun – they are educating, becoming therapy and helping to tackle serious problems.

Non-gamers often only see games in over-hyped tabloid headlines casting them in a bad light. However with around one in three of our fellow citizens now playing games, this session takes a second look at an industry that has grown in scope, subject matter and relevance. Join us to find out how Auroch Digital have been turning news into games, how Knowle West Media Center used games to talk about domestic violence and accessibility expert Ian Hamilton on how technology can be built to open them up to wider audiences.

The Auditorium
City of Bath College
Avon Street
Bath
BA1 1UP
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 from 12:30 to 13:30pm

Join us to find out more! (Also see 2014.bathdigitalfestival.com)

Climate Defense (gameplay)

Gaming & Democracy Talk at #Play14

September 18, 2014

I’m doing a keynote talk today at Play14 on gaming and democracy and here are the links from it:

Other links of interest:

Screenshot from Democracy 3

Screenshot from Democracy 3 (Positech Games)

(Positech Games)

democracy 3 charts

The 5 Most Popular Posts on My Blog

August 14, 2014

I’ve been looking at the most popular posts on my blog of all time:

  1. Cthulhu Thursday: Top 5 best of Myhthos, Cthulhu and Lovecraft Film, TV, Games, Stories and more… (A Work in Progress)
  2. Call of Duty Black Ops: Return on Investment is 400% (Updated)
  3. Cthulhu Thursday: Three Vital Things Cthulhu (and Lovecraft) Show Us About Biology (and Tentacles) #Lovecraft75
  4. Chainsaw Warrior in Steam Sale and More!
  5. How Much Money Can a Mobile Developer Make?

Why those? The 1st and 3rd article are ones that got a lot of upvotes on Reddit, hence the huge spikes in traffic. Plus PZ Myers tweeted them which also gave a huge boost to the traffic they got and still get. Number 2′s traffic comes from Google in the main, it seems to appear on searches related to the money the COD games have made and I guess, answers some people’s questions, hence it keeps appearing the magical Google algorithm. Number 4 was another Reddit upvoted article around the time of a Steam sale and no.5 is another Google one related to people googling for an answer on indie developer income. These posts were written at different times, so have had differing amounts of time to accumulate traffic and I expect the top 5 to change over time, of course.

And the least popular? This.

Cthulhu - quite popular on my blog...

Cthulhu – quite popular on my blog…

Three New Ways of Looking at War, Money and Information

August 12, 2014

Collecting a few article I think are interesting and what new ideas they are looking at in different ways…

First is a new way to look at journalism – a meshing of journalists and active citizens in a very interesting project that seeks to chart the future of news gathering. It’s also looking to new ways of funding it – asking the crowd for money as well as information.  Check it out here:

The funding deadline is almost up, I’ve backed it and think it well worth supporting.

Second is a new way to look at economicsby studding the economies of games like EVEonline

Different multiplayer game economies have different aims, but one key objective stands out: the economy helps create and hold together the social fabric of the game. Regular interaction generates interpersonal ties and trust. Having people consume the fruits of one’s digital labour generates a sense of meaning, a sense of a role to play in the community. Division of labour and the resulting mutual interdependence moreover creates solidarity and social cohesion. In short, the economy can act as a wonderful glue holding people together.

The social fabric is important to game developers, because the stronger the ties between players, the longer the players will keep playing (and paying fees). Some games developers expend considerable resources in their own style of economic research, experimenting with different exchange mechanisms and institutions to find the designs that really strengthen the social fabric. When we examine the resulting virtual economies we can see that their design choices are often very different from the choices that a conventional economist would make.

Third are new ways of looking at war in games. Traditionally games are a bit, we’ll, gung-ho about war but as games grow-up as a medium, so the range of approaches developed as Keith Stuart documents:

Most war games are about the unquestioning excitement of military action. Call of Duty, Battlefield, Sniper Elite … none of them really challenge the violence they depict or wonder what it must be like to live amid this madness – they are about soldiers fulfilling their destiny as heroes, whatever the cost. In these fantasies, civilians are only ever tests of the player’s target acquisition skills. Shoot a bystander in Call of Duty and you fail a mission. Humans are reduced to scuttling score mechanisms. But some game designers have started to think about conflict in a different way, and from different perspectives….

OK, so I’m quoted in it, but it’s a great article and well worth reading. (As are these two related Guardian articles on the war in Gaza and gaming depictions of it and how games are doing more than play).

Three Interesting Developments in Democracy

August 11, 2014

Here’s three article/development I’ve been meaning to highlight…

The first is the Mayday Political Action Committee, and organisation founded by Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons and Remix Culture fame. It’s a bold idea with a strong hint of Aikido about it – use the force of our opponent against them. In this case the opponent is money in democratic politics and the aim is to raise money to counter it. The first 2 stages of the Mayday PAC plan (2 rounds of money raising) have been completed and now it’s onto the stage of making change.

The astounding achievement of raising almost $8 million from people in a Kickstarter style campaign is the first major coup of this project. Watch this space!

The second is the idea of opening up every single vote to the voters. This idea goes to the heart of democratic politics; how direct do you want it?

The latest startup attempting to ride technoutopian naiveté all the way to the nation’s capital has a plan to restore democracy to America by “replacing your Congressman with software.” Those aren’t my words; that’s the tagline of PlaceAVote, a California company that wants to replace the nation’s elected representatives with a software system that votes on every bill according to the public majority online.

The company is running two candidates for Congress as the human face of the digitized democracy tool in California districts 16 and 22—a couple of random computer engineers named Job Melton and John Catano. If the candidates get voted in, any registered US citizen can vote on any piece of legislation through the PlaceAVote website, and the representative will vote according to that tally.

The third is the idea of using games to help understand democracy:

In an attempt to promote either democracy, creativity, personal expression, or some slightly convoluted combination of all three, Sweden has been operating a program called Democreativity that’s meant to curate ideas for “the most unlikely game ever.”

How this is not a new idea. A small sample research project showed that gamers already think about things like democracy while playing games. There are also plenty of games on the subject, however I like the idea of linking it to creativity and also crowdsourcing ideas for the game.

Screenshot from Democracy 3.

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