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Game Definition

Did you ever wonder what exactly a game is?

A game is structured playing, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work, which is usually carried out for remuneration, and from art, which is more often an expression of aesthetic or ideological elements. However, the distinction is not clear-cut, and many games are also considered to be work or art.

Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both. Many games help develop practical skills, serve as a form of exercise, or otherwise perform an educational, simulational, or psychological role.

Serious Games are typically defined as:

  • - having well defined learning goals and
  • - promote development of important strategies and skills to increase cognitive and intellectural abilities of the learners.
  • - have important elements contributing to educational values of games are sensual stimuli, fantasy, challenge and curiosity (desire to know or learn).
  • Used to reach an outcome beyond the game itself.

Adrian Smith of Ennova draws interesting parallels between the laws of learning and games.

  1. Game Space - Ordinary life is temporarily suspended and replace with the game environment. Palys obeying the rules enter the game space and engage in behaviour that might otherwise be risky or uncomfortable.
  2. Interaction Rules - Winthin the game space the palys abide by a set of rules for interaction. The rules define the constraints of the game space.
  3. Artefacts - All games relay on specialised artefacts that hold information either through content or position in the game space.
  4. Goals - Players must understand that the goals of the game and how the game will end. Sometimes games end once the goal is achieved and sometimes when a time limit is reached.

Earlier this week, I discovered a great talk by Naval War College’s Dr. Doug Ducharme for the MORS Wargaming Community of Practice on best practices for wargaming in support of Course of Action (COA) analysis.

I found Dr. Ducharme's presentation insightful and thought provoking.He offered concrete guidance for game designers to improve their practice. His suggestions mirror my own experiences, and serves as a useful set of guidelines for new game developers. However, there were two points that I want to explore more: Ducharme’s distinction between educational and analytical gaming, and his distinction between free and rigid adjudication.

Ducharme argues that all games are experiential. What differentiates educational and analytical games is whether the goal of the game is to change the participants, or to change our base of knowledge. This definition is related, but somewhat different from what I’ve used in my own work. In past work, I’ve defined the types of game purposes the chart below:

References: Wikipedia, Google, Aalto University, Ennova

Tags : gamesdefined

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How do people learn from online content?

Small manageable chunks, granular as some would call these learning objects. For the professional adult learner, new information must be associated with prior knowledge. Ingesting knowledge is similar to eat a large meal. Just as one's digestive systems starts in the mouth, so the intake of new information must come is small bites. Study after study shows that taking in information in small bite-sized chunks leads to increased learner digestion. The education market has recognized this trend of shorter lessons, and providers have shortened e-learning courses from 4 hours to 1 hour to 30 minutes. "In 1999, research published in the Journal of Applied Psychology revealed that a distributed approach to learning can increase transfer by 17 percent. In 2002, the BBC compared a bite-size approach with longer training and found that bite-size resulted in greater understanding, application and retention than a day-long equivalent. Further, when calculating costs, the savings of a bite-size approach can be up to 30 percent. Yet some organizations struggle to adopt a bite-size approach."¹

How can an online education developer enable bite-size delivery?

  • *Miniaturization: With bite-size, less is more. Short, regular periods of high-intensity exercise get you fitter faster than endurance training. Bite-size learning gets to the outcome faster. By combining bursts of energy with sufficient reflection time, light bulb moments that challenge the way people think and behave are triggered.
  • * Contextualization: Our job isn't to help participants learn; it's to help them solve real-world problems. The starting point for design should be what you want people to do when they leave. We can't ignore the desired business outputs; the trick is to find a balance between what learners need and what the business expects.
  • * Mass-customization: Transfer is increased when participants feel that learning is relevant and personalized. Bite-size means you don't have to pick a whole course. By offering learning bites that are directly relevant to organizational outcomes, a balance can be struck between individual choice and offerings that can be delivered at scale.
  • * Focus on transfer: The more psychologically engaged participants are, the more likely they are to apply what they learn. Bite-size, distributed sessions provide more opportunities to engage. They consolidate participants' prior learning with tools and techniques to practice back at work. Sustainment is therefore built into the experience, not tacked on as an afterthought.
  • * Deliver to unarticulated, unmet needs: Innovation in learning and development functions comes from understanding learners' unarticulated, unmet needs. For many people, there is a strong desire to develop, but little time to do it, and traditional training methods fail to represent culture focused on performance and efficiency. A bite-size approach is therefore welcomed by progressive organizations seeking to breathe new life into how they develop their people.

     

    • 1 http://www.clomedia.com/articles/the-best-and-worst-of-bite-size-learning?interstitial=ai

Tags : elearning

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Research on Fibonacci Retracement

Over the past year, I have studied the fibonacci retracements and Elliot's Wave theory.  This all happened while I was instructing radio waves and antenna propagation.  I developed an interesting corollary to the two proven methods in Foreign Exchange.  Very soon, I am releasing my study — and to my amazement, the winner of last year's (2012) championship hinted at these same formulas — I have developed in 2010! 

Tags : FibonacciRetracement

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R.I.P. Mochi Media

I would not have been able to create online games without the help of the wonderful people at Mochi Media. They have raise me up from an aspiring game developer to where I am today.  Research my games from 2001, you will see the growth from a new actionscript 1 then 2 programmer to an as3.  I have produced online education for the past 14 years; but, with Mochi Media and my experientation, I would have failed dramatically!

Today, I have a prominent web site ( per amazon.com and quantcast.com statistics ), many partnerships and over 39 published games.

With the death of my mother support system, I move to a new deployment --- html5 and unity.  I crave your patience as I develop and grow in this media.

Tags : mochimedia

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Expert Advisors

Foreign Exchange is a tricky adventure if you're first starting. I have profitably made positive cash flow from several Expert Advisor script in my  MT4 terminal. Other ForEx EA we use and recommend:

 

Tags : expertadvisors

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History of Web Games

Early online gaming

Dialup bulletin board systems (BBS) were popular in the 1980s, and many were used for online game playing. The earliest BBS, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, had a simply text-based interface menu, but later systems made use of terminal-control codes (the so-called ANSI art, which included the use of IBM-PC-specific characters not actually part of an ANSI standard) to get a pseudo-graphical interface. RIP was one such quasi-graphical ansi code. WildCat BBS from Mustang Inc also had a slick graphical interface for their BBS software. Some BBS offered access to various games which were playable through such an interface, ranging from text adventures to gambling games like blackjack (several played for "points", some offered real money). On multiuser BBSs, such as MEGACOMM the fore-runner of PBMCube.com, more than one person could be online at a time. These multiuser BBS sometimes allowed the users to interact with one another through chat or online messages; some such games of the fantasy role-playing variety were known as IF (Interactive Fiction) and "multi-user dungeons" or MUDs. The most popular was Legends of the Red Dragon (L.O.T.R.D) and Adventurer of Renown Deeds (ARRA); one may still experience this popular online text game at PBMCube.com's Legend of the Green Dragon ((lotgd)). These games eventually evolved into what are known today as Massive Multi-user Online Role-Playing Games or MMORPG for short.

Growth of online games

Commercial online services also arose during this time, most starting with a crude plain-text interface similar to that of BBSs; however, these commercial vendors operated on large mainframe computers permitting larger numbers of users to be online at once. By the end of this decade, commercial online services moved to fully-graphical environments using software specific to each personal computer operating system -- remember this is all before Java, and shockwave plugins were introduced. In fact, no one had even heard of a browser! Popular text-based services included CompuServe, The Source, Geocitites and GEnie, while platform- specific graphical services included Quantum Link for the Commodore 64, AppleLink for the Apple II and Macintosh, and PC Link for IBM PC operating systems, all of which were run by the company which eventually became known today as America Online. AOL chief competior in those days was Prodigy. Interactive games were a feature of these services, though until 1987 they used text-based displays, not graphics.

Rapid Changes in Technology

Times and technology changed; the World Wide Web (WWW) was introduced in 1994; Pentium chips were now in PCs; Netscape launched a silly little program called a "browser" in the same year followed by Microsoft introducing Internet Explorer a year later. Microsoft also made a bold move to include Internet protocol (IP & TCP/IP) in their revolutionary Windows '95. The age of online web-based games was fast approaching.

The Birth of Current Online Games

Web games began back in October 1995 when Macromedia introduced a Netscape browser plug-in called Shockwave. This was simply a playback engine for interactive animations created with a program called Director - the big brother to flash. Director had already been in use for several years, and was used by many developers to create simple CD-ROM games. A few developers got the idea to put some games on html pages and ... well ... the free online game was born for the WWW. One of the most popular site -- although no longer active -- was javascript-games.org by Scott Porter. He developed a brilliant game framework in javascript. Few of his javascript games have survived. At about this same stage, Sun Microsystems introduced Java, a universal application development environment that was available in Netscape's browser. Java applets began to appear in Web browsers. The contest between Shockwave and Java gaming was afoot. Many gaming sites sprang up with interesting and creative games such as CleverMedia.com by Gary Rosenzweig -- one of the leading experts in Director and the new Flash plug-in.

Back in January 1993, Charlie Jackson, Jonathan Gay, and Michelle Welsh started a small software company called FutureWave Software and created their first product, SmartSketch. A drawing application, SmartSketch was designed to make creating computer graphics as simple as drawing on paper. Although SmartSketch was an innovative drawing application, it didn't gain enough of a foothold in its market. As the Internet began to thrive due to the launch of the WWW, FutureWave began to realize the potential for a vector-based web animation tool that might easily challenge Macromedia's often slow-to-download Shockwave technology. In 1995, FutureWave modified SmartSketch by adding frame-by-frame animation features and re-released it as FutureSplash Animator on Macintosh and PC. By that time, the company had added a second programmer Robert Tatsumi, an artist Adam Grofcsik, and a PR specialist Ralph Mittman. The product was offered to Adobe and used by Microsoft in its early (MSN) work with the Internet. In December 1996, Macromedia acquired the vector-based animation software and later released it as Flash 1.0. Flash rapidly became the most popular method for adding animiation and interactivity to web pages. Both Flash and Shockwave added improvements to allow developers make better games. Shockwave later added a 3D environment which is the best application for online 3D game development. Flash, much later, added advanced scripting and speed to its compiled files. Acording to some experts in the gaming industry, we are now in the 7th generation of video gaming. For further reference see this article.

Tags : game

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License Vocabulary

Legalese terms of service can certainly make your head spin. That’s why we created our simple guide to vocabulary definitions. All the "can do's and can't do's" are explained elsewhere.

Regular License

A Regular License grants you (the buyer) a non-exclusive, non-transferrable right to use my products.  How you use my product is subject to the following conditions:

1.    Your use of my product is limited to a single application.
2.    You may use my product as a stand-alone application or you may incorporate my product into another derived work you are creating.
3.    Unless you have our prior written consent, you will not directly or indirectly license, sub-license, sell or resell or provide for free my product nor offer to do any of these mentioned activities. All of these activities can be summarized as Resale.
4.    You may reproduce media of my product for marketing distribution.

  • a)    in a printed format or;
  • b)    on a website or;
  • c)    in an electronic document such as a PowerPoint presentation or an eBook or;
  • d)    as part of software you create or;
  • e)    in a video production or;
  • f)    in a music track.

5.    You may use my product in a derived work which you are creating for your own purposes or for your client who has asked you to create it.
6.    You will not incorporate my product into a by-product which is created for Resale by you or your client.
7.    If my product is used or incorporated in a derived product, there is no restriction on the number of copies of your by-product that can be reproduced and distributed (provided the use/incorporation remains a single application and the copies are not for Resale).


For example, you may incorporate a graphic of my product in a brochure you design for your client. An unlimited number of copies of your brochure that incorporates my product may be made; but, my product cannot be incorporated into any other application. The brochures must be distributed to recipients at no charge to the recipient.

8.    Notwithstanding the restriction on Resale, if you acquire my product on behalf of your client you may recoup from your client the cost of acquiring my product as a cost of manufactured goods.
9.    If the whole, or part, of my product has been created using materials which are the subject of a GNU General Public License (GPL), your use of my product (or portion) is subject to the specific terms of the GPL in place of the foregoing conditions (to the extent the GPL applies).

 

Extended License

The Extended License grants you (the buyer) a non-exclusive, non-transferrable to use my products.  How you use my product is subject to the following conditions:


1.    Your use of my product is limited to a single application.
2.    You may use my product as a stand-alone application or you may incorporate my product into another derived work you are creating.
3.    Unless you have our prior written consent, you will not directly or indirectly license, sub-license, sell or resell or provide for free my product nor offer to do any of these mentioned activities. All of these activities can be summarized as Resale.
4.    You may reproduce media of my product for marketing distribution.

    • a)    in a printed format or;
    • b)    on a website or;
    • c)    in an electronic document such as a PowerPoint presentation or an ebook or;
    • d)    as part of software you create or;
    • e)    in a video production or;
    • f)    in a music track.

5.    You may use my product in a derived work which you are creating for your own purposes or for your client who has asked you to create it.
6.    You may incorporate my product into a derived work which is created for Resale by you or your client (provided that only the complete work is offered for sale and the terms of sale

      • i.    require those that acquire my product to only use my product for their own personal use or in a work they are creating for a client
      • ii.    prohibit resale of my product as a stand-alone item).


7.    If my product is used or incorporated into a derived work there is no restriction on the number of copies of your by-product you can produce and distributed.
For example: you may incorporate my product, such as a music file, in a sound mixing software program that you or your client distributes commercially. An unlimited number of copies of the software program may be made and sold but my product cannot be extracted from your derived product nor included into more than one software program or other work.
8.    Notwithstanding the restriction on Resale, if you acquire my product on behalf of your client you may recoup from your client the cost of acquiring my product as a cost of manufactured goods.
9.    If the whole, or part, of my product has been created using materials which are the subject of a GNU General Public License (GPL), your use of my product (or part Work) is subject to the specific terms of the GPL in place of the foregoing conditions (to the extent the GPL applies).

Tags : licenseterms

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Understanding EULA

End User License Agreement

It is usually to your advantage to license copies of your software rather than to sell copies. United States copyright law allows the owners of the physical objects that contain copyrighted material, for example, books, compact discs, or floppy disks or CD-ROMs containing computer programs, to resell the physical objects that they own. This phenomenon explains the legality and proliferation of used book and used compact disc stores. Unfortunately for the copyright owner, each sale of a used book or CD potentially represents a lost sale that the copyright owner might have been able to consummate with the consumer. By licensing the software rather than selling a physical copy to the user, the user does not "own" a copy of the software, and the copyright owner is able to prevent the user from appropriating the subsequent sales.

Federal law prohibits the "owner" of a copy of a computer program from leasing, renting or otherwise lending that copy of the program to another. However, the owner is not prevented from reselling the copy. Therefore, it is to your advantage to license the use of your software rather than to sell copies to users. By creating an End User License Agreement rather than a sale, the owner is able to define the terms and the limits of the use of the copyrighted software.

In defining the terms and limits of use, the copyright owner is also able to set forth limited warranty information and disclaimers of liability. You may or may not want to include such provisions in your license agreement.

Tags : eula

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