E-Literature & Gaming-Relations

What is E-literature you may be asking yourself? Well a definition offered by the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) states electronic literature “refers to works with an important literary aspect that takes advantage of the capabilities and contexts provided by the stand-alone or networked computer.” [1] However, it can be much more than that. Of course E-literature refers to your Kindle or reading a digital news article on the train on your iPad but it also offers new depths for stories to explore.

E-literature to me also revolves around new ways of showing a story. Be that through game-play elements such as [2] Pry (2016) allowing you to see into the mind of the protagonist ever step of the way and understand their motives and decisions vividly unlike the pages of a novel could express. It could also be like in [3] Journey (2012) where you are initially a mere wandering wayward vagabond learning small tidbits of the world as your explore a wasteland and find little pieces of information along the way that tell a story unlike any novel could express without words.

Stories are developing beyond the medium of pen and paper. Many mediums are looking towards creating video-stories such as in interactive Youtube videos such as Hell Pizza’s Zombie Attack. Videos like this craft  a story with some different outcomes depending on the viewer or reader. E-literature is a medium where you do not merely read and enjoy a novel but instead interact with it, explore it and absolutely become a part of the story yourself.

I’ve been a firm believer in anything being able to create a grandiose story when people come together to put it together. As a Dungeons & Dragons (I’m gonna get nerdy for a second, just let it happen!) player and long time Dungeon Master, I know that crafting a story, setting and world can take months of work to pull off. However, that world would go nowhere without the players to push the story forward. I understand that this is not entirely E-Literature as it is not online but it does connect people together to create a collaborative story. Together the players work to craft their story.

It might be a little irrelevant but Roll20 is an online place for D&D players to find each other and play online as well which, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of E-literature as you craft your own story online with other people, the possibilities of these tales are endless.

I hope this was an enjoyable read! Thank you for making it to the end!

Bibliography :

[1] Electronic Literature Organization – http://eliterature.org/

[2] Pry 2016 – http://prynovella.com/

[3] Thatgamecompany – Journey 2012

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E-Literature & Gaming-Relations

Personality and Computer Analysis

So recently a friend of mind showed me this quiz and it got me thinking about computer analysis of human people in general such as on dating websites. I will mainly focus on the quiz I linked however as it’s fantasy related (and I do love fantasy) but also because it does a great job at showing your results compared to others.

After playing around with the quiz it turns out my RPG class would be this : A Mirror Mage.

mirrormage

I assume you think I’ve gone off the deep end right now with me saying that I’m a mage and can sling spells around and such. Well, let’s not get too hasty with the mental stability allegations! At the end of the quiz you are presented with six attribute ratings. These are : Strength (Athleticism and how important it is to you), Bloodlust (This one is a bit odd but think about it more as your own independent action, how driven you are), Intelligence (Academia and how important it is to you), Spirit (How willing you are to continue preserving against a challenge), Vitality (Similar to spirit but more about your physical willingness rather than mental fortitude) and Agility (Not really your speed here, it’s more how open you are with people, someone with high agility is often very charming or well spoken.) Once finishing the test you’re rated from 1-100 in each stat (and anything above 35 is usually of exceptionally high importance to you).

To take my stats into consideration, I received a 40 Strength, 15 Bloodlust, 20 Intelligence (probably shouldn’t admit that haha), 43 spirit, 53 Vitality and 17 Agility. So I bet you’re thinking “well that’s great but what the hell does it mean?” Well, it means I’m more of a physical person than a studious one, I’m quite a passive person who doesn’t love to be in the limelight but I am always happy to take up a challenge and keep going until I resolve it.

What really interests me is the section at the bottom (after all the fluff about your class and it’s abilities). At the bottom you can compare yourself against everyone else who ever took this test! You can see that a lot of it is just fantasy flair (I mean no one in real life is actually proficient with Necromantic Wizardry or I sure hope not anyway) but some things are quite interesting to look at, such as if you lean more towards good (angelic) or malignant (demonic) tendencies. In the end, this isn’t the most extensive personality quiz out there but it sure throws a lovely fantasy flair on it!

I had two of my close friends take the test as well to which both got the “Spell Slayer” result. Both had similar stats of high intellect, bloodlust and agility. Meaning I tend to have friends who are more independent than me, usually more studious and much better silver-tongued speakers than I. It just seemed to be the trend! I think if an extensive study of which classes were more likely to be amicably with one another was carried out sometime it would have some rather interesting results.

But for as fun as this fantasy idea quiz is, if you really want to have your personality analyzed go to this quiz, it is called the Jung and Briggs Myers Typology test and puts people into two categories of “I” (Introvert) or “E” (Extrovert), “N” (iNtuitive) or “S” (Sensing), “F” (Feeling) or “T” (Thinking) and “J” (Judging) or “P” (Perceptive). It’s a much clearer analysis than the above test and has a rather large amount of works to back up its authenticity. I would say if you truly want to go in-depth and learn about yourself go there but if you just want a fun little side-quest take the fantasy option!

Thank you for reading!

Bibliography :

J.H.B. – What fantasy RPG class would you be? – https://www.helloquizzy.com/tests/the-fantasy-rpg-class-test

Schuerger – 16Personalities Jung & Briggs Mysers Testhttps://www.16personalities.com/

Personality and Computer Analysis

How AI in Video Games is furthering our knowledge of programming AIs in general.

AI had humble beginnings. In 1957, Arthur Samuel successfully played a match of checkers with an artificial opponent. [1] This came with some restrictions however, such as his opponent being the size of the room he was playing in. We’ve come a long way since that almost prehistoric computing period and a new age of AI has dawned on us in video games such as Bioshock Infinite‘s Elizabeth being an almost new standard of AI on her own.

Elizabeth [2] is a very interesting example of AI. She isn’t just a follow along companion or just a recruit you can hire like in The Elder’s Scrolls : Skyrim or Fallout, Elizabeth adapts to the player she is with. She can follow or lead while being reactive to the protagonist character and still proactive in pushing players through the story arcs. The team in charge of programming her faced many challenges in non-combat situations. Will having her function to merely follow the player they said it opened “a comedy of errors” while in play. They knew for this character they needed to step up the AI from previous video games.

They wanted Elizabeth to feel like a real person next to you during the campaign. Never too close to you to be “creepy” but also never straying too far as to become impersonal with the main character. It was a tricky blend but through long hours programming they were able to create what is now a critically acclaimed as the best AI in video game history! It is a far cry from the AI of Watson in Sherlock Holmes : Crimes & Punishments. Who would often feel like he was stalking the player with his obsessive teleporting. (Gif Attached)

At its core, Artificial Intelligence is imbuing interaction between people and machines. Video games already blend this line with player input being the key factor of progressing the story. But what is AI? This is an interesting question Graft, K. [3] posed to multiple game AI developers on Twitter. Some responses were quite interesting such as “Teaching the game to make decisions that provide context for the player’s own decisions”. Now I’m not one to spell the “end is nigh” for teachers out there but that does sound awfully similar to how teachers in school show pupils how to do tasks and homework. Perhaps one day we could see AI implemented into the real world through similar means? Though that is probably as far away from us as we are from that checker game in 1957!

Currently, AI is still a developing format with limited research. Sadly, The video game industry takes almost no note of cutting edge AI research which is truly a shame in my eyes. As if we could combined or albeit limited research of AI with the expertise of developers who knows what we could create. However, the challenge of learning with less data known is well known and almost inspiring to computer scientists these days [4] so it may be possible one day soon we will have Terminators and Personal AI Assistants helping us out in our regular routines!

Thank you all for reading, I hope this article on how AIs are currently evolving was suitably entertaining!

References:

[1] – Togelius, J. Why Video Games are essential for inventing Artificial Intelligence. http://togelius.blogspot.ie/2016/01/why-video-games-are-essential-for.html

[2] – Corriea, A.R. The long road to building AI for Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/18/5522450/the-long-road-to-perfecting-ai-for-bioshock-infinites-elizabeth

[3] – Graft, K. When Artificial Intelligence in Games becomes… Artificially intelligent. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/253974/When_artificial_intelligence_in_video_games_becomesartificially_intelligent.php

[4] – Knight, W. To get truly smart, AI might need to play more video games. https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601009/to-get-truly-smart-ai-might-need-to-play-more-video-games/

How AI in Video Games is furthering our knowledge of programming AIs in general.

Gaming in Education and Holograms

Last year, I discussed Gaming in Education and the positive effects it could enable students between more diverse interesting classes to less likely chance of burning out. While looking into this I discovered Hologram Videos and how some teachers have found ways to incorporate them into their classes (albeit, it is a very limited practice as of right now).

While limited, it is possible to create a hologram with your Smartphone right now if you wanted to try it! I’ll leave a link to the creation of the apparatus you’ll need to make to do so here as well as a video made for holograms.

and once you have this created, place it on the video below for results. (This requires viewing the video below on a Smartphone)

Now, how are these relevant to Gaming in Education? Well, the videos are exceptionally interactive, they’re more or less 3D models of figures, places and such. One day perhaps that Butterfly or Jellyfish could be intractable in a Biography class, allowing “dissection” of creatures without all the grisly bits in between.

We’ve seen great success come from Holograms before from concerts with Tupac from beyond the grave to vocaloids like Hatsune Miku in Japan (Essentially animated musicians coming to life on stage!). But I want to look at the possibility of such a thing coming to the class or boardroom one day. Instead of Skype calls, you could almost be sitting next to someone in the same room while in reality there in America. Would it be possible?

Well, it is sort of a Reality already. The iCandy glass and other Virtual Reality augmentation devices can already perform such a task over skype giving the illusion of real perspectives near the person. That is merely an illusion however, can we take it a step further?

The answer is yes, Cisco have been developing something known as TelePresence Live Holographic Calls and there is even a video circulating YouTube showing off the strides they’ve made (they even had a conference in front of a live audience). So the technology is definitely there! It is just sad to say it is not cost-effective as of yet and the “interactive” nature of this equipment is in its primitive stages as of yet. One day we may see “touch-screens” similar to our smartphones incorporate holograms we can play with on our phones (imagine Pokemon GO where you could pet your virtual friend!) but that is sadly still a futuristic idea but not complete technological jargon! Our technical know-how just may evolve to a stage where holograms are common place everywhere between meetings and in the classroom to give students from primary school to college “hands-on” experience without the actual need for having to actually dirty your hands.

Here is a link to Cisco’s Presentation, it is very interesting and I recommend you give it a watch if you have time! (Or at least the first 2 minutes to see the holograms come on stage). This is quite primitive (it was from 5 years ago) and I believe they were using a projection screen which is technology that can be dated up to 15 years ago but with correct innovation it does show just how far this technology could go.

Thank you for reading!

 

 

Gaming in Education and Holograms

On the Topic of Gamification

Gamification

I briefly touched on Gamification in my Gaming in Education post, however I feel that I did not quite give enough information on just what gamification is and how it is affecting our world and daily life.

So what exactly is Gamification anyway? Well according to Badgeville.com (a site which literally has it’s own gamification wiki), gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.

It works due to the human psyche wanting status, achievements and other works we have created to represent ourselves. Our natural drives for competition, achievement, status, altruism and community collaboration are exploited in a way by companies as we are naturally drawn to these times of games in our products. [1]

Gamification comes in many forms, from Subway cards (yes, you’re scoring a point every time you use a card and when you have enough points you get a free sandwich, sounds like a game to me at any rate) to Tesco clubcards (again every purchase you gain imaginary credits that you can later use) it’s evident that games aren’t just “Call of Duty” or “Halo” anymore, they’re everywhere. While mechanics of these games are a lot simpler than that of a modern video game, there is no doubting that both entities are entertaining and fun to use, classifying both as games.

It all started from the Frequent Flyer Programs (FFP) that airlines give out. Where again, the more you traveled, the more rewards you received varying from gifts to free flights. These were the earliest “games” that came to the real world and have since been adapted and used by companies everywhere to encourage more consumers to use their products.

Some more examples of gamification used by companies include Starbucks’ mobile loyalty app, “MyStarbucksRewards”. Besides Starbucks, Nike released the Nike+ app to encourage consumers to be active while also using Nike products. In a way, this gives Nike free advertising when people see a consumer doing sporting activity using their products.

But it’s not just these few companies that use gamification, in fact, Gamification can be applied to many facets of technology and has evolved in the recent years. Over 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies surveyed in 2013 said they planned to use gamification for the purposes of marketing and customer retention [2].

I feel I might be scrutinizing gamification a little too much, while it is true that it is a ploy by some companies to enrich their businesses, it does have it’s benefits. If the games the companies such as Tesco, Subway, Aer Lingus, etc. were not fun to play we would have stopped long, long ago. Companies are genuinely trying to keep there “players” happy. If this is achieved, the customer is more likely to remain loyal, purchase from the same company and perhaps bring more eager “players” to the market.

I really do hope that this post was a little more in-depth and brought gamification in today’s world a little more into light than my last post. Thank you for reading! Until next time, this stream is going offline.

References:

[1] – Gamification Definition : https://badgeville.com/wiki/Gamification#garterere
[2] – Fitz-Walter, Z. A Brief History of Gamification. http://zefcan.com/2013/01/a-brief-history-of-gamification/

 

On the Topic of Gamification