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

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.

On The Topic Of Openness

Internet-Symbol-Abstract-Tunnel-1118694

This week we were tasked with critically responding to one another in our Twessay on Openness. A link to it :https://storify.com/americasstudies/twessay-1-dhucctwessay-dh1001-concepts-and-collabo?utm_source=t.co&utm_campaign=&awesm=sfy.co_g1A8a&utm_medium=sfy.co-twitter&utm_content=storify-pingback

And what did I have to say on the topic? Well I said “I believe openness on the internet should be sharing info with each other with knowledge accessible to all people everywhere” (a) well of course, this was my uninformed mind talking here, with more digging I discovered that openness is a concept characterized by putting weight on transparency and freedom, unrestricted access to knowledge and information, especially in this day and age on the internet as well as collaborative or cooperative management and decision-making rather than a central authority. [1] As a Digital Humanities student, I believe openness on the internet encompasses many of our goals.

Between Moravec’s (digital humanity activist) acclaimed writing in public project and Swartz’s (a pioneer of open internet access and recognized as a martyr to some) development of creative commons as an attempt to open the knowledge of the internet up to the public, it is obvious to see technological developments have changed the way we learn. Despite these attempts however, still the collective works of the human race are stored on the internet with only a select few currently able to access them.

From Patrick O’Toole’s Twessay (c) “Transparency of data is the key to empowering governments & citizens on a global scale” to this, I discovered that the publishers, like Elsevier are making up to a $1.1 billion profit (2012) and are exploiting the original writers. How are they doing this? Well in the words of Samuel Gershman [2] “When I published these papers in Elsevier journals, I was required to hand over the copyrights”. Not only does this bar knowledge behind paywalls only universities or other huge institutions have a chance to afford buying information from, the original writers never see a penny of the profit.

Also from Arlene Murray’s Twessay (b) “Pay walling pioneering research is immoral” and I honestly could not agree with her more. So, with all this working against openness in our modern era, what can we do to tear down these “pay-walls” ? Well, Swartz made a huge attempt when he created Creative Commons, a way of easily sharing copyrighted work. While this greatly helps modern works, it does not help us with all the knowledge already hidden beneath restrictions.

Swartz, as some type of last stand against this moral injustice worth a guerrilla manifesto [3] urging people to share any information they could. He states how piracy in this regard is not really immoral, in face it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let the human race have access to our collaborative knowledge base.

From Andrew Wiggins’ Twessay (d) “Openness to me is the idea of unrestricted access to knowledge and no one body in charge of it,more of a cooperative structure” – So does openness actually exist in today’s world or is it just a hopeful ideal long dead because of corporate greed? Well, if one was to give just a cursory glance, then no, openness on the internet is long dead and the corrupt corporations stand victorious.

However, if one were to really search deep and uncover the “underground” revolution online, we would see it is possible to find academic sources on the web. I’m not even sure if I should mention it here on my blog for fear of the sites being taken down but http://gen.lib.rus.ec/ and http://www.academictorrents.com/ have made well over 12.27 Terabytes of academic data available to the public eye. So to all readers of this post, know that there is a mutiny taking place, we will one day soon overthrow the tyrannical likes of Elsevier and Jstor.

In Swartz words “At the end of the day, we have an economy that works for the rich by cheating the poor, and unequal schools are the result of that, not the cause.” We need to band together as community and together we will make the internet open access to everyone in the world, just as it was originally intended to be – to communicate with and share computer resources. [4]

I believe I’ve said all I can on this topic, together we will need to work together to achieve true openness on the internet, so work hard my friends! Until next time, this stream is going offline.

References :
Twessays Referenced :
Andrew Douglas (a), Arlene Murray (b) , Patrick O’Toole (c) , Andrew Wiggins (d)

[1] Michael A. Peters ; The Idea of Openness : Open Education and Education for Openness – http://eepat.net/doku.php?id=open_education_and_education_for_openness
[2] Samuel Gershman : The Exploitative Economics of Academic Publishing – http://footnote1.com/the-exploitative-economics-of-academic-publishing/
[3] Aaron Swartz Guerrilla Manifesto : https://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt
[4] Arpanet Definition : http://searchnetworking.techtarget.com/definition/ARPANET

On The Topic Of Openness

On The Topic of Creative Commons

cc-licenses-terms

Recently, we were tasked to watch a documentary on the life of Aaron Swartz in our course. (Link Below) It was noted in the video that Swartz was one of the first architects of creative commons, a different type of copyright on the internet. Swartz believed information should be more open and free to the world, and while in the beginning of the internet this was very much the case, today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. [1]

The © (Copyright) symbol has so much power today. It can completely disallowed someone from interacting with a wealth of human knowledge or using pictures from sources. In general, if you unknowingly took something from a copyrighted source it could cause massive uproar such as copyright infringement charges and a en-slew of legal charges for accidentally using a copyrighted piece in your work

While there was the concept of “Fair Use” on the internet for copyright law was created to allow things such as commentary, parody, news reporting, research and education about copyrighted works without the permission of the author. [2] Basically, In reproducing an article, it would only be deemed fair usage if you were to use it to criticize or highlight the quality of said article. If it was used because you couldn’t find time to write your own story, or didn’t want your readers to have to register at a web site it would most likely not be deemed fair use.

Swartz aimed to change this with the concept of Creative Commons and liberate copyrighted data. You might be asking, well what IS Creative Commons? Well, Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. He hated how copyright felt like an iron-clad lock against the distribution of knowledge. Creative Commons is helping to realize the full potential of the Internet, allowing universal access to research and education, full participation in culture and is trying to drive the world into a new era of development growth, and productivity. [3]

The (cc) (Creative Commons) logo in contrast to copyright allows a publisher to options on how there content is used. There are six contracts (as seen in the image above) which allow a publisher to control the access the public has to their content. Not only does Creative Commons allow more control for the publisher, usually it gives more access to the reviewer, researcher, etc. who are using the publisher’s work. It refines your copyright and streamlines how you give permission.

There are several symbols (or rules) to every creative commons contract. A link to a great video for understanding Creative Commons can be found here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YkbeycRa2A

-Attribution : The original source must be Acknowledged
-Non-Commercial : Only the original source may make money from the content
-No Derivatives : The image, video, etc. can not be altered from original publication
-Share Alike : New creations that use the original source must follow the same license as the original.

It’s evident to see that Creative Commons allows more diverse control for the publisher and is shown to increase sales (as the work can be used by the buyer) if the original source is to be monetized. [4] Remember, Creative Commons is actually a license that is applied to a work that is protected by copyright. It’s not separate from copyright, but instead is a way of easily sharing copyrighted work. Creative Commons allows us to use works on the internet even through copyright protection. So remember, next time you’re using a source to check it’s creative commons license and if your using it correctly.

I believe this sums up the majority of what I needed to say on the concept of creative commons and how it improves on current copyright laws. My next post should be Thursday, on the topic of Openness, which will combined elements from our classes’ recent Twessay. Until then, This stream is going offline.

References :

[1] – Current Berne Convention text : http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/ip/berne/index.html
[2] – Notes of Fair Use Copyright Law – https://w2.eff.org/IP/eff_fair_use_faq.php
[3] – Creative Commons’ Goals – http://creativecommons.org/
[4] – Publishing a Commercial Book with Creative Commons – http://www.technollama.co.uk/publishing-a-commercial-book-with-creative-commons
Image used from : http://ohda.matrix.msu.edu
Aaron Swartz Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL182y-5iIY

On The Topic of Creative Commons