Posted by: johnthelibertine | February 3, 2010

Serious gaming simulations in f@*king big companies

Hi there seriously virtual imersive game worlders. Many apologies for going..erm…offline for several months…but then again, you try writing blog posts from the after world. It’s not easy being productive when you are dead!

Anyway……in a rare interview with someone who actually does something for a living, Serious Sauce hooked up with veteran serious learning games developer Ayto Zedd of A2Z Learning.

A2Z have an excellent relationship with lots of f@*king big companies in the Americas, Europe and the Teeny Tiny Tax-Free Islands where it is always hot and everybody is very rich or very not. They have worked with more than eleven big f@8king companies in the financial self-servicing, drug-dealing, multifactoring, remanufacturing and fat processing industries and are renouned for E-learning solutions that work inside the challenging technology environments of big f@*king companies.

A2Z saved fOFF Reech 400 of these with their game-like learning solutions

A2Z have recently launched their new seriously virtual eGames design suite (available on the interweb for £8027 from last week) which promises to bring a revolutionary level of laziness to ingamestructional designers (ID’s) and allow them to quickly create games-based simugamey content that actually works in big f@*king companies.

We asked Mr Zedd what the major barriers were in big f@*king companies with respect to adopting immersively virtual gameyworlds for their learning programmes. Here is what he told us:

The challenges of working with big f@*king companies are both technical and human related…and organisationally related….and financial in nature. We know many companies in this space that have tried to bring their technically-elegant, extremely well-designed, stunningly engaging and incredibly effective solutions to big f@*king companies and have wondered why they don’t work“, he said.

At the end of the day, you have to look through the eyes under the pulse of the skin in the shoes of a typical big f@*king company learning person and see the world from their cubicle. Basically they get shafted if they screw up so they don’t like to take risks.”

So, we asked, how do you deliver virtually game-like learning solutions in big f@*king companies? Whilst simultaneously slipping The Libertine a wad of  fresh George Washingtons, Mr Zedd provided the answer: “The A2Z virtual eGames design suite“, and The Libertine agreed.

But putting aside the fact the Zedd bribed us with enough cash to have a whole night of illegal fun in the dark alleys of Olde London Town, we still felt compelled to ask for some semblance of evidence to support such a brash claim.  Without further ado, Mr Zedd then whipped out a SCORM-compatible piece of white paper with many words on it in a Section 508-compliant typeface.

Here is what the words said:

A2Z, the world’s leading virtual eGamey immersive solutions company recently deployed a cutting-edge virtual eGamey immersive solution for fOFF Reech Investment Bank. The client’s requirements were to provide company training to 88,000 people who make lots of real money by using money that doesn’t really exist to buy and sell options to buy stuff that nobody has made yet that is secured against some old outhouses in Jalopy, Indiana (population 9).

We make several $billion of trades a day so you can imagine that we take complacency training very seriously, a Complacent Officer at fOFF Reech commented. We were willing to spend 10 cents per employee giving A2Z a hefty budget of $8,800 but this was only approved by the Executive VP of Complacency on the promise of an ROI of 2700%. If A2Z failed in this endeavour then we would face a penalty clause that included excommunication and the slaughter of our spouses.

“It was made clear to us in the kick-off meeting that the client needed a minimum of 99.5% of the traders to be able to complete the gamey solution in less than 30 seconds with 100% marks and they wanted a guarentee that they were fully-compliant so that the bank couldn’t face any law suites by Democrat sympathizing lawyers acting for poor people” said Mr Zedd. “Obviously that was quite a challenge they set us but that is exactly why we created the virtual eGames design suite”.

Here is what the virtual eGames design suite enabled:

  • A “here is what you will learn screen” (XML-driven text)
  • A login screen (8 bit security employed)
  • An automatic pre-training quiz completion feature
  • An automatically moving avatar (with pre-selected diverse faces)
  • An Auto-decision making facility
  • An automatically enabling completion button
  • An automatically enabling ‘are you sure you have completed?’ completion button
  • An automatic post-training quiz completion feature
  • A score screen that uses advanced AI to post a score of 100%
  • Optimised for 500×400, 16 color resolution
  • SCORM 1.2/04 compliance
  • HTML 3.2

And the result? “fOFF Reech were ecstatic.  Where the previous training solution had taken a painfully laborious and very expensive 30 seconds to complete on average, with the A2Z solution each trader now needed to commit no more than 5 seconds of their precious time to the training piece yet always scored 100%.

Furthermore, fOFF Reech used the Captain Kirk-Phillips assessment technique to determine that once all 88,000 traders had completed the training, the savings would exceed $400million, enough, we are told, to pay for all the high-class call girls the company employs each year to entertain it’s top clients.

The Sauce hopes that this case study helps your organisation work with big f@*king companies and that you too buy an annual license to virtual eGames design suite from the wonderful people people at A2Z by clicking here.

Me, John Wilmot

John The Libertine, February 2010




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Posted by: johnthelibertine | September 23, 2008

Serious games fighting knife crime

Ded Missed - serious games against knife crime

Ded Missed - serious games against knife crime

LONDON, UK – September 23rd, 2008: In a press release that will have Fleet Street journalists salivating in a fit of headline-writing orgasms, London-based virtually serious game developer, Doh! Studios, announced that it is working on a 3D ‘serious game’ aimed at reducing knife crime.

The game, tentatively called ‘Ded Missed’, will allow players to control a habitual violent offender, called ‘Killer Kenny’ through the streets of London’s East End. In a very clever twist, the apparent in-game objectives and the social purpose of the game are quite different.

Killer Kenny gains reward points for the number of innocent people who he maims or kills with a variety of household items including a kitchen knife, wooden spoon, iron, trouser press and, bizarrely, a copy of the Yellow Pages. The violence is profoundly vivid and will no doubt earn the game an 18+ rating, however the developer claims that their goal is actually to set out to try to reduce knife crime.

As Jeremiah Healey-Smythe, CEO of Doh! Studios explained: “Knife crime is on the increase. You only have to talk to the bloke in the pub to know this. We thought it would be a great idea to make a videogame based around knife (and other) based violence in an effort to show kids how bad it is.”

When pressed to justify this claim by one of the assembled media, Healey-Smythe explained further: “Yes we don’t deny that we sought to make an intrinsically satisfying game where excessive violent behavior towards innocent members of the public is the basis for success – through the ‘bloodometer’ – but the point we would like to emphasize is that by doing so, the ‘serious games’ element of our design philosophy comes in to play. We fully expect players to be morally and psychologically affected by the game to the extent that they will shun the carrying of knives.

Ded Missed is set for release in August 2012 and The Sauce cannot wait to get our hands on working code and to max out the ‘Bloodometer’. In the meantime we won’t be carrying a knife around…not that we ever did!

Posted by: johnthelibertine | September 2, 2008

New Serious Games RFP – exciting project!

The Sauce has been asked to circulate this exciting RFP from BHI.

———————–

Request for Proposals
Multiplayer ‘Serious Game’ engine/tools for Butterfly Husbandry

Date: today

Please visit http://www.butterflyheavyindustries.com.eu.in/learning/rfp/butterfly for a detailed specification and for full commercial terms and conditions.

Overview

Butterfly Heavy Industries (NASDIQ: BHi inc) is a world leading provider of specialist Butterfly insemination, incubation and offspring husbandry technologies. The company employs 117,000 staff in 38 countries, including Canada, and has an enterprise-wide eLearning Training Management Information system in place (SAPA 6). This RFP is for a seriously virtual synthetic 3D simulated game (or ‘serious game’) engine, WYSIWYG editor, social networking web page, infrastructure and hosting, related learning evaluation studies  and internal marketing communications campaign. BHI is seeking a highly experienced development partner that can demonstrate a solid pedigree in developing ‘serious games’ for the butterfly husbandry industry,

Technical Requirements

We are seeking the following features from the development partner:
•    A full 3D ‘roam aroundy’ game of the quality of Heylo 3, Bioshocked and Pacman.
•    Missively Multiplayer capability (minimum 2 people playing together)
•    Online (browser-based delivery)
•    Photorealistic real time, 5 pass 3D rendering texture thingies.
•    Avatars of all 117,000 of our staff
•    Automatic translation on the fly (text and VOIP) to overcome language barriers between remote groups
•    Artificial intelligence
•    A WYSIWYG editor that our eLearning team can use to rapidly create game with the minimum of bother or effort
•    Exclusive use of HTML 3.2 and JPEG technology in game to ensure compliance with our internal IT infrastructure.

Non-game requirements

The subcontractor shall be required to perform learning evaluation and organizational impact assessment (Captain KirkPatrick/Fillips Level 6). In addition the subcontractor shall be required to provide all ‘back end’ IT servers and hosting services and related 24 hour end user technical and learner support (telephone and email).

Content

Due to a shortage in internal subject matter experts we require that the subcontractor is able to leverage internal SME resource and, ideally, has worked in the field of Butterfly Husbandry previously.

Timescales

– Release of RFP – today
– Return of proposal to BHI – tomorrow
– BHI decision – sometime in the 6 weeks after that
– Provision of Alpha – 2 weeks later
– Provision of Beta – 1 week later
– Final ‘go live’ – 1 week later.

Budget & financial information

BHI’s standard terms are 330 days from receipt of correctly formatted invoice based on agreed payment milestones.

The expected budget for this project, inclusive of IT systems and related services is US$12,500.

Submission

Suppliers should provide a RFP response of no less than 87 pages, printed in colour, bound (12 copies) by overseas commercial carrier.

Posted by: johnthelibertine | August 27, 2008

Inside the computer game studio

A video game developer

Zack Zed III, video game developer

The growth of serious virtual game sims has brought about a collision between the world of interactive entertainment software and many other sectors including, for example, training professionals, educators, 5 star generals, first responders and doctors.

It was recently stated at a Game Seriously Summit by somebody well-known that:

“if you let a videogame designer design a serious game it will be statistically invalid from a behavioral and cognitive science standpoint, but if you let an Instructional Designer design it will be a pile of doggy doo.”

A prominent UK academic, from the University of Great Yarmouth, recently highlighted this issue and said;

“This collision of minds and attitudes threatens to derail the growth of the seriously game market. The entertainment people don’t think that the learning guys understand what it takes to make a truly effective videogame. Training folks, educators, academics and public sector employees very often tend to stereotype the gaming guys as nerds with poor communication and social skills.”

The Sauce decided to step in and help here by organising what we called, ‘Share The Sauce!’ – getting game people to share their experiences with non-gaming people. Here is what we learned when we were allowed into the studios of a prominent PC and game console game developer based in Montreal which isn’t in the United States.

We met Zack Zed III, Chief Creatologist Officer at DeathPainCrash Worldz’s dark and dingy studio and asked him for his insights into the realities of entertainment games development that we can pass onto the boring people in the seriously games space to help them get over their tendency to stereotype and undervalue the cool gamer folks. This is what he had to say:

Development stages

“The typical game development cycle involves a period of checking out what other developers recently have done to inform our game design. We then go into an intensive period of design for several weeks where we draw loads of crazy characters, armored vehicles and worlds with biros and crayons. Once we know what game to copy and have the concept artwork we can then crank up our Game Design Generation software“.

“This is an invaluable tool that automatically authors a detailed game design document in as little as five minutes once we have set a few parameters such as genre, budget and sequel number. Obviously this needs acceptance from the Publisher but as they have probably determined all the design parameters in the first place they usually say yes and then change things later on…several times”.

Team

“The usual team consists of some nerds who dream of C++ sub routines all night, some smelly creative guys with tattoos and long beards that make 3D characters with big breasts, underwear, big guns and space ships, and the Suit Guys who tell everyone what to do and talk about deadlines and dollars all day long. We don’t pay too much attention to them. Usually they go away if we ignore them for long enough”.

Game design

“There are only three games you need to know to know anything about in order to be able to understand world-class game design; The Sims, Civilisation and Grand Theft Auto. I’d suggest that any budding seriously game designer who doesn’t have a game industry background play these games for at least an hour or so in order to grasp the basics of great cross-genre, educationally-valid gameplay mechanics”.

The typical day

“A typical game developer’s day is quite challenging. We need to play about a dozen different games a day to ensure that we are up to speed with current best practice as you need to know what you need to copy for your next sequel. We usually do this in the comfy room, basically a large colourful space kitted out with refrigerators, massive sound systems, high-def TV’s, game consoles, game magazines, large padded cushions and of course a pool table for when we need to chill out”.

The Crunch Period

“The ‘crunch period’ is quite a stressful period for us. That is when we push ‘Run’ on the Game Development Engine and watch carefully whilst it automatically creates our latest title. Obviously it won’t be totally bug-free and we will need to have a couple of people test if a few times before we FTP the finished files off to the publisher and start chasing our last five milestone payments”.

Advice for the boring non-game people

“The most important thing, I would suggest, in any serious game project whether it is aimed at fighter pilots, politicians, surgeons or fire fighters is to make it FUN”.

“A game must be fun even if that means making the physics, scenario or narrative unrealistic. You cannot let the mundane realities of real life make the experience boring. A serious game that, for example, allows military strategists to plan a successful atomic warfare campaign should make the user laugh and cry otherwise I would question its real effectiveness”.

Summary

The Sauce agrees 101% with these wise and knowledgable words. Serious Games designers take note!

Posted by: johnthelibertine | August 11, 2008

Jack ‘John’ Thomas out to regulate virtual worlds.

MIAMI, Florida – August 11, 2008: Everyone’s favorite lawyer, veteran anti-gamer Jack ‘John’ Thomas is at it again protecting good old family values and the online safety of our children. This time he has virtual worlds vendors in his sights.

As Thomas explains; “Some people spend up to 25 hours a day populating online virtual world environments such as BeenThere, 22nd Lives, @work and World of Penguins…having fun, but at the expense of their real life physiological needs”.

He has a point………

Read More…

Posted by: johnthelibertine | August 10, 2008

SGS research report now available

The Sauce is pleased to announce the imminent release of our own in-depth research report into the state of the seriously virtual game-like worlds marketplace.

The report involved interviewing 6 people – who we found on MyFarceBook – via email over a period of a Friday afternoon a few months ago. We have now analyzed the huge amount of data that we acquired and will probably release the full report at some point.

You will be able to buy the report for US$4,299 when it is released but in the mean time here are some teaser statistics:

Read More…

Posted by: johnthelibertine | July 29, 2008

84 ‘new’ serious games companies emerge in a week

Serious game market growth

Serious game market growth

 

LONDON, Europe – July 29th, 2008 – The latest copy of Aged eLearning Magazine arrived through The Sauce’s mail box this morning and one article in particular caught our eye.

The headline screamed “Get into the game (everyone else is!)” and was, in our expert opinion, a particularly positive commentary on the movement to virtually-gamey immersive simulation worlds that is taking place in the traditional eLearning and media sectors.

When I was a lad,” the writer, Gerald Harvey-Smythe observed, “there was a period in 1997 when every training provider suddenly became an e-training provider. The same thing is happening all over again with a plethora of companies shamelessly jumping on the bandwagon.”

This wonderful observation will come us fantastic news to those of us that have been toiling for several years in the seriously virtual psudeo-3D simulations (SVP3DS) space. Finally, we can hear you cry, “people are beginning to get it.”

Read More…

Posted by: johnthelibertine | July 28, 2008

Using RFID tags for performance improvement

Technology feature

– 28th July 2008

Quite often The Sauce is criticized for totally focusing on 3D Virtually Simulated Synthetic Game-like Worlds and for ignoring other innovative uses of technology in education, training and places where people work for a living. Usually to these people we say “Bog off, don’t you know who we are?” but we were feeling all inclusive today and decided to cover something else…RFID.

RFID & Performance Improvement

RFID & Performance Improvement

Radio-Friendly Interrogation or ‘RFID’ is, according to pickypedia.org; “an automatic identification method, relying on storing and remotely retrieving data using thingys called RFID tags or transponders. An RFID tag is an thingy that can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for the purpose of identification using radio waves.”

This might sound like a technology that would be used by the likes of the CIA for spying on bad people – which, of course, it is – however it also has more mundane uses.

Read More…

Posted by: johnthelibertine | July 27, 2008

Using Crowd Sourcing to “simulate everything”

Simulating everything with crowds

Simulating everything with crowds

FREDERICK, Maryland – July 27, 2008 –  “There is now no need for a virtual ‘second life’…your real life is about to enter cyberspace.” So claims Tommy McFury, CEO of WeAreTheWorld in an exclusive interview with The Sauce at The Seriously Synthetic Worlds conference in Maryland this week.

WeAreTheWorld has been the topic of fierce debate for quite some time now in the 3D simulated synthetic environments market place. Many people have wondered what WeAreTheWorld would offer that was different from other synthetically virtual world providers out there like BeenThereDoneIt, 22nd Lives, @Work and World of Penguins.

Read More…

Posted by: johnthelibertine | July 25, 2008

John Doe Training rebrands; launches new serious games LMS product

iNERTIA corporate ident

iNERTIA corporate ident

Idaho. – July 25, 2008 – Leading training services provider John Doe Training Associates has announced that it has re-branded as iNERTIA Action Worlds and is shortly to release its new flagship 3D serious immersive worlds-based LMS system, code-named ‘Shoehorn.’

iNERTIA is based on a small homestead close to Buckingham, which is a short train journey from Fruitland which is down the I84 and slightly north of New Plymouth which is near Boise, the State Capital of Idaho and is well-known locally for it’s agricultural training expertise.

“We were inspired to re-brand the business after seeking expert advice from the unusual source of a 14 year-old son of the community Preacher, The Rev Herbert Carbuncle III,” said iNERTIA’s Head of Wizzy Things, Hillary Mae Bakowski. “He is 14, was inspirational and gave us advice,” she explained.

Read More…

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