Fixing Steam’s User Rating Charts

By contrast, the current ranking system leads to the popular becoming more popular — once you’re on the top charts, you have increased visibility, which leads to more reviews, which further cements your chart position (as long as you stay inside your semantic rating bucket).

Those of us who want to discover hidden gems really need the search functionality to work with us, not against us. We want a system where the top charts are self-correcting, rather than self-reinforcing. Otherwise we get a situation like Apple’s with frozen charts, shady tactics, and skyrocketing user acquisition costs.

via Fixing Steam’s User Rating Charts.

Newest ‘procedural-generation’ Questions

Often synonymous with “random generation”, procedural generation is the usage of calculations and algorithms to create content, rather than referring to preset data. The typical reason is to generate content mid-gameplay, which makes for a more unpredictable and unique experience in multiple playthroughs. Common elements that are subject to procedural generation in games include item attributes, enemy abilities, and level layouts.

Procedural generation specifically refers to the usage of algorithms to generate content, it is not necessary to be random. Pseudo-random generators with fixed seeds can be considered procedural generation despite producing identical results.

via Newest ‘procedural-generation’ Questions – Game Development Stack Exchange.

The history of the cheat code

“Of course, least positively of all, another angle for many publishers is in-app purchasing – why provide a feature as a hidden cheat when you can get people to pay money to unlock it?” Seavor has also noticed this trend. “Bigger publishers have now realised you can actually sell these things to players as DLC. Want that special gun? Think you can unlock it with a cheat code? Nope! You’ve got to give us some money first!”

via The history of the cheat code.

Mobile is burning, and free-to-play binds the hands of devs who want to help

Recent data shows 20 percent of mobile games get opened once and never again. 66 percent have never played beyond the first 24 hours and indeed most purchases happen in the first week of play. Amazingly only around two to three percent of gamers pay anything at all for games, and even more hair-raising is the fact that 50 percent of all revenue comes from just 0.2 percent of players.

This is a statistically insignificant amount of happy gamers and nothing that gives you a basis to make claims about “what people want”. I think it just as likely that mobile’s orgy of casual titles is due to simple bandwagon-ism or, in other words, not knowing what people want.

via Mobile is burning, and free-to-play binds the hands of devs who want to help | Polygon.

‘What’s Oculus Rift?’ And Other Questions About Facebook’s New Foray Into Virtual Reality

But if Oculus is so great, then why do people seem so surprised that Facebook has acquired it?

Partly it’s that Oculus, despite its popularity among gamers and its buy-in from the tech community, is still a small start-up. (It got its start on Kickstarter, where, in a 2012 campaign that sought $250,000 in funding, it raised more than $2 million. It remains one of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns.) And, furthermore, Oculus has been focused on what many have seen as a niche technology for a niche demographic—hard-core gamers 

via ‘What’s Oculus Rift?’ And Other Questions About Facebook’s New Foray Into Virtual Reality – Megan Garber – The Atlantic.

Apple rejects Tank Battle 1942 for depicting Germans & Russians as “enemies”

In case you think you’ve read that wrong, I’ll summarise: a World War II-themed game that depicts fighting between two countries that actually fought in WWII breaks the rules. And apparently Drive on Moscow, Panzer Corps, and every single one of Hunted Cow’s other Tank Battle games don’t.

via Apple rejects Tank Battle 1942 for depicting Germans & Russians as “enemies” UPDATED.

Open source physics engines

Graphics give games a visual appeal, but it’s the internal physics engine that gives the game’s world life. A physics engine is a software component that provides a simulation of a physical system. This simulation can include soft- and rigid-body dynamics, fluid dynamics, and collision detection. The open source community has a number of useful physics engines operating in the 2D and 3D domains targeted to games and simulations. This article introduces the use and basics of a physics engine and explores two options that exist: Box2D and Bullet.

via Open source physics engines.

figure1

The Biggest Battle in All Of EVE

Once the TCU onlining was decided, the fight just became about carnage: who could kill the most the fastest. The fleets committed by both sides represent a staggering amount of time, effort, and ISK. Each titan costs about 100 billion ISK (up to 160 or even 220b for particularly expensive fits), which can be purchased for about $3,000 USD by buying game time and selling it to other players for ISK. More than that, though, to build a titan requires several weeks and a nice quiet undisturbed area of space, something harder to find in the current climate. Supercarriers are similarly challenging. Dreadnaughts and carriers, while not as difficult to build, still represent a significant investment of effort on the part of an industrialist somewhere.

via B-R5RB: The Biggest Battle in All Of EVE | TheMittani.com.

Game over for Zynga? Firm loses 25 percent of daily active users in one quarter

In its latest earnings statement filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Zynga reported the number of daily average users (DAU) dropped to 39 million in the second quarter of 2013—the lowest ever since the company began keeping track. Last quarter, the DAU fell to the then-lowest record, 52 million users. The fall to 39 million means that 25 percent of its daily user base stopped using Zynga products in just one quarter.

via Game over for Zynga? Firm loses 25 percent of daily active users in one quarter | Ars Technica.