Archive for the ‘serious games’ Category

Articy:Draft

Articy:Draft may well be the best interactive authoring tool created so far. We didn’t have time to play with it in closed beta, but the software is now up on Steam Greenlight, and you can vote to make Articy:Draft available on Steam.

The current cost of the software runs close to $500, but if it goes to Steam, the cost should decrease. If you subscribe to Game Developer magazine, you can read a lengthy review of the software written by Tobias Heussner (unfortunately, the article hasn’t been made available online yet). Google Articy:Draft for more information, and follow the developer, Nevigo, on Twitter to stay up to date with the tool.

The next time we’re back on an interactive project (or during a hiatus between academic semesters, if we’re ultra-ambitious), we plan to be taking a long look at Articy:Draft.

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Story-Based Self Tests as an Instructional Tool

Self Test ScreenshotRead a brand-new article composed by co-author Nick Iuppa exclusively for this site, on some of the work he’s been doing for clients the past couple of years.

For more “tales from the trenches” like this new article, check out our books End to End Game Development and Story and Simulations for Serious Games, both published by Focal Press and available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

CryEngine 3 SDK Free For Non-Commercial Games

While we’re on the subject of powerful game engines that are now free for non-commercial games (an umbrella most  serious games and simulations would fall under), Crytek has released a free downloadable SDK (software development kit) for its (previously) proprietary CryEngine 3 game engine.

CryEngine offers about everything you could want in a game engine, and the developer community is robust. We’d love to hear about serious games or simulations being developed using CryEngine.

What Smart Companies Must Learn From Gaming

This informational video from eWeek argues that companies and institutions can learn from gaming: it then stands to reason that using game technology, design and aesthetics to aid business processes, training and problem-solving makes a lot of sense. End to End Game Development can help get you there!

Unreal Development Kit

In the 2 years since End to End Game Development came out, the availability of low-cost game engines has increased significantly. We knew, of course, that the chapter in our book devoted to game engines would become obsolete almost instantly (we think the remaining chapters are as valid and useful today as they were in 2009).

We should certainly highlight Epic Games’ Unreal Development Kit (UDK), which is available for nearly every platform: PC, console and mobile. This is the nearly free edition of Unreal Engine 3. Price is $99 per studio license, with royalties kicking in only after $50,000 in net earnings. (For serious games and simulations, that’s a high bar.)

UDK requires little to no programming, and its features make for an extremely powerful platform. It’s worth checking out if you’re gearing up to make a serious game or simulation.

MASTERING CELTX Available for Pre-Order

Mastering CeltxCo-author Terry Borst’s new book Mastering Celtx is being published by Cengage Learning, and can now be pre-ordered at any of your favorite booksellers (brick-and-mortar, and online).

Celtx describes itself as an all-in-one media pre-production tool. For years, novice and professional screenwriters have had to spend a good chunk of change for either Final Draft or Movie Magic Screenwriter in order to compose and distribute professional looking screenplays. Celtx is open-source and free.

Celtx’s redefinition of pre-production workflows is something to look at if you’re creating a serious game, independent game or simulation.

Check out the Twitter feed for the book: @masteringceltx.

Microsoft’s Productivity Games

We’ve rounded up several posts about Microsoft’s productivity games, for an overview of what the software giant has been doing in this important subspecies of serious games.

Productivity games are applications designed to increase work efficiency while also increasing job satisfaction through the application of game aesthetics and mechanics.  Virtually all jobs have some degree of repetitiveness — some more than others — and nearly all of us hate that aspect of work.

Yet interestingly, games require repetition — and find ways to encourage us to embrace the repetition. If we can find ways to build some fun into job repetitiveness, both employer and employee should win.

The games described include Microsoft’s Windows 7 localization game, and their current game encouraging usage and feedback for Office Communicator.

Scroll down towards the bottom of this post (included in the overall roundup), look for “Helpful Material,” and you’ll get a great set of links for the further study on the topic of productivity games.

Robots Playing World of Warcraft?

It’s safe to say that Georgia Tech is on the cutting edge of serious game and simulation development, and this article provides an overview of some of what the school is up to.

A particularly interesting direction is in the use of game engines and virtual worlds to help train and teach robots:  if a robot can navigate and engage in a virtual world simulation, it will likely do better when it engages in the real world.  In addition, virtual worlds offer an environment where robots and humans may jointly collaborate on situations, preparing them for collaboration in the real world.

Robots aren’t actually playing World of Warcraft yet, but they may take a shine to it in the future…

Read the entire article:  you’ll also find out about AI applications in the field of intelligent narrative technologies, an area discussed in both End to End Game Development and Story and Simulations for Serious Games.

Original iPad Serious Games and Simulations?

We’d love to hear about any ongoing iPad serious game or simulation development from our readers.  We’re aware of repurposing or porting over of iPhone apps to the iPad (an example here), including anecdotal discussions from recent app conferences — but are there new applications being developed that specifically take advantage of the form factor and interface?

Recently, a production company rolled out several interactive short films made specifically for the iPad, and this seems to be a very promising kind of application for soft skills simulations (human resources, customer interactions, etc.).  But leave a comment or get in touch for any bulletins from the front!

Q&A with Christy Marx

Write Your Way Into Animation and GamesChristy Marx is the editor of the new Focal Press book Write Your Way Into Animation and Games (with several chapters contributed by End to End Game Development authors Nick Iuppa and Terry Borst).  She was kind enough to answer a few questions about the book for our readers.

Q: Tell us a little about ‘Write Your Way…’ and its mission.

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