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I Love This German Grandma Reading Children's Books On Twitch
"My knowledge of foreign languages amounts to “can read some French okay and could conceivably order a beer and ask where to bathroom is if I really had to.” Despite this, I still can’t get enough of a German grandma reading what I’m pretty sure are children’s books on Twitch.

I do not speak any German at all, so I can’t really tell you much about this woman—I was browsing Twitch Creative and clicked on the profile for MarmeladenOma, because she seemed nice. Upon plugging in my headphones I realized she wasn’t speaking English. I’m not sure what she’s reading, but she seems like she’s about to bring me some milk and cookies. I’m sold!"
twitch  grandparents  reading  fun  streaming  2017  via:tealtan 
january 2017 by robertogreco
D&D on your tablet and in your browser, complete with dice and a Dungeon Master | Polygon
"Roll20, one of the most popular virtual tabletop solutions, will now offer officially licensed Dungeons & Dragons content from Wizards of the Coast. The browser-based software includes both video and voice chat, and even integrates with Google Hangouts. A version will also be available for iOS and Android tablets.

"While Roll20 was designed to play nearly any tabletop game, the spark that pushed us to start the product was Dungeons & Dragons," said Roll20 co-founder Riley Dutton, "Our very name, ‘Roll20’ comes from the concept of a ‘critical hit’ as popularized by D&D. For us, D&D represents an evergreen part of our gaming lives, and to be officially working with its creators and caretakers certainly feels like we’ve made a winning roll."

Originally funded through Kickstarter, Roll20 has experienced incredible growth over the past few years and recently ticked over 1.6 million users. The secret is the ease with which people can join a game. Game masters just send out a web link, and one click later players are looking at a map and ready to roll for initiative.

"This is the simplest way to bring an online group together," the website reads. "You spend more time playing, and less time swearing at firewalls."

The first D&D module available on Roll20 will be Lost Mine of Phandelver, the same module that launched the fifth edition of D&D with the most recent Starter Set. For $19.99 it will include all of the content needed to run the game, including pre-generated character sheets, maps and player tokens. Roll20 says that other licensed content will follow, including the latest D&D adventure module Storm King’s Thunder in September.

"We’re always looking to broaden access to Dungeons & Dragons, and Roll20 already plays a significant part of that expansion," said Greg Tito, communications manager at Wizards of the Coast. "We are excited to see what the future brings."

We spent some time reacquainting ourselves with the Roll20 platform over the last few days. It’s grown so much from its launch a few years ago, both in terms of features and stability. With the addition of these pre-made, officially licensed D&D modules it’s hard to think of a better solution for getting people together and playing traditional RPGs online.

Access to the system is free, with memberships for enhanced features starting at $4.99 a month. There will be a fee for licensed D&D content.

Roll20 is a surprisingly modern solution with plenty of bells and whistles. For instance, video and voice chat are standard. They’re also fully integrated into the system. It’s not a bolted-on solution, or a series of programs requiring multiple screens to make sense of. You, your virtual miniatures on the table and the real-time video feed of the people you’re playing with are all contained inside the browser window.

Parties even have the choice of Roll20’s own integrated video solution or Google Hangouts.

This isn’t the first time that Wizards of the Coast has licensed its content to a virtual tabletop. Just last year it made a splash when it brought D&D to the Steam storefront with the venerable Fantasy Grounds system. But in our opinion the Roll20 solution is a few steps ahead.

One of the latest additions to the platform is a lighter version of the client designed for in-person play on a tablet. Available for free on the iOS and Android app stores, they give game masters powerful tools for organizing their campaign and taking it on the road.

D&D is currently experiencing a growth spurt of its own thanks in no small part to the proliferation of Twitch and YouTube streaming. It’s something we’ll be chatting with their team about at this year’s Gen Con in Indianapolis. Polygon’s coverage begins next week"
dungeonsanddragons  internet  web  online  games  gaming  2016  roll20  twitch  youtube  edg  srg 
july 2016 by robertogreco
11 video game trends that will change the future of the industry | Technology | The Guardian
"1. VR with friends rather than alone

2. Physically collaborative games

Virtual reality and its experimental tech contemporaries are exploring new ways to incorporate the body as more than just an anchor to the physical world. As Ghislaine Boddington, creative director of body>data>space, noted in her talk on virtual reality and the “internet of bodies”, the hope for the future is in recognising and augmenting physical bodies in games and play. She offers technologies like programmable gels used with the body in more intimate ways, such as rubbing “gels on to erogenous zones”, allowing partners to “connect together at a distance”.

Boddington also noted the future of physically collaborative and increasingly social spaces in AR, as seen in the very popular Pokémon Go: “Pokémon Go is definitely a collaborative share space. The Pokémon Go site, along with many others, allow the individual to join with the group into the middle, both in a physical and a virtual way.”

Implications of the physical are vast, as Robin Hunicke, co-founder and creative director of Funomena (Woorld, Luna) and previously of thatgamecompany (Journey), noted on the psychological impact of VR brought about by gestural controls, and recognising the capacity of range of movement from players. What does it mean for a player, psychologically, to encourage them to stand tall and strike a powerful pose? What might it mean to force them into a crouched position, to feel small? The necessity of an embodied experience in VR also brings up new questions, such as what the platform offers by way of accessibility.

3. The future of augmented reality

Pokémon Go came to the UK on the third and last day of the conference, and it felt like everyone in Brighton was catching Magikarp and Shellder and Seel and all the other water Pokémon the seaside town had to offer. Had this international hit been available a little earlier, the conference schedule would surely have contained a few more panels about augmented reality. Whether we can expect to see an AR-heavy Develop 2017 will depend on whether Pokémon Go represents the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a one-off success carried by an already successful brand.

Ismail thinks the latter. When asked what he would do with Pokémon Go, he said that he would sell it, and that it hasn’t proven anything about AR itself. “We’re seeing a lot of discussion right now about whether AR just beat VR, and I think that would be a very wrong statement. Like, Pokémon beat VR, that’s for sure, but I guess Pokémon beat everything at the moment. Pokémon beat Tinder and Twitter, which is a big deal.”

Hunicke might not be looking to make the next Pokémon Go, but she’s still interested in the potential of augmented-reality games that “make the world more silly and joyful, and less logical”. One of Funomena’s upcoming games, Woorld, is described as “a hand-held Alternative Reality experience”, a “whimsical, exploratory application” that lets you place virtual objects against the backdrop of your physical environment. Created in collaboration with Google, with art from Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy, Noby Noby Boy), this colourful augmented-reality game and sandbox will be available on devices that include Google’s new AR-enabling platform Tango, like the upcoming Lenovo Phab2 Pro.

4. Incremental console updates …

5. The next step for mobile: TV …

6. Sayonara, Steam: the rise of specialised stores

The number of games on Steam is on the rise, and with it, the number of games that go unplayed or unnoticed. Nearly 37% of all registered Steam games go unplayed , and it’s no secret that many indie games – even good, critically acclaimed games – get lost amid a sea of other green lit games.

In light of this, smaller more specialised distribution services are becoming more important. Itch.io, an “indie game marketplace and DIY game jam host” is already hugely popular in the indie scene, offering pay-what-you-want and minimum-pricing models. Just last year, Itch’s co-founder Leaf Corcoran revealed in a blog post about the site’s finances that they had paid out $393,000 to developers. Since then, the platform has only grown and it’s likely that we’ll see more specialised distributors following Itch’s model.

7. The rise of indie studios …

8. Rejecting crunch

Crunch, ie mandatory (and often unpaid) overtime in the weeks or months leading to a game’s release, has long been an issue for this industry. More than a decade since Erin Hoffman wrote about her husband’s experiences of unpaid overtime when working for EA, in an originally anonymous blog post known at the time as “EA Spouse”, crunch is still commonplace in studios of all sizes, and people are still fighting it.

At this year’s Develop, Machine Studios (Maia) founder Simon Roth gave a talk called “Killing the Indie Crunch Myth: Shipping Games Alive”, which began tweet:
People who support crunch are going against 100+ years of data and science. They are the flat earthers of software development.

9. Design that puts feelings first

The design practice underlying Hunicke’s studio Funomena, and the focus of her keynote, is one she calls “feel engineering”. As Hunicke describes it: “Feel engineering is the process by which you create a game backwards from the feeling you want to create in a person forward towards the mechanics and the dynamics of the game itself.” She notes that while feel engineering isn’t easy, due to its time commitment, high cost, and level of emotional investment asked from development teams, it’s worth it. Hunicke speaks to the positive studio culture of feeling-focused engineering, and its contrast to the toxicity of crunch is evident. “The process of making it is so delightful,” she adds. “It’s so much better than anything I’ve ever done.”

We’ve already seen aspects of feel engineering in the mobile market, with games looking to reverse-engineer social situations people already find fun. Haslam outlines how the design of “co-operative shouting game” Spaceteam was inspired by the social experience of playing a board game with friends, an experience its lead designer Henry Smith already enjoyed.

10. Trying – and failing …

11. Feeling twitchy about YouTube and Twitch"
games  gaming  videogames  future  2016  vr  virtualreality  ar  augmentedreality  youtube  twitch  funomena  kickstarter  crowdfunding  indiegames  design  gamedesign  spaceteam  social  collaboration  braid  worldofgoo  steam  itch.io  mobile  phones  smartphones  pokemongo  keitatakahashi  robinhunicke  thatgamecompany  ghislaineboddington  body>data>space  bodies  play  physical  oculusrift  ramiismail  jordanericaebber  katbrewster  pokémongo  body 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Future of Video Is a Wonderful Mess -- Following: How We Live Online
"As video — and livestreaming in particular — grows in popularity on the web, we can expect to see more of this: people becoming their own professional broadcasting operations, warping and tweaking the aesthetic of their stream to fit their brand in a way similar to a cable news channel, and piling loads of extraneous information into the frame. This is exciting! The idea that users want a tidy, uniform experience across a service is mostly an idea clung to by technologists — the average social-media user doesn’t care about cleanliness. If they did, we wouldn’t be seeing an astonishing amount of compression rot in the multimedia passed around on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr.

Twitch is, as of now, the best indication yet that the web is ebbing back toward Myspace on the Myspace-Facebook spectrum. The reasons for this are both technological — rendering and processing video is expensive — and cultural. As more and more people come of age using the web and using technology, uniformity in design and aesthetic isn’t as necessary. Facebook emerged as a service friendly to people who had never used a social network before, and that population is rapidly dwindling. We’re moving toward visual cacophony because we now have the ability to parse that mess easily. That beautiful mess is something to look forward to."
video  web  online  future  messiness  myspace  aesthetics  facebook  gifs  geocities  webrococo  snapchat  twitter  socialmedia  netflix  hulu  twitch  minecraft  ui  hud  annotations  tumblr  instagram  brainfeldman  multiliteracies 
february 2016 by robertogreco
FutureEverything 2015: Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie on Vimeo
"From New York Times R&D Labs, Alexis Lloyd and Matt Boggie talk about our possible media futures, following the early days of the web - where growth was propelled forward by those making their own spaces online - to the present, where social platforms are starting to close down, tightening the possibilities whilst our dependency on them is increasing. Explaining how internet users are in fact participatory creators, not just consumers, Alexis and Matt ask where playing with news media can allow for a new means of expression and commentary by audiences."
public  media  internet  web  online  walledgardens  participation  participatory  2015  facebook  snapchat  open  openness  alexisloyd  mattboggie  publishing  blogs  blogging  history  audience  creativity  content  expression  socialnetworks  sociamedia  onlinemedia  appropriation  remixing  critique  connection  consumption  creation  sharing  participatoryculture  collage  engagement  tv  television  film  art  games  gaming  videogames  twitch  performance  social  discussion  conversation  meaningmaking  vine  twitter  commentary  news  commenting  reuse  community  culturecreation  latoyapeterson  communication  nytimes  agneschang  netowrkedculture  nytimesr&dlabs  bots  quips  nytlabs  compendium  storytelling  decentralization  meshnetworking  peertopeer  ows  occupywallstreet  firechat  censorship  tor  bittorrent  security  neutrality  privacy  iot  internetofthings  surveillance  networkedcitizenship  localnetworks  networks  hertziantribes  behavior  communities  context  empowerment  agency  maelstrom  p2p  cookieswapping  information  policy  infrastructure  technology  remixculture 
march 2015 by robertogreco
It's Totally Normal to Watch Other People Play Video Games - The Atlantic
"I turned to a friend of the family, Aaron Briggs, to help grok Twitch. Briggs is 18, and described himself “mostly as a viewer but also a streamer” of the website. When he was most active as a streamer, he said his feeds had between 500 and 600 live viewers. 

“It’s a really weird happening,” he said of the service. “It’s very strange but also enticing.”

“I grew up with a much older brother. I’ve been watching games since I was really, really young,” Briggs said. And with games, he agreed: “Watching is as important as playing.”

And watching on Twitch can be better than playing. The service exposed him to the more competitive, professional sides of video gaming, “things you’d normally never see,” said Briggs. Some players practice speed runs of certain games, like the original Mario Bros., and then live-stream their attempts at certain records.

But he quickly compared the service to an experience more familiar to Boomers, and, indeed, many Americans. “It’s a lot like going to a Super Bowl party.” It’s a community event gathered around spectating.

Key to that community is Twitch chat, the open chat window next to the viewing screen. Each stream has its own chat window, and streamers respond to questions and jokes in the chat as they’re playing the game.

​“It makes something like watching a video, which would normally seem anti-social” actually social, said Briggs. “You see other people doing it too, and you feel like you’re part of something.”

That phenomenon should be familiar to any media watcher in 2014, even the Boomer-iest: It’s a second screen. Just as Twitter or Facebook can become a running line of gags, comments, and complaints during an awards show or Presidential debate, so does the Twitch chat window. Which is just another reason Amazon can bank on it—it’s a video service (with more primetime viewers than CNN or E!) with its own built-in social network.

And that may be just the kind of new twist this old custom needed."
twitch  robinsonmeyer  amazon  2014  spectators  videogames  games  gaming  backchannel  conversation  social  media  video  livestreaming  web  online  internet 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Why Would Google Amazon Want to Buy Twitch? -- Vulture
"In a way, the success of Twitch is not really a story about games—people would be playing games anyway. It’s about the desire to connect."
twitch  social  socialmedia  games  gameing  videogames  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco

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