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Archive for September, 2010

ScribbleLive plans to reinvent the news article

September 30th, 2010 No comments

old newspapersAs readers seem to expect more and more live news coverage, a Toronto startup called ScribbleLive has been developing a fast, collaborative way for news organizations to keep up. Co-founder and chief executive Michael De Monte said the latest version of the service, which launched today, lays the groundwork for what he’s hoping will be a new kind of news article.

ScribbleLive is already pretty cool News organizations create a web page or an embedded stream of content to cover a specific event or breaking news story. Then reporters can add updates in almost any way they like. They can log onto the site and post stories, pictures, and videos, of course, but they can also email their text, photos, and videos, or upload them via an iPhone application. And they can incorporate reader comments and Twitter updates into the stream.

Today’s updates add more ways to cover the story. Reporters can leave a voicemail that will be posted on the site, or send an SMS text message. There’s a new BlackBerry app. ScribbleLive offers more security on its news sites using Secure Sockets Layer technology.

This may sound like liveblogging software such as CoverItLive, but I was impressed by the range of features. Plus, De Monte said liveblogging competitors only offer content in the form of a widget, while ScribbleLive lets publishers create their own branded pages. And now it’s possible to push updates to multiple pages at once — for example, a national news organization could push presidential election news to different local news pages.

ScribbleLive launched the earliest version of its service back in 2008, and it’s used by large organizations like Reuters and Hearst Television. For now, it’s mainly a supplement to traditional news articles, De Monte acknowledged — if you want to follow a news story as it happens, then it makes sense to check a ScribbleLive page for updates, but if it’s days or weeks later, then a more digestible news article is probably more attractive.

But the company’s long-term goal is to erase that boundary. In other words, De Monte wants a ScribbleLive page to become that definitive news article, not just a liveblog that’s only relevant for a few hours. We’ll begin to see that shift later that year, he said, when the company adds the ability to edit the page, dragging and dropping content wherever you please (right now everything’s presented as a stream of content in reverse chronological order, though you can “pin” specific posts to the top). So the page starts out as more of a liveblog, then news organiztaions can edit it as the story develops, polishing and consolidating the content.

ScribbleLive raised a seed round from Rogers Ventures at the end of 2009, and just raised another round from the same firm. It plans to raise a venture round in the next four to six months.
Reuters.com Bangkok protests

[top image via Flickr/ShironekoEuro]

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Ubisoft taking Petz franchise into the MMO space, also ponytown

September 30th, 2010 No comments
Ubisoft recently revealed two upcoming installments in its prolific Petz franchise, which are actually shaking things up in a pretty significant manner. See, one title, Petz World, will actually turn the franchise into a free-to-play MMO where players can "explore and learn about exotic locations, meet new and exotic animals and even save them." See, now both kids and closeted adult Petz fans can congregate in an online world, and interact without the ... oh. Oh, wait. Now that we've said it out loud, that actually sounds like a terrible idea.

The other innovative title is Petz Horsez Family for the DS, which bills itself as the "ultimate horse nurturing game." What's so special about Petz Horsez Family, you might ask? Well, aside from having an unusually high noun-to-word ratio for a game title, it's ... only going to be on sale at Toys 'R Us when it comes out on October 24. Don't even try to pre-order that stuff at GameStop -- you'll be sorely, sorely disappointed.

Continue reading Ubisoft taking Petz franchise into the MMO space, also ponytown

JoystiqUbisoft taking Petz franchise into the MMO space, also ponytown originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 01 Oct 2010 01:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Game Party: In Motion announced for Kinect

September 30th, 2010 No comments

Game Party: In Motion announced for Kinect screenshot

This is the kind of stuff that does not interest me in the slightest about Kinect. I've been hopeful that the technology will deliver some really amazing game experiences in the future, but we're a good ways off from that. This Game Party: In Motion is what we will be getting for a while, I'm afraid. 

I'm trying to figure out how this collection of minigames will even function. These sorts of activities, bar games and the like, are somewhat dependent on the physical object in your hand. I can't see myself having a whole lot of fun (or success) throwing an imaginary dart or moving an ice hockey paddle from the ethereal plane.

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Will Wright gifts design docs and personal papers to Museum of Play

September 30th, 2010 No comments
We already knew that Super Fun Club's Will Wright was a swell guy, but his recent donation of "personal papers and design documents" to the Strong National Museum of Play places him firmly is really swell guy territory. The International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG) -- an institution within the museum -- has collected nine notebooks from Wright, featuring "original drawings, sketches, and notes for four of his SimCity, The Sims, and Spore games." Some of his donation will be on display this coming November as part of the "eGameRevolution" exhibit on the museum's second floor, for those interested in taking a peek.

ICHEG director Jon-Paul Dyson spoke of the donation in a statement (via 1UP), "These papers document the creative process behind some of the most important games of our time. They have transformed our society, and we are pleased to preserve this record of how Wright created them." Wright lavished the ICHEG with equal praise, saying, "I know of no other institution that is covering the topic as comprehensively as they are."

Wright's work will otherwise be housed alongside an enormous arcade collection -- what the ICHEG deems "the most significant games ever manufactured -- from Computer Space (1971) and Pong (1972) to Space Invaders (1978) and Pac-Man (1980) to Donkey Kong (1981) and Tetris (1988)" -- as well as an over 10,000-strong console game library. In other news, we totally know we're going when the Zombie Apocalypse goes down.

JoystiqWill Wright gifts design docs and personal papers to Museum of Play originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 01 Oct 2010 00:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Catching up with Might & Magic Heroes VI

September 30th, 2010 No comments

Catching up with Might & Magic Heroes VI screenshot

We caught our first glimpse of Might and Magic Heroes VI at this year's gamescom, but further details since then have been fairly sparse. Fortunately, I was able to sit down with producer Erwan LeBreton at Ubisoft's Digital Day and get a closer look at the game.

Although the Might & Magic franchise has grown to encompass multiple different genres over the years, the Heroes series is best known for its unique blend of turn-based strategy and RPG elements. While Heroes VI appears to remain faithful to the series, preserving many of the gameplay mainstays, great effort has been made to implement changes and improvements that fans have been clamoring for.

Might & Magic Heroes VI (PC)
Developer: Black Hole Entertainment
Publisher: Ubisoft
To be released: 2011

Upon sitting down to start the demo, the first and most obvious improvement was the  brand-new engine and art direction for this title. Heroes VI is running on Black Hole's own in-house engine and sports a more realistic visual style, as opposed to the "cartoony" look of Heroes V. Models and textures were sharp and detailed, the effective use of color and contrast in overworld exploration was gorgeous, and the attention to detail in the combat animation blew me away. You may be wondering what type of rig you are going to need to run something like this, but I've been assured that the engine has actually been optimized to run well on laptops!

In terms of gameplay, Heroes VI appears to remain true to the series. The classic gameplay loop of building, exploration, resource collection, combat, and character advancement have all been faithfully recreated. Everything appears to have been built from the ground up to be more streamlined and responsive, giving the game a truly "next-gen" feel.

Some of the changes will include:

  • The new interface is clean and unobtrusive, and manages to make movement and combat a pleasure rather than a chore.
  • Hero progression has been completely retooled, giving the player more freedom to choose how they build and customize their character. Gone are the days of choosing to take the experience reward and crossing your fingers that you will actually unlock something decent.
  • Resource gathering no longer requires that you use up precious action points, constantly backtracking to recapture or harvest previously controlled nodes. Once captured, they will now link to a nearby player controlled fortress and funnel into your stock each turn. Opposing players must physically capture a fortress in order to gain control of linked resources.
  • Finally, the ability to convert captured cities into any faction that you currently control. Gone are the days of trying to make angels and demons play nice in your party!

If you are a fan of any of the previous Heroes titles, or even RPG and strategy games, this is definitely one to look forward to!



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Tim Schafer to be honored with lifetime achievement award at IndieCade 2010

September 30th, 2010 No comments
IndieCade will be awarding its Honorary Trailblazer Award for Lifetime Achievement to none other than Tim Schafer, he of the Secret of Monkey Island series, Psychonauts and most recently Brütal Legend. Schafer was chosen for the honor as a role model to indie gamers everywhere, and for personifying "the risk-taking, boundary pushing spirit at the heart of the indepedent gaming community," according to a statement from the conference.

IndieCade 2010 takes place in about a week on October 8-10, 2010 in Culver City, California. Schafer will get his award presented to him by former (and current) colleague Ron Gilbert at the ceremony on Thursday night, hosted by Levar Burton.

JoystiqTim Schafer to be honored with lifetime achievement award at IndieCade 2010 originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 30 Sep 2010 23:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Magic Solver filters the crowded App Store to find apps that are “magical” (video)

September 30th, 2010 No comments

Magic Solver is attacking the app discovery problem head on. With more than 250,000 apps on the iPhone and iPad, it’s easy for developers’ apps to get lost and it’s hard for users to find  they really enjoy.

So Magic Solver has created the Daily Magic Cube app, which you can see in the picture and the video below in its iPad format. The company finds magical apps, or those that are delightful or surprisingly good in some way (it doesn’t refer to magic tricks). The Daily Magic Cube app presents you with just a single “magical” app each day that the company believes will knock your socks off. You can tap the screen to buy it if you want it. It also presents you with other highly filtered selections of news, videos or music. It thus reduces the complex, crowded App Store into a very simple app.

I caught up with the company today at the Plug and Play Expo in Sunnyvale, Calif. Emmanuel Carraud, chief executive of Magic Solver, was one of 40 executives that spoke about startups before a crowd of investors. His company is addressing the key issue of app discovery that we will address at our DiscoveryBeat 2010 conference on Oct. 18.

The point of the app is to save you time sorting through all of the content to find twhat you want, said Carraud, whose company is based in Cambridge, U.K. The presentation is cute as an animation reveals the app of the day to you. If you want more than just one app, you can browse through a bunch of categories such as Top Stories, Gossip, Sports, or Health. You can view the top-rated and most-watched video on YouTube. You can check out tweets, view pictures, listen to songs and find other cool stuff.

Magic Solver is getting ready to launch the app in the U.S., where the company hasn’t had much of a presence yet. It has set up an office at the Plug and Play Tech Center in order to pull off the launch.

The company was formed in 2008 by Carraud and two friends, Oliver Lamming and Leon Palm, from Cambridge University. They created a Sudoku Solver that worked by taking a photo of a Sudoku puzzle and then solving it for you. They went on to win a business competition at Cambridge and have since created a bunch of games and other apps — Daily Magic Cube is the 15th — that have been downloaded more than 2.5 million times.

DB2010Getting content noticed is a challenge for everyone making apps. Join us at DiscoveryBeat 2010 and hear secrets from top industry executives about how to break through and profit in the new cross-platform app ecosystem. From metrics to monetization, we’ll take an in depth look at the best discovery strategies and why they’re working. The conference takes place on October 18th at the Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco. Sponsors can contact us at sponsors@venturebeat.com. To buy tickets, click here.




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The 3rd Birthday TGS trailer speaks our language

September 30th, 2010 No comments
You may have a bit of trouble picking up on the particulars of this finally released TGS trailer for The 3rd Birthday, thanks to its Japanese voice dub. However, an equal portion of the video is also created using the universal language: Violence, inflicted onto and by gigantic, horrifying monsters.

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JoystiqThe 3rd Birthday TGS trailer speaks our language originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 30 Sep 2010 23:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spend $30 on XBLM in Oct., get $10 in MS Points back

September 30th, 2010 No comments
Remember when all the good Xbox Live Arcade Games were just $5? Yeah, well, you're remembering incorrectly. If your miserliness is getting in the way of enjoying all that Xbox Live Marketplace has to offer, Microsoft is making the exorbitant spending a little easier next month.

Spend 2500 Microsoft Points (that's a whopping $30!) between 12:01AM ET October 1 and 11:59PM ET October 31, and Microsoft will credit your Xbox Lvie account back 800 Points ($10) by November 30. Now, the promotion is valid on all XBLM game conrent, including game add-ons, Avatar accessories and XBLA titles, but we'll make the decision even easier for you: Comic Jumper + Super Meat Boy. Done. Pay me!

JoystiqSpend $30 on XBLM in Oct., get $10 in MS Points back originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 30 Sep 2010 22:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Medal of Honor really wants you to know about Tier 1

September 30th, 2010 No comments
These Tier 1 guys, they sure know how to ... umm ... remind us that Medal of Honor is a modern war game -- you know, in the sense that they're tough looking and are clearly armed to the teeth. Heck, amidst all the danger they're in, they don't even shed tear one!

Continue reading Medal of Honor really wants you to know about Tier 1

JoystiqMedal of Honor really wants you to know about Tier 1 originally appeared on Joystiq on Thu, 30 Sep 2010 22:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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