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First game ever: The good, the bad and the ugly

Posted by Timothy Loew May 29, 2013 10:17 AM

By Liz Cormack, Marketing Manager, The Tap Lab

Have you ever heard John Lennon’s first song? It was called “Hello Little Girl,” and it was, well, bad.

What about Steven Spielberg’s first commercial film? It was called Firelight. He made one dollar from it, and that’s about what it was worth.

Riddled with imperfection, those first attempts at greatness still contained the spark that brought us two of the world’s greatest entertainers. Those works were just part of the path Lennon and Spielberg walked to get to their greatest accomplishments – the same path that must be followed for any musician, director, or even video game designer.

Creating that first, awful game is essential. Mistakes will be made, lessons will be learned, and great game developers will be born.


A pilgrim's tale: The joy of conferences and video games that teach

Posted by Michael Warshaw May 17, 2013 09:42 AM

By Scot Osterweil, creative director, MIT Education Arcade

In the opening to David Lodge’s wonderful comic novel Small World, he likens a group of academics on a swing through a series of conferences to Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims, revealing themselves as they swap stories. I thought of that novel as I spent the past month attending five conferences; one here at MIT, and four on the other side of the continent.

It’s not hard to find the humor in conference-going, with its share of self-promoting speakers, not to mention the ever-present networking. I flew off to the majority of these meetings filled with more dread than anticipation. But at each of them, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the things I learned, either through presentations or conversations. Each such positive moment was a reminder of the importance of human interaction in our construction of knowledge.


Towards a smarter game: AI conference heads to Boston

Posted by Michael Warshaw May 13, 2013 01:41 PM

By Dr. Gita Sukthankar, assistant professor, University of Central Florida

Ever wonder how a character in a video game knows the right thing to say? Or have you been frustrated when your non-player companion messes up an easy tactical move? If so, come to the Ninth Annual AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment (AIIDE) on October 14-18th, 2013, at Northeastern University. That will be the place to talk about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to artificial intelligence in computer games.

After several years in California, the conference is coming to the vibrant game development community of Greater Boston. AIIDE 2013 is being sponsored by two local companies -- Charles River Analytics and Boston Dynamics -- that work on the more "serious" facets of game research: simulation, modeling, and training.


The K-Cup coffee conundrum, and the cost of convenience

Posted by Michael Warshaw May 2, 2013 12:24 PM

By Dan Basoli, economist, Abt Associates Inc.

Coffee_Keyboard.jpgAh, coffee – sweet nectar of life, without which we just can’t function. And yet, we’re practically obsessed with reducing what we spend for our daily caffeine fix. Or at least, I am. After I smashed my coffee pot carafe against the side of the kitchen sink last week – a fate I knew was inevitable – I faced a truly dreadful decision: Do I upgrade to a Keurig-style K-cup system, or stay with the more traditional, dineresque, drip-style brew system?

No doubt, the K-cup system is great, brewing a virtually instant cup ‘o Joe without the hassle of dealing with a whole pot. (Instant coffee, with its wretched taste, is out of the question). But what is this convenience going to cost me? Do I really want to spend that on a coffee maker, and what about having to buy these K-cups?


About this blog

MassDiGI 8-24 287w872.jpgThe State of Play, organized by MassDiGI, features stories by digital and video game developers and business insiders. Follow along @mass_digi.


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