Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer Stephen Fisher - Designer and Developer

Content ID: Brief Feelings

all ur base

All your content belong to Us


As someone who has partaken and does occasionally produce videos for YouTube it is not surprising that I am concerned regarding Goggles push or rather pushed stance regarding ‘copyright’ material mainly that of video games. The use of material such as logos, gameplay and music is one that arguably one that is not easy to resolve. In regards to gaming it is fair to state that the majority of game developers and publishers do not mind their games being in essence promoted in video form and even release press copies to channels often upon request for editorial purposes, as someone registered as gaming press I know this to be true.

The majority of these copyright claims tend to be focused not around the use of game-play itself rather the audio tracks underlining many of them with games such as Grand Theft Auto 5 specifically stating that none of its music in game is to be uploaded or streamed without consent. Taking money for content created and work put into a video is fair enough if it take into account up-loaders own workload involved i.e. why does 10 seconds of audio mean a copyright claimant can claim all the monetization profits from the video. If this was honestly something that was to have rolled out around a year ago I would have never gone near YouTube for video content sharing, all they are doing is penalising their core demographics and opening the doors for more unsupported channels to emerge.

In regards to my own channel / collaboration we are taking this stance: We will continue to roll out content as long as publishers are on a growing list of those opposing content ID practices on YouTube as for those who currently are supporting it which tend to be companies with offices in eastern countries at present video content will be handled more carefully. We do not monetize a lot of our videos cause a) they don’t get the views and b) we are not in it to make money rather just make videos and as when we want to for the fun of it. Content ID wont really effect me directly much but as a practice understanding who owns what is where the net is regarded a marred mess.

I own this and I want it all does not mean that is necessarily right, freedom of fair use acts and even negative promotion gets a product/ service into public domain. Google is really mis-stepping too much atm and all it would take is a competitor to step up to force changes in the digital landscape.

I am not gonna go into depth on this matter as there are plenty out there that understand more and are being impacted greatly. It is peoples careers this affects!

#Suspicion: Where being social is Deadly!


Over 250 million tweets are posted each day, there are around 1 billion Facebook accounts in operation and everyday we are leaking more and more information about ourselves on-line. 

#SUSPICION is aiming to place you in the most socially deadly game of who dunnit yet to be created using modern leaps in technology alongside traditional card based game play elements you will be competing to work out out who commit a series of murders with ‘live’ interactions with victims friends and families. Build up points by correctly asking and interviewing friends and family but watch out as one of you will be placed as the killer and it is there jobs to tamper with the evidence, scare witnesses and otherwise ensure they don’t get found out.

Featuring NFC technology players can actively interact with game elements and using social media keep a breast on what is occurring, each play experience will be unique. Utilizing transmedia techniques the game transcends cards to make use of twitter engagement, Facebook lore, YouTube evidence to enhance the experience whilst also being completely playable if such technology is not ready to hand.  Via the power of Conducttr acting as a middle organiser each case will feel unique with your on-line friends able to keep track on your play experience and if you so desire taking part, the long term goal is to be able to market the game as case packs with customisable options available for the price of a retail board game however development is is in the early stages at present.

How to Play – Brief

The game is designed for 4+ Players each player if playing on-line will enter there twitter ID into the checking system, each player will receive a personal message from the automated on-line system nearly instantly with one of the players being told they are the Murderer.

Each turn has a set amount of actions, these include:

  • Scouting for evidence (Evidence Cards)
  • Interviewing Alibis (Character Profile Cards)

As a team they must chose which action to take with not all evidence or alibi cards corresponding to each case. The detectives score points upon successful completion of each action HOWEVER murderer can tamper and sabotage these actions as it is all handled on-line with scores revealed after each 5 turns thus making it difficult to work out who and when espionage occurred. The team win if they accuse correct murderer or score desired amount of points within the games time-frame, actions can be bought for points which can be helpful but also serve as a risk. Murder wins if wrong person is accused or points don’t reach landmark.

WIP Template

How NFC / QR / On-line adds to game play

IF players opt to play on-line and have access to NFC devices or smart phones they can actively chose actions on-line via tweeting it through and score is managed on-line. On-line adds a level of social interaction whereby they can watch custom made videos, look at victims profile pages and find out more clues to help or hinder the case in question, cause the murderer changes all the time the game mechanically is never the same and its down to good bluffing, the goal is however to be able to remotely change cases / update but also release extra case packs at a low rate frequently to extend the games meta narrative. If players wanted to make it more engaging they could by the fact they actively can tap items which could in theory be hidden around a play space to make finding evidence more engaging.

Obviously the game works offline too with pen and paper replacing some of the on-line interactions and details stored in ‘authentic’ feel case files.  Mechanically at its core the game is simple to pick-up and play with its selling point being its interesting added elements and level of experience it aims to generate.

So where is it at presently?

At the moment it is more at proof of concept stage with narrative links,plot details and social links being finalised with a proposed test session / version desired late February this is to ensure game play works as intended and visual / interactions are appropriate.

The future

Ideally as mentioned earlier I would like to market this game / experience mid this year via an on-line funding campaign and distribute as possible, ideally would love to get this game backed by other writers and release expansion case packs adding new characters, cards and options to game play even potentially option for players to customise packs to have their own details on printed materials and such. but at the moment this is all long term hopes and dreams.

I will update you with more details shortly including character profiles, test versions and how it works at a later date. A lot of the core mechanics and secrets are yet to be revealed cant be saying it all now can I.

Twitter Profile:

Crossing Boundaries – Quantum Break concerns and thoughts

Quantum break is the latest game claiming to cross the boundaries between television series watching and playing a game with the first example being the poorly received Defiance MMO. Developed by Remedy this third person shooter with time manipulation will include an on-disc series of episodes that players can dive in and out of as they progress through the game. An idea that already in execution sounds ALOT better than Defiance’s play the game collect data and then attempt to change episode storylines off this and yet never really do. The idea of bundling a series with a game is a great idea and can serve as a nice little sideline activity giving added depth and back-story to game characters that whilst in the action you may not care much about, however my concern is how engaged the two will truly be.

‘A crack in time saves nine’

Hardcore gamers i.e. those who are very involved in the play experience are likely to progress through the game until it bores them with game sessions reaching long spans at a time IF they are having fun. The experience someone has whilst watching a film or program is different to that of playing a game, a good game engages with user’s actions giving a sense of empowerment typically. Watching a film or television show typical is a mass social engagement i.e. a good show or film is a conversation piece and whilst both forms of media can go hand in hand a reliance on each other for information can underpin both. Thankfully Quantum break does not seem have this issue by both media forms being packaged together from the start, as such there is not this need to watch a show on TV to understand a game or vice versa. This is arguably one of the reasons a lot of film to game based releases commercially do not do very well sales wise, the experiences of one are hard to replicate in another.

Film games shouldn’t have this tarnished record IF they were developed correctly, take the transformer movie games for example they tie into the movie’s plot by acting as a what happens before and after story segments trying to place the player in the role of the characters they have watched on the screens. However let down by hastily rushed releases and this sense of over reliance on the movies branding to try to sell the game not on its own merits rather its ties.  A show, game, film or even book must be able to stand up on its own if was to be split up from the rest and entice its audience into further exploration, if Quantum Break can do this by making its game plot enticing then the show included will be watched and the game sales will reflect its success.

When the phase ‘your choices impact’ the show or games direction this is always a phrase of concern and although being a companion piece can help being too interactive can distract the audience, interaction is something gamers want but if it is slapped on it can cheapen the experiences. Until I can have a go and see Quantum Break hands-on as it were, struggle to see what will make this any different (it’s the cynic in me, I want it to work but depends on how story is).


Signalling the Future – Near Field Communications (NFC)

As technology has ‘evolved’ so has its demand from its users and the need for quicker access / processing of information has exponentially grown. Imagine how many processes a human brain comprehends on a daily basis with data received via sensory gathering, essentially this is similar to how NFC operates. Data is transferred wirelessly and processed via the device and an output created and as a technology has yet to make a wide spread mark in the marketplace.

NFC operates by transmitting a signal from the reader to a bundled set of data containers (coil) this ‘coil’ retains minimal input data strings, which are bounced back, read, then decoded to output a desired action. This idea is nothing new building off the ideas found in older technology material such as QR readers and barcode scanners; however, NFC tags contain information i.e. not tied to an online service or requirement of an optical reader. At this year’s CES, we saw a variety of new NFC featured devices including NFC printers, home sensors and even more mobile and PC devices with NFC as standard. The technology is new and yet to hit its mark in a wider commercial sense but as my first set of tutorials will explain its uses in gaming, marketing and ease of access showing it as a technology we all should adopt and soon.


CES 2014 NFC Lineup

This year’s CES was NFC heavy with this year even being the first one to feature NFC badges as a method of entry and security provided by NXT. Below are SOME of the NFC devices revealed this year:

  •  LG NFC enabled TV’s
  • NFC enabled printers
  • NFC home sensors
  • Rumour – New iPhones to feature NFC Chips

NFC and Trans-media – Brief exploration 

Believe it or not but NFC is already making its mark and way into the media market on a growing scale with even NFC enabled business cards now being adopted by business professionals. So why is NFC good for marketing and media? Well, it is a actually believe it or not a cheap method of sending digital information quickly without an extensive understanding of technology or programming. Take for example NFC business cards people can scan these and instantly add contact information to their mobile device instantly without having to input loads of data and this is just the start. Websites, settings and even media can be controlled and sent between NFC devices and tags in a matter of seconds.

Imagine walking down the street and seeing a poster for a film that looks interesting, imagine using your phone to scan its NFC tag and instantly being able to watch the films trailer find out more information and even being able to book tickets all from just ‘tapping’ a poster. This form of marketing means otherwise none digital media forms can allow for digital links / transfer.

Companies such as Conducttr are already exploring its potential and easily allow users to create interactive real time campaigns allowing such technology to act as an intermediary. Robert Pratten CEO of Conducttr in this video below shows us some of the ways NFC and tools such as Conducttr can change the digital landscape.

We will explore NFC and Conducttr in more detail in future outings so stay tuned.

Micro-transactions – Freedom of Wallet OR Money Hook #NO2PAY2PLAY

‘A fool and his money are easily parted’ or rather content should equal value

There was a time unbelievably whereby when people paid for a game they got a game… crazy I know. The temptation to sell ‘unfinished’ games or to strap-on extra content to wring out extra money is one that fills me as a gaming student with dread. However out there are dragons, beasts with small fangs acting all innocent and free sucking money out of people’s wallets and restricting game playtime. These dragons call themselves micro transactional games.

Angry Birds GO! FYS
Angry Birds GO! Silly Money

So far these foul demons plague mainly the mobile casual game market locking down actions unless you pay out, okay these are often tiny amounts for things that can be earnt like gems over extended play time but more often than not it always boils down to a point where in order to continue money is needed to progress. This week thanks to Sean Oxspring I was made aware of Angry Birds Go! The latest Rovio title which themselves are no strangers to the idea of micro payments however there is a vehicle in Go! That costs as much as a full priced release game at £35. £35 for a vehicle in a mobile game is to be frank stupidly priced, and yes these practices exist in other games including some triple A titles in the form of DLC but for a mobile casual game to charge this AND get away with it is staggering. Locking players out of games means they are not playing unless paying and annoyingly people are which encourages more and more to follow suite distributing the games for free but charging increasing amounts for ‘add-ons’ and unlocks which to be frank DO NOT always add to game play rather simply allow you to progress whereby naturally skill is required.

Edit: Apparently there is an option to spend £70 on Gems and more cars in Go! for similar prices.

It is arguable however, that on the other side micro transactions IF handled correctly can be a positive for the gaming industry as it gives players the freedom of wallet i.e. they can purchase what they want in order to progress. Which as long as initial content is substantial enough is not really an issue the only current barrier is how much to charge and is it really worth the money to bypass waiting. You cannot treat customers as cash cows for development and prolonging game play however also ultimately it is down to the individual as to what they do with their money as such I only suggest following my advice on titles you believe are not offering value for money.

My personal advice is these practices need to stop before even more stupid charges can amount, paying encourages others to do the same with initial games getting smaller and smaller and more reliance on paying for a game that often costs more than it would if they just released it for a charge only. Think of it this way a typical game on Goggle Play is about £2.99, a free to play game such as Castle Clash is free. HOWEVER in order to get as much content and game play time out of it as a regular £2.99 game you often need to either invest 1 week of real world waiting time OR spend upwards of £3.99 which gets you about 3 heroes, which in order to level often means buying more gems and to be honest this is a fairly low cost example. Basically only pay IF you can honestly say it’s worthwhile but to stop more companies doing this and thinking it is alright to do so we need to act with our wallets NOW else it WILL spread to consoles and more games, #NO2PAY2PLAY.

I could go on further and if you have, any good examples please post below and I will conduct more research and revisit this topic in greater depth with the goal to get some industry feedback into why this practice is good or bad as a whole.