Fierce Fun at DIT State of Play 2017

Fierce Fun showcased an early demo version of Mindframe Arena at the DIT State of Play games exhibition. State of Play 2017 was held in the Dublin Institute of Technology Aungier Street campus. SOP brings together some of commercial and academic players in the Irish games industry. In addition to the games exhibition, there was a series of talks from game development professionals, both Irish and international.

Fierce Fun used the exhibition to get some feedback on the Mindframe Arena gameplay mechanics and concepts. Mindframe Arena is what we call a ‘card board’ game, mixing elements of card trading games and classic board games. Generally, we received a positive reception to the game. Obviously, it was a very early version that we were showing but it proved a very useful overall exercise.

SOP is a great event to showcase Irish indie and student gaming talent – long may it continue!

DIT State of Play
http://www.stateofplay.ie/

Virtual Reality Gaming. Has it Arrived?

Virtual Reality was new to the market in 2016. But now has it come of age in 2017?

Virtual Reality, VR, AR, Headset, Tech, Games, Gaming,

At GDC in 2016, one, Patrick Walker peeped into the future to predict what is now occurring, see link below. He indicated the huge investment in VR of over a billion dollars in 2015/16 and this got a lot of game developers interested. But is it possible to prise the market away from the big boys? Probably not? Just look at the 2017 best selling VR games with games from Rockstar, Epic, Impulse Gear and Capcom all with big titles and new iterations of popular franchises in VR.

2016 VR hype shifts to reality thanks in no small measure to PSVR. It’s got good immersion and is now accessible widely and buy to entry is cheaper than rivals. PSVR has at the moment first to market advantage and will be an entry point for early adopters of VR.
All the big players want in and interesting to see the situation today as a gold rush. Suffice to say you need deep pockets to enter this market. Walker provides insightful market analysis on the non-VR gamers and their expectancy on the price of entry with just about 50% unwilling to pay over $350 for the kit. So unit price must drop to attract a critical mass.

Price is everything

He points to the price problem of upgrading your hardware to handle the VR. Understandably if PSVR can do this without it using a unique console it makes sense. So it transpires the players need deep pockets as well. What’s new?
He outlines the product providers with marketing stats research reviewing their ability to compete and how they are seen. These stats are from the time of his talk but are still very pertinent today.

Let’s look at a few VR providers.  HTC Vive (Steam VR) – Thought of as expensive with average content availability. Oculus Rift Considered expensive with not too many games. PSVR is cheaper with a good bank of content. Viewing the VR game charts of today ( Feb 2017) the game content for all platforms has increased considerably as developers are trying for first to market advantage, with whichever system prevails. So there is more choice on all systems.

In Nov 2016 the Walker said the market was saturated but predicted more of the same with new entrants waiting for VR to become financially viable for their brand. Again it’s a balancing act between console or PC with consoles being preferable. A disadvantage for non-console VR is that the system requirements for VR are expensive because VR requires high refresh rates pushed to two displays, it’s going to be fairly demanding.

Below are the recommended system requirements for the Oculus Rift, which are likely fairly similar to what you’ll need to support Steam VR. — NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater— Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater— 8GB+ RAM— Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output— 2x USB 3.0 ports— Windows 7 SP1 or newer.

What the players think

Reviewing VR games by existing or potential customers seem to highlight that gamers value user review as opposed to price, unlike mobile games. Logical really as the entry point into VR is so high that gamers expect to pay a premium price for a premium experience.
Other stats that were interesting is the correlation between VR user score and minutes playing which is not indicative of popularity, unlike other platforms, maybe because of the sea sick syndrome? However, retention is a good indicator and it is marked by players returning again and again. So varied metrics for VR games should be used to assess their popularity.

Walker gave some predictions regarding new entrants to the race, some of which has come to pass. He is also predicting Facebook and Apple entering the market and the technology advancing rapidly. He also sees Microsoft having an interest specifically in Augmented Reality or AR, seeing it as the preferable experience in the future.       But judging by todays parameters, he thinks mobile and social VR seem to provide the biggest potential for future growth. Walker provided a good overview of the market which is still in flux as we speak but consolidating by the day. As a marketer of games, I found it very informative and advise you to watch the virtual space.

VR talk VR focus Nov 2016 Watch it here
Patrick Walker EEDARTrack / Format Games & Entertainment Overview
http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1023900/Data-and-Insights-in-the

Big Data and Gaming

Big data gaming

As the gaming industry continues to grow, it is no wonder that commentators see Big Data analytics as the perfect development tool in this progression. The phenomenal growth of gaming worldwide with an estimated two billion gamers creates a convenient data flow, which if managed correctly can drive user engagement to an even more intuitive experience. Looking at gaming in the USA it is incredible to think that it is bigger than the movie industry, which annually has a figure of $8 billion spent on ticketsales. Compare this with $20 billion in revenue for the gaming industry in the US and you begin to see the possibilities for Big Data in this scenario. The possibilities are immense, Big Data can be used to drive advertising in games and radically increase the player involvement and interaction with the game itself.

Tailored Marketing and the Game

Game players online and offline are constantly leaving behind masses of data which if collected and managed correctly can lead to a more personal experience for the participant. Much like a personalised shopping experience on the likes of Amazon, where you are offered, what may appeal to you, as indicated by your previous shopping pattern, gaming can now provide this individual choice. It is possible using Big Data analytics to develop a marketing strategy built around the individual player or players. This will allow the Game Developers improve segmentation, optimisation and targeting of the different types of players they attract.

The gamer because of their data stream footprint, leave clues to what type of things appeal to them. All the Big Data now has to do, is create an appealing and bespoke collection of options for that player based on the information gathered. A marketing analytics framework can be built upon data received about players and used as an inducement for potential advertisers. Data is streaming from the moment we interact and play with a game, whether that be on social media, PSP, Xbox or on your Smartphone with a mobile App. Data gives the who, what, where, when, and how we play, and with whom. This allows game makers to selectively approach the players with a variety of offerings which may appeal to that individual. The advertising potential is obvious, but other enhanced options for playing may also be offered, maybe linked to the geographical location of the player or players.

User Experience

The competitive among us may require little motivation but with the use of Big Data it is possible to provide real time feedback for all types of gaming scenarios allowing player improve, if they so desire. This could be a logical step for quiz or trivia type games which value improvement as a key factor of the game. A game which encourages you to get the Highest score or be an online champion needs real time data and Big Data could enhance this capability.
Imagine the potential for trivia and quiz games if the player was continually challenged to learn and display evidence of learning as they played. This is bordering on the space of educational free apps which are designed for such tasks. But most quiz fans will recognise the need to learn and increase their knowledge for the next quiz online whether it be in music trivia, sports trivia or just fun trivia questions the pursuit of excellence in knowledge terms is absolute. We all want to enter the trivia quizmaster Hall of Fame.

Big Data and Developers

Obviously more Data crunching gives you more of a work load but with the right analytics onboard this need not be the case. It is possible to use open source licensing models which is an accepted data management activity. Apache Hadoop is an open-source data-processing platform and has been used by such names as Yahoo and Facebook. There are a raft of options available using the cloud or not. All the big players are there including IBM, Microsoft and Google.

The ability for game developers to receive feedback from the players can be immensely useful pointing to bugs in the software or highlighting if the architecture of the game itself is capable of being improved upon. Monitoring and performing analysis on millions of gamers playing your game can provide invaluable insights into which parts of your game are popular and which parts are not. Using Big Data analysis will allow individually styled enhanced versions of a game that appeals to a certain group of players or maybe even an individual.

There is also the predictive possibilities of using Big Data, such as when a game is launched and at peak time of play when the service can either slow down or crash as has happened in the past. This can be anticipated and the capacity can be increased to allow for these peak times, which in turn will improve the gaming experience for all types of players on all types of devices, social, Xbox, PSP, mobile smartphones.
The game now is for developers to keep up with the opportunities open to them using this wealth of information. Big Data creates new opportunities for developers to increase revenue with improved market segmentation and improving player experience, which in turn adds to the bottom line.

Contact us for more details on how we are using Big Data in gaming.

Advergaming, Branded Games and Marketing Games

Games Irish Digital Marketing

Advergaming, branded games, marketing games as part of the marketing mix are increasingly making their presence known world wide. This kind of marketing connects with the consumer in a fun but casual way, on all types of devices, but primarily on mobile devices. It seeks to provide positive experiences for the players or players, this in turn reflects on the specific brand or product connected to the game. Consumers are introduced to the brand or product in a positive and exciting way using this medium. They will learn about the brand and have a pleasant recollection of the experience via the games.

The usual array of internet marketing options like banners, pop ups, have their place; however they can be easily blocked by savvy consumers. Advergaming provides an effective and more interactive method way to engage with consumers. People increasingly use the mobile phone as their primary touch point with the internet. We feel its inevitable that marketing through these devices will become crucial to the successful placement of products or brands. Gaming has expanded its reach to beyond the traditional male audience. It is now a popular entertainment activity with the general public, with games now played equally by male and female players. Increasingly your customers as casual users can connect to play games on their mobile devices or phones.

Advergaming is not considered intrusive and can lead to positive social and viral marketing of your product. One great innovation in the online gaming area is the use of web gaming and HTML5. This allows cross platform game activity, working on all devices. You can play anywhere and even use devices interchangeably. Imagine starting the game on the train to work and finishing it on your PC in work (at lunchtime of course).

At Fierce Fun we provide full advergaming, branded and marketing gaming solutions. We can create a complete branded games solution for your business. Because the process includes building a storyboard visual,  you are fully involved in designing your own game. Also our developers and animators create a digital emulation using critical data on potential user flow. This will ensure you get a highly effective marketing solution, in addition to a great game. This approach can transform your brand and move your products to a new audience. So if you want to take advantage of the marketing potential of online gaming in the Irish, UK or European markets, please contact us.

ADVERGAMING

http://www.warc.com/News/Default.aspx?ID=34948

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advertising_in_video_games

 

 

 

 

 

Unity Game Engine

Fierce Fun is moving some of our client code over to the Unity game engine. We have been working with it for a while now and are impressed by its game dev specific feature list. It’s component approach to programming takes a bit of getting used to and we miss running the main game loop ourselves. However our main reason for using Unity is its scene Editor. It really allows for  fast level editing and tweaking - crucial for balanced gameplay.

unitygameengine

https://unity3d.com/

Unity Game Engine
The Unity engine grants the user the ability to create a wide variety of games, ranging from the most basic puzzle solver to highly complex and immersive action adventures. Unity allows for the development of games in both 2D and 3D. The particle system in Unity is highly customizable, easy to use and to provides stunning visual effects. Unity’s ability to provide the user with efficient control over in-game physics is one of the primary reasons it's chosen by indie developers today. Another key reason to develop in Unity is the access to Unity's online community and its asset store. The asset store provides free and paid assets. These assets can be extremely useful and have the potential to save valuable time at the beginning, and even during, development.

Fierce Fun Unity Game Engine

 

Bespoke Custom Games for business – Works every time.

As the gaming community has known for a long time, a game is not just about winning or losing, its far more important than that. Games are increasing in complexity all the time and are now firmly rooted in our everyday lives. Recent daily news reports about the invasion of PokemonGO players to such diverse locations as The White House to Ayers Rock, causing mayhem in their wake, are proof of this. To ignore the power of games to influence people and create market share would be a mistake for business especially those involved in building their brand. The future of marketing is complex and apps and games are a very useful vehicle and tool to drive business forward. This is not surprising to us at Fierce Fun, but what does surprise us, is the amount of companies both large and small, that are completely unaware of the marketing potential a bespoke game can have to their bottom line. Not only do games have the power to influence our lives but they are a powerful force for marketing and in the area of education and learning.

capture5

Continue reading

Fierce Fun at the CoderDojo Coolest Projects Awards

A Dojo as many of you know is a Japanese word for a place to train in the ‘way’. The ‘way’ is synonymous with the training of the martial arts such as Karate, Judo, Aikido and even for the training of the famous Japanese ultra warriors, known as Samurai.

coder-dojo-1-300x179

It is apt then that the Dojo is referenced in CoderDojo, which is also a place to train in the ‘way’, although this is the way of coding and it is creating today’s new technology Samurai, although I believe they prefer the title Ninja. Either way, you better look around there may be one sitting beside you as you read this blog. This is the clever core element of the CoderDojo movement throughout the world freedom of information. They are essentially freeing up the knowledge of coding and passing on the ‘way’ and bringing about the training of young and some not so young in the arts of the digital world.

CoderDojo was set up in Cork, Ireland in 2011 and has spread all over the globe since that date. It is a grassroots organisation which is volunteer led and sets up clubs in an effort to teach coding in a fun and social environment to young people. There are now in excess of 600 Dojos in over 60 countries, proof of the popularity of the idea. Its purpose is to provide ICT skills to young people of school age which will stand to them throughout their lives. With a skills shortage in ICT this makes perfect sense and can encourage a young mind to pursue a career in this area or even better become creative and design and devise their own response using code and technology to make the world a better place.

Enter the Dragon that is CoderDojo Coolest Projects. This is a showcase event in Dublin’s RDS for the disciples. It encourages young talented coders to compete for a project award, but probably more importantly to demonstrate apps, websites, games and the odd robot or two, that they have themselves developed. It is a great target for Dojo member to aim for and drives a new type of creativity, as past winners exemplify. The event focuses on the core skills which will be needed for tomorrow’s great creative digital innovators and entrepreneurs.

In 2015 the event moved to the RDS, a sign of its growing popularity with 500 entries from all over Europe and over 5000 visitors to the event. For 2016 the organisers are promising an even more dynamic production with a line up of world class speakers and state of the art tech, gaming and education companies in attendance. Fierce Fun Games and Development will be there, to chat to budding gamers and coders. We will also be presenting a great competition to attendees who think they they have the brains outwit the Bag Man, our resident Fierce Fun genius. We invite all comers to take the QuizTime Trivia TIME challenge if you have the guts. Find us on the event map and come over and say hello, you may win a bespoke designed game just for you and your friends or your company.

For more info: http://coolestprojects.org

Fierce Fun Booth at CoderDojo Coolest Project – http://4sq.com/1UQrnbA
(Merrion Road, Dublin, Dublin, DUBLIN 4, IE)

Generation Z and Social Media

z

In a recent U.S. college survey by Fluent marketing and insights, conducted in March 2016, students between the ages of 17-24, (a.k.a. Gen Z)  were asked about the social media platforms they use most. The results are not surprising with Facebook getting a resounding, 67%, Snapchat at 51% and Instagram at 50%. Predictably the Snapchat phenomenon is continuing unabated with the steady rise of this platform worrying the Facebook executives.  33% of respondent stated they have increased usage of Snapchat and no major increase in the use of  Facebook.

However, it was found that Facebook retains its dominant position in the social media sphere, being the favoured platform for friends, family, and brands. But the findings indicate it needs to keep evolving if it is to keep its position as the default social media platform of choice. Snapchat and Instagram appear to be used by Gen Z for tighter close-knit friendships or groups.

The survey’s most interesting findings revealed what the platforms are being primarily used for.  

Facebook is the Daddy. Primarily being used for general digital profiles and regarded as necessary. Regarding advertising on Facebook, respondents indicated they preferred display ads as opposed to news feed ads. Despite Facebook heavily promoting  video lately, respondents still favour using specific video platforms like You Tube.

Snapchat & Instagram: The good buddy platforms. These platforms are used several times a day by the respondents and are used to communicate with close friends and their campus community. They are open to ads on these platforms if they are brief and not pretending to be content which is perceived as disingenuous.  

YouTube & Pinterest are brand central. Respondents follow brands and celebrities on all channels, but they seem to favour interaction with  brands on Youtube and Pinterest. They also like following celebrities on these platforms. Twitter is also popular for following celebs. Respondents expect  ads on these platforms, as they seem more brand oriented.  Adverts that service a need or address issues they care about are usually clicked on. The quality of visual content in Snapchat and You Tube, promote repeat visits, in contrast,  branded stories or celebrity endorsements do not engage respondent enough to buy a product.

Time is of the essence, but video is king.   Most respondents (74%) spend more than two hours a day on social media with just under half  (44%)  spending more than four hours a day. Video is popular on all platforms with You Tube, as expected being the top provider. Two-thirds of respondent watch up to two hours of video a day for entertainment, this may happen over several visits during this time. Unusually live streaming video conversation were not as popular as these figures would suggest, with in-person contact being the preferred method of communication.

 

QuizTime Trivia has landed – Try it free on Android now


Fierce Fun Apps

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.quiztimetrivia&hl=en

Download URL  http://fiercefun.com/quiztime_download/download.html

Video  https://youtu.be/qD3wZNSuUo8

QuizTime Trivia Rapid Fire Fast Paced Quiz

Quizzes, like University Challenge, Trivial Pursuit, Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, have been tricking us with trivia, puzzling us with puzzles and probing our knowledge on the most obscure topics you can find, and we never grow tired of it. The fact is we love it. But why?  Quizzes are not new, they are the age old test of acquired knowledge. Well here at Fierce Fun we want to offer something new to the genre, with our new generation trivia sensation, QuizTime Trivia. It offers the player endless trivia quiz fun and is the fastest game online to test your trivia knowledge. If you are a fan of trivia quiz games and want to test your knowledge? Then look no further and try this, it never gets dull.

The Quiz reflects the highest form of human achievement.

So why is the quiz, such an essential part of the human condition?  People are natural exhibitionists and posers when it comes to what they know (or think they know) and seek the validation of their intellect by their peers. This is our basic competitive nature and is one of our unique human traits. I see the quiz and quizzes in general as the zenith of human development and it is a key ingredient in what separates us from the animals.

Some say that our ability to manage fire, speak, develop agriculture, write, and cooperate are the benchmarks for human evolution. These are indeed great achievements. But I say the quiz is our greatest. One of the most important human achievements is the pursuit of knowledge and the retrieval of it when needed. This along with our imagination, which we may use to create scenarios for our challenges is unique to humans, and has allowed us to make sense of our world and find answers to all the problems that assail us as a species.

 Origins of the Quiz

So what is the origin of the Quiz? Testing of ability has always been a feature of human society. The testing of knowledge, was common in early civilisations as far apart as Ancient Egypt in the Mediterranean to the Han dynasty in China.Most ancient societies offered education to certain members of the populace and passing tests of knowledge was a way of advancing yourself in society, just as it is today. Testing and examination through the ages came under a variety of names but the term quiz is relatively new. The use of the word Quiz for an intelligence test was first recorded in mid 19th century, when first used as a verb for interrogate. Later in that century it came to mean what it does today, i.e. an entertainment based on a testing of someone’s knowledge.

Earlier uses of the word conveyed that of an odd or eccentric person, as used by the English novelist, Fanny Burney  in a diary entry by her in 1782. The most interesting origin theory of the word is a Dublin tall tale, whereby the Impresario Richard Daly, bet he could introduce an unknown and nonsensical word to the English language and let the public decide its meaning within 48 hours. He had people graffiti the word all over the city and in two days it was the talk of the town and entered the English language. Whether or not the meaning was agreed upon by the Dubliners of the day is unclear but the meaning eventually evolved into the Quiz, we understand today.

Change of use.

How has the quiz changed over the years. Initially a parlor games for the middle classes it eventually gained respectability, when it was used as the basis for the IQ test. Intelligence Quotient or IQ as we more commonly know it, was devised to measure the ratio of the mental age of a person to their actual age. This was carried out by what came to be known as Mensa. Also known as the international high IQ society, Mensa, provide a forum for people of high intelligence, as judged by their quiz or test, to become members and to show off to each other, seriously, they do.

So the quiz had attracted the super brainy people. Mensa was set up in 1946 and was advertised as a club for those with high IQ’s, no dummies need apply. It was was set up by a British psychologist named Cyril Burt. The problem with Burt was that he was a eugenicist, meaning he believed intelligence was hereditary and that society could enhance the human race by allowing the brightest and best to breed. Eugenics had it roots in the selective breeding movements, popular at the time in Germany and Sweden. So is that why he set up this social club? For the intelligentsia to copulate? Possibly, but the interbreeding of the ruling Royal families of Europe over centuries, never produced one Einstein. So the evidence suggests it is codswallop. Mensa now say they are a social club of intelligent friends.

So dont worry if you cannot get into Mensa, all intelligence can be learned and help is at hand with QuizTime Trivia. This quiz is ready to take your brain on a rapidly moving roller coaster ride of unparallelled dimensions. You will be examined on your knowledge of, news, sports, music ,films, history, science, celebrities and much more. There are 150 levels of ultra fast rapid fire rounds. You will have to react with speed dexterity and wit, and every level you climb will get just a little bit more difficult. QuizTime Trivia takes no prisoners. Survive this and a Mensa test will be a walk in the park. Now you too can show off, take on the Bag Man in QuizTime Trivia.

When you reach the top level in QuizTime Trivia you too will believe, the Quiz is the highest form of human achievement.