Music by BoxCat Games
In September Ben and I went to the EuroGamer Expo and chatted to Albert Bentall and James Alexander Davies about 'Sandman' a game designed to be played on the Oculus Rift head mounted display which is being developed by a team from the National Film and Television School. Playing 'Sandman' is a unique gaming experience as it's immersive gameplay literally makes you feel like you have been physically dropped into the game. I'm looking forward to how this game develops.
Chloe and I visited the EuroGamer Expo at Earl's Court on the 27th of September.
One of the exhibits with the most enormous queues, especially outside Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo and FIFA, was the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift. Fortunately, Chloe had a contact who is working on a new game called Sandman, which uses the Oculus Rift, so we got to experience it after only a short queue.
At ExperienceLab, we have a dedicated team that works with game developers to try and make video games more compelling, enjoyable and fun. We've been working with game developers since 1999, when we provided user feedback on the PC version of the Lego Racers game. We conducted research with young children, observed their use of, and and attitudes to, the game, and fed back to the developers ways that it could be more 'fun' and enjoyable for the audience.
I use inverted commas around the word 'fun' because it's such a nebulous concept. But over the years since Lego Racers, our team has worked on many different game titles, for such grand companies as Xbox and Sony Computer Entertainment, Disney, Square Enix, and many other game producers and development teams. Because of this, we often get asked: "what makes games fun?"; what are the mechanisms that should be in place to create a winning game, and a winning interactive experience.
I've been impressed by Google's streaming music service. This allows me to upload all my music from my home computer to Google's servers. From there I can access them wherever I am, whenever I have a decent Internet connection.
I've used it at work a lot, and it allowed me to free up gigabytes of hard drive space, since I no longer had to store my music on my laptop. I just open Chrome, go to Google Play and can access all my music. The quality isn't amazing, but that's the price I'm happy to pay for a free cloud-based streaming service.
I've also downloaded the GMusic app so I can listen as I walk to catch my train home. I'm amazed it works at all but occasionally it won't play, and the most annoying thing is there's no decent feedback to tell me why; just the spinning wheel of progress.
I suppose it's good to know that it's actually trying to do something, but I really need to know why it can't play. Is the network too busy to support streaming over 3G? Should I switch to listen to a podcast? How long will it take before it starts playing?
So, it's a great service for me, in theory, but GMusic app developers: could you give just a little more feedback than the spinning wheel of progress?
Over the last few weeks, some of us at ExperienceLab have been trying out the Moves fitness app. It’s actually causing a bit of rivalry between us, we’ve been emailing screen shots to each other showing how many steps we’ve taken! My colleague is definitely winning so far with 32,589 steps in one day as he explored NYC!