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Member Since 14 Apr 2003
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:20 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: So I was watching Extra Credits yesterday

26 July 2015 - 02:02 PM

If you liked that video, you might enjoy like to check out Greg Johnson's post.  (He's one of the co-creators of ToeJam & Earl.)  Personally, I thought his was one of the best pieces on the subject.  As for the video, the fact that some players are finally experiencing what it's like to be the other is a reaffirmation of the power of games.


At the end of my post, I will propose a solution to the problem of the depiction of race in games, but first I will expound on the problem, which is lack of information.


The problem

Reading through numerous comments online, it appears me that a number of whites erroneously believe that the end goal of diversity is their exclusion.  Another common belief is that minorities are only interested in media that features them as a majority.  (The Sony hacking incident confirms this.)  I feel confident in saying that most minorities do not feel this way.  To most, diversity is about inclusivity.  


In virtually all media, certain minorities are almost universally portrayed as adhering to a certain culture.  In general, society seems to assume that people who look a certain way tend to adhere to a certain culture.  This goes for all races.  It's a natural tendency for humans to make assumptions like that, I suppose.  The problem is when you confine people to a box.  Just as an example, can you name one US sci-fi/fantasy game or movie made within the last year that featured a primarily minority cast?  Personally, I can't think of one.  First, studios have this notion that minorities other than have Asians are less likely to enthusiasts of sci-fi/fantasy.  Second, studios have this notion that their target audience would not watch such a movie.  My belief is that these decisions are largely based off of guesses.  There's no reason for guesses in the 21st century.  Anyway, the solution I will get into shortly will address both of those problems.


A while back, I was watching an interview with one of the writers for at least one of the Justice League series.  He remarked that it was deemed okay to have an episode featuring, for example, one black character, even two.  However, he remarked, once you get to three or more, the powers that be, DC/Warner Bros., would consider the show to be a black show.  I believe that this same practice is occurring in games.  It's not even exclusively a race issue.  I could say the same thing about gender.  How many hero teams have a majority of females?  X-men?  No.  The Planeteers?  Nope.  Power Rangers?  Not from what I remember.  I mean, they have a considerable representation of females, but what is stopping these teams from having a majority of females?  The execs have a belief is that it will be viewed as a female show.  Now, is that something which actually turns off a male audience?  If so, why?


One Solution

One solution I have to the problem of a dearth of information is controversial, but I believe it to be an elegant one.  Data-mining social media and polling players can only get you so far in coming up with demographic data.  Because games have shifted to digital, I propose that digital game stores give players the option to indicate their race on their accounts, just like many sites do with gender.  At the very least, this will enable publishers see how well their particular games are trending with particular demographics, which will help developers to diversify their content.  I advise that the motivation for this data collection be made transparent to players.  People often complain about the prices of digital games, compared to their retail counterparts.  Well, maybe publishers can slash digital prices to incentivize players to buy digital games so that they will have more of the valuable data they need.

In Topic: Nintendo CEO and President just passed away

13 July 2015 - 03:32 PM

It's kind of crazy that cancer took him.  I mean, I saw him in the Nintendo E3 presser and I didn't notice any hint of him being sick.

In Topic: don't get too comfortable

22 May 2015 - 06:55 PM

MS are already looking into this stuffs with their Hololens tech; the idea being to try to measure stress levels and assist the user when they are having problems without them having to ask for it.

I hadn't seen MS' thing since their Windows 10 event back whenever, so it's good to see they're going down that route.  For the stuff I've seen in VR (in videos), I think biometrics are just a natural evolution.

In Topic: don't get too comfortable

22 May 2015 - 06:44 PM

shuma-gorath, on 22 May 2015 - 1:22 PM, said:

I'm imagining a system whereby you could measure stress multifactorially (pulse, blink rate, galvanic skin response, gaze, etc.) to enhance the experience.

People are working on those things - you just don't want to force one team to deal with every problem at once, in one product. That overcomplicates development. Break up the pieces, solve them in isolation, shrink them small enough to fit in a headset, then get a good designer to design the appearance of the end-product.



Much like Kinect and RealSense, which use multiple types of sensors, you need some sort of redundancy.  For example, Valve's method  that you referenced can be thrown off by humidity, temperature, and medications.


Since I'm not a hardware guy, I'll be conservative on how I address the scaling aspect, however, I remember reading about a VR headset that required you to insert a smartphone into it.  Because smartphones (sometimes with dongles) are capable of measuring some of those biometric factors I mentioned, I don't think scaling is a big of a problem as you're making it out to be  I can see cost being a barrier, though.



Valve wants to put blood pressure sensors in game controllers, and also sense how sweaty your hands are getting.



Apparently, even the patent trolls are getting ready. The first hit on Google was: Blood pressure sensors BUT in regular objects!!!! [including, but not limited to videomajiggy controllers]


It's good to see progress being made on the blood-pressure front. 

In Topic: don't get too comfortable

22 May 2015 - 02:40 PM

Being disappointed that the first generation of a technology doesn't have every bell and whistle you've ever dreamed of, is a little crazy.

Of course, it would be naive to expect everything, but it would be unfortunate to see something crippled on launch.  It's like a smartphone launching without a front and rear camera.  This stuff would at least be a differentiator for somebody. 


I mentioned those specific factors above because they have already been applied in gaming and/or they appearing in shipping consumer products.  For example, Fove is a VR headset that uses eye tracking.  Pulse-affected gaming is something that was demonstrated by Nintendo at E3.  (While their method is finger-based, facial methods have been demonstrated by other groups.)  Blank rate, attention, and relaxation are measured by NeuroSky's EEG headset.  (Games for this device can be found on their own store.)