The relationship between work and play is inherently entwined—there would, after all, be no PlayStation without the workstation. The link is clearest, perhaps, in a genre of simulation games that has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years. Car Mechanic Simulator, an unironic video-game approximation of the trade, became a best-seller in its first week of release, in late April. It’s just the latest simulation game that seeks to replicate working-class professions; the list includes Farming Simulator (gather crops), Oil Platform Simulator (drill for fossil fuels), Stone Quarry Simulator (collect rocks), Street Cleaning Simulator (collect litter), Euro Truck Simulator (deliver goods), and Tokyo Bus Guide (deliver passengers).
In a few cases, such simulations are authentic enough to be considered legitimate training for the profession itself. Time spent using military-grade flight simulators, for example, can count toward a pilot’s official flight-time record. Last year, a number of players of the Football Manager series of games submitted résumés for the job of managing Manchester United, in the U.K., citing their in-game achievements as qualifications. And each year the Japanese car manufacturer Nissan runs a competition using the driving-simulation game Gran Turismo, to find new racing talent. Lucas Ordoñez, the winner of the inaugural competition, in 2008, has become one of the company’s leading competitors on the professional track.
To give you an idea about how bad publisher influence can be, consider this: during production meetings, publishing execs often have someone—often the developer—“drive” a game so they can see how it is coming together. The publishing people all watch and then make passive, aesthetic appraisals of active, functional aspects of a game. This is because the bulk of execs can’t and don’t want to play or understand how games work. They don’t want to play. This would be akin to editors in literary publishing being unable to read or write.The relative ignorance of people in game publishing has been called out before. As Gabe Newell put it, gamers/consumers have a much better understanding of games than the management at publishers. It’s entirely and utterly true.
Every woman I know in games right now is really tired. Careful: That is “every woman I know,” not “every woman.” You must be very careful. It’s the kind of fatigue that isn’t so easily explained by our fist-shaking male colleagues who earnestly empathize across their social media platforms with how “we get harassed a lot”. Some of us get harassed a lot and some of us don’t. Sometimes it upsets me when people bring up the harassment: comments like I have no idea how you put up with all the shit you put up with or gee, you sure have a lot of haters, because honestly I am usually trying to ignore that part and, well, a lot of people like and support my work too, thank you.
Why is this still happening? Why do people so often have to work crazy hours just to make video games? Should companies be doing more to prevent it? Over the past few weeks, I’ve talked to some two dozen current and former game developers—some of whom spoke on the record and others who asked to be kept anonymous—to try to answer some of these questions. The stories are candid and ugly: some speak of nights sleeping in the office; of going weeks without seeing their families; of losing friendships and relationships because of endless unpaid overtime. Some say crunch drove them away from the video game industry. Some say they’ve taken vows to never work more than 10 hours a day.
To many developers and outside observers, one thing is increasingly clear: the video game industry’s reliance on crunch is unsustainable, and hurts far more than it helps.
One of the greatest hurdles in archiving games is that there is no surefire way to archive digital media across the board. Cinema is having its own crisis on how to properly archive video. Tape degrades quickly, and colors and sound wear out as the years go by. DVDs eventually stop playing from use. Hard drives, thought to be infallible, can dry up and spin their last, become aging, enormous bricks left in the wake of technological progress’ march.
True 3D uses DICOM data, the same format used by every MRI scan, CT scan, or ultrasound image. With that data, EchoPixel renders interactive, 3D virtual objects that can, as founder Sergio Aguirre told Motherboard, allow individuals to “explore, dissect and share.”EchoPixel allows doctors to see certain patient structures—such as polyps or lesions—more clearly, and assess their potential harm. Aguirre said they can also develop a detailed surgical plan that takes into account complex interactions of arteries and other structures in the body, without having to hand-draw them. Surgeons will also be able to practice a procedure on an anatomically accurate model of the patient, which isn’t possible with current technology.
This game seems to lean heavily toward being a muliplayer solitaire puzzle at first glance, but once everyone is familiar with managing the feedback loops between reputation, population, and income, and with the scoring goals that are available, denying other players what you think they need becomes pretty competitive. Another nice mechanism is that tiles from the market can be played upside down as small lakes, which provides a cash infusion but also allows you to take a tile out of the game that’s useless to you but helpful to an opponent.
Thanks to the increasing availability of consumer head-mounted displays, educational applications of immersive VR could now reach to the general public, especially if they include gaming elements (immersive serious games). Safety education of citizens could be a particularly promising domain for immersive serious games, because people tend not to pay attention to and benefit from current safety materials. In this paper, we propose an HMD-based immersive game for educating passengers about aviation safety that allows players to experience a serious aircraft emergency with the goal of surviving it. We compare the proposed approach to a traditional aviation safety education method (the safety card) used by airlines. Unlike most studies of VR for safety knowledge acquisition, we do not focus only on assessing learning immediately after the experience but we extend our attention to knowledge retention over a longer time span. This is a fundamental requirement, because people need to retain safety procedures in order to apply them when faced with danger.