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Chris
Outsider philosopher, game designer and author
Recent Activity
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Try this simple test with whichever voice assistant you use, Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, or whatever: ask it “Which year was Star Wars: A New Hope released?” It’s almost certain it will tell you 1977. But this is incorrect. That... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Only a Game
One hundred cyborgs in five hundred words, a cybervirtue project. What kind of being do we become when we use our smartphones, our laptops, our high-tech cars, or the ever-growing array of other robots on offer today? If a cyborg... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Only a Game
You can order The Virtuous Cyborg from your local independent retailer, or from the Eyewear Publishing shop: Purchase The Virtuous Cyborg from the publisher's shop Or you can resort to an online behemoth to sell to you: Purchase The Virtuous Cyborg from Amazon UK Purchase The Virtuous Cyborg from Amazon... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at The Virtuous Cyborg
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How would you know if you were a good cyborg? My latest philosophy book explores this and other problems of contemporary cyberethics. From arcade machines to social media to Pokémon Go to Google, encounter our strange relationship with technology from... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2018 at Only a Game
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How would you know if you were a good cyborg? My latest philosophy book explores this and other problems of contemporary cyberethics. From arcade machines to MUDs to World of Warcraft to Pokémon Go, encounter our strange relationship with games... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2018 at ihobo
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You can catch me in all the following places in the UK and Europe over the Summer… Thursday May 10th: Cyborg Living (London) The Book Launch event for The Virtuous Cyborg Whether you’ve noticed it or not, we have become... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2018 at Only a Game
Hi Amanda, Glad this piece and its accompanying discussion was useful to you! Considering I wrote this back in 2005, it has proved an evergreen favourite here at Only a Game, and continues to attract visitors. Many thanks for being one of them. Best of luck with your writing! Chris.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2018 on The Seven Basic Plots at Only a Game
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International Hobo’s founder Chris Bateman is at Develop Brighton this year with a talk entitled What Players Want: Understanding Player Diversity. This session is a culmination of more than a decade of work in player satisfaction modelling (not to mention... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at Only a Game
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International Hobo’s founder Chris Bateman is at Develop Brighton this year with a talk entitled What Players Want: Understanding Player Diversity. This session is a culmination of more than a decade of work in player satisfaction modelling (not to mention... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2018 at ihobo
Wow, you watch a lot of videos dmf! :) I need to see if there's an autotranscriber for PooTube - that's something I could get a lot of value out of. Thanks for the link! Chris.
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Hey dmf, Would love to have it recorded, but I don't have any budget for it so I'd need to find a volunteer. No idea how practical that would be! Thanks for taking an interest, Chris.
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How often do you go out without your smartphone? What’s the longest you’ve gone without the internet? Whether you’ve noticed it or not, we have become cyborgs – human-machine hybrids. Whether it’s Facebook selling our personal data to be ‘weaponised’... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at ihobo
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How often do you go out without your smartphone? What’s the longest you’ve gone without the internet? Whether you’ve noticed it or not, we have become cyborgs – human-machine hybrids. Whether it’s Facebook selling our personal data to be ‘weaponised’... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at Only a Game
Hey dmf, Thanks for the link - does the content directly bear upon the concept of cybervirtue? I ask, as I seldom listen to podcasts (or watch online videos) but I might be more inclined if it had a direct connection to my current work in this area... And while I'm commenting on this post, let me just say the release date has fallen back slightly to "early May". But it is at the printers now, and I'm just waiting for any official word on when the process will be completed. Thanks for sharing! Chris.
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Zelda Facets was a six part serial that examined The Legend of Zelda franchise in terms of the key elements of the franchise and how these came to be subverted in Breath of the Wild. The serial ran from February... Continue reading
Posted Apr 4, 2018 at ihobo
Hi Sarah, This is the only piece I know of that discusses 'Near Arithmetic Progression' in XP systems, although I feel certain other game designers must have tackled this topic in some way. It's so widely used as a method, you'd think there was something substantial behind it! Let me elaborate the basic concept for you. An arithmetic progression (AP) is one in which a sequence of numbers have a constant difference. So 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15... is an arithmetic progression with the difference between each number being 2. Now XP progression never uses strict AP, but they do have a system whereby the difference between levels increases slightly throughout. That's what I'm calling Near Arithmetic Progression (NAP). So if we look at the example from World of Warcraft of target XP increasing between levels by 400, 500, 700, 700, 800, 900, 900, 1100, 1100, 1200 etc. you can see that the amount the XP increases by each level is getting bigger, but not that much bigger in each case. That sequence shows +25%, +40%, +0%, +14%, +13%, +0%, +22%, +0%, +9%. So there is a 'compound interest' scenario here, whereby the amount of additional XP required increases by a percentage (averaging to about 14%) between each level - such that after many levels, that amount is as much as triple where it started. That's the NAP in a nutshell... it has an exponential element (the 'compound interest' on the extra XP per level required) but not on the total XP required, only on the amount that increases at each level. And as the numbers above show, these kind of progressions are mostly put together by hand, which is another reason for calling it 'Near Arithmetic Progression'. I hope that helps put that into perspective. Thanks for taking an interest in this piece! I don't mind that it is eleven years old at all - everything is always up for further discussion. :) Cheers, Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2018 on Mathematics of XP at Only a Game
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Last week, the triumph and failures of the greatest horse system in videogames. Now, the final part of the serial, looking at Princess Zelda herself. Contains major narrative spoilers for Breath of the Wild and several other Zelda games. Considering... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at ihobo
Over at ihobo today, the final part of the Zelda serial, looking at the narrative role of Zelda herself throughout the franchise. Here’s an extract: Considering the franchise is named after her, Princess Zelda took a while to take an... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2018 at Only a Game
Hey Gilbu, Many thanks for commenting - and for signing the Player's Handbook (first new one in seven years). Very cool! Apologies for not responding sooner... my laptop has been in for repairs, and my blogging is a little thrown out because of it. I don't have much to add to your comments, which strike me as eminently sensible. I do think one of the basic problems we're facing is that conversation is stifled (as you say) because of the tremendous stigma attached to it. And this is unfortunate - as we are now enmired in "habit forming" technology and should be in a good position to talk about "habit forming" chemicals as well. The discussion above eventually made it into my book, Chaos Ethics, which is one of very few works of moral philosophy to take seriously questions about our relationship to drugs of various kinds. I personally think we have more to gain from bringing the discussion about legal and illegal drugs into the public than we have to lose - but it is still difficult to get traction on such a thorny political issue. Many thanks for getting involved in the discussion! New comments are always welcome, and I don't mind how old a post is if someone takes an interest - this game is always open to new moves! :) All the best, Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2018 on Getting Wasted (A Moral Question) at Only a Game
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Naomi, I thought I'd replied to you, but there's no sign of a comment... are you still listening in? It's not too late to get you involved. James, My apologies for not noticing your comment earlier! My attention has been on the ihobo blog, since that's where the current serial is running. Can you please get in contact using the contact link at ihobo.com: http://blog.ihobo.com/contact.html I'll be happy to take this forward. Many thanks, Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2018 on Cybervirtue Outreach Request at Only a Game
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Hey Mordechai, This is a really great commentary on fast travel - and also a fascinating reading of Gerudo Fortress in Ocarina of Time! Many thanks for taking the time to write this out. I have a few points I'd like to gently push back against... "...it's better to give the players quality content and demand that they adjust to accommodate it, than to adjust the game so much to accommodate the players that you end up not delivering quality content." I find this a defensible argument, but it is also a difficult argument to sustain in conversation with a publisher, and even harder when focus testing is thrown into the equation. I worked on a project that provided weapons to the player character, even though it was not traditional to the franchise in question, because focus testing showed that players most frequently asked "how do I kill it?". There is nest of vipers here, and I don't have time to go into all the nuances. Suffice it to say, I have great sympathy for your position, but also recognise that most game developers (Nintendo EAD notwithstanding!) do not have the luxury to act on their ideals. The good news is, franchises like Dark Souls have opened up arguments that were previously closed, so I think there's room for debate on these kinds of issues. "On a completely separate note, it's not entirely correct that the boat doesn't show up again." Sorry, I may not have been clear - it's specifically the King of Red Lions who does not reappear. Indeed, he cannot, because his soul is laid to rest at the end of Wind Waker. I can see from my wording above that I have not quite made this point clear, though - thanks for drawing attention to this! Many thanks for your thoughtful commentary! Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 22, 2018 on Zelda Facets (5): Horses at ihobo
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Over on ihobo today, the serial continues with a piece about Zelda’s horses: It was Koizuma-san who came up with the name Epona, after the goddess of horses and fertility in Celtic mythology, having apparently been briefly called ‘Ao’, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at Only a Game
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Last week, the unique experience of fighting with ephemeral weapons. This week, one of the most outstanding features of the Zelda franchise: its horses. Contains a major narrative spoiler for Shadow of the Colossus. During one of Corvus Elrod’s Blogs... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2018 at ihobo
Hey Chris, By mentioning B2 Keep on the Borderlands, I didn't intend to suggest this was the first shop - it's just that particular scenario already shows the division into village (with shops), wilderness (i.e. overworld) and dungeon that videogames clone. I note also that Akalabeth: World of Doom (Ultima 0) has a shop, and is also allegedly 1979 - although this investigation disputes that date: https://www.filfre.net/2011/12/a-word-on-akalabeth-and-chronology/ I think your point stands that the shopping list in the rulebook implies the shop all by itself. Looking at the early modules, the first TSR adventure is in Blackmoor: https://www.americanroads.us/DandD/ODnD_Blackmoor.pdf ...that scenario doesn't have a shop, as such, although it is mentioned that Aquatic Elves run shops. My suspicion is that at the tabletop the shops were already in place, but the written materials haven't mentioned them yet. I wonder how I could investigate that...? Cheers for the additional reference! Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 20, 2018 on Playing with Money (1): The Adventurer Shop at ihobo
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Mordechai, I did not realise Fire Emblem had disposable weapons! Many thanks for letting me know about this. I suspect, given the kinds of games they are, the impact of weapon-loss in Fire Emblem is radically different from Breath of the Wild... I'll have to dig a little deeper to see if there's a possibility of influence, but given the rather insular development methods of Nintendo's EAD studio, probably not. Much appreciated! Chris.
Toggle Commented Mar 16, 2018 on Zelda Facets (4): Weapons at ihobo
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