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Making Nakas

Today marks the last day of classes for me this semester. I have 115 credits under my belt and will be finishing up my bachelors degree this spring. I took mainly upper level marketing classes this semester and learned a lot.

I did a lot of thinking about my life prospects and where I want to go with my life moving forward.

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Gamification of Mobile Games

The most valuable return on investment any indie unity3d mobile game developer could do is purchase and integrate the iOS native plugin into their games.

The app gives you easy access to many features that dramatically increase the appeal and social aspects of the games.

Some notable features are Game Center integration, Facebook and Twitter posting, and Multiplayer.

Game Center integration is definitely a must have for any developer looking to publish his apps on the iOS platform. The game center page happens to have a fb like button and a rate me button to onboard users and increase position in the search engine result pages (serps). The leaderboards allow users to see how they compete with the world. The achievement section seems kind of interesting but ultimately a weak feature unless it was integrated well. Achievements just award fake points for accomplishments. Achievements are definitely one of the weakest form of gamifying available as they lack the social element. Still the usually don’t hurt and can complete some games.

On the flip side of the equation multiplayer is definitely one of the strongest forms of gamifying available, giving some of the most powerful social connections available in games. The sheer fact that the user knows he is playing against a real human makes the appeal of the game goes through the roof. This can be taken advantage of dramatically in mobile, as most games have a notoriously hard time bringing users back to play more. When you incorporate good multiplayer experiences users will want to log in more to play a game that is always different due to the human element. Obviously multiplayer seems like a lot of scripting to implement but it is getting surprisingly easier to make multiplayer with services like Photon and Game Center multiplayer.

When you look at apps and their ability to be viral and shared, is definitely aided by the ability to connect to social. A game that is shared on social is tenfold more likely to go viral then one that isn’t. The problem lies in getting the user to share on social. Most of the time the conversion rate is small due to most users ignoring the feature due to lack of interest in the brand. Still social shareing can be very helpful by potentially captureing new customers.

iOS native unlocks the true power of the iOS Game Center into easy to use C# functions, allowing unity3d developers to rapidly add helpful plugins, that will rapidly increase the appeal of indie developer games.

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Virtual Reality

The immersion game space is a relatively new field. Developers have only been able to recently take advantage of moore’s law effects on the smartphone market to be able to buy cheap sensors and displays to bring Virtual Reality to the consumer.

Games that allow for full immersive gameplay have always been around but offered a bad experience due to lack of precise technology.

Immersion games provide the user with a virtual reality experience. VR can be divided into two categories, narrow and broad virtual reality.

Narrow vr includes devices that get limited input from the user and provides an incomplete virtual reality experience. The classic example is the car racing game in arcades which puts the user in a virtual cockpit and has them control the car with actual car controls. Narrow VR was brought into the living room by the Nintendo Wii remote, followed by the Playstation Eye toy and the Xbox Kinect. These devices use sensors to track movements of the player. Presently mobile has been able to provide a narrow VR experience with orientation tracking allowing phones and tablets to provide a window into the virtual world.

Broad vr provides a full immersive experience with the use of low latency high field of view head tracking display units. This technology has been in specialty arcades since the 90s but has always suffered from heavy units, bad displays and high latency. The Oculus Rift has been working on developing broad vr for game enthusiasts. It has shipped it’s second developer unit out. Oculus has also been partnering with samsung for the last year on coupling it’s vr technology with mobile devices for an easy to use, affordable and cord free virtual reality experience.  Playstation has responded and announced it’s vr unit. Microsoft has recently acquired FOVE an eye tracking startup, which is causing speculators to think microsoft is working on a broad vr unit of its own. It’s clear the broad vr market is about to enter consumers living rooms and grow fast.

The next big advancement in the vr space is going to be use of Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology to provide localisation at all times. Google’s project tango will provide huge advancements in making immersive gaming accessible for consumers.

Broad vr is going to incorporate with multiple narrow vr tech and SLAM to provide an almost unimaginable amount of immersion.

It’s clear that Broad VR in games is about to become huge as the early majority adopts the technology over the next couple years.

Over the next couple weeks I’m going to work on virtual reality development for Google cardboard.