Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Communicate!

November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving was hopefully a nice time for everyone to come together with family and/or friends and talk. I mean, that is a stereotypical thanksgiving.

thanksgiving

The rush of shopping has also begun this past weekend. Were you one of those people shopping at the stores this weekend? I was, and at one of the stores I went to, I had to wait in line for over an hour to get to the checkout line! Now that is ridiculous in my eyes. Not as ridiculous as this though:

black_friday_frenzy

Anyways, the holiday season is beginning for games, which may include some special holiday items, bonuses, donation deals, etc. Heck, an entire theme change may happen.

With all of this in mind, do you communicate with your users? By that I mean, do you really talk with them on a daily basis?

Shurg Question

If not (or even if you do), this holiday season is a great opportunity to do so (or continue to do so). Keeping an open dialogue with your users will not only bring them back, but it may also encourage them to reach out to their friends to sign up for your game. Word of mouth is one of the best marketing tools out there, so try to use that to your advantage!

Also, when it comes to communication, a game owner should know the difference between casual and professional communication as well as when to use it.

I have seen this many times when an owner posts something as an announcement (which is supposed to be professional), but there are spelling errors, grammatical errors, and the words that were chosen are more meant for a conversation with a close friend.

sp_gr_pun

When you are a game owner, you have to be able to communicate in a way that is professional when need be as well as casual to users when a conversation is casual. Otherwise, users will not take you seriously as an owner and will think that they can walk all over you.

I have come across a few games in my experience that fell apart with this being one of the reasons it failed, so make sure that you can articulate yourself in a way that is professional when need be. If not, then talk with someone who is, and maybe they can help critique your work (I am always available to do this 🙂 ).

Communication is an essential part of any game, and without proper communication, the game is bound to become boring, uninteresting, and eventually deserted.

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Crowd Funding

November 19, 2015

Crowd Funding – it has changed the way that many people are funding their projects. No longer do you need actual investors, you can go through sites like Kickstarter in order to receive the funds that you need to make the project a reality in exchange for giving those who back your project some perks

Or…do you need to make that project a reality and/or give those backers those perks?

Well, apparently not. The Torquing Group, the company behind the project called Zano, has recently announced here that they have folded, meaning that all of those who have backed the project will be receiving nothing for what they gave. Sounds a little like a charity now, doesn’t it?

Adam Buckley, the creator of A Dose of Buckley, has created a video in regards to crowd funding. Language aside, it does tell its story that this can obviously happen with sites like Kickstarter. NOTE: this is NSFW!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nuyk3Scka6w

What are your thoughts about crowd funding?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

PS: Credit for sparking this discussion goes to this BBC article. Check it out: http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-34832447

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – No Code Knowledge? Try This!

November 16, 2015

So a while back, I posted about how valuable developers are being part of the ownership of a game here and mentioned the following: “Well, what if you’re not really understanding code? What should you do then?”

What you should do? Talk to someone who does! Ok, this blog post is over.

That’s all for now, until next time… ok, I have more to this.

If you’re not really understanding code, you can do a number of different things:

  1. “Map” where your files are going and/or being accessed – this is the first suggestion that I made on my organizing files post here). If you can map this out, you can then get an idea of what all is being accessed, and from there, it’ll be much easier for you to describe to someone what is going on.
  2. Have a developer provide a walk-through – a walk-through is essentially having an experienced developer walk you through point number one to show you what all is being accessed, what tables are being affected, and maybe also give you some insights about what the code means! (you can always contact me to do this 🙂 )
  3. Hire developers throughout the life of your game to do the coding – I leave this as the last point as it is fairly obvious. If you can’t do something, find someone who can and will do it right. Maybe even have this developer walk-through the code that they made and explain it to you!

Being eager to learn is important in this field, so regardless of whatever route you decide, be ready to learn. Without being open to learning new things, your game will not last long.

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Robots Are Taking Over!

November 12, 2015

I know that I have been talking about robotics a lot, whether that is on this blog or on my Facebook page (yes, I have a Facebook page that gets updated more often than this blog does: https://www.facebook.com/g7470programming/). Anywhere from robots decreasing the job outlook (http://g7470programming.com/blog/wordpress/2015/03/job-market-outlook-declining/) to the drone delivery service (mentioned multiple times on my Facebook page).

Well today, guess what I stumbled across? You got it, another article discussing robots! The article (located here) has the title: “Why is this robot in the grocery store?”.

The robot’s purpose according to the CEO of Simbe Robotics is to “tell when a store shelf is running low on tomato soup, or if a rogue can of tuna has ended up in the wrong spot”.

Essentially, it is an inventory tracking robot.

If you have ever gone to a grocery store (almost like saying if you have ever gotten out of bed), you probably have seen workers of that grocery store going around scanning items with a scanner in their hand.

Well, this robot is supposed to replace those workers from doing that themselves.

The CEO says that the robot does not replace a worker’s job, but it “frees up resources to focus on customer service”. We know customer service is important, but do you really think grocery stores that purchase this robot will not be firing those workers that are doing that? Of course not, they will most likely have less staff instead of having more cashiers, or more workers to answer questions.

Do I think that this is one more step towards removing all human workers from grocery stores? No, not even close, as there’s much more that would have to be done in the field of robotics (whilst also taking into account cost) before anything like that would happen, but come 40-50 years from now, who knows what will happen.

So are robots taking over as my article title suggests? Again, I don’t think so, it’s just humans making things faster, like with the car, the commercial plane, and everything else.

However, the next time you’re in a grocery store, be polite to the cashiers and other workers in the store. They’re humans just like you, and if that interaction gets less and less (or worse), grocery stores may just remove that interaction entirely.

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Mobile Design

November 9, 2015

If you work in development in any way, I am sure that you have heard the terms responsive design and adaptive design at least to some degree. Those are big buzz words nowadays, and many people who have no idea what those mean are saying them. If you are one of those people using these words, just know that those of us who know what these actually mean do not think that you are “up with the times”. Try to use words you understand!

Dunce

Anyways, so what do these words mean?

Shurg Question

To explain this, I have to first tell you about mobile design…

Mobile design is (in case you haven’t guessed) a website that has a look for a mobile device. I know, that was difficult to grasp (you should be able to taste the sarcasm in that sentence). Mobile design however is not such an easy task, especially when you have a website with all kinds of images, tables, and text. Enterprise websites can take years to finally be a website that has some sort of design for a mobile device.

With this in mind, two terms became known: responsive design and adaptive design.

What do these mean?

Adaptive design is a mobile design that is entirely separate from the other website. Essentially, with adaptive design, there are two different versions of your website: one for desktop computers and one for mobile devices. For enterprise websites, this may be a great solution to at least have a mobile presence.

Responsive design is a mobile design that is adjusted based on the screen size. So with a smaller screen, the design will adjust to accommodate that on-the-fly. With responsive design, you have only one version of your website, but this will require a lot more work for enterprise websites as all of their content will have to become mobile friendly.

Below is a basic diagram to show what these two mean:

adaptive_responsive

What are the pros and cons to each? Well, quite frankly, this table below explains it quite well:
Adaptive_Reponsive_Pros_Cons

So which one is best for you? That really depends on the complexity of your current website and the amount of time you have. Quite frankly, I personally like the responsive design idea better (as you only have to make the design once!), but adaptive design certainly has its purposes and uses.

Which do you prefer: adaptive design or responsive design?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Taxis in the Sky?

November 5, 2015

We all know the taxi stigma – they’re quite convenient, but have their drawbacks, especially in the city where they’re widely used: there’s traffic, they are not the cleanest, and they can still travel fairly slow. I personally try to avoid taxis as much as possible when I travel – I would prefer a city bus over a taxi any day!

However, what if the taxi was above the road?

Similar to a monorail, SkyTran, a NASA Space Act Company, is “a patented, high-speed, low-cost, elevated Personal Rapid Transportation system”. Below is a picture of what it looks like with SkyTran’s CEO, Jerry Sanders:

SkyTran

So, what’s different between this and a monorail? There are a number of differences that they mention, for example:

  • No schedules to follow
  • No waiting lines
  • No increment stops

You can find other benefits that they mention here.

Baltimore, USA has expressed interest in SkyTran and is expected to start the SkyTran project in their city next year. If this in fact does get to Baltimore, I would certainly like to try this out!

What are your thoughts on SkyTran? Would this solve any traffic issues that we are currently facing?

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470

Mafia Games Monday (MGM) – Backup Plans! (Part 2)

November 2, 2015

So a while back, I made a post about backup plans. If you haven’t seen that post or remember it, check it out here before reading this blog post.

About seven years ago (so back in 2008), I was somebody who was very active in playing mafia games. I was “playing my heart out” so-to-speak to the point where I would give up sleep in order to play. I was, how you say, addicted. One of the big games that I played at the time was called Mafia Crime. I’m sure many of you “old school” (I’m using that term VERY loosely here) players remember that game or are still playing it to this day. Well, there was a time on that very game when it got hacked and caused some of the game’s data to get corrupted and/or invalid. I log in the following day, unaware that this happened, to see a lot of my money, points, and experience lost with a news message summarized as this: “The game has been hacked, and we have restored the game back. We are attempting to reimburse everyone what they had before the hack, but it will take a long time to do so. Please be patient…”. From what I could tell, the game was restored to what it was like MONTHS ago, and because of that, I really slowed down on playing that game from that point on, as I knew there would be no way that they would restore it all back (and I don’t think they did completely).

Why did I just spout this story? I was a very frustrated user because they did not keep up on backing up their game!

So what should your game’s backup plans be? What should a backup schedule look like?

This depends upon a number of factors, such as:

  • Number of active users
  • Files being updated daily
  • Storage space

and others.

However, generally, a “best practice” is to backup your database at least once a day. Why once a day? Well, think about it: if your site went down during the day, wouldn’t it be nice to have a recent backup of your game? If it’s that recent, it will give you a much better chance of your users sticking around after a site outage instead of really frustrating them such as the story I gave earlier.

What about files?

Files can be backed up once a day as well if you would like; however, if you do not update files daily, that is quite unnecessary. You should only back up your files after an update, which makes sense since at that point your site has changed.

So, make sure you backup your database and files regularly, and you will not find yourself in a position with extremely frustrated users over something that could have easily been prevented.

That’s all for now, until next time…keep that tech gear ticking.

~Goliath7470