On dreams and following them

About 10 years ago my nephew Tyler told me he was going to develop video games. Today he is working as one of ten writers on the BioWare / LucasArts team that is 2 months away from releasing Star Wars: The Old Republic. It’s a massively multi-player online game from set thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader when war between the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy.

The story is certainly compelling – check out pieces here and here and in the video below. Well done Tyler.

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Dangerous amusements

I was emailing someone to tell them not to worry when a big site like Flickr or YouTube loses a bunch of media, that despite the fact that those sites are massive and complex systems, there’s a lot of smart people there who spend all their time figuring out how the systems work and how to improve and fix them.

Then it struck me that 200 years ago, those very same “best & brightest” were working to discover the undiscovered and better understand the immensity of Creation.

Suddenly the comforting thought wasn’t all that comforting.

Time to get busy folks.

The games people play

Seven about to hit .... view larger

I’ve always been of the opinion that Forbes was a relatively staid (and useless) magazine that was primarily concerned with two things: the Making of Money and the Making of More Money. When a game company newsletter alerted me to an interview with their founder at Forbes, I was stunned by the immensity of what I found.

Forbes Special Report on Games is staggering … it’s as if Malcom Forbes himself looked down from whatever high perch he occupies and said LET THERE BE GAMES. And lo, there were games. Everything from Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card talking about morality in video games (I’m sure there’s a cheat code to unlock that) to Civilization author Sid Meier on learning from games (I learned “Uninstall that damn game from the office computer”) to deeper pieces like the one that explores how social networking sites are turning into games (hey, you can now buy fake friends on MySpace!)

Photo is Seven about to happen three different ways by fd. Hey Flickr geeks, this fd is THAT fd, the fd of fd’s Flickrtoys.

Hamster Frag 3000

Hamster Frag!Wired writes:

If you've ever wanted to match wits with your pet hamster, Mice Arena could be the game for you.

As in a traditional video game, players navigate a virtual world in a bid to stay alive. The twist? Computerized movements in Mice Arena are mapped to and from the real world, where an actual predator (your hamster) gives chase to a digital avatar (you) by pursuing a real piece of bait.

Read the rest of VR Games Pit Pets Against Owners in Wired

Money quote: "By creating high-tech, pets-versus-owners computer games, researchers hope to gain new insights into animal behavior, and perhaps develop new technologies that could close the gap between the species."

I'm thinking that the mere act of CONCEIVING this game has significantly closed the species gap…