AlphaGo (BetaGo?) Returns

Rumors over the summer suggested that AlphaGo had some serious problems that needed to be fixed — i.e., whole lines of play that it pursued poorly, despite its thrashing of one of the world’s top players in a highly publicized match. But tuning a neural net is trickier than tuning, for example, an expert system …

More

Coding for kids

I’ve been trying to get my kids interested in coding. I found this nice game called Lightbot, in which one writes simple programs that control the discrete movements of a bot. It’s very intuitive and in just one morning my kids learned quite a bit about the idea of an algorithm and the notion of …

More

The Mystery of Go

Nice article on the progress of computer Go. See also The Laskers and the Go master: “While the baroque rules of Chess could only have been created by humans, the rules of Go are so elegant, organic, and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe, they almost certainly play Go.” …

More

Rise of the GameDev Hobbyist

Flappy Bird prompted game developers to think about a lot of things. Lots of important things. It prompted me to think about hobbyist game developers again. The first time I thought about hobbyists was through the lens of an opportunity lost with Mario Factory back in the 90s. The second time was thinking about Nintendo …

More

Institutional Alzheimers: A Culture of Secrecy and the Opacity of #GAMEDEV Work

[Cross Posted at Culture Digitally] Yesterday, Todd Harper (@laevantine) tweeted a reflection on several other blog posts responding to recent news that Irrational Games was closing. I like that both @leighalexander and @BRKeogh‘s pieces on Irrational highlight the intense opacity of the game dev process… — Todd Harper (@laevantine) February 19, 2014 Both Leigh Alexander …

More

Mixed Messages: Policing the Public/Private Boundaries of Cultural Production on the Nintendo DS

I’ll be speaking as part of a panel at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That panel, Strategies and Tactics for Promoting Indie Game Design will be Saturday, October 26, 2013 from 9AM to 10:30AM. I’ll be trying to historicize “Indie” a bit, talking about homebrew game development and hobbyist …

More

Playing a Broken Game: Digital Publics at Play in US Classrooms

In addition to my panel presentation, I’ll be speaking as part of a roundtable at the upcoming Association of Internet Researchers IR14 Conference in Denver, Colorado. That roundtable, titled, Producing Digital Publics from Gaming to Crowdsourcing, will have me discussing briefly recent ethnographic work surrounding serious games in US classrooms. ABSTRACT From the multiplayer classroom …

More