Pokémon Go (and why I should care)

•July 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Gotta Catch Em All!

If you’ve been on Reddit or Fark or a myriad of other online aggregates and comment boards you have no doubt heard of something called Pokémon Go. If you’re around my age with an iPhone or Android device there is a good chance that you are already indoctrinated and you can just leave some high fives for your team or some grumblings about all your hundred Drowzees in the comments.


What is it?

pokemon2Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game made by Niantic (https://www.nianticlabs.com/) that uses a back end of maps and the user’s own foot power to replicate the original idea of Pokémon. As a user you travel around your city collecting Pokémon, visiting Pokéstops for resupply, and challenging other users for supremacy at gyms. All the while all of this is happening in a virtual overlay over our real world. The game itself is free to play with a component for micro-transactions to improve your performance. It is too early to tell if the micro-transactions are pay to win but from what I have experienced so far the transactions themselves are not extreme enough to be unbalancing.




Why as a lover of games should I care?

pokemon3Pokémon Go is easily the first successful implementation of augmented reality in video games. While not perfect, its implementation is slick enough that the application has steadily climbed to beat Twitter for daily Android use, has added Nine billion dollars to Nintendo’s valuation, and showed that with the right implementation old IP can have life breathed out of it and our childhood memories can be used for good (especially as it involves a fair amount of exercise for the users). Even if you hate Pokémon or have no clue what it is the very fact that we have a successful implementation of AR for gaming is an exciting one.





I’m not a gamer, should I care?

Yes, yes, and a hundred times more yes. Augmented reality games in essence takes a camera view of the world and overlays something different on top of it. Take that in combination of Pokémon Go’s goal of sending people on long walks and the fact that Poké-Stops are actuall landmarks you have a potent combination for marketing. Already there are forward thinking businesses that are advertising that they are important in the game or offering discounts based on the usage of the game. Even businesses that aren’t anything in the game still have options to host players for a myriad of different reasons. A business that ignores, or worse insults and turns away, this opportunity is mad!



Let me know if your business has checked out Pokémon Go, if you have no idea HOW to check if it will be effective for you, or if you’re a player currently enjoying the game.

All images are of course from the program and effectively belong to Niantic through a licencing deal with Nintendo. 


  • LostHellHound

making Tattered Skies Easier to Navigate

•January 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I made some small formatting changes to make the book easier to navigate. Now if you follow a link to a chapter, it provides a link to the previous ones.. I am noticing a lot of people starting at chapter one, and missing the fact that there is a prologue there at all. Hopefully this remedies things. As always the book can be found here

Chapter One posted to Tattered Skies

•January 5, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I am proud to post for the first time, the entire first chapter to Tattered Skies. Only took 8 years to get it out. Please head over to enjoy it, and please if you could spread the word as far as you can so I can get as many people reading it as possible. It should be just as easy as sharing my Facebook post about it. More to come of course. Feel free to leave any comments or questions here about the book, the characters or anything!


Here is the link: HERE


2013 means the publishing of Tattered Skies

•January 1, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have decided this year, to put away all of my distractions, try my hardest, and actually finish the novel Ive been working on for years. Since most of it is written, it will mean just a lot of editing, filling in the blanks, and staying focused. I have created a new site for it to keep things separate. This also means begging my friends and supporters for help, either with donating while they read the novel, donating because they want to see more, or spreading the word as far as they can. Get as many people to the site as possible so that this can finally see the light of day.

You can find the project here (and yes I might be tweaking the look and feel) – Tattered Skies

2012 in review

•December 31, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The London Olympic Stadium is 53 meters high. This blog had about 5130 visitors in 2012. If every visitor were a meter, this blog would be 100 times taller than the Olympic Stadium – not too shabby.

Breathing Life into the Clouded World

•December 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

One of the hardest things to do for Tattered Sky is filling the game with as much content that has been rumbling around in my head since the book was started. There is a complete world there in my mind with a history, geography, and cast of characters spanning several generations. While the book centers around the first generation and explains the mysteries of the clouded world and Daer’Kalon the game is set several generations later when the old dust has had just enough time to settle for the next threat to emerge. Getting it all out is a matter of time and for every word or image put into the game project a sigh of relief can be heard from the muse over my shoulder. I’m sure she is sick of having to whisper the same things for so long without me actually creating it.

The project ticks on, and as always I’d love feedback on the content Ive posted here and here and as I continue I’m reminded that I still haven’t managed a domain/hosting space, or purchased the licenses for tools I need to complete the project so any support or serious talk of investing is always welcome. Till again, I leave you with the Usurper.

The Free MMO Roundup : Shadowgate

•August 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

The Free MMO Roundup :  Shadowgate (or west west west stab *curse*)

Gamers today are faced with a thousand and one options for their online gaming enjoyment. Thankfully each genre, sub genre and type of player is presented with a dizzying array of options. These games provide amazing graphical experiences, challenging game play and countless hours of entertainment. What most of these games have lost though is individual impact.

But I have impact! Im the top rated <insert pirate, city manager, pet groomer> on the entire game! My <insert guild, clan, corporation> lubs me!

You may have impact now because you are able to dominate your small section of the game trouncing the competition and your name is up in a flashy hall of fame for today but if you close the game for a weekend you’re gone. You haven’t made anything lasting with your game play because the hall of fame will continue to tick along and all the work you did just sits idle for the competition to pick off. (I’m sure my marvelous city in Evony is now just a garden ornament for whoever moved into the area and my guild in Vindictus probably bounced me two days after I wasn’t active).

 But why have we lost impact?

 We lost impact when games became more about graphical achievement and less about the interaction of players within the environment. Few people remember that online games started without graphics and were focused on the environment, the story and the dynamics between characters. I speak of course about the humble MUD (multi user dungeon). For those who haven’t heard the history I strongly suggest the wiki entry here. MUDs for the most part abandon graphics for extensive descriptions played through a client or telnet. Instead of a mouse or game pad, you type your directions to your character in an environment with other players doing exactly the same thing. Think of it as playing a giant dungeons and dragons table top game with a group separated by countries, continents and time zones.

 Weren’t you going to talk about a game?

Before I do that, full disclosure, I am one of the ‘immortals’ of this particular MUD. Think of an ‘immortal’ as the GM, the developer, and the community manager. We develop the code for the game constantly as it grows, and act as the game master to run plots manage players and generally make the game a lot more interactive. As an immortal I have a vested interest in getting more players to play, but at the same time I don’t get paid for my work, and the MUD itself is free with NO option to donate or pay money. This of course makes it unique among online games but keeps things fair and allows the use of creative commons licensing. The MUD is called Shadowgate (http://www.shadowgate.org/). The game follows the tried and tested formula of a role playing game and the character a player creates grows from level 1 on to greatness gathering skills, equipment, friends and enemies. The world is persistent and characters can have amazing impact on it in a thousand different ways. It also has no end point and due to the constant player and immortal interaction there is always some conflict or trouble to enjoy while you play. It is also a game that provides immersion as everything is role-played within the setting that has been created.

 You make it sound like puppies and rainbows, what’s the catch?

There are catches, ones that have stymied more than one MUD. Players have become so accustomed to graphics and pretty effects that getting back into a mindset of being creative in written form can feel ‘off’. A lot of people don’t do creative writing so it feels rusty at first. It becomes second nature after awhile though and it is an amazing outlet for those who do love being super creative and show off their writing skills. The second catch is the learning curve. While most online games can be learned by scanning the user interface for ten seconds a MUD takes a lot longer. Shadowgate helps a lot by providing a tutorial area that teaches commands slowly and the community is always ready to assist with any questions that come up. Once you get into the game and get the commands down it flows a lot more and the creativity takes over from the basic syntax.

 So drop by, read the web site and come create a character. Let the community know you’re new, why you’re there, and what you’re looking for in the game and see what you think. It’s a great addictive game that I’ve played for over a decade and I’ve always returned.