Nov 302009

I am unsurprised to see that there is a fresh paper out that states that there are strong mathematical commonalities between gang formation and guild formation. (I am also unsurprised to see Nic Ducheneaut and Nick Yee among the authors of the paper).

In particular, we find that the evolution of gang-like groups in the real and virtual world can be explained using the same team-based group-formation mechanism. In contrast to the quantitative success of our team-based model, we find that a homophilic version of the model fails. Our findings thus provide evidence that online guilds and offline gangs are both driven by team-formation considerations rather than like-seeking-like. Interestingly, each server’s Internet protocol (IP) address seems to play an equivalent role to a gang ethnicity.

“Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic”

The source data comes from WoW guilds and from Long Beach CA street gangs — and with lots and lots of data points to boot.

What’s the mathematical model underlying the two? Well, it’s a basically pragmatic approach to team-building:

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Game talkPlaying live web concert tomorrow

 Posted by (Visited 11011 times)  Game talk
Nov 262009

I am playing a live web concert tomorrow, from 2 to 4 pm Pacific, in Metaplace. The set list will be completely different — no overlaps — from the Halloween show. As before, it’ll be just me and a guitar, streaming live to the world.

I’ll have the world embedded here on the blog, like last time.

Nov 252009

danah boyd gave a talk at Web2.0Expo that I thought made some great points.

The irony is this: while she gave her talk, the Twitter backchannel was being projected up behind her, where she could not see it. She was in fact in an attention battle with every Tweeter there. On top of that, she couldn’t see the audience, so her feedback channels on how she was doing — incredibly important to a speaker — were just completely broken. In other words, the backchannel had a better attention platform than the speaker did.

Unsurprisingly, the talk went poorly. danah’s dissection of it makes for compelling reading.

Her talk can be found in its entirety at “Streams of Content, Limited Attention: The Flow of Information through Social Media” — don’t rely on my simplified version:

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Nov 172009

I first met Jesse at an event at MIT, where we had a mutual fanboy moment. Now every time his name pops up on a TV screen I get to point it out to the kids. He’s a big thinker on transmedia — the ways in which stories can cross between many media and be “read” at different levels. And today, he’s going cross-media again, with a live chat and Q&A at the Metaplace Stage today at 2pm Pacific. I’ll have it embedded here.

Where: TheStage

When: November 17

Duration: 2:00pm – 3:00pm PST

Jesse Alexander is a former co-executive producer and a writer for the show Heroes. Alexander joined the crew immediately after the pilot and has served as co-executive producer on the first three seasons. In addition to his work on the episodes of Heroes, Jesse also wrote several graphic novels, and worked on the story for the webisode The Recruit.

Jesse previously served as an executive producer and writer on Alias and as a co-executive producer on Lost. He co-wrote the screenplay for the film Eight Legged Freaks. Jesse also helped develop videogames for Alias and Apocalypse. In May 2009 NBC announced that their fall lineup would include a new series, Day One, in which Jesse serves as an executive producer and writer.

(Information from the Heroes Wiki)

Jesse will be holding a Q&A session in Metaplace! You don’t want to miss this!

via Metaplace – Event Details.

Game talkVenezuela bans violent video games

 Posted by (Visited 7877 times)  Game talk  Tagged with:
Nov 052009

Ugh, yet another country…

Last Thursday in Venezuela, a new law criminalizing “violent” video games and toys was approved by the National Assembly.

The law scapegoats gamers for the obscene levels of violence in our country (see below), and goes to extraordinary lengths to criminalize gaming, to the point of holding out long jail terms to people who buy the wrong kinds of games.

It’s no joke. Last year, on a trip to the US, I was able to buy a Nintendo DS for my brother, and a puzzle game that deals with using weapons to defend the fish stock of penguins in Antarctica, Defendin’ de Penguin. Early next year, when the law kicks in, bring such a game could land me in jail for 3 to 5 years, for importing forbidden violent games, as the penguins use snowball guns to ward off walruses, foxes (in Antarctica? OMG think of Biogeography!), polar bears and the Yeti.

via Venezuela bans violent video games: a first-person guest essay – Boing Boing.

Game talkChina gov’t rejects WoW again

 Posted by (Visited 5209 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Nov 032009

Massively is reporting that WoW is caught in the battle between the Ministry of Culture and the General Administration of Press and Publication over who gets to regulate online games — and has been denied permission to operate (again).

The Ministry of Culture was, I believe, the arm of the government there that recently banned gold farming, but also the one that last gave WoW permission to operate there.

The GAAP was the group that issued the recent regulations on foreign companies operating in China.

The Ministry of Culture gave the last approval; the GAPP is the one now saying that the game is in “gross violation” of regs.

Massively’s got all the links for you!

MusicThe Sunday Concert: Halloween!

 Posted by (Visited 5235 times)  Music
Nov 012009

Here’s the 2 hour and 20 minute recording of the concert I did yesterday for Halloween on Metaplace. It’s all covers, and there’s plenty of awkward silences between the songs, because you can’t hear and see anything that the audience said and did while I was playing. You only get what went up the stream. Some of my answers to text chat may seem out of context. 🙂

No download link — it’s almost 200MB. 🙂 Edit: here’s a download link for the concert broken up into individual MP3 tracks, in a ZIP file. It’s around 170MB this way.

Before anyone asks, this is just me singing and on solo guitar, plus a harmonizer pedal. Most of the songs are fingerpicked, actually, but I used a flatpick on a few that asked for more of a strum. The recording setup is moderately complicated — mic and guitar into a harmonizer pedal which added some EQ and reverb and of course harmonies sometimes; then guitar further into a multi-effects pedal to add some reverb and punch. I also had a large diaphragm mic, dry (meaning, no reverb or effects at all), sitting close to add detail and some wood back into the guitar. From there, into BUTT and thence up to a Shoutcast station. BUTT did the recording locally.

I tried to make each song lead into the next narratively, and to cover a nice wide range of genres for everyone who was there. Here’s the set list, which was selected to fit the holiday: horror songs, creepy songs, songs about death and madness, prison tunes, and murder ballads and silly songs. It has a bunch of the stuff I usually do — blues, a lot of singer-songwriter material, 80s covers that it’s weird to tackle on acoustic…

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