16 June 2020

Mobile, Mobile or Mobile Games?

The "graphics" versus "aesthetics" misunderstanding between players and developers isn't the only problem. Even developers confuse each other with terms like Mobile, Mobile, and Mobile Games. Though, this issue arises from the ambiguity of abbreviation. The full terms would be games on mobile devices, games developed for mobile devices, and mobile context-aware mobile games. But what is the difference? Why are they all just called "Mobile Games"? And how to categorize games like Diablo Immortal, Merge Dragons, Weather Farmer, Emulators, Pokemon GO and Candy Crush?

Mobile Games as Games On Mobile Devices

Showing a game with simulated analog stick and buttons.
Non-natural input on smart-phone.
https://pixabay.com/photos/game-play-mobile-game-android-game-4622800/
"Games on mobile devices" is the broadest category. If a game is available for a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, it is a mobile game, more accurately, a mobile device game, which abbreviates to a mobile game. Ported games are a massive subcategory of these. Their typical controls are buttons and analog stick simulations, like in Diablo Immortal or Emulators. As such, they can't belong to the next category.



Mobile Games as Games Developed For Mobile Device

Showing a game that uses touch to drag and swap candy
Natural input on smart-phone.
https://www.piqsels.com/en/public-domain-photo-jfxiz
A game designed for mobile devices uses device inputs naturally. Since a game developed for a console is a console game. A game developed for a mobile device is a mobile game. Hence the confusing terminology. An example of natural input on smartphones would be tapping to select an object, or dragging your finger over the screen to move an object. However, natural-input does not match all games. Thus, "one does not simply [develop an MMORPG on mobile]"[1]. Merge Dragons and Candy Crush are games developed for mobile devices, but not the next one since they don't use contexts.


Mobile Games as Context-Aware Mobile Games

Showing a game that uses GPS and AR as contexts
Game using GPS and area context
https://www.flickr.com/photos/140521268@N03/27947940226
When using the device's position, surrounding area, light level, etc.. We get a context-aware mobile game, specifically, a mobile context-aware mobile game. Since it is a game and contains "mobile" twice, it is a mobile game. Researchers are still researching these relatively new mobile games, but they already provide a plethora of possibilities. Their era got initiated by Pokemon GO. And present features such as considering weather-data like in Weather Farmer.[2]

Conclusion

Now you know about the different mobile games. You understand why they're called mobile games. And you know their differences and what determines their category. Keep in mind these categories do not determine the game's quality, though they relate to their uniqueness. You don't see games using your location or weather on a computer, for example. That wouldn't work well either unless the player is using a laptop.

[1] Lord of the Rings - One Does Not Simply Walk into Mordor Meme
[2] Technical University Munich: IN0040 Social Games

29 May 2020

We All Might Possess Eri's Quirk From My Hero Academia

Occasionally, I watch Youtubers review games or animes, and I saw the episode discussing Eri's Quirk. On the same day, I talked with another person about my fasting. Then I realized the connection. But, let's clear things up first.

Who Is Eri And What's Her Quirk?

"My Hero Academia" is an Anime playing in a world where people are born with special abilities, called quirks. They pass these down through genes. In the fourth season, they rescue a girl named Eri. Her ability rewinds a person's body to a previous state. Using it too much will revert the person to a baby and eventually to stop existing. While this sounds like a bad thing, rewinding injuries is possible as well.[1]

Just Fantasy Right?

So, reverting injuries, returning your eyesight, undoing cancer, etc.. Living forever. These all seem surreal, but they're not far fetched. Our bodies heal and repair themselves already, which is done by reproducing cells. However, every time reproduction happens, there can be errors, mutations, and damage, the current principal behind aging. There's a solution, though.

Longevity Genes - Core Of The Quirk

The longevity genes repair the damage done to the DNA during reproduction. However, living organisms have two modes of living. The "growth and reproduction" mode, during good times, and the "protect and repair" mode, under severe conditions. These conditions can be reached by eating less in general, eating less meat, being uncomfortable cold or hot, and during high intensive exercising.[2] During the latter, the genes will slow down aging, But, the quirk doesn't only slow it. It also stops and undoes aging.

Gene Therapy

dna, building, block, nature, gene, medical, built, blue, animal themes, animal
Image of DNA from
 https://www.pxfuel.com/en/free-photo-jrtql
Using gene therapy, scientists reset the epigenome of mice, resetting their age. However, when not careful, the cells may become pluripotent ones. Meaning they don't know their purpose yet - being tumors. Switching this procedure on and off on mice worked well. Unfortunately, given the approximately 37.2 trillion cells of a human[3], we're not there yet. But now it doesn't seem as far fetched anymore.

So, In Comparison

To recap and compare. Both Eri's quirk and gene therapy can revert cells to a previous state. Allowing the healing of damaged cells, blindness, cancer, and more, enabling us to live forever. Additionally, they both share the problem of resetting too far. But neither scientists nor Eri, have figured out how to control this. We're unable to revert a lot of cells at the same time, while Eri isn't able to control the intensity or ending it. Another difference is, we don't need to evolve this quirk. It's already built-in for us.


[1] My Hero Academia: Season 4 Episode 13 & 14
[2] How to Slow Aging (and even reverse it) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRt7LjqJ45k
[3] https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-many-cells-are-in-the-human-body

13 April 2020

Is Implementing COVID19 Related Content Into Games Really That Bad?

I never expected to write a blog post related to COVID19. Though I kind of ended up in a discussion that even got me muted on a Discord Server after backing down and apologizing informally for the missteps I've done (like ambiguity). The big topic of today is: "Is it okay to build in references, memes or jokes about catastrophes like pandemics into your games."

Making Fun Of Pandemics!?

Now, why would you ridicule something this serious and terrible? Do you have no decency? Are you unable to see the seriousness of it?

These are probably the first thoughts that would come to mind.

With some exceptions, I do believe that the majority of people do know about the gravity of the situation. Many people are begged and forced to stay at home, almost everyone is tense, conflicts arise, and negative emotions ensue. This built anxiety, situational depression, sadness, and others take a toll on everyone. And everyone deals with it differently. Some people laugh at funerals, the same who will most likely make fun of COVID19. It is their way of dealing with it. Is it insensitive? Maybe, maybe not.

Insensitivity And Getting Offended Nowadays

People always get offended by all kinds of things, which is okay in and of itself. However, disallowing the people to deal with their problems could worsen the situation. I don't wanna go into what happens with people who have anxiety and situational depression and can't deal with their problems.

Responsibility And Prejudice Of Game Developers

But as a game developer, you are a public entity. 
This is something that bothers me deeply. If we can make jokes in person and our art can contain these jokes, why not the games we program? Because games are in-between software and art?

You're just adding it to make a profit off of it.
Well, this is a good point but also prejudice to some extent. Are there companies who would like to do that? Definitely. Does every company do that? No. Even more fascinating, if a company earns money with Patreon or ads, they automatically try to make cash off of COVID19 when implementing anything related.

Deeper Into The Gray Zone

We can go even deeper by integrating charity into it as well. Games, gamers, and game developers can do big things. The media doesn't approve of it or may not even mention it, but GDQ (Games Done Quick) and other events can raise millions of dollars for charity.

Maybe It's Too Early

Well, to close it off, I understand that companies or game developers don't want to do this. It is very risky to receive negative publicity for it, and it adds oil to the already tense mood.
But maybe one day, we'll be able to let go, just smile with positivity for a short moment to relieve ourselves from the negative emotions and enjoy ourselves.
Also, be alert, not anxious. Take it with humor, but do take it seriously.
Stay safe.
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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.