Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Microsoft introduces Xbox-like achievements for developers

Microsoft introduced a beta plug-in for the company’s Visual Studio development environment today. Visual Studio Achievements is a free plug-in that allows developers to unlock achievements and badges, in the same way that Xbox gamers pick up achievements. Developers can even compete with each other on a virtual leader board for coding bragging rights. Microsoft says the plug-in is designed to be “playful and pragmatic,” built to help developers discover new features of the Visual Studio application.
Developers will be greeted with the classic “achievement unlocked” toast on their desktop after particular events are triggered inside Visual Studio. There are 32 achievements across six categories, and badges can be shared on Twitter, Facebook and blogs thanks to a javascript widget. With achievements like “Lonely” and “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD),” it’s probably a good idea not to share every badge on your social network though. You can grab the free plug-in at the source link here.
Mini Matmian:
Another simple implementation of adding game mechanics to Microsoft’s products (remember ‘Ribbon Hero’? - I personally found it quite useful as a tutorial system).
Be interesting to see how developers take to this plug-in. They can be quite a competitive bunch :-)
Looking for a way to add a layer of game mechanics to your website or a new app? Then get in touch with Matmi. We would love to hear from you and I’m sure we would be able to spruce up your next camapaign/website/App. The Matmians are people of many talents.
Twitter: @Matmi

Matmi New media, Dukes Chambers, Dukes court, Mill street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, sk11 6nn
Phone: (+44)1625 560771

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Sony, Nintendo, EA Drop Piracy Act Support

Major companies such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Nintendo and EA officially pulled support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, which was created to “promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes.” The Act was introduced by the United States House of Representatives in October 2011 and has received massive backlash from a lot of people who argued that it is a threat to freedom of speech.
The legislation gives companies the power to slice revenue and shut down web sites at individual discretion. In addition it could be abused for censorship purposes.
The gaming giants withdrew not long after the hacking group Anonymous threatened to destroy Sony’s network for supporting SOPA.
Mini Matmian:
This battle against/for SOPA is likely to get very messy before a conclusion is reached. I would like to make my position clear here and now, SOPA is NOT for the good of the internet. It will reduce innovation, give even more power to the large corporations and risk freedom of speech. The internet would no longer be a place for individuals or groups to express an opinion that goes against a governments’ or corporations’ wants and needs. 
If you are not sure of your own position on the subject, here are some reading materials, make up your own mind:
p.s. SOPA is not the only bill that risks all that the internet has stood for since its inception. The US Senate has it’s own bill called PIPA (Protection IP Act) which could have just as far reaching consequences as SOPA.