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The Gamification Fallacy

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb described a notion he called the ludic fallacy.

It can be summarized as the tendency to misuse simple games (dice) to model real-life situations and to apply naïve and simplified statistical models in complex domains.

In tech, we currently have a similar fallacy, implying that every service can easily be improved by using simple game mechanics.

The term coined to represent this is gamification.

And while I (and possibly many behavioral economists) agree that game mechanics can be of great use, using points, progress bars and badges hardly constitutes something as being a game.

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Endangered Languages & Technology

My TEDxLjubljana talk from last November is finally online and if you like languages and don’t mind spending a few minutes on it, you can watch it below (in Slovenian). I have already written about the topic in a previous blog post here.

Linguistics is a big hobby of mine so it’s always exciting for me when people let me talk about it for a whole 15 minutes :).
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Game Design For a Better World

According to Jane McGonigal, reality is broken and game designers can fix it.

Jane points out four important characteristics of gamers that can make a difference when put to use in real life:

  • blissful productivity
  • urgent optimism
  • tight social fabric
  • epic meaning

Watch this amazing TED talk and don’t forget to check out Avantgame’s latest inspiring project, Evoke.

EVOKE trailer (a new online game) from Alchemy on Vimeo.

GDC 2010 & the Flash Gaming Summit

I am going to be in San Francisco from March 7th to March 15th for the Game Developers Conference 2010 and the Flash Gaming Summit.

Both conferences attract thousands of industry professionals (and a couple of hundred really amazing ones) and I am really looking forward to next week.

The list of sessions & tutorials looks great and it will be a challenge trying to go to all the interesting business, design and technical presentations all at once.

I will also be reconnecting with friends and looking for new opportunities – I look forward to making new acquaintances and discussing new ideas.

If you are in San Francisco next week and interested in discussing casual & social game development, design and marketing or potential projects, contact me.

See you next week!

Unity Developer Resources

I am giving a presentation on building casual and social games with Unity this Friday at the ITShowOff conference in Zagreb.

You can preview the slides below.

For people interested in Unity development, I am adding a few links to help you get started.

Motiviti is hiring!

If you have experience with Unity and/or Flash and are interested in landing a cool part-time game development job or just looking to publish your games, let me know! We are also interested in great web developers. Everyone is a potential full-time hire ;).

Top 10 Science Fiction Audio Books

One thing to keep in mind when picking an audio version is the production quality – e.g. I have encountered a few versions of Dune books I simply could not finish due to a monotonous or uninformed narrator.

Here is my top 10 list of books that do have great audio versions (some even with multiple narrators and music), along with corresponding links on Audible.

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WordPress Timezone Exception Fix/Hack

For some reason , all of a sudden WordPress installations start displaying a weird exception in options general

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Slides from my TEDx talk

I had the privilege to give a talk at the second TEDxLjubljana, themed language & communication.

My talk touches upon the latest developments in mainstream language technology and how all of this matters to “minor” languages.

In 100 years, language economics indicates that up to 90% of currently spoken languages may go extinct. Some of them are beyond saving, so it is important that we have the tools to preserve as much unique knowledge contained in these languages as possible. For the rest, we are seeing significant improvements in technologies that are making their daily use more viable.

Special mention goes to Google Translator Toolkit, that – provided that it takes off – may mean an unprecedented increase in the quality of the parallel corpora that Google Translate uses to facilitate a real-time multilingual web.

Also speaking at the event were Primož Jakopin, Maja Vardjan, Jaka Železnikar, Daniela Candillari, Igor Bezget, Janko Božič, Vuk Čosić, Pavel Koltaj and Boštjan Napotnik.

Pictures from TEDxLjubljana

Thanks to the organizers for the great time we all had there and I hope to see the next one really soon!

(and don’t forget to post the videos from the event ;))

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5 Google Wave Invites Left

I have a couple of Google Wave invites left, so let me know if you need one.

Although it still has a long way to go before you will want to use it on a daily basis (for one thing, it is slow), Wave is probably going to be an important communication and collaboration tool for some obvious reasons:

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