Archive for the 'games' Category

gamification for secret services

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

“In flagranti”, image from the art series “detective stories” by Massimo Mascarpone

This is just a a very brief follow-up to my last post in which I was looking at the market sizes of virtual assets.

techdirt has a blog post in which it is described that apparently the NSA uses gamification for making the use of the XKeyscore system more appealing.

I guess although here a game is used as an introduction for a virtual application this type of game wouldn’t fall into the free-to-play category, from superdataresearch:

One important trend in this context is the emergence of free-to-play or virtual goods revenue model. It allows the next generation of gamers to try a game before they commit any money, offering them a smooth introduction to games rather than asking for $50-$60 at the door.


Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Title: “Kreative Mode beim Bedrockabgrundste-in”, oil on canvas, artist: Mudda Prahler

There was recently a post on Gamasutra with the title: Titanfall: Why Respawn is punishing cheaters. The computer game Titanfall is a First person shooter that can be played with a couple of people in one environment. Wikipedia describes it as follows:

Players fight either on foot as free-running “Pilots” or inside agile mech-style walkers called “Titans” to complete team-based objectives[2][3] on a derelict and war-torn planet[4] as either the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation (IMC) or the Militia.[5]

I don’t know Titanfall (In general I have been playing first person shooters rather rarely) but what apparently happened was that there where too many people cheating in the game.

In the post it isn’t really described what exactly is implied by cheating, but what I refer from the “punishment” announcement, I think what was happening was that some people used game bots and in particular socalled aimbots, which are software solutions which make shooting easier in such a game. From the Titanfall announcement:

You can play with other banned players in something that will resemble the Wimbledon of aimbot contests. Hopefully the aimbot cheat you paid for really is the best, or these all-cheater matches could be frustrating for you. Good luck.

I was asking myself though wether this action is part of some viral marketing campaign. That is that some cheaters could think that it could be way cooler to “win the Wimbledon of aimbot contests” rather than the usual game. Given that Titanfall had however performance problems which as it seems where due to overloaded game servers and connections, it doesn’t though look as if this would improve with aimbot contests.

In this context:

In a citation about a report by a tech- and investment-advisory firm in the time article: The Surprisingly Large Energy Footprint of the Digital Economy

In his report, Mills estimates that the ICT system now uses 1,500 terawatt-hours of power per year. That’s about 10% of the world’s total electricity generation

The New York times article: Power, Pollution and the Internet remarks the following about e.g. US data centers:

Nationwide, data centers used about 76 billion kilowatt-hours in 2010, or roughly 2 percent of all electricity used in the country that year, based on an analysis by Jonathan G. Koomey, a research fellow at Stanford University who has been studying data center energy use for more than a decade. DatacenterDynamics, a London-based firm, derived similar figures.

A summary of the last IPCC report about climate change and global warming.


In Berlin there is currently the International games week Berlin.

Altruism vs. selfish

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

There seems to be an interesting article adressing climate change challenges called: “Intra- and intergenerational discounting in the climate game.” Despite the fact that the article claims to contribute to a better dissemination of knowledge about climate change the article is behind a pay wall. And despite the fact that at least some of the authors seem to be payed (?) by a german public institution (that is they are listed under staff) the article seems also not available via their institutions list of publications. Are the authors or the institutions paid by the publisher? Anyways one diagram of the article is visible and it seems to tell quite a bit about the content of the article.

Maxwell’s equations of human behaviour

Monday, May 27th, 2013

on the attractivity of locations: refurbished buildings in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, among them the now newly renovated Rhin Towers

I have found Maxwell’s equations of human behaviour!


sim sin correctional possibilities

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

artwork: “Berlin citysimbim” by glocki

This post is a kind of follow-up post to the last one, which dealt amongst others with simulations of political/economic scenarios in multiplayer online games. In a couple of days a new SimCity game will come out and as Wikipedia puts it:

This version of SimCity will be the first to feature full online play since Maxis’s SimCity 2000 Network Edition,[1] allowing for regions to house multiple cities from different players. Regions can alternatively be set to private for solo play.[31] SimCity will require players to be logged into EA’s Origin service to play the game, including when playing single player.

or as puts it:

SimCity has truly connected cities within larger regions for the first time. Cities do not exist in a bubble – they are living, breathing systems that make up a region – and now you can trade and share resources among cities and regions in real time.

Unfortunately the above mentioned Origin seems to have sofar stirred up a lot of controversy about privacy issues. In Europe there are currently new data protection regulations underway, which by the way seem to be heavily “informed” by lobbyists. (The website Lobbyplag (unfortunately sofar only in german) gives an overview, which law drafts have been directly pasted in from which lobbyists brochures.) In view of this ungoing process it is thus however sofar not clear wether any of the discussed privacy issues of Origin will have any or what juridicial consequences.
SimCity2013 seems to allow for no modding at least right after launch. That is in an interview with gameinformer SimCity lead producer Kip Katsarelis replied to the question:
Is there an element of user-created content and sharing in city customization?

We’re not committing to any of that at this time, but we know that is part of Maxis. In SimCity 4, a lot of those tools were released pretty much a year after launch. So, definitely on our minds, but I can’t promise that we’re delivering on any of that right now.

If modding would have been possible then -apart from eventual privacy/data protection problems- the people from the project of the last post could have eventually thought about wether it would make sense to use SimCity2013Mods for their purpose. However it should also pointed out, that even if modding would be possible then too political game mods could pose problems.

One should also think about the economic consequences of computer simulations/games etc. (you may eventually also want to read my comment on the blog Backreaction in this context.)

Bublava and Klingenthal

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Since its hot in the northern hemisphere here some vacation images from the last winter shot in the mountains at the border between Germany and the Czech Republic. You can see parts of the towns of Klingenthal and Bublava. I also found there also some old games from east german times.


game talk on open knowledge conference

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

My talk at the open knowledge confence was well perceived, however on the other hand there were not so many participants listening to my talk. In general it seemed to me that games were not (yet) in the focus of the open knowledge community. That is tere were not so many talks involving games at the conference. Nevertheless there were enough issues of importance and the conference was fun.

The slides of my talk are currently too big for upload, so I only uploaded a newer version of the article.

update (130711): The slides are available now at

Talk: “Testing new toy economies/political structures in MMOGs” at

Open knowledge

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Short notice: I am giving a talk on contents of the game scheme article and the scientific platform article on July 1st at the open knoledge conference in Berlin.


Thursday, May 26th, 2011

An upload of an updated version of the article draft “New economic schemes in games” is at the corresponding randform blogpost.

New economic schemes in games

Friday, March 25th, 2011

In the blogpost on the return of investments I proposed to use games for testing new economical scenarious. I currently try to make an article out of that.
In the draft I sofar have given an overview about games and roughly motivated why I think that it may be a good idea to introduce new economical schemes. In particular I talk about the limitations of this planet, design and in particular about something that I dubbed “recycling-run-away effect”.

Amongst others I also try to line out why I think that the nuclear waste problem may be a worse problem than the safety of reactors (see also the first post on Fukushima).

Comments are appreciated, here is the draft:
update (06072015) :
It currently looks as if an article format is rather not suited for the writings and findings made within the context of the game draft article. It is also still not clear wether this project will ever be finished and if in which form. You may though still find on and off some informations in this context, likethis blog post is an example.

update (06072011) : This blog post is now used as a referrer URL for the game scheme article, thus newer versions of the article and comments will be uploaded more or less regularily. Please note that this offer to our randform readers costs our private money. Since randform is currently purely financed by Tim Hoffmanns income as a math professor, we may eventually be forced to reduce or close this offer, depending on download rate, inflation, etc. Most of the content of the article is also spread on the Azimuth project like the section about the Game environment. The Azimuth updates are usually more current.

->version July 06, 2011

The most essential content article of the article was presented on July 1st at the open knowledge conference 2011 in Berlin:

Talk: “Testing new toy economies/political structures in MMOGs” at

older versions of the article:

->version May 25, 2011

->version april 26, 2011

-> New economical schemes in games, version march 25, 2011