12/21/2007

12-21-07 - 1

At Oddworld we used to joke about making a Tetris-like game to trick people on the web into doing our lightmap packing for us. (optimal chart packing aka the pants problem is NP). Well, guess what, people are doing it. ESP Game gets people to label pictures on the web. This is different than the dumb thing Google has had for a long time where you label pictures, because the ESP Game actually has some reasonably clever game design elements to make it sort of fun and actually motivate people into playing. Their other game Phetch is pretty okay too. It's fucking retarded that you have to sign in to play though.

The dream is that someday you have "Ender's Game" where you can put these various video games up on the web and people just think they are playing a fun game, but actually you've converted various hard problems into game form and had them solve it. For example, you could do something like convert the real stock market into a little management game type of thing and let people play the game and use their decisions to do real trades. (actually all of Web 2.0 is sort of based on this, you build "communities" where people think they are socializing when really they're creating free content for the site to make money from)

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old rants