Ultimate Optimal Villager Strategy

Jane McGonigal is giving away Werewolf tricks on her blog:

Avi Bryant and I worked out on paper an Ultimate Optimal Villager Strategy for a Small Village playing “no reveal” (12 or fewer players, with both a seer and a healer). This is basically a PERFECT strategy that would work ruthlessly well to detect and lynch all of the Werewolves every single game, in almost any circumstance. We did all the math, we ran all the scenarios, and then we tested it in a bunch of games with lots of different players. And in ~20 games, the villagers won every time… (avantgame.blogspot.com)



In June 2005 the prestigious international monthly architecture magazine Domus launched the Call for Ideas on architecture and geopolitics for the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang (Boeri et al. 2005). This was the aftermath of Stefano Boeri, Armin Linke and Andrea Petrecca’s local investigation in North Korea’s capital – photographs of "emphatic sequences, portions of a standard city enriched with designed exceptions, subtitled with propaganda" (Petrecca 2005, p. 19) underlining several articles, one of which is significantly called "The Phantom Pyramid". At the end of this essay the invited delegation put it like that: "In requesting ideas conjuring up the future of this ‘ruin of the future’, we wanted to raise the game of replicas, analogies and visions of architecture […]" (Boeri 2005a). (ryugyong.org)

Related: Wikipedia: Ryugyong Hotel

EBR: Puppet-masters, Designers and Academics

Two recent EBR posts worth looking at when thinking about pervasive gaming: Jane McGonigal’s The Puppet Master Problem: Design for Real-World, Mission-Based Gaming

The gamer’s exercise of free will has long been assumed to be a core and constant experiential aspect of gaming. But the rise of the puppet master in pervasive gaming suggests that in the new ubiquitous computing landscape, many gamers want to experience precisely the opposite phenomenon. They are learning the immersive pleasures of becoming actors in a gaming environment, of transforming themselves into physical vehicles for someone else’s digital vision. As game-actors, they become masters of interpretative embodiment; they accept as their mission the real-world incarnation of a digital design, much as stage actors in traditional theater have long served as the actual embodiment of virtual texts. For players, the pleasures and challenges of real-world gaming missions are the pleasures and challenges of dramatic performance. And for puppet masters, writing real-world mission scripts is very much the same process as writing dramatic texts; redesigning them in real time is very much the process of directing live actors on stage. (EBR)

…and Christy Dena’s “riposte,” The Designer-Academic Problem:

The term ‘puppet master,’ it should be noted, is not necessarily regarded anymore as a power dynamic. ARG player ‘Konamouse’ recently explained the history and current perception of the term: “The term Puppet Master harkens back to the start of ARGs when it was felt the game authors were “pulling the strings of the players” (so to speak). Over the years, we have just habitually used PMs as an all encompassing term referring to the folks behind the curtain. Of course they are interacting with the players – through their characters (or making themselves a character in telling the story). It’s a well established nomenclature and has nothing to do with elitism or otherwise” (Konamouse 2008). . . . then why does McGonigal – a designer on many of the games she cites – also describe the genre of game as a ‘power play’? Is McGonigal describing the characteristics of the genre through the eyes of the players? Through the eyes of her own game design philosophy? Or through the eyes of an academic who believes the relationship between designers and players is such a power dynamic? The next question of course is: can a researcher, and a reader, distinguish these possible approaches? (EBR)

Kilometer-High Solar Tower


A new energy concept called a solar tower could generate enough electricity for 200,000 homes. Looking like a giant smokestack, it would release no noxious fumes — just sun-heated air. Demonstrated more than 20 years ago, the basic design calls for solar collectors to warm the air near Earth’s surface and then channel it up the tall central tower. Turbines placed at the bottom make electricity from the updraft.

"It’s a combination chimney, windmill, greenhouse," said Kim Forté of EnviroMission Limited in South Melbourne, Australia. EnviroMission has designed a kilometer-high solar tower (0.62 miles) and is now looking at possible sites in the southwestern United States. (livescience.com)