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Poor Bear Stage 2: Design

Project Poor Bear is shaping up pretty nicely, with every day bringing in a little more “flair”. Not to leave you in the dark we wanted to post some of the design progress and process. In addition, Trevor the man behind the “flair” kindly took a step back to share some insight into the origins of his ideas for the game and process. Below are images and direct excerpts from Trevor’s mind, enjoy!

“The idea behind project poor bear is to mesh a couple of my favorite ideas with the awesome game engine Dreamsocket came up with. First, I love the idea of making a monumental escape from work. I think anyone can relate to that. Here we have a bear who is good at what he does, loves to do his thing, but is stuck inside the unrelenting system (the big top) that sucks the fun out of his work. Sound like your life? The next idea I’ve incorporated is one I’ve been sitting on for a while. As a kid, I used to skate board. Trust me, I sucked… real bad. Even though I didn’t have any thrashing skillz, I could imagine the possibilities. I would always look up at the power lines and imagine ridding a skate board, or bike, or rocket boots on the power lines. Man, that would be so cool. I don’t think there could be a better escape route for our high wire bear. Of course we can’t just let our poor bear ride off into the sunset all golden parachute style. We have included a few challenges that should make for an interesting ride. 🙂

For the overall look, I wanted to make something that was just really fun to to interact with. I was initially going to make something all stylistic and out there, but it has been a while since I just made something tat felt cartoony. It’s almost a bad word these days. “CARTOONY.” Yeah, I feel bad even typing it. Well, I’m glad I did, because I think it really has a nice goofy look.”

Splash screen development

The development of the splash screen from a hand-drawn image to the (almost) completed image.


In-game assets

Potential objects you can expect to see in the game, from deadly barbed wire to not-so deadly squirrels.

Level one intro video

A sample intro/theme video we are using to defined the game. It shows Poor Bear making his death defying escape from the circus.

Kenny Speaking at NAB2009 on Games and TV Collaborations.

I was asked, agreed, and received confirmation that I will be speaking at the NAB conference in Vegas this month. The presentation/panel is titled “Game & TV Collaborations” and is focused on solutions that integrate games with video based entertainment. I will be showing off the Playstation Megasode that we built a few years back and participating in the subject discussion.

The presentation is slated for Thursday April 23 at 10:15.
You can find all the details here.

It should be quite interesting presenting at NAB, since the crowd is so different than a lot of the places I speak. It also marks my first attendance to the event, so I’d love to hear feedback from others that have attended in years past.

Mobile platforms require a change of vision

Offering betting options on a mobile platform requires a change of vision for operators, which has resulted in them gradually moving from fixed to mobile-only offerings. The UK’s Sky and Virgin have been experimenting with a pay-per-view model on their mobile platforms for several years, while EE has had mobile-only games on its network for a while.

And it would seem the industry as a whole has embraced mobile gaming. The games industry is booming: Eighty percent of players on Apple’s App Store are on mobile devices, while just 23 percent are on computers, according to App Annie.

But although betting is available to most UK residents via a variety of operators and retailers, there are still some significant obstacles to cross.

The first issue is the fact that operators don’t officially offer any betting. Only Skybet, William Hill and Ladbrokes allow customers to place any sort of wager on their sites. That leaves punters on their own to find games the results are still a game of chance, as it were.

To help, several betting companies have put together online casino guides that provide step-by-step guidance for players. If you need help with that, read the FanDuel betting guide here.

The second challenge is time. While online casinos are generally available from early evening until late at night, that might not always be the case in the UK. Many operators have betting shops that open earlier in the day, or close later, and many of these are in high-traffic areas of towns and cities. However, this is not a guarantee that players will be able to play for long.

The UK online gambling industry is big and robust, but it’s worth noting that a number of companies have not been successful in gaining license to operate here, while others are struggling. In the past few years, the UK’s online casinos have been threatened by competition from Singapore, China, Malta, Canada, and the US. As gambling businesses like the one below try to compete, it is essential to keep a close eye on what’s going on, to ensure that any new entrants who might be interested in making a splash are treated fairly.

There’s no guarantee that these UK-based companies will succeed, but at the same time, it’s very encouraging that some UK-based online gambling companies have taken the initiative to set up shop in the UK, even if just temporarily, since the UK is still a hub of the UK online gambling industry.

The UK is the largest gambling market in the world, and its online gambling market is larger than the US market. Online gambling in the UK is unregulated, so it’s unlikely that you will have a problem playing at your own local poker or casino, unless it’s legal for you to play there. However, it’s not possible to win money on poker in the UK, because the UK is a betting and gaming area and there are strict restrictions on gambling in UK casino venues. The only time you can gamble in the UK is at licensed casinos or poker sites.

As a foreigner, the gambling laws in the UK make it easy to avoid the suspicion of being involved in the gambling business. In the UK, the only money you can win on online casino games is by spending it in-game, and even then the limit is 500 per day. If you’re looking to visit the UK for poker play, it’s usually best to visit the largest casinos and poker sites with the most money to offer. When

Teams, Chad Fuller, and Business Investments

Owning and running a business, the most important elements to your company are your image and the people working with you. This is even more important when you are a smaller business. If you are surrounding by the best of the best, that becomes the perception of what your company is. A small agile company composed of experts is a lot different than a large company with a few experts and a lot of worker bees. Both are valid models and neither is right or wrong. I opt for the quality over quantity approach, regardless of the income difference.

Therefore, when looking for folks to work on projects or to join the team, I look for people that are:

  • a) smarter than I am
  • b) completely devoted
  • c) care

It’s a decision that I don’t take lightly since I’m essentially asking someone to join a “family of friends”. That’s how I view work. It is part of your life, the people around you are part of your life, and you should surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you and themselves.

Chad Fuller

Last June, Mr. Chad Fuller sent me a note mentioning that he was moving to Atlanta. I knew Chad well, knew how smart he was, but also knew that he didn’t have any work experience. Point blank, experience is huge for us. Due to the positioning of Dreamsocket, we typically receive jobs I would refer to as high experience work. Thus, we can’t have people work on the projects who don’t know the technologies better than they know their own name. It is our position and what we’ve built the business on it. So Chad was in a way a gamble. Obviously there is risk with any gamble. You either win or lose. However, I took a pretty calculated gamble and came out ahead…. way ahead. If I were in Vegas, I would probably be the owner of the Wynn right now ;).

How did I win? Instead of throwing projects at Chad he would tear his hair out with, I decided to invest in him and the company. Chad’s first project was dreamsocket.com. If you haven’t looked at the site yet I highly advise that you do. Not out of self promotion, but to see what he accomplished. Before the project, Chad had never touched HTML or built a website. After the project he could boast a site that included a store front, live docs, bug tracker, and more all under one dynamic system. Needless to say, I’m more than impressed. Being able to own and shape it himself, Chad really was able to take value in his creation and learn a lot (at least I think he did ;)).

Investments

Since the site was an internal project, it was an investment. We invested in defining our image more concretely, creating a way to extend our business, and developing ole Chad. Personally, I know what its like to run in his shoes. Developers that care want to learn as much as they possibly can, to work on great things, and just enjoy what they do. It felt really good to give him a project that he could call his own, mold it, and learn from. That is really what being a business owner can do for you, it can help you help others.

As much as the business will let me, that is what I intend to do. Invest in the folks around me. If your folks have passion, let them run with it as much as you are able to afford. Your workers will grow in strength, which will in turn mean that you get an experience level you couldn’t get any other way. On that note, Chad got the IPhone bug and I’m letting him get all over it. It means diversification and it means he continues dealing with things he is really excited about. Wait and see what he’s got running ;).

Look for big things on Chad’s blog and our site

Investing through funds

If youre investing through funds, it is recommended to invest in Index funds. You can find them by either choosing to do a research as to which funds have the best track record (e.g. the Top 500 Equity Funds), or by going to an index fund company and checking out their index portfolios for individual funds. This will allow you to compare the performance of these funds.

If you prefer to invest directly in individual funds, the best way to begin is to find the fund with the largest fund size, a common fund size is a minimum of $2,000,000. Once you find this fund, the best way to use it is to invest at least $100,000 (or 5% of the total fund size) each year for the first five years, then to add in at least $2,000,000 every year thereafter. That way, youll have the biggest impact on the total return for the next five years.

What do you need for retirement?

There are many opinions about what is needed to get by in retirement. The best approach is to choose the approach that is best for your personal circumstances. Here is a rough idea of what you need: 1. A good retirement income: To receive the highest possible return on your investment, your annual savings have to exceed your income each year. This is true even if you are living in a high-cost city like New York or San Francisco where there is little in the way of economic growth.

2. A reasonable, but not extravagant, health-care plan: Health care is a major factor in determining the amount of money you can put into retirement. Your needs will determine how much you spend, so you should make a real effort to find a plan that fits your lifestyle. 3. Good investments: Retirement is a long time. As you go from earning a decent income and investing to buying a house and collecting Social Security, your savings will start to be eaten away by taxes. This is a good time to take a look at the cost of your investments. 4. Enjoy your money and your money alone: Be very careful about spending beyond what you can afford to spend. With more money, you can afford to do a lot more things and, when you have enough, you can put it away and start to build your nest egg.

What do I really need to know? Retirement is not just about money. There is also a big difference between saving for retirement and paying for it. You will want to invest in low-cost mutual funds and indexed mutual funds rather than actively-managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs). ETFs typically trade in U.S. dollars, whereas mutual funds are traded in national currencies. For example, the U.S. dollar has a higher exchange rate than the euro, yen, pound, or yen. You can also combine ETFs with high-quality index funds. A good combination is a blend of exchange-traded funds with high-quality actively-managed index funds, or an ETF with a blend of exchange-traded funds with active fund managers.

Retirement is not just about money. There is also a big difference between saving for retirement and paying for it. You will want to invest in low-cost mutual funds and indexed mutual funds rather than actively-managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs), etf investing typically trade in U.S. dollars, whereas mutual funds are traded in national currencies.