How I accidentally became a video game writer during the mobile boom

Back in 2006, rumors were swirling about Apple’s new iPhone, but most of us were still carrying around clamshell phones or old-school BlackBerrys. A handful of kids had their hands on T-Mobile’s new Sidekick, which came with a hidden QWERTY keyboard to make texting faster but without a decent handheld device to actually support gameplay, video games were still reserved for console systems.

One company out of France focused entirely on mobile games, with a vision that U.S. gamers would quickly adopt the platform. Gameloft (now a subsidiary of Vivendi) first began in 2000 by Michel Guillemot, who is one of five brothers that founded videogame developer and publisher Ubisoft.

Gameloft hired me, and between 2006-2012, I wrote over 150 mobile video games for the publisher. Mobile gameplay was limited in those early days, but by 2008, the iPhone 3G became available and the App Store was born. Developers were scrambling to release titles for $5 a pop, and consumers gobbled them up, all to feed a growing addiction of gaming on the go.

The journey back

In the summer of 2006, I was living in Los Angeles but making plans to move back east. I was overeducated, with a Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University in Screenwriting and over $175,000 of student loan debt. While my old college friends were becoming VPs, I was stuffing ASCAP paperwork into file cabinets at the now defunct Sony Connect, the online music store that was attempting to compete with a new Apple venture called iTunes.

A vice president in Sony’s marketing department recognized my creative skills and took me under his wing. I subsequently earned copywriting experience there and then built a small freelance business on the side. It felt like I discovered a gold mine. I was finally getting paid to write, and I had so many projects that I had to turn some clients away; this was a dream.

Based on my online portfolio, Gameloft hired me sight-unseen as a full-time copywriter. I moved back to New York City and began writing just about everything: advertorials, sales collateral, game titles, and game descriptions. One day, a French game designer in the office approached me in search of a native English-speaking writer to work on a new game set that was intended to be a cross between Big Brother and American Idol.

Here’s the thing: I was not a gamer. Sure, I was an ’80s kid so I had played Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Haunted House on my Atari 2600. I also had a brief stint in college when I became unhealthily addicted to Nanosaur on my mom’s iMac, but all of this was ages ago. I didn’t even own a console system. Half of me thought I had no business writing a game, but I understood storytelling, and I was a pop culture aficionado, so I happily obliged and said I would write the game during my downtime.

Adapting to a new format

Once I started writing, however, I quickly discovered a major roadblock. I had been trained to write in screenwriting format, and because every piece of text for the game would be sent to a programmer, I had to keep all text in an Excel spreadsheet. My brain was programmed to visualize scenes in a very particular format: scene heading, action, character name, parenthetical, and dialogue. Other than my narrative fiction projects, I had written in this same format since I was in high school.

Dialogue is centered on the page which allows me to hear its rhythm. I follow the cadence of story beats in scripts because of how the action is laid out on the page. But here I was, forced to write everything in boxy cells.

Cells were eventually broken out into different tabs by the programmer and before I knew it, my dialogue for single scenes was divided between several tabs. If I needed to make an edit, I’d have to play the half-done game to follow along and then find the appropriate cell somewhere in the spreadsheet. I also had to keep careful track of the character count in each cell to avoid making the player click a phone key to read the remainder of dialogue on a screen.

Everything became formulaic and for a moment, the creativity I once associated with screenwriting fell by the wayside. I plowed through and managed to finish writing the game which we called American Popstar. A top reporter at IGN gave it a glowing review and called out its “whip-smart writing.” The game went on to win several industry awards and soon after, Gameloft offered me a full-time position as the company’s first full-time game writer.

It took a move back from Los Angeles to New York City to finally get a job in screenwriting. The world works in mysterious ways.

Gameloft eventually grew its writing staff to a team of five. All of us had MFAs in screenwriting from either Columbia University or NYU. We understood narrative, could speak the same language, and finally had the chance to apply our expensive degrees to something of tangible value.

We built this city

A year later, the iPhone brought new types of gameplay possibilities and attracted millions of new players, many of whom had never played a video game before. With its mobile-only vision, Gameloft soared to the top and pushed hundreds of new games into development.

For the next five years, I had the opportunity to work on some amazing iPhone games for studios around the world, including Oregon Trail, Iron Man, CSI: NY, Castle of Magic, Cops, and 9mm – the latter of which included an obnoxious amount of cuss words and violence that I was secretly quite proud of penning. For Sherlock Holmes: The Official Movie Game, I listened to the movie in my headphones over and over again while I was writing the script so I could channel Robert Downey Jr.’s speech patterns. As the only woman on the team, I was also the go-to writer for games intended for girls. Yes, I wrote a Twilight-inspired video game called Vampire Romance and several romantic strategy games, including Date or Ditch, Paris Nights, and High School Hook Ups. Seducing love interests with sexual innuendos and escaping bullies became my M.O.

That is… until Zynga popped.

In 2009, Zynga’s Farmville became the most popular game on Facebook, a platform that was quickly overshadowing mobile. Players grew various crops and enlisted their Facebook friends to help improve and manage their farms. The game was very addictive and for publishers, social simulation and city building quickly became the new recipe for success.

By 2011, virtually every single game in development at Gameloft fell within the city building genre. The only aspect that changed between titles was the environment. Players could grow their own space colonies or transform tropical islands into bustling metropolises. Gameplay was repetitive but players didn’t seem to mind, and publishers took notice.

It was clear that the world of mobile gaming had changed, and there was literally no endgame in sight. My task of coming up with exciting narratives continued but with monotonous gameplay, I struggled to maintain my enthusiasm and eventually made the decision to return to marketing as my day job. The city building genre’s popularity in mobile eventually died down. Zynga had its ups and downs and in 2015, Gameloft shut down several of its development studios including the New York City one where I worked.

I have no regrets. The volume of game scripts that I drafted under strict deadlines truly exercised my writing muscles, and I’m a better writer now because of it. Divulging my past life as a mobile game writer is also an amazing conversation starter.

Tammy Blythe Goodman is a PR and marketing communications professional. Follow her on Twitter @gooblythe.

Hong Kong’s mobile operators seek better days with iPhone X release

All four incumbent mobile network operators in Hong Kong are looking to gauge demand for the upcoming iPhone X, weeks ahead of Apple’s scheduled date for accepting orders, amid concerns over the muted interest for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models.

Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong, SmarTone Telecommunications, China Mobile Hong Kong and HKT, the city’s largest mobile services provider, have each actively reached out to their respective subscribers through separate iPhone X pre-registration programmes.

While pre-registering customers has long been common practice in the industry, the process has taken on urgency because of the amount of inventory that these carriers must move after several quarters of slow smartphone sales, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple has scheduled pre-orders for the iPhone X to start on October 27 in about 57 countries and territories, including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It will be in stores from November 3.

With a starting price of US$999, the iPhone X represents Apple’s most expensive smartphone to date. It will be available in silver and grey, with 64-gigabyte and 256GB storage capacity versions.

Apple launched last month its 10th anniversary iPhone, which has a 5.8-inch full-screen design using organic light-emitting diode displays produced by rival Samsung Electronics.

The upcoming model’s arsenal of features include seamless support for facial recognition, wireless charging and augmented reality technology, as well as a powerful new processor, updated mobile operating system and camera upgrades.

Pre-registrations for the iPhone X in Hong Kong appear to be promising, despite the model’s hefty price tag, a source said.

SmarTone, for example, had initially targeted its high-spending mobile subscribers who are designated as “PriorityPlus Premium” members.

While an estimated 30 per cent of smartphone users in Hong Kong own iPhones, demand for the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus models that were released on September 22 have apparently been modest, another source said.

That seemed to dash the hopes of carriers for a new “hero phone” that would help lift their sagging hardware sales.

“A unifying theme of the iPhone 8 reviews has been that the changes from the 7 to the 8 are incremental. We believe consumers are waiting for the feature-rich X,” said Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal in a recent report.

In August, HKT blamed the lack of a popular smartphone model for recording a 42 per cent year on year decline in handset sales during the first half of this year.

Hutchison Telecom reported a 22 per cent decrease in mobile hardware sales to HK$1.2 billion in the same period.

SmarTone, which was beset by a steady shift of customers to subscriber identity module-only plans from handset-bundled packages, posted a 72 per cent fall in handset and accessory sales to HK$3.5 billion in the six months ended June 30.

Hutchison Telecom chief executive Cliff Woo Chiu-man, however, sees Apple’s decision to spread the release of new models would eventually work out for Hong Kong’s mobile network operators and their subscribers.

“Not everyone will be able to afford or be eager to buy the iPhone X, so the 8 and 8 Plus will serve as alternative handsets for the market to consider,” Woo told the South China Morning Post last month.

The city’s incumbent mobile network operators last recorded significantly high smartphone sales after Apple introduced the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in September 2014. The overhauled design made those models more competitive against the popular Android smartphones at that time.

That proved a boon to the industry. HKT, the telecommunications arm of PCCW, saw its total smartphone sales in 2015 soar 148 per cent year on year to HK$5.1 billion.

Of the total 1.2 billion iPhones sold by Apple as of July this year, about 730 million were still in use around the world, according to research firm Newzoo. It said more than 80 per cent of the iPhones in use are accounted for by the 6 and subsequent models, which means these models are no older than three years.

Fidget Spinner Mobile Launched in India: Everything You Need To Know About The World’s First Fad-toy Inspired Phone

The fad of fidget spinners are far from dying out in India and the latest addition to the variety and options of the toy is fidget spinner mobile phone. Chilli mobile has launched the world’s first fidget spinner cell phone in India and is available to buy online as well as offline. The K188 is the fidget spinner version offered by Chilli Mobile that is available on e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Amazon, etc. the K188 and F05 are basic feature mobile phones with Bluetooth and can also be used as a stress relieving fidget spinner. World’s Smallest Elari NanoPhone C GSM Mobile Launched in India! Price & Specifications of Feature Phone.

Priced between Rs 1200 and Rs 1300, the K188 is the official spinner mobile while the company has also launched another variant of its feature phone, F05. The Chilli mobile handsets are being marketed as the perfect option for a secondary mobile phone option for the masses. With basic features and a sleek look, the mobile phone can also help serve as a stress-busting fidget spinner and the affordable price makes it a great consideration amongst its competitions. Here is everything you need to know about the fidget spinner mobile phone. World’s most expensive mobile phone Vertu Signature Cobra limited edition is here! You can buy 7,500 Nokia 3310s for price of one.

What are the features of the Fidget Spinner Mobile?

The fidget spinner mobile, K 188 is a basic feature phone with Bluetooth and 32MB of RAM and 32MB of internal storage space. The K188 also has an expandable memory of 8 GB and can also be connected to your smartphone as a Bluetooth headset. With six colour variants of blue, red, gold, rose gold, silver and black, the K188 is shaped similar to the two winged fidget spinner.

How to buy the Fidget Spinner Mobile?

The K188 can be bought both online as well as offline. The spinner phone is available on e-commerce websites like Flipkart, Amazon, Shopclues and Paytm and is priced between Rs 1200 to Rs 1300. Chilli mobile’s K 188 is also available offline at various mobile stores all over the country. Toothpick crossbow is the latest fad toy and it is more dangerous than fidget spinners! China’s nightmare toy is freaking parents.

The K 188 is undoubtedly a unique mobile phone that has been launched in India and is targeted at the middle class and lower middle class as well as kids. The phone not only comes with an option of being an expensive toy but can also be used as a Bluetooth headset. This will help people to connect their expensive mobiles to this compact feature phone while travelling and help them in keeping the costly cellphones safe.

HTC U11 Plus Tipped As Challenger To Apple iphone X, Galaxy S8| Know Your Mobile

According to a new report, irrespective of selling off its Pixel growth staff to Google, HTC is by no means finished with producing its very own units to contend with the relaxation of the sector. Allegedly the corporation is producing a more substantial, badder model of this year’s HTC U11, dubbed appropriately sufficient as the HTC U11 Plus.

BGR’s Chris Smith describes the handset as “an Apple iphone X and Galaxy Be aware 8 rival,” and that it “appears to be even extra exciting than the Pixel 2 that HTC Is building for Google.”

“It’s also the kind of Pixel 2 XL cellular phone HTC could have built,” he additional. Which is a reference to the point that, initially, HTC was thought to be making the two the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, in advance of its model of the Pixel 2 XL was axed in favour of an LG-designed Pixel 2 XL. Could HTC be recycling some of its growth for the axed cellular phone and branding it as its very own model?

Though the “Plus” moniker often varies when it arrives to smartphones – either meaning a more substantial variant, or just one with a greater spec – in this situation it is instructed this is a more substantial model than the HTC U11. As perfectly as being much larger, the report, citing sources at French information portal  FrAndroid, claims the HTC U11 Plus will characteristic a correct edge-to-edge bezeless display screen design, building the entrance fascia all-screen. This is, of program, in keeping with the Samsung Galaxy S8 sequence, LG G6, Samsung Galaxy Be aware 8, and now the Apple iphone X.

The HTC U11 Plus is pegged as acquiring a 5.99in display screen, but this is where by eyebrows start off acquiring raised. If you read our HTC U11 review you will see we relatively preferred the handset, in specific its CPU overall performance and a stunning camera that rivals Samsung’s most effective. Even so, where by it fell down for us was in 3 crucial regions:

  • Ordinary battery everyday living
  • Shiny, mirror-complete colours looked garish
  • Lcd display screen technological innovation had soupy blacks in comparison to OLED

In our watch these are all issues which will want fixing aboard the HTC U11 Plus for it to stand a possibility of putting a dent in Samsung, Apple, and the relaxation. But to continue on where by we still left off, according to the particulars that substantial display screen will be an Lcd quantity, meaning that as with previous releases, HTC is very likely re-hashing the exact same previous technological innovation once once again. On the in addition side (lols) it’ll have an 18:9 aspect ratio and a 2880 x 1440 pixel resolution.

In other regions it won’t glance like there’ll be an enhance, although it’s debatable if just one is important. The cellular phone will trot out the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 once again, which is loads capable, alogn with 4GB of RAM, possibilities for 64GB or 128GB of onboard storage, and what is sounding like the exact same 12MP main and 8MP secondary camera combo we noticed on the first model – which if correct is great information for every person as that matter was the mutt’s nuts.

Other returning options involve a Kind-C USB port, IP68 waterproofing and the Edge Sense lower bezel which enables for tension delicate touch enter.

The sources say a launch will choose area in China on November 11 but it is predicted to launch globally and a European RRP has been instructed at €759

Samsung Exec on the 5G Opportunity for Mobile Carriers

As Samsung’s vice president of networks strategy, Alok Shah has had a pivotal role in determining the company’s approach to the 5G rollout. Shah will be participating in the “Evolution of Applications, Ecosystem, Vertical Markets and Big Data Analysis in the 5G World” panel at the DC5G 2017 Summit on Oct. 11. In this interview with Via Satellite, Shah shares his perspective on the biggest opportunities Samsung is pursuing around the new technology.

VIA SATELLITE: What are the specific features of 5G that will enable new applications or improve old ones?

Shah: The 5G specification is set to enable three primary benefits over earlier mobile standards. The first is substantially higher data throughput, with gigabit per second rates in good coverage and more importantly 100 Mbps at the cell edge. Second, 5G will offer both low latency of about one millisecond and high link reliability. This combination enables new use cases for public safety and industrial applications. And finally, 5G supports a higher density of devices and the ability to create network slices with varying performance attributes. This provides network operators with a new business model for the Internet of Things (IOT).

Alok Shah, Samsung’s vice president of networks strategy. Photo: Samsung.

Alok Shah, Samsung’s vice president of networks strategy. Photo: Samsung.

VIA SATELLITE: How will the experience of the mobile user change? What does this mean for connected car, or watching videos on your cellphone?

Shah: Once 5G reaches mobile devices, consumers will experience higher-quality video, faster downloads, exciting Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) content, and reliable service. In new mobile-enabled environments like the connected car, 5G will provide a range of new capabilities from 4K backseat video streaming to cloud-enabled collision avoidance. But some of the most compelling use cases of 5G will be in bringing the power of mobility to industry verticals. Remote control of equipment in dangerous or hard to reach locations, smart factories that capture more diagnostic and performance data, and entertainment venues that offer new reasons to go to the game are just some of the potential opportunities for 5G to change the way that we live and work.

VIA SATELLITE: There’s a lot of buzz about the future of IOT enabled by 5G — what will the immediate benefit be for companies that already leverage IOT in their operations?

Shah: The future converged core network will support 5G in conjunction with other technology standards. The ability of the core to support network slicing will allow the operator to give IOT providers a differentiated experience that uses 5G when needed and LTE, Wi-Fi, or other wireless technologies at other times.

VIA SATELLITE: What does the 5G rollout mean for the digital divide in the United States? 

Shah: The first commercial use case for 5G is Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), which offers high-speed broadband to homes and businesses over a wireless link. The rollout of FWA using a technology like 5G that can support very high throughput will create a real challenge for wired broadband and bring much-needed competition to the market. We expect that competition to drive down prices and make broadband more affordable for more people.

Don’t miss Alok’s participation in the “Evolution of Applications, Ecosystem, Vertical Markets and Big Data Analysis in the 5G World” panel at the DC5G Summit. Register now!

VIA SATELLITE: How is Samsung positioning itself to take advantage of this technology as it rolls out? How is its approach different from its competitors? 

Shah: Samsung began researching key 5G technologies over five years ago and performed a number of the “world’s first” demonstrations to prove that millimeter-wave high-frequency spectrum was capable of supporting mobility. Also, Samsung is uniquely positioned to lead in 5G due to our ability to develop an end-to-end solution from chipsets to devices to radio access equipment to core network. This combination of technology leadership and broad capability has given us a strong leadership position in the race to a commercial 5G product portfolio, first in fixed wireless access and then in additional use cases.

We have been quite pleased to see the performance of our pre-commercial 5G network meet or exceed our expectations across a range of environmental conditions. Some of our trial partners have recently confirmed these findings in public statements.

VIA SATELLITE: Finally, what are you looking forward to the most at DC5G this year? 

Shah: I am excited to spend time with the people and companies who are taking the 5G ecosystem on the path toward commercialization and hear different perspectives on the regulatory and technical challenges that need we need to overcome.

DJI – Inspire 2 – Cinematic Options Episode 1: Snow Chase

The DJI Inspire 2 is the perfect ready-to-fly expert drone for formidable filmmakers. This limited movie demonstrates the electric power and trustworthiness of the Inspire 2 with dynamic chase scenes shot totally in sub-zero circumstances. Self-heating batteries and a strong propulsion program allow the Inspire 2 to execute flawlessly, even in the serious cold.

Get the Inspire 2 in this article:

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