March 27, 2015

Why you should read at least one new book on selling each year


According to Fredrik Eklund, the only thing you can't sell is your integrity. What you on the other hand can sell is your product or even yourself in a job interview. So we all need to learn how to sell. If your job is to sell something, which we now know it is, then the rule everyone will tell you is to read at least one new book on selling each year. I've done that. Two years ago I read the book 101 successful sales strategies and last year I read the book The Ultimate Sales Machine.
This year I will read the book The Sell by Fredrik Eklund (he in the image above). Originally from Sweden, Fredrik Eklund moved to the US, had a brief stunt in the porn industry under the pseudonym Tag Eriksson, and he is now a famous real estate agent. 
The other books I've read on selling were more general and maybe more how to sell through a phone or a product. So I hope The Sell will cover other areas (and not just the so-called "high-kick" practiced in the image above) and give new perspectives from the world of real estates. I will write a review as soon as I've read it.

March 26, 2015

Prepping within reasons: Inspirational videos

It has been a few days since the last time, but today we are going to continue discussing prepping within reasons. The idea behind the name originates from the entrepreneur Elon Musk, who said that he is an "environmentalist within reasons," because hardcore environmentalists tend to have a too constrained lifestyle. It is the same with hardcore preppers. Their lifestyle is nothing I want to live!

Today, while browsing through the endless streams of the Internet, I found a YouTube series called "Going Off Grid." The series examines how 180,000 Americans a year are choosing to live entirely disconnected from our modern Internet-focused world in pursuit of a more sustainable, simple lifestyle. So they are not necessarily prepping.

In one of the videos, the reporter interviews pro-snowboarder Mike Basich. He has built himself a 225 square foot (21 square meter) home in the middle of his 40 acre snow covered property. There, he is snowboarding while being chased by his dog. I don't think I would have wanted to live in that house 24/7, but maybe a few weeks a year... 

March 24, 2015

Boats, boats, and a little water

A few days ago I finished my realistic boat in Unity. I've used the real physics equations, such as buoyancy and wave drifting. It can steer around on the water, even though it needs a few improvements here and there. For example, the rudder is not 100 percent perfect, but that shouldn't be much of a problem to repair.
To market the boat, and the tutorial on how to make a boat in Unity, I decided to produce a 12 minute long video, which I also uploaded to YouTube:

The reason I decided to make a boat in Unity, and teach others how to do it, was that I had watched other videos on YouTube showing computer simulated boats. The main inspiration source was this video:

That simulation was also written in C#, but he is not using Unity. My next step is to build a hot air balloon, because the forces acting on a hot air balloon are actually similar to the forces acting on a boat. So that shouldn't take too long. I will also try to make a more realistic water, but I don't know if that is even a realistic idea because realistic fluid simulations tend to require more computer performance. But I can always give it a try and learn something new while doing it. This is the target:

The video above is showing an animation and not a game. The difference is that a game would have to update the waves 30 times per second real-time, while an animation is just storing the images on the wish me luck!

March 23, 2015

Why you should play games with Barbie in the title

Ubisoft game designer Jason VandenBerghe wanted to understand the psychology behind those who played his games. In 2013, he gave a talk on his findings called Acting like players - Applying the 5 domains of play. I can't embed it, so here's the link

Lessons learned
  • The "Big 5" is a structure of human psychology that is being used by academia worldwide. The 5 are:
    • Openness to experience
    • Conscientiousness
    • Extraversion
    • Agreeableness
    • Neuroticism
  • But Jason VandenBerghe has translated the Big 5 to the world of games. So in the same order as above, the 5 domains of play are:
    • Novelty
    • Challenge
    • Stimulation
    • Harmony
    • Threat - "Ragequit" is included here! It reflects the parts of the game that may cause the player to stop playing when they are otherwise enjoying it. 
  • We need all this because it is important for a game designer to understand what is going on inside the heads of the players. If you have played a lot of games, you will understand a few of the players, namely those who are similar to yourself. But you will not understand all of your players. So you have to leave you own personal biases in your home, and come to the office without them.
  • What you should do is to play games as if you were someone else and try to understand why other people like the games. So play games with Barbie in the title (if haven't already played them)
  • There are different models you can use:
  • Novelty (Skyrim is for fantasy and explorers) Also notice that some players can like both sides, such as building and exploring.
    • Realism or fantasy?
    • Building or exploring?
  • Challenge (The Sims with cheats is for those who are less skilled and play different games by impulse)
    • Easy or hard?
    • Work or impulse?
  • Stimulation (Call of duty is for those who like to play solo and thrilling games)
    • Group or solo?
    • Thrilling or serene?
  • Harmony (World of Warcraft is for those who like team and context)
    • Player-vs-player (just want the other players to lose) or team (be a part of a larger cause)?
    • Context (why should I win?) or mechanics (how do I win?)?
  • Players are not evenly distributed among these categories, even though the humanity as a whole is, because not everyone is playing games. 

March 22, 2015

You should watch this: The Heavy Water War

Last night I went to bed late. The reason wasn't that I couldn't sleep or was out late partying. The reason was that I couldn't simply stop watching the television series The Heavy Water War, which is a  six-episode TV miniseries from Norway.
Why Norway you might ask? To answer the question we must first tell what the television series is about. Basically, it tells the true story of the German nuclear program during the Second World War. The main German character is Werner Heisenberg, who was a Nobel Prize winner and also the scientist behind the German attempt to manufacture a nuclear bomb. But to make that bomb, the Germans had to purchase heavy water from a small factory in Norway.
Heisenberg's Norwegian counterpart is Leif Tronstad, who was also a scientist and the main scientist behind the factory that produced heavy water. When Germany invaded Norway, Tronstad fled to Norway and oversaw the mission to destroy the equipment that manufactured heavy water.
To destroy the equipment, the British flew in Norwegian commandos. This part of the story has been told before in the 1965 classic movie The Heroes of Telemark starring Kirk Douglas. That movie focused mainly on the mission to destroy the factory, while the television series also tells the story of what happened in England, what happened in Germany, and what the civilians in the heavy water factory were doing. 

So if you have 6 times 44 minutes to spare then you have to watch The Heavy Water War!