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modl.ai unveils Puzzle Maker – an AI-based development tool uniquely designed to support the demand for Match-3 puzzle levels

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modl.ai unveils Puzzle Maker - an AI-based development tool uniquely designed to support the demand for Match-3 puzzle levels
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modl.ai’s latest AI-based development tool gives match-3 level designers the ability to generate hundreds of ready to use game levels overnight, removing a major time and resource bottleneck

Danish AI company modl.ai has unveiled Puzzle Maker, a new game development tool that uses AI and Machine Learning to help the developers of match-3 puzzle games meet the ongoing challenge of creating enough new levels to keep players engaged. Whereas a specialist level designer might be able to design one or two levels in a day, Puzzle Maker can generate hundreds of levels in just a few days, hugely reducing the human time and cost of supporting these games.

Match-3 games are some of the world’s most popular games – particularly on mobile – with examples like Candy Crush Saga, Gardenscapes and Bejeweled Blitz downloaded hundreds of millions of times. According to game analytics company GameRefinery, match-3 games are so popular that they make up 16% of all mobile game revenues on the US Apple app store.

To give some idea of how important level creation is to these games, Candy Crush Saga currently has more than 9000 levels – with more added on a weekly basis. Any ability to automate the level design and creation process therefore has the potential to save developers considerable time and money.

Unlike other types of puzzle, match-3 games don’t have a single solution – meaning they are very hard to create using automated software. modl.ai’s approach was to create two AI-based tools: a content generator and a level tester that, when used together, solve many of the challenges of creating a constant flow of game levels.

Puzzle Maker’s content generator is based on procedural content generation via machine learning (PCGML), meaning that it learns from existing levels and also improves the more levels it creates, with as few as 100 levels needed to complete the training phase. Each level the tool creates can be customised through a dashboard where the level designer can set a variety of parameters, from the size of the playing canvas to the kinds of puzzle pieces and challenges in each level.

Once levels have been generated, Puzzle Maker tests each level with AI bots to understand how many moves it takes to complete a level, the time it takes to complete, the number of reshuffles required and even the predicted likelihood that players will win the level – a key part of keeping players engaged over time. This data provides developers with insights into each level’s difficulty and provides characterisations of the structural level features such as the ratios of piece types and their distribution. All of this information is displayed to the level designer, who can review each one and decide if they are good enough to be included in the actual game. If they are, the code for the level is generated ready to be added.

“Match-3 games are often seen as simple and only for casual gamers, but in reality they are very clever and complex. This means that developers have relied on skilled level designers to keep coming up with fresh designs, and the only way to make more levels is to hire more level designers. We saw an opportunity to bring a new approach,” said Christoffer Holmgård, CEO at modl.ai. “By giving level designers a tool like Puzzle Maker, they get to use their expertise to know what their audience will love, but without the hours of trial and error work that we’ve automated. By solving the quantity problem, developers can focus on the quality.”

modl.ai was founded by a talented and diverse team of game developers, engineers and AI experts who saw the opportunity to use AI to automate and improve aspects of the game development process. Between them, the company founders have been involved in the development and launch of more than 30 games. Despite being less than three years old, modl.ai ranks second in the world among private companies for the number of technical game publications its team has authored.

You can find out more at www.modl.ai.

Gaming

Gamecity Hamburg boosts its team

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Gamecity Hamburg boosts its team
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The location initiative Gamecity Hamburg expands its team with project manager Daniel Hericks. In addition to the Prototype Funding and the Games Lift Incubator, Gamecity Hamburg organizes a variety of activities to promote the games industry as well as events and networking activities. Daniel Hericks will support the Games Lift Incubator and its further development with immediate effect. The incubator offers aspiring game developers, start-ups, and studios an extensive workshop and mentoring program, and financial support of 15,000 euros per team.

Daniel Hericks joins the Gamecity Hamburg team as a project manager with many years of experience in the games industry. As Publishing Manager at the Hamburg publisher and indie studio CRATR.games, he organized the scouting and evaluation of studios. Hericks also dealt with risk management and sustainability issues for indie teams. At the Hamburg-based studio Deep Silver FISHLABS, he supported the development of a publishing department and managed the collaboration with external teams. In other job positions, Daniel Hericks was responsible for building up teams of developers and project planning for various games projects and was actively involved in the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) as a lecturer for the Games Master’s program.

In his role at the Games Lift Incubator, he will primarily be managing and supporting up-and-coming teams and young indie studios, as well as using his experience in producing and publishing to implement and further develop the program in its current edition:

“I am very excited to guide and support the teams from the Games Lift Incubator on their way into the games industry. With our incubator program and other activities of Gamecity Hamburg, we will actively contribute to bringing more good games projects from Hamburg to the market in the coming years.”

The Games Lift Incubator 2021 started for the five participating teams in September with a three-month intensive phase. In addition to start-up funding of 15,000 euros, the teams will receive coaching, mentoring, and workshop programs, as well as places in a co-working space.

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Gaming

The Sandbox Partners with Snoop Dogg to Bring the Legendary Icon into the Metaverse

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The Sandbox Partners with Snoop Dogg to Bring the Legendary Icon into the Metaverse
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The Doggfather is recreating his mansion in The Sandbox virtual gaming world, allowing players to experience concerts and parties and even play as Snoop Dogg

The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and a subsidiary of Animoca Brands, announced that it has partnered with Snoop Dogg to bring the legendary rapper, actor, songwriter, entrepreneur and entertainer to The Sandbox gaming metaverse.

Snoop Dogg will enter the metaverse by owning his own virtual land in The Sandbox, where he will set up his mansion. Snoop Dogg will also launch his NFT collection including player avatars and a limited ‘Snoop Dogg Private Party Pass’ that gives users VIP access to concerts, events, Q&As, and dedicated NFT drops. Snoop Dogg will also launch a 3D avatar collection inside The Sandbox and players will be able to create games using virtual “Doggfather” items such as Snoop Dogg’s personal car collection, dogs, statues, memorabilia, and more. All info on Snoop Dogg entering The Sandbox, as well as the Private Party Pass can be found on https://sandbox.game/snoopdogg/

Snoop Dogg has always been on the cutting edge of new technologies, investing in telemedicine and launching his own esports tournament series, the Gangsta Gaming League, in 2019. In April of this year, he dropped “A Journey with the Dogg,” a select set of NFTs designed to offer a look into his life that included the exclusive track NFT. His next step into the NFT world is The Sandbox, the fast-growing decentralized gaming platform where Snoop Dogg can share his NFT collection and lifestyle with players around the world.

To mark the occasion, The Sandbox will hold a LAND sale on September 30th, 2021 at 1 p.m. (UTC), which will allow fans to buy LANDS adjacent to the property of Snoop Dogg’s, thus becoming the Doggfather’s virtual neighbors in the metaverse.

“I’m always on the look-out for new ways of connecting with fans and what we’ve created in The Sandbox is the future of virtual hangouts, NFT drops and exclusive concerts,” said Snoop Dogg. “We’ll have a fresh set of Dogg style NFTs that players can integrate into the game experiences to take this online experience to the next level for sure.”
“The idea of having hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg as your next-door neighbor in The Sandbox metaverse is mind blowing – and being able to have a unique Snoop NFT as your in-game avatar is even cooler,” said Sebastien Borget, COO and Co-Founder of The Sandbox. “By entering the next generation of entertainment where fans, creators, and players can connect and play-to-earn in a gaming virtual world, the Doggfather continues to be a pioneer. I can’t wait to attend the first Snoop Dogg live concert in the metaverse alongside our players!”

“We are building the future of entertainment where everyone will enjoy creating and sharing their very own virtual experiences,” said Arthur Madrid, CEO and Co-Founder of The Sandbox. “The Sandbox is bringing iconic culture with Snoop Dogg and enhancing it through innovation with NFTs and virtual experiences. Snoop’s LAND is decentralized; 100% owned by him to develop through his creative genius. I can’t wait to join his first private party in The Sandbox!”

“We are entering into a new age of creative potential that was never possible bound by the laws of the physical world and are excited to help Snoop continue to provide innovative entertainment for his millions of fans all across the globe,” said Alex Livian, Founder of Cultivate Studios, and representative of The Sandbox & Snoop Dogg collaboration.

As with all The Sandbox partnerships, the collaboration will include carefully curated and designed experiences and specific assets that players can purchase and use in their original creations. This will allow players to step into Snoop’s virtual mansion to join an exclusive pool party experience, enjoy Snoop Dogg’s extensive collection of NFT art, or explore Snoop Dogg’s car collection. Players will also be able to insert voxel versions of Snoop Dogg’s dogs, cars, and other items in their virtual experiences.

Part virtual real-estate, part amusement park, The Sandbox fully embraces the idea of the metaverse as a continuous shared digital space where worlds and heroes collide to make rainbow-colored magic (think Ready Player One). Snoop Dogg joins over 165 existing partnerships including The Walking Dead, deadmau5, Richie Hawtin, The Smurfs, Care Bears, Atari, ZEPETO, and CryptoKitties, all following The Sandbox team’s vision of empowering players to create their own experiences using both original and well-known characters and worlds.

The Sandbox is scheduled to launch its first public Alpha for players in Q4 2021, enabling anyone to experience a social hub and gain the power to build a fantastic collection of fantasy and role-playing adventures that can be traded with other players, creators, and artists on the platform.

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Gaming

SPACE INVADERS FOREVER is getting a Special Edition!

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SPACE INVADERS FOREVER is getting a Special Edition!
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TAITO and ININ Games are proud to announce SPACE INVADERS FOREVER will receive an awesome Nintendo Switch exclusive boxed Special Edition, coming with some amazing extras. The SPACE INVADERS FOREVER Special Edition will be released in North America and Europe later this year and can now be pre-ordered!

An Iconic Experience Young or old, novice or hardened gamer, everyone knows the name SPACE INVADERS. Some say it launched the video gaming scene into a new era. Its simple, but revolutionary game design was so addictive, it was mimicked in many other forms over the years, but the original SPACE INVADERS is still the benchmark for all that followed.

For all those who share the enthusiasm for this brand, the ININ Games team has put together some carefully selected items that will be included in the Special Edition:

● Special Edition Box ● Rubber Keychain ● A3 Poster ● Invader Pin ● 4x Outdoor Stickers ● Invader Card ● Notepad ●  Postcard Set ● Mini Art Plate

Of course, the Special Edition also features SPACE INVADERS FOREVER for Nintendo Switch, which comes with three awesome games from the SPACE INVADERS universe:

SPACE INVADERS EXTREME – 16 stages, full of devious Invaders and thrilling boss fights. Featuring greatly improved graphics and interactive sound for a new immersive SPACE INVADERS experience! Practice individual stages in Free Play, then boost your high score in Arcade Mode! Can you find all the countless, hidden bonuses?

SPACE INVADERS GIGAMAX 4 SE – The 4-player-coop-experience offers new stages, gimmicks and new music from TAITO’s awesome in-house sound team ‘ZUNTATA’. Players can team up with up to 3 friends to fight the Invaders and to clear the stages as fast as possible.

ARKANOID vs SPACE INVADERS – A perfect union of two of TAITO’s most iconic and beloved Arcade Kings. Players are controlling the Arkanoid Vaus paddle ship to defeat waves of Space Invaders in 150 stages. Including 40 different characters from the TAITO legacy to unlock – each coming with unique abilities. Are you ready to defeat the huge 3D Invader bosses and save the galaxy?

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