Uncover the Latest News on Economy Inspired a Cyberpunk Game, World-first Audio Only Computer Game, and Steam Hit 30 Million Concurrent Users

In today’s computer gaming news, learn more about Citizen Sleeper is a cyberpunk-style video game in which the player controls an android with a human mind who has sold their human body to the firm Essen-Arp. The game’s rules can be interpreted as a critique of the brutalities of the contemporary economy. For instance, the less food and energy you have, the fewer dice rolls you receive per cycle. Meanwhile, a major award has been bestowed upon a project to create the world’s first audio-only computer game, conceived by a team of Lancaster university researchers in partnership with blind and visually impaired individuals. Lastly, this past weekend, Steam reached a major milestone. For the first time, the computer gaming portal reported more than 30 million concurrent users. Approximately 30,032,005 c gamers were using the platform at 14:00 UTC today.

A Gig Economy-inspired Cyberpunk Video Game

Original Source: How the gig economy inspired a cyberpunk video game

Citizen Sleeper is a cyberpunk-style video game in which you play an android who has sold their body to Essen-Arp. When the game begins, you’ve just left Essen-Arp in a stolen robot frame, transported to a starship colony where you know no one and have a faint sense of who you once were.

Each roll of the dice determines the outcome of actions like working, asking for directions, stealing, fighting, or making friends. Higher rolls increase your chances of completing those tasks. As you work, you earn money to buy food, supplies, and a “stabilizer” to maintain your robot frame.

The game’s rules are a critique of the modern economy. The lesser your food and energy, the fewer dice rolls you get each cycle. Why must you constantly fix that robot frame? Planned obsolescence. How do you make money? Gig employment. Better jobs come and go. Every day is a struggle to locate decent jobs, affordable commodities, and long-term aspirations while barely surviving.

Gareth Damian Martin, the game’s designer, was inspired by his gig-work experience in London. “I did a variety of activities, although most centered on zero-hours contracts in the UK. You are hired to a corporation, which can give you any amount of hours. It empowers employers to not grant employees any rights, but to call on them at any time for employment.”

The work toll

The capitalist, dehumanizing aspect of this work impacted Martin as they built the game. It influenced the main character, a human mind emulating Essen-Arp and placed in a corporate-owned robotic body.

“A lot of my views are tied to my experiences as a non-binary person, thinking about how bodies are legislated and citizenship is granted and taken away from specific bodies. And how capitalism and gig work affect body and psyche “- Martin

As a zero-hours contract worker, Martin flew at Piccadilly Circus and manned pubs and museums. SEGA hired them as a game tester. It was cool, but testing a 3D SEGA game wore Martin out.

“The stress of testing 3D hour after hour was horrible for you,” Martin explains. “My eyes got hurt.”

Martin’s eyes healed, but the memories stuck. The idea that work may strain the body in multiple ways was central to Citizen Sleeper.

Martin wanted ways to “twist the knife” on the athlete or put pressure on him. They claim it’s crucial for players to track their energy and health. “The illness causes a feeling of steady deterioration, as if no matter what you do, you’re losing it each day. And so the energy is more like a daily drive to achieve something to keep from deteriorating.”

To fail

Planned obsolescence resonated with Martin while developing the game. In the real economy, planned obsolescence is the policy of making items that are designed to become obsolete and need replacement, like a phone’s performance after an update. It’s an aspect of manufacturing, like quick fashion, that lowers product quality.

The life of these goods is often prolonged — or at least ensured — by using the manufacturer’s maintenance supplies. In Citizen Sleeper, the protagonist’s robot frame is designed to be obsolete.

“The concept of a body dying because it’s being utilized incorrectly, outside of corporate grasp, felt like predatory conduct,” says Martin. “For example, an Uber driver who bought their car from Uber and pays rent with their salary. That strong relationship between the payer and the taker.”

Citizen Sleeper may sound like a dismal indictment on our economy. Martin believes that while the gig economy inspired the evil side of Citizen Sleeper, it also inspired many of the game’s positive aspects.

“One of the most remarkable things about doing bad gig gigs is that you end up working 2:00 PM and 2:00 AM jobs. And because of that, you go to different bars at different hours, meet people, and see different parts of the city.”

Martin discovered kinship and unity with people they met in their various careers, and they put those memories into Citizen Sleeper’s characters. As the player’s humanity is chipped away by labor, it’s felt in the community they join.

First Audio-only Computer Gaming Project 

Original Source: Project to create world-first audio only computer game honoured

A Lancaster University team built a world-first audio-only computer game in partnership with blind and sight-loss patients.

Only abstract sounds guides the player through 16 levels of a maze. This audio game has no screen or voice. Visionary, a nationwide membership organization for local sight loss nonprofits, has honored the team behind it. The project won Specsavers’ Inspire award for pioneering work.

Eye Care ImaginationLancaster, a design-led research lab at Lancaster University, approached South Lakes about recruiting blind and partially sighted computer gamers for the study.

The group held a workshop in Manchester with Zach Mason, a PhD student interested in accessible audio games. Participants tested the prototype, and their comments will design a new and enhanced version of the game for Steam.

The Specsavers-sponsored Inspire Award celebrates groundbreaking efforts and local organizations’ outstanding work. The study initiative won well, says Visionary CEO Fiona Sandford. ‘The project was an inclusive partnership with smaller sight loss organizations contributing to a change in design for blind and partially sighted persons.

Dr. Joseph Lindley of ImaginationLancaster stated it was a great example of how various voices can transform design problems. Any money made will be shared with sight loss organizations, which is even better.’

Dr. Lindley says the persons Sight Advice South Lakes recruited were good-natured, pleasant, and understanding of the researchers’ lack of expertise about living with sight loss.

‘The confluence of these variables was tremendously energizing for our team, but also for the potential of the research,’ he says.

‘Having the complete group identify with the idea we’re exploring and put their hearts and souls into helping us grasp the problem and generate new alternative directions was a terrific display of how bringing various voices to any design problem can be transformational.’

Assistive Technology Coordinator at Sight Advice South Lakes Tim Ward said it was great to work with ImaginationLancaster, which won a Lancaster University award for the project.

‘We thought the initiative had tremendous potential for the realm of sight loss, so we opened the research to visually challenged gamers in the UK,’ he explains.

‘The workshop was a spectacular success, and ImaginationLancaster, who was pleasant to work with, achieved their goals and have new directions for visually impaired persons.’

Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director at Specsavers, says, ‘We sponsored the Inspire Award to improve the quality of life for those afflicted by sight loss.’

‘Specsavers is happy to work with Visionary to improve eye exam awareness. We want to motivate people to join us because we must implement change to ensure long-term patient-centered treatment and better sight loss prevention.

Steam Hit 30 Million Concurrent Users

Original Source: Steam Breaks Through 30 Million Concurrent Users Milestone

Steam hit a landmark this weekend. First time, the gaming portal had 30 million concurrent users. At 14:00 UTC, 30,032,005 gamers were on the platform (opens in new tab). Most will have spent the weekend playing PC games, but many will have been busy in the community or buying new titles at the marketplace.

Steam users peaked at 27 to 29 million on weekends in 2022. Last March, 29,986,681 people were on the network at once. As we all know, nicer weather in the northern hemisphere means people go out more on weekends, allowing their gaming dens or fortresses of solitude to accumulate dust. Night is falling, and Steam concurrent user counts have already passed 30M, before Halloween.

PCs are notable for their adaptability, CPU and GPU capability, openness, and more. The latest Steam statistics shows its resilience against consoles, smartphones, and streaming gaming platforms. PC and component sales are falling as the recession bites, yet PC gaming is stronger than ever.

Should Steam record PCs and parts makers? Yes, but PC aficionados and DIYers who want to upgrade have shrugged at certain recent releases owing to cost. In other words, PC and component companies can’t keep acting like there’s a crypto-boom. Some may like selling flagship components now, but many mainstream users are price sensitive.

Finally, congrats to Steam! We look forward to the next milestones, probably after Christmas and before 2023’s excellent weather.

Summary of Today’s Computer Gaming News

Overall, Citizen Sleeper is a sleek, cyberpunk-style video game. The game’s rules can be seen as a criticism of how harsh the modern economy is. “My work as a freelancer in London gave me a lot of ideas for Citizen Sleeper,” says Gareth Damian Martin, who made the game. “I did a lot of different things, but most of them had to do with something called a “zero-hours contract” in the UK. You are hired by a company, but you are not guaranteed work. The company can give you any number of hours. It means that a company doesn’t have to give an employee anything and doesn’t have to give them any rights. Instead, they can call them up at any time and ask them to work.”

On the other hand,  Researchers at Lancaster University, working with persons who are blind or have low vision, have won a major award for their groundbreaking effort to develop an audio-only computer game. The player navigates a 16-level maze using only abstract noise. In contrast to other audio games, this one does not have visuals or any sort of narration. Now, thanks to Visionary, a national membership organization for local sight loss organizations, the team responsible has been recognized at their annual awards ceremony. The project was awarded the Specsavers-sponsored Inspire prize for innovative projects.

Finally, Steam reached a milestone. The gaming portal surpassed 30 million concurrent users. Most will have spent the weekend playing PC games, but many will also have been in the community or shopping for more games. Weekends in 2022 have seen 27 to 29 million concurrent Steam users. End of March 2022 saw 29,986,681 concurrent users. Better weather in the northern hemisphere means people venture out more on weekends, leaving their gaming caves to accumulate dust. Even before Halloween, Steam concurrent user counts had already passed 30M.

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