What's New! - Summer 2014

As indicated in the newsletter intro, we are very close to releasing Euchre and Euchre Free. This is a trick taking game in the genre of our existing title Spades. Its play style has something of a blend of Spades and Poker and is a very interesting and challenging game. It has taken us a long time to launch each new title, where currently we are only managing one new app per year, but again we have been very busy updating our existing titles to improve game play, add features and update ad network SDKs. The quality of apps on Google Play continues to improve and we need to keep abreast of this.

However, in partnership with our long-term business partners Unbalance, we are launching joint titles to Windows 8. These currently include our highly successful Spades and Backgammon as Spades Intelligence and Backgammon Intelligence and more titles will follow, also to iOS. We are also taking completely new titles to iOS and Android through Tony Warriner, who we have had much experience working with, notably for console games. Among these also include a re-launch of Sticky Blocks on iOS, with a completely re-structured use of in-game credits and level select screens.

Unbalance Backgammon Intelligence & Spades Intelligence screenshots

We continue to keep close collaboration with York University, and at GDC 2014 in San Francisco we jointly presented Rolling the Dice: Leveraging Monte-Carlo Tree Search in Game AI at the AI Summit. This continued our long relationship as we share research results and data and continue to contribute to each other's work. We are already supporting IGGI, the coming Digital Creativity Hub and are members of AIGPG.

GDC photo

After GDC we were invited to contribute to Steve Rabin's coming text book Game AI Pro 2: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals, as a follow-on to the very successful first book here. In this edition we will be expanding further on our use of "Interest Search". This has been a profoundly successful method for us, instrumental in the success of our Shogi program Shotest.

Game AI Pro: Collected Wisdom of Game AI Professionals

We have to keep sharp, so that we detect issues as soon as they arise and fix them. We suffer from rogue ads that violate the T&C for ad usage so need to detect these and have the advert and/or the publisher blocked.

It seems also that we not only need to compete with rival publishers but sometimes our own apps as well! One new threat came from a publisher working under the name "Gaming Zone" who recently pirated all our apps and re-published them as their own. To avoid detection they published in all territories other than the UK and re-worked promotion and artwork. However we have so many users out there that users from India, US and Europe very quickly reported these suspicious apps to us. Checking them out they had not just ours but also 25 apps from other publishers. We reported them to Google and inside 24 hours "Gaming Zone" were removed from Google Play.

Promo art from a pirated version of one of our apps

We tend to find ourselves a little overwhelmed at times but AI Factory continues to get stronger and more successful. We look forward to 2015!

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