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The Decide-o-tron App

Robert KhooRobert Khoo Registered User, Administrator, ClubPA, Penny Arcade Staff, PAX Staff staff
edited August 2011 in The Penny Arcade Hub
http://www.decideotron.com

http://penny-arcade.com/2011/08/22/decide-o-tron-lives

In short, we've been working on this app for about a year. The two-second pitch is that it's like Pandora for games (console/handheld/pc), but it also has a built in library functionality (which was sort of a necessity since the app needed to understand your gaming preferences).

The behind the curtain magic is done by EEDAR, which is pretty much a data analysis company that focuses on games. The methodology they use is pretty nutso, where they have tens of millions of data points to cross reference and over 10,000 games in the database... so doing some pretty heavy lifting on the backend by looking at what you already love or hate makes for a pretty useful app.

Some interesting things to note are:
1. It's free.
2. Yes, it's on the iOS right now, but we're looking to expand on that.
3. We're essentially monetizing on ads, but something that will NEVER be on sale is the recommendation. That data is pure.
4. It should be available to try out in the next few weeks, but we'll have beta builds available at PAX up by bandland if you're there.
5. We did all of the design and played a very heavy role in the production portion (90% done by Erika as an fyi), but all the technical development was done by an awesome studio called The Binary Mill out of Australia.

OKAY ENJOY.

Some guy.
Robert Khoo on
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Posts

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    2. Yes, it's on the iOS right now, but we're looking to expand on that.

    :^:

    Even though I have more than enough games to play, have a pretty good idea of what kind of games I like and what ones I'd like to play in the future, and have never found services like Pandora or iTunes Genius more than very marginally useful in making worthwhile recommendations on music, I still think it's hilarious and awesome someone has made something like this for games.

    bowen wrote: »
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  • Robert KhooRobert Khoo Registered User, Administrator, ClubPA, Penny Arcade Staff, PAX Staff staff
    I definitely hear you - for a lot of us, we're following the release calendar pretty closely, so the recommending might not be as useful for you. I know that I've been using it for organizing my library, but the recommendation bits won't come in handy until about a week after PAX, where i realize that i'm so behind on game news that i actually need to figure out what to play.

    Some guy.
  • FramlingFramling Registered User regular
    This will be great for me, since I barely have time to play games, let alone read a bunch of shit to try to figure out what games I want to play. Once again, cold, unfeeling technology has addressed my needs.

    So you're not selling recommendations, but how about user data?

    you're = you are
    your = belonging to you

    their = belonging to them
    there = not here
    they're = they are
  • PeewiPeewi Registered User regular
    This sounds pretty cool and I hope your expansion plans include a website version or something else that doesn't require owning a specific device.

    Switch: SW-6132-4331-5349 || Steam
  • FyndirFyndir Registered User regular
    Are you considering releasing a premium version that we would have to pay for, but that comes free of advertising?

    Or are the back end costs high enough that you want to keep the continual money stream coming in to offset them?

  • FalxFalx Registered User regular
    I wouldn't mind seeing this on Steam or even just released on it's own.

  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel Registered User regular
    Robert are you guys sending out beta to users or just demoing it at PAX itself?

    (only asking cause I got me a TestFlight account)

    Also is it a universal app (with iPad-scaled graphics)?

    Retina display support?

    Is the information you add to it about your own library isolated to the device, or would it say, sync between iDevices?

  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel Registered User regular
    (or I can just wait like two days and find this stuff out)

  • El GuacoEl Guaco Registered User regular
    I understand that the Apple platform is fairly ubiquitous, but come on, if it's all ad driven just put it on a website for us non-Apple folk. They say "other platforms" but I doubt it's coming to my Windows Phone any time soon. (Unless you want to hire me to do it! ;-) )




  • ElbasunuElbasunu Registered User regular
    So premature for suggestions, having not even seen the thing in action, but what are the odds of "Replay the Game" functionality? I just did a 2nd play of Mass Effect 2, but I know there are a ton of games I own that are prime for a 2nd run through.

    Maybe "Sequel Reminders", like "Hey, Deus Ex 3 is coming out, you should replay Deus Ex."

    Or would that be too contradictory to the marketing aspects of the app?

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  • FyndirFyndir Registered User regular
    Doesn't Mike or Jerry have a Windows phone? Pretty sure I read something about how much they loved it in a news post, so I'm sure they'll want to be able to check it out for themselves.

  • Robert KhooRobert Khoo Registered User, Administrator, ClubPA, Penny Arcade Staff, PAX Staff staff
    We didn't have the development resources to make multiple versions right out the gate. So what ends up happening is that we choose the one with the best chance of success (with factors including market share, support from the store, and our own data where we ask hey what phone do you own) and proceed from there. I own two android devices, Mike owns a Windows phone - we all want to see this thing on as many things as possible. I don't see why some people think this move is some sort of personal attack on them though... (referencing outside data - not reactions in here, mind you)

    Some guy.
  • DelzhandDelzhand Venitah, Satariel! Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    So how detailed is the content analysis? Tycho said it's like Pandora for games. If I say I like Super Metroid, is that an internal +1 to "platformers" or is it more like +1 "platformer/exploration/snes/nintendo/metroid/sci-fi"?

    Edit: Even better would be all those things plus descriptors like dark, ambient, isolation, etc.

    My problem with most recommendation code is that it seems too shallow. If I tell Netflix I liked the 80's animated Transformer movie, it's like "You'll love these michael bay flicks" and I go ew, no, never show me those again, and then it just thinks I like old cartoons instead of G1 Transformers specifically.

    Delzhand on
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  • GgrecoGgreco Maker of Arts Seattle, WARegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff staff
    Smart Hero wrote:
    Robert are you guys sending out beta to users or just demoing it at PAX itself?

    (only asking cause I got me a TestFlight account)

    Also is it a universal app (with iPad-scaled graphics)?

    Retina display support?

    Is the information you add to it about your own library isolated to the device, or would it say, sync between iDevices?

    To answer your questions,
    We will have demo stations at PAX but won't be sending out betas to users.
    It does not have iPad scaled graphics but it can be installed on your iPad
    It does have beautiful (completely unbiased) retina resolution graphics
    Your data can be linked to a facebook account so if you were to login to facebook on your iPod touch and your iPhone, they would have the same library.
    This also ensures that if your iPhone was lost or had to be reformatted you wouldn't lose all your data. :)

  • GgrecoGgreco Maker of Arts Seattle, WARegistered User, Penny Arcade Staff staff
    Delzhand wrote:
    So how detailed is the content analysis? Tycho said it's like Pandora for games. If I say I like Super Metroid, is that an internal +1 to "platformers" or is it more like +1 "platformer/exploration/snes/nintendo/metroid/sci-fi"?

    Edit: Even better would be all those things plus descriptors like dark, ambient, isolation, etc.

    The latter would be more accurate. It factors in many datatypes, not just simply genre so it gets pretty specific.

  • MuridenMuriden Registered User regular
    Would like to see this for Android. Any plans to bring this to non-iOS devices if it has a successful launch?

    MrGulio.332 - Lover of fine Cheeses. Replays
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  • KalTorakKalTorak Way up inside your butthole, Morty. WAAAAY up inside there.Registered User regular
    So far I'm having fun just reading the Twitter feed.

  • AbracadanielAbracadaniel Registered User regular
    egreco wrote:
    Smart Hero wrote:
    Robert are you guys sending out beta to users or just demoing it at PAX itself?

    (only asking cause I got me a TestFlight account)

    Also is it a universal app (with iPad-scaled graphics)?

    Retina display support?

    Is the information you add to it about your own library isolated to the device, or would it say, sync between iDevices?

    To answer your questions,
    We will have demo stations at PAX but won't be sending out betas to users.
    It does not have iPad scaled graphics but it can be installed on your iPad
    It does have beautiful (completely unbiased) retina resolution graphics
    Your data can be linked to a facebook account so if you were to login to facebook on your iPod touch and your iPhone, they would have the same library.
    This also ensures that if your iPhone was lost or had to be reformatted you wouldn't lose all your data. :)

    Awesome, thanks!

  • VoroVoro Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Elbasunu wrote:
    So premature for suggestions, having not even seen the thing in action, but what are the odds of "Replay the Game" functionality? I just did a 2nd play of Mass Effect 2, but I know there are a ton of games I own that are prime for a 2nd run through.

    I'm actually wondering about the opposite. I don't see anything in the screenshots about marking a game as complete, so it will be fairly useless for working on the backlog as-is. Not to mention there doesn't appear to be an option to recommend only library games.

    edit: Needed to look harder at the second screenshot... >.>

    Voro on
    XBL GamerTag: Comrade Nexus
  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Muriden wrote:
    Would like to see this for Android. Any plans to bring this to non-iOS devices if it has a successful launch?
    2. Yes, it's on the iOS right now, but we're looking to expand on that.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    Peewi wrote:
    This sounds pretty cool and I hope your expansion plans include a website version or something else that doesn't require owning a specific device.

    Yes.

    steam_sig.png
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD along with you if I get drunk well I know I'm gonna be gonna be the man whoRegistered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Delzhand wrote:
    So how detailed is the content analysis? Tycho said it's like Pandora for games. If I say I like Super Metroid, is that an internal +1 to "platformers" or is it more like +1 "platformer/exploration/snes/nintendo/metroid/sci-fi"?

    I have this difficulty with Pandora. I put in a bunch of songs that have, say, syncopated beats, and it decides that what I really want are songs with female vocalists (because I happened to put in 3 songs with female vocalists and only 2 with male vocalists) so then I put in a song with a male vocalist and syncopated beats and it starts giving me songs with tonal harmonies because all 6 songs happened to have tonal harmonies and I'm all "Pandora y u no give me syncopated beats!?" I really wish I could just click on "syncopated beats" and have it add weight to that criterion over all the others.

    Similarly, I would <3 that kind of functionality in Decide-o-Tron. Let's say I put in Super Metroid and it spits out Turrican with "We chose Turrican because it has non-linear exploration, platform jumping, collectible power-ups, and a sci-fi theme," it would be nice to be able to touch "non-linear exploration" and flag that as a weighted criterion.

    Feral on
    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
  • agilemaniaagilemania Registered User regular
    I would be glad to lend my expertise to getting the Android version off the ground. Call me, Khoo! 8->

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    lemme make the iPad version

  • halwits2011halwits2011 Registered User
    I think its a very interesting.

  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    awesome, I'm excited about the library functionality alone.

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    This sounds pretty badical. Will there be the ability for users to submit info back into the database? Like, if someone knew of a fairly obscure game, or game that for whatever reason got missed, they could submit it with some tags? Possibly then have some kind of "new games to be tagged" feed that other users could use to add or confirm? I suppose it'd need some work to keep people from trying to use it to peddle their crappy tower defense clone or whatever.

    steam_sig.png
  • DrunkMcDrunkMc Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Looking forward to this. Many times I've tried to remember all the games I own and be able to bring it up so people can view the list and ask to borrow a PS3 game or something. Instead of going "ummmmm, Uncarted 1 & 2....Ummmmmmmmmmmmm.....God of War 3....Ummmm", I can just bring this up and say, "Look!".

    Its fun to watch Penny-Arcade grow as a brand.

    DrunkMc on
  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    Awesome! Can't wait for a web, WP7, or Android version. Sounds like a neat idea, but no iOS device to use it on.

    OSvv7zs.pngjswidget.php?username=ArcSyn&numitems=5&header=0&text=none&images=small&show=recentplays&imagesonly=1&imagepos=center&inline=1&domains%5B%5D=boardgame&imagewidget=1
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    I'm sure you know this, but you will live and die by how accurate and up to date your database is. Please (a) have somewhere visible for user feedback on corrections/additions and (b) don't forget that the world is not America. Sometimes our games have different names. Sometimes we have games you don't! It would be nice if both of these would be reflected in the database.

    I'm currently keeping my 'games I'm interested in but will forget about if I don't write them down somewhere' list on Goozex which is less than ideal. As such I keenly and optimistically await the Decide-o-tron.

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  • LanglyLangly Registered User regular
    I will definitely be on top of this if you guys ever get a chance to release for Android systems.

  • Centipede DamascusCentipede Damascus Registered User regular
    Adding to the Android mob cry

  • faitsfaits a panda eating cake seattleRegistered User regular
    I also anxiously await the rise of our android overlords.

    faits.png
  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    If we give it our gamertags and psn thingies can it strip out what games we own and recommend on from there.

    Because while it sounds cool, I am incredibly lazy.

    Blake T on
  • DyvionDyvion Baking in AZRegistered User regular
    Blake T wrote:
    If we give it our gamertags and psn thingies can it strip out what games we own and recommend on from there.

    Because while it sounds cool, I am incredibly lazy.

    And Steam ID.

    Although I'm not that lazy.
    Yes I am.

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  • CambiataCambiata Commander Shepard The likes of which even GAWD has never seenRegistered User regular
    Sounds like a pretty cool app that I can't use yet. Good luck with it!

  • LagnarLagnar Registered User regular
    So I saw this was released and have been fiddling around with it for a bit now. Pretty great so far! It looks slick and is easy to use while being fairly in depth at first glance. There are some minor issues but such is to be expected as it did just come out.

    Can we post bugs/issues or whatever here or should we send an email somewhere? Ive seen a few bugs but as I said before they are just minor.

  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    There is a new sticky topic at the top of the page which I think you should use.

    (though could you answer my question like three posts up?)

  • LagnarLagnar Registered User regular
    Blake T wrote:
    There is a new sticky topic at the top of the page which I think you should use.

    (though could you answer my question like three posts up?)

    Thanks! Didn't see that until you mentioned it.
    Blake T wrote:
    If we give it our gamertags and psn thingies can it strip out what games we own and recommend on from there.

    Because while it sounds cool, I am incredibly lazy.

    From what I can tell yeah it does. I added my PSN and it had Dragon age Origins and Awakening, so from there it went ahead and recommended Dragon Age 2. It also added the first resistance which in turn had it recommend the second one. Mind you it added the PSN versions of Dragon age and of course resistance to my library.

  • SquallSquall hap cloud Registered User regular
    i couldnt find any option to add steam IDs, that would save me a lot of time

    actually i cant seem to find how to go back and add my psn ID now that i've been using the app; where is that option hidden?

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