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Links: Heidelberger Drops Pegasus, Portal Publishes More Stories & a Robot Cheats at Games

W. Eric Martin
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Going their separate ways
• German publisher/distributor Heidelberger Spieleverlag announced on June 28, 2012 that it has revised its relationship with fellow German publisher/distributor Pegasus Spiele, namely by dissolving that relationship and now refusing to have anything to do with Pegasus. From the announcement:

Der Heidelberger Spieleverlag ließ heute verlauten, dass ab sofort sämtliche Handelsbeziehungen zur Pegasus Spiele GmbH eingestellt werden. Dies betrifft den Großhandel sowie alle Vertriebskooperationen.

Nötig wurde dieser Schritt, nachdem es in der Vergangenheit wiederholt zu Provokationen und Vertrauensbrüchen seitens Pegasus kam. Die Geschäftsleitung des Heidelberger Spieleverlags sieht aus diesem Grund keine Basis für gemeinsame Geschäfte mehr.

Für den Handel bedeutet dies, dass Produkte des Heidelberger Spieleverlags und dessen Vertriebspartner in Zukunft nicht mehr über Pegasus Spiele bezogen werden können.

My Google-aided translation:

Heidelberger Spieleverlag announced today that effective immediately all trade relations with Pegasus Spiele GmbH have been discontinued. This applies to all wholesale and distribution partnerships.

This step became necessary after repeated provocations and breaches of trust from Pegasus. The management of Heidelberger Spieleverlag therefore sees no basis for continued joint ventures.

For the trade, this means that products from Heidelberger Spieleverlag and its distribution partners can no longer be purchased through Pegasus.

Pegasus Spiele has posted a response that essentially states "We don't get it". From the press release:

Am 26.06.2012 hat der Heidelberger Spieleverlag sämtliche Handelsbeziehungen zu uns, der Pegasus Spiele Verlags- und Medienvertriebsgesellschaft mbH, formlos via Email eingestellt. Die Beendigung der Geschäftsbeziehungen erfolgte einseitig sowie ohne Vorankündigung und vorausgegangenen Dialog seitens des Heidelberger Spieleverlags. Wir bedauern, dass sich unser langjähriger Wegbegleiter zu einem solchen, für uns unverständlichen Schritt entschlossen hat. Die in der am 27. Juni veröffentlichten Pressemitteilung genannten Gründe sind für uns nicht nachzuvollziehen und nicht hinnehmbar. Es werden darin Behauptungen aufgestellt, die falsch sind und die dazu geeignet sind, uns bei unseren Händlern, Kunden und Partnern in Misskredit zu bringen.

And again my translation:

On 06/26/2012, Heidelberger Spieleverlag severed all trade relations with us, Pegasus Games, informally via email. The termination of the business relationship was unilateral and without notice or previous dialogue on the part of Heidelberger Spieleverlag. We regret that our long-time partner has taken what is to us an incomprehensible step. Its June 27th press release references charges that are to us neither understandable nor acceptable. It presents allegations that are false and are capable of bringing us into disrepute with our retailers, customers and partners.

The press release goes on to state that titles from Fantasy Flight Games will still be available through Pegasus.

• Polish publisher Portal Publishing has launched a free PDF magazine titled STORYonBOARD (PDF). Notes Portal in its announcement: "In the first issue you will find articles about designing The Convoy, about strategy in Neuroshima Hex, comic, review of new fan army for Neuroshima Hex, and what is most important – a small game for one player designed by Michał Oracz!" More specifically, the Neuroshima Hex article focuses on the forthcoming Steel Police army expansion.

In addition to the downloadable PDF, STORYonBOARD – which is also written as "story.on.board" – is viewable on ISSUE.

• The Game Design Conference is a new event debuting in San Francisco in September 2012. From the website:

The Game Design Conference was created to give game designers a place to gather and learn from each other. With a number of varying and expanding approaches, tools, best practices, and advice to be had, there's a lot of new information to wrap your head around. And the best way to learn is to spend time with people who are actually working as game designers, perfecting their craft and bestowing their knowledge to you.

The focus appears to be mostly on video games, but board games get a call-out as well, and as project manager Ellis Kim has noted on BGG, the conference is looking for speakers. Visit the website if you want to propose a talk or a workshop; the submission deadline is July 31, 2012.

• In today's "Really? You spent money on that?" moment, I present a robot that cheats at roshambo:

Okay, this creation does have a serious purpose, as described by the Ishikawa Oku Laboratory at the University of Tokyo, which developed the robot:

In this research we develop a janken (rock-paper-scissors) robot with 100% winning rate as one example of human-machine cooperation systems. Human being plays one of rock, paper and scissors at the timing of one, two, three. According to the timing, the robot hand plays one of three kinds so as to beat the human being.

Recognition of human hand can be performed at 1ms with a high-speed vision, and the position and the shape of the human hand are recognized. The wrist joint angle of the robot hand is controlled based on the position of the human hand. The vision recognizes one of rock, paper and scissors based on the shape of the human hand. After that, the robot hand plays one of rock, paper and scissors so as to beat the human being in 1ms.

This technology is one example that show a possibility of cooperation control within a few miliseconds. And this technology can be applied to motion support of human beings and cooperation work between human beings and robots etc. without time delay.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)
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