CCP Games Typhoon Relief

CCP Games, the developers of EVE online, has re-launched its “PLEX for Good” campaign in response to Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. PLEX, which is short for Pilot License Extension, is a usable and tradable in-game item that holds both real-world and in-game monetary value. This campaign is asking players to donate their PLEX, and for each one CCP Games will in turn donate $15 to the Icelandic Red Cross for Typhoon relief in the Philippines.

As of yesterday, players have already donated over $43,000, but CCP Games plans to boost that number with a charity live stream that will occur on December 7th. For different fundraising goals employees are pledging different things, such as receiving tattoos or getting their heads shaved. Previous PLEX for Good campaigns have been very successful, and the company has donated over $150,000 to disaster aid since their first collection in 2004 for the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. You can learn more about PLEX for Good and the charity live stream at this link.

This campaign helps prove that video gamers are a charitable community and that creativity can inspire people to help. Instead of just asking for cash donations, CCP Games decided to have players donate a virtual item to a virtual character within their game. While the end result may be the same, the feeling of doing it is certainly different. And why stop there? We can take the feeling of donating to a whole new level by actually allowing players to make a direct impact on the relief efforts. Giving the opportunity to contribute time instead of money is the logical choice for a video gaming community.

We applaud you CCP Games for your tremendous effort in relief aid. The money that you raise will be a great help to the Philippines during their time of need. We also implore you to go the next step. It’ll be a bold move, and a rewarding one as well.

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda Update

After a rigorous five days of crisis mapping, volunteers from all around the world made a total of 105,000 individual tags on the MicroMappers applications. These volunteers, from locales such as Belgium, Boston, Kenya, Australia, South Africa, Brooklyn, Canada, France, Spain, Qatar, Germany, the Philippines, Holland, and Denmark among others, sacrificed a small bit of their time because they wanted to do more than just listen to the news. They came together to help; resulting in around 600 relevant tweets and 180 usable images, that were deemed fit to populate the live Crisis Maps. Still as I write, these maps are being used to help with everything from rescue work to damage assessment in the Philippines, and can be seen at this link.

With all of this amazing news, we must realize that this was one of the first instances of volunteer crisis mapping ever conducted. Already, we can see that there is overwhelming proof that people are willing to spend some time to help out a disaster stricken area, “World Wide (Good) Will” as Patrick Meier puts it. These types of responses can only get better: they can be quicker, more accurate, and even more specialized. One day, volunteers will be able to complete complex tasks at the scene of a disaster right from the comfort of their home. For all of this, we recruit the expertise of the video-game community. Together, we know that we would be able to dominate any disaster event, and create a more prepared and victorious world community.

The Internet Response League is still looking for Game Developers to partner with to test our ideas. Please help spread to word to friends, family, and members or your favorite gaming community. Additionally we are looking to build a robust humanitarian-gamer culture. Please read this post to learn more.

IRL and Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda

Late last week Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda struck the Philippines. With wind speeds up to 315km/h (195mph), reports are saying that it was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall. Over 1,500 people are feared to have been killed and over half a million individuals have been displaced. As humanitarian agencies and foreign aid have begun to enter the devastated nation, others have been helping out in another manner.

The Standby Volunteer Task Force (SBTF), with the help of other volunteers, is hard at work tagging tweets and images from the Philippines for a rapid needs & damage assessment, as requested by the Digital Humanitarian Network (DHN) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

They are using two apps created by MicroMappers, TweetClicker and ImageClicker, to help with this process, both of which are open for anyone to use. The latter has already been used to tag over 7,000 images and the combined result can be seen at this interactive map.

This is directly the effort which the Internet Response League aims to help out. While the numbers that these two apps are seeing are amazing, they could be much better. The earlier and more complete that these maps are made, the more good that they can do. We need your help to help bring the Internet Response League to gamers everywhere. Wouldn’t you want to be able to say that your online gaming community was directly involved in aiding relief efforts during one of this year’s biggest disasters?

Additionally, if you have the time to spare, please use the above links to help out tagging tweets and images. The effort is still ongoing!

IRL in Search of Artists

“A call goes out around the world. A call to those doing epic quests, to those farming gold, to those ranking up, to those refreshing a website, and to those endlessly shooting each other. A symbol appears in the sky. It is a red cross, but with white lines on each arm, like a d-pad. This message is a rallying call to suspend the fun, for in real life disaster has occurred, and it is up to the denizens of the internet to step forth and help relieve the suffering. Don your armor and let the epic theme into your ears. We need your help to find the weak and give them direction, to locate hazards and mark them brightly, and to steer brave rescuers towards the innocent victims. We need you to join the Internet Response League.”

We believe that one of the cornerstones of creating a successful Internet Response League is to create compelling fantasy dialogue with our members. Video games live in the realm of gripping storylines, fantastic graphics, and epic rewards. While taking an abstract concept and creating fiction is definitely a challenge, we believe that there is definitely a way that the Internet Response League can implement these ideals.

This post is a call to all the talented individuals out there willing to help the cause. We are in need of stories, concept art, and music. The Internet Response League is a call to all able individuals to take arms and help a cause, a crusade if you let it be. Like organizations of the long past, the Internet Response League can come to represent an era. In order to so successfully, its story needs to be rich and fulfilling. A common symbol can help create this result.

IRLicon

The IRL cross, the red cross with the white stripes on each arm, should be the cornerstone of the movement. Armor, mounts, banners, and logos implementing the IRL cross can stir the hearts players in every game across the internet. Then to match, a story of epic heroes forging a union defending the weak and a theme song to match national anthems. Together the end result can become a force that could change the world. All that is needed now is grandiose imagination.

We hope the Internet Response League to become the intrigue of our day. We will be reaching out to art communities all over in hopes to garner support. If you know of anyone who fits in this category, please let them know. We want artists to draw their characters emblazoned with the IRL cross, musicians to translate the cause into song, and story-writers to chronicle the awaiting tales. We want this effort will be shared by the world, as is the entirety of the IRL. Every individual contribution will create a new vision of the idea, and will be rewarded greatly. As in history, with grand ideas comes great wealth. What kind, only time will tell.

IRL Plugin Demo

As the work on the Internet Response League Plugin continues, we’ve decided to record a video demo, showcasing some of the ideas that we’ve had in development. The video is below for you viewing pleasure.

Please note that this is still a work in progress.If you are interested in helping out, feel free to contact us at our email (contact@internet-response-league.com) or join us at our Google Group (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/internet-response-league).

IRL Introductory Videos

We recently had the opportunity to create videos for a tech convention in Australia, named eResearch Australasia. The videos give a description of some of the ideas behind the Internet Response League, as well as a quick overview of how the humanitarian aid work would look like inside of a game.

We’ve uploaded the videos to youtube and posted them here for your viewing pleasure. Just as a note, the second video is simply a shorter version of the first, omitting much of the background info.


A quick update: The work over at the Internet Response League has been continuing at a good pace. We will have additional posts in the near future to showcase what has been done. If you are interested in helping, just head over to our Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/internet-response-league

See you there!

IRL Moving Forward

As the Internet Response League (IRL) begins to gain traction amongst the gaming community, we hope that our next steps will draw in as many game developers as possible. Our goal for this project is to create an open community of gamers and game developers aligned with the common cause of helping out in disaster response and creating a socially responsible gaming world.

First things first: the response amongst the gaming community thus far has been excellent and we hope to continue the growth of interested gamers. Our ultimate goal is to reach the imaginations of game developers, and while contacting them directly is one route, we believe that rallying gamers to the cause first will create better results later on. So please do share this initiative with your gamer friends far and wide!

Additionally we have created an official IRL Google Group, to create a public conversation for the project. All are welcome to come and join. We plan on having regular discussions on how we can move this project forward and in what ways it would be the most beneficial to those involved. Below is a link to the Google Group:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/internet-response-league

The first topic that we’ll be discussing is what an average disaster scenario would look like in game. We want game developers to have the freedom of being able to implement IRL into their game platforms however they please, but there are basics that will be required. In essence, these will be: A) Notifying players when there is a disaster occurring and asking them if they would like to help out, B) Creating an ‘area’ for gamers to be able to tag disaster photos, and possibly C) Asking players to sign-up/login to receive rewards.

To begin with, we’ll focus on tagging Instagram photos. Once we’ve worked out this process, it will be easy to expand the tagging to other social & multimedia content.

So now to take a look at how IRL could look in game, lets use World of Warcraft as an example again to walk you through these basic requirements (please excuse the shoddy MS paint skills). First, the moment that a disaster strikes, everyone currently playing the game and those logging on from that point on will receive notification of the event. Only users who have opted in to receive these “alerts” will see them. The message will give a brief description of what has happened, and will ask players to help out with the tagging.

A message like this would greet you upon logging in. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

A message like this would greet you upon logging in. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

In game notification should have settings so as to not annoy players. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

In game notifications would have settings, with the ability to be disabled, so as to not annoy players. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

Accepting this invitation will take players to “disaster tagging area” (screen). People will be able to tag as many pictures as they like and exit back to the game as they please. For example, in the screenshot below, gamers are asked to tag the level of damage they see in an Instagram picture. The tagging data will be sent to IRL and be used to create a live crisis map of disaster damage for disaster responders.

A rough concept of what the tagging screen may look like. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

A rough concept of what the tagging screen may look like. (Screenshot is from World of Warcraft and has been altered)

From a technical standpoint, we’d like to develop a standard IRL web plugin that gaming companies can easily insert into their games. This would allow us to push pictures to the plugin (like the above picture) and in return get the tagging data pushed back to us for rapid damage assessment analysis. Using this plugin, we could also keep track of each gamer’s tagging totals and credit the players accordingly. In short, we want plenty of room for stylization to allow for unique fits with individual games’ story, etc. We believe that the simplicity of such a system should be a huge selling point to developers, considering all of the positives that are associated with it.

The second topic that we will be discussing is the possibility of having a set of armor unique to the top contributors of IRL. The goal is to have a unique point system for people helping out in disaster response, which for now we will name the “IRL Score”. This score will simply count the amount of Instagram pictures that a player has tagged and will exist outside of individual games. This means that if a person does plenty of IRL work in one game, the standing with IRL will carry over to every other participating game. This score would then translate to rewards that players can redeem in-game.

Players who attain a high enough “IRL Score” would be able to gain access to unique suits of armor specific to the Internet Response League, including the logo and color scheme. For this to work, our supposed graphics designers would have to work very closely with game developers to ensure that this could be implemented with each game’s unique visual style and gameplay. Considering that not every game has armor in it, creativity will go a long way, using skins, banners, and maybe even custom units as rewards. Additionally there would be a few different tiers of these rewards depending on how devoted to the IRL you are, giving the most humanitarian gamers out there the ability to wear really cool armor, despite the game that they are playing. Remember how powerful Bono’s Red Campaign was. Could we design a distinct Red and White Armor with the same kind of brand power?

redcampaign

There are definitely some nuances that would need to be addressed. Firstly, this armor should only be cosmetic, so that it does not affect the balance of the respective games. Second, we will want only the top IRL supporters to be able to wear the highest tiers of the armor, meaning that the vast majority of IRL users will have to settle for an IRL emblem, player title, or something of a lesser nature than the armor. The idea here is to cement the Internet Response League and its most dedicated members amongst more serious gaming communities. As stated earlier, the “IRL score” will simply count the amount of pictures that a player has tagged, and only those who have a score within a certain top percentage will be able to wear the armor. Yes, this also means that if you quit participating while at the top, you will lose the opportunity to wear the armor. Those who don the armor would hopefully become a sort of prestigious group of gamers who not only want to help in the real world, but also want to take it to the next level.

Gamers tend to be competitive, so we expect that this proposed setup will not deter anyone; the end result will still remain helping out disaster victims. Plus individual games / game platforms will ideally offer their own rewards for the work to keep players interested. Finally, your “IRL Score” could also be used to show prospective schools/employers how many volunteer hours you have accumulated in total, so that value created will be immense!

If you are a game developer / graphics designer, or are simply interested in this idea, please stay tuned to our Google Group for this idea. Amongst these two topics mentioned here, there will be many more to come as we collectively attempt to push the Internet Response League into the hearts of gamers around the world. Additionally, we will be exploring the possibility of using kickstarter in the future to fund a game developers & graphics designer(s) to create the IRL image tagging plugin and armor for us, so definitely stay tuned!

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/internet-response-league

See you there!