Creating AR with Simone Clow (Virtual Immersive) The awkward brilliance of game storytelling Blightbound designer Jasper Koning from Ronimo Games The agony and ecstasy of Dolby Atmos Byteside is evolving: come work with us! COVIDSafe: Did tech or marketing fail?
Do you social? We social too!


We’ve talked virtual and augmented reality a few times over recent times. I guess it’s on my list of things that are not all that overrated, but perhaps misunderstood. So today we’re talking to a VR practitioner about how they’re working in augmented reality and putting it in the real world with some help from smartphones and even 5G tech.

Simone Clow is the CEO of Virtual Immersive, a company that produces a lot of commercial VR and AR content for companies to create cool experiences on phones or in stores and at special events.

Simone came to the immersive tech industry from a long career in visual effects production for film and TV, and co-founded Virtual Immersive in 2017. She’s got lots of interesting thoughts on where we’re at now and where things might go next and the potential for 5G at offloading a lot of the heavy lifting to make our VR and AR gear more comfortable to use.

It’s a game-y sort of week at Byteside, kicking off with a book that included accidental game references in its very real historic fiction. When you do your research, double check your research…

Plus game narratives and the difficulties in embracing the story while also trying to enjoy the game as it’s intended — to be played as a game? Then more game in your game chat as we look at what it means for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate to head to our mobiles.

We leave games behind for our tips of the week, with two streaming service picks — one to warm your heart, the other to chill your spine.

Seamus talks to Jasper Koning, Founder / Designer at Ronimo Games about their new game Blightbound, a 3-player dungeon crawler that looks like a new Golden Axe but might have more in common with Destiny or Diablo, as we discuss in the interview.

We talk about their past games, and then dig into the dungeon crawler genre, even how weird a genre it is to define with such a diverse history of games under that umbrella. And we talk a lot about the systems that will make Blightbound unique to the category.

We also touch on what it’s like to work with publisher Devolver, who has carved out a really great space offering up clever indie-ish games that explore weird and crazy ideas. It’s like knowing a Devolver game will have a certain taste or sensibility about it, but we talk about what it’s like on the other side of that relationship too.

I’m excited for Blightbound, Getting really great nostalgia vibes without the feeling that it is nothing but old hat.

Blightbound hits Steam Early Access on July 29.

What’s the deal with all the new cassette tape sales out there? Is this a legit kind of love or just some performative nostalgia? Then we leap into the cutting edge of home theatre as Seamus explains his struggles to get Dolby Atmos working with a Sonos Arc and an LG CX OLED TV – but once he did, was it worth it?

Plus this week’s recommendations hit games and TV shows, plus a little bit of chat about the new positions available at Byteside if you’re after a little more insight into what that’s all about.

Byteside, the miniature media empire spreading tech, games and digital culture through newsletters, podcasts, socials and the web, is primed and ready to expand its team with new contract editorial positions.

This is a starting small situation. But where other outlets in their early days often lean into offering writers the chance to be published for free in the name of ‘exposure’ or ‘experience’, we want to respect the need to be compensated for a commitment to work.

We’re seeking focused and energetic involvement, but with a highly flexible structure – digital office, digital tools, work from anywhere.

Our target engagement window is two hours per day, Monday to Thursday. The aim is to focus on ‘morning’ publishing as a priority but flexibility will always be maintained. We’re inventing this together. A commitment to making Byteside successful and producing great work is the fundamental goal.

All team members will participate in writing for the web and for social media, with social curation of stories and ideas also forming part of the routine. There will be an expectation of producing 5-7 published articles each week. These will often be short, sharp, and colourful, with deeper work mixed in on longer cycles.

Writing will be coached toward presenting with a clear voice, strong takes and fun perspectives. Variability in writing style will be expected, showing interest in differing aspects of tech, games and culture.

Writing for Byteside must come from a personal place of interest in each subject. But no one story has to be all things to all people. Want to give an industry take on a new game? Or a lust-filled look at a new device? Maybe a critical analysis of a new TV show? All are welcome. Say it like you mean it with a fresh perspective and it will have a home on Byteside.

Typical job advertisements are loath to mention money out loud. We’re trying to be transparent. The role will be a fixed weekly payment based on the Australian Journalists Published Media Award casual rate for an editorial employee at Band 1, Level 2 – rounded up a little. From that benchmark we are offering a flat fee of $256 based on $32/hour for 8 hours of your time. It’s also a nice nerdy base-2 number, so it felt like a good place to start. The initial agreement period will run for three months from early September to early December.

How to apply: Send a pitch letter explaining who you are, how your words will stand out in a wildly saturated nerd content landscape, and why you want to work with Seamus Byrne on Byteside. We are actively seeking voices who are exciting and additive to what we can already do and add diversity to what we hear about these subjects. Show us how you’re different and that will go a long way.

You must include links to two pieces of sample writing. Paid, unpaid, it doesn’t matter. Just demonstrate writing that shows who you are as a writer. Is there a difference between the writing you have to show and the writing you want to do for Byteside? Explain how you want to change and show us in the pitch letter you have the skills to do it!

Don’t tell us you’re passionate about it. Show us.

Send applications attention to Seamus Byrne via editor@byteside.com.

PLEASE include ‘Application’ in the subject line.

PLEASE check your pitch letter for errors of syntax and grammar because that really does count toward proving you know how to write.

PLEASE address any questions to the same email address.

Applications close 5pm, Monday, August 3.

Seamus and Nic the case of the missing SBS OnDemand from consoles, the mystery of what’s gone wrong with the pitch versus the reality of COVIDSafe, and the bizarre realm of a Global Esports Federation that doesn’t seem to do things that actual esports people would understand.

Plus WWDITS and why the BOM app is now the answer to Shay’s weather woes!

This week Seamus speaks to the team behind Fall Guys, the hotly anticipated ‘Battle Royale’ that is more Japanese game show than Fortnite. Lead Game Designer, Joe Walsh, and Senior Level Designer, Meg Ralph, join the show to talk about the concept behind the game, delivering a family game that can hold the attention of any player of any age, and designing levels for something as chaotic and weird as this looks.

Fall Guys hits Playstation and Steam on August 4 and you can get early access by hitting the game’s Discord to join their beta test crew.

New Hearthstone is ready for roll call as we head back in time again to the age of the Scholomance Academy! The time before the school became a hotbed of necrotic evil, it was instead a grand college of arcane sciences – with a still-very-human Kel’Thuzad in the headmaster’s chair!

As always, the Hearthstone team served up a hammy (in the best way) video to show us the ropes on the new expansion and its features.

Let’s take a look:

The two biggest new features in the set we’ve seen so far?

Spellburst: this triggers an effect the first time you cast a spell after playing the minion. There’s a Spellburst that puts the spell back in your hand, and another that deals two damage across the board, and no doubt there’ll be lots more.

Dual Class: There’s a bunch of new cards that are available across two classes, and each brings features notorious to certain classes across the divide. Think Mage / Rogue cards that delivers a Combo that Discovers a Mage spell or a Druid/Shaman spell that gives two Mana crystals now but Overloads them on your next turn. Every class overlaps with two other classes and there will be 40 dual class cards in total.

The dual class vibes also reach into Legendaries, with the example Scholomance professor Shan’do Wildclaw being a Druid/Hunter that offers a Choose One with Beastly synergies galore.

We’ll learn lots more over coming weeks ahead of the expansion launch in “early August”, with 135 cards to be revealed in all.

Nice board. I wanna go in the basement!

Starting with this week’s patch, everyone who logs in gets the new Transfer Student card (yes, you get two copies) which changes its effects based on the game board you find yourself playing on. It’s usable right away so throw it in your deck and see what surprises you’ll find.

As always, there’s a bunch of pre-order packs available too. The Mega Bundle will get you a Kel’Thuzad (the lich, not the human) Mage hero and cardback. It also must be said that the Scholomance Academy pack art might just be the coolest pack design ever, all purple-y and spellbook-y.

Keep up with all the news and reveals at the official Scholomance Academy site.

Thaine Lyman had 17 years at Activision under his belt working on major PC and console games like Call of Duty before he headed to Wargaming to work on World of Tanks. After a first stint in the PC team he headed to Minsk in Belarus to lead the mobile team on Blitz.

We talk about the new era of ‘real’ mobile games, how free to play models have changed, and the fights over creating fantasy tanks and skins in a game with a long pedigree of historical accuracy. It’s a really fun chat so dive in and enjoy!

Seamus talks to Run Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association, about how the industry has been dealing with the pandemic, the highs and lows of the first half of the year, and the politics that holds back better support for the business of games in this country.

If you’re in the industry, or you want to be, or you just want to know what’s going on, Ron is the guy and this episode is a great update on everything that’s been happening and where things might go next.

Nic hits Seamus with a surprise grilling about his intentions to make a permanent exit from Facebook. Can he genuinely follow through on his threats? What are his plans to solve all the gaps it creates in communicating with friends and family?

Then the show turns to lighter fare, like the COVIDSafe app and whether it’s ever going to become a useful part of the solution in Australia.

Plus a little more Quibi before the launch window free trial ends, Nic suggests a ‘Pilot Night’ concept, and Seamus falls in love with a London Underground circuit board map.