One year on D&D Live goes online Minecraft Dungeons Review: Diablo for families in the best possible way Happy International Password Day with Alex Wilson from Yubico Gaming under a spotlight, with Grace Watkins, Click Management CEO Let the memes save us Ross Symons, Big Ant Studios
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On this episode I talk to Ash Ringrose, Head of SMG Studio, just ahead of the launch of their latest game Moving Out.

It’s a crazy fun, family friendly, physics based couch co-op game landing on Switch, Playstation, Xbox and Steam this week!

Find out everything about Moving Out right here:
https://smgstudio.com/movingout/

SMG Studio has a diverse catalogue but every one has been an eyecatcher. One More Line, Over The Top Tower Defence (OTTTD), Death Squared and more, as well as licensed versions of Risk.

Ash has a background in advertising which comes up in our discussion as part of pinning down the clarity of vision the studio hits on with each of its games and also right here at the start as we kick off the call with the realisation Ash and I once worked together 20 years ago…

On today’s show I talk to Ben Goldhaber, co-founder and CEO of Juked.gg, a fantastic esports aggregation website that makes it easy to just see all the esports happening live online right now.

When you hit the site you just get this great dashboard of live feeds as if you’re looking at a bunch of screens in a sports bar. It launched in 2019 and I’ve been a fan since I first spotted it – it solves the classic problem of not knowing what’s on and not being sure where to find it.

Ben has a huge background in both esports and live-streaming, and was even on the founding team when twitch.tv was born.

So it was great to catch up and hear his thoughts on why he’s created Juked as well as his thoughts on making esports easier to watch and where this still very new service might go from here.

Check it out at Juked.gg.

Don’t forget all the shows on the Byteside network – subscribe via your favourite podcast apps. Search ‘High Resolution’ for this show or ‘Byteside’ to see all the shows in the network.

Apple is launching a brand new, “low-cost” iPhone tomorrow. But, aside from the price tag, is the new iPhone SE worth considering?

To quote Aladdin, we’re in a whole new world right now. Every turn sure is a surprise, but instead of offering new horizons to pursue, we just need to stay home and stare at our phones.

According to Global Web Index, 46% of Australians surveyed said they were using their phones more, and that was at the end of March when this whole isolation thing was still something of a novelty.

Those who’ve played the long game with an older handset might be noticing their original iPhone SE or iPhone 6 isn’t holding up quite as well as it used to.

If that sounds like you and you don’t want to have to rebuy a library of apps and learn a new phone operating system, but still need a new phone, a decent new iPhone for well under $1000 is basically perfect. And that’s exactly who Apple is targeting here. And though it’s just a massive coincidence, this is kinda the perfect time for a new low-cost iPhone.

I’ve spent almost a week with the new SE, and I love it. I wouldn’t consider it to replace my 11 Pro Max, but that’s not what it’s for.

Size

The first thing you notice when you pick it up is that it’s adorable. It’s the same size as the standard iPhone 7, but it’s been such a long time since I didn’t have a big screen phone that it feels small.  The upside is that it actually fits quite comfortably in the pocket of my jeans (which is unusual for any phone, given the notorious inadequacies of women’s jeans).

The screen is a nice Retina HD display, and the difference between its resolution and that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s Super Retina XDR OLED display isn’t that noticeable during normal use if you’re not doing a direct comparison. Higher resolutions allow for larger screens, and that’s not an issue here at 4.7 inches. The smaller phone also makes it easier to type messages and navigate around with one hand without needing to stretch first.

What surprised me most about the display of the phone was how much I missed having that big chin and forehead. Sure, it takes up some real estate that could be used for more screen, but it gives you something to hold onto for landscape mode games and watching YouTube videos.

Power

Speaking of games, although it looks like a tiny toy that would have been at home in 2016, the A13 bionic chip inside makes it as powerful as the $1199 iPhone 11. That means it can run games and relatively advanced AR apps without hiccups.

Playing Beyond Blue was beautiful, with the dolphins swimming around with such smooth, realistic motion, and there was enough space to navigate in Crossy Road Castle without feeling like anything had been squished in. It would make an excellent Apple Arcade device for bored teens ready for their first proper phone.

Camera

The camera, of course, is now the biggest selling point for every phone on the market. You expect a phone to be fast and run the latest games and apps, so it all comes down to the camera.

Although the camera is just a single 12MP wide lens on the back and 7MP camera on the front, it can still do an excellent portrait mode shot with lighting effects, and handle photos at night (without a night mode) very well.

The better photo results from this older camera array is thanks to that A13 bionic chip, which includes a far better image signal processor and Apple’s Neural Engine processing to get a lot more from the camera than any phone could handle four years ago.

So overall, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to take photos worth sharing on social media, and even print out and frame if you so choose. You can’t take Slo-fies, but let’s face it, most people only do that once and then forget that feature ever existed.

The iPhone SE has all the tools you need to take the photos you would to remember a birthday party, or document your slow descent into madness.

Touching allowed

After years of Apple telling us how much more secure Face ID is than Touch ID, it seems odd for them to go back to Touch ID and that circular home button in general. Presumably it was something of a cost-saver, and it was at the heart (well, the chin) of this older iPhone chassis design. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone, I just found it a little annoying.

But then again, my mum has been concerned about eventually needing to move to an iPhone with a different navigation system. In that sense, this physical design and this last hurrah for Touch ID is perfect for people who have been holding onto their older devices for dear life.

If you want to stick to that familiar, comfortable old physical design, then the iPhone SE will be that next device to cling to for another 5 years to come.

And the transition from another device to this one couldn’t be easier. Switching from my usual iPhone to the SE was seamless and didn’t require a computer.

All I had to do was hold my old phone next to this one, and within two hours all my photos, videos, messages, emails and apps had been copied over. That’s a big help for people who aren’t so technically confident, especially at a time when they can’t just walk into a store to get help.

Verdict

There’s no doubt there are cheaper Android alternatives on the market, with varying levels of reliability and longevity, and $749 is expensive if money is your main concern when buying a phone.

But comparing a low-cost iPhone to a low-cost Android phone is like comparing a standard Xbox One to a 100-games-in-one off-brand console. Both have the potential to play games and deliver feelings of joy for years. But one will be able to do more things for much longer, and have a warranty that’s easy to deal with.

Whether you’re a power iPhone user operating on a tighter budget, or just wanting to upgrade to something affordable yet familiar, I love this new iPhone SE. It does everything I wanted and expected it to do, with more power than I’d dared to hope for in an SE.

The iPhone SE is available in Australia from the Friday April 24.

On this week’s show we talk coronavirus tracking apps and if we’re going to do one we should make sure we do it right.

But thankfully that doesn’t dominate the show, and we get into fun stuff like digital boardgames, Minecraft getting pretty with RTX, Pac-Man at 40, and the next big Fortnite concert happens this weekend so get into it!

Here’s the Fortnite link to all the details – seriously, download it and experience this event:

https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite/en-US/news/astronomical

A fascinating chat with Marc Rogers, head of cybersecurity at Okta and long-time SecOps lead for legendary hacker conference DEFCON.

We talk about the CTI League, an amazing collective of hackers helping to secure hospitals and take down bad actors aiming to use COVID-19 as a security threat. Plus a look at the future of passwords and where authentication is going next.

Want to help CTI League?
Here’s the link to all the details: https://cti-league.com/

Seamus catches up with the founder and CEO of Level Up Dice, Alex Abrate, to talk about the company’s origin story and how it has evolved over its amazing five years of making the world’s most gorgeous gaming dice.

What is Alex’s favourite material to work with? Do they find differences in dice preferences around the world as they tour the convention circuit? And why Alex is most at home selling face to face? And how’s it all going in this awfully weird year that is 2020?

Check out, maybe even buy, some Level Up Dice of your own at the website.

This week Seamus talks with Nico King, co-founder and Executive Creative Director of Chaos Theory Games, an independent games studio based out of Sydney, Australia.

Chaos Theory is a great blend of pragmatism and idealism, creating games for brands to help them with marketing initiatives right through to games for good, helping charities, educators and environmental causes to deliver fun and engaging experiences.

They’ve worked with businesses as big as eBay, M&Ms and Samsung to create mobile games and even AR and VR experiences. And then they’ve helped Sydney University gamify dermatology education, and created the Bleached Az game tie-in for a viral animated cartoon series.

Catch the full transcript below.

We’re living up to our “tech, games, digital culture” tagline this week, with stories from every corner of the Byteside domain.

From when are Zoom hacks not actually Zoom hacks, to why games seem to have a much better handle than film on the idea of doing remakes. Plus hard drives for consoles when you’re running out of room, exciting new phones from LG, and even a little more Quibi and some old school Homestar Runner.

We last caught up with Michal ‘Carmac’ Blicharz, VP of Pro Gaming at ESL, at Intel Extreme Masters Sydney last year. This year, Australia’s IEM is moving to Melbourne to headline Melbourne Esports Open. Or at least, it’s meant to be. If we’re amazingly lucky, and we’re probably not going to be lucky, we’ll all get to catch up in Melbourne and enjoy the show in August.

One of the big lines in the sand for seeing the coronavirus shut down a lot of major events around the world was this year’s IEM in Katowice, Poland, in the country where Carmac is from. The event was all systems go until the very day before the doors opened. With travellers already in the city, ESL had to make the announcement that authorities had decided they could no longer enter the arena to watch one of the most beloved events on the annual calendar.

In today’s conversation, we talk about how esports has had to respond to the crisis in the age of stadium events as a norm, how the shock now turns to opportunity for the industry, and whether this will be a chance to change minds and open the door to new fans and new perspectives on what esports has to offer.

When this episode started we weren’t sure about Quibi. By 15 minutes in we’ve decided that’s all the show is about from now on.

Then somehow we do manage to move onto other topics anyway…

including Riot’s Valorant being ready to take over the FPS scene, Xbox All Access deals on Telstra plans, Skype finding its mojo, and those Zoom backgrounds everyone is using.

I imagine any Godzilla attack is rather unexpected until it happens. So, yes, colour me deeply surprised to see Wizards of the Coast work with the kings of kaiju, Toho Co, to bring us the crossover we never knew we needed in the new Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths premier card set.

Here’s the trailer, which is perfectly up to par on all the recent amazingly well executed MtG trailers until things suddenly take two wild twists.

One is the bizarre choice of Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation where we really would have been expecting the usual epic orchestral vibes or something moodier than a rocking cool track more comfortable in a retro teen movie sequence. But let’s set that aside.

The second is the real stunner. After a cool fight sequence with mega roach and flying spirit cats, our featured planes walker Vivien Reid whistles for extra backup. And dammit I was hoping we’d actually see Godzilla make an appearance in the clip, but instead we get a flash of the ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters’ Legendary card that will appear in the set. WHAM.

No doubt the time it takes to develop these trailers was on a much longer timescale than the final pen went to paper on the licensing deal between Toho and Wizards.

We will be getting a lot more than just Godzilla in the set. But… and it’s a big ‘but’… the Godzilla Series cards will NOT be appearing in draft booster packs.

Fans will only be able to obtain Godzilla, King of the Monsters (while supplies last) by purchasing a draft booster pack display through a Wizards Play Network store. Each sealed draft booster pack display will contain a random Godzilla Series Monster card. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Collector Boosters will also contain two random Godzilla Series Monster cards. The Godzilla Series Monster cards will not appear in draft booster packs.

Read on for the full list of 16 classic monster cards heading into Magic.

This is the time to win our time back.

Wasn’t that first couple of weeks of remote work exciting? Boy howdy we all learned a lot and discovered things they thought were impossible are actually possible.

But one thing has already become way too possible. The ability to act like a time vampire from your colleagues even when you’re not in a shared office. Just as we escaped the clutches of Cheryl knocking on a cubicle divider and immediately launching into a speech whether you were busy or not, the video conference is being used as a way to fill our calendars with back to back meetings all over again.

Video calls are great. A boon for remote work. They’ve proven how connected we can remain when we can’t share a physical space. But seriously, do we need so many of them? To bastardise the old adage:

“That Zoom meeting should have been an email.”

But there’s a perfect answer that the Googles, Microsofts, Zooms and Apples of the world could help solve forevermore. Kill the 30 minute default meeting and crush that default down to 5.

Right now, we aren’t walking from a desk to a conference room. We’re not commuting. We’re not rushing back from some client face to face. We’re all right here, at our desks, trying to get things done. And we can get check-ins done without a lot of the built in waiting time and preamble and wasted moments and just get down to business.

5 minutes. We call, we see each other, we say hi. We check-in about the specific thing that needs checking in on, we say goodbye, we get back to business. We can be enthusiastic about a 5 minute check-in.

By making 5 minutes the default, we put the onus on the person calling the meeting to have a specific reason for extending that time window to something bigger. It becomes an active choice that requires explanation, not the default marker of how much time everyone has the right to steal from the team they work with.

And by making 5 minutes the default, we demand that people show up on time! Running late? You missed it. Meeting is over. Tell your boss what was more important than that sharp 5 minutes of team time.

When we sharpen the time we let people take, we remind each other what our time is worth. A lot.

That’s the discovery most people should be uncovering during our enforced remote work time right now. We can get more focused work done, and focused time is a blessing to deep work and deep productivity. Meetings should be a sacred time to deal with roadblocks that are slowing down the work that gets done when we aren’t in meetings.

A lot of software lets you change the defaults. We can technically make this change ourselves. But like the chrono-thieves they are, the people who love calling too many meetings are never going to change without systemic change.

Our new world order under the book of Zoom is yet another newer format that only lets you define meetings in half hour blocks. No! Enough! Of all things, video should be the sharpest tool in the drawer.

Google. Microsoft. Apple. Zoom. All the rest of you out there doing calendars. The coronavirus crisis is the perfect time to give us our time back. Reset the defaults. 5 minutes at a time. It’s good for today, it’s great for tomorrow.