What's hot in gaming? Notes from the Game Developers Conference
Elliott Mitchell, Walter Somol, and Henrik Strandberg at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week.
For all intents and purposes, video games as we know them today were born in Cambridge at MIT over 50 years ago with Spacewar! In keeping with that tradition, the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI, which I oversee) throws an annual Made in MA Party at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, which brings together people with ties to Boston, the Bay State or New England. This year BetaBoston asked the guests what they thought was hot at GDC this year. And, here's what we heard. Read More
Trading triumph
Quantopian hands $100,000 account to winning algorithm writer
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Whose automatic stock-trading algorithm has the hottest hand? Quantopian, a Boston startup, ran a contest in February to find out. The winner? A trading program created by Grant Kiehne, an optics engineer who works for Northrup Grumman in Connecticut. Kiehne will get a $100,000 account to manage — and he'll get to pocket any profits. Read More
Kids these days
Anything is possible: A look inside Kendall Square's newest makerspace
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The Possible Project, an entrepreneurship program for students, opened a brand new workshop in Cambridge Thursday, just across the road from Technology Square. It’s the latest in a clutch of so-called “makerspaces” that are training middle school and high school students (not to mention adults) in design, building, and business skills. Read More
Lighter launches a better, more affordable way to eat healthy
The Lighter team. Sitting:  Christine Angela Dolendo. Back row (L to R) Kristie King, Lara Goodrich Ezor, Alexis Fox, Natalie Obermeyer Hunter, and Micah Risk.
When Micah Risk walked into a coffee shop to meet with Alexis Fox for the first time in 2013, she knew she was encountering a kindred spirit: The two women had already established themselves as up-and-comers in the worlds of both fitness and nutrition. Risk is an endurance athlete, Runner's World cover girl, and a nutritionist who graduated from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. Fox has fought for animal protection as an advocate and lawyer and recently served as the Massachusetts state director for the Humane Society of the United States. When they left the meeting, they had decided to be business partners, and had planted the seeds for a new kind of nutrition startup. And together they've launched Lighter, which delivers healthy, plant-based food along with a very organized, personalized weekly menu and recipes for each meal. Read More
From Westeros to the Alpha Quadrant: Disruptor Beam conquers new realms
Disruptor Beam demoed its new Star Trek Timelines game at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week. Image via Disruptor Beam.
Both "Game of Thrones" and "Star Trek" have millions of fans around the world, but there are perhaps none more ardent than the team at Framingham-based game studio Disruptor Beam. Led by founder and chief executive Jon Radoff, the company works with two of entertainment’s most valuable properties on a daily basis, having created the "Game of Thrones Ascent" game and the upcoming "Star Trek Timelines."  Read More
At MakeMIT, undergrads hack high-tech tools
MIT undergraduates at the 2nd annual MakeMIT hackathon. (Photos: Matthew J. Lee/Boston Globe)
The student center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology tolerates a buzz of activity pretty much at any hour. But Saturday afternoon, the spacious two-level center was pulsing with life. More than 200 of the keenest engineering students from around Boston jostled for space, balancing laptops decorated with loud stickers on tables littered with cutting tools, circuit boards, and half-empty candy boxes in a race against the clock to build their vision of a smart future. Read More
Proletariat rising: Cambridge game studio levels up
Seth Sivak, co-founder and chief executive of Proletariat Inc. (Photo: Tim Loew)
Seth Sivak, co-founder and CEO of venture-backed Proletariat Inc., a Cambridge-based game studio, has had a busy past month. Early in February his company closed a $6 million series A round led by Spark Capital along with FirstMark Capital and Atlas Venture  — and two weeks ago Proletariat launched its much-anticipated mobile game, World Zombination, in Apple’s App Store. But in the fast-moving global game industry, with the annual Game Developers Conference, or GDC, this week in San Francisco, there's no rest for the weary. Read More
Relevant Briefings
Harvard-built news aggregation app BriefMe launches in App Store
The BriefMe Team - (Left to Right) Hari Ganesan, Max Campion, Rachel Moranis. (Photo via BriefMe)
One of the biggest draws of websites such as Reddit and Hacker News is the way in which news stories are compiled and organized based on popularity. On Hacker News, for instance, a story about the latest release of a free version of a popular gaming development software might be the top-ranked article of the moment based on other users "upvoting" it. Reddit is similar in that the most popular stories are ranked in order of how important, timely, or interesting Redditors find them. A group of entrepreneurs based out of the Harvard iLab -- Max Campion, Hari Ganesan, and Rachel Moranis -- have tried to bring the same type of feature to mobile devices with a service that organizes the top news of the moment based on its overall popularity on the web. Read More
Work in progress
Twitter expands safety team to better monitor harassment online
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Twitter has tripled the number of staff members working on safety issues and rolled out new systems to track harassment and abusive behavior on the social network. Among the new features will be a method to verify the identity of users, as well as a mechanism for reporting accounts that "dox," or share, a target's personal information, such as a home address, online. Read More