x4000 writes "My recent RTS game uses a new style of AI that hybridizes rules-based AI with emergent AI logic. As a disclaimer, I'm really not an AI programmer at all — my background is in databases, financial modeling, etc. But it just so happens that database experience, which often involved distilling data points from multiple sources and then combining them into suggested decisions for executives, also makes a great foundation for certain styles of AI. The approach I came up with leans heavily on my database background, and what concepts I am familiar with from reading a bit about AI theory (emergent behavior, fuzzy logic, etc). The results are startlingly good. Total development time on the AI was less than 3 months, and its use of tactics is some of the best in the RTS genre. I'm very open to talking about anything and everything to do with the design I used, as I think it's a viable new approach to AI to explore in games, and I'd like to see other developers potentially carry it even further."
touretzky writes "Two ex-employees have sued Diskeeper Corporation in Los Angeles Superior Court after being fired, alleging that the company makes Scientology training a mandatory condition of employment (complaint, PDF). Diskeeper founder and CEO Craig Jensen is a high-level, publicly avowed Scientologist who has given millions to his Church. Diskeeper's surprising response to the lawsuit (PDF) appears to be that religious instruction in a place of employment is protected by the First Amendment." The blogger at RealityBasedCommunity.net believes that the legal mechanism that Diskeeper is using to advance this argument ("motion to strike") is inappropriate and will be disallowed, but that the company will eventually be permitted to present its novel legal theory.
It was recently announced that sci-fi remake series Battlestar Galactica is getting a whole new spinoff prequel series called "Caprica." Signed on for twenty hours worth of finished product, including a two-hour pilot, the new series is to be set 50 years prior to Battlestar Galactica, and will focus on two rival families, the Graystones and the Adamas. "Enmeshed in the burgeoning technology of artificial intelligence and robotics that will eventually lead to the creation of the Cylons, the two houses go toe-to-toe blending action with corporate conspiracy and sexual politics. 'Caprica' will deliver all of the passion, intrigue, political backbiting and family conflict in television's first science fiction family saga."
Frequent Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes "A 2006 paper by Matthew Salganik, Peter Dodds and Duncan Watts, about the patterns that users follow in choosing and recommending songs to each other on a music download site, may be the key to understanding the most effective form of "censorship" that still exists in mostly-free countries like the US It also explains why your great ideas haven't made you famous, while lower-wattage bulbs always seem to find a platform to spout off their ideas (and you can keep your smart remarks to yourself)." Read on for the rest of Bennett's take on why the effects of peer ratings on a music download site go a long way towards explaining how good ideas can effectively be "censored" even in a country with no formal political censorship.
Ololiuhqui writes "During the writer's strike, Joss Whedon came up with a musical idea. Now his diabolical plan is about to be unleashed in the form of a streaming-only release, with a DVD shortly to follow. The three-part Doctor Horrible series stars Neil Patrick Harris as the eponymous doctor, Felicia Day as the woman of his dreams, and Nathan Fillion as the doctor's nemesis, Captain Hammer. Reportedly made for 'less than six figures,' the series has already received rave reviews and will no doubt showcase Whedon's musical facility, as well as his proven ability to squeeze the most out of a budget."
Yoda was saying that should do whatever you decide needs doing, not attempt it and fail. Either do it (successfully) or don't do it (also successfully).
Homer was saying not to attempt anything, ever.
AgentPaper writes "A recent study from the Harvard Medical School indicates that resveratrol, an antioxidant compound found in red wine, significantly reduced the effects of a high-fat diet on mice, as well as significantly extended their lifespans. The catch? The mice were dosed with 24 milligrams per kilogram of the stuff — and since the average red wine contains 1.5-3 mg of resveratrol per liter, that equates to consuming 560-1120 liters of wine a day in the average 70-kg human. Bottoms up!"
[TheBORG] writes "Professor David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at the University of Bristol in the UK, believes that there is no scientific reason why 'synthehol' (a science-fictional substitute for alcohol that appears in Star Trek:The Next Generation television series) cannot be created now. It will allow drinkers to experience all of the enjoyable, intoxicating effects of alcohol without unpleasant side-effects like hangovers." Of course, there's still the real deal, Romulan Ale, for when you want a splitting headache in the morning.
Kadin2048 writes "According to an recent Ars Technica article, the US is headed on a 'collision course' with the WTO over off-shore Internet gambling, if a bill currently in the House of Representatives passes. The 'Internet Gambling Prohibition Act,' (PDF) which updates the 'Wire Act' to prohibit Internet gambling regardless of whether the servers are located in the US or outside of it, is in direct contravention of a WTO ruling. Proponents of the bill claim that it was narrowly defeated in previous incarnations due to the influence of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. However it seems as though some of Abramoff's biggest clients -- brick and mortar casinos -- are really the big winners from passage of this bill, since it does not prohibit gambling in person, only online."
CokoBWare wrote to mention an eWeek report on the NSA's domestic spying program. A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to release records from the program by March 8th. From the article: "In ordering the Justice Department to expedite the FOIA request processing, Judge Henry Kennedy Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said that the department's opinion that it could determine how much time is needed was 'easily rejected ... Under DOJ's view of the expedited processing provisions of FOIA, the government would have carte blanche to determine the time line for processing expedited requests,'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Rocky Mountain news has a piece up looking at the revival of PC gaming." From the article: "'PC gaming used to take up the entire store,' said Ken Levine, president and creative director for Irrational Games. 'Now PC gaming get's a tiny little shelf. Literally you have a fraction of the shelf space.' So which is it for the future of PC gaming? Is it a dinosaur marching toward the tar pits or a sleeping giant ready to wake and reclaim its past glory? The industry's top advocates say there are plenty of problems keeping PC gaming down - but just as much potential that portend its inevitable rebirth."
GamesDailyBiz is reporting that the games industry will double in market size by 2011. This is according to a study, not some sort of time-scrying device. From the article: "The videogame industry has been growing exponentially in recent years, and a new study from ABI Research has indicated that the growth will continue. According to the study, the videogame market will expand from $32.6 billion in 2005 to $65.9 billion in 2011. Online and mobile gaming will be the primary source of the growth, while the rest of the market will see growth, but to a lesser extent."
Gamasutra reports that Valve and IGA have settled their legal issues in the wake of the Subway advertising issue. From the article: "The joint statement explains 'an amicable resolution of differences regarding in-game advertising in Counter-Strike', which 'also absolves IGA's advertisers and IGA's advertising agencies from any liability', but does not specifically mention whether IGA will be permitted to run similar campaigns in the future."
b00le wrote to mention a New Scientist article in which NASA chief Mike Griffin says that human spaceflight should be NASA's top priority. From the article: "Griffin countered that the same loss of expertise threatened NASA's human spaceflight programme, which had served to define the US as a world 'superpower'. He said NASA lost a substantial fraction of skilled engineers during a six-year gap between the end of the Apollo programme in 1975 and the first space shuttle flight in 1981. Letting the human spaceflight programme 'atrophy' after Apollo damaged the agency for three decades, he said."
MrPerfekt writes "In this week's Cringely column, another one of his hypothesizing sessions actually seems plausible. Blockbuster's retail outlets make good sense for Apple to partner with them for video iPod content distribution. From the article: 'Take your Video-out iPod to Blockbuster, drop it in a kiosk dock then download from the local xServe your choice of 50,000 movies. You can rent the movie or buy it and you can even choose the resolution, which may or may not affect the final price. Take the iPod home, drop it in the dock attached to your TV and watch the movie. H.264 decoding takes place in the iPod in hardware.'"