A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."
BrianWCarver writes "The San Francisco Business Times reports that researchers at UC Berkeley's School of Information have released a study and launched a website, knowprivacy.org, in which they found that web bugs from Google and its subsidiaries were found on 92 of the top 100 Web sites and 88 percent of the approximately 400,000 unique domains examined in the study. This larger data set was provided by the maintainer of a Firefox plugin called Ghostery which shows users which web bugs are on the sites they visit. The study also found that while the privacy policies of many popular websites claim that the sites do not share information with third parties, they do allow third parties to place web bugs on their sites (which collect this information directly, typically without the user's knowledge) and share with corporate "affiliates." The full report and more findings are available from their website."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
BrianWCarver writes "The Supreme Court of the United States has just handed down two important patent rulings that could be especially relevant for software and technology companies. In a ruling that alters the analysis of when a patent is obvious the Supreme Court found that lower courts had too rigidly interpreted the requirements for finding a patent obvious, allowing some bad patents to slip through. (Read full opinion.) In a separate opinion the Court addressed part of the U.S. patent law that prevents companies from getting around a patent by shipping the components of the patented invention from the U.S. to a foreign country for assembly and sale. The Court found that supplying software to a foreign country for sale therein did not constitute a "component" of a patented invention and hence was not prohibited. This was a victory for Microsoft who had been accused of violating an AT&T patent simply on the basis of shipping Windows to foreign countries. Regardless of one's usual feelings about the world's largest software company, enforcing limits on the extra-territorial application of U.S. patent law, especially in the software context, is generally a good thing for innovation. If the first ruling results in more software patent applications being deemed "obvious" then that could be even better."