Bethesda took advantage of the Video Game Awards this weekend to announce the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls series, titled Skyrim. The game is planned for November 2011, and a teaser trailer has been posted on the Elder Scrolls website. Details are sparse, though the game will apparently run on an "all-new" engine.
RandyOo writes "Someone wrote in to The Consumerist to report an interesting discovery: while shopping online for a car loan, Capital One offered him different rates, depending on the browser he used! Firefox yielded the highest rate at 3.5%, Opera took second place with 3.1%, Safari was only 2.7%, and finally, Google's Chrome browser afforded him the best rate of all: 2.3%! A commenter on the article claims to have been previously employed by Capital One, and writes: If you model the risk and revenue of applicants, the type of browser shows up as a significant variable. Browsers do predict an account's performance to some degree, and it will affect the rates you will view. It isn't a marketing test. I was still a bit dubious, but at least one of her previous comments backs up her claims to have worked for a credit card company. Considering the outcry after it was discovered that Amazon was experimenting with variable pricing a few years back, it seems surprising that consumers would be punished (or rewarded), based solely on the browser they happen to be using at the time!"
Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."
The uncertainty of what might happen to your service monkey at an airport security checkpoint won't keep you awake at night anymore, thanks to the TSA. They have issued an easy to follow list of how they will ensure your helper monkey won't go all Planet of the Apes on your flight. Some of the security techniques used to make sure your primate is not a terrorist include: "Security Officers will conduct a visual inspection on the service monkey and will coach the handler on how to hold the monkey during the visual inspection. The inspection process may require that the handler to take off the monkey's diaper as part of the visual inspection."
agrif writes "Shorah b'shemtee! Uru Live has been released for free, as a first step towards opening its source. This game, an MMO released by the makers of Myst and Riven in 2003, has been canceled, zombified, resurrected, canceled again, and is now about to be released as open source to its dedicated fan base. Massively has written a brief newbie guide if you're unfamiliar with the game."
lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."
Bioware has confirmed rumors that development for the sequel to Mass Effect is well under way, and they're planning on a release in early 2010. They mentioned PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game, but no information was given about a possible PS3 version. CVG has a write-up of what we know about Mass Effect 2 so far. Quoting: "In the shooting department the developer's official announcement promises 'intensified combat' and 'expanded weapon options.' We're hoping some of the work goes on improving the game's shooting mechanics, which were solid enough but could certainly do with some polishing to meet 2010 standards — especially in the cover system department. As for 'expanded weapon options,' we can only assume this refers to the in-depth gun tweaking and customisation options available in Mass Effect 1."
Hugh Pickens writes "The US and the UK are trying to refurbish the aging W76 warheads that tip Trident missiles to prolong their life and ensure they are safe and reliable but plans have been put on hold because US scientists have forgotten how to manufacture a mysterious but very hazardous component of the warhead codenamed Fogbank. 'NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s, and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency,' says the report by a US congressional committee. Fogbank is thought by some weapons experts to be a foam used between the fission and fusion stages of the thermonuclear bomb on the Trident Missile and US officials say that manufacturing Fogbank requires a solvent cleaning agent which is 'extremely flammable' and 'explosive,' and that the process involves dealing with 'toxic materials' hazardous to workers. 'This is like James Bond destroying his instructions as soon as he has read them,' says John Ainslie, the co-ordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, adding that 'perhaps the plans for making Fogbank were so secret that no copies were kept.' Thomas D'Agostino, administrator or the US National Nuclear Security Administration, told a congressional committee that the administration was spending 'a lot of money' trying to make 'Fogbank' at Y-12, but 'we're not out of the woods yet.'"
MTV's Multiplayer blog sat down with Jun Takeuchi, producer for Capcom's Resident Evil 5, about the feedback they've gotten from the game's demo, which has been downloaded over 4 million times. He comments on the changed control scheme, which has generated a lot of discussion and criticism, by suggesting that their decision will become clear once the full game is out. "We understand that there are many people who want to run and shoot at the same time, but it's not the right alignment for the game." He also says the finished game will have shorter loading times, and he briefly discusses the media-fueled race controversy over the fact that Africa's zombies have dark skin. Takeuchi says, "People will be able to play the game and see what it is for themselves." Kotaku recently ran a preview of Resident Evil 5.
Smartcowboy writes "Chances are that you have seen a lightsaber at one time or another, whether on the evening news or down at the local cantina. Therefore you know that a lightsaber is an amazing and versatile device that is able to cut through nearly anything in a matter of milliseconds. Have you ever wondered how these remarkable weapons work? Where does the energy come from, and how are they able to contain that energy in a rod-like column of glowing power? In this article, you will have a chance to look inside a lightsaber and discover the source of its incredible characteristics." I was sure the blade was made from the focused hate and disappointment of the last three movies.
An anonymous reader writes "Texas Instruments has just unveiled its next generation of graphing calculators the weekend with the TI-Nspire. TI calculators are famous not only in the educational arena but also with the hobbyist hacker crowd around the world because of the ease (or some would say complexity) of which it is to develop for them. The TI-Nspire comes in both CAS (computer aided algebra) and non CAS flavors, and as an added bonus, the non CAS models even includes a fully functioning TI-84+ compatibility mode using a replaceable TI-84+ keypad (which is sure to come as a delight to 84 hackers and gamers everywhere). It packs 20MB of storage and 16MB of memory, an ARM based processor, a 320x240 grayscale LCD, and a USB port. The TI-Nspire should be out in the fall to specific dealers, and in retail stores by early 2008, just in time for back to school in 2008."
An anonymous reader writes "A Taiwanese motherboard maker has unveiled what it is the first mini-ITX motherboard built around AMD's new AM2 processor socket. Mated with a low-power, small-form-factor AMD processor, Albatron's KI690-AM2 could suit a variety of space-constrained consumer and embedded applications that can benefit from 64-bit processing. The board is based on an ATI RS690 chipset and incorporates dual SODIMM slots, supporting up to 2GB of memory. Suggested apps include car PCs, home theater PCs, and retail and industrial systems."
lisah writes "Linux.com is reporting this morning that recent rumors of a mass exodus of Samba developers fleeing to Red Hat because they are irate over the Microsoft/Novell agreement are unfounded. Though well known Samba team member Jeremy Allison recently left Novell for Google, Novell spokesperson Kevan Barney says reports that the entire Samba team has imploded are 'incorrect'."
The Crow: Back from the grave with a vengence The Bride from Kill Bill
Those weren't vigilantes. They both were after revenge.