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Comment: Summary of VR Tech. (Score 1) 202

by DaneM (#46631671) Attached to: How interested are you in Virtual Reality tech?

It will be awesome as soon as it stops sucking. When we finally do get it right, it'll probably replace monitors for every new game released. If we can accessorize it with handheld guns and such, and somehow make movement mechanics feel natural while avoiding close encounters with household objects, we might just have video games that make kids want to exercise. (The holy grail of parenting..?)

Comment: Strong Bad said it best... (Score 1) 62

by DaneM (#43328939) Attached to: Indies the Biggest Stars At Game Developers Conference

So, aside from this being a likely April Fools' article...

The best dissertation on the "indie" phenomon I've yet seen:
http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail203.html

I do like a fair number of indie games, of course...but there's something to be said for the established mores of "professionalism."

Comment: Re:The Effects of Sociability Genetics Nations (Score 1) 42

by DaneM (#42614889) Attached to: First Known 'Social Chromosome' Found

Mangu, I agree that we don't have all the parameters to truly ascertain the truth of the matters I mentioned. I wish we did! but sadly, I think the heart of problems with finding data on such things is that we're all too biased--not necessarily prejudiced; simply opinionated, at least--to search out the data with scientific detachment (no matter how well we might presume we're doing). A second part of the problem--as you suggest--is that we truly don't know what to look for. Sure, we all have SOME of the pieces--as a lifetime of anecdotal evidence inevitably provides--but to say that what you or I know is authoritative is similar to a single tree saying it knows all about dirt! :-) I would love to know more about this--and I think that eventually, as we become more civilized and intelligent as a species--we will. On a related note, I view the field of psychology in much the same way as I view the above--of profound importance, but not yet something we can fully handle.

Rts008, thank-you for sharing your experiences and observations. I hope I don't give the wrong impression when I say that racism is probably mostly about the instinct about not trusting (and/or fearing/hating) that which is not (ostensibly) like us. This is, as I'll argue, partly rational--not that it's acceptable to be nasty to other people (regardless of shape or color)--but because I find it inevitable that any semi-isolated population, such as can create a distinctive "look" is also capable of developing partly-incompatible social traits, relative to a genetically different population. Obviously, we (that is, decent people) don't accept this as justification for abusing or marginalizing people of other races--but what happens when one population is extremely keen--genetically--on a harsh, warrior-driven power structure (eg. certain Native American tribes, pre-European invasion), and another is extremely keen--genetically--on a distributed, art-driven power structure (eg. some of the ancient Greeks)? Is it possible for two races to be socially-incompatible as a result of long-term genetic selection? If so, how do we rectify this (inter-racial pairing? cultural re-education? military invasion? political pressure?)--and perhaps more importantly, SHOULD we try to do this before it's ready to happen on its own? (I strongly suspect that to best manage the pressures of inter-racial trade, political alliance, personal prosperity, etc. each culture will adapt and thereby encourage the selection of mates who excel at overcoming relevant challenges rather than making them worse through stark difference.)

I once watched a speaker at my college--a prominent activist on womens' and African Americans' rights (whose name I unfortunately forget). She said one thing that's really stuck with me: that we'll never truly overcome our racial prejudices and associated problems so long as we try to be (or pretend to be) "color-blind." She said that each race has its strengths, and to pretend that all people are "the same" because we don't want to be prejudice was tantamount to reducing each race of people--and each person, individually--to something less than him/herself. I regret deeply that this is not a stance taken by many people--and indeed, even complimenting a specific race on something is considered a grave social taboo and is typically received as an insult. Lately, even describing a person as "black," "African American" or similar tends to evoke unpleasant responses from those who are otherwise quite friendly and easygoing. I can see how past and present hardships make people touchy on this--but I also wonder how we ever hope to move past those wrongs if we continually bristle at the mention of race.

Anyway, I digress.

I look forward to reading any further thoughts you two (or others) have on this.

Comment: The Effects of Sociability Genetics Nations (Score 2) 42

by DaneM (#42613531) Attached to: First Known 'Social Chromosome' Found

If, indeed, other creatures--like humans--inherit personality traits (such as sociability or the lack thereof) genetically--in addition to learning skills in these matters--then this leads to a potentially very fairly impactful syllogism:

1. The sociability (or lack thereof) of a human being is largely determined by genetics.
2. The social structure of a society is largely determined by the values and traits of its comprising members.
3. Those who are highly-sociable tend to thrive in societies where social interaction is closely related to power structure.
4. Highly-sociable individuals who live in societies where the power structure is traditionally more monolithic (such a theocracy, monarchy, dictatorship, fanatical regime, harsh regime, etc.) tend to become marginalized because they're seen as a threat to the traditional power structure (by way of gathering followers, potentially questioning authority, etc.).
5. Sexual selection (that is, natural selection by way of how mates are chosen) is highly sensitive to how a society sees a given individual's value and long-term viability (that is, perceived "potential").
6. Sexual selection leads to genetic traits being favored or not favored, such that desirable ones (including those chosen by societal "momentum," as above) are emphasized, and undesirable ones are made less common.
7. Because of #6, the genes for high sociability will be largely "bred out" of societies wherein such a trait is not valued.
8. Populations tend to reject and marginalize those who are of a minority genetic makeup (i.e. foreigners, "ethnics," etc.)

Conclusion: Sexual selection among humans--largely driven by societal determinations--will cause, and has caused certain parts of the world to become genetically predisposed AGAINST all societal structures and customs that require a high degree of sociability and a distributed power structure. This included democratic government (in its various forms), free religion (i.e. not governed by monolithic or oligarchic authority), freedom to demonstrate, freedom of speech, and so forth. This hereby calls into question whether it's valid to impress or force such structures and customs upon a given population unless/until these populations see themselves as being ready for, and desirous of these things.

Notably, what a society desires changes dramatically over time. "Public consciousness" shifts, and thereby changes what is seen as "desirable" in mates (as well as what is a survivable/unsurvivable genetic trait). Therefore, it's not only possible but likely that societies which are not ready for such social structures/customs now will be in the future--and likewise, that those which were unready for them only a few years ago are ready for them now. I believe we're seeing this in what has been dubbed, the "Arab Spring." Likewise, much of the world seems to be "awakening" from the state of accepting monolithic authority structures, and bucking long-standing traditions. Could it be that for the last generation or two (or several), those who were willing to question authority and customs became more desirable as mates than they were previously? The "hippy"/"baby boomer" generation of the United States certainly seems to support this theory. (Sadly, our cultural apathy is yet extremely powerful.)

I don't know if my theories are correct, but I think the syllogism is good (in the logical sense). If the solution truly follows from the premises, perhaps it's worth asking whether those premises are, indeed, as correct as I suspect they are.

Comment: Re:Auto-Threading (Score 1) 404

by DaneM (#42186807) Attached to: Auto-threading Compiler Could Restore Moore's Law Gains

Labview has done auto threading for ages. Whenever a blocks inputs are valid, the block executes. The problem, at least with 8.6.1 and previous is it will generally make a copy of whatever the common inputs are so it can execute things in parallel, and, well, that copy often just makes things worse than just executing serially. A smarter compiler, perhaps similar to the one suggested in this, could avoid the copies, sometimes. Of course, the other problem with Labview is C# seems to be way faster, and for a sufficiently large project, I'd rather maintain the C# code.

Still, I remain somewhat of the opinion that a graphical language makes it easier to design multithreaded code in principle...

Insightful comment, AC. Post it as yourself, next time! :-)

Comment: Re:Music to my ears! (Score 1) 358

by DaneM (#41785355) Attached to: A Proposal To Fix the Full-Screen X11 Window Mess

Ummm...yeah, first off, Steam isn't available for Linux yet.

The external beta is due to be released in the next few days (by the end of October, barring complications): http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/linux/beta-late-than-never-3/ This makes the above claim true but less-than-relevant. It's true that the first games to be ported will be Source games--particularly L4D games; but Valve has made it clear that they're currently more interested in producing games for Linux than for Windows 8, which Gabe Newell calls a "disaster." This bodes well for commercial Linux gaming. (Also, a lot of folks agree with him regarding Windows 8, so that's also a good sign for Linux.)

Even if it was, the most that's going to be available for a _very_ long time is a few of Valve's Half Life 2 engine-based titles (Left 4 Dead, more than likely Portal 2, etc.), it's not as if every Steam title is going to be magically ported over to Linux overnight. I doubt Valve will even be able to convince one large company like EA to even consider it, so there go everything but your "quirky" indy games like Slender, which was appalling, and the occasional gem.

Several commercial EA games are now available in the Ubuntu Software Center. More are on the way. Some of them are quite a bit more "produced" than an "indie" game would be.

Incidentally, Ryan "Icculus" Gordon? Yeah, he was the one that was supposed to be porting Unreal Tournament 3 over to Linux. In fact I'm sure if you e-mail him he'll still claim that he's working on it. Icculus has a whole bunch of abandoned ports under his belt, people only seem to remember the ones he actually finished.

I share your frustration regarding UT3, as I bought it so I could play it on Linux. Still, Gordon did port a number of other games I enjoy, so I still consider it a "win" of sorts. I read that UT3 had some kind of legal fiasco going on, but that could just be rumor. Anyway, as one of the few folks who have ported any "AAA" games, at all to linux, Gordon is doing pretty well IMHO.

Epic has given up on Linux, iD has given up on Linux, none of the other big companies were ever interested in it in the first place.

The only recent game ID didn't release for Linux, so far as I can recall, is Rage. Quake 4, RTCW, Wolfenstein:ET, Doom 3 (and expansion), Prey, etc. are all available with Linux clients. Id hasn't produced a lot of games, lately, so as you might imagine, these aren't particularly recent titles. I'm bummed about not having Rage on Linux, but them's the breaks. Now that a first-class software distribution platform is coming to Linux, we have reason to be hopeful for future offers.

I use Fedora 17 on my desktop, I've been using Linux since the only alternative I had was DOS 5 or Windows 3.0 on top of it, and even I can see that it's nowhere what it needs to be in order to be a viable gaming platform. That's why I and many others install it -in addition- to the operating system on the PC. One for entertainment (usually Windows), one for everything else (usually Linux). Why? Well, technically you can bash a nail into something with a wrench, but most people would use a hammer.

I tried Fedora for Linux gaming, and it was atrocious. I hassled with it for about 6 months, and eventually went back to Linux Mint. (In point of fact, I had better luck with gaming on Gentoo and Slackware, back when I was using them.) While I respect anyone's preference for a distribution, the present fact is that if you want "mainstream" software to run on Linux, you need a Debian/Ubuntu derivative.

Your comment about dual-booting with Windows for entertainment is certainly well-received, though; until gaming becomes truly "mainstream" on Linux, I doubt I'll be reformatting my Windows partition anytime soon. Likewise, being unable to play some of the games I own is a bummer, so your note about that is also right-on. I hope recent and near-future developments change this.

Comment: Re:Music to my ears! (Score 4, Informative) 358

by DaneM (#41773601) Attached to: A Proposal To Fix the Full-Screen X11 Window Mess

I didn't see any information in the article, but what exactly is the problem with X11 full screen support? I don't game in Linux, and this is the first time I've even heard of this.

The biggest issue is that when the game goes full-screen, it changes the resolution to whatever the game is set to--which may or may not be what you keep your desktop at. Then, when you exit the game, the icons are usually huge; the taskbars are usually all messed-up (even when "locked!"), and you have to futz around to make it usable again. Also, many games on Linux won't even let you Alt-Tab to other windows! Either nothing happens; or the resolution won't be correct; or the game crashes. It's really unpleasant to deal with. Also, it's worth noting that many games (especially Linux games, sadly) are extremely limited about what resolutions they'll let you use--so even if you want to set the game to your native resolution, it might not work or let you even try.

Comment: Music to my ears! (Score 5, Interesting) 358

by DaneM (#41772661) Attached to: A Proposal To Fix the Full-Screen X11 Window Mess

With Linux finally becoming a more "proper" gaming platform (i.e. Steam and others), it's "about time" that this is dealt with. _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN_EXCLUSIVE, where have you been my whole adult life? Gotta hand it to Ryan Gordon ("Icculus," as I recall) for consistently making Linux gaming that much more viable.

PC Games (Games)

+ - What PC Gamers Think About PC Game Critics->

Submitted by DaneM
DaneM (810927) writes "Have you ever wondered why the Metacritic rating for a given "AAA" (high-budget) PC game is often the opposite of the "User" rating for that same game? In this (short) blog post, the "critic top 20" games are compared to the "user top 20" games, and observations are made on the contrasts therein. Do Slashdotters think this is basic ineptitude on the part of critics, sample bias, bribery, or something else? How many new games have you blown all your spare cash on at a critic's recommendation, only to find that it's utter crap?"
Link to Original Source

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