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Role Playing (Games)

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Announced for November 2011 231

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.

Mystery of the 'Chupacabra' May Be Solved 94

rhettb writes "The mystery of the legendary chupacabra, a beast said to drain the blood of domestic animals at night, has been solved, according to a University of Michigan scientist. Biologist Barry O'Connor says that most chupacabra sightings are probably linked to coyotes with mange, a disease caused by the same species of mite that triggers scabies in humans. Severe cases of mange cause hair loss and thickening of skin in wild dogs and can lead to bacterial skin infections that produce a foul odor characteristic of the 'chupacabra.' Wombats and squirrels are also susceptible to mange, suggesting that chupacabra are found in trees and Down Under."

Comment Re:Apple Vs BP (Score 1) 374

Really, the financial meltdown was because of Wall Street and the business community and not because the Federal Regulators were asleep at the switch? Someone was supposed to be watching the level of risk that banks take because they will take as much risk as gets them high bonuses that quarter. That is why banking is a regulated industry. Sure you can believe that no one took a bullet if you arel drinking the US Government kool-aid on that issue. The last people to ever take any blame are Congress and the White House. And, yes, after you are through gargling with kool-aid, someone actually did take a bullet on that one. They are called taxpayers. Sheeesh.

Comment Re:Beta tested the First Killzone. (Score 1) 58

The one thing I just could not handle about that game. No way to step over a log. Seriously! A two foot log stops me completely? I have to go around? So I kinda said fuck this game really fast.

A comment on the beta test for the first game which is not even close to the second game in scope or technical achievement is hardly relevant to the announcement of a game that in its alpha is already more technically powerful than virtually any game ever made.

Comment Re:Whatzone? (Score 0) 58

Is this some kind of Halo clone?

No, it's not. Although I haven't played Killzone 1, Killzone 2 is more akin to the Call of Duty franchise than it is to the Halo franchise, but with the important difference of it not being dumbed down or gimmicky.

For one thing, the weapons are actually balanced. It's not like the Call of Duty games where there are scores of guns but everyone ends up using only one or two from each weapon type. In KZ2, they fix this problem by having one or two of each weapon type, and each distinct enough from the other so there's no overlap. The amount of balance between weaponry is incredible - there is no one yelling "you noob grenade launcher user!" over the mic like people do in Counter Strike with the AWP. Not only that, but shooting the weapons feels right. You're not a floating gun like in Halo 3 or CoD - there's weight to your movement, and your guns have real kickback. But in addition to real kickback, they also have real power - a handful of shots from any gun will kill an enemy.

Even more, the animation and graphics are incredible. Even without them it'd be a good game on account of the meticulously balanced and exciting shooting gameplay, but with it you've got excitement and awesome eye candy. The ragdoll physics makes the enemy die in a way that reacts to where you shot them, and even beyond that the character movement is believable and great. Very few games have character walking over environment and shooting their gun and straining against the recoil and knifing another enemy so realistically. Whereas Halo 3 has Master Chief stiffly hold his gun and his upper body looks up and down while his lower body can just jump and run.

And not to mention the AI! KZ2 has AI that is leagues beyond its competitors. Try playing the game on the harder difficulties and you'll find that the enemy Helghast will flush you out of cover with grenades (but not spam them, like in Call of Duty), they'll give their advancing allies covering fire while they try to flank you, if two are chasing you they'll both split up and try to catch you on both sides, etc.

Not that Killzone 2 doesn't have its weak points - short, and although visually great singleplayer, had a disappointing and boring story to go with it. Lack of splitscreen support also has a lot to do with how this game wasn't a major hit up there with Halo 3 and MW2 - even though on every level it is a better game, graphically, gameplay, and engine-wise.

But at the same time it's one of the most critically acclaimed games ever made. And for good reason.

So personally? Even though KZ2 is not my favorite game by far, I can appreciate it for being the best recently released shooter. I can forgive it for its lack of splitscreen. And I am certainly looking forward to KZ3 with great anticipation.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Killzone 3 Announced 58

Sony has officially taken the wraps off of Killzone 3, providing a ton of information about the third installment in the popular FPS franchise. The game will pick up where Killzone 2 left off, the levels will be much larger than in the past, and it will contain support for 3-D mode. Eurogamer has a detailed hands-on report about the game. Quoting: "Encounters have lost much of their predictability. More open design gives the AI more options, as well as freeing the player from the necessity of hide and peek. This means that it's now a much more viable option to get up close and personal with the Higs, unleashing the multi-stage and context-sensitive CQC kills with rifle butts and the trusty knife. ... For stage three of the hands-on we're introduced to perhaps the most exciting piece of new hardware — the jetpack. Initially only coming attached to a Helghan shock trooper, this insectoid assault platform is a four-winged, one-man affair, complete with a unlimited supply of ammunition for the attached large-calibre machine gun. Fighting them from the ground puts you in a precarious situation, putting you on the backfoot as you balance the necessity of looking upwards with the dangers of the sheer ice-cliffs around you. ... From the ground the pack will propel you upwards to around 15 feet, with the glide period afterward giving you the freedom to traverse sizable gaps. There's a booster, too — squirting you forward in short bursts if you're falling just short of an edge. Controls are light and agile, with the disconcerting verticality soon becoming second nature. "

First Black Hole For Light Created On Earth 244

An anonymous reader writes "An electromagnetic 'black hole' that sucks in surrounding light has been built for the first time. The device, which works at microwave frequencies, may soon be extended to trap visible light, leading to an entirely new way of harvesting solar energy to generate electricity. A theoretical design for a table-top black hole to trap light was proposed in a paper published earlier this year by Evgenii Narimanov and Alexander Kildishev of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Their idea was to mimic the properties of a cosmological black hole, whose intense gravity bends the surrounding space-time, causing any nearby matter or radiation to follow the warped space-time and spiral inwards."

Comment Re:Science Reporting At Its Best (Score 1) 196

They've put a single LED in a contact lens, so now we have Augmented Reality.

In your attempt to seem clever and witty, you have misunderstood the title.

The title was not that "They added the LED into the lens, therefore we have augmented reality," the title was that "Augmenting Reality through Contact Lenses is the subject," and the body is: "here is the beginning of this possible trend toward augmenting reality through contact lenses." You've mistaken the title for being exactly what the body is. For example, the famous novel "The Grapes of Wrath," does not contain any grapes that are very angry. It is merely the idea of the Grapes of Wrath that are presented in the novel.

Honestly, did you ever take Reading Comprehension?

Social Networks

One-Tweet Wonders 170

theodp writes "TIME has seen-the-future-and-it-is-Twitter. Slate, on the other hand, is more fascinated with the phenomenon of orphaned tweets, the messages left by people who sign up for Twitter, post once, then never return (not unlike one-blog-post wonders). While some orphan tweets betray skepticism about microblogging ('I don't get it... what's the point of this thing?'), other one-and-done Twitterers demonstrate keen enthusiasm before disappearing ('I'm here!'), and some tweets hint that tragedy has cut a promising Twittering-life short ('it hurts to breathe. should I go to the hospital?'). Slate notes that studies of Twitter accounts by Harvard and Nielsen suggest the service has been better at signing up users than keeping them, including the one-tweet wonders."

NSA Overstepped the Law On Wiretaps 164

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that legal and operational problems surrounding the NSA's surveillance activities have come under scrutiny from the Obama administration, Congressional intelligence committees, and a secret national security court, and that the NSA had been engaged in 'overcollection' of domestic communications of Americans. The practice has been described as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional. The Justice Department has acknowledged that there had been problems with the NSA surveillance operation, but said they had been resolved. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the intelligence community, did not address specific aspects of the surveillance problems, but said in a statement that 'when inadvertent mistakes are made, we take it very seriously and work immediately to correct them.' The intelligence officials said the problems had grown out of changes enacted by Congress last July to the law that regulates the government's wiretapping powers, as well as the challenges posed by enacting a new framework for collecting intelligence on terrorism and spying suspects. Joe Klein at Time Magazine says the bad news is that 'the NSA apparently has been overstepping the law,' but the good news is that 'one of the safeguards in the [FISA Reform] law is a review procedure that seems to have the ability to catch the NSA when it's overstepping — and that the illegal activities have been exposed, and quickly.'"

Nine Words From Science Which Originated In Science Fiction 433

An anonymous reader writes "Oxford University Press has a blog post listing nine words used in science and technology which were actually dreamed up by fiction writers. Included on the list are terms like robotics, genetic engineering, deep space, and zero-g. What other terms are sure to follow in the future?"

Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!