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Submitted by
DrSuperbo
DrSuperbo writes "The BBC's daytime business news magazine Working Lunch reports that a company will begin offering a directory service from next week that allows people to find the mobile phone numbers of people they don't know, with the catch being that numbers are collected without the owner's explicit knowledge, and on an 'opt-out' basis. I'm interested to know what Slashdotters think, particularly in places where such a system might already be in place, such as cell phones on 411 in the USA. And can a private, faceless (nameless, even) company be trusted with this data, when it was always held by the phone provider (BT) in the days of landlines?"
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Comment: Re:Music (Score 1) 506

by DrSuperbo (#28642253) Attached to: What's the Importance of Graphics In Video Games?
I was going to post my own reply, but replying here seems more appropriate.

Since the days of MS-DOS, I've always gone for sound over graphics in games. Especially when hardware/performance issues force you to choose one or the other. So I had a Soundblaster16 before anyone else I knew. I had a CD-ROM drive when my graphics could only barely manage 256 colours, just to hear Guybrush and Indy actually talk. Even today, I play X360 on a crappy old 17" CRT, but in 5.1.

Why? Sound is a far more immersive sense than vision. No matter how much eye-candy they put into the graphics of a game, you'll still be looking at a screen for the foreseeable future. But with headphones or a well-placed set of speakers, the sound envelopes you. And sound is more primal a sense than vision. I guess as cavemen, we heard predators before we saw them, so we react better to sound. Try playing horror games with the sound off, they won't scare you nearly as much. Doom 3, for all its faults, really used sound well in scaring the bejeezus out of you. So did Half-Life and Dead Space. And how about Portal? There's a game where all its narrative, plot and every mission comes from that robot over the intercom, with very little written down ("The cake is a lie" etc).

Sound gets overlooked in games because it's pretty much a given now that games feature CD-quality or better audio, and game studios can't brag about sound features in promotional material. Nor, like DarthVain says, can hardware manufacturers brag about soundcards anymore. No one really buys them now, the vast majority of users are happy with the mboard's built-in sound chip. But I think the best games, the ones that really pull you into their world and don't let you out, are the ones that make the best use of sound.

To answer the OP, gameplay comes first, but sound is next. Don't overlook it.
Graphics

What's the Importance of Graphics In Video Games? 506

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-all-pixels-are-created-equal dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I develop games as a hobby. I've experimented with games on almost every platform available. For me, the gameplay is the most influential factor of a game, with history and graphics dividing second place. But, for some reason, it's not the technical beauty of the graphics that appeal to me. I have played Crysis, and I've played Pokémon games. The graphics of the Pokémon games entertain me as much as the graphics of Crysis. I think both are beautiful. So, why is the current generation of games giving so much importance to the realism in graphic games? I think it is sufficient for a game to have objects that are recognizable. For example, while the water in some games may not look as good as in Crysis, I can still tell it's water. What are your opinions on the current direction of game graphics? Do you prefer easy-to-render 3D scenes that leave space for beautiful effects, like with Radiosity, or more complex 3D scenes that try to be realistic?"

Comment: Re: (Score 1) 136

by DrSuperbo (#28576869) Attached to: Copyright Should Encourage Derivative Works
Art feeds off art. That much we should already know. Picasso had a tutor, and he had his heroes, just as this article notes that Shakespeare had his influences, and just as (oh I don't know, who is supposed to be the most original-sounding top 40 musician right now?) the Killers borrow a lot from country rock and 80s synthpop. Art is regenerative. It takes a truely rare and unique artist in any field to come up with a style totally of their own, the roots of which can't be found in earlier derivative works. In fact at this late hour I can't think of any. There's obviously the old saying, good artists emulate, great artists steal outright. My point being that if art is derivative, copyright only works against this, and thus hinders the regeneration and hence creation of new art.

Comment: Re:Remixes (Score 2, Informative) 136

by DrSuperbo (#28576779) Attached to: Copyright Should Encourage Derivative Works
Remix Releases 101 Let's say artist A makes a track, and artist B wants to remix it. B will most likely create a remix from just the CD audio of A's track, or from acapella tracks (only the vocal from the original song - often obtained from studio contacts or second hand from the same source, but many hip-hop and electronic acts make acapellas freely available, see the Beastie Boys, or even release them as B-sides, see Eminem) and send it to A's label, perhaps along with a description of what B would do given better access to A's master recording (every instrument as a seperate audio file). A's label now has three options. It can ignore B's correspondence altogether - the most common option by far. B can then either leave it at that, or can release the remix as an unnamed, unbranded release, which will be termed a White Label or VIP remix. B's name will not appear on the release and B will likely only be recognised as the remixer by rumour and hearsay, as the release is in effect a copyright infringement. It will most likely only appear on vinyl, at pressings of between 100-3000 copies, so intended for DJ play only. A's label can pursue the originator, as the vinyl pressing house's mark will appear on the disc, but as a cost vs benefit thing, they probably wont. If a house DJ plays a house remix of a U2 track at a house club, it lets a room full of people who likely wouldn't listen to U2 hear a U2 track, thus promoting U2 at no expense to the label. A's label's second option is to release B's 'rough draft' remix as it stands. This happens rarely, but does happen. The remix will most likely be found as the B-side to the 5th single off the album, or on the Japanese release, or as a DVD extra to the tour video, or appears as an 'exlusive' on a A-label-promoted DJ mix album. Point being that it does get released but not so as you'd notice as a consumer. B gets paid some money for this and A owns the copyright to the remix, and everyone's happy. Third option is that A's label likes where B is going with the remix, and releases the track stems (every individual instrument) to B to finish the remix. B will then finish the remix as planned, but A's label (and often A himself) will have more creative control, as if B was an artist on the label. B will get paid well for this, but at the expense of his creative control. The remix would then get released as a B-side to the original song's single or to the lead or second single off the album. These days, these third option remixes would get put on iTunes Store etc, but the 2nd option remixes probably wouldn't. In the case of A and B both being on seperate independent labels, A's label would release the stem tracks in exchange for someone from B's label being remixed by someone from A's. Then B would get paid less well, but both labels would be cross-promoting each other effectively. Note that this is when B WANTS to remix A. It is often that A's label thinks that B is *so hot right now* that they will actively pursue a remix from B. Hence last year you get Burial (Mercury award winner, NME and Radio 1 favourite, but with plenty integrity in the underground, exclusively signed to an independent) remixing Bloc Party (on V2, owned by Virgin, difficult indie rock band on their difficult 2nd album) and Thom Yorke (Radiohead frontman on his inaccessible but admittedly brilliant first solo album). This will follow the 3rd model above, but B can pretty much name his price for the remix. And just to end with my favourite internet cliche, hope that helps!

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