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GUI

Left-Handed Gamers Getting Left Behind? 426

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sorry-'bout-that-dad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the stylus becomes a contemporary equal with the controller and joystick, it is a bit surprising to notice a game developer overlooking the simple fact that there are a lot of southpaw gamers out there. But the creators of Base 10, a mini-game on the DSi, did just that, making it impossible for the game to be played by anyone who isn't right-handed. Seems pretty silly for a game developer to just cut out a slice of their potential audience right from the start."
Supercomputing

Homebrew Cray-1 140

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the when-i-was-a-child dept.
egil writes "Chris Fenton built his own fully functional 1/10 scale Cray-1 supercomputer. True to the original, it includes the couch-seat, but is also binary compatible with the original. Instead of the power-hungry ECL technology, however, the scale model is built around a Xilinx Spartan-3E 1600 development board. All software is available if you want to build one for your own living room. The largest obstacle in the project is to find original software."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-is-relative dept.
sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"
Games

Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-hail-battletoads dept.
The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."
Image

PhD Candidate Talks About the Physics of Space Battles 361 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the load-photon-torpedoes dept.
darthvader100 writes "Gizmodo has run an article with some predictions on what future space battles will be like. The author brings up several theories on propulsion (and orbits), weapons (explosives, kinetic and laser), and design. Sounds like the ideal shape for spaceships will be spherical, like the one in the Hitchhiker's Guide movie."
Games

Dev Discusses Upcoming Spy-MMO, The Agency 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-could-tell-you-but-then-i'd-have-to-gank-you dept.
Kheldon writes "The MMO Gamer recently sat down with Lorien Gremore, lead producer on SOE's upcoming spy-shooter MMO, The Agency. They discussed various aspects of its development, such as the 'stickiness' of session-based games, striking a balance between FPS and MMO players, and whether or not The Agency even falls under the definition of a traditional MMO at all. 'You might be in Prague, and experiencing play with a lot of different other players; you might have come in at your field office and gone out into the city, encountering many other players doing missions that you are also doing,' Gremore said. She added that the game's areas are large enough to have 'lots of different people in them, collecting intel, engaging in public combat, all of those types of things. These areas are big enough that there’s shops, there’s secret spaces, photos to be taken of suspicious objects, things like that. They’re all out there in the world. We’re really trying to create a balance, where you’re encountering a lot of social situations, chances to get into groups with other people, just by merit of the fact that you guys are doing the same sorts of things in the same sorts of places.'"
GNU is Not Unix

RMS Says "Software As a Service" Is Non-free 715

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the ok-thats-a-bit-inflammatory dept.
BillyG noted an RMS interview where he says "'Software as a service' means that you think of a particular server as doing your computing for you. If that's what the server does, you must not use it! If you do your computing on someone else's server, you hand over control of your computing to whoever controls the server. It is like running binary-only software, only worse: it's even harder for you to patch the program that's running on someone else's server than it is to patch a binary copy of a program running on your own computer. Just like non-free software, 'software as a service' is incompatible with your freedom."
Security

The Neurological Basis of Con Games 218

Posted by kdawson
from the doubting-thomas dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "If we humans have such big brains, how can we get conned? Neuroeconomist Paul J. Zak has an interesting post on Psychology Today in which he recounts how he was the victim of a classic con called 'The Pigeon Drop' when he was a teenager and explains how con men take advantage of the Human Oxytocin Mediated Attachment System, called THOMAS, a powerful brain circuit that releases the neurochemical oxytocin when we are trusted and induces a desire to reciprocate the trust we have been shown. 'The key to a con is not that you trust the con man, but that he shows he trusts you. Con men ply their trade by appearing fragile or needing help, by seeming vulnerable,' writes Zak. 'Because of THOMAS, the human brain makes us feel good when we help others — this is the basis for attachment to family and friends and cooperation with strangers.' Zak's laboratory studies have shown that two percent of the college students he tested are 'unconditional nonreciprocators' who have learned how to simulate trustworthiness and would make good con men. Watch a video of Skeptics Society founder Michael Shermer running the classic pigeon drop on an unsuspecting victim and see if you wouldn't be taken in by a professional con man yourself."
Image

Slashdot's Disagree Mail 489 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-what-we-read dept.
I am responsible for reading most of the help requests sent to Slashdot. Most of the mail I get in a day is what you would expect, comments and concerns about postings, user accounts and Slashdot itself. There are a very special group however that get passed around the office due to the inordinate level of anger, lack of understanding and just plain weirdness they possess. Through the years I've collected many and still get such gems on a regular basis. We thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite rants, ramblings and ruminations with the rest of you. I give to you the first of many installments of Slashdot's disagree mail. The names have been changed to protect the idiot — hit the link below to drink it in.

SCOTUS To Hear Patentable Thought Case 394

Posted by Zonk
from the get-out-of-my-head dept.
skayell writes "The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a landmark patent case involving whether or not thoughts and relationships are patentable. Michael Crichton's essay in the New York Times attempts a thoughtful summary of Metabolite's primary assertion: they not only own the connection between homocysteine levels in the blood and vitamin B12 deficiency, but also any thought connecting the two."

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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