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Comment: Re:Scary (Score 1) 140

by Grr (#34229514) Attached to: Robot Actress Makes Stage Debut In Japan
In games it's a matter of level of detail though (either for the CPU/memory or simply workload for the animators). A body skeleton typically consists of around 30 bones. If two hands with 5 fingers get 3 bones extra that doubles the load for relatively little effect. For a single player character it's still worth it. For NPCs it typically does not make the cut.
In animation each bone typically has 6 degrees of freedom so it is no problem to copy any hand movement. Doing the same with servos in robots at a natural speed and in a coordinated manner is a lot harder.
AMD

Hidden Debug Mode Found In AMD Processors 154

Posted by timothy
from the sooper-seekrit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A hidden (and hardware password protected, by means of required special values in processor registers) debug mode has been found in AMD processors, and documented by a reverse engineer called Czernobyl on the RCE Forums community today. It enables powerful hardware debugging features long longed for by reverse engineers, such as hardware data-aware conditional breakpoints, and direct hardware 'page guard'-style breakpoints. And the best part is, it's sitting right there in your processor already, just read the details and off you go with the debugging ninja powers!"
Programming

Developing StarCraft 2 Build Orders With Genetic Algorithms 200

Posted by Soulskill
from the nerd-intersection dept.
Jamie recommends a blog post from software engineer Louis Brandy explaining how using genetic algorithms to evaluate build orders in StarCraft 2 has led to some surprisingly powerful results. Quoting: "One of the reasons build-order optimization is so important is that you can discover openings that 'hard-counter' other openings. If I can get an army of N size into your base when you do opening X, you will always lose. ... a genetic algorithm is a type of optimization algorithm that tries to find optimal solutions using a method analogous to biologic evolution (to be specific: descent with modification & natural selection). Put simply, you take a 'population' of initial build orders, evaluate them for fitness, and modify the population according to each element’s fitness. In other words, have the most successful reproduce. The program’s input is simply the desired game state. In practice, this means 'make N units' to determine some rush build order (but it also allows for other types of builds, like make N workers with some defensive structures and a small army)."
Crime

Justice Not As Blind As Previously Thought 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-pretty-for-jail dept.
NotSoHeavyD3 writes "I doubt this is much of a surprise but apparently Cornell University did a study that seems to show you're more likely to get convicted if you're ugly. From the article: 'According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences — an average of 22 months longer in prison.'"
Software

Seeing the Forest For the Trees 64

Posted by kdawson
from the i-can-see-clearly-now dept.
swframe writes "A new object recognition system developed at MIT and UCLA looks for rudimentary visual features shared by multiple examples of the same object. Then it looks for combinations of those features shared by multiple examples, and combinations of those combinations, and so on, until it has assembled a model of the object that resembles a line drawing. Popular Science has a summary of the research. I've been working on something similar and I think this accomplishment looks very promising."
The Almighty Buck

Activision Hit With $500m Suit From Modern Warfare 2 Devs 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the pow-right-in-the-kisser dept.
Dragoniz3r writes "Activision has been served a lawsuit from 38 plaintiffs, including present and former Infinity Ward employees, demanding up to half a billion dollars. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for 'unpaid bonuses, royalties, profit-sharing, and future profits from games such as Modern Warfare 3, and punitive damages.'"
XBox (Games)

Devs Finally Finding Success With Xbox Indie Games 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-and-surly dept.
McBacon writes with this excerpt from Wired.co.uk: "Often dismissed as a failed venture, the Xbox Indie Games programme has earned successful man-and-his-dog developers tens of thousands of pounds from sales of their homebrew games. Wired explores the success stories of this hidden marketplace. ... now, more than a year since its launch, the Xbox Indie Games are seeing something of a revival. Microsoft has made huge strides to improve the service, games are beginning to be taken more seriously and success stories are becoming more and more common. Especially for [James] Silva, a New York-based developer, who became an impromptu Indie celebrity after his game The Dishwasher won Microsoft's Dream-Build-Play competition. He says he's 'absolutely thrilled' to have seen I Maed a Gam3 w1th Zomb1es!!!1 — his latest game — become a cult hit, for gamers to flock to it in record numbers and to have sold over 200,000 copies."
Image

Man Swallows USB Flash Drive Evidence 199 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the chew-it-up dept.
SlideRuleGuy writes "In a bold and bizarre attempt to destroy evidence seized during a federal raid, a New York City man grabbed a flash drive and swallowed the data storage device while in the custody of Secret Service agents. Records show Florin Necula ingested the Kingston flash drive shortly after his January 21 arrest outside a bank in Queens. A Kingston executive said it was unclear if stomach acid could damage one of their drives. 'As you might imagine, we have no actual experience with someone swallowing a USB.' I imagine that would be rather painful. But did he follow his mother's advice and chew thoroughly, first? Apparently not, as the drive was surgically recovered."

Comment: Resale (Score 5, Insightful) 190

by Grr (#30749026) Attached to: Game Endings Going Out of Style?
What the article fails to mention is the underlying reason for this: resale. If a gamer finishes the game it is done, a coaster in a pretty box. If the game always has something left to do, whether in the form of downloadable content, achievements, replayability or open endedness, it will retain some value and not end up traded in for a new game quite so soon. The game resale market may seem pretty small (mostly because stores take a huge second profit margin on them), but add to that the number of copies lended to a friend or rented for the weekend. In the end significantly more people will buy their own box if it provides limitless enjoyment.
In my opinion adding more value to a game is the most customer friendly way to do it. Far better than strong arming stores to not take trade ins or locking installations to hardware, creditcard and so on.

Comment: Re:list (Score 5, Insightful) 189

by Grr (#30400216) Attached to: NYT's "Games To Avoid" an Ironic, Perfect Gamer Wish List

Many of the games on the alternatives list have exactly the same kind of violence.

If by 'the same kind of violence' you mean 'a different kind of violence'.
The NY times article refers to the ESRB rating. I'm pretty sure the article with the alternatives went by those. In your example the alternative, Overlord II, is rated Teen while its counterpart, Left 4 Dead 2, is rated Mature.
There are standards for these ratings. Now you may disagree with the standards, but dismemberment, animated blood and gore fall in the M category. Morality choices, like playing on the side of evil in Overlord, are not totally excluded from the standard, but usually have less impact.

Comment: Re:Holy shit? (Score 1) 950

by Grr (#29439943) Attached to: Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class?
I'm sorry if I ignored a crucial difference in comparing the two. I'm not from the US. In my country (the Netherlands) there is not such a big gap in performance between gym class and sports outside of school hours.
HCM can apparently cause heart failure even under light stress, even just emotional stress. But then I'm not a medical professional either so perhaps I am again assuming too much about the motivation of the grand parent poster.

Comment: Re:Holy shit? (Score 1) 950

by Grr (#29437973) Attached to: Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class?

According to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, which tracks deaths of young athletes in a registry, about 125 athletes under 35 die in the U.S. each year, mainly from cardiovascular problems.

Full article here
The catch is that the "otherwise healthy" claim is arbitrary here. The most common cause, according to that article, is HCM. The problem is that this is hard to test for (many false positives) and can occur in athletes, even on the professional level.
"Seemingly healthy" would have been a better choice of words.

Comment: Re:I voted sharks (Score 1) 903

by Grr (#29340663) Attached to: Which Breakthrough Is Most Likely?
Roger Penrose makes a hard to refute argument for pretty much that statement. As it's based on completeness theory and turing machines it's pretty mathematical.
The Chinese Room argument of John Searle makes a similar claim, although it's less mathematical.
I would say these proofs are support too strong a conclusion by comparing the brain to a single algorithm. They merely raise the question what the magic ingredient is. Massive parallelism is my favourite candidate and seeing as how that happens to be the direction that computation is progressing anyway I confidently voted AI.

The confusion of a staff member is measured by the length of his memos. -- New York Times, Jan. 20, 1981

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