Since the announcement of Star Wars: The Old Republic, many gamers have been hopeful that its high budget, respected development team and rich universe will be enough to provide a real challenge to the WoW juggernaut. An opinion piece at 1Up makes the case that BioWare's opportunity to do so may have already passed. Quoting: "While EA and BioWare Austin have the horsepower needed to at least draw even with World of Warcraft though, what we've seen so far has been worryingly conventional — even generic — given the millions being poured into development. Take the opening areas around Tython, which Mike Nelson describes in his most recent preview as being 'rudimentary,' owing to their somewhat generic, grind-driven quest design. Running around killing a set number of 'Flesh Raiders' in a relatively quiet village doesn't seem particularly epic, but that's the route BioWare Austin seems to be taking with the opening areas for the Jedi — what will surely be the most popular classes when The Old Republic is released. ... the real concern, though, is not so much in the quest design as in BioWare Austin's apparent willingness to play follow the leader. Whenever something becomes a big hit — be it a movie, game or book — there's always a mad scramble to replicate the formula; in World of Warcraft's case, that mad scramble has been going for six years now. "
Really? And what about the iPod Touch users? We don't have a data plan, we depend on WiFi.
Phaethon360 writes "Now, more than ever, we're seeing many Mature ratings (M+, 17+, 18) being distributed by various national media regulators. But that isn't the only indicator for a game's intended audience. It doesn't take a thousand swear words, scantily clad women or gratuitous violence to differentiate a ten-year-old's game from a twenty-year-old's. The spectrum of human emotions encompasses a wider palette than just revenge, fear, and loss, but the games that shy away from these are frequently mistaken as being for a younger audience. From the article: 'The human experience is one that is made up of great hardship, pain, loss, death, and a multitude of experiences seemingly designed to destroy a person. However, that same experience is also filled with joy, love, laughter, family and friends. ... These so-called “grown-up” games need not be relegated to the category of niche gaming. In fact, at times we find that these video games are capable of reaching mass popularity among the gaming community. It is here that we find one of our generation’s outlets for the expression of conflict.'"
An anonymous reader writes "For years, Microsoft has allowed Visual Studio users to define arbitrary tab widths, often to the dismay of those viewing the resultant code in other editors. With VS 2010, it appears that they have taken the next step of forcing tab width to be the same as the indent size in code. Two-space tabs anyone?"
Spacezilla writes "EA is dropping the bomb on a number of their video game servers, shutting down the online fun for many of their Xbox 360, PC and PlayStation 3 games. Not only is the inclusion of PS3 and Xbox 360 titles odd, the date the games were released is even more surprising. Yes, Madden 07 and 08 are included in the shutdown... but Madden 09 on all consoles as well?"
Arvisp writes "In 1912 Australian explorer Douglas Mawson planned to fly over the southern pole. His lost plane has now been found. The plane – the first off the Vickers production line in Britain – was built in 1911, only eight years after the Wright brothers executed the first powered flight. For the past three years, a team of Australian explorers has been engaged in a fruitless search for the aircraft, last seen in 1975. Then on Friday, a carpenter with the team, Mark Farrell, struck gold: wandering along the icy shore near the team's camp, he noticed large fragments of metal sitting among the rocks, just a few inches beneath the water."
An anonymous reader writes "The open source FPS Blood Frontier has now made their beta2 release. From the article: 'After many months of development, and massive amounts of input from the public, we are proud to present you with the new release of Blood Frontier, v0.85 (Beta 2). This new version totally redefines and improves the game in many ways, creating a whole new style that makes it almost nothing like its predecessor.'"
Responding to a Freedom Of Information Act request, the US government has revealed the operating costs of the America's Army game series over the past decade. The total bill comes to $32.8 million, with yearly costs varying from $1.3 million to $5.6 million. "While operating America's Army 3 does involve ongoing expenses, paying the game's original development team isn't one of them. Days after the game launched in June, representatives with the Army confirmed that ties were severed with the Emeryville, California-based team behind the project, and future development efforts were being consolidated at the America's Army program office at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. A decade after its initial foray into the world of gaming, the Army doesn't appear to be withdrawing from the industry anytime soon. In denying other aspects of the FOIA request, the Army stated 'disclosure of this information is likely to cause substantial harm to the Department of the Army's competitive position in the gaming industry.'"
Techdirt is reporting that one unfortunate, unemployed New York lawyer recently had her unemployment benefits greatly reduced because of the incredible $1/day she was earning via ads on her blog. "The whole thing sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare, with NY State asking her to get a form from her new 'employer' who didn't exist. Then NY Department of Labor started giving her all sorts of contradicting information, and eventually an 'investigation' into her 'business' — during which time her unemployment benefits were stopped entirely. She's now pulled the Google AdSense from her blog (total earned over the life of the blog $238.75)."
Last Friday Bryce Byfield gave us a little insight into the fallout surrounding his article on sexism in the FOSS world. Unfortunately it seems that FOSS junkies did little better than the rest of the world with respect to sexism, displaying similar levels of denial, abuse, and ignorance. "But the real flood of emotion comes from the anti-feminists and the average men who would like to deny the importance of feminist issues in FOSS. Raise the subject of sexism, and you are met with illogic that I can only compare to that of the tobacco companies trying to deny the link between their products and cancer. Because I took a feminist stance in public, I have been abused in every way possible — being called irrelevant, a saboteur, coward, homosexual, and even a betrayer of the community. I know that many women in the community have been attacked much more savagely than I have, so I'm not complaining. Nor am I a stranger to readers who disagree with me, but the depth of reaction has taken me back more than once. I think the reaction is an expression of denial more than anything else."