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Portables (Games)

Panasonic Invites Gamers To the Jungle 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-all-fun-and-games dept.
donniebaseball23 writes "In a move that will instantly conjure up memories of the infamous 3DO failure, Panasonic has once again decided to throw its hat into the gaming ring, unveiling an online-focused handheld called the Jungle. It features a high-resolution display, a D-pad, a touch pad, and a full mini-keyboard in addition to standard gaming shoulder buttons. Wireless support is a given, as Panasonic is talking heavily about the console's online features, but whether that's Wi-Fi or 3G remains unclear. M2 Research analyst Billy Pidgeon said, 'The Jungle is a highly specialized dedicated portable for a non-existent market. This is an unprecedented hardware strategy, and probably for good reason. If MMO players want to go more portable than a laptop, I guess this would be the way to go. Frankly, this looks like a non-starter.'" An anonymous reader notes comments from NetDevil's Ryan Seabury, who thinks the decision to have the device run Linux is a mistake.
Games

Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-druid-as-the-case-may-be dept.
A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."

Comment: Re:Google rocks, but their apps suck (Score 1) 197

by Hobophile (#30372680) Attached to: Google Upgrades Chrome To Beta For OS X, Linux

The Chrome source code is actually a great set of documentation for GTK, since it uses a lot of advanced functionality and it is very well-indexed and easy to search.

It was indispensable when I needed to add basic Unicode screen I/O to my application. By contrast, the gtk.org manuals were good for very little beyond identifying the functions to search for.

Comment: Re:Still, it validates the technology (Score 2, Insightful) 113

by Hobophile (#30067120) Attached to: LegalTorrents Launches Copyright-Compliant Tracker

and yet you're the only one who is making such an absurd and asinine claim.

Really?

In a lawsuit filed in August 2009, BREIN claimed that "80 to 90 percent of all torrents... [link] to copyrighted material." (citation)

All that remains is to take the number of torrents on LegalTorrents.com, estimate the number of torrents available through other sites, compare the two numbers, then revise upward the estimate of illegal torrents.

Absurd and asinine it may be, but such claims are already being made.

Admittedly, it's overstating the importance of LegalTorrents.com by quite a lot. This is a site that has tried and failed to reinvent itself a number of times over the last six years, and seems destined to fail again.

But in response to the claim that it will someday support the argument that torrents have substantially non-infringing uses, it's fair to point out that it is far more likely to damage such arguments.

Comment: Re:Still, it validates the technology (Score 4, Interesting) 113

by Hobophile (#30066096) Attached to: LegalTorrents Launches Copyright-Compliant Tracker

Exactly, a site and set of trackers dedicated to legal material will facilitate the argument that there are, in fact, legal uses for torrents.

The name of this particular service - LegalTorrents.com - serves to focus undue attention on the ubiquity of torrents providing access to infringing content.

Moreover, it comes down squarely on the wrong side of an important issue: torrents themselves are arguably never illegal, in that they only provide a means of finding content, and leave the actual distribution up to participating clients. Google indexes plenty of content that is either illegal or infringing, and though they deal with plenty of copyright-related complaints, they have not seen the need to establish an explicitly "legal" search service.

The company would also do a tremendous disservice to those advocating legitimate uses of torrents, if the number of torrents it tracks becomes a convenient shorthand for the number of legal torrents available. It might be good for business to publicize those numbers, to the extent they aren't readily visible, even if it is very bad for other legitimate users of the protocol. For instance, it would be trivial to assert that only 5% of torrents are available through LegalTorrents.com, and to imply that the other 95% are somehow illegal or questionable.

Frankly, it would be better for everyone if they had simply picked a name they could brand and advertise effectively. I can't see "LegalTorrents.com" getting the same sort of traction with Fortune 100 businesses as Akamai has, and it draws an inordinate amount of attention to the fact that the legality of the underlying protocol is controversial.

Comment: Re:Isn't someone going to ask ... (Score 1) 549

by Hobophile (#30000456) Attached to: Ryan Gordon Ends FatELF Universal Binary Effort

FatELF binaries don't avoid this issue any better than any other solution, seriously. You still have to build/bundle custom, vetted runtimes that reside in a similar bundle on the install- and for each architecture you support.

Well, it seems to me that this is the straightforward part - if it's not exactly easy, it's at least fully under your control as the publisher.

What you can't control is what happens when the user tries to install or run your game. How do you know they have picked the right installer or executable binary to double click?

Unfortunately, you have to do the same effort for FatELF binaries as you would for the other way- and with no better assurances of "getting it right" with it as with the other means.

Getting it right is what QA testing is for. The benefit of FatELF is that the end user only has a single program to run. By eliminating the choice between binaries, you eliminate the possibility that he will somehow make the wrong choice.

Comment: Re:Isn't someone going to ask ... (Score 2, Interesting) 549

by Hobophile (#29999186) Attached to: Ryan Gordon Ends FatELF Universal Binary Effort

Commercial Games. That's who.

Exactly. Take Blizzard, who ships Windows and Mac versions of their games on the same media. Fat chance of getting an official Linux release in the absence of a universal binary solution. Blizzard tends to ignore platform-specific package formats in favor of their own installers, the better to control and customize the installation experience. By avoiding the standard MSI format on Windows, for instance, they avoid introducing a lot of unrelated dependencies and vastly simplify the post-release patching process.

If you don't mind hacking around on the command line to get a game to work, the current state of affairs probably suits you just fine. But there's no business reason for Blizzard to support Linux users with an official release, if the best they could provide is a different set of command line inputs to type in. This of course assumes they would not develop installers for every Linux distribution on every compatible architecture, along with the necessary documentation and technical support for each. I think that's a fair assumption.

Comment: Re:I'm surprised nobody has said this yet, but.. (Score 3, Informative) 622

by Hobophile (#29888647) Attached to: French Branch of Scientology Is Convicted of Fraud

Any FORMER mormon who leaves the church will be prevented from seeing his family and friends again. Anyone current mormon who breaks the rules and speaks to a FORMER mormon risks the same. When you get done watching Religulous, go work on your reading comprehension.

Speaking as a former Mormon, I can confirm that you are spewing nonsense. I haven't watched the "documentary" in question but I am going to visit my parents for Thanksgiving. I left the church 15 years ago and never experienced any of the ostracism you suggest is commonplace. Quite the reverse; from time to time, the missionaries will stop by my house to offer to help out with yard work, or to invite my family to a church event. The interactions are always cordial, if a little awkward.

Possibly it's different if you are excommunicated, but consider what you have to do to get excommunicated; in practice it doesn't happen unless you kill someone or start spreading a lot of anti-Mormon hate. In which case it's hardly surprising that friends and loved ones would disown you. It's possible there is an official policy of no contact in such cases, but the worst that would happen if you ignored it is a discussion with your local church leader.

Frankly you sound like someone who has done a lot of research into these questions and I commend you for that. But you might want to consider your sources a bit more carefully, and talk to more people in the real world. Most people are not backstabbing SOBs who will turn on you in an instant if you step out of line. There are a few nutcases out there, but you don't have to be a Christian to be a jerk.

Comment: Re:Gah...great ideas...not such great writers (Score 1) 1021

by Hobophile (#29651669) Attached to: What Belongs In a High School Sci-Fi/Fantasy Lit Class?

I agree. I would've loved a class like this in high school but I was reading most of the suggested SF authors already. Students at that age lack the requisite judgment and maturity to distinguish important literary works from self-aggrandizing escapist fiction. Ideally that's where the teacher would come in, but the submitter's biases are rather transparent. He seems more interested in justifying the inclusion of fan favorites than in imparting useful analytical skills to the "flunkies."

Any list of fantasy authors for a literature course that does not include Borges is immediately suspect. His stories are short, and his ideas are profound and influential. Tolkien is equally significant, but more properly considered within the tradition of classics and folklore. Studying him in a literary context is fruitless and arguably even harmful.

A more productive avenue would be to look to favorite authors and see who they cite as significant influences, then assemble a list of stories by those authors. Or one could simply pick award-winning stories from the last few decades that have held up well in popular and critical esteem, e.g. "Flowers for Algernon." An interesting approach would be to group stories not by author but by place of first publication, to identify commercial and editorial influences on the fiction.

Or he could simply plug the class as a chance to read "Ender's Game" for school credit, and not bother arguing the academic merits of the curriculum, which will be slight. There's a reason that high school English classes do not survey works by Dan Brown, John Grisham, or JK Rowling. It's the same reason that the list as proposed is ill-conceived and fundamentally misguided.

Comment: Re:This is not going to go well... (Score 1) 298

by Hobophile (#28783257) Attached to: Sam Raimi To Direct <em>World of Warcraft</em> Movie

The trouble with Warcraft "lore" is that it's an inconsistent grab bag of tropes from popular fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Chris Metzen at least has the good sense to borrow from better authors, but the end result is still derivative well beyond the standard in video games. It's a very good template for Blizzard, which essentially does the same thing with the games as a whole: polish off all the rough edges off original, groundbreaking games, then digest the essence down to mass market pablum.

 

In the Warcraft 2 era, the result was still somewhat inspired. Over a decade and three World of Warcraft releases later, the cracks are beginning to show. The lore in Wrath of the Lich King reads like bad fan fiction, with only a thin veneer of fantasy lite spackled over sources as inconsistent as Tolkien's Mordor, Norse mythology, and Lovecraft's Elder Gods. Plot continuity is achieved through item progression rather than narrative cohesion, and if the game wasn't a relentless treadmill of unthinking advancement, players would quickly notice that the story makes no sense. As it stands, there's little incentive on either side to care.

Comment: Re:Just telling my girlfriend about text adventure (Score 2, Informative) 130

by Hobophile (#28731937) Attached to: A History of Early Text Adventure Games

It's a shame these sort of interactive fictions passed away after the advent of the CD-ROM and Myst.

You should look into some of the newer, highly rated works at IFDB. There is a small but active community still developing these games, and each year sees one or two new gems that rival or surpass the most popular efforts of the Infocom era. The best days of the format may well be ahead of us.

Image

The Ultimate "Doll House" For WoW Players 44 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the never-leave-the-house-again dept.
BoyIHateMicrosoft! writes "A friend of mine sent me this link today about a group of MIT students who have created something called a WoWPod. It's like a playhouse for WoW players. It has everything from Refreshing Spring Water, to food (Like Crunchy Spider Surprise of course!) to a toilet and of course the appropriate gaming gear."

Comment: Re:Surprise? (Score 1) 724

by Hobophile (#27391479) Attached to: Reliability of Computer Memory?

OEM installs can be quite problematic with Vista. The mass imaging process underwent some significant changes between XP and Vista, and a lot of early Vista laptops were prepared improperly by manufacturers.

For example, my friend had a Sony Vaio from June 2007 where key system files and folders were symlinked to a (non-existent) Y: drive. Her laptop worked OK out of the box but slowly destroyed itself as Windows updates were applied incorrectly or in an unanticipated way. Eventually it lost the ability to rename files and folders, and to apply new patches.

Windows itself is very stable but if it gets installed or deployed in an incompetent way, the results are obviously not going to be consistent or stable.

Security

Adobe Flaw Heightens Risk of Malicious PDFs 193

Posted by kdawson
from the driving-by dept.
snydeq writes "Security companies warn of a new flaw in version 9 of Adobe Reader and Acrobat that could compromise PCs merely by the opening of a malicious PDF. Although attacks are not yet widespread, hackers are exploiting the flaw in the wild, gaining control of computers via buffer overflow conditions triggered by the opening of specially crafted PDFs." Adobe is calling the flaw "critical" and says a patch for Reader 9 and Acrobat 9 will be released by March 11.

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