Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

Comment Re:Bad comparison? (Score 1) 119

Depends on the game. A few MM*s are happy with giving you time off. Those are generally either pay-to-own like Guild wars or free to play and supported by a microtransaction model. Some, like Path of Exile, let you idle for as long as you like. Others, like League of Legends (admittedly a MOBA but with the same kind of non-pay-to-win microtransactions), will release your account name after a period of inactivity, although if I remember correctly, LOL allows you to recover an inactive account somehow.

I may be wrong on that last one; I dropped LOL for good when I realized it wasn't really for me.

One thing I do know is that most of my friends avoid subscription-based MMOs like the plague. Too expensive, too demanding.

Comment Re:WoW! really its taken this long to figure that (Score 1) 119

True. I play Path of Exile a lot although I don't see it as an MMO - it's more like a Diablo clone with great multiplayer. That's the appeal, actually: I don't have to run through shared areas, competing with random strangers over who gets to kill the mobs. I don't have to put up with random strangers forcing me into PVP so they can get off over how superior their optimized PVP build is to someone else's PVE build. I can party with my friends whenever we feel like it, though. The game is effectively a singleplayer game with drop-in multiplayer support. I like that.

And it doesn't do subscriptions. It has a microtransaction model that avoids the whole pay-to-win issue by only selling you cosmetic items and a few non-essential convenience things. That makes it easy to pick up and put down as well as making it completely invisible to TFA's subscription metric.

I don't really play any other MMOs. But then again I'm not into massively multiplayer games and PoE only sticks with me because it doesn't play like an MMO. Some games just fit into more than one genre.

Comment Re:the USA is Portugal (Score 1) 87

"The USA" doesn't mean a lot now that private companies have sprung up. You do have a point, however: NASA is damn good at payloads. Their stuff usually works really well once it's up but, well, they kinda suck at launch vehicles. The most likely reason is pork. It's hard to spread out manufacturing of a space probe over fifty states but a new launch vehicle? Easily. And once parts manufacturers exist they must never go away, hence the SLS, which most likely will be unneccessarily expensive while performing worse then a vehicle that wasn't designed to generate revenue for every damn state in the union.

Honestly, NASA would probably do better if they sold their launch assets to SpaceX and focused entirely on payloads and missions. Whether they'll end up launching with rockets from Russia, Japan, SpaceX or even Copenhagen Suborbital is no matter as long as the rockets are reliable. The existing rockets have a track record and it's often a good one. NASA's new launcher doesn't.

Comment Re: ... and the hype for Windows 10 begins.... (Score 1) 405

TBH, I would've liked Yosemite better if it had Snow Leopard's UI with the more disruptive skeuomorphisms taken out. I'm not a fan of completely flat UIs and the subtle shading Snow Leopard had was just right in my opinion. Plus, Yosemite is too bright in some places.

As for Win 10: That's what a hacked uxtheme.dll is for. I found every version of Windows kinda ugly (with Win 7 being the sole exception) but it's not like you can't fix that... once you've convinced your system that all themes are genuine Microsoft themes.

(Honesly, I'd love it if the uxtheme unlock could be something that's in there by default, hidden behind a policy or something. Something easy to lock down in a corporate setting but accessible to advanced home users without having to patch a system file.)

Comment Re:Why all the Safari/Apple hate ?... (Score 1) 311

Web developer here. Safari really does lag behind the other major browsers in terms of what it can do. At my job we're essentially keeping it on semi-support (ie. we're treating even the most modern version of Safari like it's IE9) because it's not exactly uncommon that CSS that works unprefixed in every other browser still requires a prefix in Safari - and maybe an older version of the syntax. Or it isn't supported at all. JS-wise the same applies: Every once in a while we come across thigs that everyone but Safari can do these days and then we have to add polyfills that make the site heavier.

Safari has a decent user interface (although its developer tools feel a bit clunky) and the integration with iOS Simulator is a godsend for mobile development. But that doesn't change the fact that Safari has fallen behind in terms of getting standards adopted. That's why I'm happy that Safari has only a minor market share - having first-class support for all the other major desktop browsers and half a dozen mobile ones is already enough work.

Comment Re:Wow gorgeous (Score 2) 302

Which is why one of the first things I'll do with Windows 10 will be to install a patch that fixes uxtheme.dll. The Microsoft-provided version in every Windows so far had this persistent bug where it can't see third-party themes, which is annoying and something Microsoft really ought to fix themselves instead of relying on external programmers to pick up the slack.

Comment Re:Can I swap the d-pad & left joysticks? (Score 1) 99

Depends on what you're doing with your gamepad. For console gamers, sure, because analog sticks are the only precise directional input device available. On a PC, however, things look different and analog sticks are much less important as most of what they do is better done with a mouse.

As a PC gamer I have three main uses for a gamepad: Platformers and brawlers (where the D-pad is much superior due to its responsiveness and ease of use) and shooters (where the D-pad performs reasonably well and the analog stick only sometimes offers a real benefit). That means that the D-pad is usually the directional input device of choice.

The X360 pads have the D-pad in an awkward position for use as the main input device - because it's not supposed to be used like that. Unfortunately, that makes them sub-optimal for my use case, which is why I went for Logitech instead. Their F310/F710 series is pretty much an X360 pad with PSX-style analog sticks. The focus on the D-pad is very much appreciated, even if the design of the D-pad itself could be more ergonomic.

Again, though, it all depends on the use case. I can see how a console gamer would prefer to have the analog stick more easily accessible than the D-pad. Of course this does work in favor of the GP's post: Having those parts swappable would make the controller more attractive to a wider audience.

Comment Re:Especially odd... (Score 1) 186

Skype has one killer feature for me: Working feedback suppression. With Skype I can use my notebook's built-in speakers and microphone and there is no feedback at all. With every other VoIP program I've used so far, be it Jitsi, TeamSpeak or Tox, I have to wear a headset or the conversation drowns in feedback. TeamSpeak at least tries but its implementation is clumsy (simply turning off the audio stream if it thinks feedback might happen) and unreliable.

Now, I could of course just wear a headset. Unfortunately, I need to be aware of ambient sounds so a stereo headset is out of the question and a quality mono headset that doesn't fall apart from moderate use will set me back by far more than I'm willing to spend.

So I stick with Skype despite all the warts. Because no other gratis software offers working feedback suppression. (Of course if someone added Skype-level feedback supression to Tox I'd switch in a heartbeat.)

Comment Re:PC is the only one that counts (Score 1) 204

Well, I'm a sucker for gameplay that guides the player without shoving them around. FO3 has a very natural flow from the first dungeon to the first town (introducing completely new players to the concepts of looting and trading) and from there to an obvious but well-integrated tutorial quest for the most important game mechanics. And apart from that dungeon all of it is optional, altough the intended progression is the most likely. Still, it's not like the game is forcing you to go to Megaton; it just happens to be nearby and you probably want to trade.

You could say that FONV's beginning does less hand-holding but that doesn't mean it doesn't make you go in a certain direction. For instance, when I first played the game I was so ambivalent towards the main quest that my first impulse was to say "screw that stolen delivery; I'm going to Vegas!" and then get repeatedly killed by cazadores while trying to make my way northeast. I only did what the designers wanted me to do after I had realized that doing what I actually wanted to do would be a very tough luck-based mission.

That's where I see the quality difference in the games' designs: FO3 makes sure that the interests of the designers and the players align closely. You want to go to Megaton. You want to talk to Moira. The tutorial quest sounds like easy money so new players are interested in doing it. Skipping Megaton entirely and going straight for DC is dangerous but reasonably possible. FONV, on the other hand, relies on hordes of deathclaws and cazadores to ensure that the player moves in the right direction if they don't like the utterly generic beginning of the main plot.

That's one thing that negatively affected my opinion of FONV: It makes you go in the intended direction not by making that direction particularly attractive but by just plainly walling every other direction off with tough enemies. That kinds breaks the immersion once you realize it.

FONV's beginning could've been more interesting if the designers had made sure to get the player interested in the right things. For instance, there could've been a short part before the intro where the player walks along some road not part of the game world proper, loots a corpse and shoots a couple dogs or something. Then the ambush happens (getting the player more involved than an intro sequence not connected to anything) and after the player wakes up in the doctor's house their inventory is empty and they are informed that the robot had carried all their stuff all the way to Primm for some reason. Now the player is interested in going to Primm because, main quest or not, "my stuff is there" is always a good reason to go somewhere. Especially if you have the equipment DLCs installed and want that grenade launcher back...

Comment Re:PC is the only one that counts (Score 2) 204

To be perfectly honest I actually think FO3 is more fun than FONV. A lot of that stems from the fact that FO3's initial stages are brilliantly designed while FONV's are... just kinda there.

FO3 starts off with a tutorial-slash-character-creation that actually gives you a couple snapshots of life in a vault while simultaneously getting you invested in the story. You've interacted with your dad enough for him to be an actual character so you can actually care about him running off. You get a feeling of just how much turmoil the vault is in. Thne, once you're out of the vault you immediately see the first town, which is very welcome because you have no money and a lot of vendor trash. So you go to the merchant and are immediately offered a discretionary extended tutorial in the form of the Wasteland Survival Guide quest. This tutorial, in turn, makes you travel to a variety of places, both making future exploration easier and getting you involved in further sidequests.
In essence, the game leads you towards learning its mechanics and getting involved in sidequests by means of well-crafted gameplay. You can skip much of that but for a first-time player it's easily found and feels very natural.

FONV, on the other hand... You get a generic cutscene of some people shooting you in the head. Then you wake up and have a chat with a doctor in an admittedly well-made character generation sequence. After he kicks you out the door you're just kinda there, with a storyline of "someone took some MacGuffin from you and you want it back so you can finish your job and get paid what's likely to be a pittance compared to what you're going to randomly loot throughout the game". Progression from there consists of either asking some person if they'll give you a basic tutorial or just walking off in the one direction that isn't infested with deathclaws and cazadores. There's still no investment in the main storyline and the whole thing feels very constructed and artificial.

Now, the DLCs are where FONV shines. They are actually well-written, entertaining and heads and shoulders above FO3's, even if Honest Hearts bugged out on me, causing everyone in the valley to hate me and turning the entire thing into a brainless run and gun romp. Old World Blues more than made up for that, though. The main game, however, is kind of uninteresting to the point where I have no idea if I ever followed the main quest beyond going to Primm.

I guess in the end FONV has the better writing and characters but FO3 is better at motivating me to actually do something. And in the end I value gameplay over writing.

Comment Re:Web developers know they'll be attacked (Score 1) 225

I'm not saying that Ruby and Python are highly secure systems. I'm saying that Ruby and Python web devs are smarter than PHP web devs. They less frequently get ideas like "let's use MD5 for our password hashes in 2015" or "I don't see the problem with opening a new MySQL connection every time I want something from the database". The main reason for that is that web development in Python and Ruby is more difficult than in PHP unless you have a bit of programming experience. Fewer completely green developers mean fewer rookie mistakes.

As for HTML: Yes, although those are most often boundary cases where HTML has to interact with other languages - and where the theoretical pure HTML webdev should talk to the people who use those other languages. In practice, of course, nobody uses HTML alone and thus most webdev do have to deal with JS and server-side security matters. The language itself is pretty safe, it's ecosystem isn't.

Comment Re:Web developers know they'll be attacked (Score 1) 225

Well, those writing just straight HTML don't need to know much about security because that's not HTML's job. As for the PHP monkeys: It depends. Does the monkey use words like "Suhosin" and refuse to use a PHP older than 5.5 because that's when bcrypt became part of the standard library? Then there's a chance they actually do care about security. On the other hand, if they talk about writing WordPress plugins there's a fair chance they've given up Visual Basic development because they weren't smart enough for that.

It's a bit better with other languages; people who do their web development in Python or Ruby are usually a bit smarter than PHP monkeys (though not neccessarily smart enough to leave web development for pastures with bigger paychecks).

Disclaimer: I am a former PHP monkey. And what I said about WordPress plugin developers was far too kind.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito