Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:FREE free or "free with strings attached"? (Score 2) 67

by tepples (#49190543) Attached to: Source 2 Will Also Be Free

Althouh $100 is not much

To put it in perspective: This one-time $100 fee is less than the annually recurring fees of registering a domain, leasing a VPS for web hosting, buying an organization-validated TLS certificate, buying an organization-validated Authenticode certificate, and buying an Apple developer ID if you want to target OS X. And it's probably far less than what your studio pays its accountant every year, let alone programmers and artists.

Comment: Installation on what machine? (Score 1) 123

by tepples (#49190359) Attached to: Software Freedom Conservancy Funds GPL Suit Against VMWare

But does it include "compilation and installation" on the end user's machines, or only on developer hardware available only to a select few? The latter interpretation leads to the Tivoization loophole in the GPLv2. GPLv3 tightened this by defining "Installation Information", its counterpart to GPLv2's "scripts used to control [...] installation", to require that execution be possible "in that User Product" if the work is designed for a consumer platform.

Comment: Re:Right to remain silent where? (Score 1) 292

You're assuming that he's alluding to the fifth amendment, the Miranda warning is just a notification of it

Exactly. Each country phrases its notification of rights of the accused differently. For example, the police caution in Great Britain begins "You do not have to say anything." Use of a particular country's wording alludes to the statutory and case law regarding the rights of the accused in that country. For example, the police caution used in England and Wales since 1994 includes "it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court", a concept of guilt by omission that doesn't apply in the States. This difference was a plot point in an episode of the first season of Life on Mars, if the trope page about the British caution is to be believed.

Comment: I want to help make other platforms less bad (Score 1) 115

by tepples (#49189449) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

My consumer choices do not require your approval.

I never meant to imply that they did. If I did end up implying so, please help me figure out where so that I can learn not to do so again. I'm only trying to understand how consoles are ideal for your use case with the intent of figuring out how to make other platforms less bad. Or is wanting to know what makes a platform good itself an "entitled attitude"?

Just to deal with fiddly and horrible, the second you have to think about a file system or running processes or system configurations, you've blown it as far as UX for games go. So there's fiddly and horrible for you.

If you're moving saved games from one console hard drive or memory card to another, or freeing up GBs on a console's hard drive for a downloadable game or for a disc game's mandatory install, that's a file system. And as for "system configurations", some console makers' naming conventions don't make this easy either: "DS" vs. "3DS" vs. "2DS" vs. "New 3DS", or "Xbox" vs. "Xbox One".

I doubt a PC can match the idle power consumption

Anyone know how much power a PC uses in suspend?

Comment: Re:How to explain default key bindings? (Score 1) 115

by tepples (#49188445) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

I have yet to see one that shows the keyboard as a graphic in the way I've seen some games show the controller, as a graphic or technical drawing with clearly defined labels.

Good point. I worked on a game back in 1999 whose key bindings configuration screen showed the current bindings on top of a generic keyboard. Will players be confused if I show a generic keyboard, such as a Unicomp Model M, instead of the specific keyboard model connected to the system?

Another problem is that controllers for PCs are highly varied. Except for Xbox 360 controllers, you can't predict how the controller's buttons are laid out to display a diagram without either A. restricting yourself to Xbox 360 controllers (which use the XInput API) or B. buying hundreds of controllers, building a massive VID/PID database, and including this database with each copy of the game. So all you can display is something like "controller 1 axis 2 +" or "controller 1 button 3". How have other PC game developers solved this?

Comment: Consoles have even more strings (Score 1) 67

by tepples (#49188279) Attached to: Source 2 Will Also Be Free

Oddly enough, not even Xbox or Playstation is mentioned.

Only a few hand-picked developers are allowed to buy devkits for Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo platforms in the first place. They demonstrate this ability by producing and selling a few PC games first to establish "relevant video game industry experience" (source: and through other means. If your organization has the money to become a licensed developer of console games, then it is more likely to have the money for a traditional engine license.

Comment: STILL smells like a duck... (Score 1) 153

by fyngyrz (#49186083) Attached to: Astronomers Find an Old-Looking Galaxy In the Early Universe

Except that science collectively doesn't claim to know what happened at the points when the universe was dense enough and at high enough energy scales that it is speculated current laws of physics break down

Yes, that's my point exactly. They don't. Because they can't. Because the theory is based on assuming something happened that our physics can't describe. BB theory is therefore incomplete in a way that makes it unable to stand in the face of what at this time appear to be some very simple and reasonable questions. Questions physics force us to ask.

To stick with your analogy, the Big Bang theory isn't saying the baseball materialized spontaneously from the ground, but that it appeared at some point on that path, with some evidence that the trajectory goes back some where near the ground for loose definition of "near." In which case, there being a pitcher and it being spontaneously generated on that path both being consistent with current theories and observations

No. Quite wrong. The specific reason I use this analogy is that BB theory goes right to the ground -- fractions of fractions of fractions of a micrometer above -- such that the option of there being a pitcher or a ball launcher, or a firecracker under the ball, or a really strong dwarf cricket or even microbe, etc., has completely gone away. You cannot explain BB any further using our physics because they state that the theory covers it right back until it cannot. Consequently it either has to be some other physics, or else it's massively wrong. Theories that are rigorous but then, still within the context of their own propositions, devolve into "and then we don't know" or "because we have no idea"

BB theory may, as I said above, be quite correct, and we may need new physics to understand it. if that's the case, on that day, it becomes a complete and compelling theory to me. Until then, it's not.

As of right now, spotting a galaxy that shows what we understand to be evidence of being older than would be possible if BB theory is correct does not particularly surprise me, any more than finding evidence that "Thor" was just some dude with a really big hammer would surprise me in the context of the ideas that present the Æsir and Vanir as "gods." Because just as, at present, there are no physics that would actually make the idea of a god or gods credible in the face of objective, reality-based inquiry, there are no physics that actually make the idea of the BB credible in the face of same.

Comment: What's fiddly? (Score 1) 115

by tepples (#49185369) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

PC games aren't going away because I bought a PlayStation or a Wii U or an XBox.

You by yourself won't cause PC games to go away. But if enough other gamers abandon PC for consoles, even more major game studios will consider the PC unprofitable.

All I'm trying to do is explain why anyone would buy a console and what the upsides are.

In that case, does this page sum up something close to your position?

I want a box that plugs into the TV and plays games with out being fiddly, loud, power sucking and horrible.

Integrated graphics have become adequate, and I don't see how a PC with integrated graphics is especially "loud" or "power sucking" compared to a PS3, 360, PS4, or Xbox One. I may be willing to grant you "fiddly" and "horrible" if you can explain them.

Comment: How to explain default key bindings? (Score 1) 115

by tepples (#49185327) Attached to: NVIDIA Announces SHIELD Game Console

Just to make sure I understand you correctly:

the fact that on first run it loaded to a "Press Start" screen felt like sloppy QA

In other words, make sure key labels are correct for the current key bindings, and not hardcoded to the names of Xbox 360 controller buttons. Also make options in on-screen menus clickable with the mouse.

clearly explaining why the keys are where they are by default

How could such an explanation be done correctly?

PC users are typically sitting closer to smaller higher resolution screens whereas console users are typically sitting further back, looking at larger, lower resolution displays.

In other words, Steam Big Picture is atypical. And what's the difference between a 1080p HDTV and a 1080p desktop PC monitor, or between a 720p HDTV and a 720p laptop monitor?

Comment: Re:If it smells like a duck... (Score 1) 153

by fyngyrz (#49185093) Attached to: Astronomers Find an Old-Looking Galaxy In the Early Universe

"Monoblock" or "the primordial monoblock" is a term for the presumed state of the presumed material comprising the presumed universe just before it presumably exploded. Everything, no exceptions, including space itself, all in one tiny... something, (tiny with respect to... something), that did.... something, and then [waves hands] Big Bang! Try this google search.

Science can trace the expansion of the universe backwards quite a ways, within the bounds of our understanding of physics as it stands and it makes sense, albeit some very strange and difficult to swallow sense. But go back far enough, and a point is reached where our physics simply do not serve to describe the previous state. At all.

I liken it to tracing a pitched ball backwards, not having been around to witness the pitch, but analyzing the arc of its trajectory and theorizing that the ball erupted spontaneously from the ground in order to arrive where it is. We can't account for such a spontaneous emission, but after all, hey, there's the ball, right? The immediate and obvious objection is that "but physics tells us that can't happen"... well, physics tells us the exact same thing about the big bang. That's why I consider the comparison apt.

I'm not saying the big bang theory is wrong; I'm just saying it is definitely unproven, and that there are severe and fundamental problems with attempts to prove it at this time. Tomorrow, we have new physics, and that may resolve everything very nicely. But until or unless that happens -- until someone shows how the "ball could erupt from the dirt, spontaneously or otherwise" -- personally, I'm reserving BB theory acceptance.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.