Hermann Peterscheck recently made a post on the Jumpgate Evolution developer blog about NetDevil's strategy for balancing the various classes of ships in the game. They seem to be taking a different approach from most MMOs in letting the PvP side of the gameplay set the baseline, rather than allowing PvE concerns to override that. From the section titled Combating Combat: "Early on our lead systems designer, Jay Ambrosini, came to the correct conclusion that all of the preliminary balancing was best done in a PvP context. The reasoning is that in PvE, the player needs to feel powerful, but in PvP the fight needs to feel balanced. Once ship classes are balanced in PvP, its not as hard to make the player feel powerful in PvE, but the opposite is not true. We spent many weeks playing just the first class of ship, the light fighter, in teams of 5 or 6 in order to evaluate what it was that made those ships fun to fly and fight. After daily battles, you begin to see what makes those ships work. We also started with the mid level ships as opposed to the low or high level ships. This is primarily because you can find the center point and then work upwards and downwards from there. ... It's very tempting to just throw a bunch of classes of ships together in order to say things like "our game has 15 classes of ships!" but this, we believe, is the wrong direction. People want meaningful and strong choices and not lots of meaningless, empty choices. Currently we plan to have 4-6 classes, but they will each have nearly endless possible configurations within those groups."
MarchingAnts writes "In the latest feature article for 1up, they explore the recent onslaught of video game company mergers in Japan, and how it affects the rest of the industry. There are data charts that breakdown what companies merged, what got bought outright, and what content distribution they're taking up now. From the article:
"Squaresoft and Enix Ltd, two bitter rivals in the video game industry, merged in 2003, while publisher Atlus acquired Takara. Sega and Sammy merged in 2004. 2005 saw the mergers of Namco and Bandai, Takara and Tomy, and Konami becoming a majority partner and parent company to Hudson Soft. In 2006, Squaresoft and Enix, now called Square-Enix, acquired The Taito Corporation, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. Are all these mergers and acquisitions a sign of the video game industry strengthening from within, or slowly devouring itself? And what will it all mean for the US video game market?
miller60 writes "A disgruntled system administrator intentionally pressed the Emergency Power Off (EPO) button in the data center that manages the electric grid for most of California, crashing the facility for hours, according to law enforcement accounts. The grid was unaffected, primarily because the event took place late on a Sunday night, rather than on a high-load weekday, according to power industry officials. The sysadmin worked for a third-party contractor which had warned its client, the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO), that the employee should be denied access to the facility. Inquiries are focused on why he was still able to get into the data center, which had several levels of access security."
A wide variety of public policies affect alcohol purchases, consumption, and traffic fatalities, The two alcohol-control policies that have been most-clearly demonstrated to reduce youth consumption and traffic deaths are raising the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) and raising beer taxes. Researchers have evaluated the independent effectiveness of these and many other policies. A new study finds that the effectiveness of any particular policy depends on what other policies are also in place.
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Link to Original Source