Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer for Lord of the Rings: Online recently spoke to Eurogamer about the game's upcoming expansion and its future in the MMO market. One thing he mentions is the challenge of designing an MMO for consoles, which have a larger player base than PC games. He admits that UI development would be a huge issue, but also thinks MMOs could benefit from splitting tasks between various devices. "Long term, for me, the real exciting vision is ... thinking about a game, a franchise, as this centralised content. There's this thing called Lord of the Rings that sits on a bunch of servers ... and whether you're on your PC, your console, your mobile device, those are all just access points, and they're all good at different things. ... The console is great for fast action, immediate activities. Combat, raids, things like that could be a lot of fun sitting on your couch. And some things that are necessary but slightly rote and boring, like managing your inventory or setting up for a raid, or some elements of crafting — those are things that you can do instead of playing Bejeweled when you're sitting on the train or on a break or whatever it happens to be."
Kligat writes "For the first time since 2003, the International Space Station has utilized the rockets on the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle to dodge leftover remnants of a defunct satellite. The Russian Cosmos-2421 was launched in June 2006 to track Western Navy vessels and is believed by NASA to have exploded — 'likely due to a self-destruct command issued by Russian officials' according to the article — leaving 500 pieces of space debris. Ordinarily, the rockets on the ATV are used to take the ISS away from Earth's atmosphere and reduce drag. In this case, the 5-minute firing caused the ISS to move downward because it was already near the top of its acceptable range. Estimated probability of impact was 1 in 72, and an avoidance maneuver is called for if the probability is greater than 1 in 10,000. The space junk was predicted to pass the ISS within just a mile."
Who said the Prius has to be wimpy?
An anonymous reader writes about a new robot submersible that uses temperature differences in the sea to power operation for more than twice as long as previous, battery-dependent vehicles. "The torpedo-shaped glider moves through the ocean by changing its buoyancy to dive and surface, unlike motorized, propeller-driven undersea vehicles. To power its propulsion, the submersible gathers thermal energy from the ocean. When it moves from cooler water to warmer areas, internal tubes of wax are heated up and expand, pushing out the gas in surrounding tanks and increasing its pressure. The compressed gas stores potential energy, like a squeezed spring, that can be used to power the vehicle. To rise, oil is pushed from inside the vehicle to external bladders, thus increasing the glider's volume without changing its mass, making it less dense. The oil can be shifted inside to increase the density and sink the vehicle."
PocketPick writes "Kotaku is reporting that following a unflatering review of the game Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, long-time editor Jeff Gerstmann is no longer under the employment of video gaming website Gamespot and it's parent, CNET. Kane & Lynch, a game published by Eidos for the Xbox 360, PS3 & PC, has been heavily featured in flash, image and text advertisments on Gamespot's website since the release on November 13th, inevitably leading to questions whether or not Mr. Gerstmann's firing was motivated by pressure from Eidos."