Lanxon writes "Swaroup Anand, 23, from Bangalore, was fully conscious as he underwent open-heart surgery. An epidural to the neck, administered at the city’s Wockhardt Hospital, numbed his body during the procedure. Dr Vivek Jawali pioneered the technique ten years ago and has recently released a tutorial on DVD, which gives a step-by-step guide to the procedure for other surgeons to watch and learn from."
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."
A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."
Many readers are sending in word that Randy Pausch has died at 47. The charismatic young college professor celebrated life despite a death sentence from pancreatic cancer in a remarkable speech widely known as the "Last Lecture." The video went viral and has been downloaded by over 10 million people.
This is a bit of an unusual story for Slashdot- it's the "Last Lecture" of a professor at CMU who is terminally ill. His early research in VR has benefited everyone and even if you have never heard of Randy Pausch I think this is worth your time. It's a 2 hour long wmv filled with insight, laughs and wisdom from a man who has really done some amazing work. I've been watching it all morning and I think it would really be worth your time if you can spare it to listen to what he has to say. From virtual reality to education to stuffed animals and childhood dreams, there's a lot here worth your time. Thanks drew for the link. Update: 09/21 15:44 GMT by Z : The link is already a little shakey, so you might want to turn to this cut up YouTube version of the talk instead.