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The Almighty Buck

When DLC Goes Wrong 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the horse-armor dept.
kube00 writes "Poorly done downloadable content is one of a gamer's worst nightmares right now. Where a publisher stands to make some money, gamers get screwed. Whether it's the overpriced extra maps/costumes DLC, on-the-disc-at-launch DLC, or DLC that is nothing more than a remake of other content, no game is safe from bad DLC. That includes Modern Warfare 2, Bioshock 2, Uncharted 2 and a host of many other popular games. Is there a chance to fix this system?"
Games

Infinite Mario With Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the there's-always-another-castle dept.
bgweber writes "There's been a lot of discussion about whether games should adapt to the skills of players. However, most current techniques limit adaptation to parameter adjustment. But if the parameter adaptation is applied to procedural content generation, then new levels can be generated on-line in response to a player's skill. In this adaptation of Infinite Mario (with source [.JAR]), new levels are generated based on the performance of the player. What other gameplay mechanics are open for adaptation when games adapt to the skills of specific players?"
First Person Shooters (Games)

Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the new-is-relative dept.
sfraggle writes "Kotaku has an interesting review of Doom (the original!) by Stephen Totilo, a gamer and FPS player who, until a few days ago, had gone through the game's 17-year history without playing it. He describes some of his first impressions, the surprises that he encountered, and how the game compares to modern FPSes. Quoting: 'Virtual shotgun armed, I was finally going to play Doom for real. A second later, I understood the allure the video game weapon has had. In Doom the shotgun feels mighty, at least partially I believe because they make first-timers like me wait for it. The creators make us sweat until we have it in hand. But once we have the shotgun, its big shots and its slow, fetishized reload are the floored-accelerator-pedal stuff of macho fantasy. The shotgun is, in all senses, instant puberty, which is to say, delicately, that to obtain it is to have the assumed added potency that a boy believes a man possesses vis a vis a world on which he'd like to have some impact. The shotgun is the punch in the face the once-scrawny boy on the beach gives the bully when he returns a muscled linebacker.'"
United States

One Year Later, USPS Looks Into Gamefly Complaint 183

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-answering-in-less-than-a-year dept.
Last April, we discussed news that video game rental service GameFly had complained to the USPS that a large quantity of their game discs were broken in transit, accusing the postal service of giving preferential treatment to more traditional DVD rental companies like Netflix. Now, just over a year later, an anonymous reader sends word that the USPS has responded with a detailed inquiry into GameFly's situation (PDF). The inquiry's 46 questions (many of which are multi-part) cover just about everything you could imagine concerning GameFly's distribution methods. Most of them are simple, yet painstaking, in a way only government agencies can manage. Here are a few of them: "What threshold does GameFly consider to be an acceptable loss/theft rate? Please provide the research that determined this rate. ... What is the transportation cost incurred by GameFly to transport its mail from each GameFly distribution center to the postal facility used by that distribution center? ... Please describe the total cost that GameFly would incur if it expanded its distribution network to sixty or one hundred twenty locations. In your answer, please itemize costs separately. ... Does the age of a gaming DVD or the number of times played have more effect on the average life cycle of a gaming DVD?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Man Spends 2,200 Hours Defeating Bejeweled 2 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the wins-complimentary-straight-jacket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A California steel contractor spent 2,200 total hours over the last three years racking up a high score in Bejeweled 2. He exceeded the 2^31-1 maximum score programmed for the score display, proving that there is, in fact, an end to the game. I suppose congratulations or condolences are in order."
Nintendo

Brain Training Games Don't Train Your Brain 151

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-it-just-takes-more-than-6-weeks dept.
Stoobalou writes with this excerpt from Thinq.co.uk: "A new study has shown that brain training games do little to exercise the grey matter. Millions of people who have been prodding away at their Nintendo DS portable consoles, smug in the knowledge that they are giving their brains a proper work-out, might have to rethink how they are going to stop the contents of their skulls turning into mush."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Tremulous Switching To Xbox Live, Exclusively 43

Posted by timothy
from the console-yourself dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Darklegion Development and Microsoft have apparently been working on a new version of Tremulous for the Xbox 360. Timbor, project founder and a main developer of Tremulous, said this in a recent announcement: 'What does this mean for you? You will now be able to play Tremulous on Xbox Live with thousands of other gamers, earning achievements and showing off your gaming skill. In the best interest of maintaining a steady and secure Tremulous playerbase, Tremulous is going to be exclusively available for Xbox Live. Existing infrastructure will no longer receive official support. Players who have already been playing for at least three months can apply for a €5/$7 coupon as a show of our appreciation of your enthusiasm so far! What does this mean for the community? Hopefully nothing! While the production of Tremulous switches from its current open source development to a closed source environment handled by the very capable and experienced Microsoft engineers, the efforts of the community will still be valued. In this collaboration we have made it very clear that the Tremulous community is very important to the game, and Microsoft agrees with us on this point. We are confident that this move will not stifle the creative output of the community.'"
Games

The Problems With Video Game Voice Acting 251

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-called-in-de-fleet dept.
The Guardian's Games blog explores the tendency of modern video games to suffer from poor voice acting, a flaw made all the more glaring by increasingly precise and impressive graphics. Quoting: "Due to the interactive nature of games, actors can't be given a standard film script from which they're able to gauge the throughline of their character and a feel for the dramatic development of the narrative. Instead, lines of dialogue need to be isolated into chunks so they can be accessed and triggered within the game in line with the actions of each individual player. Consequently, the performer will usually be presented with a spreadsheet jammed with hundreds of single lines of dialogue, with little sense of context or interaction. ... But according to David Sobolov, one of the most experienced videogame voice actors in the world (just check out his website), the significant time pressures mean that close, in-depth direction is not always possible. 'Often, there's a need to record a great number of lines, so to keep the session moving, once we've established the tone of the character we're performing, the director will silently direct us using the spreadsheet on the screen by simply moving the cursor down the page to indicate if he/she liked what we did. Or they'll make up a code, like typing an 'x' to ask us to give them another take.' It sounds, in effect, like a sort of acting battery farm, a grinding, dehumanizing production line of disembodied phrases, delivered for hours on end. Hardly conducive to Oscar-winning performances."

Comment: Re:What does this tell us? (Score 1) 107

by Wandering Hoosier (#26674293) Attached to: Scientists "Teleport" Quantum Information One Meter

No, it wouldn't be good for faster than light communication. But it could be used for secure communication, or implementing a "shift" register in a quantum computer. The separate line of communication doesn't pass information about the initial state of A, just its final measurement, which actually says nothing about it's initial state to anyone or anything except ion B. And, because we're talking about quantum mechanics, A's initial quantum state could be a superposition of states, not just "0" or "1".

Let's see if I can shorten my explanation to this: All the second line of communication says: "Entanglement between A and B was successful. Please use method 1 (or 2) to set B to A's initial state."

Comment: Re:What does this tell us? (Score 1) 107

by Wandering Hoosier (#26673293) Attached to: Scientists "Teleport" Quantum Information One Meter

I hate to contradict a good rant, but in actuality, this "teleportation" can be used for communication.

Here's the experiment, without all the theory:

1. Put the atom A into the state you want to teleport to B. Let's call the two states "red" or "blue". Put atom B into a "known" state.

2. "Stimulate" both atoms so they will fire off a photon. The photon from each will either be a "red" type or "blue" type, but we won't know which (that's important).

3. Both photons "meet" in a beam splitter, then go to separate detectors.

4. If one detector detects a "red" and the other a "blue", then continue, Otherwise go back to step 1. Key here is that this step "confirms" the atoms are now entangled. At this point, if we measured A, the result would determine the B measurement. But we're not going to do that yet.

5. Instead, apply an operation to atom A, so that subsequently measuring it doesn't lock B into a "single" state. It instead puts it into one of two states, still dependent on the initial state of A.

6. Measure A. The measurement will either be "red" or "blue".

7. Use the measurement of A to choose the final operation to apply to B. B will, due to the magic of Quantum Mechanical entanglement, now be in A's initial state, whatever that was.

If A was initially in a "red" state, then measuring B will get you "red". If it was original in the "blue" state, measuring B will get you "blue".

While this does require that you repeat until you get a "red/blue" detection and you need the final A measurement to know what operatation to apply to B, the final A measurement doesn't contain the information about its original state. You could do the final operations on B only when you received the "red/blue" at the detectors and "red" measurements of A. B will still end up in whatever state A started out in.

So, to summarize one last time:

Apply operations to ions A and B. They fire off photons simultaneously into a beam splitter and detector. If the photon detectors detects a particular condition, then operate on A and measure it. Depending on the A measurement, apply one of two operations on B. B will now be in A's original state. If A started in a "singlet" state, then in the end B will be in that "singlet" state, and measuring it will indicate what that state was.

That seems like communication from A to B to me.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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