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Comment: Re:Bad Year at Cuck Rock (Score 4, Interesting) 166

by RogueyWon (#49487457) Attached to: 2K, Australia's Last AAA Studio, Closes Its Doors

Meh, most AAA publishers and studios stayed as far away from that whole shitstorm as they possibly could; it was a hysterical debate (out of which nobody on either side came out well) that came out of the indie gaming scene and mostly stayed in the indie gaming scene.

I doubt most people who buy and play games even noticed it. And I doubt a single AAA publisher changed their strategy as a result of it. It got a lot of blogs and gaming news sites very upset, generated a handful of fairly well-buried articles in the mainstream press and then the world moved on.

But most people involved on both sides were full-blown narcissists, so they didn't really see things that way.

Comment: Not unexpected (Score 5, Insightful) 166

by RogueyWon (#49486965) Attached to: 2K, Australia's Last AAA Studio, Closes Its Doors

This is a real shame for those laid off, not least because there are so few other employers in that sector in Australia.

But it's not unexpected. Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (BL:TPS) was a commercial flop. Borderlands 2 has done around 10 million sales across all platforms. Prior to the release of the heavily discounted "Handsome Collection" for PS4 and Xbox-One, BL:TPS hadn't even managed a million.

That's partly because the game wasn't as good as Borderlands 2. Reviews and word of mouth were both pretty harsh on it. I've completed it twice. It actually has some decent (if unoriginal) content, but the first 6 hours or so are a miserable trudge.

But it's also because 2k made a big gamble on the PS4 and Xbox-One being commercial failures, and hence the game launched on PS3, 360 and PC. Their gamble was wrong; both of those consoles managed strong sales. Worse, the early-adopters had a huge overlap with "people who buy a lot of games". While the installed base for the PS3 and 360 remains huge, sales for them have largely dried up, outside of Call of Duty and FIFA.

Console transitions are scary for publishers. 2k's bet wasn't entirely unreasonable. The 3DS had a difficult launch, while the Vita and Wii-U basically flopped. The industry saw Ubisoft invest heavily in the Wii-U launch and get burned by it. But of all the major houses, 2k bet most heavily against the PS4 and Xbox-One and their first major release after those consoles launched paid the price.

It was clear that 2k had largely given up on the game. While Borderlands 2 was supported for years post-launch with well-crafted and extensive DLC, BL:TPS was funded to deliver precisely enough DLC to satisfy the contractual requirements of the Season Pass; not an ounce more. Its inclusion so soon after launch in a cut-price compilation was another sure sign that 2k were in damage-limitation mode.

Comment: Two ways this could play out (Score 1) 118

by RogueyWon (#49478565) Attached to: Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'

Either they're going to give him an extremely sympathetic portrayal and the film is going to be some kind of "think of the children" moral crusade against games.

Or else they're going to get sued by him. Assuming there's anywhere left that he's still allowed to file suit.

Both equally plausible, I suspect.

Comment: Virgin Media - UK (Score 1) 142

by RogueyWon (#49478519) Attached to: How do your actual ISP speeds compare to the advertised speed?

I'm paying for 152Mb/s downstream and 12Mb/s upstream with Virgin Media in the UK. That's generally what I get, though it will sometimes dip down to about 140Mb/s in the evening peak.

Reliability is generally ok. I've had a few faults over the last few years, but they've usually sorted them within 24 hours.

The UK's an absolute postcode lottery when it comes to broadband. There are streets less than a mile from me where the highest speed anybody will advertise is 2Mb/s (and this is in London suburbia). Ironically, there's a new-build housing estate put up in the middle of the last decade which just missed out on a round of fibre works and gets worse connections than the much older properties in neighbouring streets.

But I also have a US ISP - Comcast (family has a place in the States that used to be run as a vacation home and is largely just for private use these days). My god you guys are getting the short end of the stick over there. I'm paying more than I pay for my UK connection for what's advertised as an 8Mb/s connection which in reality struggles to provide more than 3Mb/s even off-peak. It's tolerable for a few weeks a year, but I wouldn't be able to live with it - and there are no other options locally, nor are speeds elsewhere in the neighbourhood notably better.

Comment: Re:Raises a point about tech reviews (Score 1) 72

by RogueyWon (#49477213) Attached to: New Samsung SSD 840 EVO Read Performance Fix Coming Later This Month

Indeed - but what I'd like to see would be somewhere that does something like a "six-months-on re-review". I suspect that for a few big-name products, impressions of hardware that people have been living with for 6 months will be very different to out-of-the-box impressions.

Comment: Raises a point about tech reviews (Score 4, Interesting) 72

by RogueyWon (#49476929) Attached to: New Samsung SSD 840 EVO Read Performance Fix Coming Later This Month
I shifted to an SSD for my OS and core applications (plus a few disk-speed sensitive games - a fast-growing category) last year. I'd been planning to buy the 500gb 840 EVO, but, by some small miracle, Amazon had a special on the 840 Pro on the weekend I made my purchase, putting its price very close to the EVO, so I bought that instead. The 840 Pro is apparently not affected by this. Phew, bullet dodged.

But it's interesting that the issue is picked up in so few reviews. Indeed, there's a veiled apology for this in an ExtremeTech article about the bug from October. Reviews are generally carried out on the basis of a short but intensive testing period and hence don't pick up serious issues that take a bit of time to show up.

That's obviously been particularly important in this case, due to the specific nature of this bug. But when it comes to expensive bits of hardware like SSDs and high-end graphics cards, I'd be interested in reviews which came out a bit later but gave a better reflection of failure rates and longer-term issues. I've been stung before by buying a well-reviewed graphics card which turned out to have a horrible failure rate over time.

Comment: Re:Well there goes slashdot forums... (Score 1) 278

If I were to rank the publicly-accessible online forums I participate in these days, from most civil to least civil, Slashdot would be top of the pack by a long, long way. Seriously, that's how bad it is now.

The unholy trinity of culture wars, console wars and overbearing admins have ruined many other discussion sites that were perfectly good 3 years or so ago.

Comment: "Old" vs "new" trolling (Score 5, Interesting) 278

Your mistake is in using the "classic" definition of "troll" - somebody who sets out to deliberately cause fights on a forum. Trawl through the archives of Slashdot and you will find many instances of this kind of trolling - and yes, the people doing it are often highly literate (and, when they do it right, sometimes very funny with hindsight).

But the term "trolling" has gone political these days and is routinely used to describe any form of online behaviour that the speaker doesn't approve of. So everything from outright criminal behaviour (eg. threats of immediate violence) at one end of the scale through to disagreeing with a forum's established groupthink (however respectfully) at the other.

And yes, it has become a favourite term of the intellectually insecure, whenever they want to shout down an opposing point of view without engaging with it. In fact, conflating those two extremes I mention above under the same term is outright beneficial for the easily offended, as it allows them to group polite dissenters together with the mouth-foaming loons.


Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient 442

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
An anonymous reader points out that a long held goal of keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius might not be good enough. "A long-held benchmark for limiting global warming is 'utterly inadequate,' a leading U.N. climate scientist declared. Keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising past 2 degrees Celsius – a cap established by studies in the early 1970s – is far too loose a goal, Petra Tschakert, a professor at Penn State University and a lead author of an assessment report for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, said in a commentary published in the journal Climate Change Responses. Already, with an average increase of just 0.8 degrees Celsius, she wrote, 'negative impacts' are 'widespread across the globe.' Tschakert called for lowering the warming target to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

Comment: It will have an effect all right... (Score 4, Interesting) 349

It will encourage high tech companies in general and venture capital firms in specific to:

A). Locate their businesses in a state (like Texas) where Social Justice Warrior-type lawsuits have little chance to succeed.
B). More carefully screen potential employees for Social Justice Warrior tendencies so as to minimize the chance of future lawsuits.

Businesses exist to make money, they don't exit for believers in victimhood identity politics to wage politics and cash in at their expense.


Dad and Daughter Recreate Jurassic Park With $100,000 In Lego Pieces 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-time dept.
mpicpp writes Animator Paul Hollingsworth and his daughter Hailee, along with some help from a few "master builders" — decided to Jurassic Park using only Lego pieces. More than $100,000 in Lego were used, according to the video's description. The result is a surprisingly stunning and hilarious version of the 1993 dino-thriller. The team behind the film also released an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the production.

A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy 765

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the story of a Github user's joke repository that is causing some controversy. "There's no question that the tech world is an overwhelmingly male place. There's legit concern that tech is run-amok with 'brogrammers' that make women programmers feel unwelcome. On the other hand, people just want to laugh. It's at that intersection that programmer Randy Hunt, aka 'letsgetrandy' posted a 'project' earlier this week to software hosting site GitHub called 'DICSS.' The project, which is actual free and open source software, is surrounded by geeky jokes about the male anatomy. And it's gone nuts, so to speak, becoming the most trending project on Github, and the subject of a lot of chatter on Twitter. And, Hunt tells us, the folks at Github are scratching their heads wondering what they should do about it. Some people love DICSS ... and some people are, understandably, offended. The offended people point out that this is exactly the sort of thing that makes tech unwelcoming to women, and not just because of the original project, but because of some of the comments (posted as "commits") that might take the joke too far."

Comment: Not in Valve's commercial interest (Score 4, Insightful) 215

by RogueyWon (#49292863) Attached to: Gabe Newell Understands Half-Life Fans, Not Promising Any Sequels

Valve has no commercial interest in making Half-Life 3. It's not that the game wouldn't be profitable. It almost certainly would be - lots of people would buy it. But it would risk the wider strategy they've been pursuing for a decade now.

Valve's income these days isn't from making and selling games; it's from charging other people to sell games via Steam. Seriously - you buy a game on Steam and a big slug of the price you pay goes straight to Valve. Sure, they have hosting costs, but there is a lot of pure profit in there.

Ever since Steam started to be a big thing, Valve has focussed on more niche games rather than big-budget fpses. It does not want to be seen as threatening or a rival to its biggest business partners. EA have already taken their toys and gone home to Origin; Valve's dominance of the PC gaming market relies on keeping Activision, Ubisoft and others on board.

And a big part of that is not being seen as a competitor. If Activision wants to pay Valve a lot of money to plaster the Steam front-page with a huge Call of Duty advert, then that's good for Valve. But Activision might get nervous if they worried that the platform they were using was run by a company that was actively pushing a game in competition with theirs.

Over in console-land, Sony and Microsoft's first party exclusives are generally put out there to sell consoles (not always a profitable activity in itself). They build up the installed base to get the third parties interested. The only platform-owner to really emphasise first-party games development is Nintendo, who, surprise surprise, have terrible third-party relationships.

Far easier for Valve to allow other people to put the effort in to making money for them, rather than take the risk of investing in games development to make direct income from sales. Particularly now that Steam is so ubiquitous as a platform that it doesn't need first-party games to grow the installed base.

"I am, therefore I am." -- Akira