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Crime

Examining Virtual Crimes 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the too-much-time-on-your-hands dept.
GamePolitics has an article about a research paper issued by the AU government's Institute of Criminology titled "Crime Risks of Three-Dimensional Virtual Environments." The paper discusses the legal questions raised by game worlds and avatars, ranging from regulation of in-game currency to a report of virtual rape. "A person controlling an avatar that is unexpectedly raped or assaulted might experience the physical reaction of 'freezing,' or the associated shock, distrust and loss of confidence in using [3D virtual environments]. While civil redress for psychological harm is conceivable, the 'disembodied' character of such an incident would invariably bar liability for any crime against the person. However, Australian federal criminal law imposes a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment for using an internet carriage service to 'menace, harass or cause offence' to another user. Further, US and Australian laws ban simulated or actual depictions of child abuse and pornography. Therefore, any representations of child avatars involved in virtual sexual activity, torture or physical abuse are prohibited, regardless of whether the real-world user is an adult or child."
Australia

AU Internet Censorship Spells Bad News For Gamers 152

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-hope-for-call-of-duty-kangaroo-wars dept.
eldavojohn writes "Kotaku is running an investigative piece examining what internet censorship means for games in Australia. Australia has some of the most draconian video game attitudes in the world, and the phrase 'refused classification' should strike fear in game developers and publishers looking to market games there. Internet censorship may expand this phrase to mean that anybody hosting anything about the game may suffer censorship in AU. Kotaku notes, 'This means that if a game is refused classification (RC) in Australia — like, say, NFL Blitz, or Getting Up — content related to these games would be added to the ISP filter. [This would bring up] a range of questions, foremost of those being: what happens when an otherwise harmless website ... hosts material from those games (screenshots, trailers, etc) that is totally fine in the US or Japan or Europe, but that has been refused classification in Australia?' Kotaku received a comment from the Australian Department of Broadband Communication promising that the whole website won't be blocked, just the material related to the game (videos, images, etc). Imagine maintaining that blacklist!"
Games

Game Endings Going Out of Style? 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the to-be-continued dept.
An article in the Guardian asks whether the focus of modern games has shifted away from having a clear-cut ending and toward indefinite entertainment instead. With the rise of achievements, frequent content updates and open-ended worlds, it seems like publishers and developers are doing everything they can to help this trend. Quoting: "Particularly before the advent of 'saving,' the completion of even a simple game could take huge amounts of patience, effort and time. The ending, like those last pages of a book, was a key reason why we started playing in the first place. Sure, multiplayer and arcade style games still had their place, but fond 8, 16 and 32-bit memories consist more of completion and satisfaction than particular levels or tricky moments. Over the past few years, however, the idea of a game as simply something to 'finish' has shifted somewhat. For starters, the availability of downloadable content means no story need ever end, as long as the makers think there's a paying audience. Also, the ubiquity of broadband means multiplayer gaming is now the standard, not the exception it once was. There is no real 'finish' to most MMORPGs."

Comment: Chaotic Dynamics in Game Theory (Score 1) 421

by herwin (#30043626) Attached to: What Computer Science Can Teach Economics

I tried to solve this problem using approximation techniques and found it failed to converge and instead showed chaotic dynamics. Genetic algorithm techniques did converge, but not to a global solution. The paper was published about 15 years ago in a collection of social systems modelling studies.

Nasty problem...

Comment: Cost of Information (Score 4, Interesting) 178

by herwin (#17611260) Attached to: New Plan In UK For "Big Brother" Database
When I was working on similar systems in America, we estimated (in our internal risk analyses) that information in a local police database accessible to the average user could be acquired by unauthorised outside users for about $1000. The corresponding figure for a national police agency database was about $10,000. If the information was more valuable than that, additional safeguards were needed. The UK Government proposal is basically flying in the face of that.

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