TRNick writes "Is the future of gaming more or less free, perhaps funded by advertising or micropayments? A bunch of MMOs have pioneered the way, and now they are being followed by the likes of EA, Sony and id Software, each of which is offering some form of free gaming. But it's not just the big guys. TechRadar talks to a new generation of indie developers who are making names for themselves. 'I make most of my money from sponsors,' says one. 'We're all here because we love making games first and foremost,' says another. But can free games ever make enough money to fund the really ambitious, event games that get the headlines?" While paid games aren't likely to be on their way out any time soon, more and more developers and publishers are experimenting with cheaper pricing, and the results so far seem positive.
Earlier this week, news surfaced that some savvy modders of Valve's Left 4 Dead were able to find a way to enable console commands (meant for the PC version) in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This allowed players to increase the size of their character models to ridiculous proportions, spawn unlimited weapons for themselves (or unlimited enemies for other, unsuspecting players), and go around the map deleting objects as they saw fit. A video posted on YouTube showed how to enable the commands. Valve reacted swiftly to the issues, releasing a patch to disable access to the commands a few days later. Several readers have pointed out another exploit-related story which broke recently; in EVE Online, a bug that was reported and went un-patched for four years has recently come to light, apparently responsible for the fraudulent creation of trillions of ISK, the game's currency. An anonymous reader says that (illegitimate) sales of ISK between players and farmers run on the order of $35 per 450 million ISK.
An anonymous reader calls our attention to California's familial searching policy, which looks for genetic ties between culprits and kin. The technique has come to the fore in the last few years, after a Colorado prosecutor pushed the FBI to relax its rules on cross-state searches. "Los Angeles Police Department investigators want to search the state's DNA database again — not for exact matches but for any profiles similar enough to belong to a parent or sibling. The hope is that one of those family members might lead detectives to the killer. This strategy, pioneered in Britain, is poised to become an important crime-fighting tool in the United States. The Los Angeles case will mark the first major use of California's newly approved familial searching policy, the most far-reaching in the nation."
Mike writes "Recently San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland unveiled a massive concerted effort to become the electric vehicle capitol of the United States. The Bay Area will be partnering with Better Place to create an essential electric vehicle infrastructure, marking a huge step towards the acceptance of electric vehicles as a viable alternative to those that run on fossil fuels." Inhabitat.com has some conceptual illustrations and a map showing EV infrastructure, such as battery exchange stations, stretching from Sacramento to San Diego — though this is far more extensive than the Bay Area program actually announced, which alone is estimated to cost $1 billion.