daria42 writes "British sci-fi author Charles Stross has confessed that he has long hated the Star Trek franchise for its relegation of technology as irrelevant to plot and character development — and the same goes for similar shows such as Babylon Five. The problem, according to Stross, is that as Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore has described in a recent speech, the writers of Star Trek would simply 'insert' technology or science into the script whenever needed, without any real regard to its significance; 'then they'd have consultants fill in the appropriate words (aka technobabble) later.'"
carp3_noct3m writes "A freelance Wired magazine journalist has decided to see what it is like to disappear from normal life, all while staying on the grid. The catch, is that he is challenging anyone and everyone to find him, take a picture, and speak a special codeword to him. If you can do that, you can make 5000 dollars, which happens to come out of his paycheck for the article he'll be writing. Oh, and to top it all off, whoever finds him gets pictures and interviews in Wired. He has been posting to his Twitter, using TOR for internet, and the Wired website will be posting his credit card transactions."
EA has announced that The Sims 3 will be getting its first expansion pack on November 16th, titled World Adventures. It will be available at first for the PC and Mac clients, and later for mobile platforms. "Players can take their Sims on new journeys to famous real-world inspired destinations around the globe for the first time ever and seek out new adventures. ... From mastering martial arts in Shang Simla, China, discovering rich culture and famous landmarks on a romantic getaway to Champs Les Sims, France or exploring the depths of ancient tombs in Al Simhara, Egypt, players can take their Sims on a journey that will change their Sims' lives." EA's Lyndsay Pearson spoke further about the expansion in an interview with IGN.
Hermann Peterscheck recently made a post on the Jumpgate Evolution developer blog about NetDevil's strategy for balancing the various classes of ships in the game. They seem to be taking a different approach from most MMOs in letting the PvP side of the gameplay set the baseline, rather than allowing PvE concerns to override that. From the section titled Combating Combat: "Early on our lead systems designer, Jay Ambrosini, came to the correct conclusion that all of the preliminary balancing was best done in a PvP context. The reasoning is that in PvE, the player needs to feel powerful, but in PvP the fight needs to feel balanced. Once ship classes are balanced in PvP, its not as hard to make the player feel powerful in PvE, but the opposite is not true. We spent many weeks playing just the first class of ship, the light fighter, in teams of 5 or 6 in order to evaluate what it was that made those ships fun to fly and fight. After daily battles, you begin to see what makes those ships work. We also started with the mid level ships as opposed to the low or high level ships. This is primarily because you can find the center point and then work upwards and downwards from there. ... It's very tempting to just throw a bunch of classes of ships together in order to say things like "our game has 15 classes of ships!" but this, we believe, is the wrong direction. People want meaningful and strong choices and not lots of meaningless, empty choices. Currently we plan to have 4-6 classes, but they will each have nearly endless possible configurations within those groups."