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Microsoft

Microsoft Research Takes On Go 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the narrowing-the-possibilities dept.
mikejuk writes "Microsoft Research has used F# and AI to implement a consumer-quality game of Go — arguably the most difficult two-person game to implement. They have used an interesting approach to the problem of playing the game, which is a pragmatic cross between tree search with pruning and machine learning to spot moves with a 'good shape.' The whole lot has been packaged into an XNA-based game with a story."
Businesses

Single-Player Game Model 'Finished,' Says EA Exec 439

Posted by Soulskill
from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.
Frank Gibeau, label president for EA Games, recently spoke with Develop about the publisher's long term development strategy. Gibeau thinks developing major games without multiplayer modes is a passing fad: "...it’s not only about multiplayer, it’s about being connected. I firmly believe that the way the products we have are going, they need to be connected online. ... I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads; they’ll tell you the same thing. They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished. Online is where the innovation and the action [are] at."
Graphics

The First Photograph of a Human 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the fist-cheese dept.
wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"
Games

How Game Gimmicks Break Immersion 228

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-can't-all-be-portal dept.
The Moving Pixels blog has brief discussion of how gimmicky game mechanics often break a player's sense of immersion, making it painfully obvious that he's simply jumping through carefully planned hoops set up by the developers. The author takes an example from Singularity, which has a weapon that can time-shift objects between a pristine, functional state and a broken, decayed state. Quoting: "The core issue with this time control device is that it's just not grand and sweeping enough. It doesn't feel like it's part of a world gone mad. Instead it's just a gameplay tool. You can only use it on certain things in certain places. You can 'un-decay' this chalkboard but not that desk. You can dissolve that piece of cover but not most of the walls in the game. The ultimate failure of such cheap tricks is that they make the game world less immersive rather than more compelling. The world gets divided into those few things that I can time shift, that different set of things I can levitate, and that majority of things that I can't interact with at all. ... I'm painfully aware that all that I'm really doing is pushing the right button at the right place and time. Sure, that's what many games are when you get down to it, but part of the artistry of game design comes from trying to hide this fact."
Python

Finance, Scientific Users Get ActivePython Updates 131

Posted by kdawson
from the snakes-on-a-filing dept.
jcasman sends along this clip from PCWorld: "ActiveState has added three open source mathematics libraries to its ActivePython Python distribution that might interest financial and scientific computing markets, the company announced Thursday. The packages are being added, in part, to anticipate the demand that may arise from new proposed rules for the US financial community brought about by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. ... In April, the government agency posted a set of proposed rules for handling asset-backed securities that called for financial firms to disclose, along with their prospectus filings, the source code of the programs that generated the filings, as rendered in Python. The government agency will be accepting input about the proposed rule until August 2. The three libraries that are being added to the ActivePython package are NumPy, SciPy, and matplotlib."
Space

Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System 135

Posted by Soulskill
from the we're-doomed dept.
PipianJ writes "A recent preprint posted on arXiv by Vadim Bobylev presents some startling new numbers about a future close pass of one of our stellar neighbors. Based on studies of the Hipparcos catalog, Bobylev suggests that the nearby orange dwarf Gliese 710 has an 86% chance of skirting the outer bounds of the Solar System and the hypothesized Oort Cloud in the next 1.5 million years. As the Oort Cloud is thought to be the source of many long-period comets, the gravitational effects of Gliese's passing could send a shower of comets into the inner Solar System, threatening Earth. This news about Gliese 710 isn't exactly new, but it's one of the first times the probability of this near-miss has been quantified."
First Person Shooters (Games)

Code Review of Doom For the iPhone 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-dogs-new-tricks dept.
Developer Fabien Sanglard has written a code review for id Software's iPhone port of Doom. It's an interesting look into how the original 1993 game (which he also reviewed to understand its rendering process) was adapted to a modern platform. "Just like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom was rendering a screenframe pixel per pixel. The only way to do this on iPhone with an acceptable framerate would be to use CoreSurface/CoreSurface.h framework. But it is unfortunately restricted and using it would prevent distribution on the AppStore. The only solution is to use OpenGL, but this comes with a few challenges: Doom was faking 3D with a 2D map. OpenGL needs real 3D vertices. More than 3D vertices, OpenGL needs data to be sent as triangles (among other things because they are easy to rasterize). But Doom sectors were made of arbitrary forms. Doom 1993's perspective was also faked, it was actually closer to an orthogonal projection than a perspective projection. Doom was using VGA palette indexing to perform special effect (red for damage, silver for invulnerable...)."
Security

Doom-Like Video Surveillance For Ports In Development 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the hurt-me-plenty dept.
oranghutan writes "A research and development group down under is working to develop an advanced video surveillance system for ports around the world that uses video superimposed onto a 3D map. With 16-megapixel high-definition cameras on a distributed (cabled) network and a proprietary system written in a variety of languages (C++, Python, SQL, etc.), the group from NICTA is aiming to allow security teams at the Port of Brisbane — which is 110km long — to monitor shipping movements, cargo and people. By scrolling along a 3D map, the security teams can click on a location and then get a real-time video feed superimposed onto the map. Authorities from around the world with the right permissions can then access the same system. The main difference from regular surveillance systems is the ability to switch views without having to know camera numbers/locations and the one screen view."
Games

What Spoils a Game For You? 214

Posted by Soulskill
from the spoiling-a-good-story-is-grounds-for-a-whoopin dept.
MTV's Multiplayer Blog is running an interesting piece about what constitutes a spoiler in video games. The interactivity of a video games, argues the author, often makes it necessary to spoil or reveal at least general characteristics of a game during a review or other informative article. He says, "I believe that writing about games is overly careful. I believe that game scripts, game plots and game endings have been given a pass because critics tend to avoid them or address them with the most ginger touch. I'd at least like the discussion about spoilers to cease being so binary. There is room between avoiding mentioning a plot event and reporting its main details. There is value to addressing anything and everything that is most interesting in a game, and value in doing it with words that express meaning rather than those designed to mask it." So, what do you consider a spoiler for a video game, and how do they affect your enjoyment of the game?
The Internet

CNN Uses P2P Video & Adds Terrible EULA 254

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-gotta-be-kidding-me dept.
Futurepower(R) writes "CNN's use of software called Octoshape presents an incredibly abusive EULA. If you agree to the EULA, you agree that CNN can use your bandwidth, and that you will pay any costs. Also, you lose the right to monitor your own network traffic. You can't even use information collected by your own firewall. Quoting the EULA: 'You may not collect any information about communication in the network of computers that are operating the Software or about the other users of the Software by monitoring, interdicting or intercepting any process of the Software. Octoshape recognizes that firewalls and anti-virus applications can collect such information, in which case you not are allowed to use or distribute such information.' "
OS X

+ - Mac OS X Leopard is out for pre-order

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What else is needed to say. Available for pre-oder now. Shipping October 26... Head over to store.apple.com to read the full scoop!"
Encryption

+ - BBC Claims IPlayer for Linux and Mac soon

Submitted by
oliverthered
oliverthered writes "The BBC has agreed a deal with wi-fi firm The Cloud, which operates 7,500 hotspots around the country.

The news website, programme sites and downloads of TV shows via the iPlayer can be accessed freely.

The BBC has also confirmed that users of Apple Mac and Linux machines will be able to use its TV catch-up service from the end of the year."

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."

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