jonasvdc tips an announcement by Square Enix that Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II are being developed for the iPhone and the iPod touch. The graphics and UI have been modified to look and run better on the touchscreen devices, but everything from Cecil to the classic Black Mage is clearly recognizable. The announcement did not include any information on a price or release date.
Throw away your soap, detergent, and personal hygiene, the Japanese have invented odor-free underwear. Koichi Wakata, a Japanese astronaut living in the International Space Station, is testing the underwear created by textile experts at Japan Women's University in Tokyo. The shorts are designed to kill bacteria, absorb water, insulate the body and dry quickly. They also are flame-resistant, and anti-static. "The other astronauts become very sweaty, but he doesn't have any sweat. He didn't need to hang his clothes to dry. He can wear his trunks (underwear) more than a week," said Koji Yanagawa, an official with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Bioware has confirmed rumors that development for the sequel to Mass Effect is well under way, and they're planning on a release in early 2010. They mentioned PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game, but no information was given about a possible PS3 version. CVG has a write-up of what we know about Mass Effect 2 so far. Quoting: "In the shooting department the developer's official announcement promises 'intensified combat' and 'expanded weapon options.' We're hoping some of the work goes on improving the game's shooting mechanics, which were solid enough but could certainly do with some polishing to meet 2010 standards — especially in the cover system department. As for 'expanded weapon options,' we can only assume this refers to the in-depth gun tweaking and customisation options available in Mass Effect 1."
The success of the Halo franchise is unquestionable. Bungie's trilogy of first-person shooters established a standard against which most similar games have been judged for the past eight years. Thus, when Ensemble Studios picked up the task of bringing the Halo universe to real-time strategy, they faced two separate mountains to climb: maintaining the high quality demanded by fans of the series and developing for a genre that traditionally translates poorly to console play. Fortunately, they had a head start on the latter, bringing in a wealth of experience from the Age of Empires series. Creating an intuitive and dependable control scheme was a top priority, and their success in doing so makes Halo Wars a worthy addition to the series. Read on for the rest of my thoughts.
bsk_cw writes "About a month ago, in Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows, Preston Gralla wrote about what life was like for a long-time Windows user trying to live with Linux. His main problems came when he tried to install or update software. Loads of people responded with advice — so he went back and tried again. Here's what he learned, and what did and didn't work for him."
Creative Paper attracted worldwide interest for its paper made of kangaroo droppings in 2005. Well it's been four years and the best and brightest at Creative Paper haven't been sitting on their laurels. What's their great new idea? They have now launched a kind of paper made from wombat poo. Scat-obsessed Darren Simpson from Creative Paper says the paper is green or gold depending on the time of year the droppings are harvested. The wombat paper will be unveiled at an international paper conference in Burnie, Australia later this month.
As the EVE Online creators ramp things up for the free Apocrypha expansion due out next week, lead designer Noah Ward sat down with MTV's Multiplayer blog to discuss the future of the game and what characteristics continue to keep players interested. Ward says they've considered branching out to consoles, but ended up deciding that the game doesn't really lend itself to console play. He left the door open to using smartphones for "augmenting" gameplay. Ward also mentioned that upcoming space MMOs Jumpgate: Evolution and Star Trek Online are so different from EVE that they're not really worried about direct competition; EVE thrives in part because of the player-generated drama and scandals, which few games pull off as well. Massively has gathered a variety of details about the Apocrypha expansion, which includes the game's first epic mission arc, and they've also posted some screenshots. CCP Games launched a website for the expansion containing concept art and interviews with some of the developers.
Kotaku is running an article with details on an update to City of Heroes which will allow players to create their own missions and publish them for others to play. Quoting: "The Mission Architect for City of Heroes and City of Villains actually appears in game within buildings belonging to Architect Entertainment, a company that has developed a virtual training program for super-powered beings. Players will log in to a computer terminal in said buildings to gain access to the mission editor, where they can create anything from a quick mission that lasts a few minutes to a massive, five-chapter epic. Players write the dialogue, create the enemies, and map out the goals other players need to achieve to complete their mission. Once they've got it perfect, they can upload it to NCsoft's Arc Server, which delivers their content to all of the game servers. Once it's live, anyone can access the terminals in Architect Entertainment and run through the mission."
Massively sat down with Thom Terrazas, producer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes about what the future holds now that the game has had time to stabilize after a rocky start. Terrazas talks about some of the upcoming content, and explains why they chose to develop in the direction they did. "A lot of the requests are a mix of high-end content requests. You know, keep delivering higher end content so that progress doesn't stop for our players. In addition there are many requests to fix current content. Those are the two things that the players have requested the most." He also provides some general information on their ideas for alternate advancement. "... the idea is you can build your character out so it's a bit more specialized in things like damage, or mitigation, or spell damage. So you can specialize any way you want. We're working on that now, and it's something we're looking to launch in the raiding portion of Pantheon. So if you really love your character and want to specialize in something more, be a little different then the rest of your class, then AAs will be coming with the second part of Pantheon so you can customize your character further in the higher level."
Bethesda has announced that an editor for the Windows version of Fallout 3 will be coming in December. They also said the first additional downloadable content for the Windows and XBox 360 versions will follow in January. MTV's Multiplayer blog got a few more details from Bethesda's Pete Hines, who said additions to Fallout 3 will resemble the Oblivion expansion pack Knights of the Nine in size and scope. MTV then brought up the question of how early publishers should provide DLC, pointing to Fallout 3 and Fable II as examples of games for which the expansions were planned to go live only a few months after launch.
Square Enix has announced plans to release three expansion chapters to Final Fantasy XI. Their blog post provided some details about the new content: "The first installment, A Crystalline Prophecy — Ode of Life Bestowing, is slated for release for all languages and platforms in Spring of next year. Subsequent installments will then follow, being released in intervals of every few months. These expansions packages will only be available through online purchase via PlayOnline. The projected cost for each installment is around $10.00. ... Up until now, expansion packs have generally been developed from a perspective of 'lateral expansion,' focusing namely on the introduction of new areas. These three new expansions, however, will deepen the storylines running through pre-existing areas by ushering in all-new plots and intrigues. While not necessarily containing as much content as traditional expansions, these episodic scenarios are designed to take anywhere from one to two months to complete."
According to a study to be published in The Journal of Political Psychology, you can tell someone's political affiliation by looking at the condition of their offices and bedrooms. Conservatives tend to be neat and liberals love a mess. Researchers found that the bedrooms and offices of liberals tend to be colorful and full of books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia. Their conservative contemporaries, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials. Their bedrooms and offices are well lit and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags — especially American ones. Sam Gosling, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says these room cues are "behavioral residue." The findings are just the latest in a series of recent attempts to unearth politics in personality, the brain and DNA. I, for one, support a woman's right to clean.