Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Games

Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-takebacks dept.
The Moving Pixels blog has an article about the delicate balance within video games between giving players meaningful choices and consequences that cannot necessarily be changed if the player doesn't like her choice afterward. Quoting: "One of my more visceral experiences in gaming came recently while playing Mass Effect 2, in which a series of events led me to believe that I'd just indirectly murdered most of my crew. When the cutscenes ended, I was rocking in my chair, eyes wide, heart pounding, and as control was given over to me once more, I did the only thing that I thought was reasonable to do: I reset the game. This, of course, only led to the revelation that the event was preordained and the inference that (by BioWare's logic) a high degree of magical charisma and blue-colored decision making meant that I could get everything back to normal. ... Charitably, I could say BioWare at least did a good job of conditioning my expectations in such a way that the game could garner this response, but the fact remains: when confronted with a consequence that I couldn't handle, my immediate player's response was to stop and get a do-over. Inevitability was only something that I could accept once it was directly shown to me."

Comment: Dual function maximies potential (Score 1) 148

by rakjr (#34582506) Attached to: Hackers Dual-Boot Chrome OS With Ubuntu Linux on CR-48

I can see Chrome OS as a field solution where the hardware is cheap enough to be throw away. The fact that in a pinch, a techie could bump it up on Ubuntu to have the extra features at a cost of speed would make it a nice plus. I know people that break a laptop a year because of how they handle it when off the desktop. They can't switch down to netbook or other device because they need the visual real estate of a good sized screen.

Comment: Logic of one way (Score 1) 839

by rakjr (#34232308) Attached to: Scientists Propose One-Way Trips To Mars

The first piece of logic on a one way trip is make it work or die. Survival is a strong motivator both for those being sent and for those who are gambling with the lives of others. If the odds of success are good, then I don't have a problem with it. This level of decision making happens daily with medical issues of "operator or die in xx months."

The second piece of logic is that every-thing that goes stays. Modular tech design and repurposing could provide additional resources that would take longer/multiple trips.

Last piece of logic to a one way trip. If planned with a minimum survival date (meaning if all guesses were wrong, it all fails, you are stuck with no way back) that does not exceed the time for a second trip, then it is not a complete do-or-die. It becomes a do-or-pray that the next trip does not have any delays. (Ok, that weakens the first motivator)

Businesses

Viacom To Sell Rock Band Creator Harmonix 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-for-the-next-fad dept.
UgLyPuNk tips news that Harmonix, the game developer behind Rock Band and the early Guitar Hero games, will be sold by parent company Viacom, signaling the media conglomerate's exit from the console game market. Quoting Wired: "The news is yet another ominous sign for the music-game business, which exploded seemingly overnight in 2005 with the release of Guitar Hero. ...sales have been in free fall since the dizzying heights of 2008, with Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock moving only 86,000 copies in its first week... Thus far in calendar year 2010, the balance sheet seems to show that Harmonix has been a $300 million liability for Viacom. And it doesn’t look like Viacom believes in the long-term future of music games. With any luck, the company will find a buyer that can help Harmonix grow, but it’s hard to imagine a better partner in the music biz than MTV."
The Military

Russian Army Upgrades Its Inflatable Weapons 197

Posted by samzenpus
from the blowing-up dept.
jamax writes "According to the BBC: 'The Russian military has come up with an inventive way to deceive the enemy and save money at the same time: inflatable weapons. They look just like real ones: they are easy to transport and quick to deploy. You name it, the Russian army is blowing it up: from pretend tanks to entire radar stations.' But the interesting thing is these decoys are not dumb - actually they appear to be highly advanced for what I thought was a WWII-grade aerial photography countermeasures. Apparently they have heat signatures comparable with the military tech they represent, as well as the same radar signature."
Hardware Hacking

The Hackintosh Guide 453

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A 'Hackintosh' is a computer that runs Apple's OS X operating system on non-Apple hardware. This has been possible since Apple's switch from IBM's PowerPC processors to Intel processors a few years ago. Until recently, building a PC-based Mac was something done only by hard-core hackers and technophiles, but in the last few months, building a Hackintosh PC has become much easier. Benchmark Reviews looks at what it's possible to do with PC hardware and the Mac Snow Leopard OS today, and the pros and cons of building a Hackintosh computer system over purchasing a supported Apple Mac Pro."
Image

Zombie Pigs First, Hibernating Soldiers Next 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the fattening-up-on-brains dept.
ColdWetDog writes "Wired is running a story on DARPA's effort to stave off battlefield casualties by turning injured soldiers into zombies by injecting them with a cocktail of one chemical or another (details to be announced). From the article, 'Dr. Fossum predicts that each soldier will carry a syringe into combat zones or remote areas, and medic teams will be equipped with several. A single injection will minimize metabolic needs, de-animating injured troops by shutting down brain and heart function. Once treatment can be carried out, they'll be "re-animated" and — hopefully — as good as new.' If it doesn't pan out we can at least get zombie bacon and spam."
Input Devices

Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-hey-it's-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that. The Emotiv device has been garnering attention at trade shows and conferences for several years, and now the company says it is set to launch the Emotiv EPOC headset on December 21. PC Authority spoke to co-founder Nam Do about the Emotiv technology and its potential as a mainstream gaming interface." One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.
Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Admits to Spying on Partners->

Submitted by
dasButcher
dasButcher writes "Is Microsoft going lawsuit happy? After filing lawsuits against four Canadian resellers for selling unlicensed copies of Microsoft software, Microsoft admitted to having a clandestine program for monitoring partners for fraudulent and illegal activity (http://www.channelinsider.com/c/a/Microsoft/Microsoft-Sues-Four-Partners-Reveals-Channel-Monitoring-Program-893222/). Microsoft is using secret shoppers, faux companies and other means for detecting unauthorized deals. Is this a good thing?"
Link to Original Source
Security

+ - Australia invests in cyber warfare skills->

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "An Australian defense whitepaper has outlined plans for the country to boost its cyber warfare capabilities. A new R&D organisation will have armed forces staff and funding from the federal government. Details of their operations are classified, but the whitepaper placed a significant emphasis on the need to boost these skills along with cooperation with the US."
Link to Original Source
Science

Science's Alternative To an Intelligent Creator 683

Posted by kdawson
from the theory-of-anything dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Discover magazine has an interesting article on the multiverse theory — a synthesis of string theory and the anthropic principle that explains why our universe seems perfectly tailored for life without invoking an intelligent creator. Our universe may be but one of perhaps infinitely many universes in an inconceivably vast multiverse. While most of those universes are barren, some, like ours, have conditions suitable for life. The idea that the universe was made just for us — known as the anthropic principle — debuted in 1973 when Brandon Carter proposed that a purely random assortment of laws would have left the universe dead and dark, and that life limits the values that physical constants can have. The anthropic principle languished on the fringes of science for years, but in 2000, new theoretical work threatened to unravel string theory when researchers calculated that the basic equations of string theory have an astronomical number of different possible solutions, perhaps as many as 101,000, with each solution representing a unique way to describe the universe. The latest iteration of string theory provides a natural explanation for the anthropic principle. If there are vast numbers of other universes, all with different properties, at least one of them ought to have the right combination of conditions to bring forth stars, planets, and living things." So far xkcd is simulating just one single universe.
Patents

Some Schools Welcoming Patent Firm, Others Wary 55

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-by-firm-i-mean-troll dept.
theodp writes "Intellectual Ventures (IV) will be setting up shop at the top of a Four Seasons this week as Headline Sponsor of the Ready to Commercialize 2008 conference hosted by the University of Texas at Austin. It's the patent firm's 100th university deal, though some, such as Professor Michael Heller at Columbia University, warn against such deals. '... their individual profit comes at the cost of the public ability to innovate. The university's larger mission is to serve the public interest, and some of these deals work against that public interest.' It's a follow-up to the conference IV sponsored last summer for technology transfer professionals entrusted with commercializing their universities' intellectual property, and should help IV, a friend of Microsoft, snag even more exclusive deals (PDF)."
Music

Journal: [POLL] DRM-Free music 8

Journal by Pirogoeth

So, EMI becomes the first major label to make the DRM-free jump. Personally, while I see it as a good thing from different angles (customer: music can be played on any software/player, reseller: Apple makes more money because people will come to them to buy DRM-free tunes, supplier: EMI makes more money from the higher per-song price, artists: still get screwed) I don't see it as jumping for joy news. I'm not much of an au

Whatever is not nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry up is not nailed down. -- Collis P. Huntingdon, railroad tycoon

Working...