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."
Oracle Goddess writes "According to the US National Institute for Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, scientists have discovered a remarkable similarity between the genetic faults behind both schizophrenia and manic depression in a breakthrough that is expected to open the way to new treatments for two of the most common mental illnesses, affecting millions of people. Previously schizophrenia and depression were assumed to be two separate conditions, but the new research shows for the first time that both have a common genetic basis that leads people to develop one or the other of the two illnesses."
NoTerminal writes "My 60-person non-profit organization is looking for a tool or set of tools to keep track of our donors and contacts. A perfect solution will either replace or gracefully synchronize with Outlook's contacts module, as well as provide a powerful back-end that can handle donation tracking, grant reporting, and interaction tracking. What contact management system or customer relations management package is your non-profit using? How do you like it?"
a whoabot writes "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has stepped in to defend AT&T in the case over their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program started by Bush. The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.' The Electronic Frontier Foundation has described the action as an 'embrace' of the Bush policy." Update: 04/07 15:18 GMT by T : Glenn Greenwald of Salon has up an analysis of this move, including excerpts from the actual brief filed. Excerpt: "This brief and this case are exclusively the Obama DOJ's, and the ample time that elapsed — almost three full months — makes clear that it was fully considered by Obama officials."