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Submission + - Open Source 3D on the Web?

kripkenstein writes: 3D games are becoming more popular on the web. But are we going to end up with another Flash situation, where a proprietary product from a single vendor becomes the de-facto standard? That is what might happen. While we have some interesting technologies in development, they don't appear to allow multiplayer action games (due to performance and networking issues). An alternative is to make a FOSS browser plugin, one such project was previously discussed here, however, development on it has ceased.

But another approach is being worked on, as the open source Intensity Engine (itself based on Cube 2/Sauerbraten) has a proof of concept browser plugin (which is a perfect fit, as the Intensity Engine already uses web-related technologies like Google V8 and Django, and has a web interface for managing assets and servers). Since the Intensity Engine is already stable (it's used in production in Syntensity), this would give the open source community a complete solution for all kinds of 3D games, from co-op FPSes to platformers, both inside browsers and out. Feedback and help is welcome!

Disclaimer: The relationship between Syntensity and the Intensity Engine is like the relationship between StatusNet and, or WordPress and In other words, all the code is open source, and we thought to make a profit off of services somehow — but no idea if it will work out, feedback about that is also welcome!

EU Council Refuses To Release ACTA Documents 145

CaptSolo writes "The EU Council refuses to release secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement documents, stating that disclosure of this information could impede the proper conduct of the negotiations, would weaken the position of the EU in these negotiations, and might affect relations with the third parties concerned. The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure requested these documents last week. FFII's response questions ACTA's secrecy saying: 'The argument that public transparency regarding 'trade negotiations' can be ignored if it would weaken the EU's negotiation position is particularly painful. At which point exactly do negotiations over trade issues become more important than democratic law making? At 200 million euro? At 500 million euro? At 1 billion euro? What is the price of our democracy?'"
Wireless Networking

FCC Approves Unlicensed Use of White-Space Spectrum 138

sidesh0w was one of a number of readers to alert us to the FCC's unanimous decision approving unlicensed devices to use the white spaces of the spectrum unused by television broadcasters, provided they take certain precautions not to interfere with licensed users. "Denying a tremendous last-minute lobbying effort by broadcasters, the vote on white space devices went ahead as planned today after a several-hour delay at FCC headquarters. When the vote came, though, it was unanimous. For the Democrats on the Commission, the devices are appealing because they offer a potential new avenue for broadband services, while the Republicans are pleased for the same reasons, but love the fact that this is a deregulatory order that focuses on less regulation and more competition."

Plasma Rocket Successful Full Power Test 169

Matt_dk writes "VASIMR is a new high-power plasma-based space propulsion technology, initially studied by NASA and now being developed privately by Ad Astra. A VASIMR engine could maneuver payloads in space far more efficiently and with much less propellant than today's chemical rockets. Ultimately, VASIMR engines could also greatly shorten robotic and human transit times for missions to Mars and beyond."

Black Holes May Not Grow Beyond Certain Limit 201

xyz writes "Do black holes increase in size indefinitely? According to an analysis by astronomers at Yale and the European Southern Observatory, the maximum size a black hole may reach is only few tens of billion of solar masses. The limit was calculated using an analysis of what may happen to the gas surrounding a black hole which has reached few tens of billions of solar masses. It is thought that black holes of such size heat the surrounding gas to a temperature where the radiation pressure begins blowing outer layers into space."

An Open Source Legal Breakthrough 292

jammag writes "Open source advocate Bruce Perens writes in Datamation about a major court victory for open source: 'An appeals court has erased most of the doubt around Open Source licensing, permanently, in a decision that was extremely favorable toward projects like GNU, Creative Commons, Wikipedia, and Linux.' The case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, revolved around free software coded by Bob Jacobsen that Katzer used in a proprietary application and then patented. When Katzer started sending invoices to Jacobsen (for what was essentially Jacobsen's own work), Jacobsen took the case to court and scored a victory that — for the first time — lays down a legal foundation for the protection of open source developers. The case hasn't generated as many headlines as it should."

Training Bacteria To Deliver Drugs? 29

Hugh Pickens writes "While it may seem unlikely that single-celled organisms could be trained to salivate like Pavlov's dog at the sound of a bell, researchers say that bacteria can 'learn' to associate one stimulus with another by employing molecular circuits. This raises the possibility that bioengineers could teach bacteria to act as sentinels for the human body, ready to spot and respond to signs of danger. As with Pavlov's dog, the bacteria in the model learn to build stronger associations between the two stimuli the more they occur together. Now called Hebbian learning, it's often expressed as a situation in which 'neurons that fire together wire together.'" (More below.)

Server Structure in EVE Online 141

Massively takes an interesting look at the server model used by EVE Online. It's unusual for a MMOG because it doesn't divide the player load among different servers or "shards." Instead, the same cluster handles the entire EVE universe and all 300,000 subscribers (total; record concurrent load is around 40,000). The EVE Dev Blog recently announced some upgrades to keep things running smoothly and allow for battles involving over 1,000 ships. They call the technology StacklessIO.
Classic Games (Games)

PC Historian Finds Puzzling Game Diskette Image 232

This past weekend, Trixter — a self-proclaimed IBM PC historian — picked up some old software for his archive. What he didn't count on was a couple of additional Avantage titles that had never been released into the wild. If this weren't enough of a find, one of these titles provided Trixter with an interesting puzzle: the diskette for Mental Blocks is apparently hand-formatted to work on both C64 and IBM (on a single side, not the "flippy disks" of old). Quite an interesting little piece of history.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code 208

Merlin42 writes "I recently took a Test-Driven-Development (TDD) training course and the teacher recommended that I read "Working Effectively with Legacy Code" by Michael Feathers. First things first, a note about the title. Feathers defines "Legacy Code" a bit different than you may expect, especially if you are not into the XP/Agile/TDD world. I have heard (and used) a number of definitions for "legacy code" over the years. Most of these definitions have to do with code that is old, inherited, difficult to maintain, or interfaces with other 'legacy' hardware/software. Feathers' definition is 'code without tests.' For those not into TDD this may seem odd, but in the TDD world, tests are what make code easy to maintain. When good unit tests are in place, then code can be changed at will and the tests will tell automatically you if you broke anything." Read on for the rest of Kevin's review.

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