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Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

Comment Re:Projectors? (Score 4, Interesting) 249

Because you need a screen that will reflect the light back in a polarized fashion. In film terms, you're talking about a screen with silver crystals in it for reflectivity. But those screens are enormously fragile - which is part of why 3-D keeps flopping over in theaters - if one person throws their drink at the screen, or even touches it, the screen is wrecked for good and needs to be replaced.

That's not technology suitable for home usage. Which is why home systems have always been based on field sequential systems of 3-D.

The Matrix

How The Matrix Online Went Wrong 144

As the July 31st deadline for The Matrix Online's closure looms, Gamer Limit is running a story discussing the game's shortcomings, as well as some of the decisions that led to its failure. Quoting: "I honestly thought the writers must have absolutely hated the remaining cast of The Matrix Trilogy or something, because they constantly seemed to go out of their way to phase out existing characters in favor of newer ones. The cast overall basically made me, as a player, feel distant from the main storyline and made the entire game feel like a Matrix side story instead of the continuation it was meant to be. ... When MxO first launched there was an entire team dedicated to playing the game as Agents and other key characters as a means to further in-game events and directly interact with players, giving players the feeling that they truly were making a difference. After the SOE buyout of the game the LESIG team was reduced to playing minor characters before eventually being phased out and replaced with a Live Event Team (LET) comprised purely of volunteers."

Comment Nothing even related to idTech? (Score 3, Interesting) 113

I'm surprised that the only engine on this list to derive from the Quake family is the Call of Duty engine. I'm not enough of a game engine expert to disagree with any given choice, but it's very, very surprising to me to see one of the major families of engines basically ignored. At the very least, some discussion of its omission seems in order.


Left 4 Dead Update Will Bring Completed SDK, Content Sharing Tools 30

Valve has announced details of an update to Left 4 Dead that is due out next week. To start, the SDK open beta is over, and the final version is being released. They're also adding a framework for easily sharing player-created content, accessible through the menu system in-game. In addition to that, they're revamping the matchmaking system to accommodate custom campaigns (like this Resident Evil 3 mod). Quoting: "Content authors will be able to package up their new maps, along with new posters, models, and textures, into a single .VPK file. To install and activate this content in-game, players need simply download the .VPK and double click on it. ... When creating or searching for a lobby, a new option named 'Add-on campaign' will let you select from among the add-on campaigns that you have installed. You can then find games or lobbies as well as create a lobby for that campaign. You can invite your friends, too. If they do not have the campaign installed, they will automatically be offered and an option to download it."

Submission + - Download IE8 or Microsoft Will Let Children Starve 1

theodp writes: "Remember National Lampoon's famous If-You-Don't-Buy-This-Magazine-We'll-Shoot-This-Dog cover? As it kicked off its new 'Browser for the Better' campaign, Microsoft took a page from the Lampoon's playbook, announcing it will provide 8 meals to hungry children and adults for every completed download of Internet Explorer 8. CNET reports that Microsoft will donate $1 million to a food bank if 869,565 people in the U.S. use a special website to download IE8 by Aug. 8, 2009 (8-8, get it?). Microsoft adds that all meals must be claimed by June 30, 2010. How can something so right feel so wrong?"

Comment Re:Nothing to worry about (Score 1) 379

To be fair, by most accounts Disney has improved over the last year or two. Yes, the era where Home on the Range and Brother Bear were coming out was a bit of a trainwreck. But their most recent animated film, Bolt, did appreciable business and was generally well received. And the buzz they're getting for The Princess and the Frog, their return to traditional animation, is significant. Rapunzel is also getting generally good buzz.

The general sense seems to be that Disney bought Pixar in a large part to get John Lasseter to work on all of their films. And that he's been turning the ship around.

Comment Flatly Untrue (Score 5, Informative) 379

First of all, Pixar has two announced films not mentioned here - The Bear and the Bow and Newt - both of which are original properties. Bear and the Bow is slated to share 2011 with Cars 2, and Newt is set for 2012.

Second of all, the suggestion that the "most likely" date for Monsters Inc 2 is 2012 is tenuous at best. The only time in the last decade Pixar has had a director do two films with only three years in between is when Brad Bird did Ratatouille three years after The Incredibles, and that was him coming on a film in mid-production. If Docter is directing it, it would be surprising to see it before 2013.

This story, in other words, is nonsense - the only actual content to it is that there's a sequel to Monsters Inc.

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