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Why Are Video Game Movies So Awful? 385

An article at CNN discusses why big screen interpretations of video games, even successful ones, often fail to succeed at the box office. Quoting: "The problem with successfully adapting video games into hit Hollywood spin-offs may lie in the way in which stories for both mediums are designed and implemented. Game makers chasing the dream of playing George Lucas or Steven Spielberg will always strive to coax human emotion and convincing drama from increasingly photorealistic virtual elements. The Hollywood machine, in its endless chase for big bucks, can't help but exploit the latest hit interactive outing, often failing to realize it's often a specific gameplay mechanic, psychological meme or technical feature that makes the title so compelling. Both sides may very well continue to look down in disdain on the work that the opposite is doing, which can doom any collaborative efforts. But where the two roads truly diverge is in the way stories are fundamentally told. Films offer a single, linear tale that's open to individual interpretation, whereas games are meant to be experienced differently and in a multitude of ways by every player." On a related note, reader OrangeMonkey11 points out that an 8-minute short has showed up online that appears part of a pitch for a potential Mortal Kombat reboot movie. Hit the link below to take a look.
PC Games (Games)

What Game Devs Should Learn From EVE 270

An anonymous reader passes along this excerpt from Gamesradar about EVE Online's Council of Stellar Management (CSM), a group of elected player representatives that serve to facilitate communications between the developers and the community: "On the last day, the devs announced that after the earlier discussions about improving the CSM’s ability to effect change, the CSM was being raised to the status of its own department within CCP. This is revolutionary; in one swift move, the CSM went from what could be considered a glorified focus group to what CCP considers to be a 'stakeholder' in the company, given equal consideration with every other department in requesting development time for a project. That means the CSM — and the entire playerbase it represents — has as much influence on development projects as Marketing, Accounting, Publicity and all the other teams outside of the development team. This is, of course, the stated intention. But has any developer gone to such lengths for its fans?"

New Estimates Say Earth's Oceans Smaller Than Once Believed 263

Velcroman1 writes with this snippet from Fox News: "Using lead weights and depth sounders, scientists have made surprisingly accurate estimates of the ocean's depths in the past. Now, with satellites and radar, researchers have pinned down a more accurate answer to that age-old query: How deep is the ocean? And how big? As long ago as 1888, John Murray dangled lead weights from a rope off a ship to calculate the ocean's volume — the product of area and mean ocean depth. Using satellite data, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute set out to more accurately answer that question — and found out that it's 320 million cubic miles. And despite miles-deep abysses like the Mariana Trench, the ocean's mean depth is just 2.29 miles, thanks to the varied and bumpy ocean floor."

EA Introduces "Online Pass" To Get In On Used Games Market 223

EA Sports has unveiled a new feature that they hope will help them get a piece of the lucrative used games market: the Online Pass. Each of their new titles will come with a one-time code that allows access to "premium" content and features. Players who buy the games used can get the same content, but will need to pay $10 for the privilege. "According to EA, the content can include anything from title updates and downloads to features like online leagues — and even online gameplay and multiplayer modes. ... EA will offer 10-day trials of Pass content so that users can see what they would be getting. So far, EA seems to be limiting the premium add-on experiment to its sports portfolio. ... The company has apparently gained the support of retailer GameStop, which has been watching with a close eye efforts on the part of publishers to discourage its thriving used games business. According to the retailer, encouraging premium content add-ons still benefits GameStop, since it sells PlayStation Network and Microsoft Points cards. It praised EA's Online Pass as 'forward-thinking.'"
United States

One Year Later, USPS Looks Into Gamefly Complaint 183

Last April, we discussed news that video game rental service GameFly had complained to the USPS that a large quantity of their game discs were broken in transit, accusing the postal service of giving preferential treatment to more traditional DVD rental companies like Netflix. Now, just over a year later, an anonymous reader sends word that the USPS has responded with a detailed inquiry into GameFly's situation (PDF). The inquiry's 46 questions (many of which are multi-part) cover just about everything you could imagine concerning GameFly's distribution methods. Most of them are simple, yet painstaking, in a way only government agencies can manage. Here are a few of them: "What threshold does GameFly consider to be an acceptable loss/theft rate? Please provide the research that determined this rate. ... What is the transportation cost incurred by GameFly to transport its mail from each GameFly distribution center to the postal facility used by that distribution center? ... Please describe the total cost that GameFly would incur if it expanded its distribution network to sixty or one hundred twenty locations. In your answer, please itemize costs separately. ... Does the age of a gaming DVD or the number of times played have more effect on the average life cycle of a gaming DVD?"

Comment Re:What part of "use a proxy" can't he understand? (Score 4, Insightful) 577

I don't think the most troubling part of what happened is that this guy didn't try to ensure his anonimity.

He didn't intend to make a bombthreat, hell, he didn't even make one. The fact that all hell breaks loose over something silly as this shows that the terrorists have won. Western society lives in fear, whether you like it or not.

Comment Re:The old Motto: (Score 1) 271

If I have to pay extra for a blank CD to compensate for the pirating I'm suspected of using it for, then why shouldn't I use it for pirating? After all, I've already paid the fine, might as well do the crime.

Note: I live in the Netherlands, where it's still not illegal to copy/download movies or music, yet I still pay the extra tax on blank media.

Comment Re:News to me (Score 2, Informative) 309

SMS is unreliable? Where?

Unreliable as in you get no guarantees if and when a message will actually be delivered. Try to find a carrier anywhere that offers you a contract with an SLA on SMS delivery. Granted, you won't often run into problems with SMS, but if you are bound by an SLA with a customer, you'd better have your underpinning contracts (yay for ITIL terminology) at the same level as that SLA.

Comment Re:There should be (Score 1) 414

In The Netherlands we also (used to? I emigrated quite some time ago) have such a copyright tax on many media

We still have that copyright tax on cassette tape, cd-rom and dvd-r, but not on mp3 players, flash cards or hardrives. BUMA/STEMRA is pushing for it, but for now the politicians have put the plans on hold. At least until BUMA/STEMRA can show what they are actually doing with the money they get from this scheme, as it becomes more and more clear that it's all just sitting in a savings account without the artists seeing a penny of it.

Comment Re:Downloading is legal in the Netherlands (Score 5, Insightful) 90

It's not just that they are fed up with the slander.

The FTD software used to have what they called an 'NZB Button'. On the page with the information about the content you were looking for (filenames, size, description, etc.), there'd be a button which if clicked on directed you to an external usenet search engine, with the correct search terms already filled in. After talks between FTD and BREIN, FTD decided to remove this button, and to not allow their users to post direct links to nzb files, or nzb search engines. FTD did this to prevent BREIN from coming after them, they are not linking to any content whatsoever anymore. There's just users telling you what filenames to look for in which newsgroups.

So, here's FTD talking to BREIN, agreeing on taking these actions, taking away any shred of doubt that what they're doing is completely legal under Dutch law, when Tim Kuik comes along and happily continues to call them criminals.

In all fairness, there are third party plugins to the FTD software that re-enable this NZB button, but those are beyond FTD's control.

Comment Re:Honeymoon is over (Score 1) 774

It's the same over here in the Netherlands. If you're lucky, you can find a 7" Xandros Eeepc, but that's about it. I found an online shop that imported from the UK, they had one 10" model with Linux on it. But when I ordered it, they weren't able to get them anymore.
I ended up paying the MS tax, just because I wanted a netbook.

Comment Re:Longer lifetimes is the answer (Score 3, Insightful) 627

It doesn't really matter if we cannot travel faster than the speed of light so long as we can live long enough to get there.
Who cares if it takes 50 years to fly to Alpha Centauri if we can engineer ourselves to live for a thousand!

Either that, or we can just figure out how to get really close to the speed of light, and reap the benefits of time dilation to make the journey only last hours from the traveller's point of view.

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