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Apple Changes App Ranks, Rejects Pay Per Install 94

tlhIngan writes "Recently, Apple changed their App Store ranking algorithm to stop ranking apps by download counts and instead use something else, akin to the recent Google changing of their Marketplace ranking algorithm to give more weight to apps' actual usage. As a side effect, Apple has also started rejecting pay-per-install apps ('freemium' apps that request the user to install companion apps to earn in-game currency). These apps were often used to game the charts by artificially inflating the download count and raising the ranking of the app in the App Store. No word on how companies like TapJoy (one of the largest 'culprits') will react."

Comment Re:I don't quite understand... (Score 2, Interesting) 63

If they start having Blu-ray players for the HD TVs on the market with a hard drive, you could Download movies over the psn. and if they go that route you'll see alot more content for purchase online, maybe even blu-ray quality rentals right to your ps3? Purchases are now starting to all have digital copies, so in practice, if you buy one it should work on your pc, and or psp.

They have also been in the works for some partnership over 3D broadcasting and movies for launch in 2012. This new PSN may become more useful for them in these new intrests over the next two years.


Best Man Rigs Newlyweds' Bed To Tweet During Sex 272

When an UK man was asked to be the best man at a friend's wedding he agreed that he would not pull any pranks before or during the ceremony. Now the groom wishes he had extended the agreement to after the blessed occasion as well. The best man snuck into the newlyweds' house while they were away on their honeymoon and placed a pressure-sensitive device under their mattress. The device now automatically tweets when the couple have sex. The updates include the length of activity and how vigorous the act was on a scale of 1-10.

Comment Idea (Score 1) 863

I saw a pretty decent system while travelling. They would have a parking meter station, maybe like the one from the article. So you need to walk to that, half block or whatever. But when there, this station has keypad on it, You enter the number of your space, which is listed on a tiny sign by each spot. And insert the ammount of money you want to pay. Nothing goes in the car window.

Additionally, on this station meter, you see a timer for the amount of time you have left. And if you're walking around a bit, you can check your time left from any of these stations around the city by entering your spot number, you can also top up from any of these as well.

Now i'm not sure the cost of this system, since it would also be networked around the city to work with these features. Again, not sure of the cost, but having an easy way to top up online would make these even simpler and save any walking at all. Everyone with mobile internet, just visit the site, enter your spot, and away you go.

First Person Shooters (Games)

Open Source FPS Game Alien Arena 2009 Released 142

Alienkillerrace writes "The open sourced, freeware FPS game Alien Arena 2009 has been released (Windows and Linux). The improvements to the game engine are very significant, and have surely raised the bar for free games of this genre. All surfaces in the game are now rendered using GLSL, not only improving the visual quality, but the performance as well. Interesting new effects like post-process distortions using GLSL have been implemented, as well as light volumes, better per-pixel lighting (reminiscent of UT3), and shaded water. Equally notable is that the sound system has been completely rewritten using OpenAL, allowing for effects such as Doppler, and adding Ogg Vorbis support. The game is free to play and available for download on its official website. It has a stats system and a built-in IRC client in its front-end game browser."

When Does Gore Get In the Way of Gameplay? 141

Wired is running a story inspired by the level of gore in the recent Wolverine game that wonders: how much is too much? It mentions a study we discussed in February which indicated that violence tended to interest gamers less than other characteristics. "... the longer you play a 'twitch' action game, the less you notice the cultural content — the gushing blood, the shrieks of agony. You're too busy focusing on the gameplay. I noticed this with Wolverine. For the first hour, I found the deranged bloodshed both shocking and exciting; it made me feel like I 'was' Logan, the grunting, killing-machine character from Marvel Comics' X-Men universe. But as I became more expert, the cultural shell of the game boiled away. In a sort of staring-into-the-cascading-numbers-of-the-Matrix way, I found myself looking past the visible aspects of the game and savoring the underlying, invisible mechanics of play. ... The game became pure physics and algorithms: Vectors, speed and collision detection. The gore had become mostly irrelevant."

Robotic Penguins 118

Corporate Troll writes "Robotic penguins were unveiled by German engineering firm Festo this week. Using their flippers, the mechanical penguins (video) can paddle through water just like real ones, while larger helium-filled designs can "swim" through the air. The penguins are on show at the Hannover Messe Trade Exhibition in Germany. Each penguin carries 3D sonar which is used to monitor its surroundings and avoid collisions with walls or other penguins."

Conficker Worm Strike Reports Start Rolling In 508

Nieriko writes "Reports are trickling in about the impact from the Conficker worm, as infected systems passed zero hour at midnight and began downloading additional malicious components. Here are a couple of the more notable incidents caused by Conficker so far, according to published reports: — '... shortly after midnight local time, an ATM in the capital city of Reykjavik began spewing 100-Krona notes. ... A nuclear missile installation near Elmendorf Air force Base outside of Anchorage, Alaska briefly went on a full-scale military alert after technicians manning the bunker suspected that several of their control systems were infected with Conficker.'"

Comment Re:At least this is better than the legal system (Score 1) 383

The missing part of this I would think is you would have to not only look at when A leads to B, but whenever A is considered at all to link A to C.

There may be 15 examples of A leading to B, and 14 follow through to C.

But if there are 100 examples of A never even leading to B, then you would be wrong to say it was likely that A will likely lead to C.

This would also continue every step of the way, when connecting A-D or further. You have to take into account every possibility starting with A to make your 'chance of linking statement' accurate.

Comment Re:Stealth (Score 2, Interesting) 129

I would agree with that. The most intense "ohshitohshitohshit" moments I've ever had in PC gaming go to Splinter Cell vs. Mode

Being one of two unarmed* spies trying to sneak through the shadows to get by a couple of trigger itchy mercs, searching for you with flashlights. It was a combination of both the sound and the visuals, but in that 0.5 second of time from when the flashlight hit you - to when the bullets started ripping past your face... well it was just the most intense thing I've ever experienced in a game. I think my heart almost exploded every time.

Now that was versus human players, and not a horror genre. What I can take from that though, is that out of the 'fight or flight' response, 'flight' is definitely the scarier. So this run and gun thing may in some cases be taking away from that element.

This is not to say that in a horror game YOU have to be the one lurking in the shadows, but how awesome would it be in a game that if in some encounters you were actually trying to flee from what was chasing you. Running for you life looking for somewhere to hide, evade, or get through a doorway fast enough to slam it shut on your pursuer.


Making a Horror Game Scary 129

GameSetWatch has put up an article about the characteristics that give games in the survival-horror genre the ability to unnerve, startle, and scare players in ways that most games don't. The genre has seen a resurgence lately, with titles like Dead Space, F.E.A.R. 2, and Left 4 Dead posting strong sales numbers. What triggers your fight-or-flight impulses in games like these? From the article: "Being visual creatures, humans are most comforted by sight because of our ability to discern objects, action and consequences based on a picture. As a result, cutting visual stimuli and sticking purely to audio or speech is one of the best ways to keep a player on their toes. Even with weapons, it's very hard to find what you cannot see, and what you do not know. Even if visual stimuli is used, limiting or obfuscating the player's view can enhance the horror in a game, especially if the player sees it for an incredible short time. This can hint both at the difficulty of an upcoming encounter, or even allude to matters earlier in the narrative that the player will soon have to face."

EA Unveils Two New Battlefield Games 54

Electronic Arts announced at New York Comic Con that the Battlefield series would be getting two more titles. Battlefield 1943 will be focused on multiplayer, and it's due out for download this summer. It will be available through the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, and there will be a PC version as well. A website has been launched for the game, and it contains a trailer. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is scheduled for winter, and it will be available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 also. Details for Bad Company 2 are sparse, though one exec said, "... it takes everything that players liked in the original and ups the ante — more vehicles, more destruction and more team play."

Simulating Emotions Within Games 47

Gamasutra is running an opinion piece about the way video games handle simulated emotions. Most often, an non-player character's emotional state is used to either tell a story or to drive gameplay. The author suggests that as both concepts become more complex in modern games, the simulation of emotions must also become more dynamic to remain interesting. Quoting: "Most of our emotional simulations use a simple sensation/calculation/behavior loop. Someone says or does something to a character; this influences his emotional state; he acts upon his feelings. His emotional state then reverts to a more neutral state over time (I was angry half an hour ago, but I've calmed down now), or changes again in response to another sensation. If these systems are really simple they produce absurd results: a character is furious one moment and cheerful a second later, like a Warner Brothers cartoon character. This is the kind of thing you get with finite state machines. This approach doesn't take into account the fact that behavior itself changes emotions. Behavior is not merely an output to be exhibited; it also affects how we feel. It feeds back into our emotional state."

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