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An Inside Look At Tabula Rasa's Failure 44

Massively notes a couple of posts from people who worked at NCSoft while Tabula Rasa was in development. Adam Martin says the lengthy, wandering development cycle led management to push it through before it was ready. "Very late, they eventually hit upon a good formula, a good core game," but, "Before they could actually make that game, a difficult decision was taken to push the team to the wall and force an early beta test." Scott Jennings suggests that early warning signs, like the tepid reaction to the beta, were largely ignored. "One of the mantras that went around production discussions after Auto Assault's launch square into the pavement was that if you can't get people to play the beta for free, you have serious, serious issues. Tabula Rasa had those issues. Not as bad as Auto Assault — there were people doggedly playing every night and presumably enjoying themselves, and metrics were duly assembled to measure every movement those testers took. But it was pretty clear, at least from my completely disassociated and busy with my own thing viewpoint, that there wasn't a lot of excitement."
The Internet

Integrating the Web Into Games 52

Got Game recently announced the launch of an in-game web browser called Rogue, designed for concurrent use with modern games for those who don't care to to switch back and forth. Their aim is to make it so gamers can more easily keep themselves entertained during downtime in games, and to streamline information retrieval without missing any of the action. An anonymous reader writes with related news from Gamasutra: "This article details the practical steps for game developers to add a video recording feature to a game, encode gameplay footage in the Theora video format, and share the recording on YouTube. Spore's Creature Creator, PixelJunk Eden, and Mainichi Issho already support YouTube, but not only commercial games benefit. By hosting the videos, YouTube puts this feature in reach of indie game developers who might otherwise not be able to afford the server resources."

Submission + - IBM to Build Cognitive Computer 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "IBM will lead a US government-funded collaboration to make a "cognitive computer" that can mimic the brain to be used for large-scale data analysis, decision making and image recognition. The project will have an ultimate goal of creating a system with the level of complexity of a cat's brain but "even a computer with the ability of a rat brain would be a success," says Dharmendra Modha, the IBM scientist who is heading the collaboration. The problem is not in the organization of existing neuron-like circuitry, but in the adaptability of the brain to tune synapses, the connections between the neurons. Synaptic connections form, break, and are strengthened or weakened depending on the signals that pass through them and making a nano-scale material that can fit that description is one of the major goals of the project. "The brain is much less a neural network than a synaptic network," Modha says. The fundamental shift toward putting the problem-solving before the problem makes the potential applications for such devices practically limitless. "We are attempting a 180 degree shift in perspective: seeking an algorithm first, problems second. We are investigating core micro- and macro-circuits of the brain that can be used for a wide variety of functionalities.""
The Military

Submission + - World's First Weaponized Solid-State Laser

tehnerd writes: "Northrop Grumman Corporation introduced the FIRESTRIKE laser, a ruggedized, high-energy, solid-state laser designed as a line replaceable unit (LRU) for battlefield applications, ready for order now (by the U.S. Military Services)... The FIRESTRIKE laser offers warfighters a 15 kilowatt (kW) fieldable laser as well as a combinable LRU building block for much higher power...
"We are ready to deliver on the promise of defense at the speed of light with FIRESTRIKE(tm)," said Dan Wildt, vice president of Directed Energy Systems for Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector." He noted the FIRESTRIKE(tm) laser has been hardened for military uses but also was designed with life-cycle costs and reliability in mind. "FIRESTRIKE(tm) is designed for field operations and simple replacement," Wildt added.

This was just an excerpt from Northrop's original announcement text. No details were published yet, like range or color. But I for myself would love to see future wars, where the outcome depends on who got the cooler laser show up and running. But always remember kids: do not directly stare into the beam!"

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