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Math

One Cool Day Job: Building Algorithms For Elevators 203

Posted by timothy
from the getting-it-up-is-only-half-the-battle dept.
McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal has an article about Theresa Christy, a mathematician who develops algorithms for Otis Elevator Company, the world's largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products including elevators, escalators and moving walkways. As an Otis research fellow, Ms. Christy writes strings of code that allow elevators to do essentially the greatest good for the most people — including the building's owner, who has to allocate considerable space for the concrete shafts that house the cars. Her work often involves watching computer simulation programs that replay elevator decision-making. 'I feel like I get paid to play videogames. I watch the simulation, and I see what happens, and I try to improve the score I am getting,' she says."
Books

How Does a Single Line of BASIC Make an Intricate Maze? 438

Posted by timothy
from the when-factors-align dept.
JameskPratt writes "This Slate article talks about a single line of code — 10 PRINT CHR$ (205.5 + RND (1)); : GOTO 10 — and how it manages to create a complicated maze without the use of a loop, variables and without very complicated syntax." Now that amazing snippet of code is the basis of a book, and the book is freely downloadable.
Games

Elite Creator David Braben: Games Like Elite 'Too Risky' For Publishers 109

Posted by Soulskill
from the games-are-business dept.
Pecisk writes "While PC game development veterans are using Kickstarter more and more for their projects (see the already successful Star Citizen Kickstarter project, which already went home with $2 million, or Elite: Dangerous, a sequel of classic space sim series, which has yet to reach its set target), questions arise: why are devs trying this rather risky way of financing, anyway? For a long time there's also been discussion on Slashdot and elsewhere of game publishers like EA have a preference for unlimited sequels (e.g. the EA Sports series). David Braben, one of creators of first classic 3D space sim, Elite, and its sequels, and also the popular Raspberry PI board/computer, has commentary on that: 'Publishers had and still have now, established processes and a key part of that is the forecast ROI or return on investment. For that to work there has to have been a sufficiently similar game in the near past to base the forecast upon Anything else will be "too risky."'"
Android

Ouya Consoles Will Start Shipping On December 28th 121

Posted by timothy
from the did-you-bet-correctly? dept.
sfcrazy writes "Ouya has stuck to its deadlines. The team has posted an update on the official blog that the units will start shipping on the scheduled date of December 28th. These units are for those developers who backed the project on Kickstarter. There is some surprise for developers with this console. 'What we didn't tell you was that the advance dev consoles you ordered are pretty special – you'll know what I mean when you open yours. They're rare drops. :P,' says the official post."
Nintendo

Hackers Discover Wii U's Processor Design and Clock Speed 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the fodder-for-fanboy-flame-fest dept.
MojoKid writes "Early, off-the-record comments from game developers indicated that the Nintendo's Wii U console horsepower was on par with, or a bit behind the Xbox 360 and PS3, which raised questions about just how 'next-generation' the Wii U would be. Now, Wii and PS3 hacker Hector Martin (aka Marcan) has answered some of these questions and raised a few others. According to his findings, the Wii U's CPU is a triple-core design clocked at 1.24GHz. Marcan identifies the base design as a PowerPC 750, which makes sense. Nintendo used PowerPC 750-derived processors in both the GameCube and the Wii. Retaining that architecture for the Wii U would simplify backwards compatibility and game development. Now factor in the GPU, which is reportedly clocked at 550MHz. Some have favored the Radeon HD 4000 series as a basis for the part; I still think a low-end Radeon 5000, like Redwood Pro, makes more sense. That GPU was built on 40nm, measured 104mm sq, clocked in at 649MHz, and had a 39W TDP. The die size discrepancy between the Wii U and Redwood Pro would account for the 32MB of EDRAM cache we know the Wii U offers. Nintendo may have propped up a relatively weak CPU with considerably more GPU horsepower."
Facebook

Facebook and Zynga Move Apart 64

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-go-together-like-chocolate-and-peanut-shells dept.
another random user writes with news that Facebook and Zynga have altered their business arrangement to become less closely intertwined. Zynga.com will no longer be promoted on the social networking site, and Zynga won't have to show ads for Facebook. "Zynga is the developer behind Farmville, a game once mostly played on Facebook, which at its peak attracted 82 million players a month. Zynga now has its own games platform, but players will no longer be able to share their progress on Facebook. Zynga's share price fell by 13% in after-hours trading following the news. It is the latest blow for the company, which last month announced job cuts and studio closures. ... Facebook said the move would bring its relationship with Zynga in line with other games studios. ... Recent figures suggest 80% of Zynga's revenue comes from Facebook users."
DRM

New Humble Bundle Is Windows Only, DRM Games 553

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-the... dept.
jbernardo writes "After all the indie, multi-platform (including 4 for android) and DRM free releases, the latest Humble Bundle release is a polarizing one. It features non-indie games, it is Windows only, and the games are saddled with DRM. There is already a very vocal discussion on the Humble Bundle Google+ thread, but it seems it is selling well."
Microsoft

Notch Expands On 0x10c, Microsoft and Quantum Computing 94

Posted by timothy
from the and-for-his-next-trick dept.
eldavojohn writes "Mojang's Marcus Persson (better known as 'Notch') has answered quite a few questions in an interview with PC Gamer about his new game 0x10c. Since its announcement, there's been very few details about game play aside from the DCPU-16 and art tests. But in this interview, Notch has revealed quite a bit about how the game will function and non-final ideas he has for either a monthly fee to play in a 'multiverse' or micropayments. He talks about a custom OS people are working on to load into the game's CPU as well as a an in-game 3D printer that will allow you to make virtual objects. When asked about Kickstarter and his Oculus dev kit, Notch said 'Definitely going to make it work in 0x10c no matter what' and his account of using the Oculus Rift sounds more than promising for the VR Device. When asked about Linux he said, '[Linux] is wonderful. I think we need to have it, and it's a shame that more people, including myself, don't use it. It's gotten easier and friendlier.' When asked about Microsoft he said, 'I use their OS – Windows 7 is an amazing operating system in my opinion and of course there's the Xbox, which I love. I'm sure Bing is going to take off and save them. [Editor's note: Notch is smiling mischievously as he says this.]'"
Businesses

Kickstarter Games: Where They Are Now 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the diving-scrooge-mcduck-style-through-pools-of-money dept.
We keep hearing success stories of indie video game projects that found funding through Kickstarter. Some have simply met their goals, while others have far exceeded the money they original asked for. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has provided updates on the progress of a huge list of funded projects. Many projects turned out to have unrealistic release dates. For example, Double Fine Adventure missed its August timeframe because it's getting a new engine. The new Leisure Suit Larry missed its October plans and hasn't been terribly open about a new one. However, most projects are humming along nicely, and some, like FTL: Faster Than Light have been completed and well received. The article exhorts all developers working on these games to make communication a priority, since the users are the ones who put up the cash, and deserve to know what's going on.
The Military

What's It Like To Pilot a Drone? a Bit Like Call of Duty 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-it-like-minecraft-and-you've-got-yourself-a-soldier dept.
Velcroman1 writes "Teenagers raised on Call of Duty and Halo might relish flying a massive Predator drone — a surprisingly similar activity. Pilots of unmanned military aircraft use a joystick to swoop down into the battlefield, spot enemy troop movements, and snap photos of terror suspects, explained John Hamby, a former military commander who led surveillance missions during the Iraq War. 'You're always maneuvering the airplane to get a closer look,' Hamby said. 'You're constantly searching for the bad guys and targets of interest. When you do find something that is actionable, you're a hero.' Yet a new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found real-life drone operators can become easily bored. Only one participant paid attention during an entire test session, while even top performers spent a third of the time checking a cellphone or catching up on the latest novel. The solution: making the actual drone mission even more like a video game."
DRM

GOG: How an Indie Game Store Took On the Pirates and Won 397

Posted by Soulskill
from the arrr-me-hearties dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As if we needed further proof that DRM really is more trouble for publishers and consumers than it's worth, Good Old Games, the DRM-free download store that specializes in retro games, has yet more damning evidence. In an interview this week, the store's managing director says that its first venture into day one releases earlier this year with Witcher 2 was a storming success — and the version that hit the torrent sites was a cracked DRM version bought from a shop. The very definition of irony."
Canada

The Wii Mini Is Real, Arrives December 7 — In Canada 139

Posted by timothy
from the tora-tora-tora dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday there was a rumor doing the rounds that Nintendo was set to release a brand new version of the Wii console called the Wii Mini. The new machine would be significantly smaller than the current Wii, is expected to ship with a Wii Remote Plus, Nunchuk, and Sensor Bar, and hopefully carries a much lower (sub-$100) price. Well, it looks as though this wasn't just a rumor. Best Buy Canada has it listed with an image on its front page and a December 7 release date." Also at PC Mag.
Displays

DOOM 3 BFG Edition On Github, Timed For Oculus Rift 83

Posted by timothy
from the move-that-gigantic-cranium dept.
New submitter alexanderb writes "While DOOM 3 BFG Edition might not have blown most gamers' minds, it sure blew some hackers' minds by supporting the Oculus Rift head-mounted display. Now, id Software have put up the source code of the BFG Edition under the GPL in good time for the tentative Oculus Rift release date, 12/12/12."
IOS

Minecraft Reality App Arrives For iOS, Brings Your Creations Into the Real World 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the because-you-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Following the news that Minecraft has been ported to the Raspberry Pi, Mojang has announced a new augmented reality iOS app. The app uses your iOS device's camera to track your surroundings before projecting creations onto the landscape. Not only can you see the results on your screen, but you can change their size as you please, and also walk around them to view from different angles."
Games

Gameplay: the Missing Ingredient In Most Games 308

Posted by Soulskill
from the customers-love-in-game-currencies-and-spamming-their-friends dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Game designer Tadhg Kelly has an article discussing the direction the games industry has taken over the past several years. Gaming has become more of a business, and in doing so, become more of a science as well. When maximizing revenue is a primary concern, development studios try to reduce successful game designs to individual elements, then naively seek to add those elements to whatever game they're working on, like throwing spices into a stew. Kelly points out that indie developers who are willing to experiment often succeed because they understand something more fundamental about games: fun. Quoting: 'The guy who invented Minecraft (Markus "Notch" Persson) didn't just create a giant virtual world in which you could make stuff, he made it challenging. When Will Wright created the Sims, he didn't just make a game about living in a virtual house. He made it difficult to live successfully. That's why both of those franchises have sold millions of copies. The fun factor is about more than making a game is amusing or full of pretty rewards. If your game is a dynamic system to be mastered and won, then you can go nuts. If you can give the player real fun then you can afford to break some of those format rules, and that's how you get to lead rather than follow the market. If not then be prepared to pay through the nose to acquire and retain players.'"

I took a fish head to the movies and I didn't have to pay. -- Fish Heads, Saturday Night Live, 1977.

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