New submitter sirlark writes "'Researchers at the University of Auckland tested an interactive 3D fantasy game called Sparx on a 94 youngsters diagnosed with depression whose average age was 15 and a half. Sparx invites a user to take on a series of seven challenges over four to seven weeks in which an avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones. Used for three months, Sparx was at least as effective as face-to-face conventional counselling, according to several depression rating scales. In addition, 44% of the Sparx group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26% recovered fully.' One has to wonder if it's Sparx specifically — or gaming in general — that provides the most benefit, given that most of the symptoms of depression relate to a feeling of being unable to influence one's environment (powerlessness, helplessness, ennui, etc) and games are specifically designed to make one feel powerful but challenged (if they hit the sweet spot)."
MojoKid writes "Game designer Richard Browne has come out swinging in favor of the rumored antipiracy features in the next-gen PlayStation Orbis and Xbox Durango. 'The real cost of used games is the damage that is being wrought on the creativity and variety of games available to the consumer,' Browne writes. Browne's comments echo those of influential programmer and Raspberry Pi developer David Braben, who wrote last month that '...pre-owned has really killed core games. It's killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk.' Both Browne and Braben conflate hating GameStop (a thoroughly reasonable life choice) with the supposed evils of the used games market. Braben goes so far as to claim that used games are actually responsible for high game prices and that 'prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells.' Amazingly, no game publishers have stepped forward to publicly pledge themselves to lower game prices in exchange for a cut of used game sales. Publishers are hammering Gamestop (and recruiting developers to do the same) because it's easier than admitting that the current system is fundamentally broken."
Canazza writes "In a podcast interview with Seven Day Cooldown, summarized by Develop, Valve Boss Gabe Newell discusses the payment model for upcoming strategy game DOTA 2. 'The issue that we're struggling with quite a bit is something I've kind of talked about before, which is: how do you properly value people's contributions to a community? ... An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. ... “So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get DOTA 2 for free, because of past behavior in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.'"
Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe, who is working with Replay Games and Kickstarter to bring Larry Laffer to a whole new generation of computers. They'll maintain the original Larry style of being naughty without crossing the line into porn, which is appropriate for an 80s game about a 70s dork who wears a (shudder) leisure suit. You can donate to this effort through Kickstarter if you like. (We aren't getting paid to say this, and it's a labor of love for Al, too, who is more recently famous for running the hokey daily comedy email newsletter, CyberJoke 3000.)
Fluffeh writes "The case involves an online game, MapleStory, and some people who set up an alternate server, UMaple, allowing users to play the game with the official game client, but without logging into the official MapleStory servers. In this case, the people behind UMaple apparently ignored the lawsuit, leading to a default judgment. Although annoyed with MapleStory (The Judge knocked down a request for $68,764.23 — in profits made by UMaple — down to just $398.98), the law states a minimum of $200 per infringement. Multiply that by 17,938 users of UMaple... and you get $3.6 million. In fact, it sounds like the court would very much like to decrease the amount, but notes that 'nevertheless, the court is powerless to deviate from the DMCA's statutory minimum.' Eric Goldman also has some further op-ed and information regarding the case and judgement."
linuxwrangler writes "It started with a dream of building a full-sized jet flight simulator. Now, 20 years, $150,000 and one divorce later, James Price can walk to his garage and fly the 737 simulator he built built from the nose of a surplus 737. From the article: 'James Price had one must-have when looking for a new home -- the garage had to be able to hold the nose of a Boeing 737 jetliner. "Once I realized I could get it in here, I was OK with the house," Price said. In his spacious three-car garage Price has a well-traveled jetliner cockpit tucked in next to the family car. Aviation experts say Price, 52, is one of only a handful of people in the world who have built their own flight simulator cockpit in an actual jet nose."
rbarreira writes "The source code for the original Prince of Persia game has been released on github by its author, Jordan Mechner. This release comes three weeks after Jordan announced the find of a box containing old floppy disks that had been forgotten in the back of a closet for 20+ years. A 'digital archeology' effort was launched to recover the contents of the floppy disks, with the help of Jason Scott from textfiles.com. Some photos from the 'copy party' have also been posted."
zacharye writes "The next-generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles currently being developed by Microsoft and Sony will make the disparity between console and mobile gaming even more vast, adding more fluid animation support and a number of additional enhancements that will make video games more realistic than ever. But even when confined to the capabilities present in today's home consoles, new video game engines show us just how amazing gaming will be moving forward. Ctytek, the lab behind the popular Crysis franchise, recently released the CryENGINE 3 SDK 3.4.0 DX11 update for developers, along with a quick reel to highlight some of the engine's capabilities." Crysis 3 has also been officially confirmed. They're aiming for a Spring 2013 release date, and the game will be set within a dome in New York City that contains an 'urban rainforest.'
braindrainbahrain writes "Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, has a Facebook page in which he posts a short gripe about Comcast. It seems watching video through the Xfinity app on an Xbox does not counting towards your cap on your Comcast data plan. All other services, Netflix included, do. To quote Hastings: 'For example, if I watch last night's SNL episode on my Xbox through the Hulu app, it eats up about one gigabyte of my cap, but if I watch that same episode through the Xfinity Xbox app, it doesn't use up my cap at all. The same device, the same IP address, the same wifi, the same internet connection, but totally different cap treatment. In what way is this neutral?'" The difference, of course, is that you need a Comcast cable TV subscription in order to have the Xfinity app not count toward your monthly data usage allowance. Then again, you can't exactly sign up for a similar plan through Netflix or Hulu.
New submitter thunderdanp writes with news that a company called Worlds Inc. has filed a patent suit against Activision Blizzard, targeting World of Warcraft and the Call of Duty series. The patents in question describe a "System and Method for Enabling Users to Interact in a Virtual Space." Worlds Inc. is quite glad that "their" technology has "helped the businesses of virtual worlds gaming and the sale of virtual goods to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry" — but now they want a cut.
jjp9999 writes "Bethesda announced they're bringing Kinect support to Skyrim. It doesn't sound like this will include motion detection. Rather, it will be around voice commands — tons of voice commands. It supports dragon shouts, trading, navigation, switching weapons, and a whole lot of other features that usually require you to assign hotkeys or to sort through menus. They also gave a brief hint at new content, stating they've 'been hard at work on creating the first set of game add-ons that will be exclusive to the Xbox 360. This additional content will add new quests, locations, features, and much more to the world of Skyrim.'"
New submitter Canazza writes "According to Develop, 'PC games giant Valve wants to "invent whole new gaming experiences" and is looking for people to help create new hardware, the Washington studio has confirmed. Off the back of a wave of speculation that the studio is building its own games console – a rumour which Valve has not specifically denied – the company now appears to be increasing capacity of its hardware development division.' Is Valve designing a new console? Or is this an expansion of its biometric controls research? Either way, something big is going down at Valve."
TPIRman writes "In 1994, a physics doctoral student named Dave Ring assembled more than 100 math and puzzle enthusiasts on Usenet for what became one of the earliest online 'crowdsourcing' projects. Their goal: to determine if every hand in Windows' FreeCell solitaire game was in fact winnable, as the program's help file implied. Their efforts soon focused in on one incredibly stubborn hand: #11,982. They couldn't beat it, but in the process of trying, they proved the viability of an idea that would later be refined with crowdsourcing models like Amazon's Mechanical Turk."
techfun89 writes "Ever wished that you could defeat Bowser literally right from your coffee table with giant built in buttons? Well, your dreams have come true with the fully-functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table. This is the creation of Charles Lushear that has combined old school entertainment with maple wood and craftsmanship. Simply plug into an existing classic NES system and go to town. The table also features a removable glass top with retractable cord to use the furniture as just a table when you are done playing Mario."
Lendrick writes "OpenGameArt.org, the Free Software Foundation, and the Creative Commons are teaming up to bring the Liberated Pixel Cup, a free-as-in-freedom game making contest starting on June 1st and going through July 31st. The contest will be divided into two phases: the first phase will be about adding on to a consistent set of art commissioned specially for the contest, and the second phase, starting on July 1st, will be about building games using the provided art."