adeelarshad82 writes "The 1980s were huge for RPGs. This genre was one of the most defining game forms in the computer gaming world. A recently published article strolls down the memory lane to look back at classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. The roundup includes some obvious ones like Ultima and The Bard's Tale, and others which you may never have heard of."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Double Fine Adventure, the crowd-funded adventure game from Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert (of Monkey Island fame), just crossed the $2.5 million mark in funding on Kickstarter. So far, about 73,000 enthusiastic backers have contributed an average of $35 dollars each, with 3 extravagant backers going as far as to contribute $10,000 (earning them a lunch with Schafer and Gilbert, among other goodies). The total sum is over 6 times the amount Schafer and Gilbert were initially hoping to raise ($400,000). Schafer released a few pictures showing what he's doing with all the money. The project has received attention in mainstream media (sort of), with NPR's Morning Edition covering the story."
mr100percent writes with this excerpt from Electronista: "Battleheart's creator Mika Mobile in an update explained that it was dropping Android support. Google's platform was losing money for the company, since it spent about 20 percent of its time supporting the platform but only ever made five percent or less of the company's revenue. Much of the effort was spent on issues specific to Android, where the diversity was only creating problems rather than helping. 'I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through,' one half of the husband and wife duo said. 'We spent thousands on various test hardware. These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android.'"
New submitter es330td writes "I'd like to write a program that takes the old cannon game to another level, but instead of the path being a simple parabolic arc, the projectile will move through a field of objects exerting gravitational attraction (or repulsion) and the player will have to adjust velocity and angle to find the path through the space between launch point and the target.In an ideal world, this would end up as one of these Flash based web playable games, as that would force me to fully flesh it out, debug and complete the app. I doubt this will ever be commercial, so hiring somebody doesn't make sense, and I wouldn't learn anything that way either. I have been programming for almost 20 years, but the bulk of my work has been in corporate programming, primarily web (Cold Fusion, ASP & C#.Net,) or VB6 and then C# Windows GUI interfaces to RDBMS. I have never written a graphics based game, nor have I ever written something using the physics this will require. Once upon a time, I could program in C but I think I would be much better off to work with someone rather than try to roll my own unless good books exist to flatten the learning curve. Any advice on how to proceed?"
mikejuk writes "You may have have thought games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and so on were hard at the time you were playing them, but you probably didn't guess they were NP-hard. Now we have some results from computer scientists at Universite Libre de Bruxelles and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory that many classic games contain within them an NP-hard problem. It has been proven that the following game franchises are NP-hard (PDF): Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Pokemon. At least you now have an excuse for your low scores."
An anonymous reader writes "When Onlive, the network gaming company, started offering not just Microsoft Windows but Microsoft Office for free on the iPad, and now on Android, it certainly seemed too good to be true. Speculation abounded on what type of license they could be using to accomplish this magical feat. From sifting through Microsoft's licenses and speaking with sources very familiar with them, the ugly truth may be that they can't."
An anonymous reader writes "We've frequently discussed the growing trend among video game publishers to adopt a business model in which downloading and playing the game is free, but part of the gameplay is supported by microtransactions. There have been a number of success stories, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. During a talk at the Game Developers Conference this week, Valve's Joe Ludwig officially added Team Fortress 2 to that list, revealing that the game has seen a 12-fold increase in revenue since the switch. He said, 'The trouble is, when you're a AAA box game, the only people who can earn you new revenue are the people who haven't bought your game. This drives you to build new content to attract new people. There's a fundamental tension between building the game to satisfy existing players and attract new players.' He also explained how they tried to do right by their existing playerbase: 'We dealt with the pay-to-win concern in a few ways. The first was to make items involve tradeoffs, so there's no clear winner between two items. But by far the biggest thing we did to change this perception was to make all the items that change the game free. You can get them from item drops, or from the crafting system. It might be a little easier to buy them in the store, but you can get them without paying.'"
Vigile writes "In a talk earlier this year at DICE, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney discussed the state of computing hardware as it relates to gaming. While there is a rising sentiment in the gaming world that the current generation consoles are 'good enough' and that the next generation of consoles might be the last, Sweeney thinks that is way off base. He debates the claim with some interesting numbers, including the amount of processing and triangle power required to match human anatomical peaks. While we are only a factor of 50x from the necessary level of triangle processing, there is 2000x increase required to meet the 5000 TFLOPS Sweeney thinks will be needed for the 8000x4000 resolution screens of the future. It would seem that the 'good enough' sentiment is still a long way off for developers."
An anonymous reader writes "Engineers at the University of Utah have designed a new kind of video game controller that not only vibrates like existing devices, but pulls and stretches the thumb tips in different directions to simulate various types of movement. 'We have developed feedback modes that enhance immersiveness and realism for gaming scenarios such as collision, recoil from a gun, the feeling of being pushed by ocean waves or crawling prone in a first-person shooter game,' said the lead researcher on the project, adding he hoped the technology would be adopted in the next generation of gaming consoles."
An anonymous reader writes "This article at the Verge claims that Valve is currently working on a way to bring Steam to the living room with its own gaming console. Quoting: 'According to sources, the company has been working on a hardware spec and associated software which would make up the backbone of a "Steam Box." The actual devices may be made by a variety of partners, and the software would be readily available to any company that wants to get in the game. Adding fuel to that fire is a rumor that the Alienware X51 may have been designed with an early spec of the system in mind, and will be retroactively upgradable to the software. Apparently meetings were held during CES to demo a hand-built version of the device to potential partners. We're told that the basic specs of the Steam Box include a Core i7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and an NVIDIA GPU. The devices will be able to run any standard PC titles, and will also allow for rival gaming services (like EA's Origin) to be loaded up. Part of the goal of establishing a baseline for hardware, we're told, is that it will give developers a clear lifecycle for their products, with changes possibly coming every three to four years. Additionally, there won't be a required devkit, and there will be no licensing fees to create software for the platform.'"
An anonymous reader writes "As Slashdot readers know Intel's research project on ray tracing for games has recently been shown at 1080p, using eight Knights Ferry cards with Intel's 'Many Integrated Core' architecture. Now a white paper goes into more detail, documenting near-linear scaling for the cloud setup with 8 cards, and gives details on the implementation of 'smart anti-aliasing.' It will be interesting to see how many instances of Intel's next MIC iteration — dubbed Knights Corner, with 50+ cores — will be required for the same workload."
An anonymous reader writes "After three years, Ubisoft is finally finishing the newest installment of their Templars vs. Assassins series, set during the American Revolution. PC Magazine reports that 'If the cover art is any indicator, the new Assassin is pals with George Washington, Paul Revere, Ben Franklin, and the other leading American revolutionaries of the day.' A team of developers at Ubisoft reportedly dedicated a full three-year development cycle to re-examining every element in the franchise to improve the game — although it could've taken even longer."
New submitter dommer2029 writes "A few years back, Sony bought up a small company running an online collectible card game called Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga. Two days ago, they announced that the servers will be shutting down on March 29, 2012. All of our virtual collectible cards? Poof. It's not surprising — the user base is small and dwindling — but it's proof that any server-based digital goods you 'own' can vanish on a corporation's whim."
silentbrad points out an article about the gradual shift of video games from being 'goods' to being 'services.' They spoke with games lawyer Jas Purewal, who says the legal interpretation is murky: "If we're talking about boxed-product games, there's a good argument the physical boxed product is a 'good,' but we don't know definitively if the software on it, or more generally software which is digitally distributed, is a good or a service. In the absence of a definitive legal answer, software and games companies have generally treated software itself as a service – which means treating games like World of Warcraft as well as platforms like Steam or Xbox LIVE as a service." The article continues, "The free-to-play business model is particularly interesting, because the providers of the game willingly relinquish direct profits in exchange for greater control over how players receive the game, play it, and eventually pay for it. This control isn't necessarily a bad thing either. It can help companies to better understand what gamers want from their games, and done properly such services can benefit both gamers and publishers. Of course, the emphasis here is on the phrase 'done properly.' Such control can easily be abused."
RogueyWon writes "According to reports in Kotaku and Forbes, Sony is planning to ditch the Cell processor that powered the PlayStation 3 and may be planning to power the console's successor using a more conventional PC-like architecture provided by AMD. In the PS3's early years, Sony was keen to promote the benefits of its Cell processor, but the console's complicated architecture led to many studios complaining that it was difficult to develop for."