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Games

Why Microsoft Got Into the Console Business 257

Posted by samzenpus
from the origin-story dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Joachim Kempin, former vice president of Windows Sales, has explained how the original Xbox came to be. It turns out it was Sony's fault, simply because the Japanese company wasn't very friendly towards Microsoft, and Microsoft eventually decided they had to 'stop Sony.' Apparently, long before the Xbox was even an idea, Microsoft was trying to collaborate with Sony in a number of areas they thought there was overlap. That collaboration was sought before even Sony had a games console coming to market, and would have focused on products for the entertainment sector."
Ubuntu

Linux-Friendly Mini PC Fast Enough For Steam Games 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the tiny-penguins-with-hats dept.
crookedvulture writes "Barebones mini PCs have been around for a while, and the latest one from Zotac is pretty unique. For $270, the Zbox ID42 offers a Sandy Bridge CPU, a discrete GeForce graphics processor, and all the integrated I/O and networking you'd expect from a modern PC. You have to add your own memory, hard drive, and operating system, but the latter shouldn't cost you a dime. The Zbox works well with not only Windows, but also Linux. Ubuntu even recognizes the included remote, which can be used to wake up the system, control XBMC, and navigate Steam's Big Picture interface. Team Fortress 2 for Linux is actually playable, albeit at a relatively low resolution and detail level. The hardware seems better suited to casual games. Zotac also makes a Plus version of the Zbox that comes bundled with RAM and a hard drive, but it costs an extra $130, and you can get much better components if you add them yourself. The user-friendly chassis makes filling out the system a trivial undertaking."
Movies

Valve and JJ Abrams Collaborating On Half-Life, Portal Movies 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-was-a-triumph dept.
LordStormes writes "JJ Abrams, who apparently plans to direct every movie for the rest of time, is teaming with Gabe Newell and Valve to explore films for both the Half-Life and Portal franchises. 'Abrams and Newell made the surprise, succinct announcement at the end of their keynote speech, which took the form of a carefully rehearsed discussion between the two creatives about the strengths and weaknesses of games and movies as storytelling mediums. ... "Movies let you experience moments that you might not think are the point, but really are everything,” Abrams said, pointing to the early introduction of compressed air canisters in the opening scenes of the movie Jaws, which initially seem unimportant but prove consequential to the film’s ending. Newell pointed out that the “take your child to work” scene in Portal 2 accomplished the same thing, setting up important plot points in a way that made them initially seem like humorous throwaways.' No word on Half-Life 3, sadly..."
Quake

Open Source ARM Mali Driver Runs Q3A Faster Than the Proprietary Driver 71

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the hit-the-fraglimit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The lima driver project, the open source reverse engineered graphics driver for the ARM Mali, now has Quake 3 Arena timedemo running 2% faster than the ARM Binary driver." There's a video showing it off. Naturally, a few caveats apply; the major one is that they don't have a Free shader compiler and are forced to rely on the proprietary one from ARM, for now.
Android

OUYA Android Game Console Available In June 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-in-time-for-national-adopt-a-cat-month dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The WSJ reports that OUYA, the $100 Android-based gaming console, will reach retail availability in June. The makers have partnered with Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, and Target for distributing the devices. The console will come with a controller (which has the traditional thumbsticks, D-pad, buttons, and triggers as well as a built-in touchpad), and additional controllers will be sold for $50. OUYA CEO Julie Uhrman said, 'For the last year or two years all we've been hearing is that the consoles are dead. The reason is there isn't new, innovative intellectual property. It's expensive to develop on it. You're seeing a major shift of games being developed on the television. Our viewpoint has always been that console gaming isn't dead, the way we think about it hasn't changed. We're bringing the best screen and the best device to interact with that by creating a platform that is open.' There was a recent 'Game Jam' to create game prototypes for the console; you can browse the 166 entries."
Cloud

OnLive's Epic Plan For a New Type of Video Game 137

Posted by timothy
from the it's-everywhere dept.
An anonymous reader writes "OnLive's had a tough twelve months any way you look at it, but as a new profile of the cloud game streaming service points out, throughout it all, service never dropped, and the number of platforms it's on keeps growing. Up next is the tiny Ouya console, but in a wide-ranging interview, OnLive's general manager talks up plans to bring MMOs to the service, and even a whole new type of video game, one that will run on many servers, not just one PC: 'Look at how CGI has changed cinema over the last few years — you can do CGI essentially realtime. It could completely change what a video game looks like. That leads us to new technologies. Then game designers say, "What could I really do with a computing platform that is so powerful but also available across so many devices?" You're no longer constrained by computing power — that has tremendous opportunity.'"
Input Devices

Fight You Own Muscles To Create Force-Feedback On Smartphones 72

Posted by samzenpus
from the isometric-gaming dept.
FatLittleMonkey writes "Researchers in Germany have developed a device that allows users of portable devices, such as smartphones, experience force-feedback from games using just their own muscles... and a small EMS device. When stimulated by a painless electric pulse, the player's arm moves the device in whichever direction the game commands. The player then fights the movement with their other muscles, creating a strong sensation that the device itself is bucking in their hands. According to the developers, users found the sensation much more realistic than traditional vibrotactile feedback. (Should make PvP more interesting too.)"
Sony

Next-Gen Console Wars Will Soon Begin In Earnest 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the weaponizing-the-red-ring-of-death dept.
When the Wii U was released at the end of last year, Nintendo got a head-start on the long-awaited new generation of video game consoles. Now, Sony has announced a press conference for February 20th that is expected to unveil the PlayStation 4, codenamed 'Orbis.' This will precede the announcement of the Xbox 360's successor, codenamed 'Durango,' but that too will likely be announced by E3 in June. Specs for development kits of both systems have leaked widely. The two systems both use 8-core AMD chips clocked around 1.6 GHz. Durango has 8GB of DDR3 RAM, while Orbis has 4GB of GDDR5 RAM, though Sony is trying to push that up to 8GB for the console's final spec. Reports also suggest Sony is tinkering with its controller design, going so far as to add a "Share" button to let people exchange screenshots and recordings. Developers indicate the systems are very close in power, though Sony's system currently has an edge. With the upcoming announcement of the PS4, the big-three console makers will kick off a new round of direct competition. They'll maneuver to one-up each other with the most powerful hardware and the slickest software. However, they'll also hope the release of three major consoles in rapid succession will help to anchor a part of the games industry that no longer enjoys the dominance it once did, thanks to threats from mobile.
Apple

Gabe Newell: Steam Box's Biggest Threat Isn't Consoles, It's Apple 191

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-have-a-console-with-just-one-button dept.
silentbrad sends word of a recent lecture given by Valve's Gabe Newell to a college class. He had some interesting remarks about the future of games in the living room: "The threat right now is that Apple has gained a huge amount of market share, and has a relatively obvious pathway towards entering the living room with their platform," Newell said. "I think that there's a scenario where we see sort of a dumbed down living room platform emerging — I think Apple rolls the console guys really easily. The question is can we make enough progress in the PC space to establish ourselves there, and also figure out better ways of addressing mobile before Apple takes over the living room? ... We're happy to do it if nobody else will do it, mainly because everybody else will pile on, and people will have a lot of choices, but they'll have those characteristics. They'll say, 'Well, I could buy a console, which assumes I'll re-buy all my content, have a completely different video system, and, oh, I have a completely different group of friends, apparently. Or I can just extend everything I love about the PC and the internet into the living room.' ... I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together." There's another hour-long lecture from Newell posted on YouTube talking about productivity, economics, and the future of corporations. Speaking of Steam, reader skade88 points out an article at Linux.com about the current state of the Steam for Linux beta.
Games

Valve Sued In Germany Over Game Ownership 384

Posted by samzenpus
from the mine-now-I-sell-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZVB) has sued computer game distributor Valve because it prohibits Steam-gamers from reselling their games. Steam users own the games they purchase and should be able to resell them when they want to, just like owners of traditional card or board games can, said Carola Elbrecht, project manager for consumer rights in the digital world at the VZVB, on Thursday. But while those traditional game owners can resell their games whenever they like, Steam users often cannot, she said."
Graphics

Microsoft Phases Out XNA and DirectX? 256

Posted by samzenpus
from the so-long-farewell-auf-weidersehen-goodbye dept.
mikejuk writes "It is reported that Microsoft has sent an email to DirectX/XNA MVPs which informs them that they are no longer needed because XNA and DirectX are no longer evolving. What does this mean? If you don't need MVPs then presumably you anticipate nothing to support in the future."
Businesses

How Videogames Help Fund the Arms Industry 410

Posted by timothy
from the bidding-for-bad-guy-guns-seems-lucrative-too dept.
FhnuZoag writes "Eurogamer has an expose of the shady world of games developers licensing guns. From the article: '"We must be paid a royalty fee — either a one-time payment or a percentage of sales, all negotiable. Typically, a licensee pays between 5 per cent to 10 per cent retail price for the agreement. [...] We want to know explicitly how the rifle is to be used, ensuring that we are shown in a positive light... Such as the 'good guys' using the rifle," says [Barett Rifles'] Vaughn.'"
Canada

Man Fired For His Online Customer Service Game 210

Posted by samzenpus
from the was-that-wrong? dept.
First time accepted submitter DiscountBorg(TM) writes "An employee of the Canada Revenue Agency lost his job after releasing a humorous game in which the player answers customer service calls for the Agency, usually leading to his termination. In an email National Revenue Minister Gail Shea said: 'The Minister considers this type of conduct offensive and completely unacceptable. The Minister has asked the Commissioner (of Revenue, Andrew Treusch) to investigate and take any and all necessary corrective action. The Minister has asked the CRA to investigate urgently to ensure no confidential taxpayer information was compromised.'"
Games

How EVE Online Dealt With a 3,000-Player Battle 398

Posted by Soulskill
from the cry-havoc-and-let-slip-the-load-balancers-of-war dept.
Space MMORPG EVE Online is best known for its amazing stories, and on Sunday it added a new epic tale. The leader of a huge coalition, preparing for a moderately sized assault, mis-clicked and accidentally warped himself into enemy territory without his support fleet, endangering his massive ship worth an estimated $3,500. Realizing the danger, he called upon every ally he could, and the enemy fleet rallied in turn, leading to an incredible 3,000-player battle. What's also impressive is that the EVE servers stayed up for the whole fight, when most MMOs struggle with even a few hundred players at the same time. The Penny Arcade report spoke with CCP Games for some information on how they managed that: "It’s hard to wrap your head around, but they sometimes move the in-game space itself. 'We move other solar systems on the node away from the fight. This disconnects anyone in those systems temporarily, but spares them from the ongoing symptoms of being on an overloaded server,' Veritas explained. 'It helps the fight system a little bit as well, especially if a reinforcement fleet is traveling through those other systems. This was done for the fight over the weekend, but is rare.' ... They do have a built-in mechanism for dealing with massive battles, however: They slow down time itself. ... Once server load reaches a certain point, the game automatically slows down time by certain increments to deal with the strain. Time was running at 10% speed during this 3,000-person battle, which is the maximum amount of time dilation possible."
DRM

Feedback On Simcity Gets User Banned From EA Forums 386

Posted by timothy
from the please-sir-can-I-have-another? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "EA's latest SimCity game requires users to log on online even for single player. After being unable to log on for three hours, one of its users chimed in with his very polite $0.02 opinion, only to get himself banned by EA admins. Another great victory for DRM." Update: 01/29 18:00 GMT by S : The player's ban has been lifted, and it seems to have happened for an unrelated issue anyway.
China

China Reviewing Game Consoles Ban 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
jones_supa writes "The Chinese government is discussing whether to lift its 12-year ban on game consoles which was established due to fear of harming the physical and mental development of the young. Even during this period consoles have been sold illegally and things like Kinect can be sold for other purposes such as medical treatment and education. Major game console vendors across the world made several attempts but failed to find a way to enter the Chinese mainland market officially, even though they have solid manufacturing bases there. 'We are reviewing the policy and have conducted some surveys and held discussions with other ministries on the possibility of opening up the game console market,' a source from the Ministry of Culture, who asked not to be named, said."
Games

Voxel.js: Minecraft-like Browser-Based Games, But Open Source 110

Posted by timothy
from the blocking-things-out dept.
Paul Fernhout writes with a snippet from Joystiq: "Voxel.js is a new open-source project designed to allow anyone to create 3D games that run directly in a browser. Created by Max Ogden and James Halliday, Voxel.js is based on JavaScript and WebGL, and makes it relatively easy to build Minecraft-like games that play in browsers like Chrome." Paul adds a link to this interview with Max Ogden about the creation of Voxel.js in 22 days. The main site is at Voxel.js.
First Person Shooters (Games)

"Adults Only" OpenArena Now Playable On Raspberry Pi 65

Posted by timothy
from the raspberry-guts-look-gory dept.
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi Foundation has released OpenArena – a multiplayer first person shooter game based on Quake III — for the Raspberry Pi. Available as a free download, the game has been rated 'Adults Only' because of the blood and guns. The open-source game is powered by the 'ioquake3' fork of the engine that Quake III runs on id's Tech 3 engine. Modifications have been made to the gameplay by removing the copyrighted material and adding new free content."
Graphics

Can a New GPU Rejuvenate a 5 Year Old Gaming PC? 264

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-the-best-of-it dept.
MojoKid writes "New video card launches from AMD and NVIDIA are almost always reviewed on hardware less than 12 months old. That's not an arbitrary decision — it helps reviewers make certain that GPU performance isn't held back by older CPUs and can be particularly important when evaluating the impact of new interfaces or bus designs. That said, an equally interesting perspective might be to compare the performance impact of upgrading a graphics card in an older system that doesn't have access to the substantial performance gains of integrated memory controllers, high speed DDR3 memory, deep multithreading or internal serial links. As it turns out, even using a midrange graphics card like a GeForce GTX 660, substantial gains up to 150 percent can be achieved without the need for a complete system overhaul."
Businesses

Sony Fined In UK For PlayStation Network Hack 86

Posted by timothy
from the that's-barely-a-bonus-for-ceos dept.
Sockatume writes "The UK's information protection authority, the ICO, has fined Sony for failing to adequately secure the information of PlayStation Network users. The investigation was triggered by a 2011 security breach, during which personally identifying information (including password hashes) was recovered from a Sony database where it had been stored without encryption. In the ICO's view Sony's security measures were inadequate, and the attack could have been prevented. The £250,000 (ca. $400,000) fine, the largest the ICO has ever imposed, is equivalent to a few pennies per affected user. Sony disagrees with the ICO's decision and intends to appeal."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Moves To Nix Trademark On "Gaymer" 231

Posted by samzenpus
from the it-gets-better dept.
netbuzz writes "Spurred by the mark holder's cease and desist letter to Reddit's subreddit r/gaymer, the Electronic Frontier Foundation today officially petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to rescind its grant of a trademark registration on the word "gaymer". 'This registration should never have been granted,' said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry. 'Gaymer is a common term that refers to members of this vibrant gaming community, and we are happy to help them fight back and make sure the term goes back to the public domain where it belongs.'"
Censorship

Pakistan Boycotting Call of Duty, Medal of Honor Games 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-be-rude-to-your-host dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As first-person shooters have evolved, they've transitioned from using Nazis as the bad guys to more modern organizations, such as the Taliban. Two recent games, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, have both shown the country of Pakistan in a very negative light, and now shopkeepers in the country are beginning to boycott the games. 'Saleem Memon, president of the All Pakistan CD, DVD, Audio Casette Traders and Manufacturers Association, said he had written to members ordering them not to stock the controversial games after receiving dozens of complaints. ... The latest installment of the Medal of Honor series opens with American Navy Seals coming ashore in Karachi docks on a mission to destroy a black market arms shipment. But when their detonation sets off a second, bigger explosion they realize they have stumbled on a much bigger terrorist plot, sparking a global manhunt. A chaotic car chase through the city follows amid warnings that the ISI — Pakistan's intelligence agency — is on the way. Mr. Memon added there was a danger children would be brainwashed into thinking foreign agents were at war inside Karachi, possibly leading them into the arms of militants. "These games show a misleading idea of what is happening in the city. You don't get the CIA all the way through Grand Theft Auto," he said.'"
Role Playing (Games)

WotC Releases Old Dungeons & Dragons Catalog As PDFs 224

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-for-the-saving-throw dept.
jjohn writes "Wizards of the Coasts, holders of the TSR catalog, have released rulebooks and modules for most editions of Dungeons and Dragons through a partnership with DriveThruRPG.com. The web site, dndclassics.com, may be a little overloaded right now. Most module PDFs are $4.99 USD." The article points out that these are all fresh scans of the old books. It's also worth noting that the decision to make these PDFs available reverses WotC's 2009 decision to stop all PDF sales because of piracy fears. The only reference to this in the article is a quote from the D&D publishing and licensing director: "We don't want them to go to torrent sites. Why not give them a legal route?"
Games

Valve Starts Promoting Steam For Linux To Windows Users 474

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-might-also-like dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Steam is now being used by thousands of gamers running a Linux OS, and Valve has got to the point where they are happy to start urging Windows users to make the switch. Proof of that comes from a 'Join the Beta' promotion on the homepage of Steam suggesting you try Steam for Linux. There's even a download link to get Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which removes yet another barrier to entry. With Gabe Newell's clear hatred of Windows 8, this shouldn't be a surprising move. We aren't going to see another version of Windows appear for a few years, so in Valve's eyes pushing Linux to gamers makes a lot of sense."
Programming

JavaScript Comes To Minecraft 149

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-it-out dept.
mikejuk writes "JavaScript is the language of the client and it is becoming the language of the server. Now it seems set to be the language of Minecraft. ScriptCraft is a Minecraft mod that can be added to the game to allow the player to use JavaScript commands. Walter Higgins ported the Rhino JVM implementation of JavaScript in a few spare weeks over Xmas. Some additional JavaScript classes allow the construction of blocks making it possible to automate construction. It also provides a 'turtle like' drone class that makes it easier to move in 3D. It makes use of a fluent API to create a domain specific language for movement. As its creator says: 'Ultimately I think the ScriptCraft mod could be used to take building in Minecraft to a whole new level. With a full-blown language at the Player's disposal, it should be possible to create not just castles and forts but entire road networks and cities.' Most importantly of all, it not only pushes the boundary of Minecraft, it also provides a way to get kids who are already hooked on Minecraft to start learning JavaScript."
Microsoft

Will Microsoft Sell Off Its Entertainment Division? 404

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-it-all dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Forbes analyst Adam Hartung has predicted that Microsoft will sell off its entertainment division, which includes Xbox, in the coming years. He even goes so far as to list Sony or Barnes & Noble as potential buyers. Lets forget how crazy this sounds for a moment and focus on the reasons why Hartung believes such a sale will happen. It basically comes down to Windows 8, and how poorly it is selling. Combine that with falling sales of PCs, the Surface RT tablet not doing so great, the era of more than one PC in the home disappearing, and Microsoft has a big problem. The problem not only stems from the PC market not growing, but because Microsoft relies so heavily on Windows and Office for revenue. With that in mind, Hartung believes Steve Ballmer will do anything and everything to save Windows, including ditching entertainment and therefore Xbox."
Businesses

Atari Files For Bankruptcy 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-combat dept.
First time accepted submitter halls-of-valhalla writes "Atari was one of the very first video game companies, starting way back in 1972. However, this long-running name that brought us titles like Pong and Asteroids is having major financial issues. Atari's United States branches have filed for bankruptcy on Sunday. This bankruptcy is an attempt to separate themselves from their French parent which has quite a bit of debt. The plan is to split from the French parent and find a buyer to form a private company."
Games

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Get My Spouse To Start Gaming With Me? 550

Posted by samzenpus
from the time-to-play dept.
x_IamSpartacus_x writes "I've been a gamer for a long time (started on Nibbles in MS-DOS) and enjoy pretty much any good game. I can enjoy side-scrolling relics (original Prince of Persia, Win 95), to modern MMORPGs (stopped playing my 85 lvl Mage on WoW just recently, read on to see why), to a good sports game (Madden series are a blast) and many more. I've been married for 4 years now and have hardly touched my games since being married and starting having kids. My wife and I are Americans but live overseas and have little access to new movies/entertainment and, from experience, I know that a good game can provide much more entertainment than a good movie. My question is, what are good ways/good games that I can use to get my wife into computer gaming? We both have good laptops that I'd love to get her interested in using to do co-op or combative games with me. Because of my long experience, gaming comes naturally to me and so even on a game I haven't played I would probably be much better than she. Is there a game or idea that would take away the embarrassing factor for her of being much worse than I am while still being enjoyable and worth spending a lot of time on with me? Do any other Slashdotters struggle getting their spouse to game with them?"
Android

Linux and Android MMO Launches Kickstarter To Support Gameplay Expansion 25

Posted by Soulskill
from the kickstarting-universe-2.0 dept.
Incarnate-VO writes "Long running space-MMO Vendetta Online, which debuted with Linux support back in 2002, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support a major gameplay expansion, including player-owned stations, capships, and territorial conquest. If the Kickstarter succeeds, an upcoming iPad version could also gain some added polish, joining the existing mobile support for Android. (The Kickstarter video is also available on YouTube in HD)."
AMD

Driver Update Addresses Radeon Frame Latency Issues 108

Posted by samzenpus
from the forget-the-clips dept.
crookedvulture writes "AMD has begun addressing the Radeon frame latency spikes covered previously on Slashdot. A new beta driver is due out next week, and it dramatically smooths the uneven frame times exhibited by certain Radeon graphics processors. The driver only tackles performance issues in a few games, but more fixes are on the way. In the games that have been addressed, the new driver delivers more consistent frame times and smoother gameplay without having much of an impact on the minimum or average FPS numbers. Those traditional FPS metrics clearly do a poor job of quantifying the fluidity of in-game action. Surprisingly, it seems AMD was largely relying on those metrics when testing drivers internally. The company has now pledged to pay more attention to frame latencies to ensure that these kinds of issues don't crop up again."
Emulation (Games)

Open Source Gaming Handheld Project Wants Your Money 203

Posted by timothy
from the proof-is-in-the-pudding dept.
YokimaSun writes to point out a Kickstarter project that may warm the cockles of your heart: "Fans of emulation and homebrew have not had much to cheer about over the years; the recent generation of consoles has pretty much killed off any hacking by constant firmware updates. The days of PSP homebrew have died a death and consoles like the Caanoo, GP2x and even the mighty Openpandora never really lived up to the massive expectation. There is a glimmer of hope from a team of homebrew developers who have developed a new console called the GCW-Zero, a new open source handheld system which uses the OpenDingux Linux OS. The specs are impressive, with a Ingenic JZ4770 1 GHz MIPS processor, Vivante GC860, capable of OpenGL ES 2.0, 3.5 inch LCD with 320x240 pixels; 4:3 aspect ratio, 512 MB DDR2 and 16GB of internal memory which can via external memory card be extended by another 32GB. N64 and PS1 emulation and everything below should be at full speed in time."
Microsoft

Microsoft May Replace Xbox Live Chat With Skype 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the enjoy-your-hate-speech-at-a-higher-bitrate dept.
CVG is reporting that Microsoft is working on "consolidating all their communications technology" around Skype, which they acquired in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Citing a source within the company, they say Skype will "become the default chat service on the next generation Xbox console as well as on PC and tablets." This would fit in with Microsoft's recent announcement that it is closing Messenger in March and replacing it with Skype. The article also cites a Microsoft job posting from last August which sought a UI designer for "Skype in the living room," with a focus on the next-gen Xbox system.
Math

Scrabble Needs a New Scoring System 202

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-anagram-generator-detection dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "A researcher says that some letters are over valued and some are under-valued in Scrabble, due to recent changes to the lists of allowable words. Z and X are now much easier to play and should be worth less, while U, M and G should be worth more than they are now. Joshua Lewis wrote a program to re-calculate the value of each letter to better reflect the current usage. The co-president of the North American Scrabble Players Association says that he often hears criticism of Scrabble's scoring system, but any change would bring about 'catastrophic outrage'. A spokesman for Mattel says that they have no plans to change the game."
Government

Missouri Republican Wants Violent Video Game Tax 506

Posted by Soulskill
from the guns-don't-kill-people,-imaginary-guns-do dept.
New submitter sHr0oMaN writes with news that Diane Franklin, a Republican member of Missouri's state House of Representatives, has proposed a sales tax on violent video games. The proposal, HB0157I, is one of many responses to the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. The proceeds from the tax would go toward mental health programs and law enforcement in the hopes that future shootings can be prevented. The total amount taxed would be small — 1% — and would be applied to video games rated Teen, Mature, or Adult-only by the ESRB. Of course, many games earn the "Teen" rating without having violence in them, like Guitar Hero. The Entertainment Software Association responded to Rep. Franklin's bill with a statement: "Taxing First Amendment protected speech based on its content is not only wrong, but will end up costing Missouri taxpayers."
Programming

Doom 3 Source Code: Beautiful 399

Posted by timothy
from the but-deadly dept.
jones_supa writes "Shawn McGrath, the creator of the PS3 psychedelic puzzle-racing game Dyad, takes another look at Doom 3 source code. Instead of the technical reviews of Fabien Sanglard, Shawn zooms in with emphasis purely on coding style. He gives his insights in lexical analysis, const and rigid parameters, amount of comments, spacing, templates and method names. There is also some thoughts about coming to C++ with C background and without it. Even John Carmack himself popped in to give a comment."
AI

How Do You Detect Cheating In Chess? Watch the Computer 328

Posted by timothy
from the and-one-and-two-and-one-and-two dept.
First time accepted submitter Shaterri writes "Which is more likely: that a low-ranked player could play through a high-level tournament at grandmaster level, or that they were getting undetected assistance from a computer? How about when that player is nearly strip-searched with no devices found? How about when their moves correlate too well with independent computer calculations? Ken Regan has a fascinating article on one of the most complex (potential) cheating cases to come along in recent memory."
Education

Swedish School Makes Minecraft Lessons Compulsory 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the learn-to-play dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "The Viktor Rydberg school in Stockholm, Sweden, has announced that they have included Minecraft into the curriculum for their 13-year-old students. The program is not meant to teach children about math or language, but rather as a tool to inspire creativity in the classroom. 'They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,' Viktor Rydberg teacher Monica Ekman told English-language newspaper The Local. 'It's not any different from arts or woodcraft,' she added."
Games

The Science of Game Strategy 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the high-score dept.
First time accepted submitter JacobAlexander writes "Writing in PNAS, a University of Manchester physicist has discovered that some games are simply impossible to fully learn, or too complex for the human mind to understand. Dr Tobias Galla from The University of Manchester and Professor Doyne Farmer from Oxford University and the Santa Fe Institute, ran thousands of simulations of two-player games to see how human behavior affects their decision-making. From the article: 'In simple games with a small number of moves, such as Noughts and Crosses the optimal strategy is easy to guess, and the game quickly becomes uninteresting. However, when games became more complex and when there are a lot of moves, such as in chess, the board game Go or complex card games, the academics argue that players' actions become less rational and that it is hard to find optimal strategies.'"
Star Wars Prequels

BioWare Launches "Gay Planet" For the Old Republic 333

Posted by samzenpus
from the welcome-to-the-club dept.
DavidGilbert99 writes "Labelled as an 'oddly regressive move,' developers of Star Wars: the Old Republic have decided that all gay characters will be stuck on a single planet called Makeb. The move comes with the release of the Rise of the Hutt Cartel pack and the Makeb planet will be the only place in the game where players can select 'flirtatious' dialogue options with characters of the same gender. From the article: 'BioWare executive producer Jeff Hickman apologised for same sex relationships taking so long to be added to the game, referring to the company's most famous title Mass Effect, where homosexual relationships are available by default: "First of all, I want to apologize that this is taking so long to get in the game," wrote Hickman in a blog post. "I realise that we promised SGR (same gender relationships) to you guys and that many of you believed that this would be with a companion character. Unfortunately, this will take a lot more work than we realised at the time and it (like some other pieces of content we talked about earlier in the year) has been delayed as we focused on the changes required to take the game Free-to-Play. '"
Games

Why You Shouldn't Design Games Through Analytics 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-you-are-bad-at-math dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Game designer Tadhg Kelly writes at TechCrunch about a trend many gamers have noticed over the past decade: designers increasingly relying on statistics — and only statistics — to inform their design decisions. You know the type; the ones who'll change the background color if they think it'll eke out a few more players, or the ones who'll scrap interesting game mechanics in favor of making the game more easily understandable to a broader market. Naturally, this leads to homogenization and boring games. Kelly says, 'Obsessed with measuring everything and therefore defining all of their problems in numerical terms, social game makers have come to believe that those numbers are all there is, and this is why they cannot permit themselves to invent. Like TV people, they are effectively in search of that one number that will explain fun to them. There must, they reason, be some combination of LTV and ARPU and DAU and so on that captures fun, like hunting for the Higgs boson. It must be out there somewhere. ... Unlike every other major game revolution (arcade, console, PC, casual, MMO, etc.), social game developers have proved consistently unable to understand that fun is dynamic in this way. ... They are hunting for the fun boson, but it does not exist.'"
Australia

Game Receives First R18+ "Adults Only" Classification In Australia 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-how-you-play dept.
angry tapir writes "Australia's Classification Board today announced the first video game to receive the new R18+ classification which came into effect at the start of 2013, indicating the title is to be sold only to adults. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, developed by Team Ninja, is published by Nintendo for the company's new Wii U console. The R18+ classification was created after a long campaign by gamers and game publishers. Previously games had a maximum rating of MA, and titles that didn't meet the criteria had to be reworked or not released in Australia."
The Almighty Buck

Connecticut Groups Cancels Plan to Destroy Violent Games 350

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the pr-stunt dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an update to an earlier story about a group wanting to destroy your violent video games. "Southington, a town in Connecticut, has canceled its plans to collect and destroy violent games, stating that it has already succeeded in raising attention." Perhaps the real reason: "Backed by the Southington Chamber of Commerce, SouthingtonSOS originally planned to offer citizens $25 gift certificates in exchange for their violent games, films, and CDs, which the group would collect for 'permanent disposal.'"
Displays

Hands On With Virtual Reality's Greatest Hope 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-on-the-prize dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Oculus VR Rift is a one of the seventeen kickstarter projects to raise more than a million dollars in 2012 and a recently published hands-on shows exactly why it was so successful. Using Oculus VR Rift with the upcoming Infinity Blade and a modified version of Unreal Tournament 3, the analyst found that the 3D effect and head tracking provided a great sense of immersion. At one point while playing Infinity Blade, the analyst describes walking around the guards and watching their swords shift as he stepped, seeming like they were inches from cutting him. While he felt that the demo was impressive, he found that the software limitations made the whole experience a bit unrealistic. Needless to say that Oculus Rift is a long way from hitting stores but Oculus VR is getting ready to ship developer kits."
Input Devices

Gabe Newell Reveals More About Steam Boxes, New Input Devices 218

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the serious-business dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Valve's presence at CES this year isn't to show off some new games, it's all about meeting with hardware manufacturers behind closed doors to talk about Steam Box. In an interview at CES which highlights Valve's plans for the console, Gabe Newell describes Steam Box as two projects. The first, codenamed Bigfoot, focuses on the hardware for use in the home with a TV. The second, codenamed Littlefoot, is investigating mobile gaming. Gabe goes on to discuss Valve plans on having three levels of Steam Box described as 'Good, Better, or Best' and expectations for the controller where the company wants something that's more high precision than anything else out there at the moment." The interview at the Verge is pretty extensive.
Android

The Tiny Console Killers Taking On the PS4 and Xbox 720 349

Posted by Soulskill
from the neverending-console-generation dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As the next generation of consoles looms, we've seen a growing trend towards low price, compact alternatives such as the Ouya and GameStick, many of which run on the Android mobile platform. But this article on the trend raises a very good point: through the use of cloud computing and game streaming technology, it's entirely possible these machines will be able to keep pace with the powerhouse technology inside the Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox 720, and perhaps even overtake them. After all, if these little boxes can simply stream from powerful servers, how can the stalwarts of gaming keep up?"
Portables

Razer Unveils High-End Gaming Tablet 136

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-is-now-a-thing-that-exists dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "A year after Razer tantalized us all with a concept device codenamed Project Fiona, the company has unveiled the Razer Edge, the world's first tablet designed exclusively for high-end gaming. With the help of crowdsourcing endeavor of tapping into Razer's fanbase for input on everything from chipset to physical dimensions, 'Project Fiona' has morphed from concept to full-blown reality. The Razer Edge is a 10.1-inch device which weighs a shade under 2 pounds and measures 0.8-inches thick. The device comes in two models: Base and Pro. The Base model sports an Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM, and a 64GB SSD, whereas the Pro comes configured with a beefier Intel Core i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and the option for either a 128GB or 256GB SSD. Both models feature a USB 3.0 port, and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, and both run on a full version of Windows 8 with Intel architecture, in turn allowing PC games to run natively on the Edge without the need to be ported or optimized."
Censorship

Rejection of Reality: Apple Denies Endgame:Syria 172

Posted by timothy
from the sometimes-reality-is-harsh dept.
arclightfire writes "Endgame:Syria billed itself as the first game to cover on ongoing war in a mashup of interactivity and journalism. However it seems like Apple is not happy with this idea, as PocketTactics reports; 'Apple's app guidelines have once again tripped up the release of a strategy game rooted in a real-world conflict. Auroch Digital's Endgame Syria has been rejected by Apple's approvals team for violating guidelines section 15.3, "solely target[ing] a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity." If section 15.3 sounds familiar, it's because it was the clause invoked when Cupertino said no to Pacific Fleet back in September – the game ran afoul of the guidelines for including Japanese flags in a WWII naval sim.'"
Games

Valve's SteamBox Gets a Name and an Early Demo at CES 328

Posted by timothy
from the you-mean-sgi-isn't-cool? dept.
xynopsis writes "Looks like the final version of the Linux based Steam Gaming Console has been made public at CES. The result of combined efforts of small-form-factor maker Xi3 and Valve, the gaming box named 'Piston' is a potential game changer in transforming the Linux desktop and gaming market. The pretty device looks like a shrunk Tezro from Silicon Graphics when SGI used to be cool." Looks like Gabe Newell wasn't kidding.
Android

NVIDIA Unveils GRID Servers, Tegra 4 SoC and Project SHIELD Mobile Gaming Device 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-down-the-list dept.
MojoKid writes "NVIDIA made some bold moves at their CES 2013 press conference and announced a couple of potentially game changing products. GeForce GRID is a cloud gaming solution. It allows PC game content to be run and rendered in the cloud and then streamed to any device that can run the GRID receiver utility, like a Smart TV, tablet, or a smartphone. GeForce GRID server architecture combines an NVIDIA-designed server packed with GPUs with NVIDIA-developed software and virtualization layer. A rack of 20 GRID servers was shown, powered by 240 GPUs, capable of 200 TFLOPS and roughly equivalent to the performance of 720 Xbox 360 consoles. The biggest news to come out of NVIDIA's press conference, however, had to do with Tegra 4. Not only was the next-gen SoC officially unveiled, but a new portable gaming device based on Tegra 4, dubbed Project SHIELD, was also demoed. NVIDIA's Tegra 4 builds upon the success of the Tegra 3 by incorporating updated ARM15-based CPU cores with 72 custom GeForce GPU cores, which offer up to 6x the performance of Tegra 3. The A15 cores used in Tegra 4 are up to 2.6x faster than the A9-class cores used in Tegra 3. As a companion to the Tegra 4, NVIDIA also took the wraps off of their new Icera i500 programmable 4G LTE modem processor. Icera i500 features 8 custom, programmable processor cores and is approximately 40% smaller than many fixed function modems. The biggest surprise to come out of NVIDIA's press conference was Project SHIELD, a Tegra 4-powered mobile gaming device running Android that's sure to put Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo on high alert. Project SHIELD offers a pure Android experience without any skinning or other customizations, save for the SHIELD app environment, that can play any Android game. Project SHIELD has the ability to stream PC games from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC as well. The device is shaped much like an Xbox 360 game controller, but features a 5", flip-out capacitive touch display with a 720P resolution. The device can also stream to an HD TV via HDMI or a WiDi-like wireless dongle. In fact, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang showed Project SHIELD playing a 4K video on an LG 4K TV."
Operating Systems

Blizzard Reportedly Planning A Linux Game For 2013 353

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-more-games dept.
It looks like the recent success of Linux gaming has caught Blizzard's eye. According to "a reliable source at the company" 2013 will be the year that "at least one of their very popular titles will see a release for Ubuntu Linux." From the article: "It's been a poorly-kept secret that Blizzard has a native Linux client of World of Warcraft. As recently as 2011, the World of Warcraft Linux client was still being maintained internally. The client has been around for years and done by their own developers as a form of testing for the popular MMORPG currently offered on Windows and Mac OS X. As for why they haven't released the client, it's come down to "targeting a specific version of the platform" with Linux being "unstandardized" due to the many different distributions. There's still some fundamental problems with gaming on Linux. With World of Warcraft working generally fine under Wine as well, the company is further unmotivated to officially support a Linux build of the game."

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