derekmead writes "A new report by the Enough Project, an arm of the Center for American Progress, shows that companies like Intel, Apple and Microsoft have been successfully scaling back their use of conflict minerals in their products. Other companies have been less helpful. Out of the 24 companies surveyed and ranked based on their use of conflict minerals, Nintendo came in dead last, having made no effort to ensure that its products weren't funding guerrilla warfare in Africa. 'Nintendo is, I believe, the only company that has basically refused to acknowledge the issue or demonstrate they are making any sort of effort on it,' said Sasha Lezhnev from the Enough Project. 'And this is despite a good two years of trying to get in contact with them.'"
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Lashat writes "News of trouble at cloud gaming provider OnLive is trickling out of various sources. According to Forbes, all employees received their walking papers today. Rumors of a shutdown, buyout, or re-formation as a new company are plentiful, but the company hasn't announced anything yet. The article quotes an email sent to InXile CEO Brain Fargo from an employee within the company: 'I wanted to send a note that by the end of the day today, OnLive as an entity will no longer exist. Unfortunately, my job and everyone else's was included. A new company will be formed and the management of the company will be in contact with you about the current initiatives in place, including the titles that will remain on the service. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and I'm sure our path with cross again.' OnLive's Director of Corporate Communications told Forbes, 'No, let me be clear. We are not going out of business.'" While the question of whether OnLive-as-an-entity will continue is still up in the air, an internal source confirmed to Gamasutra that OnLive's entire staff has been laid off, and OnLive employees were seen outside headquarters with 'moving boxes.' Kotaku says the company has filed for protection against creditors in California (not bankruptcy, but similar).
alancronin writes with news that the Humble Bundle for Android 3 has gone live, with a selection of games that run on Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows. As with previous bundles, buyers can choose how much they want to pay, and what portion of the proceeds go to the developers or to charity. From the article: "The latest bundle includes the games BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, and Uplink, along with each of their soundtracks. Plus, if you donate above the average price, which is currently $6.07, you can also get the puzzle game Spirits. ... The average purchase price is currently $6.07, with Linux users typically paying the most. Linux users have paid an average of $8.83, followed by Mac users at $6.59 and Windows users at $5.42. "
angry tapir writes "Australia's anti-money laundering watchdog AUSTRAC believes that money laundering using digital currencies such as Bitcoin and virtual worlds (such as MMOs) are possible 'emerging threats'. The organisation's latest 'typologies' report earmarked virtual worlds and Bitcoin as two areas that the agency would be monitoring, although at this stage no-one seems sure to what extent they are being used (and some of the issues with Bitcoin, such as the fluctuating exchange rate and limited options for transferring value to real-world currencies through conversion to non-digital currencies or using it to pay for goods or services, mean that it's unlikely it's being used for money laundering on a significant scale)."
ptresset writes "Goldsmiths college is developing technology with natural responses to human interaction. The technology enables video games characters to move in a more natural way, responding to the player's own body language rather than mathematical rules. The hypothesis is that the actors' artistic understanding of human behavior will bring an individuality, subtlety and nuance to the character that it would be difficult to create in hand-authored models."
New submitter rabok writes "If a Microsoft job posting can be believed, we are set to get a new Xbox on store shelves by March 2014 at the latest. Regardless of when it does eventually arrive, it seems an image claiming to be the output of a Kinect 2 has hit the web by a user on twitter. Kinect 2 is expected to be much more accurate — even able to see individual fingers, read lips, and gauge moods. This image seems to back up that improvement in both depth perception and the ability to distinguish individual fingers."
donniebaseball23 writes "Sony Computer Entertainment America boss Jack Tretton has come out swinging to defend the lackluster response the games industry has seen with the PS Vita. He deemed the sales level for the portable as 'acceptable' so far, and he brushed off any notion that social and free-to-play games are putting huge pressure on the portable and dedicated consoles market. 'I think the opportunity to be in the console business is greater than ever before,' he said. '[Social and free-to-play] is a business I think a lot of companies are learning is difficult to sustain for the long term. It's an adjunct or it's an add-on, but it's not where gaming is headed. It's an additive diversion. There's a place for social and freemium, but it's not going to replace the business models that are out there.'" The company is having a hard time getting third-party developers interested in the Vita platform.
An anonymous reader writes "Blizzard announced today that its Battle.net service was compromised. The company is urging users to change their login information immediately. Blizzard is stressing that payment information was not compromised. 'The unauthorized access included email addresses associated with Battle.net accounts in all regions, outside of China. Additional information from accounts associated with the North American servers (which generally includes players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) was also accessed, including cryptographically scrambled versions of passwords (not actual passwords), the answer to a personal security question, and information relating to Mobile and Dial-In Authenticators. It's important to note that at this time, Blizzard does not believe this information alone is enough to gain access to Battle.net accounts.'"
Chameleon Man writes with an excerpt from PC Mag: "Early this morning, the Android-based Ouya console ended its run on Kickstarter with nearly $8.6 million in user donations. In recent weeks, the company has secured a number of content partners for the device, but now it's time to see if Ouya can really deliver. Interested buyers can now pre-order an Ouya on the company's website. In the U.S., one console and one controller will cost $109, one console plus two controllers will be $139, and one console and four controllers will be $199. All orders include a $10 shipping charge." Adds Chameleon Man: "Here's to hoping that an open-source console can gain a foothold in an already competitive market."
itwbennett writes "For those of you who can't count on a friend to tell you that a little more air should come between you and your Calvins, a Bloomingdales store in Palo Alto has just the solution: An Xbox Kinect-based body scanner that will help you find your best fit. While body measuring systems aren't new, using the Xbox Kinect is a much more affordable solution. Which means that soon we'll all have the opportunity for a computer to tell us that we should 'avoid wearing low to mid rise jeans.'"
An anonymous reader writes "As a product of the 90s I grew up loving the classics that kids today know about from Wikipedia and pop-culture references. Games like Super Bomberman, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country I and III (II was a sellout, come on) are the foundations of my childhood memories. Now, though, as a fourth-year electrical engineering major, I find myself increasingly impressed by the level of technical difficulty embedded in that 16-bit console. I am trying, now, to find a resource that will take me through the technical design of the SNES (memory layout, processor information, cartridge pin layouts/documentation) to get a better understanding of what I naively enjoyed 15 some years ago. I am reaching out to the vast resources available from the minds of the Slashdot community. Any guide/blog series that you know of that walks through some of the technical aspects of the, preferably, SNES (alternatively, NES/Nintendo 64) console would be much appreciated."
An anonymous reader writes "Conway's Game of Life is now forty two years old, but it continues to inspire as well as being the basis of an actively researched field, with computer scientists now announcing they have found a new form of the famous 'glider' pattern (once suggested by Eric S Raymond as the insignia of computer hackers) that runs over a so-called Penrose universe."
An anonymous reader writes "One of Activision's last RTS games, Dark Reign 2, has gone open source under the LGPL. Although the release by a former Pandemic Studios employee was some time ago, it had happened relatively silently. With the source code now available, it is hoped that online play that isn't dependent on WON servers will be implemented and possibly ports to other platforms."
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from geek.net on the release of PCSX2, a GPLed emulator for the PS2: "PCSX2 is a free PS2 emulator for the PC that has been in development since the year 2000 and managed to reach version 1.0 last week. As an emulator it's an impressive piece of work, boasting compatibility with over 73 percent of games, which is some 1,697 titles. It can offer up graphics beyond what the original hardware was capable of, achieving resolutions up to 4096 x 4096 with anti-aliasing and texture filtering. You can save games, record video as you play, use a range of controllers, and even adjust game speed if you so wish. Of course, you'll need a fast machine to run PS2 games at a decent speed, but the spec is still reasonable. It's recommended you have at least a Core 2 Duo running at 3.2GHz, or a Core i5 at 2.66GHz+. As for graphics cards, a GeForce 9600GT or Radeon HD 4750 is desirable." Grab it while it's hot (official binaries and source). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be packaged for any GNU/Linux distros (Debian has packages of the predecessor to PCSX2, PCSX: Reloaded which, naturally, emulated the Playstation).
Rick Zeman writes "CNN has an expose showing that in South Korea, the world's most wired country, Internet gaming breeds two extremes: elite 'athletes' who earn fame and six figures, and addicts who literally play until they die and tells the stories of players on both sides of that real-life divide. From the article: 'The first thing you notice about the professional video game players are their fingers — spindly creatures that seem to flail about at their own will, banging at the computer keyboard with such frequency and ferocity that to visit their live-in training centers in South Korea is to be treated to a maddening drum roll of clicks and clacks.'"
silentbrad writes "GameStop's bosses are obviously tired of hearing about how used games are killing gaming, about how unfair they are on the producers of the games who get nothing from their resale. One astonishing stat is repeated by three different managers during presentations. 70 percent of income consumers make from trading games goes straight back into buying brand new games. GameStop argues that used games are an essential currency in supporting the games business. The normal behavior is for guys to come into stores with their plastic bags full of old games, and trade them so that they can buy the new Call of Duty, Madden, Gears of War. GameStop says 17 percent of its sales are paid in trade credits. The implication is clear — if the games industry lost 17 percent of its sales tomorrow, that would be a bad day for the publishers and developers.'"
First time accepted submitter FractalFear writes "15 years ago I was programming in BASIC, and doing some C++, after a serious car accident barely making it out alive, my memory went to crud. I have no recollection of how to do anything in either of those languages any more. I've suffered some damage, and my memory isn't all that great. However if I do repetitive work it sticks to me. I've been in IT for 17 years as desktop support, and I fear I won't ever get much further in life due to my handicap. I am hard working and dedicated, I have been reading slashdot regularly for many years now, and I have faith in the Slashdot community advice. I recently bought Head First C#: 2nd Edition(A friend of mine that programs for a living suggested C# as an easier alternative to C++) the first 4 chapters were great, but after that everything just didn't make any sense. My question(s) to you guys is: What was the best way for you to get back into programming? School? Self taught? And what would be the best language for someone like me to get into? My goal is to make games as a hobby for now, but would like to enter into the market of XBOX Arcade, Steam, mobile etc, particularly 2D TBSRPG games like Shining Force. If you prefer self taught what are some really good books you suggest?"
mikejuk writes "A pair of computer scientists from the Babes-Bolyai University (Romania) and the University of Notre Dame (USA) have made some remarkable connections between Sudoku, the classic k-SAT problem, and the even more classic non-linear continuous dynamics. But before we go into the detail let's look at what this means for Sudoku enthusiasts. Maria Ercsey-Ravasz and Zoltan Toroczkai have devised a scale that provides an accurate determination of a Sudoku puzzle's hardness. So when you encounter a puzzle labelled hard and you find it easy, all you need to do is to compute a co-efficient that measures the hardness of the problem. An easy puzzle should fall in the range 0-1, medium ones in 1-2, hard ones in 2-3, and for ultra-hard puzzles, 3+, with the hardest puzzle, the notorious Platinum Blond, being top of the scale at 3.6. We will have to wait to see if newspapers and websites start to use this measure of difficulty. The difficulty is measured by the time it takes the classical dynamics corresponding to the problem to settle in the ground state and this depends on the degree of chaos in the search for a solution (PDF)."
New submitter junkrig writes "After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, Jordan Weisman, creator of Shadowrun, has returned to bring the series back to the screen as Shadowrun Returns; an old-school, turn-based tactical RPG. Their successful initial fundraising (over $1.8 million) allowed them to commit to developing a native Linux version of the game. A second team, working closely with Weisman, now hopes to bring a similar, turn-based Shadowrun game to life: Shadowrun Online. To be built with the Unity 4 engine, Shadowrun Online will be massively multiplayer and have native Linux support from the start — assuming, of course, they manage to fund their project. Both games are expected for release in 2013."
Duggeek writes "There's been a lot of discussion lately about Valve, Steam and the uncertain future of the Windows platform for gaming. While the effect of these events is unmistakably huge, it raises an interesting question: Would Valve consider putting out its own Linux distro? One advantage of such a dedicated distro would be tighter control over kernel drivers, storage, init processes and managing display(s), but would it be worth all the upstream bickering? Would it be better to start anew, or ride on a mature foundation like Fedora or Debian? Might that be a better option than addressing the myriad differences of today's increasingly fracturing distro-scape?"