symbolset writes "X-plane is a cross-platform flight simulator app, notably the only serious one that supports Mac OSX and Linux. It was the first to include NASA data in their terrain modelling. It's now under threat by an NPE (Non-Practicing Entity) called Uniloc. Uniloc is suing for things X-Plane has done for decades. X-plane cannot afford to defend this suit, so if somebody doesn't step up and defend them then we lose X-plane forever. Quoting: 'I have spoken to a lawyer about this, and I am told that it will cost me about $1,500,000 (one and a half million dollars) to defend this suit. He also told me that it should take about two to three years to defend. This is more money than I have made selling Android Apps in the first place.'"
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ProbablyJoe writes "The long awaited Source engine remake of the Valve's original Half Life has finally been released. The initial release only includes the story up until Xen, but the developers say they'll be adding the rest of the story, along with an online multiplayer Deathmatch mode, soon. The game is available to download for free, and only requires players to install the Source SDK (included with all Source games, or a free download). The highly anticipated release has also caused a huge amount of traffic for any servers hosting the files, with GameFront, GameUpdates, and Black Mesa's own CDN brought down within minutes of the release. The project has also been approved by Steam's Greenlight program, and will hopefully be available through Steam soon, though no timeframe has been given."
YokimaSun writes "Nintendo has revealed the release date of the Wii U: in Japan it will launch on the 8th December, and in the U.S. it will launch on November 18th. The console will ship in two versions: a basic version with 8GB of internal memory and a Deluxe version that has 32GB of internal memory and comes with a stand and docks. Both versions have 1GB of main memory and as much again for game memory. Nintendo claims the console is 20 times more powerful than the Wii and supports 1080p visuals out the box. It comes with an HDMI cable. All existing Wii accessories will work with the Wii U, but the new Tablet Gamepad will set you back around £100/$173 when you convert yen over. The price of the Deluxe SKU is $350." Here's a list of launch titles.
Mackadoodledoo writes "Details of an immersive video games display system that projects images of the title's environment around a player's room have been revealed in a U.S. patent belonging to Microsoft."
New submitter overmoderated writes first with news of an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya. From the article: "The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on their car, a Libyan official said, as they were rushed from a consular building stormed by militants denouncing a U.S.-made film insulting the Prophet Mohammad." An anonymous reader adds: "Sean Smith, a.k.a. Vile Rat, an EVE Online CSM member, and diplomat for the GoonFleet corporation, was one of the four killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last night. He was 34. A fundraiser is being organized for his children by the Something Awful forums." Update: 09/12 21:28 GMT by U L : Ozma from Something Awful mailed in a link to the memorial thread on the SA forums (including details on the memorial fund).
New submitter disconj writes "Over at Wired, Ethan Gilsdorf interviews Jon Peterson, author of the new book Playing at the World. Gilsdorf calls it 'a must read,' though he cautions it 'is not intended for a general audience. It's a book for geeks, about geeks.' It is apparently an insanely-detailed history of role-playing games and wargames, including everything from Prussian kriegsspiel up to Dungeons & Dragons and the beginning of computer RPGs (but none of that heathen stuff after 1980). Peterson says in the interview that he wanted to write a history of these games 'worthy of the future they are creating.' He apparently spent five years on the project, including unearthing a huge trove of previously-unknown historical documents."
TsukiKage writes "A 50-card M:tG combo for four players is demonstrated that is used to construct a simple Turing machine, performing arbitrary computations just by following the rules of Magic and card text thereafter."
An anonymous reader writes "Kotaku reports that two employees of Bohemia Interactive have been arrested while on a photo-tour of the Greek island of Limnos, on charges of spying. The developers were taking reference photos for the upcoming military simulation game Arma III, which is to feature Limnos as it's primary setting, when they were arrested (Google translation of Greek original)."
New submitter kgkoutzis writes "A few days ago I noticed some weird artifacts covering the screenshots I captured using the WoW game client application. I sharpened the images and found a repeating pattern secretly embedded inside. I posted this information on the OwnedCore forum and after an amazing three-day cooperation marathon, we managed to prove that all our WoW screenshots, since at least 2008, contain a custom watermark. This watermark includes our user IDs, the time the screenshot was captured and the IP address of the server we were on at the time. It can be used to track down activities which are against Blizzard's Terms of Service, like hacking the game or running a private server. The users were never notified by the ToS that this watermarking was going on so, for four years now, we have all been publicly sharing our account and realm information for hackers to decode and exploit. You can find more information on how to access the watermark in the aforementioned forum post which is still quite active."
New submitter iamnothing writes "Eric Preisz, CEO of GarageGames, announces, 'Eleven years ago, The GarageGames founders did an incredibly innovative thing when they sold a full source game engine for $100. We are excited to continue in their footsteps by announcing that we will be releasing Torque 3D as the best open source game technology in the world. Once again, GarageGames will be changing game development.'"
dotarray writes with a bit from Player Attack: "Gaming is big business, says Valve, as the developer takes the time to show off its brand new gaming headset and TV-based Big Picture. Rather than inviting the games media masses who have been clamouring for any details on the Seattle company's 'wearable computing' initiative, Gabe Newell and his team instead went right to the top, with an in-depth interview published in The New York Times." The New York Times article on which this report is based is worth reading, too: Valve's corporate non-structure sounds hard to believe. It seems Valve is also looking for hardware designers.
Underholdning writes "It's been five years since Radiohead brought the pay what you want model to the public with their successful sale of their 'In Rainbows' album. Now, here's a fresh example of how a game developer is making The Pirate Bay work for him by offering his game, McPixel, for free and letting people pay what they want. Currently TPB has more than 5000 applicants wanting to do the same. 'Sosowski isn't worried that promoting a game on a site known for piracy might be more effective at attracting more pirates than actual paying customers. "The game was already available on TPB beforehand, and I believe if someone didn't want to pay, he just didn't ... It is up to people to decide how much they would like to pay for the game, and I have no worries. I am happy that more people can enjoy my game. ... TPB is one of the most visited sites in the Internet, and simply having a game there is a form of advertisement and promotion."'"
An anonymous reader writes "Patrick Wyatt led production efforts for several of Blizzard Entertainment's early games, including Warcraft 1 & 2 and StarCraft. Wyatt has just published an in-depth look at the development of StarCraft, highlighting many of the problems the team encountered, and several of the hacks they came to later regret. Quoting: 'Given all the issues working against the team, you might think it was hard to identify a single large source of bugs, but based on my experiences the biggest problems in StarCraft related to the use of doubly-linked linked lists. Linked lists were used extensively in the engine to track units with shared behavior. With twice the number of units of its predecessor — StarCraft had a maximum of 1600, up from 800 in Warcraft 2 — it became essential to optimize the search for units of specific types by keeping them linked together in lists. ... All of these lists were doubly-linked to make it possible to add and remove elements from the list in constant time — O(1) — without the necessity to traverse the list looking for the element to remove — O(N). Unfortunately, each list was 'hand-maintained' — there were no shared functions to link and unlink elements from these lists; programmers just manually inlined the link and unlink behavior anywhere it was required. And hand-rolled code is far more error-prone than simply using a routine that's already been debugged. ... So the game would blow up all the time. All the time.'" Wyatt also has a couple interesting posts about the making of Warcraft 1.
Busshy writes "Since the release of the PSVita, sales for the portable console have struggled, particularly in Japan. There, the PSP was selling more units until this week, with the release of Hatsune Miku Project Diva F, which has seen PSVita sales quadruple. For the rest of the world, sales are still slow thanks to a dull selection of games. This could soon change, as Yifan Lu, coder of the Kindle Hack and PSX Xperia, has revealed he is now working on a native loader for the PSVita. Basically, it's a Userland Vita Loader for loading unsigned executables on your Vita — in other words, a Homebrew Loader for the PSVita. To calm Sony fears, he claims it is physically impossible to run 'backups' with the exploit. The exploit cannot decrypt or load retail games. At this time, the exploit is unreleased; naturally, he doesnt want Sony to fix it."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com: "Frank Gibeau, the president of EA Labels, has shown that business truly does come before gameplay with comments he made as part of a preview document for the CloudGamingUSA event happening on September 11-12 in San Francisco. Gibeau is very proud of the fact he has never green lit a single project that consisted solely of a single-player experience. He insists that every game EA publishes has an online component to it. His reason for doing this? Apparently EA has 'evolved with consumers (PDF)' suggesting he thinks this is what consumers want in every game. ... Forcing online into every game makes little sense. While it works for a Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Fifa or Need for Speed title, there's just as many games that don't need it to succeed, or even work for online play. A good example of this would be the forthcoming SimCity, which has upset fans of the series because it will require an constant Internet connection to play. That isn't a DRM measure, it's due to the tight integration of multiplayer and how all players impact each others games."
Zothecula writes "Well, Patrick Priebe might have outdone himself with this one. In the past, the German cyberpunk weapons-maker has brought us such creations as a wrist-mounted mini-crossbow, a laser-sighted rotary-saw-blade-shooting crossbow, and a flame-throwing glove. His latest nasty futuristic device? A video game-inspired electromagnetic weapon, called the Gauss Rifle."
RogueyWon writes "In an interview with gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft has announced that it will no longer use always-online DRM for its PC games. The much-maligned DRM required players to be online and connected to its servers at all times, even when playing single-player content. This represents a reversal of Ubisoft's long-standing insistence that such DRM was essential if the company were to be profitable in the PC gaming market." The full interview has a number of interesting statements. Ubisoft representatives said the decision was made in June of last year. This was right around the time the internet was in an uproar over the DRM in Driver: San Francisco, which Ubisoft quickly scaled back. Ubisoft stopped short of telling RPS they regretted the always-online DRM, or that it only bothers legitimate customers. (However, in a different interview at Gamasutra, Ubisoft's Chris Early said, "The truth of it, they're more inconvenient to our paying customers, so in listening to our players, we removed them.") They maintain that piracy is a financial problem, and acknowledged that the lack of evidence from them and other publishers has only hurt their argument.
New submitter funtapaz writes "Diaspora: Shattered Armistice, the Battlestar Galactica game based on the FreeSpace 2 Open engine, has launched! This cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac) release includes the ability to fly the MK VII Viper, the Raptor (or the new MK VIIe strike variant), multiplayer, a mission editor, an original soundtrack, and full voice acting."
redletterdave writes "Valve is reportedly interested in building hardware. The Bellevue, Wash.-based software developer added a job posting to its site on Tuesday morning for an industrial designer. We're frustrated by the lack of innovation in the computer hardware space though, so we're jumping in,' the posting said. 'Even basic input, the keyboard and mouse, haven’t really changed in any meaningful way over the years. There's a real void in the marketplace, and opportunities to create compelling user experiences are being overlooked.'"
MojoKid writes "In a little less than two weeks, Half Life fans will have an opportunity to relive Valve's original 1998 title Half Life, albeit reborn and modified using the company's Source engine. The ambitious third-party project is called Black Mesa (previously known as Black Mesa: Source) and it's been in development for eight years. Black Mesa will deliver Half Life as you've never seen it before. It will have all new graphics, maps, a new soundtrack, updated voice acting, support for multi-core processors, hardware accelerated facial animation, and other goodies."