jbrodkin writes "In this hyper-connected, networked world, many more of our devices are getting linked to the cloud, whether we want them to or not. That's sometimes good, and sometimes bad, so when a basic device like a mouse requires a user to go online and set up an account to activate all of its functionality, people are understandably going to ask why? The latest entry in the saga of 'Why the hell does this thing need to connect to the Internet?' comes from Razer, which has caused an uproar by asking users to register gaming mice on the Internet. While it's mainly for syncing settings across devices, gamers are complaining that certain functionality might not be available unless you create an online account for your mouse. Razer has responded to the controversy, but its answers aren't entirely satisfactory."
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Teancum writes "Colleen Lachowicz, candidate for the State Senate District 25 of Maine, won the election yesterday against her opponent Thomas Martin. This race was notable in part because her World of Warcraft character that was mentioned earlier on Slashdot, where the Maine Republican Party turned her game playing into a significant issue. It is also notable that she was able to raise a total of $6,300 in campaign contributions from gamers who came to her defense in her successful campaign. The Maine GOP even tried to block these contributions where Lachowicz was cleared of any wrong doing and the investigation was dropped."
New submitter schirra writes "Researchers at MIT Game Lab have created a free video game that accurately simulates the effects of Einstein's relativity. 'A Slower Speed of Light' challenges players to collect objects strewn throughout a level to artificially lower the speed of light. As light speed slows to walking pace, it makes visible the unusual effects one encounters when traveling close to the speed of light, such as the Doppler effect, searchlight effect and Lorentz transformation. The effects are, in a word, trippy. The team plans to release an open-source Unity3D toolkit called OpenRelativity to allow others to include the same relativistic effects in other games." They also plan to release the source code sometime next year (despite reports that it is open source already).
leppi writes "Nvidia has announced a huge increase in Linux gaming performance for their GeForce R310 drivers after almost a year of development alongside Valve and other game developer partners. Nvidia's announcement also indicated the Steam beta for Linux should be out today. Quoting: 'Available for download at www.geforce.com, the new R310 drivers were also thoroughly tested with Steam for Linux, the extension of Valve's phenomenally popular Steam gaming platform that officially opened to gamers starting today. ... Comparing 304.51 driver performance of 142.7 fps versus 310.14 driver performance of 301.4 fps in beta build of Left for Dead 2. All tests run on the same system using Intel Core i7-3930K CPU @ 3.20GHz with 8 GB memory, GeForce GTX 680 and Ubuntu 12.04 32-bit.'" Update: 11/06 21:00 GMT by S : Valve has gone ahead and announced the Steam for Linux Beta. They've sent invites to a number of people who filled out the application, and they'll be inviting more as the test goes along. The beta test is available for installation on Ubuntu 12.04, with support for other distros to come: "We intend to support additional popular distros in the future; we’ll prioritize development for these based on user feedback."
Mr. Jaggers writes "Chris Roberts, game designer of Wing Commander fame, has had great success with his new crowd-funded Star Citizen project — so much that the $2m base goal has been smashed with weeks to go on the Kickstarter portion of the campaign. Now Chris is floating a list of stretch goals for fans to vote on, with Linux and Mac support both listed as stretch goal candidates. Since Star Citizen is based on the popular CryENGINE 3 game engine, these stretch goals are equivalent to funding Linux and Mac ports of CryENGINE. Chris couldn't make any absolute promises yet, since he doesn't own the engine, but CryENGINE 3 already supports Android, so at least there is existing OpenGL ES support to be leveraged towards adding Linux and Mac OpenGL support. If there is enough outpouring of cross-platform support from fans in this poll, Star Citizen could turn out to be the high-profile game that brings a AAA game engine to the growing Mac and Linux gaming communities — analogous to the role played by Wasteland 2 in bringing official Linux support to the Unity 4 engine popular among so many Indie developers."
An anonymous reader writes "BBC News claims that a feature in Borderlands 2 that can only be activated in modded XBox 360s has a bug that can cause characters to be permanently deleted when they die- even if they weren't the ones who activated the feature. 'The hidden option within the game, known as "badass" or "hardcore", is turned off by default but can be enabled by those that have modified or hacked their console. [..] When a player with an unmodded console joins a Borderlands 2 multiplayer game in which there is a character running in badass mode it too gets kicked into that mode. [..] Gamers who play alongside people who have modded their console "contract" the bug which deletes their character if they die during play.'"
antdude writes "Pumpktris is a fully playable version of Tetris built into a pumpkin, with 128 Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) for the display and the stem serving as a game controller."
dartttt writes "In a presentation at Ubuntu Developer Summit currently going on in Denmark, Drew Bliss from Valve said that Linux is more viable than Windows 8 for gaming. Windows 8 ships with its own app store and it is not an open platform anymore and Linux has everything they need: good OpenGL, pulseaudio, OpenAL and input support."
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has released their much anticipated SmartGlass application for Android, allowing the Linux-based mobile OS to act as an input device for their Xbox 360 game console. While the app has its share of annoying problems, it does offer a glimpse into a possible future where consumer electronics are no longer crippled by the artificial barriers of manufacturer or operating system."
SternisheFan points out an article at Wired arguing that game consoles and the business model that sustained them are now "obsolete." Quoting: "Years from now, 225 million devices will almost certainly be seen as the point at which the console business peaked. Gamers are going elsewhere for their fix. The console’s time at the top of the heap is drawing to an end, and these machines won’t survive without radical change. ... Consoles used to do everything best, but those strengths are now being wiped away. Unlike PC games, which may require finicky custom settings, consoles 'just work,' fans have long pointed out. Well, so does the iPad. Consoles are cheaper than PCs? Not when you factor in the growing disparity in game prices. Consoles have all the good content? Well, if you want Nintendo- or Sony-exclusive games, you’ll need to buy their hardware. But for many gamers, Angry Birds is becoming more attractive than Mario.
another random user writes with news that Microsoft has sorted out the Windows Store guidelines such that games rated 'Mature' in the U.S. will be allowed. An earlier version of the guidelines took cues from the European PEGI rating system, which lumps pornographic content into the same rating as mainstream games that involve violence. In the U.S., they're split up into Adult (for porn) and Mature (for things like Skyrim, Call of Duty, and Assassin's Creed). Gamers and developers were worried that a large number of very popular games were going to be disallowed on the Windows Store. Microsoft hopes to have the situation fixed by December — not ideal, since Windows 8 is now out, but better than nothing.
another random user tips news that Nintendo will be selling its upcoming Wii U console at a loss in the hopes that spurring earlier adoption will work out for the company in the long run. This differs from the Wii, which made money from the start, but it's a similar strategy to those used with the Xbox 360 and PS3, which both lost money for their companies at release. "The Japanese firm's president revealed the news after the firm cut its profit forecast. It marks a change in the company's business strategy. The decision to abandon the prospect of immediate profits in order to maximize later earnings is part of a growing trend in the tech world. Nintendo might have altered course to take advantage of the fact that neither Microsoft nor Sony have announced their next-generation consoles yet. Its pursuit of the more casual gamer means it has also had to take account of the keenly priced tablet market which attracts a similar consumer."
jones_supa writes "The SDL developers Ryan Gordon and Sam Lantinga have proposed a window manager change to work out the full-screen X11 window mess, primarily for games. The proposal is to come up with a _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN_EXCLUSIVE window manager hint that works out the shortcomings of the full-screen hint used currently by most games, _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN. Ryan and Sam have already worked out an initial patch for SDL but they haven't tried hooking it to any window manager yet. Those interested in the details, information is available from this mailing list message. One of the key changes is that software would make the request to the window manager to change the resolution, rather than tapping RandR or XVidMode directly. Martin Gräßlin of KDE was rather wary about the patch and said that games changing the resolution just tend to mess up the desktop." Seems like a reasonable idea, given a bit of time to mature as a spec. In KDE's case, a separate daemon from the window manager handles resolution changes so going through the WM would add complexity, and the plasma shell still has no way to realize that it shouldn't reflow the desktop widgets. Setting window properties seems like a sensible IPC method for communicating intent though (without making yet another aspect of the X desktop reliant upon the not-very-network-transparent dbus): "hey, I need to resize, but just for me so don't reshuffle the desktop and docks."
An anonymous reader writes "During the latest presidential debate, Xbox 360 owners were being polled live, as the debate was progressing, on a number of different questions, and asked to answer 'Yes,' 'No,' or 'Don't Know' using their gamepad. Out of these questions, one particular question produced a surprising result: Xbox 360 owners were asked 'Do you support more use of drone aircraft to attack suspected terrorists?' 20% answered this question with 'No'. 8% answered 'Don't know.' And a whopping 72% answered the question 'Yes.' This raises an interesting question in and of itself: Is the average Xbox 360 player at all aware that drone strikes in countries like Pakistan cause a serious number of civilian deaths on a regular basis? Or do Xbox 360 gamers live in a parallel, game-inspired universe, where a real world 'Drone Strike' is something seriously cool, just like it is cool to use it in popular games like Call of Duty? In other words, does playing simulated war games like COD on a game console on a daily basis, and enjoying these games, cause gamers to become blinkered to the at times seriously dire real world consequences of using military tactics like drone strikes for real?"