First time accepted submitter Celexi writes "In a surprising move, Motorola Mobility (which is to be taken over by Google), has won an injunction preventing the distribution of Windows 7 and the Xbox in Germany until Microsoft starts paying royalty fees for the patents Microsoft is said to be infringing (two patents used to display H.264 video). The ruling is suspended as of now because of a restraining order, the effect in the rest of the EU and U.S. if the ban is enforced if the restraining order is lifted, is unclear." This could go into effect as soon as May 7th, pending the result of the next U.S. case hearing.
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An anonymous reader writes "MIT's The Tech published an article with technical details behind the Tetris hack they did on the Green Building earlier this year. The article includes photographs of the LED modules, as well as a link to some of the source code used in the hack. The hackers have released some of the source code on GitHub, and are looking for people to contribute code that could run on the system."
MojoKid writes "The PC and console game industry is in desperate need of an overhaul. With skyrocketing costs to develop games, consumers aren't going to accept $80-$100 game titles, especially not with mobile game prices in the 99 cent — $4.99 range. Not to mention, how games are designed these days needs some serious rethinking. This list of some of the industry's most annoying gaming clichés, from scripted sequences to impossibly incompetent NPCs, and how they might be solved, speaks to a few of the major ailments in modern gameplay with character and plot techniques that are older than dirt."
An anonymous reader writes "Valve's Steam and Source Engine-based games are coming to Linux. Michael from well known site Phoronix.com has been invited to Valve's office and was able to spend a day with the developers and Gabe Newell himself. He is confirming the rumors about Linux ports from Valve, and has been able to play the games and work the developers himself. Attached in the article are pictures from Valve's offices with games running on Linux."
nukem996 writes "After initially reporting in 2010 that Valve was working on a native GNU/Linux client, one has finally been confirmed. Michael Larabel recently visited Valve's Bellvue, WA based office and has been able to see it himself. Included in the article are screenshots of the client running and speculation of a release." Valve has yet to officially comment, but you'd hope they wouldn't invite someone up to their offices and send them home to spew lies.
New submitter Serapth writes "Sony recently released the PlayStation Suite SDK to open beta. Using PSS, people are able to write games for various PlayStation certified devices in a C#/Mono based environment. This post takes a look at what's included in the SDK, which, surprisingly, is quite a bit."
tlhIngan writes "This week is Motorola's lucky week; they've won twice in two separate patent suits. First, an ITC judge has ruled that Microsoft's Xbox 360 has violated 4 of 5 patents related to h.264. This is just a preliminary ruling (PDF) and both Microsoft and Motorola will face an ITC panel later this year. In the other case, the ITC judge has ruled Apple violates a 3G patent, one that a German court ruled that Apple didn't violate earlier this year. "
hypnosec writes "Springer Science and Business Media has discovered that during 2010, almost 70 per cent of the overall power draw of the world's consoles was thanks to idling. This total came to over 10.8 TWh of energy, equating to well over a billion dollars in wasted power. The biggest culprit for the trio of main consoles of this generation was the PlayStation 3, with its first edition having an active power draw of 180 watts and an idling draw of 167. As the report states, the Xbox 360 wasn't much better however, with active/idle draws of 172/162w respectively. Both of those consoles have got far better with their hardware revisions, more than halving the idle power consumption, but the Wii has been ahead of the curve the whole time. Its active/idle power draws were as low as 16/11w. The only real difference with the Nintendo console was whether its WC24 was enabled or not. With it on, standby power jumped from 2w to 9w."
Cerlyn writes "In order to celebrate 30 years of Frogger, Tyler DeAngelo and his friends created a version of Frogger synchronized to actual vehicles on 5th Avenue in New York City. Unlike a previous (dangerous) attempt at recreating the game, this version fits safely inside of a Frogger arcade cabinet, and pictures and videos of the construction of the game are available as well." (Just scroll down that first link to see the construction details.)
mikejuk writes "You probably know that the traveling salesman problem is one of the classics of computer science theory. Now we have a new challenge — the Physical Travelling Salesman Problem and anyone can join in. All you have to do is visit each city once using an optimal route. The new element is that you now have to drive between the cities using a 'car' that has inertia and friction — see the video. You can submit an AI bot to solve the problem or drive the course yourself."
New submitter sirlark writes "'Researchers at the University of Auckland tested an interactive 3D fantasy game called Sparx on a 94 youngsters diagnosed with depression whose average age was 15 and a half. Sparx invites a user to take on a series of seven challenges over four to seven weeks in which an avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones. Used for three months, Sparx was at least as effective as face-to-face conventional counselling, according to several depression rating scales. In addition, 44% of the Sparx group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26% recovered fully.' One has to wonder if it's Sparx specifically — or gaming in general — that provides the most benefit, given that most of the symptoms of depression relate to a feeling of being unable to influence one's environment (powerlessness, helplessness, ennui, etc) and games are specifically designed to make one feel powerful but challenged (if they hit the sweet spot)."
MojoKid writes "Game designer Richard Browne has come out swinging in favor of the rumored antipiracy features in the next-gen PlayStation Orbis and Xbox Durango. 'The real cost of used games is the damage that is being wrought on the creativity and variety of games available to the consumer,' Browne writes. Browne's comments echo those of influential programmer and Raspberry Pi developer David Braben, who wrote last month that '...pre-owned has really killed core games. It's killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk.' Both Browne and Braben conflate hating GameStop (a thoroughly reasonable life choice) with the supposed evils of the used games market. Braben goes so far as to claim that used games are actually responsible for high game prices and that 'prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells.' Amazingly, no game publishers have stepped forward to publicly pledge themselves to lower game prices in exchange for a cut of used game sales. Publishers are hammering Gamestop (and recruiting developers to do the same) because it's easier than admitting that the current system is fundamentally broken."
Canazza writes "In a podcast interview with Seven Day Cooldown, summarized by Develop, Valve Boss Gabe Newell discusses the payment model for upcoming strategy game DOTA 2. 'The issue that we're struggling with quite a bit is something I've kind of talked about before, which is: how do you properly value people's contributions to a community? ... An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. ... “So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get DOTA 2 for free, because of past behavior in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.'"
Leisure Suit Larry creator Al Lowe, who is working with Replay Games and Kickstarter to bring Larry Laffer to a whole new generation of computers. They'll maintain the original Larry style of being naughty without crossing the line into porn, which is appropriate for an 80s game about a 70s dork who wears a (shudder) leisure suit. You can donate to this effort through Kickstarter if you like. (We aren't getting paid to say this, and it's a labor of love for Al, too, who is more recently famous for running the hokey daily comedy email newsletter, CyberJoke 3000.)