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.
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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."
PAX Prime, probably by far the largest ongoing event spawned by a web comic, is in progress right now in Seattle, with an attendance of 70,000 gamers (and a smaller number of dancing stormtroopers). Two big announcements about future PAX events were announced on Saturday. The first is that next year's event will be a four-day gathering rather than the thus-far usual three; the second is that, some time next year, PAX will make its first international foray, with an event in Australia — exact time and place to be determined.
samazon writes "Earlier today, City of Heroes community manager Andy Belford announced that NCSoft is shutting down Paragon Studios. Over 7,500 individuals were viewing the official CoH forums as of 3:00 PM EST, and this thread from Belford, AKA Zwilinger, notes that 'In a realignment of company focus and publishing support, NCsoft has made the decision to close Paragon Studios. Effective immediately, all development on City of Heroes will cease and we will begin preparations to sunset the world's first, and best, Super Hero MMORPG before the end of the year.' A petition has already been created to save City of Heroes."
kungfugleek writes "Throughout the launch of subscription-free MMO Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet has stated that the player-experience is their top priority and, if necessary, they would suspend digital sales to protect their servers from crushing loads. While the launch has been considerably more stable than most big-budget MMO's in recent months, some players, especially those in Europe, have experienced trouble logging in and getting booted from servers. So yesterday, ArenaNet held true to their word, and temporarily suspended digital sales from their website. Personally, I think this is an incredible show of customer-centered focus. To turn down purchases, especially first-party purchases, where the seller gets a higher percentage of the sale, during a major title's first week of sales, would be inconceivable by other companies. Is this a bad move for ArenaNet? Will there be enough of a long-term payout to make up for the lost sales? And does this put pressure on other major studios to follow suit in the face of overwhelming customer response?" New submitter charlieman writes with related news: "Yesterday ArenaNet banned players for exploiting an error in their new game Guild Wars 2. The so called exploit was in fact an error on ArenaNet's side, leaving weapons at a low price from some vendors. Players saw this and started making profits buying and selling the items. Should players be penalized for errors committed by the game developers? Taking in account that the game is fairly new, the economy hasn't stabilized yet and most don't know the value of things. Today they've given these players a 'second chance', but shouldn't they be apologizing instead?"
Cheeze ball writes "Due to the level of support provided by their forums community, Runic Games has released the Torchlight 2 release date early. Torchlight 2 will be available on 20 September 2012. The 'official' announcement is tomorrow at PAX, where the game is available for play. The forums have been very supportive of the dev team, primarily because of the team's responsiveness in posting weekly updates and the way the beta test was conducted. This support prompted Runic to inform its forum community first." If you're curious how the game is shaping up, Eurogamer has a thorough preview from a few months ago.
An anonymous reader writes "Intel's Open-Source Technology Center was given source-code access to Valve's Left 4 Dead 2 game in order to help them fix Linux bugs and to better optimize their graphics driver to this forthcoming Linux native game on the Source Engine. Intel has talked about their Valve Linux development experiences and now they managed to get Left 4 Dead 2 running on their open-source graphics driver. Valve also has grown fond of open-source hardware drivers: 'Valve Linux developers have also been happy looking at an open-source graphics driver. Valve Linux developers found it equally thrilling that now when hitting a bottleneck in their game or looking for areas for performance optimizations, they are simply able to look into Intel's open-source Linux graphics driver to understand how an operation is handled by the hardware, tossing some extra debugging statements into the Intel driver to see what's happening, and making other driver tweaks.'"
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Geek.com: "PS3 gamers may now never get access to the content in Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC. That's the news coming out of Bethesda via their forums. Administrator and global community lead Gstaff posted an update on the state of PS3 DLC for the game, and it's not looking great. Gstaff explains that releasing sizeable DLC is a complex issue, and it seems like for the PS3 it might be just a bit too complex. No detail is given as to what the specific problem is, but Bethesda is preparing PS3 gamers for the reality that Dawnguard, and for that matter any other Skyrim DLC, may never reach the platform. I'd like to know what the exact problem is they can't overcome, but I'd also like to know if this is a failing on Bethesda's part or a shortcoming of the PS3 architecture. Maybe Sony should pay Bethesda a visit and see what's going on." In other Skyrim news, a mod for the game that attempted to recreate J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, has received a Cease & Desist letter from Warner Bros, causing development to stop.
cold fjord writes "Is this the end of the world . . . of Warcraft? Maybe for Iranian gamers who are undergoing a forced morale check due to tightening sanctions cutting access to their game of choice. From the article: 'Iranian players of "World of Warcraft" ... have found themselves frozen out by Blizzard Activision Inc., the American company behind the game. Iranian role playing enthusiasts have spent much of the past week peppering Blizzard's message board with complaints about how they weren't able to log on to the service — only to be told recently that U.S. law was to blame. "United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran," the company said in an email sent to players last week...'" Thanks to the sanctions, they can't get refunds either.