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The Courts

Judge Says EA Battlefield 4 Execs Engaged In "Puffery," Not Fraud 89

Posted by timothy
from the anything-they-say-they-set-their-minds-to dept.
DemonOnIce writes with a story, as reported by Ars Technica, that a federal judge in San Francisco has dismissed a proposed securities fraud class action lawsuit connected to Battlefield 4's bungled rollout. From the report: EA and several top executives were sued in December and were accused of duping investors with their public statements and concealing issues with the first-person shooter game. The suit claimed executives were painting too rosy of a picture surrounding what ultimately would be Battlefield 4's disastrous debut on various gaming consoles beginning last October, including the next-generation Xbox One. But US District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said their comments about EA and the first-person shooter game were essentially protected corporate speak. "The Court agrees with defendants that all of the purported misstatements are inactionable statements of opinion, corporate optimism, or puffery," Illston ruled Monday.
Programming

Doctor Who To Teach Kids To Code 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-goes-ding-when-there's-stuff dept.
DCFC writes: The BBC is releasing a game to help 8- to 11-year-old kids get into coding. Based on Doctor Who, it alternates between a standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event-driven programming. Kids will get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful. (Apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic, racist death machines is a good idea!)
Music

New Music Discovered In Donkey Kong For Arcade 74

Posted by timothy
from the now-there's-dedication dept.
First time accepted submitter furrykef . writes Over 33 years have passed since Donkey Kong first hit arcades, but it still has new surprises. I was poking through the game in a debugger when I discovered that the game contains unused music and voice clips. One of the tunes would have been played when you rescued Pauline, and two others are suggestive of deleted cutscenes. In addition, Pauline was originally meant to speak. In one clip she says something unintelligible, but it may be "Hey!", "Nice!", or "Thanks!". The other is clearly a cry for help.
Businesses

For Game Developers, It's About the Labor of Love 164

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-play dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes With "GamerGate" and all the debates over who counts as a "gamer," it's easy to forget that games are created by people with a genuine love of the craft. Journalist Jon Brodkin sat down with Armin Ibrisagic, game designer & PR manager for Coffee Stain Studios, the Swedish studio that made Goat Simulator, to talk about why they built that game and how it turned into such a success. Brodkin also talked to Leszek Lisowski, founder of Wastelands Interactive, about the same topic. While these developers might debate with themselves (and others) over whether to develop games for hardcore gamers, or jump on the mobile "casual gaming" bandwagon, they'll ultimately in it because they love games — a small but crucial detail that seems too easy to forget these days.
DRM

Mozilla Teams Up With Humble Bundle To Offer Eight Plugin-Free Games 67

Posted by samzenpus
from the stay-inside-and-play dept.
An anonymous reader writes Mozilla and Humble Bundle announced a new package that features award-winning indie best-sellers for which gamers can choose how much they want to pay. Naturally called the Humble Mozilla Bundle, the package consists of eight games that have been ported to the Web. The first five games (Super Hexagon, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, Osmos, Zen Bound 2, and Dustforce DX) can cost you whatever you want. The next two (Voxatron and FTL: Faster Than Light) can be had if you beat the average price for the bundle. You can pay $8 or more to receive all of the above, plus the last game, Democracy 3. Previously, all of these indie games were available only on PC or mobile. Now they all work in browsers on Windows, Mac, and Linux without having to install any plugins.
Classic Games (Games)

How Women Became Gamers Through D&D 238

Posted by Soulskill
from the century-of-exclusion dept.
An anonymous reader writes: To add some historical context to the currently controversy surrounding attitudes toward women in gaming, Jon Peterson provides an in-depth historical look at the unsurprisingly male origins of the "gamer" identity. It also examines how Dungeons & Dragons helped to open the door for women in gaming — overturning a sixty-year-old dogma that was born when Wells's Little Wars first assumed the "disdain" of women for gaming.
Networking

Ask Slashdot: VPN Setup To Improve Latency Over Multiple Connections? 174

Posted by timothy
from the so-you-favor-internet-fast-lanes dept.
blogologue writes I've been playing Battlefield for some time now, and having a good ping there is important for a good gaming experience. Now I'm in the situation where I have mobile internet access from two telecom companies, and neither of those connections are stable enough to play games on, the odd ping in hundreds of milliseconds throws everything off. How can I setup a Windows client (my PC) and a Linux server (in a datacenter, connected to the internet) so that the same TCP and UDP traffic goes over both links, and the fastest packet on either link 'wins' and the other is discarded?
Games

Infinite Browser Universe Manyland Hits 8 Million Placed Blocks 67

Posted by timothy
from the pretty-big-place-you've-got-here dept.
j_philipp (803945) writes Manyland [Here's the twitter feed and a FAQ] is an HTML5 / JavaScript-based MMO universe created by a community and two indie developers from Europe. Everything in the world can be freely drawn and placed: From the cars, animals, plants, houses, bridges, to everyone's own bodies. Like Wikipedia, by default areas are editable by everyone (and removing a block leaves dust which can be used to undo the removal). Since the opening a year ago, over 100,000 different creations have been made, and now, over 8 million blocks placed. Some features are for logged-in users only, but the whole thing is free to explore for everyone, and it's just sucked away quite a few minutes for me.
Games

Simple Hack Enables VR Mode For Oculus Rift In Alien: Isolation 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the like-it's-in-your-living-room dept.
An anonymous reader writes In a surprising appearance at E3 2014, Oculus showed a virtual reality demo version of Creative Assembly's forthcoming first-person horror game, Alien: Isolation. Despite intense reactions to the demo, the publisher stated that the full game would not feature Oculus Rift support. However, intentional or not, the developer left the code hidden in the game which can be enabled with a simple hack, leading to full support for the Oculus Rift including positional tracking.
Graphics

Ubisoft Claims CPU Specs a Limiting Factor In Assassin's Creed Unity On Consoles 338

Posted by timothy
from the bottlenecks-shift dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes A new interview with Assassin's Creed Unity senior producer Vincent Pontbriand has some gamers seeing red and others crying "told you so," after the developer revealed that the game's 900p framerate and 30 fps target on consoles is a result of weak CPU performance rather than GPU compute. "Technically we're CPU-bound," Pontbriand said. "The GPUs are really powerful, obviously the graphics look pretty good, but it's the CPU that has to process the AI, the number of NPCs we have on screen, all these systems running in parallel. We were quickly bottlenecked by that and it was a bit frustrating, because we thought that this was going to be a tenfold improvement over everything AI-wise..." This has been read by many as a rather damning referendum on the capabilities of AMD's APU that's under the hood of Sony's and Microsoft's new consoles. To some extent, that's justified; the Jaguar CPU inside both the Sony PS4 and Xbox One is a modest chip with a relatively low clock speed. Both consoles may offer eight CPU threads on paper, but games can't access all that headroom. One thread is reserved for the OS and a few more cores will be used for processing the 3D pipeline. Between the two, Ubisoft may have only had 4-5 cores for AI and other calculations — scarcely more than last gen, and the Xbox 360 and PS3 CPUs were clocked much faster than the 1.6 / 1.73GHz frequencies of their replacements.
Input Devices

Reverse Engineering the Oculus Rift DK2's Positional Tracking Tech 26

Posted by timothy
from the blink-and-you-won't-miss-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Oculus Rift DK2 VR headset hides under its IR-transparent shell an array of IR LEDs which are picked up by the positional tracker. The data is used to understand where the user's head is in 3D space so that the game engine can update the view accordingly, a critical function for reducing sim sickness and increasing immersion. Unsurprisingly, some endeavoring folks wanted to uncover the magic behind Oculus' tech and began reverse engineering the system. Along the way, they discovered some curious info including a firmware bug which, when fixed, revealed the true view of the positional tracker.
Displays

Startup's Open Source Device Promises Gamers "Surround Sound For Your Eyes" 43

Posted by timothy
from the you-are-in-a-warm-green-room dept.
alphadogg (971356) writes A startup called Antumbra run by 5 college students is looking to throw a little soothing light on this situation: People who hunker down in front of their computers until the wee hours, until it feels like their eyes might fall out. Antumbra's open-source-based Glow, which launches in a limited beta of 100 $35 units on Thursday, is a small (1.5" x 1.5"x 0.5") doohickey that attaches to the back of your computer monitor via USB port and is designed to enhance your work or gaming experience — and lessen eye strain — by spreading the colors from your screen onto the wall behind it in real time. The idea is to reduce the contrast in colors between the computer screen and the background area. The the idea might not be new, and people have been home-brewing their own content-driven lighting like this for a while, but this is the first I've seen that looks like a simple add-on.
Cloud

Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud 62

Posted by Soulskill
from the cloud-of-the-living-dead dept.
judgecorp writes: Surprisingly, critical applications still rely on old platforms, although legacy hardware is on its last legs. Swiss emulation expert Stromasys is offering emulation in the cloud for old hardware using a tool cheekily named after Charon, the ferryman to the afterlife. Systems covered include the Vax and PDP/11 platforms from Digital Equipment (which was swallowed by Compaq and then HP) as well as Digital's Alpha RISC systems, and HP's HP3000. It also offers Sparc emulation, although Oracle might dispute the need for this.
Graphics

NVIDIA Launches Mobile Maxwell GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M Notebook Graphics 29

Posted by Soulskill
from the where-efficiency-is-king dept.
MojoKid writes: When Nvidia launched their new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 last month, it was obvious that these cards would be coming to mobile sooner rather than later. The significant increase that Maxwell offers in performance-per-watt means that these GPUs should shine in mobile contexts, maybe even more-so than in desktop. Today, Nvidia is unveiling two new mobile GPUs — the GeForce GTX 980M and 970M. Both notebook graphics engines are based on Maxwell's 28nm architecture, and both are trimmed slightly from the full desktop implementation. The GTX 980M is a 1536-core chip (just like the GTX 680 / 680M) while the GTX 970 will pack 1280 cores. Clock speeds are 1038MHz base for the GTX 980M and 924MHz for the GTX 970M, which is significantly faster than the previous gen GTX 680M's launch speeds. The 980M will carry up to 4GB of RAM, while the 970M will offer 3GB and a smaller memory bus.

From eyeballing relative performance expectations, the GTX 970M should be well-suited to 1080p or below at high detail levels, while the GTX 980M should be capable of ultra detail at 1080p or higher resolutions. Maxwell's better efficiency means that it should offer a significant performance improvement over mobile Kepler, even with the same number of cores. Also with this launch Nvidia is introducing "Battery Boost" as a solution for games with less demanding graphics, where battery life can be extended by governing clock speeds to maintain playable frames, without overpower the GPU at higher than needed frame rates.
Math

Fixing Steam's User Rating Charts 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the hmm-same-distribution-as-professional-reviews dept.
lars_doucet writes: Steam's new search page lets you sort by "user rating," but the algorithm they're using is broken. For instance, a DLC pack with a single positive review appears above a major game with a 74% score and 15,000+ ratings.

The current "user rating" ranking system seems to divide everything into big semantic buckets ("Overwhelmingly Positive", "Positive", "Mixed", etc.), stack those in order, then sort each bucket's contents by the total number of reviews per game. Given that Steam reviews skew massively positive, (about half are "very positive" or higher), this is virtually indistinguishable from a standard "most popular" chart.

Luckily, there's a known solution to this problem — use statistical sampling to account for disparate numbers of user reviews, which gives "hidden gems" with statistically significant high positive ratings, but less popularity, a fighting chance against games that are already dominating the charts.
Microsoft

Microsoft's "RoomAlive" Transforms Any Room Into a Giant Xbox Game 66

Posted by samzenpus
from the from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home dept.
An anonymous reader writes Microsoft has unveiled a new augmented reality experience called "RoomAlive". Using projectors and Kinect, RoomAlive allows for fully interactive gaming experiences that take up an entire 3D space. From the article: "RoomAlive builds on the familiar concepts of IllumiRoom, but pushes things a lot further by extending an Xbox gaming environment to an entire living room. It's a proof-of-concept demo, just like IllumiRoom, and it combines Kinect and projectors to create an augmented reality experience that is interactive inside a room. You can reach out and hit objects from a game, or interact with games through any surfaces of a room. RoomAlive tracks the position of a gamers head across all six Kinect sensors, to render content appropriately."
Intel

Intel Drops Gamasutra Sponsorship Over Controversial Editorials 724

Posted by timothy
from the middle-of-the-road dept.
An anonymous reader writes Processor firm Intel has withdrawn its advertising from Gamasutra in response to the site's decision to carry feminist articles. The articles had drawn the ire of the self-described "Gater" movement, a grass-roots campaign to discredit prominent female games journalists. Intel was apparently so inundated with criticism for sponsoring the Gamasutra site that it had no choice but to withdraw support. An Intel spokesperson explained that "We take feedback from our customers very seriously especially as it relates to contextually relevant content and placements" and as such Gamasutra was no longer an appropriate venue for their products."
Australia

How Hackers Accidentally Sold a Pre-Release XBox One To the FBI 67

Posted by timothy
from the we-call-this-the-low-priority-unit dept.
SpacemanukBEJY.53u (3309653) writes Earlier this week, an indictment was unsealed outlining a long list of charges against a group of men that stole intellectual property from gaming companies such as Epic Games, Valve, Activision and Microsoft. An Australian member of the group, Dylan Wheeler, describes how it was betrayed by an informant working for the FBI, which bought a hardware mockup of an Xbox One that the group built using source code stolen from Microsoft's Game Developer Network Portal. The device, which the FBI paid $5,000 for, was supposed to be sent to the Seychelles, but never arrived, which indicated the hacking collective had a mole.
Movies

Tetris To Be Made Into a Live Action Film 137

Posted by Soulskill
from the followed-by-tetris-2:-revenge-of-the-tetrominoes dept.
SchrodingerZ writes: Threshold Entertainment has announced that it will be producing a live action film based on the Russian stacking game Tetris. Designed in 1984 by Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris has sold over 35 million copies worldwide. Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff promises "a very big, epic sci-fi movie," explaining, "this isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page. We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes." Kasanoff is known for his work with the video game films Mortal Kombat, and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, collectively grossing $105 million in revenue. The studio is planning "a story behind Tetris which makes it a much more imaginative thing," though no directors nor cast have been connected to the film. Threshold Entertainment teased the idea, saying "What you [will] see in Tetris is the teeny tip of an iceberg that has intergalactic significance."
The Military

Four Charged With Stealing Army Helicopter Training Software 46

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-what-hacker-doesn't-have-a-helicopter-laying-around dept.
itwbennett writes: Four alleged members of an international computer hacking ring face charges in the U.S. of breaking into the computer networks of the U.S. Army and several tech companies and stealing several software packages, including programs used to train Army helicopter pilots, as well as software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console, the Xbox Live online gaming service and popular games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3.

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