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[#] Thu Sep 18 2008 18:31:39 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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The add-ons are encouraged by Blizzard, who built WoW to be extensible in this way.

Note that they are *not* mods.  They are add-ons.  You cannot make mods to WoW, only add-ons.  There's a very large difference between the two terms.



[#] Thu Sep 18 2008 19:20:56 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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Before the over the top, logo heavy madness of today’s next-gen masterpieces became the visual norm for video game cover art, there was the basic beauty of the Atari 2600’s approach to package design. Clean composition and vague descriptive text came together to create something that was just so…intangibly fresh and mesmerizing. But what if the biggest games of now fell into the hands of a 2600-era artist? We’d have Atari Modern Classics, a vintage look at our new favorites through the pixelated beer goggles of an era where simplicity was king.

 

http://the-minusworld.com/2008/09/16/atari-modern-classics/ 



[#] Sat Sep 20 2008 01:21:02 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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The 32 Best Xbox 360 Games

If you call yourself a gamer, it's a surefire bet you own an Xbox 360, and with good reason: Microsoft's next-gen console has a truckload of games, a winning online formula with Xbox Live, and a controller that rests easy in your palms for hours on end. From the casual platformer to the hardcore shooter, there's something for everyone on this system, and we've listed the very best right here. These are the 32 finest Xbox 360 games money can buy.

http://www.gamepro.com/article/features/207149/the-32-best-xbox-360-games-page-1-of-4/ 



[#] Sat Sep 20 2008 01:23:17 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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EA relents, changes Spore DRM. Too little, too late?

The story of Spore continues on, but, unfortunately for EA, the game is now firmly in the middle of the larger debate over DRM. EA now claims to have heard the complaints of gamers, and has detailed a few changes it hopes will ease the tension, but whether this appeasement will be enough to make gamers happy is an open question. "We're willing to evolve our policy to accommodate our consumers," Frank Gibeau, EA Games label president, said. 

The install limit for Spore will be upped to five, from three, and EA promises it is working on a way to deauthorize the game on your machines so you can move your installs between five computers without having to contact customer service, an expensive proposition in places like Australia where the call costs nearly $3 a minute. Talking to MTV Multiplayer, EA claimed that it was rare for gamers to install the game on multiple machines, or almost unheard of for gamers to want to put the game on more than two systems. 

Here is a look at the data EA provided, although it stresses that these numbers are a sample and shouldn't be taken as indicative of total sales: 

  • Total activations: 437,138
  • Users activating on only 1 machine: 86 percent
  • Users activating on more than 1 machine: 14 percent
  • User trying to activate on more than 3 machines: 0.4 percent

If this data is to be believed, the newly implemented five-install limit should be more than enough to keep customers happy, along with the to-be-released deauthorization system. Still, the very idea of any kind of limit seems to gall many gamers, who believe this system turns their game purchases into glorified rentals. It's likely these new "loosened" restrictions will be hit with the same vitriol. 

EA did confirm one thing to MTV: if the authorization servers are ever taken down, the game won't become useless. "If we were to ever turn off the servers on the game, we would put through a patch before that to basically make the DRM null and void," the company claimed. "We're never walking away from the game and making it into a situation where people aren’t going to be able to play it."

EA has also fixed the issue of only having one account per game, and will now allow five screen names per install. The official post details the update. "Each Screen Name will be able to view and create content, Buddy Lists and Sporecasts that will be tied to that Screen Name. The Achievements earned will be credited to the Screen Name that is logged in at the time the Achievement is triggered," it was explained. "In the first iteration of this change, all Screen Names will be playing in the same Galaxy and any content downloaded by any Screen Name will be available in the Everything section."

While these movements into less-restrictive DRM are nice, the game has already lost quite a bit of momentum, not to mention good will. Gamers made this displeasure clear by carpet-bombing Amazon.com with one-star reviews, and the install limit of Red Alert 3 has also been receiving negative press. Even worse for PR, the name Spore now has many negative connotations, very few of which have anything to do with the game, aside from the install restrictions.

After all this madness, one thing is sadly clear: gaming DRM isn't going anywhere. "Without the ability to protect our work from piracy, developers across the entire game industry will eventually stop investing time and money in PC titles," Gibeau stated. The pirates remain in the back of the room, giggling. 

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080919-ea-relents-changes-spore-drm-too-little-too-late.html 



[#] Sun Sep 21 2008 11:02:33 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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This might sound a little stupid, but I sometimes wonder why the gaming companies have not tried USB security dongles.

If one can make those things cheaply enough, you should be able to protect the game very handily with those, such that you're required to plug it into the machine in which you wish to play the game.

This should allow you to copy the game to as many systems as you want, as many times as you want, without concern that the person is playing it on more than one machine at a time.  This strikes me as very fair.

And, if you use the right kind of dongle, you don't even have to install a driver (they have USB security dongles that work off the generic mouse or keyboard driver in some fashion).



[#] Sun Sep 21 2008 11:34:05 EDT from Ragnar Danneskjold @ Uncensored

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Mainly because it doesn't work. We had the same thing with serial dongles too. Either people would recreate them, or hack the software that detects the damn things....


[#] Sun Sep 21 2008 12:37:50 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Did the serial dongles use public key cryptography?

[#] Sun Sep 21 2008 16:44:11 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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Star Wars: The Force Unleashed Tops 1m Units in Five Days

Vgchartz preliminary data shows that Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has debuted to sales of over 1m units worldwide since its release on September 16. The strong debut comes despite mixed reviews.

http://news.vgchartz.com/news.php?id=2079



[#] Mon Sep 22 2008 08:48:00 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Hmm... we haven't heard of anyone hacking the dongles with our system, but that could speak more to the lack of sophistication on the part of our customers than anything else. Or we've done a better job of hiding when we're reading the key.

[#] Mon Sep 22 2008 09:24:38 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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For a video game, you'd think it would be a great thing -- you could make the game freely downloadable and allow it to operate in a very limited preview mode until the dongle is present.

<RMS> Of course, non-free software is universally evil anyway. </RMS>

[#] Mon Sep 22 2008 09:27:16 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Yeah, so the open-source community's video games are sooo popular.

[#] Mon Sep 22 2008 09:42:38 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I, for one, would *much* rather be playing Tux Racer than something like Spore.

Seriously though, it would be great if someone could figure out a way to make the open source model work for gaming. It does seem unlikely, given that open source is all about commoditization and games only sell when they're way out in front of the pack with something new.

[#] Mon Sep 22 2008 11:27:21 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Creating a decent game requires a lot of demanding work. And it doesn't generally involve 'scratching an itch', like other things in the open-source world. Unless that itch happens to involve creating some kind of game with a different sort of mechanics than what exists today, but that is rarely an 'itch' as much as a 'desire to see something different'.

There's artwork involved, too. The artwork is a significant part of the game, for a lot of people. To make the artwork work smoothly, though, there has to be some consensus of design, which can be a little tough to do in an open-source setting. Not impossible, just tricky.

I think, most likely, the best way to approach this problem, for open-source, is to work on building layers upon layers of tools that make the creation of a game easier and easier.

Open-source will likely always be a tad behind the big guys in the gaming world, but it could possibly come closer than it has so far, if it could just build on a firm foundation.

[#] Tue Sep 23 2008 08:30:21 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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Bungie teases new Halo

 

Halo developer Bungie has started up its next game's teaser campaign (again), after the originally planned reveal was blocked by Microsoft earlier this year.

The now infamous 'superintendent' has appeared on the front ofBungie's website, backing up rumours that the mysterious game could be revealed as soon as this week.

The developer has also confirmed for the first time that the new game, which carries the tagline "keep it clean", does indeed take place in the Halo universe. 

In the teaser's fake computer gibberish, which we bet Bungie's best writers spent ages coming up with, the post makes references to the UNSC, the Earth military organisation from the Halo games.

Bungie's new Halo, which Microsoft has already gone on record as happening, is said to be a third-person squad shooter in the style of Ghost Recon. It makes sense, seeing as ex-GRAW creative director Christian Allen is now under Bungie's pay role.

Hopefully we'll see something this week - the relentless teasing is getting annoying now.

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=197591 



[#] Tue Sep 23 2008 22:02:26 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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Spore + [Your naturally lecherous lascivious lewd libidinious imagination] = Sporn!

(NSFW!)

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sporn&search_type=&aq=f 

 



[#] Wed Sep 24 2008 09:38:31 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Sadly, I thought to do something like that, but didn't actually do it.

[#] Thu Sep 25 2008 07:26:06 EDT from flynnfx @ Uncensored

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For all you video-game warriors - now you can have your own war medal!

http://www.supermandolini.com/acatalog/console_wars_veteran.html 



[#] Sat Sep 27 2008 18:47:19 EDT from Ford II @ Uncensored

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Seriously though, it would be great if someone could figure out a way

to make the open source model work for gaming. It does seem unlikely,

given that open source is all about commoditization and games only sell

when they're way out in front of the pack with something new.

If I'm hearing you right, then nothing really great will ever come out of the open source community, they only try to play catch up?

[#] Sun Sep 28 2008 00:03:25 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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You can hear that if you want to, but Microsoft still won't give you a job.

To put it another way, I think that what we've seen so far is that open source is good at producing useful, reliable software in a very methodical fashion -- and as a result the speed with which it produces software is fundamentally incompatible with the video game market, in which success depends on bringing products to market in relatively short time frames.

[#] Sun Sep 28 2008 06:39:31 EDT from davew @ Uncensored

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Sun Sep 28 2008 00:03:25 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar@uncnsrd

You can hear that if you want to, but Microsoft still won't give you a job.

To put it another way, I think that what we've seen so far is that open source is good at producing useful, reliable software in a very methodical fashion -- and as a result the speed with which it produces software is fundamentally incompatible with the video game market, in which success depends on bringing products to market in relatively short time frames.

Unfortunately I find I have to agree with that.

As many of you know I asked Terry Brooks to consider selling me the rights to produce a MUD based on the Shannara series of books. Although there is nothing much to report from Terry's people my research into the viability of the project indicates that its not going to be viable in the ways I had hoped.

I had hoped to produce an open source game engine (or use and existing one) with a closed MUD lib / environment and charge for play (because the rights are going to be expensive)). The problem is that a pay to play game needs to be complete imediately on release. Release date would need to be in line with the planned movie. We'd need artwork, sounds, music etc and an entire world built ready to go and an entire administration / billing department as well.

With the ammount of work involved we'd need about a thousand spare time workers to follow the open source model or maybe ten working full time to follow the closed source model. The open source model would have meant each worker gets a stake in the company running the game and thus gets paid only once the game is operating and making money, keeping development costs at a minimum. Closed source would mean an investment of at least £500,000 to cover wages and equipment during the first year of development before the game is even up and running and no way to generate revenue until the game is up.

Perhaps "open source model" is the wrong description. Perhaps its better described as "distributed development".



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