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ACLU Sues Over Legality of "Targeted Killing" By Drones

bishiraver Re:Domestic vs. Foreign (776 comments)

Soldiers request Predator backup against military targets.

This is talking about the targeted execution of individuals via predator drones. In that situation, they're called in by intelligence reports and flown to the designated target area whereupon they eliminate the target.

How do we know these intelligence reports are correct?

How do we know the intelligence report generated by an intelligence subcontractor wasn't fabricated?

How do we know they weren't based on misinformation?

For the summary execution of a US citizen, that's a lot of what ifs that should be left in a court of law, not some intelligence subcontractor's laptop.

more than 4 years ago

Code Bubbles — Rethinking the IDE's User Interface

bishiraver Re:bubbles = isolation (198 comments)

Typically, the only time you have (or should have) lines that cannot be intuitively line-broken and indented is if you're writing mindfuckingly verbose code like

SuperSpaceMapStrategyFactory<SubLightIonEngineTypeManager<MediumPoweredIonEngine>> marsRocketEnterplanetaryEngine = new SuperSpaceMapStrategyFactory<SubLightIonEngineTypeManager<MediumPoweredIonEngine>>(new RocketEnginePattern(engineDiameter,engineForce));

Which, I suppose, you only really get if you use Java anyway. Otherwise 80 columns is more than enough space for anyone.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:Ability has nothing to do with it (480 comments)

People who got caught by the trapped-box / poisoned-food ploy were morons, imho (saying this as someone who got hit with an exploded box in a guard tower outside Yew once. Woops!) -

If you found a bag of groceries at the side of the road, would you take them home and eat them?

If you saw an abandoned piece of luggage on the bus, would you go rooting around in it?

Think of it as karma... :)

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:UO wasn't that much fun really (480 comments)

Thanks for the thoughtful post.

I wonder what the game would be like if they had encoded virtues into it instead of the half-baked notoriety/honor system.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:Also WoW keeps it sane (480 comments)

In UO, if you attacked other players needlessly you'd drop in reputation, eventually getting instakilled if you set foot in town. It also allowed other players to attack you (and gain rep for themselves) with impunity, leading to something unique to UO - Notoriety PKs; "blues" who indiscriminately attacked and hunted down every last "red" they could find ;)

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:Also WoW keeps it sane (480 comments)

Wish I could mod you up, but I've already put my 2c in to this thread.

There were the occasional rare magic items, but they weren't /that/ much more powerful, and several kinds were limited in how long they were useful (a sword of lightning with 3 charges, useless after that).

Much more lucrative were items crafted by server-famous people, or having a piece of fur (not leather).

Or the "skull of soandso" rolling around in your bankbox.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:UO wasn't that much fun really (480 comments)

UO proved that you could build a large enough base of people around it.

Just look at the glut of houses pre-Trammel..

They just wanted it to be bigger. They didn't realize they had something niche and magical.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:UO wasn't that much fun really (480 comments)

Then again, things like the Shadowclan Orcs don't really translate well to anything other than pre-Tramell UO :) And that was a huge factor in making Catskills a great server to play on.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:Shadowbane (480 comments)

Shadowbane had the following flaws:

* You had to mercilessly camp mob spawns in order to get money for your guild/city.
* It was disasterously easy to quit your guild and join the rival so you end up on the winning side

This made things: boring.

more than 4 years ago

Why Are There No Popular Ultima Online-Like MMOs?

bishiraver Re:Missing the point (480 comments)

Why did I enjoy UO in its late-beta early-release stage, then, as a complete non-griefer?

Granted, I was a lot younger back then, so this may all simply be rose-tinted goggles.

But here's what I liked about it:

Player housing that wasn't too widespread. This was before every buildable square inch of the gameworld was covered in castles and houses. The wilderness actually felt like wilderness. There were birds flitting around, and then all of a sudden you hear an ettin roar. Rut roh! (Compare to when I left it, about a year later: running between houses.. between houses.. argh what's with all the houses.. hey, a tower with "ASS" spelt out in cloth on its roof..)

First entrepreneurial act: saving up enough money to buy one of those rare dye tubs in the trinsic tailer's shop, and proceeding to sell customization to other players who missed the spawn! Then again, the guards were broken that day in beta, and a group of hoodlums had set up shop at the south entrance. (beta)

Hanging out at the Yew Trading Company; one of the first guilds on Great Lakes to get a house with a forge in it placed it in the field at the crossroads just south of Yew. They took & delivered orders through the window. Occasionally PKs would attack, so they formed an alliance with a more combat oriented guild. They'd pay guildmembers to sit around outside and protect their clientele.

A true sense of "danger;" every time a stranger came on screen I'd hit my all names hotkey. If they were red, I'd run the other direction as fast as I could. Running away from those big bad dread lords was fun! It got my blood pumping! Heck, I'd just bought some new platemail from Lilo! Compared to yawn, another instance...

Had one character who was perpetually grey. Had studded leather armor of the best magical rating, along with an imminently accurate bow of vanquishing. And he was a GM archer/tactician/hiding. PKs and NPKs alike would try to kill him. He'd either run and hide or kill 'em outright. What kept him grey was if he saw someone kill an animal (bird|rabbit|hart|bear) and not skin it, he'd run em out of "his woods." After giving them ample warning to gtfo our quit it.

The Orcs who set up base at the orc camp southwest of Yew. They were badass, and humongous. Occasionally they'd set up camp along the road and demand tribute. Occasionally they'd get attacked by people who thought they were badass PvP guilds.

They almost always lost. There were almost always ten or twenty orcs hanging out at the fort. Sometimes a lot more.

Their Drinkee fests were freakin' great.

That's the kind of content you can't get from WoW. Or any other carebare MMO. You don't even get that kind of content with Eve (though you do get truly righteous massive space battles, which are kinda cool I guess). Heck, even a primarily PvP game like DAoC didn't get content like that.

What's missing? Here's the attributes UO had that garnered more of that kind of behavior than any other MMO to date:

1) Free-range PvP outside of towns
2) easy ability to tell if a PK was a PK on first sight
3) "stuff" was relatively easy and cheap to come by. Lost a set of armor? meh, you probably have another couple sets sitting in the bank that are just as good.
4) You didn't have to go out grinding a treadmill to get to a state where you could comfortable interact with the rest of the game. It took 3-4 days of heavy playing to get a solid character up and running.
5) there were craptons of "useless" items that actually showed up when you dropped 'em on the ground. Bones, rugs, mugs, clothes, everything. Heck, even "beef jerky" (too bad they had to take that out after they released in Germany)
6) It didn't force your playing into a paradigm. Instead of being an amusement park with clearly marked lines and rides, it was an adventure.
7) At the time, it was something that was brand spankin' new. Sure, Meridian 59 and other MUDs around had done similar stuff. But none of it had the mainstream appeal that UO had.

Of course, in parting, my favorite thing that happened in UO happened before release, when things were still pretty buggy:

To set the stage: Trinsic. The guards are bugged again - none of them are around. Everybody's running around in their newbie equipment, because characters just got wiped an hour or two ago. All of a sudden, a naked guy comes running in the west entrance yelling "ETTIN! TROLL!!!!!" ... everybody runs towards the entrance to see it. Then immediately backpedals. There's a couple trolls, an ettin, and moseying on behind them: a dragon. Straight into Trinsic. People hide in houses. People hide on roofs.

The carnage was unbelievable.

The explanation even moreso:

Back then, they had an ecology system whereby creatures had to, well, eat. Cougar eats pig, orc eats cougar. Unfortunately the only mobs easy enough for the glut of newbs to kill were birds and rabbits and rats. So eventually the bigger, badder mobs got hungry. And started wandering farther and farther afield.

Until they got to Trinsic. And had their gluttony sated by the hordes of noobs.

And then there was witnessing Rainz murder Lord British. That was pretty fun, too :)

more than 4 years ago

Windows Mobile 6.5 Launched, Panned

bishiraver Re:Direct ascent. (202 comments)

And has made the quality of OS and hardware better. The easier a customer can switch devices, the more you'll strive to keep that customer on your device.

more than 4 years ago

GE Developing 1Tb Hologram Disc Readable By a Modified Blu-ray Drive

bishiraver Re:Well (238 comments)

Netflix membership + blueray: $6.00/mo for one disc out at a time. Average turnaround time: 3 days. That works out to .60 cents per night per blueray rental.

Little bit cheaper than $1 a night dvds ;)

more than 4 years ago

Schooling, Homeschooling, and Now, "Unschooling"

bishiraver Re:So it's a fnacy nmae (1345 comments)

You mean, instead of doing manual labor or working in the service industry, they can be call center personnel or accounts receivable or receptionists or records management or middle management, at position (15,67) in cube farm D, sector 4 of floor 8 of building 2, Giraffe campus?

more than 4 years ago

iPhone Straining AT&T Network

bishiraver Re:Lack of bandwidth is not Apple's fault (551 comments)

Unless, of course, you bought your iPhone free and clear of the subsidized contract price. Then you can switch whenever you like.. as long as you have a reason for contract termination (contract changes, etc).

more than 4 years ago

iPhone Straining AT&T Network

bishiraver Re:slow data (551 comments)

3G network is fine and dandy?

Apparently you've never tried to use an ssh app over 3g in manhattan..

more than 4 years ago

Poor Design Choices In the Star Wars Universe

bishiraver Re:At the Risk of Sounding Like an Apologist (832 comments)

Reminds me of the Jaffa in SG1.

In one episode, SG1 is showing some faction the difference between the staff weapons and the assault rifles that SG1 uses. They show a Jaffa trying to hit a target perhaps 20m away - he misses several times, as you can imagine the staff weapon is rather inaccurate. One of the SG1 team then proceeds to shoot the shit out of it with their P90.

The relevancy is thus:

They explain that the staff weapon isn't made for battle - it's made for fear and intimidation. The same could probably be said for storm troopers: the blasters are loud, inaccurate, and give away your position like nobody's business. Their armor is for show, to embody intimidation and quell resistance.

It doesn't make much sense in the SG1 universe, however, as it seems like the different Goa'uld are constantly skirmishing each other. You'd think they'd use the staff weapons to intimidate their slaves, and something a little more efficient for actual battles with other Goa'uld.

In Atlantis, Ronon has a pistol that seems to shoot the same kind of energy as the staff weapons, with the caveat that it can be set to stun. Because it's a pistol, he's much more accurate than a Jaffa ever would be with his staff weapon. ... but this is only marginally related to the topic at hand, which is: Why was a wookie living on endor?

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Trial Misconduct Cost $40 Million

bishiraver Re:Stop feeding the trolls! (231 comments)

Feeding them after midnight - THATS when the problems start!

more than 4 years ago

Microsoft Trial Misconduct Cost $40 Million

bishiraver Re:Let me guess ... (231 comments)

FWIW, WordPerfect is the defacto standard in the legal world. Don't ask me why...

more than 4 years ago

Blackboard Patent Invalidated By Appellate Court

bishiraver Re:blackboard is horrible (142 comments)

Full-scale language support isn't that much more difficult. All it takes is making sure there are no plaintext strings in your html output - every UI string is run through the translation engine (and cached). Strings in the translation table typically look like, "{0} days remaining" - then you just roll the entire table out to a third party (or volunteers) who can translate.

For RTL languages, you may need to include an additional stylesheet or two.

The hard part is converting an app with tons of static strings to a translated app.

(Worked on one app that needed to be completely converted; worked on another app that was in the process of being converted and was almost finished. Both global B2B webapps, so accurate translations were very important - we had a division whose job it was to not only make sure everything had translations, but that the translations were accurate; actual translations were taken care of by a third party service)

about 5 years ago



bishiraver bishiraver writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bishiraver (707931) writes "Interplay has announced that they are developing a massively multiplayer game based on their Fallout franchise. In order to raise the projected $75 Million budget, they've released stock for sale on one of the Euronext Exchanges. Production is planned to begin in January, with release targeted at Q3, 2010. They plan on reaching a return on investment within 3 years of launch; this, however, is assuming they reach 1 million subscribers within the first year. Only three other MMOGs have reached 1 million customers, according to Lineage, Lineage 2, and World of Warcraft."

bishiraver bishiraver writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bishiraver (707931) writes "Multiverse has announced that they have gained rights to a Firefly Massively Multiplayer Online Game. Multiverse is a company started by several former Netscape employees, and they have developed an engine / network that works for all of their games. They intend to break into the MMO industry by being an MMO publisher of sorts — you download the client, subscribe to the games (all built by external development houses). By standardizing, they can provide a less expensive alternative to the tens of millions of dollars and several years it takes to currently develop an MMO. They have said they will hire out a studio to build the game for them. Corey Bridgets, Massive's Executive Producer, says: 'If you're doing science fiction, you have to really think it out and create an incredibly rich environment that is compelling in its own right, and worth exploring and going back to week after week. That's what Joss Whedon did with Firefly.'"

bishiraver bishiraver writes  |  more than 7 years ago

bishiraver (707931) writes "I'm currently writing an extra-planar high fantasy roleplaying game setting — pen and paper. The rules and setting, once fleshed out to a point of consistant mood — etc — will but put up on a wiki for community content and possible rules additions / clarifications / balancing. It would also be free for distribution as long as reference is given to the wiki. My question is this: I am having a tough time deciding on a dice system. I dislike the d20 system due to its very scattered spread — the only thing that goes up is the average. I'm looking for a simple, one-die-type system that encompasses 1) as player character skill increases, the spread tightens, 2) as player character skill increases, the average increases, 3) open-ended rolls (exploding dice), and 4) mechanics to 'fudge' — both on the player end and the GM end.

I've looked heavily to 7th Sea and Legend of the 5 Rings for inspiration, as their systems accomplish pretty much exactly what I need. I've also looked at White Wolf's system a bit, but some of their rules are seemingly arbitrary.

What are some of your pet dice systems (simple rules for how many of what kind of dice to roll, what you do with those dice after you roll, to beat a difficulty number)? Some of your favorite Pen and Paper systems that I haven't looked into?

I've come up with a few on my own, but they seem to be easily understood cognitively, but difficult and arduous to actually implement (one involved rolling up to 12d6, counting out the ones that were under or equal to the stat, adding them together, counting the ones that were over and adding one to the total for each, each that were equal to the stat 'exploded,' and this die exploded again if a six was rolled... lots of adding there, lots of steps. It accomplished what I wanted (linear progression in average results, tighter spread as skill level increased), but leaves a lot to be desired in the 'fun' factor."


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