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Comments

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Return of the Game Development Ninjas!

simoniker Re:To clarify... (19 comments)

Oops, that'll teach me to submit too early in the morning, without recourse to caffeine.

more than 7 years ago

Submissions

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BioShock Creator Levine Teases Next Project

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

simoniker writes "In a new interview, BioShock creator Ken Levine has been talking about his studio's philosophy and teasing, at least abstractly, his next project, of which he says "we had a scope and ambition in mind which is more ambitious than anything we've ever done. Even more, substantially more ambitious than BioShock." He also commented on 2K Marin, currently working on BioShock 2, wishing them luck but making it clear that he is not majorly involved in the game: "I'm not working on BioShock 2. I make no claim to anything on BioShock 2,and I think it's important that that's their product, and their culture. Because you can't just clone a studio.""
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Game Design Essentials: 20 RPGs

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

simoniker writes "In the latest in his Game Design Essentials series for Gamasutra, which has previously spanned subjects from 'mysterious games', through 'open world games', 'unusual control schemes' and 'difficult games', writer John Harris examines 10 games from the Western computer RPG (CRPG) tradition and 10 from the Japanese console RPG (JRPG) tradition, to figure out what exactly makes them tick. From the entry on Pokemon: "The front-line Pokémon do all the fighting. They are traded back and forth between trainers, even into, effectively, other universes through either a strange link-cable portal or, these days, converted into photons and broadcast through the ether. Do they question the motives of the god-beings who command them? Do they treat their lot philosophically? Do they pine for the pixel-grass in which they spent their childhoods?""
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How Much Money Do Free To Play MMOs Make?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

simoniker writes "Over at Gamasutra, a new feature article discusses how much money free-to-play MMO games make, with specific real-world stats from game developers willing to discuss how they make money with PC microtransaction-based games. In particular, Puzzle Pirates co-creator Daniel James reveals that "the average revenue per user (ARPU) is between one and two dollars a month, but only about 10% of his player base has ever paid him anything. As a result, he says, approximately 5,000 gamers are generating the $230,000 in revenue he sees each month." It's obviously quite a different model from the regular $15/month for World Of Warcraft, but it evidently works for some companies."
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Epic's Sweeney On The PC Shareware Revolution

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

simoniker writes "Over at Gamasutra, there's a massive new interview with Epic (Mega)Games founder Tim Sweeney, with the guy who's still a key technical figure at the Unreal Engine/Gears Of War developer discussing his early programming days, the story behind classic shareware game/tool ZZT, the origins of Epic, the '90s shareware business, and even a bit about the future as well. Particularly neat is his revelation that you can still order ZZT via mail, with orders fulfilled by his dad: "My father still lives at the address where Potomac Computer Systems started up, so he still gets an order every few weeks... he's retired now, so he doesn't have much to do. Every week, he'll just take a stack of a few orders, put disks in them, and mail them out. So you can still buy ZZT.""
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Nintendo Wins Out In 2008 Top 20 Game Publishers

simoniker simoniker writes  |  about 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Game Developer magazine's annual Top 20 Publishers report has debuted for 2008, revealing that publisher Nintendo, which last year unseated the long-dominant Electronic Arts, has maintained its top position on the chart. The Kyoto-headquartered publisher's extremely strong stable of first-party game releases for Wii and DS, alongside chart-topping reputation scores, again left it atop the chart. After Nintendo and EA, completing the top five are: Activision, keeping its #3 spot for the third year running; and Ubisoft, which maintained last year's impressive four-place surge. Sony Computer Entertainment also jumped into the top five thanks to an increased slate of titles, improving on a review record already higher than most, and maintaining positive relationships with its surveyed partners."
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Ensemble Studios' Canceled Project Was Halo MMO

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Following the recent announcement that Microsoft-owned Age Of Empires creator Ensemble Studios would close after the completion of Halo Wars, Gamasutra has discovered that a now-canceled Halo MMO was in development at the studio, unearthing prototype UI and level screenshots of the Ensemble-developed project. The prototype art, which was at one point made available on an Ensemble-linked online artist portfolio website, further confirms previous rumors that the studio was working on an MMO based on the Bungie-created sci-fi franchise."
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A History Of Atari: The Golden Years

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Over at Gamasutra, Steve Fulton has published a massive 23,000-word history of Atari from 1978 to 1981, encompassing "...some of the most exciting developments the company ever saw in its history: the rise of the 2600, the development of some of the company's most enduringly popular games (Centipede, Asteroids) and the development and release of its first home computing platforms." Best quote in there for Slashdot readers, perhaps: "Atari had contracted with a young programmer named Bill Gates to modify a BASIC compiler that he had for another system to be used on the 800. After that project stalled for over a year Al was called upon to replace him with another developer. So... Al is the only person I know ever to have fired Bill Gates.""
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A History of Gaming Platforms: Mattel Intellivisio

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Following up on their profiles of the Commodore 64, Vectrex, Apple II, and Atari 2600, game historians Loguidice and Barton examine the lifespan of Mattel's cult '80s console the Intellivision, from Astrosmash to AD&D and beyond. From the article: "When Mattel released its Intellivision video game system in 1980, Atari knew it finally had a serious contender for the console crown. The Intellivision was more advanced than Atari's VCS (later known as the 2600) and featured distinctive software, clever marketing campaigns and sophisticated (though quirky) controllers. Mattel cultivated a unique and long-lasting brand identity, and it's not hard to find loyal fans of the system even today.""
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How Do You Identify Top Developers?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "How do you work out who's a real star in the programming interview process? Over at Dr. Dobbs Journal, Chris Diggins has been discussing how to find high quality programmers, noting: "The really outstanding candidates are very hard to recognize on paper and in interviews. They can sometimes be shy, or nervous, or not particularly good at promoting themselves", and also suggesting: "Don't test people's knowledge of language specifications. In our jobs we have access to books, people, and the Internet. Good programmers know how to look up references, and use their tools effectively to write code." What's the key questions you can ask to separate wheat from chaff?"
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Stroustrup: C++ Education Needs To Improve

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Over at Dr. Dobb's, C++ creator Bjarne Stroustrup has given an in-depth interview dealing with, among other things, the upcoming C++0x programming standard, as well as his views on the past and future of C++. He particularly comments on some of the difficulties of educating people on C++: "In the early days of C++, I worried a lot about 'not being able to teach teachers fast enough.' I had reason to worry because much of the obvious poor use of C++ can be traced to fundamental misunderstandings among educators. I obviously failed to articulate my ideals and principles sufficiently." Though he notes: "Given that the problems are not restricted to C++, I'm not alone in that. As far as I can see, every large programming community suffers, so the problem is one of scale", is there anything specific to C++ that makes it trickier to learn/teach?"
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Parallel Programming - Big Outside The States?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 5 years ago

simoniker writes "In a new weblog post on Dobbs Code Talk, Intel's James Reinders has been discussing the growth of concurrency in programming, suggesting that "...programming for multi-core is catching the imagination of programmers more in Japan, China, Russia and India than in Europe and the United States." He also commented: "We see a significantly HIGHER interest in jumping on a parallelism from programmers with under 15 years experience, verses programmers with more than 15 years." Any anecdotal evidence on this from Slashdotters?"
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1984 - When Agile Development Goes Horribly Wrong?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker (40) writes "Agile development is meant to be a 'silver bullet' for improving programming productivity and output — but as Scott Ambler explains in a possibly apocryphal article extracted from the (ahem!) April 2008 issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal, that's not always the case. He claims: "Last year, I was brought in to UK-based Gorwell Financial Group to assess a failed software process improvement effort", and explains: "A gentleman whom I'll refer to as Winston Smith (not his real name) had attempted a grass roots, stealth agile adoption effort within his project team.... In the end, Winston's agile adoption effort was squashed. By putting an agile façade on top of traditional strategies, Gorwell managed to derail the productivity improvement potential of actual agile techniques.""
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What Programming Languages Should You Learn Next?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Over at Dobbs Code Talk, Chris Diggins has been discussing programming languages beyond C++ or Java, suggesting options such as Ruby ("does a great job of showing how powerful a dynamic language can be, and leverages powerful ideas from Smalltalk, Perl, and Lisp") but suggesting Scala as a first choice ("Very accessible to programmers from different backgrounds.") What would your choice be for programmers extending beyond their normal boundaries?"
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How C++ Was Born

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "In a reprint from the August 1988 issue of the classic Byte magazine, new Dr Dobb's Journal-related website Dobbs Code Talk has published Bjarne Stroustrup's thoughts on 'a better C', describing what would come to be known as C++, the superset of C he created. As he explains in the conclusion: "What distinguishes C++ from other programming languages? C++ was designed under severe constraints of compatibility, internal consistency, and efficiency.""
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Using Excel For A 3D Graphics Engine?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "Obviously whimsical but slightly mindblowing — an Eastern European coder has published video and the Excel tables to get full 3D wireframe and even solid polygonal graphics running in Microsoft Excel. This isn't an Easter Egg by the Excel creators — rather, he's using formulas to output the graphics, using two different methods, and showing all the variables on screen in real time as the 3D is created."
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Should There Be A Wii Game 'Seal Of Quality'?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker (40) writes "Some commentators are now vociferously claiming that the selection of Wii game titles contains a large number of underwhelming, if not downright lackluster titles, especially those from third-party publishers. Should Nintendo institute more stringent checks on what games can be made for its consoles, as Sony does in the U.S. right now? A new article talking to game biz analysts sees Jesse Divnich of The Simexchange disagreeing: "People have forgotten why Nintendo introduced [its 1980s 'Seal Of Quality', now no longer called that] in the first place: to stop piracy and to inform consumers of any extremely low-quality titles. Once piracy wasn't an issue and game quality began to evolve, more and more titles were receiving the seal, diluting its significance... we now have numerous media outlets (magazines, gaming community web sites) that have taken the place of needing a "Seal of Quality." It is unlikely any poorly developed title will fool consumers — shame on Manhunt 2 for thinking otherwise!""
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The Strange History Of The Vectrex

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 6 years ago

simoniker writes "The 'ambitious and unusual' vector-based Vectrex console was one of the most intriguing game console failures of all time, and Bill Loguidice and Matt Barton continue their 'History Of Gaming Platforms' series over at Gamasutra by analyzing the rise, fall, and legacy of the cult '80s console. From the intro: "GCE's vector-based Vectrex failed to win massive audiences, like the Atari 2600 Video Computer System (VCS) or the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) did. Nevertheless, the distinctive platform gained a cult following after being pulled from the market in 1984, two years after its debut, and now enjoys one of the finest homebrew development scenes of any vintage system.""
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Casual Games As In Sex, Not Friday?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  about 7 years ago

simoniker writes "Ian Bogost's latest 'Persuasive Games' column provides a new definition for casual games and their prospects, citing the Zidane Head-Butt game and suggesting: "If Casual Friday is the metaphor that drives casual games as we know them now, then Casual Sex might offer a metaphor to summarize the field's unexplored territory. If casual games (as in Friday) focus on simplicity and short individual play sessions that contribute to long-term mastery and repetition, then casual games (as in sex) focus on simplicity and short play that might not ever be repeated — or even remembered.""
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Game Design Essentials: 20 Open World Games

simoniker simoniker writes  |  about 7 years ago

simoniker writes "The second in Gamasutra's 'Game Design Essentials' series looks at the roots and design lessons of 'open world games' — titles in which the player "is left to his own devices to explore a large world" — from Adventure through Metroid to Grand Theft Auto. From the piece: "When we discuss "open world games" in this article, or sometimes "exploration games," we mean those games where generally the player is left to his own devices to explore a large world. What all of these games share is the seeking of new, interesting regions at whatever time the player deems fit. No force forces the player's motion into new areas. There's no auto-scroll, and there are no artificial level barriers.""
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Star Raiders - Video Games' First Space Opera?

simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 7 years ago

simoniker writes "Continuing Gamasutra's histories of the games voted into the Digital Game Canon, following pieces on Spacewar, on Zork, and on Civilization, the site explores Doug Neubauer's Atari title Star Raiders, a somewhat obscure but vital precursor of the Wing Commander-esque digital space opera. The introduction explains: "Doug Neubauer's Star Raiders was a game that made a vivid first impression. Released in 1979 for the Atari 400 and 800 computers, the game was a surprisingly complex space combat simulation. However, what left players entranced was its smooth, three-dimensional graphics. Star Raiders achieved a level of realism that few people had seen in a video game before.""

Journals

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simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 10 years ago I guess it really has been a little while since I updated, again. Whoops.

Well, I continue to enjoy editing the main page on the couple of occasions I do it every week, but the Slashdot Games section is also going well - we're now doing about 6 stories a day, around 40 per week in total, but being a little more targeted in only running the best and most interesting stories of the day in the games field.

We also seem to have a dedicated user base who check the http://games.slashdot.org index page, now, as opposed to only reading the main page of Slashdot, which is very cool.

Otherwise, many thanks to all the contributors who continue to send in good-quality games stories - we're ahead of the curve on a lot of the more interesting pieces because you guys care, and send in the info.

That be all - check in in another 6 months for a similarly uninteresting journal entry, wontcha?

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simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 10 years ago So, apparently I don't update my Slashdot journal too often. Woops.

Anyhow, we're all pleased with how Slashdot Games is going. We've settled down to about an average of seven posts a day, and we're trying to vary things up between console, PC, hardware, software, mainstream, quirky, and even a little boardgaming news on the side.

What do we want? Just continuing good submissions, 'Ask Slashdot Games' style questions about the best games in certain genres and styles, and your attention. We do have your attention, right?

Otherwise, be sure to remember to check out the Slashdot Games subsite separately from the Slashdot mainpage, of course, because most Slashdot Games stories don't appear on the front page. But you knew that already. See y'all soon, y'all.

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simoniker simoniker writes  |  more than 11 years ago So I thought it might be a good idea to keep helpful or otherwise interesting info, comments, and requests about Slashdot Games in this journal. Sure, only a few people may check it out, but hopefully those who do may find it helpful.

Firstly, many of you may not know that Slashdot Games has an RSS feed of its own, which is at http://games.slashdot.org/games.rss. Feel free to subscribe, but don't hit it too many times in a short space of time, otherwise the bandwidth gods will smite you mightily. You wouldn't like that.

Secondly, I've really been digging the 'Ask Slashdot Games' style questions we've been getting submitted recently, like 'What's the best 2-player co-op title?' or 'Gaming suggestions for a non-gamer?'. If people would like to submit questions along those lines (say, 'What's the best fighting series?', or discussing the best of a certain genre), I'd love to run those questions more often. They always seem to generate pretty interesting discussions.

Most Slashdot Games posts can only be seen if you go to http://games.slashdot.org, or are logged on and have the 'Sections Collapsed' box ticked for your homepage preferences. That's because they're posts that are intentionally limited to the Games section. If you get really cheesed off with Games posts appearing on your main page, either turn off 'Sections Collapsed' or explicitly exclude the 'Games' section by using the tickbox in homepage preferences. You knew all that, right? Excellent. Any more questions, you know where to find me - thanks for reading.

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