Архив: June, 2011

Wow! Are we halfway through 2010 already? Time flies when there’s lots to write about in PC gaming, apparently. This week we thought would be fairly slow, but instead it turned out to be overwhelmingly busy. Let’s take a look at the past seven days at Big Download, shall we? We shall!

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Continue reading The Best of Big Download: June 28-July 4

JoystiqThe Best of Big Download: June 28-July 4 originally appeared on Joystiq on Mon, 05 Jul 2010 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rocket-propelled grenade becomes a lifesaver

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Samuel Adelojou has invented a rocket propelled grenade buoyancy device or ‘Buoyancy Bazooka’.

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The device is also equipped with flares for night-time. He also took the idea of adding a whistle from a popular toy called a Vortex. Made from hydrophobic foam, the buoy can expand up to 40 times its size on contact with water so the swimmer can stay afloat without risk the buoy will spring a leak. The idea came to Mr Adeloju during Army Reserve training, when his instructors demonstrated grenade and flare launchers. Sam Adeloju with his Longreach device. GRENADES are not exactly synonymous with life-saving, but they have inspired a young Sydney designer to create an award-winning device that could save swimmers from drowning. Photo: James Alcock Making waves … Sam Adeloju’s design, named Longreach, with the unofficial name ”Buoyancy Bazooka”, shoots an emergency flotation device 150 metres out to sea.

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”They’re [Surf Life Saving Australia] keen to get some money to do further testing and maybe get it into production,” he said. I wanted to give them something that gave them time to assess the situation properly.”

After observing the grenade launchers in action, Mr Adeloju thought of ways he could improve on previous designs. ”I realised how ineffective a [standard] life ring would be if the drowning victim was a great distance from their rescuer. A product’s functionality couldn’t be more important when it’s used to save someone’s life.”

The runners-up included a solar-powered emergency water desalination device and a device that makes cardiopulmonary resuscitation more efficient. Last night Mr Adeloju won the $16,000 James Dyson Award, which is named after the British designer of bagless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans. Mr Dyson said the Longreach was a ”smart solution to a very real problem. Mr Adeloju, the first Australian to win the award in its five years, is in talks with Surf Life Saving Australia about conducting field trials, but winning the prize will give the Longreach international exposure. ”In my research I found a lot of surf-rescue teams ended up putting themselves in danger. It’s the difference between a basketball and a bullet.”

The Longreach has a lightweight styrofoam casing, meaning if it hits a swimmer it is like ”being hit with a paper cup full of water”, he said. My system spins as it travels through the air, which makes it easier to spot. The University of NSW, from which he graduated in industrial design, will also receive $16,000. Included in his prize is a trip to the Dyson laboratories in Britain. ”Existing launch devices use compressed air and only have a range of 60 metres.

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Preview: Halo: Reach (campaign)

What’s the biggest change being made for Bungie’s final Halo game? Some would argue that the visuals, powered by a brand new graphics engine, make the greatest impact. Sure, Halo: Reach looks better than any Halo before it — but that’s not what I was taken aback by. Others would argue the lack of Master Chief makes Reach feel different from its predecessors. Yes, the Spartan-III jumps a bit differently, but that doesn’t define Reach‘s new emotional direction. No, the biggest game-changer is this: the Covenant don’t speak English.

Before you angrily hit the “Back” button on your browser, hear me out. In the previous Halo games, the Covenant were like movie villains; they could even quip one-liners at you. Some would even squeal, comically, as they ran away from an overpowered Master Chief. However, because Halo Reach isn’t a story about a triumphant victory — rather, a tragedy against an overwhelming alien force — Bungie was left with a challenge: how do you reinvent the Covenant — familiar to a generation of Halo gamers — and make them threatening again? You make them truly alien.

While it may seem like a rather cosmetic change, this creative decision represents a maturity in Bungie’s storytelling abilities. The developer wants you to take the story seriously — so much so that the flaming helmet included in the $150 Legendary Edition can’t be used in the campaign. (Apparently, having someone’s head on fire in cutscenes drastically reduces its gravitas. )

Continue reading Preview: Halo: Reach (campaign)

JoystiqPreview: Halo: Reach (campaign) originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 23 Jun 2010 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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You’ll definitely want to watch this gameplay clip of inFamous 2. Not only does it show off Cole’s new look, it highlights the revamped graphics engine, improved “in your face” camera . .. and best of all, a new power.

Continue reading Video: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones

JoystiqVideo: inFamous 2 gameplay, now with more cyclones originally appeared on Joystiq on Sat, 03 Jul 2010 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jones, 58, has generated international attention and has been widely condemned for arguing that as an American Christian he has a right to burn Islam’s holy book because “it’s full of lies.”

One of two websites, used to drum up publicity ahead of Jones’s planned Koran book-burning on Saturday, used the domain name “Islam is of the Devil.”

Goodgame said Dove World Outreach Center had violated “hate speech” provisions of its contract with Rackspace. “What we did was to terminate them as a Rackspace customer because they had violated the contract,” Goodgame said. “We’re not trying to restrict anyone’s free speech rights We just feel that as a business we have the right to set rules,” he said. Dan Goodgame, a spokesman for popular web host Rackspace Hosting, said two websites operated by the Dove World Outreach Center, the tiny Gainesville, Florida church run by pastor Terry Jones, had been shut down. He said executives at Rackspace, which has more than 100,000 business customers in 140 countries, were unaware that Dove World Outreach Center was even a customer of theirs until they got the complaint several days ago. “We looked into it and made a determination that the two sites were in violation of the hate-speech provisions of our acceptable-use policy,” Goodgame said. He said the move had been requested by a complaint about the content posted by Dove World Outreach Center, but declined to say from where it had come. Reuters The obscure Christian pastor who planned to mark the ninth anniversary of September 11 attacks by burning copies of the Koran has had his website pulled from the internet, the hosting company said.

According to a GamesMaster interview with Project Sora head Masahiro Sakurai (excerpted by ONM) 3DS flagship title Kid Icarus: Uprising might feature Kids Icarus, plural. “The online capabilities are currently being tested,” Sakurai said. “There could be some versus play but we can’t go into any detail. There are a lot of capabilities that expand on what was in the DS that people are taking advantage of. “

If anyone’s going to make a 3DS online game happen, it’s Sakurai, one of the few Nintendo developers to make an online game (Super Smash Bros. Brawl). But how would a versus mode work in an on-rails shooter — score competitions?

JoystiqProject Sora ‘testing’ online multiplayer for Kid Icarus: Uprising originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 13 Jul 2010 20:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Preview: Mafia 2 (and Mafia 2 3D)

Mafia 2 feels, from the demo we played, like it could just as easily be called Grand Theft Auto: Godfather. If that’s what you’re looking for from the mob-o-rama sequel, then celebrate by throwing someone off a pier with cement shoes.

It’s actually pretty hard to note anything unexpected or different in the Mafia 2 demo. Almost everything you’d expect from a game that borrows heavily from the GTA IV template is there, both the good and the bad.

Gallery: Mafia II

Continue reading Preview: Mafia 2 (and Mafia 2 3D)

JoystiqPreview: Mafia 2 (and Mafia 2 3D) originally appeared on Joystiq on Sun, 20 Jun 2010 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Following the success of its other MMO property, Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, it’s not surprising that Turbine has elected to make the three-year-old MMO Lord of the Rings Online free-to-play sometime this fall. At that time, players will be able to download and explore the game for free, with the option to purchase additional content, including expansions, quest packs, items and “account services” from an online storefront. Players will also have the option to become “VIP” members, which automatically gives them access to these items. Turbine did not specify if VIP membership was a one-time fee or an ongoing subscription cost.

If you’re wondering how Lord of the Rings Online will operate under this new pricing structure — well, Turbine probably is as well. Both parties’ curiosity will likely be satisfied by a closed beta, which kicks off June 16.

JoystiqLord of the Rings Online to go free-to-play this fall originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 04 Jun 2010 09:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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David Howarth, a senior policy officer at Choice, said the consumer group’s own surveys had also found deep dissatisfaction with the industry’s behaviour. The survey’s 1100 respondents said they did not pursue redress because they did not believe it would achieve anything, they thought it was too hard or they were unaware a solution existed. MORE than half of all customers have had a problem with their phone or internet service provider in the past year, and one in three of them was dissatisfied with how their complaints were resolved. How to make a complaint that gets heard

The survey found the main complaints involved technical problems and, ironically, how telephone companies and ISPs handled the complaint. Those unhappy customers – 2.3 million people – were entitled to seek redress from an industry ombudsman, but few did, according to research by the advocacy group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network. ”It’s evidence of increasing problems being experienced across the industry.”

She said the research showed only 7 per cent of dissatisfied customers turned to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, despite generally high marks from those who did. She said unless consumers used the right ”buzz words” some companies were neglecting to direct people to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. ”So for every person who makes it to the [ombudsman], there are more than a dozen others who are worn down by the frustration of dealing with their telco,” Ms Freeman said. The industry’s self-drafted code requires members to tell unhappy customers about the ombudsman scheme, but the wording is ambiguous, said Elissa Freeman, the network’s director of policy and campaigns. ”Every way you cut up complaints figures in this industry tells us there’s something wrong,” Ms Freeman said. Nearly a third of people threw up their hands without even bothering to lodge a complaint.

‘Electronic bail’

The shadow attorney-general, Greg Smith, said he supported the idea in principle. The government review recommended rewriting bail laws without making significant changes to who qualifies for bail. Asked whether the changes would make it easier or more difficult to get bail, a spokesman for the Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos, said they should ”make applying for bail simpler”. But the retired magistrate Max Taylor, the convener of the Bail Reform Alliance, said the government had missed a chance to remedy the Bail Act. The Bail Act is causing confusion among defendants, lawyers and judges because of 16 ad hoc amendments over 25 years, usually made in response to high-profile crimes, the review says. Courts should be left to get on with deciding bail on traditional liberal democratic criteria,” he said. The government will gauge community reaction to the idea. About one-quarter of NSW prisoners are on remand, which is twice the number of any other state. About 30 per cent of these people are later acquitted, leading to calls from civil libertarians and lawyers for changes. ”What is needed is the restoration of the presumption in favour of bail for all offences. Bail laws have also sent record numbers of people – especially juveniles – to jail without being convicted of an offence, it says.
”E-bail” or ”e-remand” has been an effective alternative to locking up the unconvicted in the US, Britain and Canada. People who have been charged with a crime but not yet tried or convicted could be granted bail and monitored electronically under a proposal to take the sting out of the debate over bail laws. It can protect the community while avoiding the social and financial costs of jail, according to an internal state government review of bail laws.

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