The community behind hit indie game Minecraft is what makes it so great. While some players of Minecraft are drawn to the incredible easy yet deep gameplay, others are also drawn in by how easy it is to edit the game’s code and create new and extremely cool things for the game. These are called Mods short for Modifications. Throughout its life, Minecraft has had countless mods made for its source and some of them have been integrated into the original game, with Mojang paying a royalty to the mod-maker.
However, the current model of mods did not have any kind of protection against malicious code. In effect, layperson players who do not understand code will be at a loss if they implemented a mod and found that it was malicious especially since the game needs an internet connection to verify your credentials.
For the longest time, there was this mod situationthat Notch had to rectify. A day ago he posted an entire proposal on his tumbr, with a plan for a small feefor signing up as a mod developer (which guarantees a certificate of authenticity from Mojang). However the Great Connected Hivemind (also known in various other cultures as the Internet) convinced him to remove the fee for signing up as a mod developer. While we personally think that Notch should not bow to the internet’s wishes so easily we also understand that it was the community that made him what he is today. Either way, it’s good to see great approvedmods coming the Minecraft way!
The United States Government’s National Security Agency (aka the where-privacy-goes-to-die agency) is apparently building a new supercomputer called the for its High Performance Computing Centre. The supercomputer will cost about $895.6 million, as revealed by unclassified documents. The supercomputer is to be built at the headquarters of the agency in Fort Meade, Md. and is slated for completion by 2015.
The NSA is a surveillance organization (to use a nonspecific and broad generalization) that has been operating since 1952 and is responsible for the decryption of foreign intelligence and the safeguarding and encryption of USA’s domestic signals. The agency has a history of using supercomputers, starting with the purchase and use of one of the first Cray supercomputers (The Cray X-MP/24) which is now decommissioned and is on display at the National Cryptologic Museum.
While exactly how large this computer that the NSA is building is unknown, it is very likely that the computer will be able to perform at 1 exaFLOP. A FLOP, or FLoating point OPerations per Second is a measure of how fast a computer is. It is basically the number of floating point calculations performed in unit time by the computer. A simple hand-held calculator is about 10 FLOPS on an average to show instantaneous results.
An exaFLOP is 10 followed by 18 zeroes (10^18)
In comparison, the combined computing power of the top 500 supercomputers in the world is about 32.4 petaFLOPS (32.4 x 10^15). That is, the new supercomputer being constructed by the NSA is about 31 times faster than the top 500 supercomputers in the world taken together.
However, all this is still speculation, garnered by the power requirements for the new computer about 60 megaWatts. The calculation is based on the Sequoia BlueGene/Q IBM supercomputer that is also under production that needs performs around 20 petaFLOPS and needs 6 megaWatts of power.
Of course, the NSA needs more computing power to sift through all the emails, phone calls and messages we send each day, right?
Alright slight disclaimer here, but the post that follows might have the tone of giddy as a schoolboythat you have heard from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. That is mostly because The Witcher was one of my favorite games of all time. With its non-linear storyline, excellent character progression and a unique experience not seen often in Role Playing Games it struck a chord with my Excellence-O-Meter and has forever remained as one of the pinnacles of modern video gaming.
CD Projekt RED reports that the much expected sequel, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings has gone gold. In video game industry parlance, this means that the game has finished Quality Assurance testing and the last round of bug fixing, and is in production now for retail and digital release. This means, that Geralt of Rivia will grace our computer screens on time on the 17th of May.
Preorders for the game online will start on the 10th of May on both GOG.com as well as the other reputed digital distributors. On GOG.com, a lot of special goodies are available for anyone who preorders the game (without actually paying yet). The AAA title will not have any kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) on GOG a first for its kind in recent times.
In a time where most high-end titles are beset with postponement and QA woes, CD Projekt RED have gone and outdone themselves by announcing that the game will be released on time, and will be available DRM-free for those who want it that way. Additionally they are doing this without taking the unnecessary route of Downloadable Content (DLC) as a way to further the story and make more money in that process. Kudos to you!
Overgrowth is the full-fledged video game from Wolfire Games that is currently under development. As a successor to their earlier release Lugaru (which was marketed as a Shareware, rather than an entire game) features anthropomorphic rabbits who are resident Fight Club fans. In other words there are rabbits that fight other rabbits and wolves. What kind of fights you ask? The bloody, brawny barroom brawl kind.
The emphasis on bloodyis not mine it’s theirs. With their new update, Wolfire Games has added realistic blood effects on all the characters of Overgrowth. By realistic effects, we mean the artery severed and gushing, spraying blood like a fountain on the environments around while the character prances about as if nothing happens and occasionally jumps up in the air with utter joykind of realistic.
See the video here, and decide for yourself. It’s not as graphic as I make it out to seem, but it’s getting thereâ€¦ (see what I did there? No? Okay.)
With their developer diaries being keenly followed by expectant fans and quite a few of them converting to a pre-order, the game seems to be on the right path to commercial success. Incidentally, Wolfire Games is the brain behind the original Humble Indie Bundle and Lugaru was one of the games introduced in the first bundle.
PayPal is been vilified countless times on the internet, including by our very own Editor-in-Chief. However, compared to what Google Checkout has just done to small indie Project Zomboid makes PayPal looks like a cute kitten jumping on a couple of butterflies on a sunny April afternoon while you lazily look at it from under a shade, sipping some mojito. Google Checkout has frozen and banned Project Zomboid’s account (which had 80% of the game’s preorder money) and has refused to answer any questions regarding the sudden derailment of the service.
The indie studio was initially beset with problems from PayPal who gave them a warning a month in advance so that they could remove all the cash that they could. After an email or two the problem was solved. Regardless, the developers decided to put up a Google Checkout widget which turned out to be the more popular option. However, Google Checkout does not offer the Pay What You Want model so they put up these options:-
Preorder Project Zomboid
Preorder Project Zomboid + £5 Donation
Preorder Project Zomboid + £10 Donation
Preorder Project Zomboid + £15 Donation
It turned out that there is a clause in the Terms of Service where Google Checkout strongly relates the term Donationwith Charity, while the developers meant Tipor Extra Paymentor something. Seeing as this was against the TOS, Google Checkout stopped providing service and access to their money.
When did Google Checkout go about doing this? A whole month later after a huge amount of the preorder money had already filled the Google Checkout coffers. Why did they wait for so long? That’s the question.
When the developer, Indie Stone, sent a really long and angry email to Google Checkout, they were presented with this cold and impersonal reply:-
We advise buyers to contact sellers directly to resolve any order-related issues.
Really, Google? I hope this does not continue in the futureâ€¦
Pssst: don’t tell anyone. Sneaking this post in before Techie Buzz gets blocked for posting articles that threaten the unity or integrity of the country, and before my free speech right is taken away because I have been blasphemous in a secular country. Yes, I will be clapped in irons because one of my posts deals grossly harmfuldamage on some entity of the Indian nation like calling him enna rascilla!and I will be put to trial for reading Wikileaks because that threatens friendly relations with foreign states. These are the kinds of clauses in the new Internet Control Laws which might soon become Internet Control Acts. You can download the original PDF of the Law here.
As MediaNama reports with righteous anger, it appears that these laws have been made specifically to curb free speech, instead of aiding and abetting free speech. It seems that in this country, free speech is a curse that must be lifted bit-by-bit by the bureaucracy in order to make life easier for them since once the Laws (especially this one) are turned to Acts, there is very little chance of recourse. It also seems that whenever the lawmakers make these laws, they make sure it is so ambiguous that everything can be turned against the alleged perpetrators.
While the number of IT crimes are on a rise these days and unethical cracking is a menace, curbing the free speech rights and making ambiguous laws against such crimes is definitely not the answer. For what it’s worth, I believe the MPs need to use the internet and see the differences between the knowledge part of the internet with its free and unadulterated sharing of free knowledge and very easily accessible, and the seedier parts of the internet which are accessible only to those with an already criminal intent, and make their laws according to their observations.
That, or a huge proportion of us internet-using Indians need to stand for elections next year.
Slight disclaimer: we do not usually beautify content from Reddit and put it up as an exclusive reveal. That is left for other blogs of repute.
A PSX-Scene.com moderator has put up a post on Reddit with a speculative reason (it may not be the real reason) as to why the PlayStation Network has been down for a long time now. Most of the information below comes from facts and logical inferences:-
Some days ago a new Custom Firmware (CFW) called Rebug was released for the PlayStation 3. A CFW allows the user to run unsigned content. What this usually means is that Homebrew games and applications can be made to run only on a PS3 running a CFW. Whenever a PS3 is flashed with a CFW, it cannot connect to the PlayStation Network (PSN) since some necessary files for the connection are overwritten (I am not very familiar with the internal dynamics of the system).
As is usual with CFWs, third party developers caught on and released a patch that allowed users to connect to the PSN via the PlayStation Developers Network. So far, so good.
However, the trouble began when some CFW users found out that the PSN did not bother verifying your credit card credentials whenever you enter it for purchasing a game. Apparently, since the CFW is on the developer’s network, it is a trusted network so security is lax.
What followed was a torrent of piracy (I think I may be on to something with that collective noun) that led to Sony shutting down PSN and keeping mum about it for days on end.
This is a seemingly logical explanation since the chronology allows for that conclusion (from the post):-
1. Rebug was released on 3/31/11.
2. First guides of how to use the dev network to get back on COD games on 4/3/11.
3. Word of “shady” sites finding a way to pirate PSN content via the dev networks on 4/7/11 (basing this on posts I had to delete on the website). 4. PSN goes down on 4/20/11
Since Anonymous vehemently denies any hackingattempt on the PSN this could definitely be one of the reasons. It also fits under the external intrusionexplanation allegedly given by Sony, since this is technically external intrusion.
Ah Minecraft. We never cease to report about the darling of the indie movement, do we? There have been many successes from the incredibly simple game that has taken the world by storm, and I am pretty sure that there will be no end to the brilliance of its players that shines through in the internet. With the release of the Minecraft Beta 1.5, the game is inching towards completion, but there is still a lot of work to do before the game is completed.
Two million satisfied customers? I’m pretty sure. The thing is, the game cannot be defined or reviewed very easily. There has been debate after debate on Quora and other less-web2.0-y parts of the internet on what exactly is the thrill or joy in playing Minecraft, which at most gives cheap thrills during in-game night time with the monsters. For my part, I can attest to the fact that the game (it is a game, even though it has no set achievable goals per se) pulls you in with its deceptively simple nature (punch trees to get wood and so on) and then surprises you with its depth (such as Redstone electricity, huge area to mine in etc.). The fact that such a horde of people on the internet find it alluring is reason enough for some to at least try it, while for others it is the fact that the game easily lets you forget the world outside and return to your childhood with electronic Lego is the charm.
Whatever the case, Minecraft is on a steady rise on the course of world domination.
When I read the report for the first time, I was surprised that it was an entire corporation called Humble Bundle Inc., and not Wolfire Games that actually ran the Humble Indie Bundles. I blame my sudden loss of memory on the jaw-dropping amount of funding that the company has received from investors the incredibly large sum of roundabout four point seven million US dollars.
The Humble Indie Bundle is basically a non-regular deal of a conglomeration of developers (except the latest) selling a bundle of their games together without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection at the incredible price of $pay_what_you_want. The model has has tremendous success in all of the iterations, since the indie games on offer are typically very well known and liked and also because the customer can decide where his/her money will be going whether to the developers or any of the participating organizations as charity.
All the games run on the recent versions of the three major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS and Linux) and recently redemption codes for the game on other platforms such as Steam or Desura have also been introduced.
There have been three Humble Indie Bundles so far, with the latest still on offer with Frozenbyte’s well known game Trine being one of the games in the bundle.
Gamasutra says that Sequoia Capital has led this series A funding round. The firm is well known to have backed other video gaming and entertainment startups such as Unity Technologies and GameGround.
Fable: The Lost Chapters was the source of an unending amount of mirth that is not usually associated with Role Playing Games (RPGs) of yore. With some genuinely funny moments, derisive nicknames and a cartload of funny characters along with a decent story and progression, the game was a great overall experience. Fable III promises to entertain as much as Fable: TLC, if not more. However, just how much it does entertain is still debatable as the game is yet to be launched.
However, the Lionhead Studios game will be distributed on both Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live (GFWL) Marketplace, as well as Valve’s huge digital distribution platform, Steam. Preordering the game on each platform gives you a different bonus:-
- Preordering Fable III on Games for Windows Live Marketplace gives you instant access to the previous game Fable: The Lost Chapters for you to romp about in the Darkwood Bordello (and other places of course)
- Preordering it on Steam gets you the Rebel’s Weapon and Tattoo Pack which is basically a collection of four exclusive weapons and five exclusive tattoo sets to customize their rebel hero.
I guess that’s very nice. (I would go for the GFWL deal, if I were you. Just sayin’)