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B O O K   R E V I E W
Freedom (TM)
by John Hattan, posted 7/27/10
We review the long-awaited sequel to the novel Daemon. Do the game developers take over the world, or do they destroy it?

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Developing iPhone Games for Longer Battery Life
by Ed Welch, posted 7/20/10
The team for the iPhone turn-based strategy game Armageddon Wars explores a frame throttling technique to decrease hardware usage during gameplay and noticeably increase battery life

B O O K   R E V I E W
Game Physics, Second Edition
by John Hattan, posted 7/14/10
We review the second edition of the exhaustive textbook on physics for games.

P R O G R A M M I N G
Using Abstraction to Optimize Runtime Polymorphism
by Gabriel T. Delarosa, posted 7/9/10
We take a look at the cost of C++'s virtual function mechanism and how to improve the performance of runtime polymorphism without giving up it's many benefits

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Latest Game Development News     RSS     Submit a news item!

Friday, July 30, 2010
The GameDev.net Daily
WHY HELLO THERE. FANCY MEETING YOU HERE.

Maryland has declared September 21st as Civilization V day. In a gubernatorial proclamation, Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland, said that September 21, 2010 is henceforth to be known as "Sid Meier's Civilization V Day." A statement went on to say that "Sid Meier is known throughout Maryland and the world as a pioneer of electronic gaming, having co-founded his first studio in Baltimore County, Maryland in 1982, and today continuing a tradition of developing the talent and creativity of future generations." The official proclamation as spoken was: "Now, therefore, I, Martin O'Malley, Governor of the State of Maryland, do hereby pay tribute to the outstanding achievements of Sid Meier on this day, July 28, 2010, and hereby recognize September 21, 2010, as Sid Meier's Civilization V Day, and call upon the people of our State to join in celebrating this salute." What a weird thing.

Vanquish looks great. It also has five amusingly-titled difficulty levels.

In earnings news: Nintendo reports sales down 25%, Capcom reports a 90% drop in profits year over year, and Sony Playstation Hardware and Sales increase, despite still operating at a loss.

Green Bay, Wisconsin-based developer Frozen Codebase confirmed to Gamasutra that the company's Metalocalypse game has been cancelled. The game, based on the Adult Swim series of the same name, said that they "were making the game for Konami, and Konami lost the license." The studio has, apparently, known this since December of last year, though, so this is not news to them. Studio founder Ben Geisler went on to say that the company is "still moving on. We had to think quickly, but we're small, and because of that we're able to be pretty agile, so we just moved onto some new opportunities."

APB and Crackdown developer Realtime Worlds revealed their new game earlier this week: Project: MyWorld. I'm, uh, actually not really sure what to think here. The game is being described as a "3D social gaming experience" and is scheduled to launch in 2011.

Earlier this week, the Independent Games Developer Association announced that Zynga founder Mark Pincus would be delivering the keynote for the 2010 IGDA Leadership Forum. Mark Pincus is--wait, what? Did I miss something here? Did the definition of leadership change at some point in time and I missed the boat on the dictionary updates? Think what you will about social games -- and I'm sure there are plenty of opinions on that alone to go around -- but Mark Pincus is well-known for saying: "So I funded the company myself but I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away." Clearly this is someone to aspire to. I just have no idea what's going on.

So, I've been on this total portable game kick lately, so this weekend is likely to be filled with rest (because I'm exhausted), dqicks (Dragon Quest IX), Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 & Devil Survivor, and maybe one of any number of other great DS games I've picked up recently. Oh, Starcraft 2 a bit too I guess. Happy weekend, dudes and dudettes!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
Starcraft 2!!! I beat the campaign early this morning and just woke up about an hour ago after sleeping - I haven't been doing much of that since the game was released on Tuesday - which also happened to be my birthday. Best. Birthday. Ever. Now I'm hunting achievements and working on my ladder ranking - I'm currently 75th in the Platinum League (and falling fast, LOL). Best of all, however, is playing with the same friends I played the original StarCraft with back in high school. I actually made a program to steal my dad's internet password so I could sneak downstairs at night to log on and play - I generally slept through my first 2-3 periods of school classes :P So hey, if you're on Battle.net you can send me a friend request via gaiiden@blade-edge.com - or you can add me directly via name/code Gaiiden/400. But that doesn't seem to add me to your list, so if you do that, message me to say hi!

StarCraft II didn't cost $100M+ - World of Warcraft did. Turns out the report I mentioned last week of StarCraft 2 topping $100M in budget monies was in error, as it turns out to actually be a figure related to the development of World of Warcraft. Blizzard says it will not be disclosing SC2's development costs "for competitive reasons". Can someone who understands business and finance explain that to me? I wanna know, dammit! It would be interesting to see where it stacks up in regards to GTA4 and GT5, for example.

Tax breaks for North Carolina game devs. Says the release: "North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue on Thursday signed into law a game industry-friendly bill that will grant tax incentives to interactive digital media productions in the state beginning January 1, 2011." Looking for tax breaks in your state? It may help to organize something like North Carolina's Triangle Game Initiative.

GameStop buys Kongregate. In one of the more surprising acquisitions this week, retailer GameStop has snatched up indie Flash games portal Kongregate. What does this deal mean for indies? Gamasutra rustles up some interviews and finds out.

Daily Remainders - more cool stories that didn't make the cut along with game dev articles/features.

Some people collect coins and postage stamps. This dude collects CPUs. And he has a lot.

Looking for work in Salt Lake City? You may be in luck, as EA just opened a new office there.

Read this post in Chinese

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The Daily GameDev.Net
Well, I completely forgot about my Daily yesterday. That's what I get for working a twelve hour day, I suppose. Today's Hump Day is Not Literal GameDev.Net Daily awaits!

The obvious bit of news? StarCraft 2 is now out. I'm not actually a fan myself, and will probably merely play through the single player once the game hits ten dollars just like I did with the first one. However, SC2 is practically a world distorting force, so it's not a huge shock that there are a few bugs. They'll probably be patched up soon enough, but if you're having trouble you may not be alone.

Social games are continuing their unstoppable, Facebook driven march across the game industry -- Disney just bought social developer Playdom for $763 million. If only I'd founded a wildly successful social games developer. And speaking of Facebook, it looks like they're in for a world of privacy related pain.

You might be familiar with Curt Schilling's 38 Studios. They finally announced their joint project with Big Huge Games last week, called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Well, the rumors are true and the company is leaving the Boston area for Rhode Island. The decision appears to be driven by a loan offered by Rhode Island in exchange for job creation. Other game developers in the area were somewhat critical, claiming that 38 values money over people. Personally I'd suggest that maybe they value not going bankrupt and firing everyone at 38 and Big Huge.

It looks like Australia's fight for an R18+ game rating isn't over yet, as the motion was defeated as both major political parties failed to strongly back the change.

Nintendo's been fighting hard against piracy, and it looks like they've won big in the UK; London's high court has ruled that the R4 and similar DS flash cartridges are illegal, because it requires bypassing Nintendo's security. This comes right on the heels of a decision in the US that jailbreaking iPhones, with the court determining that the DMCA only makes bypassing DRM illegal if the bypass is actually used for copyright infringement.

I'm sure some of you in the UK have thought to yourself, "I love ice cream trucks but why isn't there an ice cream truck for my dog?" Well good news everyone.

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Monday, July 26, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
There isn't any kind of Daily like a Monday Daily; the Daily in which I try to salvage some news from Friday that Trent missed and then cobble it together with whatever happened over the weekend. Luckily Comic-Con happened, so some nerds were doing things on the weekend that I can report definitively on.

First off is this really bizarre decision to make a hybrid of Tekken and Street Fighter. Why anyone would think to do such a crossover is beyond me. I can't be too upset at Capcom considering Mega Man Universe is going to let you play as Mega Man from the first game's atrocious North American box art.

Sega continues to get mileage from its backlog of 16-bit games (where it was the leader regardless of what Nintendo says), and considering I just spent a lot of freaking money on a certain used-videogames website this weekend buying up holes in my Genesis collection, I am probably the target market.

After repeatedly trying to drive me insane by limiting the number of demos given out to people who signed up on their website, Eidos is finally bothering to release the Kane & Lynch 2 demo to the public. I am not entirely sure what their plan was with this one; were they thinking they would build positive buzz around the game by handing out what appears to be a couple hundred free, immaterial demos and then snubbing everyone else who signed up without even a "sorry" email?

Bungie wants you to edit levels. They also wanted you to do it back in 1996.

A lot of you liked Infamous, and I did too. Well, now there's Infamous 2, which comes with this teeny documentary about its development.

Hey, did you know it's the Virtual Boy's 15th anniversary? Celebrate by taping your Nintendo DS to your forehead and running down the street pretending to be a plane. Oh wait, what?

Even though it was Comic Con in The America, in The Japan, there are still people dressing up. But what they don't have is Daft Punk scoring a movie about destroying Recognizers. Nor did Japan have - oh finally - a crossover between Metal Gear and Front Mission.

In indie game news, an ambitious project is underway to make games based on Action 52, the cynical garbage-cartridge exercise of 8- and 16-bit systems. Do you want in on this? check out the signup list immediately. Immediately.

Before you go today, check out another super cheap Indian laptop. They're down to $35 now, but apparently they'll be $10 if you wait long enough. Plus, it has a touchscreen. I'd wait for the 3G version if I were you.

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Friday, July 23, 2010
IGDA Reorganizing Infrastructure, Bidding Farewell to Joshua Caulfield
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is continuing the reorganization of its infrastructure to better serve our members. Earlier this year the Board of Directors enacted a new committee system, to better focus on the primary needs of the organization. Each committee is chaired by a board member and they include Membership, Policy/Advocacy, Events/Sponsorship/Partners, Technology, Marketing/Communications, Special Interest Groups and Chapters.

Members-at-large and other directors also sit on these committees, allowing a broader base of game developers an opportunity to drive organization-wide efforts in these areas. Each committee will be profiled in the coming months in the newly relaunched IGDA Perspectives Newsletter (http://newsletter.igda.org).

The Board of Directors will also be launching a search for a new Executive Director as Joshua Caulfield, who has held the post for the last year, will be leaving the IGDA to become the Executive Director of an association for architecture students.

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Weekend Reading: Tales from Journal Land
Entries from 7/16 - 7/23

Journal Land Pick of the Week

Just Glad to Be Here - rmadsen discusses some options for getting into the industry as a game tester, programmer and artist

Greetings and salutations to new Journal Land citizens InfectiousGames and EternityZA!

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The GameDev.net Daily
HELLO GAMEDEV.NET. I am Trent. I also just got home from my fourth sequential fifteen hour day so this may be short. I'm sure you're curious as to the results of my trip last week, and I shall briefly discuss those! In the last paragraph. TO BE CONTINUED.

Microsoft has announced a Halo: Reach branded Xbox 360 Slim and controller. The bundle will retail at $400 USD and come with Halo: Reach, a 250GB Hard Drive, and other miscellaneous goodies. I actually think that the Reach-branded Slim looks better than the standard Xbox 360 Slim, so that's neat. I also really want to play Halo: Reach. This is probably not a surprise, but I'll state it for the record anyway.

38 Studios/Big Huge Games announced Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning this week. It's a single-player RPG, which is neat, and it has an impressively generic name. Big Huge Games has done nothing but excellent games, though, so here's hoping.

I'm not even kidding when I say that this is the coolest news all week: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together is getting a remake for the PSP. Tactics Ogre was originally released in Japan on the Super Famicon back in 1995 is, to my knowledge, the forefather of one the strategy RPG (SRPG) genre and is a game I've always always always wanted on my PSP. According to source Shacknews the game "being developed by a team of developers responsible for the original game: Hiroshi Minagawa (Director), Akihiko Yoshida (Character Design), Yasumi Matsuno (Game Design), Hitoshi Sakimoto and Masaharu Iwata (Composers)." I AM SO EXCITED. And according to Square-Enix: "Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, is being reborn from the ground up, with reworked visuals and effects, a re-arranged soundtrack by the original composers, new character growth mechanics and a new Wheel of Fortune system that adds even more replay value to the game." SO VERY EXCITED. The game has no release date yet, so it's a fair bet to say the game wont' be released for a fair while now, but that doesn't dampen my excitement one iota.

EA Los Angeles is now named Danger Close. The studio is currently working on the impressive-looking new Medal of Honor game due out this October.

And that's it for me this Friday. Apologies for the abbreviated Daily. I can tell you that my trip out to see the girl went, at first, disastrously with poor little Trent getting kicked out (and no, not for a real identifiable reason) and having to find a new place to stay. I ended up staying with a friend in Long Island and spending every day in Manhattan which is completely and thoroughly gorgeous and amazing and filled with creative energy. I adored it. Among many other things, I was able to check out the NYU Game Center a week ago and I was absolutely impressed at what Jesper Juul, Frank Lantz, and Charles Pratt have put together there. It's a great organization, and something that I'm hoping to actually see about getting organized here in Austin (so if anyone reading this is associated with or knows anyone at the University of Texas interesting in such a thing, please contact me). Have a good weekend, GameDev.net denizens. I'm off to play about five minutes of Dragon Quest IX before falling immediately asleep while drooling on my DSi.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
Studio News: Rare, Silicon Sisters, SOE. Rare has opened a new studio in Birmingham, and has put up a YouTube video tour of the new digs. The studio will be hiring temp staff and students for contract work. Silicon Sisters, over in Vancouver, sets up shop as a predominantly female-focused studio, co-founded by Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch and Kirsten Forbes. The female focus isn't on staff though, but on creating games for a female audience. Over at Sony Online Entertainment, another round of lay-offs has been implemented to "improve operational efficiency".

StarCraft II budget weighs in at $100M+ In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick revealed the figure, although it has yet to be corroborated by any real financial data. For instance, marketing costs were most likely not included, and it is unknown whether the development of the new Battle.net service set to launch with SC2 is a part of that figure or not. Regardless, it's no surprise a game that's been in development for so long could rack up such a high price tag (and rival the $100M dev cost of GTAIV). Of course, Activision expects to easily rake in 5 times as much in profits very quickly.

Epic VP Mark Rein apologizes to indie dev for being a jerk. In an extensive letter published by Develop, Mark Rein writes to indie developer Cliff Harris of Positech games (Gratuitous Space Battles) and apologizes for his behavior at the Develop conference, where he proceeded to "educate" a panel of indies from the front row of the session during the topic of handling customer emails. Given the fact that developers are flinging mud all over the place these days, Cliff decided to respond to Rein's action by calling him a jerk and telling him to "fuck off". Stay classy, game devs.

Daily Remainders - more cool stories that didn't make the cut along with game dev articles/features.

Here's a report from Develop on what went down during their Develop 2010 conference recently.

I don't quite understand what the hell is going on here, but this Mario Kart board game is supposedly coming out soon in Japan. Looks... interesting?

Read this post in Chinese

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Shotgun Coming out of Beta at SIGGRAPH 2010
Los Angeles, CA (July 21, 2010) -- Shotgun Software will formally release Shotgun at SIGGRAPH 2010; the production tracking and collaboration system has been in private beta for over a year and has already amassed a dedicated client base of over 170 visual effects, video game and post production facilities.

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Hansoft Project Management and QA Tool
Hansoft Project Management and QA Tool implemented by Arkadium

Casual Connect, Seattle, U.S. - July 20, 2010 - Hansoft the leading vendor of tools for project management and defect tracking for Agile and Lean software development, today announced that Arkadium has successfully implemented Hansoft.

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ClanLib 2.2.0 SDK Released
A new major release of ClanLib SDK for Windows and Linux

ClanLib is a cross platform C++ toolkit library with very liberal BSD style license.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Daily GameDev.Net
Remember, you're not working for the weekend if it's only Tuesday. You may have noticed that this is Tuesday night or even Wednesday morning. Wondering why? Well, we lost our Wednesday Daily writer, so until we find a replacement I'm all you've got until Thursday. I figured I would try and cover any Tuesday events. Sit back and enjoy this I'm Totally Not Making Excuses For Forgetting GameDev.Net Daily.

Excited about Kinect or PS Move? According to ArsTechnica, you really aren't. But on the off chance you are, Microsoft confirmed Kinect pricing today. Personally I'm going to wait for them to release games that don't look stupid, make you look stupid, and then snap photos of you looking stupid for Facebook. I already do that on Fridays anyway.

As usual, I'm excited to read too much into sales statistics and NPD just released their half year report. You won't believe this, but Nintendo crushed the single platform chart. In multiplatform titles, Red Dead Redemption actually came out on top for some reason. More than New SMB and Call of Duty, guys? Come on. I'm disappointed.

Oh, and Valve released a free standalone game with source code today. This is what I have to report on when there's no real news, like which car game Mike is fawning over. Also, Mike actually already covered this but I thought I'd point it out. Free game! Source code available! Love it.

The AbleGamers Group is creating 350 unique posters for charity. They're focused on promoting accessibility in games, titling the posters "Everybody Can Game". Inspiring! Instead of buying that third copy of Red Dead Redemption, why not donate?

Wired just published an article, Apple Is the New Microsoft, Part 2. Between a colossal earnings report, a higher market cap, and a series of stunningly successful product launches it's not hard to see why. In the meantime, Microsoft seems hell-bent on catastrophic product failures, forcing executives to leave over internal politics, and generally being the new Sun Microsystems of the computer industry, it seems.

I'll end today with blatant self-promotion. I wrote a long, angry post about Windows Installer, and I'm curious to hear what you are all doing for your installers.

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Information Security Conference
Hacker Halted Conference-2010, October 9-15th 2010, Miami Florida.

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Monday, July 19, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
So it's Monday. You're bleary eyed because you stayed up late last night watching Top Gear and then re-enacting the Stig's power lap by running around your coffee table until you passed out.

The first and most important news (to me) is that Netflix is finally going to offer streaming to Canada. We didn't get streaming before, even though our PS3 boxes advertise it and tell us that we need to rub it on our bodies to get whatever TV we want all the time. I'm definitely going to cancel my cable and sign up for this immediately. Can I hope for Pandora and Hulu too?

Valve has banged out another new, free game, thanks to their acquiring of Alien Swarm's developers. It was excellent on the Unreal Tournament engine so I'm sure it must be great on Source.

Blizzard has a FAQ on their "Real ID" system, which should hopefully help clear up some of the rumours and panic that were associated with the initiative in weeks past.

Following up on the death of 1 vs 100 from last week, its host Chris Cashman has spoken to Giant Bomb about the game.

In what is hopefully immune to abuse, retailer K-Mart has started posting user reviews of games in the store itself. I can't wait to see grandmothers taking a look at which game HaloLuva137 likes.

Do you like Red Faction? I do, but someone must like it a hell of a lot more than I do considering a SyFy movie is coming in March.

Hideo Kojima is working on an adventure game, the best kind of game short of role playing games, which are the best kind of game short of rhythm action physics-based puzzlers.

Before you go today, check out this guy who keeps putting various vintages of aircraft into the Crysis engine. I'm not entirely sure why you'd ever want to do that, but it definitely shows off how versatile Crytek's technology is at least.

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Friday, July 16, 2010
Weekend Reading: Tales from Journal Land
Entries from 7/9 - 7/16

Light reading this week! Everyone have a good weekend :)

Journal Land Pick of the Week

Promit's Ventspace - Promit has a serious beef with Windows Installer from a development stand point and wonders how this could be the case if so many people working at the company that develops it on the platform its used for could let this happen

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The Daily GameDev.net
I'm not Trent, but I do know a good GDNet Daily when I see one. This one is just bursting with flavour. I'm not sure why the Daily has flavour at all, but regardless there is a lot of it and someone get the mop get the mop.

Our first stop today is to check out the new James Bond game by Bizarre. I love Bizarre so much I want to marry it, so hopefully they will accurately recreate James Bond Driving Physics - where cars have 17 forward gears, shoot machine guns and do endless handbrake turns with little or no wear.'

PAX Prime indie game finalists are in, and there are some seriously polished-looking games in that list. Personal favourite Super Meat Boy is totally there. Maybe getting recognition at what is becoming the biggest North American gaming expo is too mainstream for you; in that case, you want to pick up the phone and dial 1-800-BERLIN-INDIE-GAME-JAM (they have really long phone numbers in Europe).

Boo to Microsoft, who have cancelled 1 vs 100, a game that made me feel super smart compared to the average human who I'm convinced is just mashing buttons with their forehead between screaming catchphrases from popular film into an empty room.

Ever wondered how achievements are implemented on the Xbox 360? Here you go. I can't believe I've never heard of the Xbox Engineering blog before.

You probably already know about this if you play PC games, but the Steam Hardware Survey has been expanded to cover installed programs. It's anonymized, sure, and I can't really think of a program I might have installed that I wouldn't want people to know about, but I'm sure someone's hackles will be raised.

This is not strictly videogame related but there's probably a lot of crossover in audiences: Nerf has developed a battery powered full automatic rifle with detachable shield and bipod foregrip for "mounted gun emplacements." I think their plan is to outstrip real guns, therefore ensuring world peace as warring nations just pick the coolest fake guns and shoot at each other while swearing they totally hit the other guy for reals.

Last, we have two important news items for you. You can't go wrong with Brain Slug cupcakes, and if you parked your junky boat underneath the World Trade Centre three centuries ago, you have some parking tickets.

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Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
Tim Schafer still none to happy with Robert Kotick. Given the legal wrangler that Activision put Double Fine through when they attempted to block the release of Brutal Legends, it's rather understandable that Schafer would be a little... put off towards the company's CEO, wondering why he has to be "a dick about it". He goes on to explain "He [Kotick] makes a big deal about not liking games, and I just don't think that attitude is good for games in general. I just don't think we're an industry of widgets." Activision chose to respond directly to that point, saying that Mr. Schafer has never met Mr. Kotick and that his lack of love for video games "just isn't true. Bobby has always been passionate about games, and loves the video game industry."

Rockstar, Ready At Dawn, Cavia all suffer downsizing. Reports are coming out that Rockstar has let go of around 40 people from its San Diego office, responsible for the Midnight Club and Smuggler's Run franchises, as well as the newly-released Red Dead Redemption. Ready At Dawn, developers of God of War: Ghost of Sparta, was forced to layoff 13 of its staff. Cavia, the developers behind Nier, closed down entirely although the parent company AQ Interactive will be working to pick up any employees left after the closure. Apparently catching fish should be easier.

New industry blood: Dire Wolf, Pitbull, We R, Brightside. A new studio has come to Denver, led by the former Sony Online Entertainment Denver studio head. Dire Wolf Digital is focusing on a TCG with "Anytime, Anyplace" play enabled with its proprietary tech. Over in the UK there is a new Pitbull Studio being opened exactly a year after Midway Newcastle (formerly Pitbull Syndicate Limited) was shuttered, as well as We R Interactive, a social-based game studio looking to combine the film and gaming industries. Finally, Brightside Games has been founded by students who entered their game Zeit2 into the IGF and already have signed a "major global publisher".

Darwinia and Multiwinia source code for sale. Introversion has released repositories of source code for some of its games, including Uplink, for purchase and modification. While it's not as great as open source, it still offers up a chance to play with source from published (and critically acclaimed) titles, as well as work with other developers via Introversion's forums on molding the games as you see fit.

What was the big deal with RealID? Gamasutra has put together a retrospective on Blizzard's attempts to make people use their real names on their forums. What was the reason behind it, and why was there such an uproar from the community? In related news, this little bit of irony just makes my day.

Congrats to all the winners of this year's Develop Awards!

Daily Remainders - more cool stories that didn't make the cut along with game dev articles/features.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Unity Technologies Announces Unite 2010, Its 4th Annual Developer Conference
Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity development platform for highly interactive 3D content on the web, iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android, Wii™, Xbox 360 and PlayStation®3, today announced that Unite 2010, its fourth annual developer conference, will be held November 10 - 12, 2010 at the historic Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal, Canada and will follow the Montreal International Game Summit. Registration is now open at: http://unity3d.com/unite/

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Daily GameDev.Net
I am having a very slow Tuesday. Woke up late, had lunch late, and our poor puppy seems to be sick to top it all of. This is a Still Trying To Wake Up Completely GameDev.Net Daily.

One of the improvements Nintendo is advertising with the new 3DS handheld is new technology to combat piracy. They claim it's immensely sophisticated, and can't even explain it in a reasonable amount of time. It should be fun to open a betting pool on how long the protection survives on the open market. System modders have proved immensely resourceful in side-stepping protections of all kinds, after all.

The fight over used game sales continues, in discussion between a GameStop representative and the head of InstantAction. Personally I'm a strong believer in used game sales and the right of first sale, even if GameStop's approach to the business is somewhat unfair. Publishers in recent years have become more and more averse to the very possibility of used game sales being productive, and games like Mass Effect 2 include one time use codes that lock online features to your personal Xbox Live or PSN account. Digital distribution like Steam removes used sales as well, although they make up for it in a lot of cases with very favorable pricing and distribution. Still, I dislike the attempts to remove used games from the pool, and the vilification of GameStop simply for running a used game business. Media has always thrived in secondhand.

Apparently the Catholic Church has launched a catechism video game. Catechism is apparently "a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present", according to Wikipedia. What I don't understand is why faith based games always sound so silly. Surely there are people out there who are both religious and capable of coming up with a halfway decent game idea?

As 3D technology continues its unstoppable roll-out to the general population, more research about it is surfacing. It turns out, for example, that 12% of citizens in the UK can't process 3D at all. I assume this is the 12% who we call "klutzes". Combined with claims that 3D media may negatively affect children's ability to process stereoscopic data in general, it looks like we're headed for a whole new round of maybe-justified health risks from games and movies. But like it or not, 3D is on its way.

Now for something totally different. I've been researching a bunch of database design and ORM stuff in preparation for a new release of my SlimTune Profiler. One of the hot buttons I've stumbled across is the "composite keys are evil" debate, involving natural vs surrogate keys and all kinds of other fiddly obssesive details on database design. I'm curious how you guys feel about the whole thing; I've never minded composite keys but apparently some people really dislike them.

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iAuxSoft introduces new licensing model for start-ups
To be accessible by teams with low budget and provide ability to save on initial investment iAuxSoft has just introduced a new affordable licensing model on its middleware solution which covers Audio, Input Device, Networking and SQL Database programming areas.

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Monday, July 12, 2010
IGDA Leadership Forum Registration is Open
Registration for this year's Leadership Forum is now open, reserve your spot today! If you are in a leadership position within the game development industry and want to expand your leadership abilities then the Leadership Forum is an event you cannot miss.

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The GameDev.net Daily
Happy Monday, GameDev.net citizens. You get me today instead of Mike because I'm going to be in New York City for the next week or so (for the first time!).

Here is an announcement about a forthcoming announcement regarding Plants vs. Zombies 2.

Google apparently stealthly invested over $100M in Zynga in preparation for Google Games. Google Games being Google's game platform supposedly launching later this year. Not much is known about what either company is planning for Google Games at the moment. It will be interesting to see if Zynga's name actually means much outside of the Facebook platform; I don't see the kind of people that casually play Facebook games while doing other things necessarily following the company from one platform to another. Similarly, I don't think the games themselves are much of a motivator either. Time will tell.

Hothead Games' new game Deathspank is coming out this week on Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade.

After a few days of heated discussion, it looks like Blizzard has gone back on their RealId policy for forums. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said on the Blizzard forums that the company "decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums." Morhaime went on to say: "I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game." I'm actually not sure how I feel about this whole thing, but I'm a person who attaches his real name to just about all online correspondence. What I know, though, is that the Blizzard community attempted to demonstrate that the Internet is filled with jerks and stalkers by acting like jerks and stalkers themselves, which sours me on the whole discussion.

Call of Duty: Black Ops may be kind of popular as the current pre-order amount is leading analysts to predict that the game will sell about 12M units this holiday season.

I was messing around with the Unity 3.0 Beta this weekend as I started taking notes and getting familiar with it for a GDNet review when it's actually released (this summer sometime; I don't know the specific date). Let me tell you: I want. I want it now. I want it now and permanently and then I want to make many video games with it. Other than that, though, I was totally worthless this weekend and played entirely too much Persona 3 Portable and, since this came out yesterday, Dragon Quest IX. Persona 3, though, is just absolutely fantastic and I adore it and I think I'll go play it now thank you for reading my Daily xoxoxo trent.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010
Pascal Gamer Now Holding Screenshot Contest
Hey boys and girls!

I'm happy to announce that Pascal Gamer Magazine is now holding a screenshot contest. The results will be shown in the very next issue. Submit a way cool screenshot of your own work and receive a free print copy of Pascal Gamer Issue #3 in which it will show off the very screenshot you submitted.

Click "Read More" to find out how to enter!

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Friday, July 9, 2010
Weekend Reading: Tales from Journal Land
Entries from 6/25 - 7/9

Yup, I was gone for Fourth of July weekend, up in the lovely mountains of Pennsylvania. So, lotsa catching up to do...

Journal Land Pick of the Week

/* Why you crying? */ - Well here's something a little different, as JTippetts goes through his experience with using Sculptris to draw a 3D character as he begins to practice 3D modeling. This looks like something that's fun to play with

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The GameDev.net Daily
Let me tell you: I'm kind of tired. I had a day-long little deal in Los Angeles yesterday (my second time in a month, also second time ever being in LA). If you could see me right now you'd see me half sleeping, half typing this, and half playing Crackdown 2 with fellow Daily writer Mike Stedman. No, those proportions are correct. Red Bull lets me operate at 150%. Upon finding the seemingly only place in LAX yesterday that sold Red Bull, I promptly realized that there is a small, concentrated amount of complete happiness in every can.

As revealed by the new issue of Game Informer, Dragon Age 2 was announced yesterday. Bioware's sequel to last fall's Dragon Age is said to be targeting a March 2011 release date.

In what is a strange little move, Firaxis laid off twenty employees yesterday. Lay-offs are always awful and I hope everyone affected by them lands on their feet, but what a weird time for lay-offs. Firaxis is currently full steam on Civilization 5 and Civilization Network (a Facebook version of Civilization), but neither game is out and, to my knowledge, both are in full production still. It's strange to see such a major studio conduct a round of lay-offs while all major, active projects are so... active. The reasoning for the cuts, as explained by parent company Take-Two, is that it is a "realignment of development resources at the studio [...] these reductions will not impact Firaxis' ability to create and deliver AAA titles."

Vanquish is due out in North America on October 19th. The new Shinji Mikami-directed game in development at Platinum Games looks absolutely incredible and the sooner I can play the happier I will be. And I like being happy.

A forthcoming Red Dead Redemption DLC pack will introduce zombies to the game. I have one question: why? This seems so wildly inappropriate and unnecessary for the game.

Contrary to many of the reports that came out of E3, Microsoft is saying that Kinect can detect seated players. The exact quote from an unnamed Microsoft representative to Joystiq is: "Kinect can be used while sitting when an experience is developed with sitting in mind." Given that this statement is coming well after E3 and is incredibly vague, I'm somewhat skeptical of the whole thing. That said, it would be kind of silly if such a major piece of hardware was unable to detect the thing that most people do in their living rooms: sit on couches.

Have a good weekend, all y'all. For me: we're looking at an abundance of time with Persona 3 Portable. It's good. So good.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
It's been a scorcher these past few days here on the US east coast, where temps have risen often into the triple digits. Slightly cooler now, in the 80's - but it certainly presents problems when running a computer rig in such ambient air temperature. Even with AC, I've not really kept it on longer than 2hrs at a time to be safe - not to mention power losses. Hopefully anyone else affected by heat waves in their area this summer take it easy to stave off injury both to yourself and your computer hardware.

Studio News: Realtime Worlds, Mythic. Although it's only been a week since the release of APB from Realtime Worlds, the company is already looking ahead, restructuring and retooling to maintain the online world of APB and focus on their second project, which has been downscaled. The game has received lukewarm reviews, and Realtime Worlds says that has nothing to do with the changes being made to the company. Mythic Entertainment has officially been renamed to 'BioWare Mythic', a title that has been used internally for some time already.

Iwata blames game quality, not economy. MetaCritic sees quality improving. Pachter says we're all doomed. Nintendo prez Satoru Iwata said 2 weeks ago that "my belief is we should not blame the bad economy for the cause of slow sales of video games. The slow sales must be due to the lack of great software that everyone wants to buy." This week, MetaCritic released its midyear report, which shows a higher average review score across all platforms from 2009 to 2010. This apparent increase in quality, however, hasn't stopped Michael Pachter from getting all doom and gloom over the May NPD results.

Need funding? Indie Fund is looking to help. Formally announced back during the Indie Games Summit at this year's GDC, the Indie Fund is a group of established indie developers who want to help other indies secure funding from companies without getting stabbed in the back through arcane contracts. These guys have experience and expertise and want to share that to help great games get made. So obviously you'll be needing to show off your great game to get the process started. Check out the Joystiq story for more details.

Daily Remainders - more cool stories that didn't make the cut along with game dev articles/features.

If you think it's a good idea to pay your way into the industry, you might want to see how this guy does before offering up $1000 (or more) yourself to secure that elusive game development job.

I remember seeing this back when it was first discovered but in case you missed it, find out how to play as Master Hand in Super Smash Bros Melee.

Read this post in Chinese

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010
New Hansoft 6.1 launched
Hansoft releases Hansoft 6.1. The new version includes extensive support for the lean development technique Kanban, with the unique ability to handle multiple parallel swimlanes of workflow.

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Xsens releases landmark algorithm
Xsens Technologies B.V. have announced the general availability of its KinematicCoupling (KiC) algorithm in its newly released software suite MVN Studio 3.0 for professional grade human motion capture. Xsens MVN will be on show at the SIGGRAPH conference (July 27-29, 2010) in Los Angeles at booth 839.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The Daily GameDev.Net
Well, that's that for the long weekend, and it's times for an Immensely Productive Tuesday GameDev.Net Daily. I actually had an immensely productive weekend, so I've decided to continue that forever without taking a break. What could go wrong?

People are a little uneasy on the legal front, as the US Supreme Court has been examining a California state law prohibiting sales of violent video games to minors. The decision hasn't been handed down yet, and publishers generally expect the court to strike down the law. Still, a decision in favor of the law could have significant implications for the industry and how games are regulated, if at all. Incidentally, the Australian ex-Premier Peter Beattie has apparently changed his mind completely on an R18+ rating. And the UK is about to have a fight of its own.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is apparently irritated that the company doesn't see income from online gaming. His comments echo earlier ones by the Square Enix CEO, and EA has already been working on making progress along that front with their Gun Pass and Online Pass initiatives. Supposedly gamers have spent over 1.7 billion hours playing Call of Duty online between November and April, suggesting that there might be a lot of opportunity there.

According to a recent survey, 64% of gamers prefer hard copies to digital. That's a statistic largely driven by the strong used games market. My response is, um...yes. The economics of digital purchases are a scam. In the vast majority of cases I can go buy a game with all the resale rights etc, or I can electronically buy the same game with DRM restrictions, no resale ability, and sketchy rights in case of device failure. And both are the same price. There's no manufacturing or shipping chain for digital, and I can't do as much with my digital purchases. So if you're going to charge an artificially inflated price for that, then it's hardly shocking that gamers are icy.

Oh, and used games are nearly a $5 billion market in the US.

I'll leave you today with a video of just how insane professional Starcraft players are.

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Monday, July 5, 2010
The Daily GameDev.net
Hello, Dailyites. It's me again, and I'm finding news and personally cramming it into your internet connection byte by byte. I go through a lot of really tiny scissors, what with having to print out the articles and cut up the letters.

So there's inFamous 2, which continues to have one of the most annoying drop capitals I've ever seen. The gameplay looks pretty awesome, though - they've really nailed that sense of things 'happening' as a whole instead of being action/cutscene/action/cutscene.

People are claiming in a panic that Epic has abandoned the PC platform. Mark Rein points out how untrue that is.

Looks like when you buy Crackdown 2, you get a familiar friend in Perfect Dark as well. I hope to see more of this kind of cross-game thing, especially when it makes no canonical sense whatsoever.

In indie news, there's a competition based on looking at Photoshops, the crazy spree of most likely nude Teppoman 2, and the upcoming Toribash for WiiWare. The new IndieDB site, which I talked about previously in this space, is releasing monthly "spotlight" compilation videos which are pretty fun to watch. Makes me feel more creative already.

Don't forget about Vegetable Game.


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