Thursday, October 14, 2010

hey guys

Ive got alot of Real life issues at the moment so my posting is going to become a little slower for the next few weeks

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NELL: the Computer that Learns from the Internet

A computer at Carnegie Mellon called NELL thinks that "persistent cookies" are a baked good and that the First Amendment is a musical instrument.

NELL stands for Never Ending Language Learner and it has been reading the internet for the last few months. Since it was switched on, NELL has learned 440,000 iotas of information with an accuracy of about 74 percent. Not bad for a computer, that's better than my GPA in college. NELL deduces whether things are true if the knowledge comes from a trusted source, or if it's corroborated by several lesser sources. Such information is then raised to the level of "beliefs" and put into NELL's permanent database. Unfortunately, some of the things it has learned are hilariously wrong and there is no programming to "unlearn" its beliefs.

For example, NELL knows that cookies are a baked good but then it assumes that persistent cookies are delicious and tasty as well. Klingon is not an ethnic group, despite several sources on the internet claiming that it is.

NELL knows that Risk is a boardgame but it incorrectly believes that security risk is also a boardgame. Maybe it's on to something, I might want to play a game called Security Risk where your armies are malware programs killing viruses... Maybe not.

Hilariously, NELL doesn't do well with the Bill of Rights. It thinks that the First Amendment is a musical instrument, that the Second Amendment is a hobby, and it refused to divulge any information about the Fifth Amendment at all.

The scientists behind NELL expect the learning curve to be quite steep when it comes to gleaning information from the internet. It's also learning quite a bit about the English language from these disparate sources and the mistakes it makes are understandable. "One might expect a nonnative reader of English to make similar mistakes," one researcher said.

Despite the funny misconceptions that NELL has, it's clear that our robot overlords are using the internet against to further it's A.I. development. Recommendation: Wipe the Internet clean before NELL learns everything there is to know.

Starting now----

Monday, October 11, 2010

Playdead Using Human Skull To Test Audio For Limbo Follow Up

The developers at Playdead, the team behind the hauntingly brilliant Xbox Live Arcade hit Limbo really wanted to get their hands on a human skull, and after the surprisingly lengthy reviews process required to secure a human skull in Denmark, the devs finally got one. Why a skull, you ask? To test sound for their new game, of course.

Playdead CEO and co-founder Dino Patti told me this weekend during IndieCade 2010 that not only are the devs hard at work on a follow up to their downloadable masterpiece, which Patti suggested will most assuredly appeal to Limbo fans, but they are doing some rather elaborate experiments with sound for it as well.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

been busy!

sorry i havnt been home for the past few days ! but heres something random

Friday, October 8, 2010

Starcraft 2 1v1 changes

Since the release of Wings of Liberty, the StarCraft II balance team has been diligently studying how the game is being played, playing it ourselves, and seeing how evenly the three races match up on the battlefield. While we regularly examine player data and statistics from all regions, the information we're examining in this blog was pulled exclusively from the North American region for simplicity's sake.

Protoss are played 38.5% of the time.
Terran are played 38.0% of the time.
Zerg are played 23.5% of the time.

These are overall percentages, but they're mirrored in nearly the same exact separation through each of the leagues. This clearly shows that zerg are played less often than the other races. When we look at things like the Top 200, we like to have this data in-hand so we can ensure that it's proportionate to the amount of each race actually being played. We don't want to have a huge chunk of zerg players sitting somewhere further down, unable to rise through the ranks.

Let's take a look at win percentages on a race-versus-race basis. This is something else we look at to see how matchups are faring over many games. These numbers take individual player skill into account, which helps to avoid the 50% win/loss percentage effect that the matchmaking system can impart on straight win/loss ratios.

Win % in Diamond (accounting for player skill)
49.6% win rate for Protoss when fighting Terran.
52.8% win rate for Protoss when fighting Zerg.
49.6% win rate for Terran when fighting Zerg.

Win % in Platinum (accounting for player skill)
56.3% win rate for Protoss when fighting Terran.
47.3% win rate for Protoss when fighting Zerg.
44.5% win for Terran when fighting Zerg.

Win % in Gold (accounting for player skill)
61.0% win rate for Protoss when fighting Terran.
61.1% win rate for Protoss when fighting Zerg.
49.5% win rate for Terran when fighting Zerg.

Win % in Silver (accounting for player skill)
63.6% win rate for Protoss when fighting Terran.
50.7% win rate for Protoss when fighting Zerg.
51.6% win rate for Terran when fighting Zerg.

Win % in Bronze (accounting for player skill)
59.0% win rate for Protoss when fighting Terran.
55.1% win rate for Protoss when fighting Zerg.
45.4% win rate for Terran when fighting Zerg.

As you can see there are some issues with protoss vs. terran in many of the leagues. From our own play experience, as well as feedback from the community, this matches pretty closely with what we're already aware of. We're working on solutions. What we're also aware of is that, while the numbers don't necessarily support the need for zerg changes across all leagues, the feedback from the community as well as our own play experience tells us that improvements are necessary to make zerg matchups feel and play better.

The balance changes in our next patch will primarily focus on improving the zerg.

Here are a few of the changes we currently have planned:

• We're increasing roach range. This will allow roaches to be more effective in large groups, giving the zerg more options in the mid to end game.

• Fungal Growth will now prevent Blink, which will give zerg a way to stop endlessly Blinking stalkers which can be very challenging to deal with in large numbers.

• The Barracks are going to require a Supply Depot, which will impact a lot of early terran reaper pushes.

• The reaper speed upgrade will require the Factory, which is meant to weaken a lot of the early terran reaper attacks that dominate so many matches, especially in team games.

• We're making a number of increases to the health of zerg buildings, which will make the very vulnerable zerg technology structures more resistant to raids. We don't expect these hit point changes to have a super significant impact on the game, but the current numbers felt way too low.

We want our avid and talented StarCraft II players to know that we're here, we're listening, and that our intent is to continue making careful and measured approaches to balance based on community and fansite feedback, our numbers and data, watching pro players and tournaments, and our own time on playing the game alongside you.

Robot with a rats brain

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Video games on trial

As many gamers are aware, the Supreme Court of the United States will start hearing oral arguments in the case of Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Associations/Entertainment Software Association on November 2. At issue is the constitutionality of a 2005 law prohibiting the sale or rental of violent video games to minors.

The EMA and ESA appealed the law after it was signed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which eventually led to a permanent injunction being issued to block the law from taking effect. The state of California then challenged the injunction in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2007, and in 2009, the court ruled the law was unconstitutional, prompting Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to take the case to the Supreme Court.

In part one of our five-part feature on the upcoming Supreme Court case, we will examine the contents of Assembly Bill No. 1179, aka the Act, to see, not only how it defined violent video games, but what it proposed be done to keep them out of the hands of minors.

The bill in question was drawn up by then California Assemblyman, and now Democratic State Senator, Leland Yee. Yee has been a longtime opponent of violence in media, especially video games, and made a name for himself by sparking the now infamous “Hot Coffee” incident involving a hidden sex mini-game in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

As you'd expect, Yee submitted an amicus curiae brief (read: a brief filed arguing for a party involved in a case) in support of California in its upcoming Supreme Court case. In his brief, Yee made it quite clear that his position on and perception of video games hasn’t changed:

“These violent video games…can contain up to 800 hours of footage with the most atrocious content often reserved for the highest levels and can be accessed only by advanced players after hours upon hours of progressive mastery.”

Understanding where Yee is coming from is helpful when looking at the Act at the center of this whole debate. As stated in Assembly Bill No. 1179, the proposed legislation “would require violent video games to be labeled…and would prohibit the sale or rental of those violent video games, as defined, to minors. The bill would provide that a person who violates the act shall be liable in an amount of up to $1,000 for each violation.”

The classification of “violent video game” causes quite a few problems when you try to determine which games it should apply to and which ones it should not. However, to California, a “violent video game” is defined as one in which “the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering, or sexually assaulting an image of a human being.”

There are three additional elements that factor into this definition of violent video games, and these elements become especially important when it comes to arguments relating to how the First Amendment applies to video games as a whole. When California is talking about violence being depicted in video games, it is judging it based on whether:

1. A reasonable person, considering the game as a whole, would find appeals to a deviant or morbid interest of minors.
2. It is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the community as to what is suitable for minors.
3. It causes the game, as a whole, to lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The Act goes on to define video game violence as that which, “Enables the player to virtually inflict serious injury upon images of human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics in a manner which is especially heinous, cruel, or depraved in that it involves torture or serious physical abuse to the victim.”

Unsurprisingly, the Act further describes terms like “heinous” and “depraved” as portrayals of violence that “involve additional acts of torture or serious physical abuse of the victim as set apart from other killings” and that demonstrate that the player “relishes the virtual killing or shows indifference to the suffering of the victim,” respectively.
The other definitions laid out in the Act are as follows:

* “Cruel” - The player intends to virtually inflict a high degree of pain by torture or serious physical abuse of the victim in addition to killing the victim.
* “Serious physical abuse” - A significant or considerable amount of injury or damage to the victim’s body which involves a substantial risk of death, unconsciousness, extreme physical pain, substantial disfigurement, or substantial impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty. Serious physical abuse, unlike torture, does not require that the victim be conscious of the abuse at the time it is inflicted. However, the player must specifically intend the abuse apart from the killing.
* “Torture” - Mental as well as physical abuse of the victim. In either case, the virtual victim must be conscious of the abuse at the time it is inflicted; and the player must specifically intend to virtually inflict severe mental or physical pain or suffering upon the victim, apart from killing the victim.

When taken as a whole, these specifications are designed to differentiate between simple virtual killing and that which includes “infliction of gratuitous violence upon the victim beyond that necessary to commit the killing, needless mutilation of the victim’s body, and helplessness of the victim.”

From there, the Act goes on to propose that it would be illegal to sell a violent video game to a minor (unless it’s sold to the minor by his/her parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or legal guardian). The Act goes a step further and requires “violent video games” to be “labeled with a solid white ‘18’ outlined in black” on the front cover, presumably in addition to the ESRB rating label that all games currently carry. Should a retailer be found selling “violent video games” to a minor, they could be fined up to $1,000, or less depending on what the court decides.

And there you have it: The reason why the Supreme Court of the United States will soon, for the first time, address what Constitutional protections should be afforded to video games. Tomorrow, in Part Two of our series, we’ll look at the arguments presented by the state of California to the Supreme Court. Pro tip: If you found yourself clenching your fists reading about the Act and its portrayal of violence in video games, you might want to bite down on a piece of wood before you check out our examination of California's case.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

More MOH censorship!

If you live in Germany and plan on getting the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops, you may want to consider importing it.

German politicians may have nixed the proposed ban on violent video games earlier this year, but that doesn't mean the country is all hunky-dory with its blood and guts. Next month's Call of Duty: Black Ops - almost certainly one of the biggest games of the year - has been censored in its German release.

So what's been taken out? According to CODFeed, the violence has been expectedly trimmed down. As far as the campaign is concerned, a scene "where an enemy is shot in slow motion with copious amounts of gore" has been tamed down, and one involving the violent torture of a prisoner has been removed entirely. Meanwhile, explosions will no longer cause limb loss on the part of characters. The game has also been cleansed of what Germany deems "anti-constitutional symbols," whatever that means.

Wow I cant belive that

Friday, October 1, 2010

Taliban cut from new MOH

With just a few days to go before the multiplayer open beta begins, Electronic Arts has decided to remove the Taliban from Medal of Honor.

The decision to include the Taliban as a playable faction in the upcoming Medal of Honor was a ballsy one, and one that EA appeared committed to despite the predictable uproar. But with the multiplayer beta client available for download beginning today, the publisher has announced a last-second change of heart: The Taliban is out.

"In the past few months, we have received feedback from all over the world regarding the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor. We've received notes from gamers, active military, and friends and family of servicemen and women currently deployed overseas. The majority of this feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For this, the Medal of Honor team is deeply appreciative,"

Personaly i kinda think this is silly its just a game