Keeping Secrets in Hardware: Andrew Huang hacks the Xbox. [via Red Rock Eater]
Civilization III: Digital Game-based Learning and Macrohistory Simulations: a review of Civ3 from someone who read the manual, and then some...
Civilization III's success amplifies certain trajectories of our mediascape, evident since SimCity (1988) inaugurated the "God game" genre (Prensky, 2000: 139). Sony's Playstation 2 has replaced The New Yorker as the arbiter of the Gen-X/Millennials psyche (Seabrook, 2000). Alain and Frederic Le Diberder touted videogames as "the 'tenth art'" (Poole, 2000: 25). Simulations are now regularly used in interactive education (Beer, 2000: 297-298) and business training (Prensky, 2000: 146), anticipating how corporations harness simulations to accelerate strategic innovation processes (Schrage, 1999). Hollywood films and DVD packaging feature twitch-speed aesthetics and non-linear narratives. Open-ended game-play provides a laboratory that enables participants to test the geopolitical shibboleths of the post-9/11 world--Samuel P. Huntington's "clash of civilizations" hypothesis, Robert Kaplan's fears of a "coming anarchy", the "Pacific Age" and "China Century" scenarios--and to surface their hidden presumptions. Simulations also help to distinguish between core operating policies versus espoused policies that guide organizational behaviour (Georgantzas and Acar, 1995: 234).
[via evacuate & flush]
Microsoft to launch massive online games network
The network will allow large groups of Xbox users to play tournaments together via the internet. But access to the network will come at a price. It will reportedly cost $9.95 per month to connect to Xbox Live, on top of the price of each game, and the service will only be available to those already paying for high-speed internet access.
security holes games are expected to be
open this summer.
See also: Microsoft's $1 Billion Bet on Xbox Network
Nethack goes graphical. [via #!/usr/bin/girl]
It's Still Loading?: Scott Bilas on designing a file system to support today's games.
Every year, engineers are handed more and more content to churn through their game engines, often with the files numbering in the thousands and filling up multiple CD's. Designing a file system to efficiently deal with this kind of quantity will take some careful planning. It will have a significant impact on memory footprint, load times, and general game play chunkiness. Plus, during development it will affect the overall production process, the frustration level of the team, and the tightness of the feature-to-bug-to-fix loop. This paper describes the requirements of a "good" file system and then details how to design and build one. Topics covered include: resource packages, proper use of memory mapping, integrating filters and compression, building tools for packaging, and production process gotchas that proper planning can easily solve.
[via Confessions of a Mozillian]
What's This World Coming To? The Future of Massively Multiplayer Games
Of all the games in the world, the group loosely classified as "massively multiplayer" or "persistent world" games have the most unexplored potential. They're among the oldest of multiplayer games; the very first networked computer users played adventure games similar to EverQuest, but comprised entirely of text. And with the advent of graphical interfaces, these massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs for short) may someday change the way we live and communicate online!
...at least, that's the promise. In the meantime the genre is trying to find legs. Are these products games or are they services? Should they be complex or simple? Should they cater to niches or mainstream audiences? How should people access them? The Game Developers Conference gives game developers the unique opportunity of stepping away from their current projects for a couple of days to put their heads together and hash out the answers to these problems.