Never Say Die

Scientia potentia est

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Around the web XXXV

Again to the date; today marks the establishment of the CIA (in 1947), Tiffany’s (in 1837) and ICANN (in 1998), the birth of Ronaldo (in 1976) and the death of one Jimi Hendrix (in 1970).

Sci/tech;

  • Nuclear fusion research is still plugging away and making gradual advances; both the torus/tokamak kind (hot plasma contained in magnetic fields in donut-like apparatus) - see The Economist - and the laser ignition kind (triggering fusion by firing very powerful lasers at small capsules of fuel) - see BBC.
  • Researchers have developed a camera system that detects lies through analysis of various subtle unconscious signs that people display when they lie. It currently works about two thirds of the time, as the BBC report.
  • Various now ubiquitous technologies and inventions were at first dismissed as insignificant or not commercially viable - including the telephone and Post-It notes. The BBC runs through a few more.
  • Wired recently visited MS Research, and took a look at some of their latest endeavours - depth sensing cameras extending from the Kinect tech, 3D printers for custom mice, the next generation of the Surface, etc. See report.

Business;

  • From Inc, a brief piece on how Dropbox was founded (partly because of a forgotten USB drive).

GameDev;

  • Gamasutra have an interview with John Carmack here, where he talks about finishing Rage, his thoughts on multiplatform development and the future of game technology, and more.
  • Also from Gamasutra, in a piece summarising a talk at GDC Europe a few weeks back, JE Sawyer (from Obsidian, of Fallout: New Vegas fame) discusses five lessons they’ve learned about gameplay design for RPGs
  • From trade magazine Edge, an interesting piece on the creation of Valve’s popular co-op zombie game Left 4 Dead.
  • Speaking of John Carmack, id have just released the source code for the iOS ports of DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D, as is their custom - see the Bethesda blog announcement.

Gaming;

  • Confirming long-standing rumours, EA has announced that cult classic squad strategy game Syndicate is set to return, but, it turns out, as an FPS. Whether or not that’ll work is anyone’s guess, but PC Gamer have some nice-looking screenshots in any case.
  • In a story on very similar lines, here’s 22 minutes of XCOM footage from E3, demoing the classic strategy game which is now being remade in FPS form.
  • On a happier note, 20 minutes of gameplay footage of Skyrim, as demoed to journalists at E3. Impressive stuff. Also from Bethesda’s direction, a new gameplay trailer for id’s Rage, featuring rich environments and frenetic combat.
  • And on an even happier note, that familiar cello solo, scenery-chewing monologue and over-the-top gunplay? Yes, it’s the first trailer for Max Payne 3.
  • Speaking of debut trailers, here's the first one for the upcoming Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Misc;

  • If you’ve wondered how digital artists do their thing, here's a cool timelapse video of an artist painting one of the critters in online game Everquest, plus detailed commentary on the artistic process.
  • Ferries in Bangladesh are key to the country’s economy, as this BBC gallery describes.
  • And again with the photo galleries; a collection of colour photos from New York City around the WWII era.
  • This is pretty cool; a photographer decided to capture the look on friends and family’s faces when he told them that he was to become a father; see the results.
  • Speaking of children, various famous “grown-up” authors also wrote lesser known childrens’ books - including Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley (of Brave New World fame), Ian Flemming, Leo Tolstoy and more. See here and here.
  • Continuing the art theme, from 1972, one of the first 3D rendered films ever produced (by graphics legend Ed Catmull, who was later to found Pixar) - see article.

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