You're a homicidal invader!
" It was unwieldy, had a low rate of fire and never entered service, but it makes for an impressive model."
Well.. how high a RoF do you need when you're shooting nuclear shells? ;) But it is impressive, indeed!
In the fifties, the United States experimented with artillery that could launch nuclear weapons. Not to be outdone, the Soviet Union developed the 2A3 Kondensator 2P self-propelled howitzer. Andy Baumgart (D-Town Cracka) has built a highly detailed 1/30 scale model of this unusual piece of Cold War history.
Early nuclear weapons tended to be on the bulky side. Consequently, whilst many modern self-propelled artillery pieces have a caliber of 155 mm (6.10 inches), the caliber of the Kondensator was a whopping 406 mm (16 inches), which is more in line with a battleship main battery. It was one of the largest self-propelled artillery pieces ever built. It was unwieldy, had a low rate of fire and never entered service, but it makes for an impressive model.
" You like something, you buy more of it. You don’t like something, you walk away."
A bit like shareware? ;)
"Make the experience inherently un-fun (unless I pay) and I’m walking away." sums it up pretty nicely.
Recently, GamesIndustry.biz ran an article by Kabam’s President, Andrew Sheppard, about the F2P biz model. (You can find it here: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-03-05-f2p-the-most-democratic-form-of-development-kabam?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=us-daily.)
Basically, the story offered some good thoughts and some bad ones.
The good? There are some very smart comments about the desirability of having several workable business models – and the inevitability of multiple models – rather than one winner-take-all model. That was a breath of fresh air, let me tell you! Most F2P guys exhibit a zeal that can, at best, be described as unseemly. Multiple business models? I completely agree.
And I agree completely with the comments about licenses as well. There’s no reason why licensed games can’t rock. And it’s both good business and, often, good fun working with licenses. Developers need to get over not-invented-here syndrome.
But, on the flip side, Sheppard makes some comments about console and triple-A developers being “scared” of F2P, citing the disruption caused by the switch from arcades (25 cents, please… okay, how about another 25 cents?…) to consoles (deposit $60 in our bank accounts, thank you…).
I think the fear factor is non-existent. Sheppard is just wrong about that. And the arcade to console comparison is simply off-base.
I don’t know anyone who “fears” the new business model. I certainly don’t. I just think it’s evil AS IMPLEMENTED by most developers and publishers. And the incremental approach to revenue generation of the arcades is radically different than the approach most F2P folks take today.
Honestly, I think the arcade guys got it right and we could learn some valuable lessons from them. What lessons?
Well, that initial quarter was very easy to spend. You fed the machine a quarter and you got X minutes of play time. If you were having a good time and wanted more content, you fed more quarters into the machine to keep playing for X additional minutes.
That’s a great model – certainly better than overcharging for our product as we always do in the triple-A space. And it’s a model we can and should adopt.
Charge very little for the first hour of play – or give it away if you want. If I’m having fun, I pay a small fee for more of that experience. You like something, you buy more of it. You don’t like something, you walk away. Track what people do as they play and adjust play appropriately as you introduce new content? Fine. Awesome. I’m in.
But start charging me for power-ups and other things I need to succeed (or, worse, hats and cloaks and such with no game effect)? Take planning and skill out of the equation and charge me for things I need to continue making progress (or to dress myself up)? Nope. I’m not down with that at all. And that’s what most of the F2P folks seem to be doing.
It’d be like a television show giving you 25 minutes of entertainment and then charging for the last five minutes. Or giving you all the talking but charging extra for the action. (Okay, bad analogy but I couldn’t think of a better one.)
In other words, most F2P experiences are built on a model that might be described as “bad entertainment for free; good entertainment for cash.”
That’s what I object to. It’s not fear. It’s not that F2P HAS to be evil. It’s just that it IS evil, as usually implemented. That’s what has to change before you’ll make a convert of me. And just to put my money where my mouth is, here are some personal experiences:
I’m a huge fan of the Tell Tale games – and their business model. I like their free content (their “pilot episodes”) so I always buy subsequent episodes. I like the free stuff so I pay them for the not free stuff – just like the old arcades. They don’t charge for new clothes for Clementine or for shotguns that do double damage to zombies! Good on them!
I love Candy Crush Saga (there, I said it), but I’ve paid for exactly one power-up (and won’t ever pay for another) because I couldn’t make forward progress without said power-up. That’s evil. Sorry. No other word for it. On the other hand I’ve happily paid several times for new levels. Again, I like the free content so I’ll pay for more content. It’s my way of thanking and rewarding the developer for providing an inherently fun experience. Make the experience inherently un-fun (unless I pay) and I’m walking away.
There are similar good things going on elsewhere in the F2P or Cheap 2 Play world – Republique… Kentucky Route Zero… – which I’ll happily support.
Free to Play should really BE free to play (and cheap to play is okay, too – developers have to eat). The ages old model of offering value for money (rather than junk for money) is the right model.
Creating inherently enjoyable experiences that don’t NEED to be enhanced by the purchase of power-ups or add-ons is the right answer. I’m convinced of that and not scared at all. Bring on the change, just make sure it’s a change for the better.
(Oh, yeah, I have to confess, I’ve never played a Kabam game so it’s entirely possible they do everything right. Take this post as a condemnation of the predominant F2P approach, not as a comment on any specific company or game.)
That setup looks like a lot of fun :D
WOW I thought the end date had passed here. Great stuff guys. Deattilio that is freakin' awesome work.
I just finished this the other day and if you will allow I offer it up as a 2nd entry. This is the next in my Peanut Butter Panzer series. A 144th Pantherturm using a Panther G turret from a Dragon Panzer Korp kit and a scratched bunker. If anyone wants to see them i will be happy[y to put up some of the WIP pics... like the concrete deal I made ...to make it official.
Yet another fucker caught. How surprising is this?
"Don't do what I do, do as I say!". Bleh.
Patrick Rock, a Thatcherite who served as special advisor to UK Prime Minister David Cameron and played an influential role in the Prime Minister's national Internet censorship plan, has been arrested for possession of images depicting the sexual abuse of children. The National Crime Agency is conducting forensic analysis of the computer networks at the Prime Minister's office/residence, Number 10 Downing Street.
The Prime Minister brought him into Downing Street in 2011 to work in the Number 10 policy unit. He took responsibility for home affairs issues and was among officials who were involved in drawing up controls against internet images of child abuse.
A Downing Street spokesman said: “On the evening of February 12, Downing Street was first made aware of a potential offence relating to child abuse imagery. It was immediately referred to the National Crime Agency.
'The Prime Minister was immediately informed and kept updated throughout. Patrick Rock was arrested at his home in the early hours of February 13, a few hours after Downing Street had reported the matter.
'Subsequently, we arranged for officers to come into No 10 and have access to all IT systems and offices they considered relevant.
Senior Tory adviser Patrick Rock arrested on child pornography allegations [Nigel Morris/The Independent]
(via Super Punch)
Scouting New York visited the New York filming locations of The Godfather (1972) to see how they look today. Top, Don Corleone gunned down outside Genco (128 Mott Street), and that location now. "The New York Filming Locations of The Godfather, Then and Now" (via Laughing Squid)
A wonderful setup!
Sounds awesome 8)
The next thing I wanna let you do in Heat Signature is take the helm of an enemy ship and fly it yourself. But right now, things go very screwy if you’re on a ship as it accelerates. So I’m redoing all the relative velocity code to make sure the contents of a ship stay stable while it’s jerking around.
I was testing the new code just now, and headed for a small ship to dock with it. It had rubbish heat sensors, so I came in pretty hot, and my ship was still cooling on its hull when I docked and snuck aboard. Unfortunately, at that exact moment, a much, much larger ship with much, much better heat sensors went past – and immediately spotted my still-warm ship latched onto the smaller one.
Ships have heat-seeking missile launchers now, of varying number, and when they attack they fire all of them. So as I’m dealing with the first guard in the small ship, four missiles slam into it. One destroys the module my ship was latched onto, sending it drifting into space. I run for the guard and knock him out, just as a missile destroys the room I was standing in a second earlier.
Two more rooms are blown off the smaller ship, leaving not much left. And once a space war starts, it doesn’t stop: the big ship might not have been aiming for the small one, but they’re enemies now, so they’ll shoot it out until one of them dies. And with four missiles per volley and only three rooms left on this ship, I don’t like our chances.
But it suddenly occurs to me that a ship doesn’t have to be obliterated to ‘die’. If you knock out the captain, its lights and sensors go out and other ships see it as defunct. The time between missile volleys is also randomised – somewhere between 3 and 6 seconds right now – so I had no idea if I had time, but I tried it anyway: I sprinted for the cockpit and smacked the captain unconscious. The lights went out, everything went quiet, and… nothing.
I zoomed out just in time to see the bigger ship’s sensor radius slip off screen as it cruised off.
I was still boned of course, stranded on this ruined ship without one of my own to leave in, but it felt like a fantastic moment. I’d never even thought of this as a tactic until I randomly found myself in a situation where it was the only way to survive.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is trying to please a conservative local faction opposed to homosexuality, but risks alienating Western aid donors. Photo: Reuters, February 22, 2014.
"The mouth is made for eating and kissing, and gay oral sex will give you worms."
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda today gave a detailed explanation of why he believed homosexuals should be jailed for life.
"These mercenary homosexual prostitutes have to be punished," he said. "Just like those who are recruiting them."
"I have failed to understand that you can fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man," the president told reporters as he signed off on controversial anti-gay legislation that includes life prison terms for repeat offenders. "That is a really serious matter. There is something really wrong with you," he said. Museveni, a devout evangelical Christian, said the only explanation for being gay was money.Got it. Science.
"Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money," he said, asserting that he had taken the time to get scientific advice before signing off on the law.
Jeff Highsmith made a fantastic "Mission Control Desk" for his young son who has just started school. It's hidden under a regular desktop.
Chart by Bruno Oliveira.
Click the graph to see it at full size.
File this under “It’s funny because it’s true.”
Nerdcore rapper Dan Bull earns a good living from his Youtube videos, but he is constantly being dragged away from the studio to fight fraudulent copyright claims from major labels, who are able to censor his work with impunity. The video for his 2010 song I'm Not Pissed has been removed ten times by automated, fraudulent claims from the likes of BMG Rights Management and PRS, who face no consequences for lying about their involvement with his work.
In a new song called Fuck Content ID, Bull slams Google's automated Content ID takedown system, documenting his woes at the hands of Big Content, and with Google, who collaborate in a system of copyfraud that neither one seems to care about.
For his 2010 [NSFW] song “I’m not pissed”, he reveals a screen-grab showing 18 separate claims that have been made against it. While some of them were released after being disputed, two of them, BMG Rights Management and PRS, rejected the dispute and stand by their initial claim.
“It is up to me to prove myself innocent by asking eighteen different publishing companies through an automated system to revoke the automated claims. Each publisher has a month to reply, with no obligation to even do so. If even one of the eighteen publishers says ‘nope’ then it’s back to square one,” Bull explains.
“Any financial loss or restrictions on my channel are entirely on me, and will not be compensated for once the claim is lifted. This has been going on since last year with no end in sight,” he adds.
Why YouTube’s Automated Copyright Takedown System Hurts Artists [Ben Jones/Torrentfreak]
Prior to Whatsapp's $19B acquisition by Facebook, the company sent a large number of spurious takedowns against projects on Github. In a DMCA notice served by Whatsapp's General Counsel to Github, a number of projects are targeted for removal on the basis that they are "content that infringes on WhatsApp Inc.'s copyrights and trademarks."
This is grossly improper. DMCA takedown notices never apply to alleged trademark violations (it's called the "Digital Millennium Copyright Act" and not the "Digital Millennium Trademark Act"). Using DMCA notices to pursue trademark infringements isn't protecting your interests -- it's using barratry-like tactics to scare and bully third parties into participating in illegitimate censorship.
The letter goes on to demand takedown of these Github projects on the basis that they constitute "unauthorized use of WhatsApp APIs, software, and/or services" -- again, this is not a copyright issue, and it is improper to ask Github to police the code its hosts on this basis. It is certainly not the sort of activity that the DMCA's takedown procedure exists to police.
So what about copyright infringement? In the related Hacker News thread, a number of the projects' authors weigh in on the censorship, making persuasive cases that they software did not infringe on any of Whatsapp's copyrights -- rather, these were tools that made use of the Whatsapp API, were proof-of-concept security tools for Whatsapp, or, in one case, merely contained the string "whatsapp" in its sourcecode.
There may well have been some legitimately infringing material on Github, but it's clear that Whatsapp's General Counsel did not actually limit her or his request to this material. Instead, the company deliberately overreached the bounds of the DMCA, with total indifference to the rights of other copyright holders -- the creators of the software they improperly had removed.
Unfortunately, there are no real penalties for this sort of abuse. Which is a shame, because Whatsapp has $19B in the bank that a smart lawyer who wanted to represent the aggrieved parties could certainly take a chunk out of.
(via Hacker News)
This is just beautiful. My #1 favourite detail is that 88FlaK-like gun. Wow.
"... an exclusive anti-piracy trailer aimed at keeping young people away from film piracy ..."
I still don't see the point of all these "don't copy that floppy" clips in the movie theaters. People have already *paid* to see the movie instead of warezing it... :s
IT World: Archive film showcases the promotion of operating system by Bell Labs.
Meh. I'm not happy about Zuckerberg buying anything :|
According to an early report from Bloomberg News reporter Sarah Frier, Facebook is set to buy WhatsApp for $16 billion. An SEC filing confirms the acquisition for $4 billion in cash to WhatsApp's security holders, along with $12 billion in Facebook stock and an additional $3 billion in Facebook stock that will vest over four years.
WhatsApp has been one of a handful of booming messaging apps that has grown especially large in the last year (GroupMe, WeChat, Kik, and Line are others). In December, the app was reported to have over 400 million monthly users, and Facebook now reports that the service has 450 million. Meanwhile, Facebook maintains roughly 1.2 billion as of last October.
Facebook has yet to release usage numbers for either its messaging feature on the whole or its dedicated Messenger app. The Verge noted in December that it was "telling" that few other messaging apps release their usage numbers like WhatsApp does, which suggests its user base dwarfs its competitors.
The infamous Braindead Security Theater strikes again...
This is awesome!
Now I need those *and* the iris hatch in a window as I've always wanted...
Surveillance cams in bathrooms. Need I say more? :D
Dmitry Kozak, Russia's Olympian deputy prime minister warned a Wall Street Journal reporter that he would release hidden-camera footage of journalists in their hotel bathrooms if they continued to complain about the substandard hotels in Sochi.
Just a reminder for anyone thinking of travelling to Sochi after the Olympics for a spot of tourism: according to Russia's deputy prime-minister, the hotel bathrooms have surveillance cameras that watch you in the shower.
“We have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day,” he said. An aide then pulled a reporter away before Mr. Kozak could be questioned further on surveillance in hotel rooms. “We’re doing a tour of the media center,” the aide said.
Russian Official To Hotel Critics: We Have Surveillance Videos Of You In The Bathroom [Mary Beth Quirk/Consumerist]
"This is an animated gif of a chicken wearing a prosthetic tail to counterbalance its weight and make it walk like a dinosaur."
From preparing the bomb to dropping it—the explosion is a few seconds after 8:40. [Video Link]
This silent film shows the final preparation and loading of the "Fat Man" bomb into "Bockscar," the plane which dropped the bomb on Nagasaki. It then shows the Nagasaki explosion from the window of an observation plane. This footage comes from Los Alamos National Laboratory. I have not edited it in any way from what they gave me except to improve the contrast a little — it is basically "raw." I have annotated it with some notes on the bombing and what you can see — feel free to disable it if you don't want it.
I think that something like this could maybe be achieved by using a stencil. Something like a piece of carboard/paper with irregular holes punched through it.
Even a broken clock is correct twice a day. This guy just made his first, I guess :p
I was going to comment on this, but... it wasn't really publishable.
The ACLU is representing Scott and Sharon Lane, the parents of a child known in the proceedings as "CC," in a case against the Sabine Parish, Louisiana School Board, where their child was ridiculed for his Buddhist faith, and was forced to endure Christian indoctrination, including forced prayer, in the class. They say that their son's sixth grade curriculum included exam questions like "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (the correct answer was "LORD"). The school superintendent told them that they had no business being upset by this, because the school is in the Bible Belt, and he recommended sending the child to a school 25 miles away where there were "more Asians."
The ACLU is calling on supporters of the Lanes and CC to sign a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking for a "an immediate investigation into unlawful religious discrimination in Sabine Parish public schools."
To the right, the charming logo of Negreet High, whose school team is the "Negreet Indians."
Like any parents, we were deeply concerned when our son C.C. began getting sick to his stomach on the way to school each morning.
At first, we thought he had fallen ill. But we soon found out a far more disturbing truth—that our son, a Buddhist of Thai descent, was afraid to go to school because his teacher was chastising him in front of his peers for his Buddhist faith.
As we dug deeper, we discovered that our son’s sixth-grade curriculum at Negreet High included extreme religious indoctrination. The school itself was covered in religious icons. Christian prayer was incorporated into nearly every school event. And our son’s teacher routinely preached her biblical beliefs to students and tested the children on their piety with exam questions such as this one: "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
When our son failed to answer religious questions like this correctly (the answer was “LORD”), his teacher mocked him for his beliefs.
Religious Discrimination Has No Place in the Classroom (Thanks, Catherine!)
Twenty-five years after the Web's inception, its creator has urged the public to reengage with its original design: a decentralized Internet that remains open to all.
Speaking with Wired editor David Rowan at an event launching the magazine's March issue, Tim Berners-Lee said that although part of this is about keeping an eye on for-profit Internet monopolies such as search engines and social networks, the greatest danger is the emergence of a balkanized Web.
"I want a Web that's open, works internationally, works as well as possible, and is not nation-based," Berners-Lee told the audience, which included Martha Lane Fox, Jake Davis (aka Topiary) and Lily Cole. He suggested one example to the contrary: "What I don't want is a Web where the Brazilian government has every social network's data stored on servers on Brazilian soil. That would make it so difficult to set one up."
Artist Li Hongbo produces gorgeous sculptures made from meticulously cut sheets of fan-folded paper, stacked tightly so that the pieces appear to be made of solid composite or stone. But when Li pulls at them, they stretch and slide most gloriously, turning into slinkoid paper-chains that are pure visual hilarity.
Openings: Li Hongbo – “Tools Of Study” @ Klein Sun Gallery [Sleepboy/Arrestedmotion]
Hm, Finland's not that high up after all. I guess I'm officially surprised and all.
Bonus surprise: Turkey pips Britain & Ireland to take the #1 tea-drinking crown.