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Archive

Archive for July, 2012

Everything's alright about 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: Sing & Dance' game for Wii

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Come this fall, we're sure some warm, unspoken secrets will be revealed after playing Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical: Sing & Dance. The Wii game by Tubby Games will include 32 tracks across 13 musicals from the musical master's half-century career.

The game includes three modes, allowing players to dance, sing or enter the career mode, which will allow them to perform in the lead. There's also a multiplayer mode with support for up to four people.

The game will be out in the UK on September 14, with no mention of an overseas release. Don't cry, Argentina ... or any other country for that matter.

Continue reading Everything's alright about 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: Sing & Dance' game for Wii

JoystiqEverything's alright about 'Andrew Lloyd Webber: Sing & Dance' game for Wii originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 23:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Notch answers Q&A thread on Reddit, talks Minecraft, game development, and the gender of his beard

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Markus Persson

Markus Persson, also known as “Notch,” is the developer and creator of Minecraft. The open-world sandbox game focuses on building, crafting, and mining within a randomly generated virtual world, and versions of it are available on an array of devices: PC, Android, iOS, and Xbox 360.

Persson took to the popular social news sharing site, Reddit, today to engage in an “Ask Me Anything” discussion thread, where famous people allow the community to ask any question within a specific period of time. The subjects of these “conferences” then take some time to answer inquiries that they find relevant, and the whole conversation — threaded across various responses and comments — is left up on Reddit for perusal later.

At this point already, users have posted 4468 comments in the discussion covering a wide diversity of topics, including Persson’s opinion on the second-hand success revolving around his hit game, like the Minecraft Coder Pack and YouTube videos starring Minecraft. Below is a collection of selected questions and responses edited for clarity.

Searge
What is your personal opinion about the MCP project and it’s ability to decompile the game and make the source code kind of available to everyone? And how much do you think the fact that modding is made easy by systems like bukkit and MCP (and the number of available mods) affects the sales of Minecraft?

Notch
Personally, I used to feel threatened by it as I felt it challenged my “vision,” but on the other hand, I also know how wonderful mods are for games. We decided to just let it happen, and I’m very happy we did. Mods are a huge reason of what Minecraft is.

KillaMarci
Seeing as the YouTube community boosted Minecraft so much, do you watch any Minecraft YouTubers yourself regularly? Has any big company ever tried to “buy” Minecraft away from you or buy Mojang entirely? Is it true that you got bored of Minecraft and that’s why you left the lead developer position? If so, do you still get the urge to do some Minecraft coding now and then?

Notch
Yes, but I usually gravitate to their non-minecraft videos. Watching videos of Minecraft can feel weird after a while. Yes. We said no. I didn’t really get bored; I just wanted to move on to other things. I don’t get the urges to go back anymore, but about a month after I left, I missed it a lot. I tried not to let Jens [editor's note: Jens Bergensten, now lead programmer for Minecraft] know that, though. ;)

SethBling
There are now dozens, maybe hundreds, of people making a living from Minecraft’s secondary market via YouTube, etc. What do you think of this secondary market? Do you have any insights on how the secondary market and Minecraft’s market have interacted with and fed each other?A side note: Thank you for enabling me to have one of the best jobs in the world!

Notch
It all kind of emerged organically. There’s probably a lot more we could do to support it more, so we’ll probably look more into that in the future. We’ve recently started partnering up with cool iOS apps by giving them more exposure and letting them brand themselves “official” in exchange for bags of money.

What else does Persson do for fun? Several users wanted to know.

ZedHeadEd
If you dont mind me asking, do you still play Minecraft for fun?

Notch
Unfortunately not. I used to play it quite a lot and find minor things to tweak, and now that I’m trying to stay out of development of it, the temptation to start “suggesting” things to Jeb is too strong. Besides, TF2 [editor's note: Team Fortress 2, a popular, online, team-based shooter].

MarioBGE
Heh, I recently joined a random TF2 server with you playing on it, and damn, you’re good. Also, thank you for creating Minecraft. :)

Notch
Haha, thank you!

SirHephaestus
Hi Notch, I was wondering: What do you do at home when you’re not working?

Notch
I refresh Reddit over and over and over in like four different windows.

Some users asked about Persson’s current involvement in the game as well as his experience developing it, and then Persson turned it over to Bergensten.

SuperAccordionDude
What do you think about the latest updates of Minecraft? Are they still true to your vision of the game?

Notch
Other than a few minor things, they’re exactly in line with my vision. The adventure mode stuff is looking amazing, and the way the team managed to finally properly split client from server is wonderful for the game. Jens told me some of his plans for 1.4 and beyond, and hopefully it will allow for more competitive gameplay — something I’ve always wanted to see.

DeadComma
What are the minor things?

Notch
They’re adding more half blocks!! And the script block? Feels impure. Stuff like that.

DungeonMaster2ShopKeepersupercalu
Where did you get the idea for the way villagers look?

Notch
They’re inspired by the shop keepers in Dungeon Master 2 [pictured right].

robhoward
How much do your (Mojang’s) lawyers interfere/alter what you say in public?

Notch
None. I think they find it amusing. They’re great guys, by the way. They’ve been working as lawyers for game devs for many years and have lots of connections, and they like unconventional ways to resolve issues.

Other users focused on the more technical aspects of development, like using JavaScript or Persson’s new game, 0x10c.

daesoph
How much have you actually worked on 0x10c?

Notch
I’ve spent a lot of time on the DCPU specification and implementation, and fleshing out the game world, trying to come up with fun scenarios that I want happen in the game. Actual game content — not much at all. I did some live-streamed development and felt a constant pressure to move ahead fast, which built more hype that I intended and made me feel like I was rushing the game. Now I’m working slower on it until after PAX when I can recruit some other devs internally to help out, and I’m trying to talk less about it. My public enthusiasm for it builds way more hype than I want it to.

Zarutian
Someone had to ask, so why not me: Why Java?
By the way, I am addicted to Minecraft. Keep up the good work ;-)

Notch
I had been working primarily in Actionscript 3 and Java for five years when I started work on Minecraft and chose the language I felt most comfortable with. Specifically, my favorite tool in Java is hot code swapping in debug mode, meaning I can edit the code while the game is running and immediately see the results in the running game. This is super great for rapid tweaking. Java is not the fastest language out there, but I doubt I would’ve finished Minecraft if I did it in a language I enjoyed less, so I’m happy with the choice. Of course, when it came to putting the game on other platforms, we had to port large portions of the codebase — once for mobile phones, and then we had help from 4j to port it for XBLA.

Eiyeron
Just how do you enable correctly hot-swapping in eclipse? I ever wanted to know since the Prelude of the Chambered live.

Notch
Run the program in debug mode, edit the code, and save. It does not work for stuff that changes the class structure, but it does work for code within methods. Code is only swapped out when the thread enters the method, so a while(true) loop will never get swapped out.

And then, of course, the random, funny questions would pop up from time to time:

mollstam [editor's note: a Minecraft developer]
What is the name of your beard?

Notch
Steve?

TwirledOriole
And just out of curiosity, what gender is it?

Notch
Extremely male.

scottyb2023
If you were able to create a game console, what would be the main feature?

Notch
Laser turrets.

bumpfire
Do you use shampoo or shower gel for your beard?!

Notch
Sometimes. I used conditioner once, and it was glorious.

And finally, a question about Persson’s favorite time playing the game he created:

ChaosRegiert
Since you are going to be flooded with questions…and right now, I don’t have anything to ask that others won’t also ask hundreds of times….I’d love to hear your favorite anecdote about Minecraft or the development of Minecraft. What is the story that you like to tell people? If there is nothing asked in particular — but some kind of entertaining story expected. At parties. Or at the bus station, whatever. I just started recently. Love the game. Thank you!

Notch
The most fun I’ve ever had playing the game was back before infinite worlds when water had a constant volume. I joined some random server and kinda emergently just started to build a castle with a few people. I built some pretty good looking stables, then we got started on the moat and accidentally flooded it too early. In an attempt to get rid of the water, I dug down and fell into a cave, which proceeded to get flooded as well. It was not a pretty castle.

Obviously, a ton more questions and answers reside in the original thread, but it’s touching to see someone as “big and famous” as Markus Persson taking the time to engage people he’s never met in a setting that isn’t about marketing a new game or selling a current one.

[Source: Reddit]


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Yoshida on SOCOM: We ‘never retire any franchise’

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, wants to quell fears that we'll never see another entry in the SOCOM franchise. Even though series creators Zipper Interactive was shuttered back in March, "never say never," he said.

"It's not done. We never retire any franchise," Yoshida told Official PlayStation Magazine (via UK) when asked about future entries. Yoshida then pointed to Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time, the recent resurrection of the Sly Cooper series, as a sign. "It's sometimes good to have a fresh look at the franchises we have."

The last game in the series, SOCOM 4, was far from the series' best. So while it's hardly confirmation we'll see a new SOCOM game in the future, at least Zipper's closure is not the death knell we feared it was.

JoystiqYoshida on SOCOM: We 'never retire any franchise' originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 22:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DSi is getting two new, shine-resistant colors

July 31st, 2012 No comments
New DSi colors!
Nintendo is rolling out two new colors for the DSi in North America: matte red and matte blue. The new colors could hit retailers "as early as this week," Nintendo of America tweeted today.

What a way to roll out the welcome matte, Nintendo. Sorry, that sounded better in our head than it red. Yeah, we totally blue this one. Apologies.

JoystiqDSi is getting two new, shine-resistant colors originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 21:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Escape Plan visits the Underground in new DLC

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Escape Plan visits the Underground in new DLC
Vita puzzle platformer Escape Plan will get some new DLC this week. Entitled "Underground," the DLC adds 21 new levels and a pair of costumes for Lil and Laarg, namely the "Tourist" and "Furry" costumes, which are unlocked after completing the DLC. For the first two weeks of availability, Underground will be offered at $1.99. Come August 14, the price will go up to $4.99.

Also coming this week is patch 1.03, which makes several tweaks to the game based on user feedback. In addition, the patch adds two free costumes, Flower Power and the oddly adorable bee costume seen above.

JoystiqEscape Plan visits the Underground in new DLC originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 20:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Shiny new Digg v.1 relaunch goes live

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Iconic social news sharing site Digg launched a completely revamped version of the service today, one day ahead of schedule.

Previously, Digg was focused almost entirely on allowing users to vote on community submitted URLs, with the best stuff rising to the top for increased presence and generating massive traffic for the site that hosted the content. It got to about four versions under its previous owners, who attempted to change Digg in an effort to boost monetization. Changes in the old Digg v.4 made the site a convoluted mess of activity, which slowly drove away the bulk of its active users after launching almost two years ago.

By contrast, it took Digg’s new owners about six weeks to completely re-imagine the site as well as formulate a plan to restore Digg to its former glory. It was completely rebuilt from scratch, which is why the team is calling this the new version 1.

“The old Digg infrastructure was expensive and it afforded us little latitude to innovate and build at a fast clip,” the team wrote in a new frequently asked questions page. “We are starting with a fresh code base — it’s modern, it’s fast, and it’s shiny and new.”

And while I haven’t spent much time playing around with it, the new Digg is already more inviting than the one I saw over the past two years.

Just as yesterday’s relaunch preview described, the new Digg is much cleaner and quicker than the previous version. Familiar visual elements, like  “digger” icons and 8-bit shovels, are gone. The abundance of Blue, Yellow, and Green have been replaced with lots of white space. But the biggest difference is undoubtedly the absence of submitted stories listed vertically along with a prominent box displaying the number of Digg votes next to headlines.

The new Digg also does something unlike most social news sharing services that have a centralized front page: it lets the content speak for itself.

Much like the wire frames indicated in the Digg preview, the site displays more important stories as larger, along with that story’s image. If you’ve gone through the bulk of “Top Stories” on the front page, just below it is a list of “popular” submissions, which displays user names and activity data (Digg votes, social shares, etc.) in addition to the submission’s headline. Below that is the “upcoming” stream of real-time submissions.

Some of the things the new Digg team will be working on over the next few months include experimental commenting features, alternate front page story views, a better mobile experience, reading list for web visitors, and a new Digg API. The team is also working on a way to restore all the user data from previous versions of the site. (For now, the team has set up a page where old Digg users can sign up to get notifications about getting their data back.)

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on the site once I’ve had a chance to play with it. For now, let us know what you think about the new Digg revamp in the comment section below.


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Shiny new Digg v.1 relaunch goes live

July 31st, 2012 No comments

Iconic social news sharing site Digg launched a completely revamped version of the service today, one day ahead of schedule.

Previously, Digg was focused almost entirely on allowing users to vote on community submitted URLs, with the best stuff rising to the top for increased presence and generating massive traffic for the site that hosted the content. It got to about four versions under its previous owners, who attempted to change Digg in an effort to boost monetization. Changes in the old Digg v.4 made the site a convoluted mess of activity, which slowly drove away the bulk of its active users after launching almost two years ago.

By contrast, it took Digg’s new owners about six weeks to completely re-imagine the site as well as formulate a plan to restore Digg to its former glory. It was completely rebuilt from scratch, which is why the team is calling this the new version 1.

“The old Digg infrastructure was expensive and it afforded us little latitude to innovate and build at a fast clip,” the team wrote in a new frequently asked questions page. “We are starting with a fresh code base — it’s modern, it’s fast and it’s shiny and new.”

And while I haven’t spent much time playing around, the new Digg is already more inviting than the one I saw over the past two years.

Just as yesterday’s relaunch preview described, the new Digg is much cleaner and quicker than the previous version. Familiar visual elements, like  “digger” icons and 8-bit shovels, are gone. The abundance of Blue, Yellow, and Green have been replaced with lots of white space. But the biggest difference is undoubtedly the absence of submitted stories listed vertically along with a prominent box displaying the number of Digg votes next to headlines.

The new Digg also does something unlike most social news sharing services that have a centralized front page: it lets the content speak for itself.

Much like the wire frames indicated in the Digg preview, the site displays more important stories as larger, along with that story’s image. If you’ve gone through the bulk of “Top Stories” on the front page, just below it is a list of “popular” submissions, which displays user names and activity data (Digg votes, social shares, etc.) in addition to the submission’s headline. Below that is the “upcoming” stream of real-time submissions.

Some of the things the new Digg team will be working on over the next few months include experimental commenting features, alternate front page story views, a better mobile experience, reading list for web visitors, and a new Digg API. The team is also working on a way to restore all the user data from previous versions of the site.

Let us know what you think about the new Digg revamp in the comment section below.


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Steam’s Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Steam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap
Steam's Midweek Madness is channeling the last of its summertime energy into a massive deal on every single one of the Indie Bundles from its Summer Sale, titled "Indie Bundle Madness." Each one of the 11 bundles is discounted from $40 to $10 now through 4 p.m. PST on Thursday.

Games in the bundles include World of Goo, Orion: Dino Beatdown, Eufloria, Jamestown, Dungeons of Dredmor, A Valley Without Wind, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Botanicula, Cave Story+ and a bunch more. May we suggest: If you see a bundle with a game you want but others you already have, now is a great time to pick up some early holiday presents for your Steam friends. You can save some dough and you'll look like an in-the-know hipster all at once. Bonus.

JoystiqSteam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 19:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Steam’s Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Steam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap
Steam's Midweek Madness is channeling the last of its summertime energy into a massive deal on every single one of the Indie Bundles from its Summer Sale, titled "Indie Bundle Madness." Each one of the 11 bundles is discounted from $40 to $10 now through 4 p.m. PST on Thursday.

Games in the bundles include World of Goo, Orion: Dino Beatdown, Eufloria, Jamestown, Dungeons of Dredmor, A Valley Without Wind, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Botanicula, Cave Story+ and a bunch more. May we suggest: If you see a bundle with a game you want but others you already have, now is a great time to pick up some early holiday presents for your Steam friends. You can save some dough and you'll look like an in-the-know hipster all at once. Bonus.

JoystiqSteam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 19:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Steam’s Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap

July 31st, 2012 No comments
Steam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap
Steam's Midweek Madness is channeling the last of its summertime energy into a massive deal on every single one of the Indie Bundles from its Summer Sale, titled "Indie Bundle Madness." Each one of the 11 bundles is discounted from $40 to $10 now through 4 p.m. PST on Thursday.

Games in the bundles include World of Goo, Orion: Dino Beatdown, Eufloria, Jamestown, Dungeons of Dredmor, A Valley Without Wind, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Botanicula, Cave Story+ and a bunch more. May we suggest: If you see a bundle with a game you want but others you already have, now is a great time to pick up some early holiday presents for your Steam friends. You can save some dough and you'll look like an in-the-know hipster all at once. Bonus.

JoystiqSteam's Midweek Madness sale is every Summer Indie Bundle for cheap originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 31 Jul 2012 19:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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