'Star Wars Battlefront II' makes being the bad guy feel normal


When Disney gave Electronic Arts the exclusive gaming rights to Star Wars, the company took the brand almost literally. EA's first take on the Battlefront franchise was little more than a war among the stars -- filled with the sights, sounds and characters of George Lucas' iconic space opera, but completely devoid of story. The end result was a gorgeous title that felt a little incomplete. With Star Wars: Battlefront II, EA is changing that. This time, narrative is key.

Are video game loot boxes encouraging children to gamble?

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Experts have argued that'loot boxes' in video games are a form of gambling. One psychologist has said that the boxes, which regularly appear in games for children and can be bought with real money, are'literally slot machines'. Loot boxes feature in many modern games, including popular shooter Overwatch and football simulator Fifa 18, which are rated PEGI 12 and 3 respectively in the UK. The boxes are regularly given to players when they level up or accomplish certain tasks, and when opened give users a random in-game reward. On top of boxes earned through playing, gamers can also buy them with real money, causing some to argue publishers are using the same tactics as casinos to take thousands from gamers every year.

Postmortem: MKULTRA, An Experimental AI-Based Game

AAAI Conferences

Games are inherently situated within the cultures of their players. Players bring a wide range of knowledge and expectations to a game, and the more the game suggests connections to that culture, the stronger those expectations are and/or the more problematic they can be. MKULTRA is an experimental, AI-heavy game that ran afoul of those issues. It’s interesting to hear a talk about or to see demonstrated by the author, but frustrating for players who do not already understand its internals in some detail. In this paper, I will give a postmortem of the game, in the rough style of industry postmortems from venues such as Gamasutra or GDC. I will discuss the goals and design of the game, what went right, what went wrong, and what I should have done instead. In my discussions of the game’s problems, I’ll focus on the ways in which it frustrated the players’ cultural expectations, and what we can learn from them for the design of future games.

Amazon's Snowmobile will let you upload stuff by the truckload – literally

The Guardian

"The internet is not something that you just dump something on," the American senator Ted Stevens famously said in 2006. The internet is a big truck, and Amazon wants to drive it right up to your gaff to give you better upload speeds. It's literally a big truck, called the "snowmobile", carrying a shipping container holding a mobile data centre which can store up to 100 petabytes (100 million gigabytes) of information. Drive it up to your own data centre, plug it in with a fibre connection, fill it up and let it go. If you need to upload 100 petabytes to the cloud, it turns out there is literally no faster way than driving it down the highway at 75mph.

Fasten your seat belts: The Chaminade-Serra rivalry renews this week

Los Angeles Times

Brad Kaaya, the standout quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes and a 2014 graduate of West Hills Chaminade, played in four high school football games against rival Gardena Serra. Two were for league titles and two were Southern Section championship games. Kaaya ran into Serra defensive back Adoree' Jackson so often he probably knew what flavor gum he chewed. Kaaya's fondest memory comes from the 2013 championship game won by Chaminade, 38-35, on a 27-yard field goal by Ben Kreitenberg with no time left. "I threw an interception and Adoree' picked it off, but I flopped and got the roughing-the-passer call, and we ended up scoring on that drive and later winning," Kaaya said in an email.