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May 05, 2011

Rockstar's LA NOIRE looks absolutely amazing

LA Noire: The interactive detective | Technology | The Guardian
Two police detectives burst into a filthy apartment. A woman is cowering on the floor amid upturned furniture as a group of hired thugs search every drawer and cupboard. A fist fight ensues, the heavies are dispatched and the officers are left to question the traumatised victim. How do they start questioning her? How will they know if she's telling the truth? Well, that's your problem. You are the cop and this is a whole new type of video game. LA Noire is the latest offering from Rockstar Games, the notorious publisher of Grand Theft Auto and last year's brilliant western shooter, Red Dead Redemption. The action takes place in the seamy, crime-sodden LA of the late 40s; the familiar hunting ground of Raymond Chandler, James Ellroy and Dashiell Hammett – all huge influences on the game's director, Brendan McNamara. The player takes on the role of rookie detective Cole Phelps as he investigates a series of kidnaps and murders, studying crime scenes, talking to witnesses and interrogating suspects. Gamers are able to choose the tone of each Q&A session, playing nice and going in gently, or challenging every word the subject utters. Vitally, progress is made by watching characters as they stutter and squirm, judging whether they're lying or terrified; it's not killing people, it's reading them. The realism of these virtual humans is incredible. In one scene the gamer has to question an actor who has been drugged, shoved in the back of a car and wheeled down an embankment in a thwarted murder attempt. Her eyes dart about, she shifts uncomfortably, her brows furrow in agitation – she's hiding something. These aren't the gross caricatures of facial expressions we're used to in video games; they are subtle and natural. Later, the gamer talks to a weasely prop house owner who has been caught running a seedy casting coach. He snarls his way through the session, but after a few threats he wilts, his expression droops. At times, it is almost photographic.

April 28, 2011

Could lasers replace spark plugs, for a more efficient engine?

BBC News - Lasers could replace spark plugs in car engines
Car engines could soon be fired by lasers instead of spark plugs, researchers say. A team at the Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics will report on 1 May that they have designed lasers that could ignite the fuel/air mixture in combustion engines. The approach would increase efficiency of engines, and reduce their pollution, by igniting more of the mixture. The team is in discussions with a spark plug manufacturer. The idea of replacing spark plugs - a technology that has changed little since their invention 150 years ago - with lasers is not a new one. Spark plugs only ignite the fuel mixture near the spark gap, reducing the combustion efficiency, and the metal that makes them up is slowly eroded as they age.

April 25, 2011

4 Great Ways to Convert Partial RSS Feed To Full RSS Feed

These are great tips if you get frustrated by truncated feeds. 4 Great Ways to Convert Partial RSS Feed To Full RSS Feed
How many of you are pissed off by a partial RSS feed? I am not sure about you, but i sure do. In case you are still not aware, most, if not all, the blogs in the whole Internet provide a RSS feed that you can subscribe in a feed reader. Some of these blogs provide a partial feed that shows only the headline and a small excerpt. To read the full content, you will have to visit the actual site. From the reader’s point of view, this is a bad user experience and does not aid in productivity. So, what solutions do we have?

April 20, 2011

Minecraft finally releases free demo

Minecraft is one of the best games made. Period. It's a creative sandbox with scarce resources and the occasional bit of terror. I absolutely love it. And it is perfect for kids. The Escapist : News : Minecraft Builds Itself a Free Demo
Mojang has finally released a free demo of the full Minecraft experience. If you're one of the relatively few people that hasn't tried Minecraft yet, or even worse, ever heard of Minecraft, now there's an easy way to remedy that. Mojang has released a free demo so players can get the full Minecraft experience without having to fork over a single unit of the smallest denomination of their region's currency. The demo gives players 90 minutes in a brand new Minecraft world. Every feature available in Minecraft is available in the demo. After 90 minutes, you'll either have to buy the game or say "bye bye" to whatever you've built. Players can evidently create as many new worlds as they wish, however.