When an MMO begins to feel its bones a creakin', and decides it's time to curl up and die from natural causes (read: WoW), one of the first phenomena an outside observer will witness is the server merge. Generally a result of sudden population deflations from formerly-packed games, when servers collide, the game in question has probably seen better days. Age of Conan, sadly, is one such game.
"I can today confirm that we are actively working on an approach to merge servers, both in Europe and North America," announced AoC director Craig Morrison. "It's important for us to ensure the best gameplay experience for you all, and more healthy populations on each and every server will make sure we maintain healthy communities for the game in the future."
But AoC's troubles don't end there. Funcom, the loincloth-tacular MMO's publisher, may soon be dressing like its scantily clad (but undeniably manly) hero. As of now, Funcom's stock is sitting at a two-year low -- trading for a mere $5.
So, moral of the story? Never, ever prefix your game's title with "Age of..."
Tiberium, EA's second attempt at bolstering the frail, emaciated FPS genre with its popular Command & Conquer license, sucks. Or at least it did -- until EA gave it the old "It's not us; it's you" speech while pointing to a particularly splintery portion of the chopping block.
"The game had fundamental design challenges from the start," said EA LA's Mike Verdu. "We fought to correct the issues, but we were not successful; the game just isn't coming together well enough to meet our own quality expectations as well as those of our consumers."
"The quality bar has been raised," he added. "Now we need to step up our focus on great design and execution, catching any problems early and correcting them quickly."
Additionally, a portion of EA LA's elite team now finds itself jobless, but EA corporate "will make every effort to place affected individuals on projects within the studio – and where that isn't possible, to connect them with opportunities in other teams at EA."
As game development costs continue to surge upward, we can't help but fear we'll see more mid-development games unceremoniously dashed against the curb, with no chance for a reinvigorating adjustment or two.
Are there any other troubled games you think might soon be circling the drain?
We may or may not recognize it, but fluid is a very integral part of our everyday lives. It decides everything from our fuel economy to (in some cases) how cool our computer runs. Until now, there was only one key way of deciphering the mechanics of fluids, and that was the Prandtl equation, developed in 1904. Sadly though, the Prandtl equation has many limitations, including only having the ability to calculate only two-dimensional problems, and a steady flow (such as that of a car traveling slowly). Thanks to a breakthrough by MIT’s George Haller, that’s all about to change.
A recently developed new equation, which is a product of four years of work by Professor Haller, will apply to three-dimensional and unsteady flows. This was confirmed with the aid of Thomas Peacock, the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Associate Professor at MIT, who lead experiments in order to validate the equation. Professor Peacock states, “This is the tip of the iceberg, but we’ve shown that this theory works.” The new work will probably go down as one of the greatest scientific advances of the decade, if it survives the peer review that will come.
This innovation in the mechanics of liquids will have an overwhelming influence on many industries, including aerospace, automotive and even computers. With these breakthroughs in calculating how liquids will act and perform in different environments, there’s no doubt that your PC’s liquid cooling system will soon get an overhaul.
Whatever you do, don't blame the bad economy on Intel. Engineers working for the chip maker claim today's processors have netted a savings of 20 Terawatt hours over that of earlier generations if used in the same time period. In monetary terms, that equates to saving the world economy $2 billion in energy costs since the Core architecture's launch two years ago. Of course, the inefficient and hot-running Prescotts of yesteryear didn't exactly set the bar very high for green improvements, but $2 billion (if correct) is impressive no matter how you slice it.
"This is no small figure - it’s a significant amount of energy savings, and an example of what technology innovation by the ICT industry can do to improve energy efficiency on a large scale," writes Lorie Wiggle, GM of Intel's Eco-Technology Program.
Meanwhile, while Intel's Atom series doesn't have nearly the global energy impact as its desktop and business CPUs do, it's interesting to note that the recently released dual-core Atom 330 processor doubles up its power consumption over the Atom 230 processor.
Going green is something that just about everyone is worrying about these days, and NETGEAR is no exception. Having recently announced a new line of Wireless-N routers with the Prius driving consumer in mind, they’ve finally thrown their hat into the eco-friendly ring.
NETGEAR’s new routers will be shipping in packaging that has been made from at least 80% recycled materials, as well as boasting a fancy new on/off switch that will allow users to save energy when the network isn’t in use. There’s also a separate on/off switch that will allow users to turn off only the router’s wireless component.
The inside of the routers will be getting quite a makeover as well, "The enhanced wireless speeds and greater coverage provided by Wireless-N technology enables the simultaneous use of applications such as voice-over-IP, video and multimedia streaming, console gaming, and Web surfing. The launch of these new Wireless-N networking solutions makes it easier and more affordable for consumers to replace their existing routers or modem routers and upgrade their WiFi networks to support these more bandwidth-intensive applications. The new product family is feature-rich in terms of performance capabilities and ease of use as well as energy-efficiency,” says Som Pal Choudhury, NETGEAR’s senior product line manager for advanced wireless products. And when he says affordable, he means it. These bad boys will run you only $89 for the router, and $119 for the router with a built in DSL modem.
SanDisk on Tuesday announced plans to release a 16GB microSDHC and Memory Stick Micro (M2) mobile memory cards, which would qualify as the world's largest mobile phone removable memory card capacity. The timing couldn't be better either, as handsets continue to up the ante with high tech features like media playback, HD digital camera capabilities, GPS, gaming, and everything else manufacturers can stuff into a mobile phone.
"Handsets have become far more than just phones - they’ve become mobile jukeboxes, mobile offices, even mobile movie theaters," said Avi Greengart, Research Director for Mobile Devices at Current Analysis. "Flash memory cards have increased in storage capacity, but even an 8GB card may be too small for anyone with GPS map data, a few movies, a game or two, a presentation file and other applications."
Officially available at Best Buy Mobile stores in October and Verizon Wireless stores in November, SanDisk has set the MSRP for the 16GB microSDHC at $100, and $130 for the M2.
Cnet.UK's Crave blog decided to dig around in the Internet history attic recently and bring us what it calls the "50 Most Significant Moments of Internet History." Before you click the link (at the end of this article), let's try a little quiz to see what you know about your favorite time-waster/research tool:
Which of these building blocks of the Internet predate the first Super Bowl? A. WWW B. GIF image C. Arpanet
Which came first? A. Apache B. Mosaic C. RSS
How old is the MP3 file format? A. Old enough to drink (21). B. Old enough to be in college (19). C. Old enough to get a driver's license (16).
Which search site was originally known as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web"? A. Yahoo! B. AltaVista C. Google
Super Talent continues to push its presence in the SSD market whether you're ready to invest in the technology or not. Earlier this month the company put the focus on the higher end by launching the MLC-based MasterDrive OX series with read and write speeds of 150MB/sec and 100MB/sec respectively. Price points ranging from $149 for the 32GB model to $419 for a 128GB drive means the drives aren't likely to attract many budget minded consumers, but Super Talent's new MasterDrive LX line might.
These new drives will set its sights squarely on those tempted by SSD technology but without the big bucks for higher end models. Lower prices comes at the expense of performance, however, and the MasterDrive LX 64GB and 128GB drop the read and write speeds to 100MB/sec and 40MB/sec.
"The MasterDrive LX is our most cost-effective SSD yet. However, we've made no compromises in quality and reliability," said Super Talent director of marketing Joe James.
Good thing too, because the new drives will only carry a 1-year warranty. Then again, if Samsung's latest PR stunt is any indication (check it out here), you have nothing to worry about anyway.
MSRP has been set to $179 for the 64GB and $299 for the 128GB.
There's been a bit of hype as of late concerning OLED technology, leading to a cautious optimism in the consumer electronics industry. Back in June, Plexitronics, with funding provided by the U.S. Display Consortium, announced a breakthrough in OLED manufacturing that could lead to low cost OLED displays, and just one month later Matsushita cranked the hype machine by saying it had set a goal of selling 40-inch OLED displays by 2011. Could we be on the verge of an OLED revolution?
Not everyone is as optimisitc, including Panasonic, who casted a ray of reality on the situation during the opening day of Ceatec 2008. Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto squashed that idea that we might see OLED televisions in sizes of 30 inches or more anytime soon, saying th technology is not suitable for mass manufacturing. Earlier this year at CES, Sakamoto said that because "you won't be able to beat the cost and price performance of LCD and plasma for a long time," we likely won't see OLED start to grow as a market until 2015, but now feels even that estimate might be overly optimistic. The biggest irony here is that Panasonic is a brand name of Matsushita's!
Is Sakamoto's pessimism warranted, or will we see affordable 30-inch+ OLED displays before 2015?
Nvidia has a new videcoard driver available for download, and for you poor saps on dial-up, it will come as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the 86.9MB download checks in at more than the twice the size of previously released drivers. But added bulk brings PhysX acceleration to the table for owners of Nvidia's GeForce 8, 9, and 200 series of videocards outfitted with a minimum of 256MB of video memory.
If you're anxious to see what potential lies in PhysX support, Nvidia offers a free GeForce Power Pack containing several demos, a full game (Warmonger), an Unreal Tournament 3 mod, and more.
The new driver also contains the usual assortment 3D application compatibility fixes, along with purported performance boosts in a handful of games. For example, Nvidia says single-GPU gamers can expect a 15 percent increase in Bioshock (DX10), 11 percent in Assassin's Creed (DX10), and 15 percent in Call of Duty 4, among other titles.