Have I Got MMONews For You

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Host: This week, teams, news of trials of a device that uses an Xbox Kinect camera to sense body position to assist surgeons.

Melmoth: Never one to miss out on a commercial opportunity, EA were quick to announce Arthroplasty Arthroplasty Revolution, where players perform complex surgical moves to the beat of Weird Al Yankovic’s Like a Surgeon. Due in 2013.

Zoso: The trial is going well, but the social media functionality of the Xbox had to be disabled after surgeons kept interrupting procedures to update their status. ‘Kinect: update Facebook, doing surgery lol.’ ‘Kinect: send tweet, BP dropping rapidly, sad face.’

Melmoth: Surgeons have expressed delight at the intuitive controls, but were quick to point out that five reboots to update the Xbox dashboard during a coronary artery bypass can be somewhat frustrating.

Zoso: Bloggers were swift to criticise the system for its restrictive group composition. ‘If you’re not a healer, you just don’t get an invite’ said a disgruntled tank.

Melmoth: Senior consultants have advised against the use of the term ‘red ring of death’ during any surgery where the patient is required to remain conscious.

Zoso: The voice recognition component still needs a bit of work, with a surgeon’s command of ‘Kinect: show x-rays of pectoral area’ resulting in the Xbox playing MP3s of XRay Spex.

Melmoth: Rumours that the system also incorporates achievements and a ranking system, where surgeons can try to beat their colleagues’ best times for removing a kidney, are entirely unfounded according to a senior health official.

Host: Goodnight!

Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.

Posted by Zoso at 11:18 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, zoso 2 Comments »

News this week of slightly unusual patent rights being granted for “a urinal-based games console”, which does seem to be an actual invention rather than just a terrible misunderstanding of how a Wii-mote is used.

The MMOG potential is obvious, venues such as stadiums offering the potential for 10, 25, perhaps even 40 man raids, though the duration would need to be tweaked slightly to under a minute rather than 18 hours. As for a suitable IP for the game setting, well, there’s only one option, isn’t there?

Posted by Zoso at 12:52 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, zoso 2 Comments »

Host: This week, teams, news that 6,000 copies of Modern Warfare 3 have been stolen in an armed raid. In a scene that could almost have been part of the game itself, “the robbery allegedly involved a fake car accident, tear gas and knives as the crooks walked away with games worth an estimated €400,000″.

Melmoth: The robbers were almost captured when they wasted precious minutes spray painting low resolution pornography tags onto a nearby wall. The criminals eventually made good their escape through ‘blatant hacks’, a police spokesmen said. The mayor of Paris called for an immediate investigation into whether the local police force were, in fact, lamers.

Zoso: Activision immediately took swift action, and released a patch to MW3 heavily nerfing both knives and tear gas.

Melmoth: Reports that the robbers escaped on a one hundred and fifty ton Brigantine flying the Jolly Roger, which they sailed around the Boulevard Périphérique to escape, are rumoured to have been entirely fabricated by the RIAA and MPAA.

Zoso: Blizzard are reported to be stepping up security around panda enclosures for the release of Mists of Pandaria in case of copycat (or copypanda) incidents; Bioware are less troubled and merely sending leaflets to drivers of Star Wars: The Old Republic deliveries telling them not to worry about plastic lightsabres (even if they have got powerful LEDs) and to ignore anyone in a dressing gown waving at them and saying “You don’t need to see my identification; this is not your delivery truck; move along”

Host: Goodnight!

Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.

Posted by Zoso at 1:34 pm

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, zoso 5 Comments »

Host: This week, teams, news that a study into “games transfer phenomena” has caused an outbreak of “misleading sensationalist headline phenomena“. Have you got any examples of gaming bleeding through into reality?

Melmoth: I found myself performing a repetitive series of tasks in exchange for remuneration once and thought I was experiencing “games transfer phenomena” from MMOG questing, but it turned out to be something called “a job”.

Zoso: There was that one time I played SimCity for three days straight and found I’d accidentally restructured our town to have a far more efficient mass transit system. The giant dinosaur attack came as a bit of a surprise, though.

Melmoth: Perhaps there’s a link to the recent reports of unexplained damage to huge mushroom crops, as though they’d been repeatedly jumped on?

Zoso: I heard of an incident where a reporter was repeatedly punched and he was convinced his assailants were inspired by Grand Theft Auto, Street Fighter or possible Wii Sports Boxing, but they insisted it was just because he worked for the Daily Mail.

Melmoth: Apparently the Acme Crate Company have had to revise their recruitment policy after a new warehouse worker smashed up their entire stock with a crowbar, then complained that he hadn’t found a single round of ammunition or first aid kit.

Zoso: Brigadier General Sir Cliff Prodger expressed surprise during recent army exercises on Salisbury Plain when an armoured battalion forswore their usual tactics and instead drove straight for the enemy base screeching “TANK RUSH KEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKE”. It proved highly effective, though, to the point that the defenders rage-left the exercise halfway through, declaring their opponents to be “lamers”.

Melmoth: It’s been encouraging to see the huge increase in fitness levels as people spend their entire time running everywhere. The related increase in pub brawls due to spilt pints has negated this positive impact somewhat, however, as has the increase in replacement knee operations due to the amount of time spent running while crouching.

Zoso: There was that time I went into a room with black and white chequered tiles on the floor, and could only move across it in a series of ‘L’ shapes. The strangest thing was I’ve never even played chess.

Melmoth: I mean, there’s definitely been an increase in the number of street fights between buxom ladies dressed in thong leotards, qipao and cheerleader outfits.

Posted by Zoso at 2:46 pm

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, zoso 5 Comments »

Host: This week, researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new method that can accurately predict the behavior of players in online role-playing games. The research team developed the data-driven predictive method by analyzing the behavior of 14,000 players in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft.

Melmoth: The method predicts that most MMO player behaviour will involve frothing with unbridled enthusiasm for a year or more before the game’s release, then playing for two weeks before unsubscribing. With the second week being optional.

Zoso: With a mere six months of algorithm development and three years of supercomputing processing power, the team determined that if a player kills nine rats there’s an 83.2379% chance that their next action will be to kill a rat.

Host: “We are able to predict what a player in a game will do based on his or her previous behavior, with up to 80 percent accuracy,” says Brent Harrison

Melmoth: “Our method shows that if a player is a player-killing smack-talking bigoted, terminal spacebar abuser, they will go on to lead a very successful Twighlight-based role-playing guild enacting heartbreaking eternally doomed love stories. Well, 20% of the time, at least.”

Host: The researchers are confident this work can help game designers. “This research can help researchers get it right, because if you have a good idea of what players like, you can make informed decisions about the kind of storylines and mechanics those players would like in the future.”

Melmoth: Having made use of this method, Blizzard reports that the next expansion for World of Warcraft will involve a big red button in the middle of the screen, which when pressed has the computer shout “OH MY GOD, YOU WIN, YOU’RE THE BEST!” in a sexy voice, and then showers the player’s character in epic armour and sparkly mounts.

Host: It’s not just games that stand to benefit. “This work could obviously be used for World of Warcraft or other MMORPGs,” says Roberts, “but it also applies to any setting where users are making a series of decisions. That could be other gaming formats, or even online retailing.”

Zoso: As a result of the study Amazon are trialling a shopping basket that forces you to buy ten pencils that you don’t need before you’re allowed to join four other customers in trying to buy the book you really want (so long as none of the others beats your “need” roll for it).

Host: The study could help players. “For example,” Roberts says, “you could develop a program to steer players to relevant content. Because it is a data-driven modeling approach, it could be done on a grand scale with minimum input from game designers.”

Melmoth: When asked whether their system simply put giant neon signs into the game at five yard intervals which read “KILL RATS THIS WAY”, the professor looked sheepish and refused to comment.

Host: The study is based on the order in which players earned achievements, and apparently an achievement dealing with a character’s prowess in unarmed combat is highly correlated to the achievement badge associated with world travel – even though there is no clear link between the two badges to the outside observer.

Zoso: Building on this work, a study of stamp collectors has revealed a high correlation between owning stamps with pictures of flowers on them and owning stamps with pictures of people on them – even though there is no clear link between flowers and people to the outside observer.

Host: According to the abstract, Our underlying assumption is that we can accurately predict what a player will do in a given situation if we examine enough data from former players that were in similar situations.

Melmoth: Let’s see what the KiaSA AI makes of it…

**** Reading previous player data ****
*** Data read ****
*** 14000 players killed rats for experience ****
*** 80% chance player will kill a rat for experience ***
*** 5% chance player will kill a wolf for experience ***
*** 5% chance player will kill a boar for experience ***
*** 5% chance player will kill a bear for experience ***
*** 3% chance player will kill a goat for experience ***
*** 1% chance player will realise the futility of attempting to win a skinner box based treadmill 
system designed to keep them playing for the longest amount of time possible whilst using minimal 
resources of the publishing company, quit, fund and recruit an elite team of soldiers of fortune 
to hunt down the publisher and all its subsidiary companies and rid the world of the these games 
once and for all, thus returning millions of man-hours into the world development resource pool, 
thus enabling the betterment of mankind and harbouring the Fourth Age where the human race colonises 
the stars. ***
*** 1% chance player will make a ham sandwich ***

Host: Goodnight!

Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.

Posted by Zoso at 9:47 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, zoso 6 Comments »

Host: This week, news that the United States Navy needs YOU (yes, YOU, reading this now, with the… no, not you, the other one… yes, YOU!) to help develop anti-piracy strategy, tactics and contrived acronyms through their Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI)

Zoso: The Navy are having some trouble adapting the most effective tactics used by players due to difficulty in creating real-life aimbots and wall hacks

Melmoth: After extensive crowd-sourcing feedback, the US government officially announced today that it wasn’t going to bother fighting Somali pirates at all as it was a bit too much like hard work, and instead the navy would focus on performing daily tasks for fisherman along the US coastline

Zoso: Unfortunately soon after going live, players realised that the optimal way to win was to play as the pirates and within three months actual attacks on shipping off the Somali coast had increased by 167%

Melmoth: US Navy personnel were reported to be disappointed that in reality they weren’t required to fight wave after wave of small weak Somali pirates before facing off against Umzongro, King of Pirates.

Zoso: Suspicions that MMOWGLI was hastily adapted from Pirates of the Caribbean Online were aroused when pirate forces in the game turned out not to be former fishermen with assorted small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, but invulnerable rum-swilling Keith Richards impersonators.

Melmoth: Navy personnel trained using MMOWGLI were surprised to find that Somali pirates didn’t really just float around statically at random locations on the ocean, and military operations were repeatedly frustrated when they were unable to pull one pirate ship at a time from a fleet by using carefully hurled insults from range.

Zoso: Existing MMO players took some time to adapt to the new environment, with 67 characters lost in the first run of the simulation when they tried to mine for crafting minerals in the hold of their ship

Melmoth: The first alpha of MMOWGLI based on the EVE engine was quickly abandoned after an enterprising Ensign snuck into the main naval operating base in Bahrain and disbanded the entire United States Fifth Fleet.

Zoso: Theorycrafters soon determined the optimal group composition and refused to sail with anything less, but were disappointed when the Navy rejected their insistence that the only possible viable anti-pirate unit was three Nimitz-class carriers strapped together as a trimaran with the steam catapults adapted to fire frigates and destroyers at enemy vessels.

Melmoth: Based on real-world feedback from Navy operations, the latest 2.31 patch notes for MMOWGLI indicate that Somali pirate ships will now drop more guns and modern electronics and fewer magical swords and wolf paws.

Host: Goodnight!

Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.

Posted by Zoso at 10:00 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You.

higmfy, melmoth, mmo Comments Off

News reached us via /. that

“a recently opened Benihana branch in Kuwait sued 248am.com, a well known Kuwaiti blog, for posting a bad restaurant review about its food, asking for the blog to be shut and more than $17,500 in damages (5000 KD).”

KiaSA would like to state for the record that we’ve always considered Darkfall to be one of the finest MMOs ever made; that Warhammer Online was produced with perfect execution, delivering on every promise made by Paul Barnett; the incredible grind in Aion was simply a life affirming avocation; and that Tabula Rasa was probably just misunderstood.

Vanguard was still utter arse, though.

Posted by Melmoth at 12:30 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, zoso 2 Comments »

Host: Though still hampered by poor graphics, limited interactivity and extremely linear gameplay, the Singularly Offline Text Parsing Game genre (known as ‘books’, in the jargon) is finally being dragged into the 21st century as Kobo Reading Life adds achievements to reading.

Zoso: Amazon have reported a massive surge in sales of Janet and John books, a typical review being ‘Plot a bit rubbish, very short, but a really easy 1000 BookPoints’

Melmoth: Combining these achievements with Choose Your Own adventure books should allow players new to the genre to experience all the frustration, random chance, and tedious grind of MMOs without first having to buy an expensive piece of computer equipment.

Zoso: Worrying reports are already starting to emerge that elitist Book Clubs are demanding prospective members have a BookScore of at least 50,000 (including the “Reinstatement of Extra-Temporal Values of Time Regained” achievement for completing all seven volumes of À la recherche du temps perdu in less than two hours) before even allowing them to start discussing Harry Potter.

Host: Goodnight!

Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.

Posted by Zoso at 2:24 pm

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, zoso 1 Comment »

An article on politics.co.uk headlined “UK to develop offensive cyber capability” suggests that “Britain’s military will develop offensive cyber capabilities”.

An opposition spokesman attacked this as a waste of money, with YouTube comments, the “Have Your Say” section of the BBC and General Chat in any MMO clearly demonstrating an existing widespread and highly offensive cyber presence.

Posted by Zoso at 11:30 am

Have I Got MMOnews For You

higmfy, melmoth, mmo, wow 3 Comments »

Slashdot reports on Panasonic’s sixteen-finger hair-washing robot:

“Panasonic has developed a hair-washing robot that uses 16 electronically controlled fingers to give a perfect wash and rinse. The robot, images of which were distributed by Panasonic, appears to be about the size of a washing machine. Users sit in a reclining chair and lean back to place their head in the machine’s open top. Two robot arms guide the 16 fingers, which have the same dexterity as human fingers, the company claims.”

The rumour that when a keyboard was placed in the open top the unmodified machine put out 5.5k DPS in most World of Warcraft raid dungeons is unfounded at this time. Observers did admit that the rinse cycle meant that the keys were surprisingly free from the usual residual levels of Cheetos, Mountain Dew and omnifarious bodily fluids, however.

Posted by Melmoth at 12:47 pm
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