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The Many Classes of Zombie Tycoon 2: Samurai, Engineers and More

50°
71w ago - Frima Studio's Laurent Mercure outlined the many classes of Zombie Tycoon 2: Samurai, including Engineers and more below today.

To quote: When we announced the release of Zombie Tycoon 2 right here, we were purposely a bit vague about the gameplay. But, now that the game's release is only weeks away, we've got nothing to hide!

Zombie Tycoon 2 is a tactical real-time strategy game in which you will lay waste to your enemies by controlling two squads of zombies, one hero-like monster, and one zombie-spawning vehicle. We use the term 'tactical' because the game is all about managing your units and deciding how to tackle the warzone.

There are no resources to gather, no structures to build, and no tech-tree to climb. As you capture buildings, your zombie army grows, you unlock the ability to transform your zombies, your monster gains levels, and you expand your control over the battlefield.

Our biggest challenge as a developer was coming up with controls that not only work well, but feel intuitive on both PS3 and PS Vita. And guess what?

Impressions so far are unanimous: we pulled it off! Your squads of zombies are linked to two of your face buttons, while the other two buttons control your monster and your spawner. All four of your monster's active abilities are...
 

PS Vita Designer on Perfect Screen Size and Battling Engineers

400°
136w ago - SCEE Manager James Gallagher has shared an interview today with the PlayStation Vita designer on the perfect screen size and battling engineers below.

To quote: Last December I attended the Tokyo launch of PlayStation Vita, which is going to be in your hands just about one month from now.

While I was there I got to chat with Tokashi Sogabe of the Sony Corporate Design Centre, head of the team in charge of the aesthetic of the console.

Sogabe-san has 27 years of experience working with Sony, in which time he has designed the Walkman, Vaio notebooks, the current slimmer model of PS3 and many other electronic
devices.

We spoke about the look and feel of PS Vita and the eternal tug of war that goes on between the designers wanting to create something as sleek and compact as possible and the engineers whose job it is to cram as much technology as they can into that shell.

PS.Blog: A lot of people seem impressed by the five inch OLED screen on PlayStation Vita. How did you decide on that particular size?

Tokashi Sogabe: When we first saw a prototype of the beautiful OLED screen we used on PS Vita, we felt it deserved to be bigger than the 4.3 inch screen on PSP. It's almost as if we settled on five inches in order to really...
 

PlayStation & XBox Games Turn Kids Into Scientists & Engineers

250°
283w ago - PlayStation and Xbox games help children become the scientists and engineers of the future, a professor claims.

To quote: Children who spend hours every day on their Playstation or Xbox video consoles are improving their brains, according to new research.

A study of 12 year-olds found they boosted crucial visual-spatial skills in which a child learns by thinking in pictures and images.

Psychologist Professor Linda Jackson, who led the study, said: "And these are the areas where we want to see improvements in our children's academic performance."

The findings are likely to surprise supporters of tougher regulation of computer games - some of which have been blamed for influencing violent crime among children.

The three-year study is part of a larger project exploring the effects of technology on children's academic performance and their social life, psychological well-being and moral reasoning.

Rsearchers asked how often the children used cell phones and played video games, both online and offline, and measured the children's grades, visual-spatial skills and performance in maths and reading tests.

As expected girls used cell phones more frequently than boys - who played video games far more frequently than did the females.
 

Digital Plumbers Enter the Home

50°
326w ago - Tech support is going mass market, moving out of the office and into homes as the proliferation of gadgetry in the average house makes a geek contact essential.

Tesco is currently trialling its recently acquired PC Guys service in several branches of the supermarket.

And a host of other companies are springing up, promising to troubleshoot all those IT niggles from the comfort of your home.

BBC News spent time with three of the more established services - The Geek Squad, The Tech Guys and BT's Home IT Visit service - in an effort to learn what people are using such services for and how the firms measure up.

If someone needs a plumber or a mechanic there are some basic professional qualifications they can measure them against and, although there are plenty of qualifications available to IT workers, there is no one recognised standard.

With so many independent firms offering home IT support, this could be a problem, says Matthew Poyiadgi, vice president of CompTIA, an IT trades body which designs training courses.

"There needs to be standards in place," he said.

He has seen take-up of its A+ scheme, which teaches people basic computer skills, go up three-fold in the last six years.

"We find guys are doing it as hobbyists...
 

Google tackles child pornography

50°
332w ago - Google engineers have adapted a software programme to help track child sex predators and search for patterns in images of abuse on the web.

Google created the technology for the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

It was originally developed to block copyrighted videos on the company's YouTube division.

The programme uses pattern recognition to enable analysts to sort and identify files containing child sex abuse.

Google says its aim in teaming up with the centre's Technology Coalition Against Child Pornography is to develop solutions that would make it harder for people to use the web to exploit children or traffic in child pornography.

"You always hope that your work will eventually be used to do some good in the world, and this was an amazing chance to make that hope real," said Google research scientist Shumeet Baluja.

Overwhelming task

Mr Baluja, who was also the technical leader of the project, said that as more and more predators use the web to ensnare children, "analysts were getting overwhelmed by all of the data they had to sift through".

Since 2002 the NCMEC has pored over 13 million child sex abuse images and videos in an effort to help police identify and rescue children from harm.
 
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