Today is Wednesday, 8th December 2021

Archive for the ‘Daily Digest Games’ Category

Ubisoft returning to always-connected DRM on PC games because it works

Ubisoft caused some major upset among gamers yesterday when it confirmed that Driver: San Francisco would include the much-hated always-connected DRM on the PC verion of the game. Such DRM requires that the PC running the game always be connected to the Internet. If that connection is lost even for a moment the game is forced into a pause you can’t exit until the connection is working again.

Gamers hate it because it restricts where you can play a game e.g. not offline, on holiday, or potentially in the future when Ubisoft shuts down the server for each title using it. At the same time it’s very intrusive, especially when you’ve paid $60 for a game that is effectively hobbled under certain conditions and may eventually become unplayable. Don’t forget that anyone with a hacked version of the game also doesn’t have to put up with this connection annoyance, meaning yet again DRM only really frustrates those who pay for their games.

But Ubisoft has decided to reintroduce this system for one simple reason: always-connected DRM works and they have seen a reduction in piracy on the games that did use it. What isn’t stated is how it impacted sales, but then if they are willing to use this DRM method again, the hit must be worth it.

Ubisoft first introduced this DRM back in January 2010. It was shipped with Assassin’s Creed 2 which embarrassingly became unplayable when Ubisoft’s DRM servers went down. Then it got hacked rendering the DRM completely useless.

After all that Ubisoft said the system would be improved and on all future PC games. While not all Ubisoft-published games carry it, it looks like the DRM is here to stay and Ubisoft games may be titles you want to avoid on PC unless your broadband connection is rock-solid and you only ever play when in a conencted location.

More at Reghardware

Arduino air drums made from garden forks and flip-flops

How many times has an awesome rock song come on the radio that you just happen to know every bass-, drum-, and guitar-line to? You inevitably start playing air guitar, slappin’ ‘da bass, or tapping your fingers on the table to play along with the song. But, what if you could play an “air instrument” and actually make sound? One creative tinkerer named Maayan Migdal has discovered a way to do just that.

Migdal used a MIDI device and an Arduino board to build a full-on set of air drums that actually work. The video below not only shows Migdal rocking out to Rage Against the Machine’s rocking tune, “Killing In The Name,” but it also shows how he built the awesome air-drum kit.

To build the drum sticks, Migdal cut the ends off of two small garden rakes, and drilled a hole into each of the wooden bodies. He then snaked in an accelerometer and added what looks to be a rubber cap. One stick is the hi-hat and the other has two sensors which work as the snare and the crash cymbals.

The kick pedals are something else. They’re actually made from a pair of flip-flops. Migdal removed the original strap and installed a custom strap of his own. He then drilled a hole at the bottom of the sandal and made room for the sensors in each sandal. He then added the wiring through the hole he drilled at the bottom, added the sensors towards the top of the sandal, and closed the wiring up at the bottom with USB jacks. One sandal works as the hi-hat pedal and one works as the bass drum pedal.

We’d like to see a demo video without any background music to see just how well the air drums work.

Via TechCrunch

Vonage Extensions offers cheap international calling from any phone

vonage extensionsVonage already offers its customers very competitive flat-rate unlimited calling. But apparently the company feels that making those calls from phones attached to your Vonage router (or the company’s mobile app, if you’re lucky enough to subscribe to a carrier that supports it) just isn’t good enough. Enter Vonage Extensions, a new feature that will allow Vonage customers to make free calls from non-connected phones.

Extensions work a lot like a calling card from your long distance company, or from one of the many dial-around operators you used to hear about so frequently. Add an additional number (like your cell phone) to your Extensions on the Vonage settings page, create a PIN, and Vonage will give you an access number that you can pre-dial to make outbound calls at no charge. It’s a feature with the potential to save many users a hefty chunk of change on their mobile long distance.

You’re probably thinking that calling codes are so last decade, and you’re right. Not to worry, forward-thinking smartphone owners: Vonage has said that it plans to introduce both Android and iOS apps that will greatly simplify the Vonage Extensions calling experience. Unfortunately, no specific date has been given for their availability — only a murky “in the coming weeks.”

The move puts Vonage in more direct competition with mobile apps like Skype, Fring, and the more nascent Viber. There are also a pair of  existing Vonage apps — Vonage Mobile for Facebook and Vonage Mobile for iOS — so it’ll be interesting to see what unfolds when the new apps arrive next month.

More at Vonage, via All Things D

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