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Roaring 20s

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Mateo Gray
Mateo Gray

Why DRM Is Your Enemy

It's not surprising that Amazon would choose to use an illegitimate, anticompetitive technology to lock its customers (and suppliers) in. Once you control 90% of a market, you are more likely to lose users than gain them, and so anything you can do to lock those users in to your platform helps you more than it hurts. It's a signature Big Tech move, the kind of thing that monopolies use to shore up their dominance for the long term.

Why DRM Is Your Enemy

Google has just launched a DRM-free audiobook store that duplicates nearly the entire catalog at Audible. When you buy your audiobooks from Google Play you can download them to any device, play it on any device, convert them, archive them, back them up. If you decide you don't want to use Google products in the future, you won't lose your audiobooks. It's fucking amazing.

Those thinking of pirating Serious Sam 3 may wish to reconsider, unless they want to be dogged constantly by a giant, pink, invincible scorpion. According to a report over on Dark Side of Gaming, the DRM in the game is said giant scorpion, and it cannot be killed. It only appears in pirated versions of the game, and will be your constant, deadly nemesis from the moment you boot up the game. A video of the DRM in action is posted below, which will save you the trouble of pirating the game just to see how it works. Thanks, RPS.

Sometimes the headend automatically triggers a signal to embed the WM in the client. In that case, pirates can use common software to block the signal to the device and prevent the WM from appearing on your video.

In this sophisticated, rarer attack, pirates feed multiple video sources into a single, off-the-shelf encoder, which then combines them on a frame-by-frame basis. The encoder combines the inputs via tiling, averaging, or blacking out methods. Similarly, pirates can deploy a majority attack or subtraction attack to interfere with your watermark. Helping you better understand these and other advanced methods is for another blog down the road.

Pirates alternate, over time, the source device used to extract video streams to confuse your watermarking ID extraction system. For example, they may use device A for a few seconds, then switch to device B, followed by device C, and then back to B. This is also a complex and less prevalent method, since pirates need to synchronize input segments at the same bit rate and resolution to ensure that the transition is unnoticed by viewers.

The main idea is simple but very hard to master. There's a large number but limited amount of resources in each map and you must make the most of it by balancing your economy. For example, early on in the game you start off by harnessing lumber and stone to help build better buildings. Then from those buildings you can start building better items for your settlers such as clothing, jewellery, tools and weapons. All resources are linked so the slightest mistake can bring your kingdom down and plague it full of red exclamation marks! This makes it a very challenging game.

As the resources are limited, it means you'll have to expand your territory at some point. This means you can either send soldiers and take land by force or use proselytism and send monks to preach. The former is much harder and you'll find this is no RTS game because it's very costly to produce the kind of units you need to siege enemy fortresses.

However, the "battles" aren't very hard and unlike other RTSes, most of the time you simply need more units than your enemy. The great thing is that all units can be assigned to a single group so you also don't have to spend time micro-managing your units and just concentrate on your economy instead which is the goal of the game.

In the case of the main campaign mode, you're given a pre-built village and a set of missions to fulfil such as gather so much resources or conquer a sector. I'm not a great fan of forced tutorials - Especially when the demo has everything unlocked so you'll have familiarised yourself with everything with that already but, you spend most of your time learning the basics.

However, after the first few maps you're onto working your way to a set number of Victory Points (VP) such as having a greater population, more territory or managing to research certain technology first. Depending on how you play, the points can switch sides which keep things exciting while playing against the AI or another human player.

On the larger skirmish maps, they can take up to 2 hours to finish! Thanks to the flexible way VPs work, there's so many ways to go about it, there's plenty of replayability. Not to mention that you can create your own maps, collect coins to unlock more goods too!

The other point are how worthless the sidequests feel. Many quests offer you a locked VP so once you achieve them, the VP is yours for good. Others give you a resource award or give you some military aid and it's these military aid awards that I feel are worthless. With a name like "ghostly army", one would be expecting a powerful army that might help level one sector of your rival but they aren't impressive looking at all and hardly makes a dent in the enemy!

Villages look full of life as you see the settlers busily running around your kingdom carrying resources between places. You can very much zoom all the way down to ground level and watch them at work. Textures are rich as far as the animated cartoon-like environments are concerned and there are plenty of ambient effects such as birds flying about. Short pre-rendered videos or cutscenes are played while playing the campaign.

If you want a sim with a bit of RTS then most likely enjoy Settlers 7. There's such a large chain of resources to manage it proves to be a very big challenge. With the Victory Point system, the goals laid out are so flexible there's plenty of replayability whether it's against the AI or going online against random strangers. On the other hand, if you only enjoy RTSes where you can rush your enemy such as in Blizzard's Starcraft or Warcraft games, this is definitely not a game for you.

We ruled out the zones without any activity over several days, and added electromagnetic, human and open source intelligence to further narrow the search down to one square. We put a permanent drone orbit over this one, and we were able to find the building with the enemy HQ. We then struck it with a precision munition at the most appropriate time indicated by our pattern of life analysis, to minimize risks to the population.

The Adult Arachnoid is an enemy that is first introduced in Serious Sam 3: BFE and later appear in Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE, Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, Serious Sam 4, and Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem. In Mental's army, they often serve as heavy assault units and use tactics like utilzing suppressive fire on the enemy.

With boots of speed on your feet, an infinite supply of bullets for your semi-automatic and the ability to jump over twice your own height, you're well equipped to go up against any enemy on your quest to reach Lovely Planet! Balance between jumping around dodging bullets and taking aim for a better shot at your enemies, don't waste time camping at cover spots and waiting for enemies to pop out - artfully evade the onslaught of bullets and defeat all baddies that stand in your way!

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The game industry is in trouble, and it's their own fault. Specifically, it's the fault of a handful of giant companies making the worst possible decision you can make in a consumer business: disrespecting your customer. Ubisoft, Electronic Arts, and Square Enix are among several companies pursuing the most bullheaded policies in copy protection and microtransactions, punishing their own customers for their loyalty. This has to stop.

The Penny Arcade Report's Ben Kuchera offered a lengthy (and expletive-ridden) analysis of All The Bravest(Opens in a new window), but I'll summarize it: After you spend $4, you can play the game. You get a party of up to 20 characters and attack enemies by rubbing your finger up and down the screen. Each hit from an enemy knocks out a character. It takes three minutes for a character to recover. You get three hourglass items that let you recover all of your characters instantly, but additional hourglasses cost $1 for three, and you're forced to use two of your hourglasses during the tutorial. After you pay $4 for this game, you have to decide whether you want to spend $0.33 for each additional try after you lose, or wait an hour before you can play again.

Hold on, it gets better. To unlock "legendary characters" from other Final Fantasy games, you need to pay $1 each. The characters are randomized, so you can't just pay for the characters you want. You have to rely on chance to get the party you want. After that, you need to spend an additional $4 for each extra area you want to visit. This $4 game brings together all of the worst possible parts of freemium Facebook games except for having to annoy your friends. At least when you bug your friends in Facebook games you get something for free.

DRM: Even Worse Than DLCThe worst offenders aren't even trying to get more money out of gamers, at least at first. The worst are just hamstringing their own customers in the most bizarre and pointless ways. Electronic Arts is needlessly forcing players of its upcoming SimCity to be constantly online to play. In a recent townhall discussion on Reddit(Opens in a new window) (an "Ask Me Anything," or AMA), EA confirmed that SimCity will require an active connection at all times, whether or not you play with other people or not. You will, however, be given some wiggle room: "We will allow you to play for as long as we can preserve your game state. This will most likely be minutes." This is simply unacceptable.


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