"Uru: Ages Beyond Myst," one of the many spin-offs of the classic game Myst, was originally intended to evolve into the MMO "Uru: Live." Alas, developer Cyan and pubisher Ubisoft closed the book on that unwritten chapter, citing insufficient numbers.

Uru Screenshot

But Game Tap announced at E3 last week that it'll be picking up where Uru left off, launching the live game by Christmas. This should delight the many Uru enthusiasts who have kept the game alive by creating their own Uru facimilies in the MMOs There and Second Life. Details on cnet.

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Seriously. The New York Times.

Draenei

Somebody recently said, "Warcraft is the new golf."

This article comes one day after Mark Bragg issued a press release announcing his lawsuit of Linden Labs, makers of Second Life. Mark, an attorney, alleges that immediately after investing thousands of real-world dollars in a virtual land deal, Linden Labs cancelled his account, "without explanation, without citing any violation of community policy, and have since refused offer a credit or a refund."

This could be a landmark case in the legal and popular understanding of virtual worlds. So far, there's been no response from Linden Labs. I, for one, hope Mark wins. If people are going to be investing millions of RL dollars in Second Life, as Linden Labs hopes they will, these entrepeneurs will need basic legal rights to protect their investments.

Oblivion Gone Wild

May 6, 2006

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (a game I'm playing right now) has had it's rating changed from "teen" to "mature." It turns out that Bethesda included the artwork for female breasts in the game's files, so all it takes is a little mod to remove the otherwise-mandatory bras. Details at cnet.

Topless Breton
Oblivion is very popular, having sold over 1.7 million copies since launch. Most of those sales are for Xbox 360, though. The TES Construction Set, necessary for Oblivion modding, can only be used on the PC version.

It remains to be seen if Senator Clinton will get her panties in a bunch over this one.

Explains Raph Koster: "You pretty much have to include a nude or near-nude model in order to have a good clothing system, because anything drawn onto the base model will show through when you do certain clothing types. You could, of course,go to the extra lengths to have alternate underwear sets drawn onto alternate base models, so that there’s always a base model to choose from that works with a given piece of clothing, but what an asset nightmare."

Radio Update

May 3, 2006

It looks like we'll be pre-recording the Michael Smerconish Morning Show segment to air tomorrow (Thursday).

Update May 4th: It aired this morning. It's up as a podcast on WPHT's site, or you might get a faster download here. I think it's a decent interview, but what do I know? I credit Anton Chekhov with writing a play called "The Cherry Tree."

Smerconish Site 

Radio Free Soupsack

May 2, 2006

I'll be live on The Michael Smerconish Morning Show tomorrow discussing the IE Best Buy event. It should happen just after 8:30 AM Eastern. If you're not in Philly or near one of their many affiliates, you can listen online from WPHT's website ("Listen Live," upper right-hand corner). There's an irritating but quick and painless mandatory sign-up (for which you can supply false info if you wish) before the audio starts.

Michael Smerconish is an accomplished neo-conservative author and radio personality who occasionally fills in for Bill O'Reilly and whose recent book "Muzzled" is currently #34 on the NY Times best seller list. More details at his personal site.

Michael Muzzled

If you listen, please drop me a line or post a comment here and let me know how it went.

Stacks of reading material

Kathy Sierra at the Creating Passionate Users blog offers several tips on how to manage "information anxiety" in "The Myth of Keeping Up."

Before getting to the tips, she explains that it is impossible to keep up with information in the way we'd like, offering an example of how even the Sun Java engineer can't be familiar with everything in the API's standard library of 3500 classes. She mentions that technical writers may be part of the problem, in how they write exhaustive manuals and don't provide a system to wieght the relevance of the information.

As an avid participant in support forums for media professionals, I see the expression "Read The Read the rest of this entry »

IE Agents Jump

Last Sunday, 80 Improv Everywhere agents infiltrated a New York City Best Buy store dressed in blue polo shirts and khaki pants. I shot video with a hidden camera and encountered the police. Read the official mission report at Improv Everywhere's site.

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