* Posts by janimal

305 posts • joined 11 Sep 2007

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Pointless features add to browser bloat and insecurity

janimal

Re: It's flawed research ...

@TeeCee

The examples he quoted are all efficiency based improvements that greatly reduce the bandwidth and cpu cycles required to serve a website. As well as helping to make the data device agnostic.

These specific features really are necessary technologies for both improving the experience and capabilities as well as reducing the bandwidth / storage / energy of digital communications.

The issue is that it takes time for the feature to get implemented consistently across browsers, therefore it takes time before developers feel comfortable making use of it on a regular basis.

Advertisers have always been willing to go bleeding edge and I'm sure they jumped at the chance to use SVG & Canvas immediately.

I have just created my first set of svg graphics for a client site & as a developer I can say they are bloody awesome. They resize to the viewport and are easy to edit - you can also edit them using javascript.

Because they are text rendered by the browser they are highly compressible. SVG's will make up a huge proporiton of web graphics in a few years time.

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Licence to snoop: Ipso facto, crypto embargo? Draft Investigatory Powers bill lands

janimal

Re: Websites != "communication"

This is test legislation.

This web history thing is so trivial to bypass that even many barely technical folks already do so. I have had several people in the last couple of years tell me they have vpn configured at the router, by themselves, a relative or a friend.

If this gets passed in it's current form then it will be a stepping stone to something else....

"Oh no! Look! Everyone is using encryption now - and we cannot have a communications method that we can't access with a warrant so...ooh what's this I have here?"

Well that appears to be the Government Key Escrow scheme you wanted to propose back in 1998!

As you will no doubt already know, crypto with a back door is not crypto. However they'll 'spin' key escrow as "strong, unbreakable encryption that we have a bone fide key for."

Let's hope it never comes to that....

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janimal
Big Brother

Several points

An ip address doesn't identify an individual

On radio 4 this morning the policewoman they were getting to tell us to think of the children seemed to equate an IP address with an individual (paedophile, in case you couldn't guess).

I've lived in houses with 6 or 7 people living there, and there's always guests and their phones.

So even if they are targetting an individual and requesting data about an IP address, what about the right to privacy for the rest of the individuals behind that IP address?

Judicial Authorisation

The police will be able to get basic domain history with permission of a superior officer. A Complete history can only be acquired with judicial authorisation (from the bbc article). Will they publish how many times and under what circumstances such requests were denied?

I should imagine something along the lines of "We can see they accessed the piratebay.se he's probably a pirate, but he could be a terrorist." or "She visited gnupg.org" or torproject.org, wikileaks.org or shop.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com could easily prompt a "Dear Reichsführer May letter."

Do you see the judges turning them down?

Growing MJ is illegal, warrant granted.

Tor users are all terrorists, peado's or junkies & dealers - warrant granted.

We need Anonymous to start snaffling MP's browsing history

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Now you can be tracked online by your email addy. Thanks, Google!

janimal

Re: Nobody likes being tracked, but...

On the other hand, as several comments above mention, avoiding ads and tracking is a dark art reserved for a paranoid & knowledgeable few, and maybe their loved ones.

I know plenty of people who don't like the thought of being tracked or targeted, but just can't quite make the small effort to defend against it.

El-Reg ads are targeted at a particular demographic. A demographic which is almost certainly the best informed and most able to avoid ads and ad-tracking. I would hazard a guess that many readers either don't block ads or have the site white-listed otherwise it would have disappeared long ago. I think that might change if they suddenly started seeing very personally targeted adverts.

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AVG to flog your web browsing, search history from mid-October

janimal

Re: We wont pay for data slurping pesterware

You should have let the business get pwned. There is no reason at all a business shouldn't pay for security. System security is one of the costs of doing business.

They could probably save vast sums by doing away with premises and networks in the first place and just getting all the staff to meet up at starbucks and use public wi-fi, but they won't.

By not paying at least the cost value for that required business resource (AV) they risk that resource only being available at a much higher price by the time they realise it really is necessary.

We cannot allow unspecified data about our computing systems to leave our business.

In which case you probably should be relying on more than just Free AV software on each user machine!

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Doctor Who storms back in fine form with Season 9 opener The Magician's Apprentice

janimal

Quality

Based on the quality of the writing in the last few years, it wouldn't surprise me if they use the "it was all a dream" plot twist.

Or maybe 'love' will fix everything?

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janimal
Unhappy

magic crap

The trouble with Dr Who is that it is kid's fantasy dressed up as sci-fi. These days I feel like I'm watching the truly terrible Merlin rather than so9me sci-fi.

In story telling ultimate power must come at a price otherwise you can magically extract yourself and your friends from any peril.

Time travel is supposed to be fraught with difficulties and potential universally apocalyptic paradox scenarios etc... These things should constrain the protagonist's ability to solve a situation and thus force some clever solution to be thought of rather than 'magic'

For example if it is OK for him to dump 20th Century military hardware in the middle ages, then surely it is acceptable for him to use that same hardware (or future military hardware) to defend humanity.

In fact, if time travel is so non-trivial that he doesn't have to worry about paradoxes or ripping the universe to pieces at the quantum level or whatever then a great many of hius problems can be solved by simply going back in time & removing the baddies at birth or going to the future and returning with OP future tech for the potential victims of evil to defend themselves.

It doesn't have to be realistic, but it should at least try to be internally consistent. The trouble is that next time a 20th Century tank (or 24th Century armed flying car) will solve the problem that's what I'll be erroneously expecting.

Series 1 of renta ghost was more consistent than this garbage. I'm forced to watch it because the missus does. At least it now has Michelle Gomez in it I suppose. I can watch her hamming it up all day.

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'Major' outage at Plusnet borks Brits' browsing, irate folk finger DNS

janimal
FAIL

Re: Useless 'status page'

Have you never heard of a smartphone? 4g dongle? Internet cafe? Stealing neighbours wi-fi? etc... etc...

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Virtually no one is using Apple Music even though it is utterly free

janimal

Me too

I believe I had a spotify account many years ago. I only tried it out twice :/

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janimal

Re: It is the functionality, not the catalogue of music that matters

The problem with genre's is they are subjective, fluid and ever changing. The R&B that I know is nothing like what kids call R&B today - in fact what they call R&B today is probably nothing like R&B just 10 years ago.

Most mainstream music tends to straddle multiple genres anyway. I personally wouldn't find a genre search much use except at the highest level, and realistically I would miss a whole bunch of music that I do like that isn't in that genre.

Anyhow my opinion really doesn't count. I stopped buying new music when they killed napster and winmx (per track P2P networks)

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Microsoft's Windows 10 Torrent-U-Like updates GULP DOWN your precious bandwidth

janimal
Boffin

Re: How come...?

well if you read the posts above you'll see that you can apparently define a network connection as metered & W10 won't use it.

I'm not defending the design or MS' decision to hide away the settings & info. I think it's a dodgy idea.

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Windows 10 in head-on crash with Nvidia drivers as world watches launch

janimal

Re: Forced updates are something I just refuse to accept.

Can't you disable the Google update service(s)?

Otherwise, un-install it?

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Windows 10: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE to Microsoft's long apology for Windows 8

janimal

Re: Wow!

Personally I always enjoy a fresh round of Microsoft hatred on the interwebs.

Their demise can't come soon enough.

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janimal

Re: Why call it Windows?

I think his fundamental point is sound though.

MS should completely separate the GUI from the underlying functionality and then they could sell (consistent) Desktop Environments for different use cases.

Or allow 3rd party developers to create Desktop Environments for specialist cases.

This allows businesses (amongst others) to take advantage of underlying improvements to security & speed without having to keep reluctantly retraining staff at vast expense.

Soft. Eng. best practice has been to (generally) separate out the interface from the functionality from the data for 30 years. This has worked exceptionally well in all the massive modelling / optimiser projects I worked on over the years.

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janimal

Multiple Desktops

Are indeed a very useful thing... I use them all the time in linux , but I also used them all the time in win XP and still use them in W7.

I use a free (for private use) app called Dexpot. I'm sure even though MS finally realised the utility of multiple desktops I'm sure they will have done it half arsed anyway, Dexpot has tons of configuration options, plus some 'bling' options (cube, windows roll ups, transparency etc...) inspired by compiz

So even if you do go for w10 (not for me thanks) you might still want to check it out...

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janimal

Done properly

...is not a phrase I often associate with Microsoft, and definitely not with Windows

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Run Windows 10 on your existing PC you say, Microsoft? Hmmm.

janimal

Re: Drivers

I'm not suggesting you upgrade your OS or your Canon gear...

I have an ancient (XP ERA) canon photo printer, that is stilol perfectly functional, but when I switched to XP 64bit, there were no x64 drivers. At that time I had a lappy with XP pro (32bit) so I just kept that around just for printing.

Now on W7, I use XP32bit in a Virtual Box VM.

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Pirate captain blasts Google for its 'mystery' Chrome blob

janimal

Re: People actually trust the word of a thief?

* Interesting note, the term "innovation" was coined by Bill Gates in the 90s when discussing the theft development of the companies software.

He must have stolen that too then because "innovation" is from Middle English and is derived from the Latin innovatio (n), and innovare (v)

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One USB plug to rule them all? That's sensible, but no...

janimal

Now the consumer in PC World will see one plug, but won’t be sure whether it will support, or not support, that particular monitor (“4K or not?”), or that particular drive or array, or be sure whether it provides enough power to charge that laptop and a phone at the same time.

Bad enough in PC world, much worse when you're trying to find a cable from the "box full of cables" in the back room :(

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World of the strange: There will be NINE KINDS of Windows 10

janimal
Coat

The First Against The Wall...

Hello Microsoft? The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation called. They would like their business planning and marketing departments back.

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Microsoft discontinues Media Center with Windows 10

janimal

It is annoying

Windows Media Center that is.

The only media player I have ever used which doesn't use the space button as a pause / restart - but instead changes the channel to the previous channel you watched, thus ditching what it has been recording (for real time pause etc..)

Good riddance!

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'Use 1 capital' password prompts make them too predictable – study

janimal

Re: What's the real issue?

yes and inevitably some websites enforce password rules that prevent you from using your system because they won't accept the length or won't allow punctuation characters.

The ones that really annoy me are those who won't let you use a password you have used previously. Surely this means they are storing all the passwords you have ever used with them before - so if that data gets robbed it provides an even richer source of password material :/

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What's broken in this week's Windows 10 build? Try the Start Menu, for one

janimal
Coffee/keyboard

Kitchen Nightmare

It sounds like windows 10 is the same old spaghetti with a thin layer of fresh sauce on top then?

It just makes me think of Gordon Ramsey inspecting the fridge of one of the nightmare restaurants.

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Windows 10 build 10041: 99 bugs on the wall, fix a bug, add a feature, 114 bugs on the wall

janimal

Warning Signs

"Microsoft is still working out how the Windows 10 virtual desktop feature should work. In this build, alt-tab only cycles through windows in the current desktop, and the taskbar only shows apps running in the current desktop. This means apps on other desktops are near-invisible, which could cause confusion.

“We are doing some A/B testing for this where there will be different defaults for different users,”"

So here's a clear case of functionality that simply needs a configuration option so that the user can choose which way they prefer to work. Now maybe they are just working out which behaviour should be default and include a way to switch, but on recent form I fear they are simply determining how they will force you to use it...

Anyone know if this behaviour is configurable?

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Top smut site Flashes visitors, leaves behind nasty virus

janimal

Re: Phil W

I use the same scheme if I am going to surf the web at all without ad-block (I hate ads, but some decent sites wouldn't exist without them).

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What do UK and Iran have in common? Both want to outlaw encrypted apps

janimal

Re: Key escrow revisited?

Exactly what I was thinking.

I suppose it is naive not to expect successive governments to repeatedly attempt the same thing.

This is basically a battle that will repeat itself until the snoopers win or our civilisation ends :(

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BAN email footers – they WASTE my INK, wails Ctrl+P MP

janimal

Re: Is this what this clown

Perhaps greater efficiency would leave more money for hospital care? Is that unreasonable?

Also the government is probably charged 50% more than the rest of us for paper & ink.

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janimal

Re: What kind of numpty prints out email, ever?

The government needs to, for accountability and history.

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janimal

Why print e-mails?

Most of us don't have any need to print e-mails it is true. However the government really does need to.

It is necessary to archive the machinations of government on a medium not tied to a particular technology. For transparency, legal and historical reasons.

His idea is not at all unreasonable simply on cost and efficiency grounds.

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GCHQ: We can't track crims any more thanks to Snowden

janimal
Big Brother

A balance must be struck

I'm sure that with modern technology we could design a society where it was virtually impossible to commit a crime without being caught. Such worlds have been considered many a time in fiction, and just think what some of the fascist regimes of the past could achieve with modern tech.

I presume this whitehall official will be volunteering to be the first to have the 24/7 monitored cameras installed in every room in his house?

There certainly are some horrible, nasty, exploitative people out there. Always have been and always will be. Some of them even work in government.

Get warrants, employ more people and treat everyone equally.

If the security services don't act within the law it makes them no better than the other criminals they are trying to catch.

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Frustration with Elite:Dangerous boils over into 'Refund Quest'

janimal

Re: dogged

I didn't down vote your insanity post, but this idea that the budget and time estimate were somehow fixed at some early stage seems fallacious to me.

The budget is based on what the backers pay and backers choose whether or not to take that risk based on the promises given of how that will benefit them.

The time estimate can only be set by the developer when they have an idea of what features they are going to be implementing.

In this instance Frontier Development changed the proposal when many, many people asked if a single player, offline mode, would be implemented.

As a consequence people who hadn't backed it because of a lack off-line mode, did so - thus increasing the budget available for implementation.

Frontier Development should not have promised off-line mode if they thought they couldn't implement it within the promised time. It is as simple as that.

Their budget was dictated by the willingness of the backers to believe in the promises given.

The time estimate is entirely within their control.

As a Software Engineer, my opinion is that they have been incompetent in their project management.

However an angry out of pocket backer might reasonably conclude they have been ripped off.

FD were fully aware of the importance of SP mode to their backers, aware enough to promise that functionality, which persuaded a lot of people to enthusiastically invest money to make it possible.

Personally I am only a little sad that I won't get to see the game I wanted, but I invested nothing. Anyone who invested on the promise of off-line mode has every right to feel aggrieved.

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janimal

Re: Feeble article

It wasn't a review - just reporting the 'controversy'

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janimal

Re: development practices

Some people only backed it after the off-line promise was made.

It was entirely Frontier Development who changed the proposal. They could have said "no" and had less backers and a smaller budget, but no complaints afterwards.

It was entirely their choice.

I can't see how you can defend the way they have handled it.

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janimal

Re: development practices

I agree that was when they should have evaluated the requirement against their vision and rejected it.

However I can guarantee that some backers - all those requesting a refund in fact, would not have backed the project. It was the main reason I actually considered backing it. Fortunately I decided to wait and see.

Hence it was either incompetence or a cynical money grab. Both reasonable reasons for people to complain.

PS. Their budget was provided by the backers.

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janimal

Re: development practices

Or they could have ensured that every time they had to make a decision about where certain functionality should reside (server or client) that they consult the requirements of the project and design accordingly.

The way this has happened really makes it look like all the way through development someone kept saying "oh we'll deal with that requirement later".

The off-line promise was only added because it was explicitly requested by so many backers. Which to my mind makes it probably one of the most important requirements of the project.

In software development, any time it looks like you are not going to be able to meet one of the requirements, the most important thing to do is to communicate that to your clients at the earliest opportunity.

The one thing you should never do is pretend it is not an issue until the delivery date.

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janimal

Oolite's a good bit of nostalgic fun.

If you liked Frontier, you can also try pioneerspacesim as well

http://pioneerspacesim.net/

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janimal

Correction

It seems the quote I attributed to FD, was not from them - apologies.

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janimal

Been Burned Before

The only game I have ever pre-ordered was GT5 and even then I was nervous. For me at least it turned out to be the worst most soul-less & pointless racing game I have ever played. I promised then I would never pay for another game until it was released and I had read many reviews.

When I first heard about Elite:Dangerous, I immediately thought "I bet it will be online multi-player rather than the single player game I would like"

So I scoured the website & FAQ's every now & then to see how the plans were progressing. I can remember my joy when they announced single player offline mode. I'm sure that nostalgia was a major factor in this project's very successful fund raising and that nostalgia was based on an offline experience.

I certainly wanted to give them money up front simply because I was so desperate to see it succeed.

Nonetheless, fortunately for me, after some wavering I decided I just couldn't pay for promises. I am now so relieved that I didn't pay, because the current offering is not the game I was expecting it to be (based on the promises made on the website).

An offline game is a completely different beast from an online multi-player one.

I don't want my single player game re-balanced to satisfy constraints of the MMO paradigm

I don't want my SP game to progress without me while I am on holiday

I do want to be able to pause my game to deal with family issues, or pets, or phone calls, etc....

I want to see what interesting and exciting MODS the community can create

I want to be able to have multiple saves so that I can approach the universe in multiple different ways.

I want to be able to play the game on holiday

I want to be able to play the same game in 10 years time

Finally we come to the reasons why they cancelled the offline mode....

dan1980 has already destroyed their argument regarding the effort it would take, but here is another. When they first announced the dropping of off-line mode. Someone from FD said this...

There has been a lot of uproar about this but the bottom line is that they have moved so much stuff to the servers they physically cannot produce an offline version now. All of the commodity prices, background simulation, module upgrade availability, bulletin board missions, injected events and I suspect even the NPC AI are run from the servers. *

That functionality did not end up on the server accidentally.

Since offline mode was one of the requirements, one that was specifically requested by the kickstarter backers, that requirement should have informed every decision they had to take on whether functionality should have been client-side or server-side. In fact I'm sure that they could have greatly reduced the effort to provide both by some forward planning.

Finally Mr Braben said this...

"We have developed a multiplayer game with an unfolding story involving the players, and groups collaborating with specific objectives and taking account of all players' behaviour. This is what the game is about. Without this it would not be the rich gaming experience that we will deliver, and would be a great disappointment to all players.

"Any offline experience would be fundamentally empty."

From all the reviews I have seen the main complaint appears to be that the experience they have delivered is already a shallow and empty experience even with the online component.

It seems to me that either

a) their development methodology was non-existent, not adhered to or deeply flawed

b) There were other non-technical, financial reasons (DRM, pressure to release, etc...) which they are never going to admit to.

I do really feel for the people who paid up on the basis of single player. At this point I can't see me buying this in the near future as it seems to me they are going to have to find a way of funding the on-going maintenance of the servers. Which to me implies micro-transactions or P2W and other practices that I will not support.

*This quote now seems to have disappeared from the internet, fortunately I had copy & pasted it from the FD website into a different post at the time.

PS. El-Reg: please disable the auto <p> functionality in your comment form, not every line-break is a new paragraph.

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janimal
Thumb Up

@dan1980

+10 for you

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Ten excellent FREE PC apps to brighten your Windows

janimal

re: tony72

As with any tool, they can be misused or misunderstood. There's nothing inherently wrong with CCleaner & other registry cleaning tools. The problem is usually the user.

That's not to say I haven't borked a couple of dev installations in the past, but through my own fault not the cleaners. Back when I was a windows developer registry cleaners were an essential item when developing COM based software. Yes I remember DLL hell too!

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Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode

janimal

You should also check out oolite. It is based on Elite & is very similar (same ships, universe etc..), but has been added to over time and has loads of Mods available.

I do have the BBC version I linked earlier, but I prefer Oolite.

Linky..., http://www.oolite.org/

Enjoy! :)

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janimal

There has been a lot of uproar about this but the bottom line is that they have moved so much stuff to the servers they physically cannot produce an offline version now. All of the commodity prices, background simulation, module upgrade availability, bulletin board missions, injected events and I suspect even the NPC AI are run from the servers.

Which seems a pretty odd thing to do if one of your requirements is for the game to be playable off-line yes?

That code didn't end up on the server accidentally surely? At each point they made a decision to move some code to the server where was the sanity check on the requirements?

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janimal

Re: There seems to be a lot of confusion about 'offline mode'.

@Flatpackhamster

There are other reasons than direct griefing and lack of internet connection to want an off-line game.

1) Economics: They will need to find a way to fund the on-going server requirements - this can fundamentally affect game play eg; Micro-transactions & play to win

2) No pause button: I suspect many of the backers for this project are grown adults with jobs, families, children, cats etc... Last night I was playing oolite in a fit of nostalgia. At 11:30 I decided to install the povray planets extension and do one more trade run before bed. Due to a firefight and then being mass-locked forever, I was still no-where near the station at 00:45. Fortunately I Was able to just pause the game & go to bed. I will get back to it later.

3) Consistency: The game universe moves on without you. If I can't play for two weeks, or two months, the game universe has continued changing. Those changes are effected by other players actions while I am on holiday or just too busy to play. When I return I am effectively playing a game in a completely different state.

4) Re-balancing: Because this online universe is shared with multi-player. I may even return after a couple of weeks hiatus and find that my ships or weapons have different statistics. Anything in fact could have been tweaked solely in the interests of the multiplayer game.

5) Economic Griefing: You may be able to play Solo online mode, but the markets & missions are still going to be affected by the actions of MP players. You can rest assured that if there is a way to grief the shared galaxy, humans will find it. Economic griefing and scamming has been well practiced in certain other MMOs. Don't expect it not to happen here.

6) Modding: Some people were really looking forward to the proposed modding API. This very obviously can't happen now can it

7) DRM: They promised a DRM free version. Online authentication is DRM.

8) Longevity: The future playability of the game is entirely bound to the success of the company. You will only be able to play it while it is economically viable for Frontier to support the server. If sales tank quickly or no-one is buying spaceship skins that might not be very long at all. Equally it could continue for 15 years - the point is it is entirely beyond your control.

How many other products do you buy without any guarantees for how long it will actually function?

Many people seem to be completely unaware of the possible implications of this allegedly trivial decision.

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janimal

Re: one way out of this mess

One of the Frontier staff said in the linked thread that they did not want to place the server code in the hands of the player & allow them to discover all the secrets of the universe.

So it seems obvious that some of the 'limitations' preventing them from offering offline play are Intellectual Property & DRM based.

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janimal

Re: Oh, FFS!

I agree with all your points.

On the plus side if you want to relive the BBC micro version, you can do so..

https://store.zaonce.net/elite1984.html

They offer the 1984 BBC Micro version + the emulator required to play it for free (as far as I can tell).

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janimal

Re: Solo play not good enough

Well the other problem is how long can a buy once business model support the required servers for? I think it is reasonable to infer that the business model will have to change to micro-transactions or subs at some point in the future? Both very negative points for me.

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janimal

Re: Pity!

The gaming industry really pisses me off in this way.

We have thousands of old games, who by necessity relied on excellent game-play to be successful. If the graphics were relatively good it was just a bonus.

Whilst the movie industry almost constantly releases rehashes of old movies, the games industry largely ignores the wealth of old games. Unfortunately when they do revisit something they often completely miss the essence of what the game great in the first place.

I would be so happy to get some reboots, with identical gameplay, just updated graphics and resolutions.

Tie Fighter

Populous

Syndicate

Elite / Frontier / Frontier-2

Spy vs Spy

Geoff Crammond's F1 GP

X-COM: UFO Defence

Would be great for me!

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janimal

For as long as they can fund the servers right? So in the long term without subs or micro-transactions how will they do that?

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janimal

So how are they going to fund the required servers after everyone has bought the game? Expect a Micro-transaction pay to win experience in the future to keep the servers online.

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janimal

Yes server costs is a big issue. How are they going to fund the servers once all the potential players in a fairly niche market have bought the game?

The only real ways I know to do so are through subs or micro-transactions, both great reasons for avoiding online only games.

Expect the purchase model for the game to change at some point in the future possibly.

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