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Games people play

There’s depth to be found if you know where to look. Feedback hed: Games people play dek: there’s depth to be found if you know where to look.

I read your article about the gaming industry and its need to be a leader in the software industry, and I couldn’t agree more.

I purchased Tribes 2 from Sierra/Dynamix, a game that features solo play and team play (online) as well as a variety of “community” features. When the software was originally released, many of the community functions weren’t available and the gameplay was shaky at best. Some people couldn’t play at all. The developers tried a variety of things to improve gameplay.

One of the community functions that was featured in the game was the “Create your own Tribe” option. It allowed you to have a Tribal name, a Web page for your tribe, a tribal forum and chat option also.

Recently, the developers deleted all small tribes (less than four people). I feel this is an illegal infringement on my limited-use license.

To expand on your comparison to office software, what if this happened in the office software industry? Would it be tolerated? If Quicken were to decide that certain online accounts using its software were too insignificant to matter and they just deleted them, would that be legal? No one seems to feel that game companies should be held to the same standard as other software companies.

David Vollmer Keefe

I’d like to point out some games that your experience may not have afforded you: Wing Commander 3, while dated by modern standards, was a very good combination of plot and interactivity. Complete with a branching mission/plot, it offered a huge amount of replayability, including surprising new developments or reactions that might not have been encountered in previous games or missions.

Take note of Blizzard Entertainment. It’s in the quietly enviable position of being so revered by fans that any game they release will be bought on faith of the brand. Every Blizzard game is a smash hit – and each new game gets better and better. Why? Unlike pretty much every game-development house I’ve ever heard of, it simply will not release a game until it meets some very high standards.

The rest of the industry has to stop their current ways and realize that spending what’s necessary to make their games right is, in the long run, more profitable than short-term gains.

Chris Hunt

Regarding your recent article on scanners: Red Green and Blue filters do not act as optical amplifiers. They each remove the other two thirds of the visible spectrum. They are also called separation filters. In the case of some drum scanners the light beam is separated into three beams and then shines onto one of three photomultiplier tubes. Electronic amplification on the order of 100,000 times or greater occurs inside these tubes. The signal is then digitized and sent on to other circuits and eventually a computer.

The brightness range in no current pictorial photographic system is limited to four f-stops (2 to the 4th power, or 16). Kodachrome for example can record a density range of about 3.6 density since density is a base-10 logarithmic unit that is equal to a brightness range of nearly 4,000-to-1 color prints because of the optical characteristics are limited to a range of about 200-to-1 both are far wider than your 16-to-1. Incidentally color negatives (from which color prints are made) can make acceptable prints when under exposed by as much as 1.5 f-stops or over exposed by as much as 3.5 f-stops. Within any given photographic exposure are millions of points of greater or lesser exposures than a simple f-stop number would indicate.

Howard Stein

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