Web Developer News News Recent news from

PlayStation Gamers Are Now Authoring Their Own Games With 'Dreams' For PS4
dryriver explains the new buzz around "Dreams" for PS4 (now in open access). Created by the studio that made PS4's Big Little World, Dreams "is not a game. It is more of an end to end, create-your-own-3D-game toolkit that happens to run on PS4 rather than a PC... essentially an easy to use game-engine a la Unity or UnrealEngine." Dreams lets you 3D model/sculpt, texture, animate and create game logic, allowing complete 3D games to be authored from scratch. Here is a Youtube video showing someone 3D modeling a fairly sophisticated game character and environment in Dreams. Everything from platformers to FPS games to puzzle, RPG and Minecraft type games can be created. What is interesting about Dreams is that everything anybody creates with it becomes available and downloadable in the DreamVerse and playable by other Dreams users -- so Dreams is also a distribution tool like Steam, in that you can share your creations with others. While PC users have long had access to 3D modeling and game authoring tools, Dreams has for the first time opened up creating console games from scratch to PS4 owners, and appears to have made the processs quicker, easier and more intuitive than, say, learning 3D Studio Max and Unity on a PC. Dreams comes with hours of tutorial walkthroughs for beginners, so in a sense it is a game engine that also teaches how to make games in the first place. Back in January Push Square gushed that "There's simply nothing like this that's ever been done before... This is one of the most innovative, extraordinary pieces of software that we've seen on a console in quite some time..." "And it can be browsed for hours and hours and hours. It's like when you fall into a YouTube hole, and you're clicking from recommended video to recommended video -- except here, you're jumping from minigames involving llamas to models of crustaceans to covers of The King of Wishful Thinking..." "It's an astounding technical achievement with unprecedented ambition."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

College Requires All CS Majors To Take An Improv Class
Northeastern University requires all of its computer science majors to take improv -- a class in theatre and improvisation, taught by professors in the drama department. The Wall Street Journal says it "forces students to come out of their shells and exercise creative play" before they can get their diplomas. (Although when the class was made mandatory in 2016, "We saw a lot of hysterics and crying," says Carla E. Brodley, dean of the computer science department.) So what happens to the computer science majors at Northeastern? The course requires public speaking, lecturing on such nontechnical topics as family recipes. Students also learn to speak gibberish -- 'butuga dubuka manala phuthusa,' for instance... One class had students stare into a classmate's eyes for 60 seconds. If someone laughed, you had to try again... The class is a way to 'robot-proof' computer-science majors, helping them sharpen uniquely human skills, said Joseph E. Aoun, the university president. Empathy, creativity and teamwork help students exercise their competitive advantage over machines in the era of artificial intelligence, according to Mr. Aoun, who wrote a book about it... Other professionals agree that improv can teach the teamwork and communication required of working with others. Many software applications now are built in small teams, a collaboration of engineers, writers and designers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Are Trendy Developers Ignoring Tradeoffs and Over-Engineering Workplaces?
An anonymous reader shares an article titled "Does IT Run on Java 8?" "After more than ten years in tech, in a range of different environments, from Fortune 500 companies, to startups, I've finally come to realize that most businesss and developers simply don't revolve around whatever's trending on Hacker News," argues one Python/R/Spark data scientist: Most developers -- and companies -- are part of what [programmer] Scott Hanselman dubbed a while ago as the 99%... "They don't read a lot of blogs, they never write blogs, they don't go to user groups, they don't tweet or facebook, and you don't often see them at large conferences. Lots of technologies don't iterate at this speed, nor should they. "Embedded developers are still doing their thing in C and C++. Both are deeply mature and well understood languages that don't require a lot of churn or panic on the social networks. Where are the dark matter developers? Probably getting work done. Maybe using ASP.NET 1.1 at a local municipality or small office. Maybe working at a bottling plant in Mexico in VB6. Perhaps they are writing PHP calendar applications at a large chip manufacturer." While some companies are using Spark and Druid and Airflow, some are still using Coldfusion... Or telnet... Or Microsoft TFS... There are reasons updates are not made. In some cases, it's a matter of national security (like at NASA). In others, people get used to what they know. In some cases, the old tech is better... In some cases, it's both a matter of security, AND IT is not a priority. This is the reason many government agencies return data in PDF formats, or in XML... For all of this variety of reasons and more, the majority of companies that are at the pinnacle of succes in America are quietly running Windows Server 2012 behind the scenes. And, not only are they running Java on Windows 2012, they're also not doing machine learning, or AI, or any of the sexy buzzwords you hear about. Most business rules are still just that: hardcoded case statements decided by the business, passed down to analysts, and done in Excel sheets, half because of bureacracy and intraction, and sometimes, because you just don't need machine learning. Finally, the third piece of this is the "dark matter" effect. Most developers are simply not talking about the mundane work they're doing. Who wants to share their C# code moving fractions of a cent transactions between banking systems when everyone is doing Tensorflow.js? In a footnote to his essay, Hanselman had added that his examples weren't hypothetical. "These people and companies all exist, I've met them and spoken to them at length." (And the article includes several tweets from real-world developers, including one which claims Tesla's infotainment firmware and backend services were all run in a single-location datacenter "on the worst VMware deployment known to man.") But the data scientist ultimately asks if our online filter bubbles are exposing us to "tech-forward biases" that are "overenthusiastic about the promises of new technology without talking about tradeoffs," leading us into over-engineered platforms "that our companies don't need, and that most other developers that pick up our work can't relate to, or can even work with... "For better or worse, the world runs on Excel, Java 8, and Sharepoint, and I think it's important for us as technology professionals to remember and be empathetic of that."

Read more of this story at Slashdot. News Recent news from

IT Earnings Way Up at Job Site Elance
Google App Engine, HTML5, search engine optimization and social media marketing are among the fastest movers on Elance's list of hot job opportunities available online.

Say What? The Week's Top Five IT Quotes
Google Wave crashes, fighting to keep mainframe skills alive, beware the Outernet and more.

GPL Enforcement Notches Another Victory
The license at the heart of many open source projects is amassing a winning record when it comes to successfully pursuing enforcement lawsuits.