Procedural Snake Eyes is a blog post about varying outcomes and experiential feels in procedural generation, in particular in the tactical spycraft masterpiece Invisible, Inc. and the recently-released XCOM 2, by Rogue Process (gamejam demo!) developer Mike Cook.
The making of X-Com, Julian Gollop's squad based tactical game. Many subsequent games have taken the XCOM name, often of dubious qaulity, to the point when an XCOM FPS almost had Gollop crowdsourcing his own remake. Fortunately Firaxis did a "very very good" job with it's XCOM: Enemy Unknown" , though Gollop would have done a few things differently. A sequel, XCOM 2, is on the way, and will show "what happens when you lose Enemy Unknown.> [more inside]
The crazy idea was this: The United States Army would design a “deception unit”: a unit that would appear to the enemy as a large armored division with tanks, trucks, artillery, and thousands of soldiers. But this unit would actually be equipped only with fake tanks, fake trucks, fake artillery and manned by just a handful of soldiers.
John Richard Boyd was a U.S. Air Force F-86 and F-100 pilot. Indeed, at the elite Fighter Weapons School he was arguably the best pilot and instructor in the world during his tenure. Boyd could make jet fighters do “impossible” things and simultaneously out-think adversaries. As a result Boyd gained the moniker “40 Second Boyd” because he quickly defeated all challengers in simulated aerial combat.from a review of “Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” by Robert Coram. [more inside]
From Protest to Politics by Bayard Rustin, the civil rights leader almost erased from history. "From Protest to Politics" talks about the difficulty of moving beyond symbolic victories into lasting justice for the Civil Rights Movement.
Professor Deepak Malhotra offers 15 pieces of negotiation advice, followed by Q&A, in an informal session for students at the Harvard Business School. (1 hr 5 min video).
Frequently dismissed as trivial or unimportant because untrue, rumors are a potent in the information war that characterizes contemporary conflicts, and they participate in significant ways in the struggle for the consent of the governed. As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as "narrative IEDs," low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter elaborate and expansive government initiatives of outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts.Narrative Landmines - The Explosive Effects of Rumors in Syria and Insurgencies Around the World [more inside]
The 80s horror film genre called, and then you got a beep and turn-based squad tactics video games were on the other line, and it was a pretty confusing phone call basically but in the end you got the message that someone wanted Camp Keepalive back. Because it is awesome. And it runs on Windows and OSX and you should download the demo right now. [more inside]
Nevermore? The crows in Rochester, NY are being evicted. The City is attempting to scare off the local roost of over 20,000 birds using pyrotechnics, amplified distress calls, and laser shows. Other cities in the region are taking even more drastic measures.
100 Firefights, Three Weeks: Inside Afghanistan's Most Insane Fight
"In its first three weeks in Afghanistan’s Sangin district, the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines got into more than 100 firefights and sustained 62 casualties. The insurgents managed to negate the Marines’ night-vision gear, and rendered their traditional close-combat tactics useless. Things got so bad, the 3/5’s superior officers even suggested pulling their troops back. That didn’t happen. Instead, the 3/5 went after the militants, hard. When the 3/5 came home, they told counterinsurgency historian Mark Moyar all about their deeply unconventional approach to what was already an unconventional war."This is an excerpt in Wired of Moyar’s 74-page after action report. (pdf) [more inside]
Details given for friendly audience about tactics, mistakes, funding and even entrepreneurial opportuneship.
Following on from Jonathan Wilson's excellent column The Question (previously), Zonal Marking illustrates and explains how a football match is won and lost, often with same-day analysis and emphasis on individual players. [more inside]
Is television holding back the evolution of football? What is rarely considered is that television could be shaping the way the game is played, and not necessarily for the better. It sounds, admittedly, a touch far-fetched, but two of football's most respected thinkers believe it to be true, and when Jorge Valdano and Arrigo Sacchi are in agreement, it is usually worth listening. Sports journalist Jonathan Wilson investigates the effect televised football/soccer might be having on the tactics of the game. [more inside]
Tactics 100 Live A flash game similar to Final Fantasy Tactics or Ogre Tactics. Spend 100 points to create an 8 unit army and battle it out on a 7x7 grid. Practice against an AI opponent, or face off in multiplayer combat.
"Every war becomes a proving ground for new tactics and new technologies."... "...The Pentagon began this war believing its new, networked technologies would help make U.S. ground forces practically unstoppable in Iraq. ... But now, more than three years into sectarian conflict and a violent insurgency that has cost nearly 2,400 American lives, an investigation of the current state of network-centric warfare reveals that frontline troops have a critical need for networked gear—gear that hasn’t come yet. " [more inside]
Infantry Journal: Articles from the professional journal of the American ground fighter. Counter-mortar operations. Quick Reaction Forces. Snipers. Lessons Learned.
The Truro (Cape Cod) murder and DNA sweep was discussed here earlier. Well, the DNA sweep worked....Sort of.
Worthington's alleged killer was no mystery man, as the prosecutor has so often implied. Christopher McCowen was hiding in plain sight. Police interviewed him within weeks of the slaying because of his regular visits to the victim's home as a trash collector. He lived on the Cape. He had a criminal record. He had been accused repeatedly, in restraining orders on file in the local courts, of threatening other women.Will police and prosecutors use this case as proof that general sweeps work, and in turn come to favor them over conventional investigative methods?
Drug War Victims. "Increasingly, people are dying because of the tactics of the drug war. Military operations are being conducted on our soil, and collateral damage is inevitable... Every now and then, a death happens that is particularly grotesque -- that points out the horrific folly of our actions. This page presents some of those deaths." This is part of the Drug WarRant blog. [Via TalkLeft.]