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Pioneering Researchers Track Sudden Learning 'Epiphanies'

Slashdot Updates - 2 hours 34 min ago
wisebabo quotes Science Daily: Until now, researchers had not had a good way to study how people actually experienced what is called "epiphany learning." In new research, scientists at The Ohio State University used eye-tracking and pupil dilation technology to see what happens as people figured out how to win a strategy game on a computer. "We could see our study participants figuring out the solution through their eye movements as they considered their options," said Ian Krajbich, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology and economics at Ohio State. "We could predict they were about to have an epiphany before they even knew it was coming." The original submission suggests, "This might be useful to determine when you are trying to teach a difficult subject to someone who you're afraid might be inclined to just nod their head. Or maybe this is how the Voight-Kampff test works. (Are you a replicant?)"

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Categories: Science & Tech News

CIA, FBI Launch Manhunt For WikiLeaks Source

Slashdot Updates - 3 hours 39 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes CBS: CBS News has learned that a manhunt is underway for a traitor inside the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and FBI are conducting a joint investigation into one of the worst security breaches in CIA history, which exposed thousands of top-secret documents that described CIA tools used to penetrate smartphones, smart televisions and computer systems. Sources familiar with the investigation say it is looking for an insider -- either a CIA employee or contractor -- who had physical access to the material... Much of the material was classified and stored in a highly secure section of the intelligence agency, but sources say hundreds of people would have had access to the material. Investigators are going through those names. Homeland security expert Michael Greenberger told one CBS station that "My best guest is that when this is all said and done we're going to find out that this was done by a contractor, not by an employee of the CIA."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Slashdot Asks: What Was Your First Programming Language?

Slashdot Updates - 6 hours 44 min ago
This question was inspired by news that Stanford's computer science professor Eric Roberts will try JavaScript instead of Java in a new version of the college's introductory computer programming course. The Stanford Daily reports: When Roberts came to Stanford in 1990, CS106A was still taught in Pascal, a programming language he described as not "clean." The department adopted the C language in 1992. When Java came out in 1995, the computer science faculty was excited to transition to the new language. Roberts wrote the textbooks, worked with other faculty members to restructure the course and assignments and introduced Java at Stanford in 2002... "Java had stabilized," Roberts said. "It was clear that many universities were going in that direction. It's 2017 now, and Java is showing its age." According to Roberts, Java was intended early on as "the language of the Internet". But now, more than a decade after the transition to Java, Javascript has taken its place as a web language. In 2014 Python and Java were the two most commonly-taught languages at America's top universities, according to an analysis published by the Communications of the ACM. And Java still remains the most-commonly taught language in a university setting, according to a poll by the Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education. In a spreadsheet compiling the results, "Python appears 60 times, C++ 54 times, Java 84 times, and JavaScript 28 times," writes a computing professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, adding "if Java is dying (or "showing its age"...) it's going out as the reigning champ." I'm guessing Slashdot's readers have their own opinions about this, so share your educational experiences in the comments. What was your first programming language?

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Should Archive.org Ignore Robots.txt Directives And Cache <em>Everything</em>?

Slashdot Updates - 9 hours 49 min ago
Archive.org argues robots.txt files are geared toward search engines, and now plans instead to represent the web "as it really was, and is, from a user's perspective." We have also seen an upsurge of the use of robots.txt files to remove entire domains from search engines when they transition from a live web site into a parked domain, which has historically also removed the entire domain from view in the Wayback Machine... We receive inquiries and complaints on these "disappeared" sites almost daily." In response, Slashdot reader Lauren Weinstein writes: We can stipulate at the outset that the venerable Internet Archive and its associated systems like Wayback Machine have done a lot of good for many years -- for example by providing chronological archives of websites who have chosen to participate in their efforts. But now, it appears that the Internet Archive has joined the dark side of the Internet, by announcing that they will no longer honor the access control requests of any websites. He's wondering what will happen when "a flood of other players decide that they must emulate the Internet Archive's dismal reasoning to remain competitive," adding that if sys-admins start blocking spiders with web server configuration directives, other unrelated sites could become "collateral damage." But BoingBoing is calling it "an excellent decision... a splendid reminder that nothing published on the web is ever meaningfully private, and will always go on your permanent record." So what do Slashdot's readers think? Should Archive.org ignore robots.txt directives and cache everything?

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Linux PC Maker System76 Plans To Design And Manufacture Its Own Hardware

Slashdot Updates - 13 hours 51 min ago
An anonymous reader quotes Liliputing: System76 is one of only a handful of PC vendors that exclusively sells computers with Linux-based software. Up until now, that's meant the company has chosen hardware that it could guarantee would work well with custom firmware and the Ubuntu Linux operating system... Starting in 2018 though, you may be able to buy a System76 computer that was designed and built in-house... CAD files for System76 computers will be open source, allowing anyone with the appropriate skills and equipment to build or modify their own cases based on the company's designs. "We're prototyping with acrylic and moving to metal soon," the company says in a blog post, adding "Our first in-house designed and manufactured desktops will ship next year. Laptops are more complex and will follow much later."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Microsoft Will Block Desktop 'Office' Apps From 'Office 365' Services In 2020

Slashdot Updates - 15 hours 53 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is still encouraging businesses to rent their Office software, according to TechRadar. "In a bid to further persuade users of the standalone versions of Office to shift over to a cloud subscription (Office 365), Microsoft has announced that those who made a one-off purchase of an Office product will no longer get access to the business flavours of OneDrive and Skype come the end of the decade." PC World explains that in reality this affects very few users. "If you've been saving all of your Excel spreadsheets into your OneDrive for Business cloud, you'll need to download and move them over to a personal subscription -- or pony up for Office 365, as Microsoft really wants you to do." Microsoft is claiming that when customers connect to Office 365 services using a legacy version of Office, "they're not enjoying all that the service has to offer. The IT security and reliability benefits and end user experiences in the apps is limited to the features shipped at a point in time. To ensure that customers are getting the most out of their Office 365 subscription, we are updating our system requirements." And in another blog post, they're almost daring people to switch to Linux. "Providing over three years advance notice for this change to Office 365 system requirements for client connectivity gives you time to review your long-term desktop strategy, budget and plan for any change to your environment." In a follow-up comment, Microsoft's Alistair Speirs explained that "There is still an option to get monthly desktop updates, but we are changing the 3x a year update channel to be 2x a year to align closer to Windows 10 update model. We are trying to strike the right balance between agile, ship-when-ready updates and enterprise needs of predictability, reliability and advanced notice to validate and prepare."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Can Geoengineering Drones Fight Global Warming?

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 3:54pm
MIT Technology Review reports: David Mitchell, a lanky, soft-spoken atmospheric physicist, believes frigid clouds in the upper troposphere may offer one of our best fallback plans for combating climate change... Fleets of large drones would crisscross the upper latitudes of the globe during winter months, sprinkling the skies with tons of extremely fine dust-like materials every year. If Mitchell is right, this would produce larger ice crystals than normal, creating thinner cirrus clouds that dissipate faster. "That would allow more radiation into space, cooling the earth," Mitchell says... Increasingly grim climate projections have convinced a growing number of scientists it's time to start conducting experiments to find out what might work. In addition, an impressive list of institutions including Harvard University, the Carnegie Council, and the University of California, Los Angeles, have recently established research initiatives... By this time next year, Harvard professors David Keith and Frank Keutsch hope to launch a high-altitude balloon from a site in Tucson, Arizona. This will mark the beginning of a research project to explore the feasibility and risks of an approach known as solar radiation management. The basic idea is that spraying materials into the stratosphere could help reflect more heat back into space, mimicking a natural cooling phenomenon that occurs after volcanoes blast tens of millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the sky. "I don't really know what the answer is," says a former associate director at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "But I do believe we need to keep saying what the truth is, and the truth is, we might need it."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

On the ground in Washington at the March for Science

New Scientist - Breaking news - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 3:18pm
Thousands rallied and marched in the rain in the US capital to stand up for science and its place in politics
Categories: Science & Tech News

Steve Case On How To Get Funded Outside Tech Corridors

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 2:49pm
Long-time reader Esther Schindler writes: Innovation occurs outside the Bay Area, New York, Boston, and Austin. So why is it so hard for a startup to get attention and acquire venture capital? Steve Case and Kara Swisher discussed this never-ending-topic recently, such as the fact 78% of U.S. venture capital last year went to just three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. Case sees a "third wave" of venture capital funding and through his VC firm is investing in startups based outside major tech centers. But, points out Stealthmode's Francine Hardaway, if you're in Boise or Baltimore you don't have to wait for Case to come to town. She shares advice about what's worked in other startup communities, focusing on the #YesPhx efforts. Conventional wisdom says you should be in a major tech center to get funding, but the article offers an encouraging counterargument. "Never rely on conventional wisdom if you're an innovator. Money follows real innovation."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Verizon.net 'Gets Out Of The Email Business'

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 1:44pm
"We have decided to close down our email business," Verizon has announced -- in a move which affects 4.5 million accounts. Slashdot reader tomservo84 writes: Strangely enough, I didn't find out about this from Verizon, itself, but SiriusXM, who sent me an email saying that since I have a Verizon.net email address on file, I'd have to update it because they were getting rid of their email service. I thought it was a bad phishing attempt at first... Network World reports that customers are being notified "on a rolling basis... Once customers are notified, they are presented with a personal take-action date that is 30 days from the original notification." But even after that date, verizon.net email addresses can be revived using AOL Mail. "Over the years we've realized that there are more capable email platforms out there," Verizon concedes. "Migration is going well," a Verizon spokesperson told Network World. "I don't have any stats to share, but customers seem to appreciate that they have several choices, including an option that keeps their Verizon.net email address intact."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Anbox Can Run Android Apps Natively On Linux (In A Container)

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 12:39pm
Slashdot user #1083, downwa, writes: Canonical engineer Simon Fels has publicly released an Alpha version of Anbox. Similar to the method employed for Android apps on ChromeOS, Anbox runs an entire Android system (7.1.1 at present) in an LXC container. Developed over the last year and a half, the software promises to seamlessly bring performant Android apps to the Linux desktop. After installing Anbox (based on Android 7.1.1) and starting Anbox Application Manager, ten apps are available: Calculator, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Email, Files, Gallery, Music, Settings, and WebView. Apps run in separate resizeable windows. Additional apps (ARM-native binaries are excluded) can be installed via adb. Installation currently is only supported on a few Linux distributions able to install snaps. Contributions are welcome on Github. In a blog post Simon describes it as "a side project" that he's worked on for over a year and a half. "There were quite a few problems to solve on the way to a really working implementation but it is now in a state that it makes sense to share it with a wider audience."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Waymo Is Using Grand Theft Auto V To Help Teach Its Self-Driving Cars

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 11:34am
An anonymous reader quotes Bloomberg: In the race to the autonomous revolution, developers have realized there aren't enough hours in a day to clock the real-world miles needed to teach cars how to drive themselves. Which is why Grand Theft Auto V is in the mix... Last year, scientists from Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany and Intel Labs developed a way to pull visual information from Grand Theft Auto V. Now some researchers are deriving algorithms from GTAV software that's been tweaked for use in the burgeoning self-driving sector. The latest in the franchise from publisher Rockstar Games Inc. is just about as good as reality, with 262 types of vehicles, more than 1,000 different unpredictable pedestrians and animals, 14 weather conditions and countless bridges, traffic signals, tunnels and intersections... The idea isn't that the highways and byways of the fictional city of Los Santos would ever be a substitute for bona fide asphalt. But the game "is the richest virtual environment that we could extract data from," said Alain Kornhauser, a Princeton University professor of operations research and financial engineering who advises the Princeton Autonomous Vehicle Engineering team. Waymo uses its simulators to create a confounding motoring situation for every variation engineers can think of: having three cars changing lanes at the same time at an assortment of speeds and directions, for instance. What's learned virtually is applied physically, and problems encountered on the road are studied in simulation.

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Systemd-Free Devuan Announces Its First Stable Release Candidate 'Jessie' 1.0.0

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 10:34am
Long-time reader jaromil writes: Devuan 1.0.0-RC is announced, following its beta 2 release last year. The Debian fork that spawned over systemd controversy is reaching stability and plans long-term support. Devuan deploys an innovative continuous integration setup: with fallback on Debian packages, it overlays its own modifications and then uses the merged source repository to ship images for 11 ARM targets, a desktop and minimal live, vagrant and qemu virtual machines and the classic installer isos. The release announcement contains several links to projects that have already adopted this distribution as a base OS. "Dear Init Freedom Lovers," begins the announcement, "Once again the Veteran Unix Admins salute you!" It points out that Devuan "can be adopted as a flawless upgrade path from both Debian Wheezy and Jessie. This is a main goal for the Devuan Jessie stable release and has proven to be a very stable operation every time it has been performed. "

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Stack Overflow Reveals Which Programming Languages Are Most Used At Night

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 9:34am
Stack Overflow data scientist David Robinson recently calculated when people visit the popular programming question-and-answer site, but then also calculated whether those results differed by programming language. Quoting his results: "C# programmers start and stop their day earlier, and tend to use the language less in the evenings. This might be because C# is often used at finance and enterprise software companies, which often start earlier and have rigid schedules.""C programmers start the day a bit later, keep using the language in the evening, and stay up the longest. This suggests C may be particularly popular among hobbyist programmers who code during their free time (or perhaps among summer school students doing homework).""Python and Javascript are somewhere in between: Python and Javascript developers start and end the day a little later than C# users, and are a little less likely than C programmers to work in the evening." The site also released an interactive app which lets users see how the results for other languages compared to C#, JavaScript, Python, and C, though of those four, "C# would count as the 'most nine-to-five,' and C as the least." And they've also calculated the technologies used most between 9 to 5 (which "include many Microsoft technologies, such as SQL Server, Excel, VBA, and Internet Explorer, as well as technologies like SVN and Oracle that are frequently used at enterprise software companies.") Meanwhile, the technologies most often used outside the 9-5 workday "include web frameworks like Firebase, Meteor, and Express, as well as graphics libraries like OpenGL and Unity. The functional language Haskell is the tag most visited outside of the workday; only half of its visits happen between 9 and 5."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Can Parents Sue If Their Kid Is Born With the 'Wrong' DNA?

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 8:34am
Long-time reader randomErr quotes Gizmodo: It's a nightmare scenario straight out of a primetime drama: a child-seeking couple visits a fertility clinic to try their luck with in-vitro fertilization, only to wind up accidentally impregnated by the wrong sperm. In a fascinating legal case out of Singapore, the country's Supreme Court ruled that this situation doesn't just constitute medical malpractice. The fertility clinic, the court recently ruled, must pay the parents 30% of upkeep costs for the child for a loss of 'genetic affinity.' In other words, the clinic must pay the parents' child support not only because they made a terrible medical mistake, but because the child didn't wind up with the right genes... "It's suggesting that the child itself has something wrong with it, genetically, and that it has monetary value attached to it," Todd Kuiken, a senior research scholar with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University, told Gizmodo. "They attached damages to the genetic makeup of the child, rather than the mistake. That's the part that makes it uncomfortable. This can take you in all sort of fucked up directions."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Microsoft Will Support Python In SQL Server 2017

Slashdot Updates - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 7:34am
There was a surprise in the latest Community Technology Preview release of SQL Server 2017. An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld: Python can now be used within SQL Server to perform analytics, run machine learning models, or handle most any kind of data-powered work. This integration isn't limited to enterprise editions of SQL Server 2017, either -- it'll also be available in the free-to-use Express edition... Microsoft has also made it possible to embed Python code directly in SQL Server databases by including the code as a T-SQL stored procedure. This allows Python code to be deployed in production along with the data it'll be processing. These behaviors, and the RevoScalePy package, are essentially Python versions of features Microsoft built for SQL Server back when it integrated the R language into the database... An existing Python installation isn't required. During the setup process, SQL Server 2017 can pull down and install its own edition of CPython 3.5, the stock Python interpreter available from the Python.org website. Users can install their own Python packages as well or use Cython to generate C code from Python modules for additional speed. Except it's not yet available for Linux users, according to the article. "Microsoft has previously announced SQL Server would be available for Linux, but right now, only the Windows version of SQL Server 2017 supports Python."

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Categories: Science & Tech News

Marchers, raise your banners for the tortoise pace of progress

New Scientist - Breaking news - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 1:00am
The March for Science reflects the growing gap between slow, steady, vital scientific gains and quick-fire, opportunist US politics, says Dave Levitan
Categories: Science & Tech News

Senior Narrative Writer: Impulse Gear, Inc.

Gamasutra - Jobs - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 4:00pm
Impulse Gear is looking for a Senior Narrative Writer to help push the boundaries of interactive storytelling in our next Virtual Reality game. Daily tasks will include story development, game dialogue and general narrative contribution. The ideal candidate will have previous success as a game writer or screenwriter, outstanding communication skills, a good understanding of story and game structure, and an absolute passion to tell great stories in various mediums.   Responsibilities   Collaborate with content designers, writers and creative staff in creating original narrative content and believable characters for a Virtual Reality game   Collaborate with writers, designers and cinematic artists to write and edit compelling and unique dialogue for a diverse cast of characters   Communicate story ideas and plans and advocate for excellent storytelling across the team and product   Contribute to other creative areas of the narrative including secondary game content, recording actor performance of dialogue and writing content for marketing materials.   Requirements   A minimum of 5 years of industry or related-industry experience as a game writer, screenwriter or story editor.   Excellent written and verbal communication and "pitch" skills.   Able to brainstorm and collaborate with a team.   Direct experience creating personal narratives about characters struggling with everyday challenges; even if they are on the other side of the galaxy. Thorough knowledge of the story and game development process.   Solid understanding of story and game structure and how they can integrate successfully.   Passion for gaming and/or storytelling.   Able to produce writing without constant supervision.   Excellent organizational skills and ability to work well under tight deadlines.   Deep understanding of interactive narrative and a desire to push the boundaries of storytelling.   Experience with script writing/Final Draft.   Pluses   College degree in screenwriting, creative writing, or similar discipline   Experience as a game designer or narrative designer Writing Samples Please submit at least two professional samples demonstrating strong dialogue and characterization. Samples should represent cinematic writing, such as game cinematics, or film/television scenes. Avoid prose, such as short stories or character descriptions.
Categories: Game Dev Jobs

Technical Art Director: Sony PlayStation

Gamasutra - Jobs - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 4:00pm
Santa Monica Studio is seeking a Technical Art Director to join the team behind the critically acclaimed God of War games. We value talent, self-motivation, and team spirit. In turn, we provide an environment with a large degree of freedom and autonomy. The melding of the artistic and the technical, that’s what drives you. In a sense, you have one foot in both worlds, but are facing the future: what tech do we need to make the best art possible? What tools do we need? What kind of people? These are the questions you ask yourself in setting team-wide artistic goals and driving toward them. And you’re talented, really talented, and motivated, with tons of initiative. You get things done – and we leave you alone to do them. Is this a good fit for you? If so, give us a shout. RESPONSIBILITIES: Be a key contributor to the long-term vision for technical art and graphics in the studio. Ensure the content generation pipeline is well architected and allows the Art team to meet visual quality and performance goals. Drive state of the art visuals that complement the game design and help deliver an exceptional product on Playstation platforms. Work closely with the Programming, Technical Art, and Art teams to define, review, test and integrate new tools and processes to enable the art team to create stunning art. Develop and communicate technical art standards, best practices, and techniques. Collaborate with senior leadership to ensure alignment of tech art plans and project design requirements. Stay current with trends in computer graphics and relevant conference proceedings (e.g. SIGGRAPH, Eurographics, i3D, GDC). Mentor, guide, and lead less experienced tech artists. Advise on project-based purchases of development tools. Actively partner with studio leadership in recruiting and career development efforts. REQUIREMENTS: Minimum ten years of professional experience in computer-generated art, including proficiency in several of the following areas: physically based rendering, lighting, shading, material authoring, environment or character authoring, FX, performance analysis, graphics content optimization. Intimate knowledge of a 3D authoring tool like Maya or 3DS Max and expertise in MEL/Python/HLSL. Strong technical artist with a portfolio that demonstrates a keen eye for artistic direction. Solid understanding of 3D math and related concepts. Exceptional leadership and team management skills. Strong personal interest in video games and knowledge of industry trends and innovations. Commitment to quality, documentation, and sound testing procedures. Minimum of four console titles shipped, from concept to final. Enthusiasm and initiative. Excellent spoken and written communication. Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Graphic Art or a related field or equivalent experience. Working knowledge of programming languages like C++ or C# is desirable.
Categories: Game Dev Jobs

Senior UI Tools Programmer : Sony PlayStation

Gamasutra - Jobs - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 4:00pm
Santa Monica Studio is seeking a Senior User Interface Tools Programmer to join the team behind the critically acclaimed God of War games. We value talent, self-motivation, and team spirit. In turn, we provide an environment with a large degree of freedom and autonomy. UI is your thing: making whatever’s on the screen easy to understand, easy to use, easy to explore. And your thing is building a common UI across a suite of tools. And this helps everyone more easily get their work done and done well. The entire team wins. And you’re talented, really talented, and motivated, with tons of initiative. You get things done – and we leave you alone to do them. Sound interesting? If so, give us a shout. RESPONSIBILITIES:  Gather requirements and workflows needed to drive a large content-creation tool suite. Refine and improve content-creation workflows. Analyze incoming feature requests; maintain a roadmap of feature rollout. Develop and maintain a studio-wide UI library that supports the production tool suite. Drive UX and UI style guide; help maintain consistency across tools. Interface with stakeholders; liaise between team members; drive collaborative projects. Identify problems; solve them: implement robust, high-quality solutions. Mentor and guide team members in areas of expertise; instill best practices. REQUIREMENTS: Minimum five years of professional C++ experience. Experience designing and building at least one large, complex UI. Excellent UI Design/User Experience portfolio. Deep knowledge of modern UI libraries (e.g. WPF, QT etc.). At least two years game industry experience and/or 1 shipped AAA title from pre-production to final. Ability to write clean, maintainable and extensible code with attention to reusability. Understanding of software architecture and design. Enthusiasm and initiative. Excellent spoken and written communication. Able and motivated to work with other team members. Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Graphic Art, or a related field or equivalent experience.
Categories: Game Dev Jobs
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