Steven: Having this kind of experience in college definitely gives you a leg up over other students. Of course, any experience should give you a leg up. But experience in playing video games? Seriously?
Well, these young people — believe it or not — are actually studying at the Replay Lab at Drexel University in Philadelphia. And the experience they gain here could help them get a job once they graduate.
“We actually created the rest of this all by ourselves — like all the models, all the characters, all the effects you see here, we did.
Steven: Using tools, like a motion capture studio and 3D modeling, Andrew Patras and his classmates are learning the art of video game development. And they are in the right place because it is a career and a business that is exploding.
In 2009, Americans bought more than $20 billion worth of video game systems and software. That is 3 billion more than the movie industry made. $18.7 billion in box office and DVD sales!
The entertainment part of the video game industry is huge. A modern title can make a couple hundred million dollars in one weekend.
Tom Bissell, who is the author of the new book Why Video Games Matter calls video games the artform of our time.
Tom Bissell: I think we are really on the verge of a wider acceptance that it’s not just nerds, it’s not just geeks that play these things. Some very intelligent, thoughtful, smart people are designing them and playing them.
Steven: People like you. Today more than 200 colleges offer gaming courses, training future workers in everything from art design to computer engineering who will one day work at video game giants like Electronic Arts, the company responsible for games like Madden Football and Tiger Woods Golf.
And check this out: EA says it is going to add more than 600 jobs this year. So, what is next for people that want to get started?
While many of the positions are for programmers and software enigneers, you could still be hired even if you have never taken a computer class. Making a game like Madden Football requires graphics artists, animators, writers, testers and even people with foreign language skills. Companies need people to translate games into and out of Japanese!
In this field, software engineers and programmers make the big bucks. They rake in an average of $80,000 and can make as much as six figures. Graphics artists earn an average of $42,000; animators $56,000; writers $53,000 and translators $39,000.
The average starting salary for video game developers? $40,000.
Philip Holt: There is a lot people, this is their first job — or one of their first jobs — right out of college
Steven: Philip Holt is EA’s Orlando studio general manager.
Philip: We love university students because they come in, they’re excited, they are a freshly-minted skill set, and you know they are looking to establish themselves and start a career and work hard and do great things.
Steven: And this game isn’t just for guys.
Philip: It’s a fun business but it’s a serious business as well. So, we actually have deadlines and goals that we have to accomplish. We just can’t sit around and play games all day. I wish we could.
Steven: Steven Fabian, Channel One News.
Can you really get fit by working out with your video game?
GENEVA (AP) — Sepp Blatter governed the biggest sport on Earth for nearly two decades, for years untouched personally by allegations of corruption, but never sharing the game’s popularity.
He joked about his “Dr. Evil” image, like a James Bond villain manipulating soccer from his Swiss headquarters and never responding to public outcry. He surrounded himself with loyal lieutenants, many of whom he raised from obscurity to lead powerful national and regional federations. He put them in control of billions of dollars for TV contracts, endorsements of national teams and where the biggest tournaments were held.
Even over the last few years, as many of those deputies were torched by scandal, he replaced them without making huge changes and took credit for helping clean up the game.
After 17 years in charge and bringing the game’s marquee events to new heights, the pressure became too much. The world’s largest soccer nations were in open rebellion and discussing an alternate tournament to the World Cup. Sponsors from the world’s most-popular soft drink to best-selling video game questioned their ties to FIFA.
At a hastily arranged announcement Tuesday, Blatter said he plans to resign and admitted he had lost too much support to remain in office.
But even on his way out, he didn’t take responsibility for the problems under his watch. He declared he was now free from constraints and could clean up the game the way he has wanted to, seemingly tone deaf to the idea that that might sound insincere.
As FIFA thrived through allegations of bribery, vote-buying and World Cup ticket scams, the 79-year-old Blatter built a base of support by bolstering the sport in developing countries and brought the first World Cup to Africa.
On May 27, U.S. prosecutors issued indictments against 14 current or former soccer officials — including seven arrested in raids at a luxury Zurich hotel. The Swiss also opened a criminal investigation into the votes awarding the World Cup tournaments to Russia in 2018 and to Qatar in 2022.
Even though he was not implicated in those investigations, Blatter faced calls for his resignation that came from some of his harshest critics in the game as well as from political leaders.
His re-election to a fifth, four-year term Friday was a reflection of the support he enjoyed by giving each of FIFA’s 209 member federations a basic yearly sum of $250,000, plus bonuses and project funds from World Cup profits.
FIFA’s revenue was about $560 million in 1998 when Blatter took over and $5.7 billion last year, boosted by huge increases in media and marketing rights sales. FIFA had 137 members in 1970 and 190 when Blatter succeeded Joao Havelange, and 19 have been added — for the most part small nations that lack economic might and soccer pedigree.
Blatter used the revenue to build soccer in underdeveloped parts of the world — and boost support for himself. FIFA’s website says the organization has given nearly $11.9 billion in financial assistance, and has helped fund 698 projects under its Goal Programme and 3,844 technical activities.
Even when scandals tainted FIFA’s prestige and image, most of the officials stuck by Blatter, particularly from small nations in Africa and Asia.
Since 2010, executive committee members Amos Adamu (Nigeria), Chuck Blazer (United States), Vernon Manilal Fernando (Sri Lanka), Mohammed bin Hammam (Qatar), Reynald Temarii (Tahiti) and Jack Warner (Trinidad and Tobago) were suspended. Nicolas Leoz (Paraguay) and Ricardo Teixeira (Brazil) quit following corruption allegations.
Current executive committee member Jeffrey Webb (Cayman Islands) and expiring member Eugenio Figueredo (Uruguay) were suspended last week along with executive committee member-elect Eduardo Li (Costa Rica) after they were indicted in the U.S. on racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering charges along with Warner and Leoz. Blazer pled guilty to 10 counts.
Blatter weathered the turbulence. Shortly before his last re-election in 2011, FIFA was rocked when Hammam, his only challenger, and Warner were suspended because of bribery allegations in what was then described as the organization’s worst scandal in its history.
“Crisis? What is a crisis? Football is not in a crisis,” Blatter said before he won a one-man election that was derided as a coronation.
Blatter devoted more than half his life to working at FIFA, as technical director, chief executive and, since 1998, as president.
He learned a lot from Havelange. The imperious Brazilian presided over FIFA for 24 years — the last 17 with Blatter as chief administrator. During that time, sports marketing became as a booming industry that could be bent to the will of federation leaders.
Blatter defended his reign during a 2013 speech at the Oxford Union in Britain.
“Perhaps you think I am a ruthless parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the world and out of football — the godfather of the FIFA gravy train,” he said.
“There are those who will tell you that FIFA is just a conspiracy, a scam, accountable to nobody and too powerful for anyone to resist,” he went on. “There are those who will tell you of the supposed sordid secrets that lie deep in our Bond villain headquarters in the hills above Zurich … where we apparently plot to exploit the unfortunate and the weak. They would have you believe that I sit in my office with a sinister grin, gently stroking the chin of an expensive, white Persian cat.”
“It is strange how fantasy easily becomes confused with fact,” he said.
Blatter mastered the politics of international soccer and reveled in the media attention. He mixed easily with heads of state lured by the commercial and popular power of the World Cup.
But there also were times that some of Blatter’s remarks made him seem out of touch.
Five years ago, Blatter said gay visitors to the 2022 World Cup should “refrain from any sexual activities” while in Qatar because of the Gulf nation’s strict laws against homosexuality. He later apologized.
In 2004, Blatter said women should consider playing in “tighter shorts” to bring more attention to the game. He told the Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick: “In volleyball the women also wear other uniforms than the men. Pretty women are playing football today. Excuse me for saying that.”
Blatter, nicknamed Sepp — often used by people named Joseph — was born in Visp and is a 1959 graduate of the University of Lausanne with a degree in business and economics.
He was head of public relations for tourism in the canton of Valais (1959-64), secretary general of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation (1964-66), and worked in several roles for Longines (1968-75) before joining FIFA. He was director of the technical department from 1975-81, then secretary general under Havelange from 1981-98.
As president, he relished telling the story that his birth was two months premature and one of his grandmothers said she thought he would not survive.
“It’s because I am a fighter,” Blatter would add in a typical touch of light self-aggrandizement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress approved sweeping changes Tuesday to surveillance laws enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks, eliminating the National Security Agency’s disputed bulk phone-records collection program and replacing it with a more restrictive measure to keep the records in phone companies’ hands.
Two days after Congress let the phone-records collection and several other anti-terror programs expire, the Senate’s 67-32 vote sent the legislation to President Barack Obama, who signed it Tuesday night.
“This legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs,” Obama said in a statement. Officials said it could take at least several days to restart the collection.
The legislation will revive most of the programs the Senate had allowed to lapse in a dizzying collision of presidential politics and national security policy. But the authorization will undergo major changes, the legacy of agency contractor Edward Snowden’s explosive revelations two years ago about domestic spying by the government.
In an unusual shifting of alliances, the legislation passed with the support of Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but over the strong opposition of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell failed to persuade the Senate to extend the current law unchanged, and came up short in a last-ditch effort Tuesday to amend the House version, as nearly a dozen of his own Republicans abandoned him in a series of votes.
“This is a step in the wrong direction,” a frustrated McConnell said on the Senate floor ahead of the Senate’s final vote to approve the House version, dubbed the USA Freedom Act. He said the legislation “does not enhance the privacy protections of American citizens. And it surely undermines American security by taking one more tool form our warfighters at exactly the wrong time.”
The legislation remakes the most controversial aspect of the USA Patriot Act — the once-secret bulk collection program that allows the National Security Agency to sweep up Americans’ phone records and comb through them for ties to international terrorists. Over six months the NSA would lose the power to collect and store those records, but the government still could gain court orders to obtain data connected to specific numbers from the phone companies, which typically store them for 18 months.
It would also continue other post-9/11 surveillance provisions that lapsed Sunday night, and which are considered more effective than the phone-data collection program. These include the FBI’s authority to gather business records in terrorism and espionage investigations and to more easily eavesdrop on suspects who are discarding cellphones to avoid surveillance.
In order to restart collection of phone records, the Justice Department will need to obtain a new order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
“This legislation is critical to keeping Americans safe from terrorism and protecting their civil liberties,” Boehner said. “I applaud the Senate for renewing our nation’s foreign intelligence capabilities, and I’m pleased this measure will now head to the president’s desk for his signature.”
The outcome capped a dramatic series of events on Capitol Hill that saw a presidential candidate, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, defy fellow Republicans and singlehandedly force the existing law to lapse Sunday at midnight, leading to dire warnings of threats to America.
The suspense continued Tuesday as McConnell tried to get the Senate to go along with three amendments he said would make the House bill more palatable. But House leaders warned that if presented with the changes the House might not be able to approve them. The Senate denied McConnell’s attempts, an embarrassment for the leader six months after Republicans retook Senate control.
The changes sought by McConnell included lengthening the phase-out period of the bulk records program from six months to a year; requiring the director of national intelligence to certify that the NSA can effectively search records held by the phone companies; and making phone companies notify the government if they change their policy on how long they hold the records. Most controversially, McConnell would have weakened the power of a new panel of outside experts created to advise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The final vote divided Senate Republicans, with 23 voting “yes” and 30 voting “no,” and senators seeking re-election in 2016 split on the issue.
Among GOP presidential candidates, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the only “yes” vote, while Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida joined Paul in opposing the bill. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who announced for president Monday, was absent. Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is running on the Democratic side, also voted no.
Civil liberties groups have been mixed on the legislation, but the American Civil Liberties Union applauded the vote, with Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer calling it “a milestone.”
Snowden, now in Russia and reviled by lawmakers of both parties, addressed the vote via video link during an event hosted by Amnesty International. He said the legislation was historic because Americans are questioning long-held assumptions that intelligence officials always act in their best interest.
“For the first time in recent history, we found that despite the claims of government, the public made the final decision and that is a radical change we should seize on, we should value and we should push forward,” he said.
Associated Press writers Anne Flaherty, Ken Dilanian and Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.
BOSTON (AP) — A man who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators was shot and killed Tuesday after he lunged with a knife at a police officer and an FBI agent outside a pharmacy, authorities said.
A law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation into what happened said the man had been making threats against law enforcement. The official wasn’t authorized to release details of the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Police Commissioner William Evans said members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force approached Usaama Rahim in the city’s Roslindale neighborhood on Tuesday morning to question him about “terrorist-related information” they had received when he went at officers with a large military-style knife.
Evans said officers repeatedly ordered Rahim to drop the knife but he continued to move toward them with it. He said task force members fired their guns, hitting Rahim once in the torso and once in the abdomen. Rahim, 26, was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Evans would not disclose why Rahim was under surveillance. But Evans said a “level of alarm” prompted authorities to try to question him.
“Obviously, there was enough information there where we thought it was appropriate to question him about his doings,” Evans said. “He was someone we were watching for quite a time.”
Evans later said authorities knew Rahim “had some extremism as far as his views,” but he would not confirm media reports that Rahim had been radicalized by online propaganda by the Islamic State group.
Evans said the officers didn’t have their guns drawn when they approached Rahim. He said police have video showing Rahim “coming at officers” while they are backing away.
That account differs from one given by Rahim’s brother Ibrahim Rahim, who said in a Facebook posting that his youngest brother was killed while waiting at a bus stop to go to his job.
“He was confronted by three Boston Police officers and subsequently shot in the back three times,” he wrote. “He was on his cellphone with my dear father during the confrontation needing a witness.”
Ibrahim Rahim, a former assistant imam at a Boston mosque, said he was traveling to Boston to bury his brother.
The Suffolk district attorney’s office and the FBI said they will investigate Rahim’s shooting, a routine procedure for shootings involving police.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations will monitor the investigation, spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
“We have a number of questions,” Hooper said. “Why exactly was he being followed? What was the probable cause for this particular stop? Were there any video cameras or body cameras of the incident? How do you reconcile the two versions of the story, the family version being that he was on his normal commute to work at a bus stop?”
Boston voter registration records for Usaama Rahim list him as a student. Records indicate that as recently as two years ago he was licensed as a security officer in Miami but don’t specify in what capacity.
The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center said its security firm hired Rahim as a security guard for a month in mid-2013. Executive director Yusufi Vali said Rahim didn’t regularly pray at the center and didn’t volunteer there or serve in any leadership positions.
On Tuesday afternoon, authorities raided a home in suburban Everett in connection with the case. Everett police confirmed they assisted the FBI in taking a man into custody but said he was taken to Boston, a 10-minute drive away.
Authorities also were searching a home in Warwick, Rhode Island, but wouldn’t confirm that was linked to the Boston shooting.
The officer and the agent involved in the shooting weren’t physically injured but were evaluated at a hospital for what Evans described as “stress.”
Vincent Lisi, special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, said authorities “don’t think there’s any concern for public safety out there right now.”
AP writer Philip Marcelo contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show the first name of the Boston police commissioner is William, not Williams.
MAYPORT NAVAL STATION, Fla. (AP) — A Navy sailor pleaded guilty Tuesday to secretly videotaping female trainees as they undressed for showers aboard a submarine, becoming the fourth crew member of the USS Wyoming to be sentenced to prison in a case that has tarnished the U.S. military’s integration of women into its submarine fleet.
A court-martial sentenced Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Shoemaker to 18 months in prison and a bad-conduct discharge. The 22-year-old missile technician told a military judge that twice last spring he used a cellphone to record female midshipmen from a tight crawlspace that looked into the shower area from beneath a sink.
“The Navy has brought women into the submarine force and the accused has not gotten onboard,” Lt. Cmdr. Lee Marsh, a Navy prosecutor, said in asking the judge to “send a message to that submarine force that all sailors, male and female, will be treated with dignity and respect.”
In addition to midshipmen — students from the U.S. Naval Academy or college Navy ROTC programs — prosecutors say four female officers serving on the Wyoming were also recorded undressing and sailors traded the videos “like Pokemon” cards for energy drinks and other items.
Three other sailors pleaded guilty in the case last week and three more are still awaiting trial. The stiffest sentence so far has gone to Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles Greaves, who pleaded guilty to recording the female officers. He received two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.
“That feels significant, but not out of the range I would expect to see,” said Victor Hansen, a former military prosecutor and defense attorney who’s now a professor at the New England School of Law.
With all defendants who have pleaded guilty so far sentenced to jail time, Hansen said, the Navy seemed to be saying “if you’re involved at any level, this is going to be more than a slap on the wrist.”
Last Wednesday, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph A. Bradley pleaded guilty to sharing videos of the officers and received 30 days confinement and a reduction in rank. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon McGarity, whose crime was failing to report the videos to superiors, got 15 days confinement and a reduction in rank after he pleaded guilty Friday.
No female trainees were called to testify against 22-year-old Shoemaker. Marsh said the sailor’s victims were recorded “from the waist down” and couldn’t be identified on the videos.
“I offer the most sincere apologies to the female midshipmen,” Shoemaker told the judge. “I know that I have potentially swayed their decisions to become female officers on submarines.”
The four female officers who were recorded by another sailor have said the videos either ruined or harmed their careers.
The charges to which Shoemaker pleaded guilty carry a maximum penalty of six years in prison, and prosecutors asked the judge to impose a three-year sentence. Shoemaker’s defense attorney, Lt. Jennifer Buyske, told the judge he deserved no more than six months behind bars and noted he has a wife and two young children.
“You don’t have a predator on your hands,” Buyske said. “You have a young man who made terrible decisions.”