Artist's rendering of the Porsche GT3 R Hybrid.(Credit: Porsche)
It'll be fast, and it'll be green.
High-performance automaker Porsche plans to unveil a hybrid version of its 911 GT3 R race car at the Geneva Motor Show in March--and then enter it in the 24 Hours of Nurburgring race this May.
Curious about how Porsche plans to get Porsche-like performance out of a green machine? To pique your interest, the company on Thursday issued a press release explaining roughly how the gas-electric hybrid system will work, and showing off some artist's renderings of the car.
In addition to a 480-bhp 4-liter engine powering the rear axle, the race car will have two electric motors for the front axle, each one capable of delivering 60kW to the two front wheels. But instead of powering the electric motors with heavy batteries that might weigh down or upset the balance of a race car, the 911 GT3 R Hybrid will have an electric flywheel power generator.
When the driver applies the brakes, the two electric front axle motors act as generators, and the flywheel generator stores energy from braking. The driver can then use the power from the flywheel generator for a burst of power lasting 6 to 8 seconds, presumably to overtake another car or to accelerate out of a bend.
Even with the entry in the Nurburgring event, Porsche is under no pretense that the hybrid sports car will actually be competitive.
"The focus is not on the 911 GT3 R Hybrid winning the race, but rather serving as a spearhead in technology and a 'racing laboratory' providing know-how on the subsequent use of hybrid technology in road-going sports cars," Porsche said in a statement.
The Porsche news follows Ferrari's announcement in January that it will be unveiling a hybrid version of the Ferrari 599 GTB at the Geneva auto show.
The 911 GT3 R that Porsche unveiled in January 2010 will be the basis for its hybrid race car.(Credit: Porsche)
This artist's rendering shows the placement of the electrical flywheel battery.(Credit: Porsche)
Since social game publisher Ohai started testing its City of Eternals game on Facebook three months ago, the title has secured a solid following of players who are spending a lot of time and money in the vampire game. Now the game is moving into open beta where anyone can sign up to join.
Susan Wu, chief executive of San Francisco-based Ohai, said in an interview yesterday that the company tested the game in a private alpha test of 40,000 users. The results of the casual massively multiplayer online game have been illuminating, and Wu has taken the unusual step of sharing them with us.
The MMO game is a free-to-play title where players become vampires, fights zombies, customize their characters, and go on quests. It plays in real time, meaning the action is continuous and you’re constantly surrounded by other players moving about in the city, which is rendered in 2.5 dimensions (the view is 3-D, but the camera stays fixed in one position). By contrast, most Facebook games are played asynchronously, or one move at a time, and they’re much slower paced than City of Eternals. Players can play on Facebook or enjoy the game full screen on Ohai’s own web site. The game is social because you can click on any character to see the player’s real-life identity on Facebook and you can recruit your friends into a vampire entourage.
Players can buy items in the game to enhance game play, remove barriers, or customize their characters. The number of players spending money so far is a single digit percentage, and that number is two to three times more than is typical for most games. On average, Wu said that players who are spending money have spent $16.50 each in the first 30 days.
That’s a very good number, considering Blizzard Entertainment makes less than that on each player in World of Warcraft, the most popular subscription MMO. Wu said the number is good because the company spent a lot of time thinking about what kinds of items it would sell and how to set up the game so that players would be motivated to buy them.
Also good is the fact that the average player spends 65 minutes a day in the game. The most active 10,000 players are spending an average of 87 minutes in the game, which is very high for a Facebook game. The most active 1 percent spend seven hours per day in the game. (And those players are active, since the game logs you out if you are inactive for 20 minutes). About 42 percent of active users play multiple sessions a day, and 60 percent of active users return within seven days.
The demographics are interesting too for an action role-playing game. About 60 percent of the players are male, and 40 percent are female. Usually, most players are normal. But these numbers reflect the fact that there are a lot of female gamers on Facebook. About 70 percent of the most active members in the game are female.
The most active player in the past seven days is a woman name Tanya, who has spent 12.77 hours each day in the game. Wagner James Au, a blogger who is working for Ohai creating missions in the game, says the diverse group of players includes Diana, a 20-something non-gamer who is a concert violinist in Transylvania (where vampires are quite popular).
The top 100 players have played the game for hundreds of hours. That’s interesting because isn’t that much content available in the game’s missions. But players can keep on playing because they can socialize with each other, earn virtual currency, and do other things that keep them occupied.
Wu said the early results are encouraging. The company put three engineers to work for nine months to build the engine for the game and the game itself. Now it can reuse the engine and build a new game every three months, Wu said. The company is shooting to build eight games this year with its staff of 13, which is supplemented by outside contractors.
Production has already begun on a second game, which will be a virtual world for animals. After that, Ohai plans to do a mafia game and then a fashion game. Wu is already seeking out portals where the company can distribute the game, beyond just putting it on Facebook.
On the monetization side, the top spender in the game has purchased $584 worth of virtual goods in the past 30 days. The highest volume items are storage (vampires have to carry a lot of things; a Kevlar briefcase costs $7.20), clothing (a male’s haze leather trenchcoat sells for $5.50) and potions. About 44 percent of the purchasers are female. The most expensive item sold in the game so far has been a grand piano that went for $20.
One of the toughest problems so far is getting the game performance to be top notch in real time. I played it and noticed there is lag. The graphics also don’t look that great to me. But for many players on Facebook, these are secondary considerations to social game play.
The key isn’t to perfect the graphics. Rather, the point is to get a lot of players to join the game and to keep them coming back and recruiting new friends. So far, each player brings about 12.5 friends with them, since the game is so social. Wu estimates that the company can get to profitability on a game with a million users. The company is prepared to advertise heavily, so long as the revenues that result are well above the amount spent.
City of Eternals has a long way to go, but it’s off to a good start. If these numbers hold up as the game grows, it will be a hit.
Wu said, “It will be exciting to do our part in changing the MMO industry.”
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a good look at some metrics for a social FB game
Yesterday, we published Jason Calacanis's first reaction to Google Buzz, which was that Facebook is toast. Below, in a note to his email list, Jason puts some meat on that thesis. You can sign up for Jason's excellent email here >
My 30 second review of Google Buzz:
1. Google Buzz 1.0 is better than Facebook after six or seven years.
2. Facebook's history is one filled with stealing other people's
innovations and doing them better (i.e. Zuckerberg has stolen every
idea Evan Williams and the Twitter team have released). How ironic now
that Google has out "Facebooked" Facebook.
3. Google has an excellent privacy record and Facebook is a disaster.
Most folks do not trust Zuckerberg and Facebook any more because of
their privacy record (filled with lawsuits) and because they steal
every good idea they see (i.e. Twitter's innovations and FourSquare's
4. Google Buzz auto generates your network--this is MUCH better
process than Facebook's.
5. Google Buzz is way faster than the sluggish Facebook--this is a
6. Google Buzz puts relies and updates into your GMAIL as
threads--this is BRILLIANT and a HUGE advantage.
Facebook is going to see their traffic get cut in half by Google Buzz.
This really is game over for Facebook because you know Microsoft and
Aol are going to copy Google Buzz as quick as they can. In fact, Aol
would have a HUGE renaissance if they simply knocked off Google Buzz's
exact feature set. You would than have a reason to keep your @aol
This could actually derail the Facebook IPO. It's that serious.
Facebook usage is going to plummet in the next year or two because of
this. There really is no reason for non-game playing people who use
GMAIL to log into Facebook.
If Google Ads social gaming to Google Buzz Facebook is 2012's Pointcast.
i usually don't agree with jason but i do on this one. i think google finally did something right. the key is that the social graph is auto-populated. it is working so well that my buzz is overloaded. however, google can easily address/filter this in the future.
The spotlight has been bright, not necessarily kind to former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
According to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 71% of Americans do not feel that Palin is qualified to be President. That includes a sharp drop in Republican support, where 45% believe she is qualified compared to 66% who thought she was last fall.
Overall, 37% have a favorable view while 55% have an unfavorable view of the former Alaska Governor.
Palin has been able to count on support from the Tea Party, but the Washington Post indicates that the movement itself has split favorability and is poorly understood:Nearly two-thirds of those polled say they know just some, very little or nothing about what the tea party movement stands for. About one in eight says they know "a great deal" about the positions of tea party groups, but the lack of information does not erase the appeal: About 45 percent of all Americans say they agree at least somewhat with tea partiers on issues, including majorities of Republicans and independents.
The movement's supporters were identified as, "overwhelmingly white, mostly conservative and generally disapproving of Obama."
If Palin intends to become a key player in Washington, she would share something in common with those already there. The poll also shows that two out of every three Americans are "dissatisfied" or "angry" at the federal government. That's the worst result for Washington in nearly 14 years.
In another revealing question, the poll found that taxpayers estimate 53% of their money is "wasted."Get HuffPost Politics On Facebook and Twitter Know something we don't? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
i'd like to meet some of the 37% that feel Palin is qualified to be our next President.
Zynga has acquired social gaming company Serious Business for an undisclosed amount of money.
Zynga raised $180 million from DST back in December, so it can afford to pick up a small company like this.
Social Business makes games for Facebook, which fits in with Zynga, obviously.
This looks like it was about acquiring some talent.
According to Crunchbase, Serious Business has raised $4 million in funding, and was founded in 2008.
i wonder if zynga will ever innovate to grow...
Between Facebook and Twitter and visible follower lists on Google Buzz, some people are deciding to step off the grid and get a little privacy back.
Seppukoo -- tag line, "Assisting your virtual suicide" -- has helped 20,000 people erase themselves from Facebook and other social networking sites; Web 2.0 Suicide Machine has been used by 2,600 people in its two-month history.
Facebook, however, is not a fan. It has not only blocked the servers of both sites but also sent cease and desist letters informing the companies that they are violating Facebook's policies by collecting log in data, the article said.
A programmer who helped create Suicide Machine said they've figured out a way around the server blockage and that they are not collecting login information -- the users are coming to them with the info. They also are considering hiring their own attorneys.
Seppukoo, on the other hand, is considering its response. "We have postponed any decisions until after our next Anti Social NotWorking art project comes out in the next weeks," a rep for the group connected with the site told USA Today.
While Facebook is up in arms, Twitter is taking a more laid back approach. It has "no issues with people who want to leave," spokesman Seth Garrett told the paper. "Our research shows that quite often they come back later."
Read the full USA Today story, including tales of those shutting down their social networking-selves, here.