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Friday, June 20, 1997

Jet Set
Off to be my Brother's best man. Here's my brief E3 recap, normal updates here should resume Sunday or Monday (with one whopper of an update).

E3 = Quake Engine Heaven
As I've mentioned, my schedule this weekend only allowed for the one day at E3, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to check out all the Quake engine projects being demonstrated, and I can tell you I was not disappointed. The two products that were the best head turners were Quake 2 and Hexen 2 (which, not coincidentally, have also been under development the longest). Quake 2 is a true spoogefest with lots of changes, both obvious and subtle to enhance gameplay, many of them aimed at single player enjoyment. The levels are extremely puzzle oriented (Dark Forces-esque), and the little touches like weapon switches (this guy hauls out the hardware), and the way your character drums his fingers on the gun barrel while waiting for the action to begin really add up to a neat experience. The monster AI is not in its final state, but the enemies react amazingly when shot, flipping through the air, and eventually losing limbs. One of the happiest things I learned was that the id guys are no more crazy about adding a duck key that will allow campers to cower in the corners than I am: Tim Willits told me that in deathmatch ducking would not really allow you to hide too well too often (whew!). Hexen 2 looked just as stunning as all the screenshots we've seen, there is no disappointment there, and the gameplay was smooth as glass (these are, of course, being demoed on serious machines with 3Dfx cards). The game seems very polished and finished.

As for the games a little farther away from release: the Half-life demo includes some really nice innovations, like colored lighting (in software), translucent textures (in software), sounds that change based on the acoustics of the room in which they were produced, and a 6000(!) polygon monster. Favorite touch from Half-Life, is how the MP (Choryoth calls him Barney Fife) crawls a bit before dying after being shot (yes I'm sick, but I did think it was cool). The Sin demo had a lot of completed looking artwork and monsters in place. The Level I saw was by the Levelord, and it was sweet. Both Sin and Half-Life, which follow sci-fi themes (as does Quake 2), have created really nice texture sets (in 16 bit color) for their environments. One of the Sin weapons was something I dubbed a double-barrel grenade launcher that allows for nifty rocket-jumping. Daikatana looked farther away from completion, but still had the most extreme examples of neat architecture, and had a bunch of new weapons in place with temporary models (I can't wait to DM with the crossbow). There were also some cool environmental effects like snow and fog (and the promise of rain). Interestingly, Daikatana was the only Quake engine game I saw demoed that wasn't using OpenGL.

I wasn't going to mention that I was a bit disappointed in Unreal, but I guess the omission would have been obvious. At this point in its development, it really looks like a pure derivative of Quake, with no evidence of any innovations (which begs the question why?). The framerate was also a bit disappointing, especially when you consider the kinds of machines it was running on. Remember, however, that all these are impressions from demos of games that aren't finished yet, so the jury is definitely still out. The other first person game I wanted to try and check out was Prey, but unfortunately our three hour lunch (southern hospitality is nice, but a certain laid-back attitude about service accompanies it) eliminated my opportunity to see it.

John Carmack's State of the Union
I'm obviously not in the proper mode to update with all the current happenings, but I can't ignore that John Carmack updated his .plan with an update on what's going on:

I'm pretty damn pleased with things right now.

We are just buttoning up the E3 demo stuff, and it looks really good. It is clearly way alpha meterial, but people should be able to project where it is going.

The timing is a bit inconvenient for us, because we still aren't quite through with converting all the .qc work that Cash did over to straight C code in the new engine. The monsters are just barely functional enough to show, with none of the new behavior in. If E3 was a week or two later, the demos would almost be real playtesting.

Q2 is going to be far and away the highest quality product id has ever done. There are new engine features, but the strength of the product is going to be how everything is fitted together with great care. (don't worry, next year will be radical new technology all over again)

----

Sound is being improved in a number of ways.

All source samples are 22 khz / 16 bit, and you can restart the sound system for different quality levels without exiting the game. high quality sound will require more memory than the base 16 meg system. The system can automatically convert to 11 khz / 8 bit sounds, but we are probably going to include a seperate directory with offline converted versions, which should be slightly higher quality. Homebrew paatches don't need to bother.

Sounds can now travel with a moving object. No dopler effects, but it positions properly. (well, spatialization is a bit fucked this very instant, but not for long)

I finally got around to tracking down the little bug with looping sounds causing pops.

I have intentions to do three more things with the sound engine, but the realistic odds are that they won't all make it in:

Voice over network. I definately don't have time to do a super-compressed version, but I can probably hack something in that the T1 players would have fun with.

Radiosity sound solution. Its obvious in retrospect, but it was a "eureka!" thought for me when I realized that the same functions that govern the transport of light for radiosity also apply to sound. I have research plans for next-generation technology that include surface reflection spectrums and modeling the speed of sound waves, but I think I can get a simplified solution into Q2 to provide an ambient soundscape with the same level of detail as the lightmaps. I'm a little concerned about the memory footprint of it, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Syncronized, streaming sound from disk. Special events and movie demos won't need to precache gigantic sounds, and they can rely on the timing.

----

Q2 has a generalized inventory structure and status display that should be adaptable to just about anything anyone wants to do in a TC.

----

On saturday, I give my 328 away at E3. I know that there were lots of issues with the contest, and to be honest, I probably wouldn't have done the nationwide contest if I could have forseen all the hassle (I could have just given it away at #quakecon...), but the finals should still be really cool. It just wasn't possible to make the contest "completely fair". Not possible at all. In any case, I don't think anyone will deny that the finalists are some of the best quake players around.

----

I doubt I can convey just how well things are going here. Things probably look a little odd from the outside, but our work should speak for itself. I have been breaking into spontanious smiles lately just thinking about how cool things are (of course, that could just be a sleep deprivation effect...).

We have a totally kick-ass team here.

We are on schedule. (no shit!)

We are doing a great product.

Everyone watch out!

Thursday, June 19, 1997

Off To E3
It's (almost) the crack of dawn, and I can hear the hum of the BlueJet warming up on the runway right now, as I'm getting ready to blast into E3 and try and absorb as much as possible in one day.

Wednesday, June 18, 1997

Activision at E3
The Activision at E3 website is on-line (thanks Belegoth), and amidst a bunch of other game logos, they seem to have released a couple of new screenshots on their Quake 2 page, as well as the Quake 2 logo:

Half-Life
The "Official" Half-Life Page is now online, as well as the long-promised Wedge and Choryoth update page, to help keep up with what our Quake Command buds have been up to.

VRML and 3D Gaming
Here's an article from the June 16 Electronic Engineering Times discussing VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language) versus proprietary software engines for 3D gaming. The article touches on Quake, Doom, and Trinity, quoting John Carmack, Michael Abrash, and Tim Sweeney, Chairman of Epic (Unreal). There is also another article in the same issue describing the history of the Open GL versus Direct 3D debate (and John Carmack's prominent role). Thanks BeNDaBLe[Mand].

.planning Away
Todd Hollenshead updated his .plan file describing id Software's pre-eminence on PC Magazine's Top 100 Most Influential Companies list (thanks to L810C for the web link), where they are listed as #30. To put that in perspective, Motorola is listed at #69 (I'll let you guess who's #1).

Designer's Diary
Tom Hall updated his Gamespot Designer's Diary, thanks Prophet.

Quake For a Cause
An opportunity to Quake and help an Australian children's hospital is described on this web page.

New BSP
A new BSP, version .76 was released Friday on BSP.com (thanks NanooK). There is also an interview posted that MagicMan did with Steve Funkadooda about his thoughts on BSP and some info on Apocalypse.

Contests / Tourneys

Double Your Fun
Here's an article on how to double your modem connection by using two modems and two phone lines (thanks Simon H. Garlick).

Movements
The new home of the PowerBall PC is up at www.top.monad.net/users/joe/PowerBall/.

Interview
There is an interview conducted by Prophet with qME author Rene Post on NAWC Gold.

Talk Show
One of the cover stories on Pathfinder's Netly News is a Quake Talk Show, created within Quake (I think David Letterman is safe for now... Tom Snyder, too, probably). Thanks Brash.

German Web Space
The German Quake Forum offers free webspace for the German speaking Quake community.

Tuesday, June 17, 1997

More Time
Here is a web version of the John Romero article in Time Magazine (thanks Hawkwind). Sure enough there's a sidebar called surfwatch which describes this site as "Quake fans' info ground zero." Big thanks to the article's author, Michael Krantz, for the mention.

New QuArK
QuArK version 3.4 has been released on the QuArK Page. Thanks Moloch.

SWAT World
The SWAT Quake QuakeWorld port is available on the SWAT Team Quake page for download.

Sandy Petersen Interview
There is an interview with id Software's Sandy Petersen on the Quake Editor's Reference Guide.

Lyra Seeking Level Authors
Lyra Studios is making an Internet-only RPG with a first person perspective. They are looking for top-notch level designers in the Los Angeles area to create the maps for their game. More details are on their website.

Vérité NT Open GL Drivers
Canopus has released beta NT drivers for their Vérité-based Total 3D, that according to their website feature Open GL hardware support. Thanks Jason.

Intense 3D NT Drivers
Certified NT 4.0 Drivers (64 KB) for Intergraph's Intense 3D are available on the Intergraph Support Page. There is also a promise of a release of the new Windows 95 Drivers "soon". Thanks David Curtis.

qME, qED, and qART
Thanks Dominic Garcia for word that the 3D Matrix page has been updated with word on the commercial status of qME, qART, and qED, which are all available for purchase there.

Big Time
Thanks to Monal Valia for word that the June 23 issue of Time Magazine has an article on John Romero which includes some details on Daikatana, and a Daikatana screenshot. Apparently Blue's News also managed to get mentioned (which kind of boggles my little mind), along with Slipgate Central, Hipnotic/Ritual, and the Rangers. There is also a screenshot up on Ion's Daily Informant described as "from Episode 2 Map 1, 2030 B.C. in the Greek era" (thanks Sandmoose of the Daikatana Cabana). I don't yet know if it is the same one that appeared in Time:

Tim Willits Interview / Quake 2 Preview
Redwood has posted a Quake 2 Preview from his visit to id this weekend, as well as an interview with id Software's Tim Willits, talking mostly about Quake 2.

Quakers at E3
Something I failed to catch up to on my return after the weekend is that Joost has posted a Quaker's at E3 listing on Slipgate Central. My own E3 plans have finalized, I will, unfortunately, only be able to attend on Thursday (my baby brother is getting married this weekend).

GT Unreal Site
The official GT Interactive Unreal site has been unveiled, and it's pretty slick. There are some new screenshots there to celebrate the occasion. Thanks morn of Unreal.org. The site also lists a release date for Unreal as October 28, 1997.

Threewave News
There is an update on Threewave about the release of QuakeWorld 1.64 and that more QW releases are planned for the future. There is also info about Zoid's DM server which runs his rune patch and cycles between his favorite levels: DM2, DM3, DM6, zoiddm1, and e1m2. Thanks DaKoTa of XFA and QNG.

The Spoils of Warzone
Apparently, TeleFragged and all 25 of their hosted sites have moved to Warzone.

Free Clan Web Space
NaS of 311 is offering space on his server to host clan webpages. The service is free, but there are restrictions.

Rules of Warfare
The Rules of Clan Warfare for TeamFortress, on the Confederate Quake Army's site looks like a considerable aid in getting a TF clan match organized a run fairly. There is also a section called ask Biggus, where you can ask TF and related questions.

Socializing
There's an article on Microsoft's website discussing the online gaming phenomenon, focusing on the social aspects of playing on the net. The article quotes Tom Hall, and mentions Doom, Quake, Ion Storm, and id Software. Thanks BeNDaBLe.

Interview
Part two of Prophet's two part interview with Nick Newhard and John Jack of Monolith is up on the Cult of Phoebus.

New Releases

Contests

Movements

LAN Parties

Monday, June 16, 1997

Long Weekend
It was a long weekend of LAN fun. A quick shout out to all the bros: Abraxas (our amazing host), MrCoffee, Fish, Homey, Aragorn, Robs, Esses, and Klink for making the trip and being the coolest guys in the world. Also special thanks to Joost Schuur, who pinch hit and posted the news of the QuakeWorld client release on Friday (that I accidentally over-wrote this morning). Here's a jumble of stuff that happened this weekend:

UNIX QSpy Source
Paul T. Miller has released the source code for the UNIX version of QSpy. Here is the letter he sent along:

I've finally released the source-code to UNIX QSpy. Real projects and life have gotten in the way (as they often do) and I've been unable to do new features and bug-fixes as requested by many people.

The source (and information on everything else you need to compile it - there are a lot of dependencies, which is one reason why I wasn't excited about releasing the code) is available on my web-site: http://www.midplains.net/~pmiller.

All I ask is people dont email me asking for help on getting it to compile or getting the other components - I've included enough information in the README.

Quake Woman
And what a woman she is! As he promised on QuakeCast, Paul Steed posted a couple of animated shots of the female model he's working on for Quake 2 in id's Quake 2 Page. Paul also updated his .plan saying how much fun he had talking about Quake 2 with us on QuakeCast this week. Thanks XxKuDzUxX. Here are the images, (notice one of them is titled CrackWhore:

id: Exorcises Quake
Christian "Disruptor" Antkow updated his .plan yesterday saying that in Quake 2, id was saying to Hell with Satan:

Ever since I've taken over the "webmaster@idsoftware.com" e-mail address, I've recieved a number of e-mails from concerned youth and parents about the satanic and demonic content of id's previous games (DOOM and Quake).

For the record, Quake II will have no demonic or satanic references. It is a pure cybertech sci-fi shooter set in the future.

Hall of Fame
Scott Miller updated his .plan on Friday pointing out that Apogee and id Software were the first two companies inducted into the newly established Shareware Hall of Fame, founded by the Shareware Industry Awards Foundation.

Trinity Machine Specs in Boot Magazine
Thanks Moebius for word on issue 11 of Boot Magazine (July, 1997), that has an article about upcoming third generation 3D cards which quotes former id programmer Mike Abrash in a sidebar (p. 49) on the type of machine that will be required for id's next generation game engine "Trinity":

Id's Mike Abrash recently gave us a peak into id's 3D-only future and post-Quake graphics engine, Trinity. "Trinity is not just a hardware-only engine, its baseline system is a Pentium Pro 200+ with MMX, 32MB, and an accelerator capable of at least 50 megapixels and 300K triangles per second with alpha blending and Z-buffering. Imagine seeing through an open landscape from one server to the next, and seeing the action on adjacent servers in detail in real time and you'll have an idea of where things are heading in the near future."

TC Debate
The TC/Add-on debate on TC Magazine has grown quite large and now includes comments from Paul Jaquays and Todd Hollenshead of id software. That having been said, here's some TC/Mod news:

Conversions Article
The second installment of the Avault's two-part article on Quake mods has been posted featuring Superheroes Quake, the Killer Quake Pack, TC Magazine, Slipgate Central and other TC's. Thanks Prophet.

GL TeamFortress Fix
There is a fix for using GL Quake with TeamFortress on the TeamFortress Page. Thanks MJollnir.

S.W.A.T. Quake
Also as promised on this week's QuakeCast, S.W.A.T. Quake was released on Friday, you can get it, plus info on SWAT servers and a couple of bug fixes that were release subsequent to the premiere, on the S.W.A.T. Quake Page.

Shub Niggurath vs. Chthon
The first Shub Niggurath vs. Chthon public beta is available at the Shub Niggurath vs. Chthon page.

VoinQuake
Ion Stormtrooper and fellow Ranger Voin has updated his VoinQuake page with some VoinQuake deathmatch demos and some new doings

Wing Commander Quake Fix
The Wing Commander TC, WCQuake 0.04a (969 KB) is out on the WCQuake Page. If you get it from the homepage, the author suggests downloading the full version, rather than the updated progs.dat.

Creativity Ring
Witzbold has opened a Quake Creativity Ring to link sites devoted to Quake art, literature, etc. There is also a message board, and the site will carry news on the Quake creative scene.

QL:Editing Update
QuakeLab:Editing has been updated with a third party reorganized version of the Problems/Solutions section, and the .plan A section has been updated with the news that the Apocalypse project has progressing, contributing to the recent lack of QL updates.

No PlayStation Quake
According to this CyberGames article, the PlayStation version of Quake has been canned (thanks Prophet).

Leagues / Competitions
Force 2 is a two-on-two league open to players from the SouthEast. Another two-on-two league forming for East Coast players. The Battleground is running a CTF tourney called the Quad Heat summer CTF competition.

Modeling Class Log
There's a log at Metalhead's Modeling Class of the action from Gamesnet IRC's #ModelClass (thanks Prophet).

SinMatch?
Paradox updated his .plan Friday pointing out that the first Sin deathmatch has occurred.

Quake Doctor
Quake Doctor offers anyone anyone that can hold a good net connection to the UK the chance to be tutored on their server by many of the top UK players using custom maps and mods to teach or correct the key Quake skills. They are also looking for more skilled doctors, so anyone who feels they have the talent to teach should get in touch with them.

Warzone is Declared
Warzone.com has opened for business as a complete gaming site, and is now the home to Future versus Fantasy Quake, Impulse 2, and apparently a mirror of the Homepage of the the Killer Quake Patch.

Interviews
There's an interview with Jeff Wand of Ion Storm on NAWC GOLD (thanks Prophet). There's an interview with jawed of jaw3D on done by Prophet himself on Quakemania.

Movements

Lt.Dan
After more than a week of downtime, Lt.Dan's Single Player Quake is back on-line.

Arcane
Thanks Lee for word that the name-conflict laden Quake editor formerly known as Quiver, formerly known as Q.E.D. is now called Arcane.

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All rights reserved. Copyright © 1997 by Stephen Heaslip