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Friday, June 12, 1998

Unreal Nine-Ball  [10:49 PM EDT]
Oddities has pumped out another Unreal Mod, the NineBall Gun, which corrects the bug, or undoes the feature (depends on your perspective) that causes the eight-ball to fire as soon as it loads the sixth ball in its secondary fire mode. With this mod, the weapon won't fire until the button is released (no word on a mod that would have the eight ball actually load eight balls). The other recent Oddities mod that lives up to the oddity moniker is the OddBox, which, when stepped on, will attach itself to its victim and start playing clips from Hanson songs, simultaneously divulging their location, and driving them out of their mind. No wonder people think these games are too sadistic.

PVRSG Unreal & PowerVR Quake II  [9:41 PM EDT]
AugustWest of August West's PowerVRoom sends along word that he's posted even more screenshots of Unreal on the upcoming PVRSG accelerator, 10 in all. He also sends along another warning for PowerVR PCX-2 owners about the pvrgl.dll in the latest Quake II upgrade that seemed worth passing along again:

Also, for those PowerVR users out there, even Matrox users, the pvrgl.dll included in 3.15 was an older version that was borking on a lot of people. I have sent Zoid the new version, which will be in 3.16, and in the meantime, either don't overwrite the pvrgl.dll in your Quake 2 directory, or if you already have, go get the newer version at:

ftp://ftp.matrox.com/pub/mga/m3d/4.1.1.5.002.zip for the M3D

and

ftp://ftp.videologic.com/PUB/PRODUCTS/APOC3DX/DRIVERS/a3dxv411.exe for Apocalypse owners.

Messiah Update  [8:27 PM EDT]
The home of the group creating Shiny's upcoming Messiah, The Team Ego page, has new shots of Messiah's level and character editor and three additions to the Characters section. These changes were spotted by the sharp-eyed ego-policeman of Voodoo Extreme, Officer Billy Wilson.

E3 Mania  [8:15 PM EDT]
The E3D Realms Report Floor Videos page is home to all of the various incarnations of the videos Apogee has released from their showings at E3. In addition to all of the previously noted offerings, the page also has the brand new RealPlayer version of the Prey video. Also, GameSpot's Best of E3 page is up, giving their top 10 picks.

Unreal Editing: Unrealinator  [8:15 PM EDT]
Willow Pond has posted an Unreal editing utility that allows level designers the freedom to work in any program that exports to the VRML 2.0 standard. In the example they give on the page, a map's geometry can be entirely built within 3D Studio and easily exported to UnrealEd for texturing, lighting, and scripting (some of those functions may possibly be handled in a future version of Unrealinator).

GameSpy 2.01  [8:00 PM EDT]
As mentioned earlier, GameSpy 2.01 is out, fixing the HTTP list bug in 2.0 and eliminating the Intel Owner's Club aspect of the download along the way. Here's a local copy (1.3 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's sun-dried FTP.

Unreal Editing: Newer Help File  [7:22 PM EDT]
A new version of the unofficial UnrealEd manual/help file has been posted on Skarz News in what's described as a major update with loads of new info provided by none other than Epic's Tim Sweeney.

Jedi Knight Editing: JkEdit  [7:22 PM EDT]
My buddies at JediKnight.Net have word up of a new level editor for Jedi Knight/Mysteries of the Sith called JkEdit, so if you are a level-headed individuals, head over and check it out. The JK.net guys do such a fine job in covering their scene that I assume everyone is aware of all that's going on over there, I'll try and take better note of these things in the future. (What kind of host am I? I should be engaging in some blatant pimpage!).

Q2 Editing: SkinEd  [7:22 PM EDT]
Stephen Duffy (brother of QERadiant author Robert Duffy) has released build 035 of his SkinEd in today's second Quake skin tool release (see NST story). Among the features of the new version are vertical/horizontal options for gradient shading, and the addition of a dither fill tool. Thanks LaRd of the Quake Workshop 2.

New Viper 330 NT Drivers...Not  [7:22 PM EDT - Update]
Thanks Carn-X for a correction courtesy of RivaZone that the Windows NT drivers for the Diamond Viper 330 video card on Diamond's European Driver Updates page are apparently not new after all (I can recall falling for this head fake in the past). Sorry for causing any confusion.

Quake II Deathmatch Bible  [5:11 PM EDT]
The Gamers Extreme Quake II Bible has been updated to reflect new theories on weapon usage that have evolved in the time since Quake II's release. Also, a Tip of the Day from Thresh is the latest addition to their DM resources.

More Lara Movie Pimpage  [5:11 PM EDT]
A second Lara Croft Movie teaser dealie for the planned Tomb Raider flick is up on Dark Horizons. Thanks Dim (good droogie).

Unreal Single-Player Guide  [5:01 PM EDT]
The third installment of the single-player Unreal Guide is up on Final Rest's Unreal Resource Page. Part III covers general playing tips and tricks, following up on Part I which detailed Unreal's weapons, and Part II about the game's monsters.

Q2 Editing: Npherno's Skin Tool  [4:15 PM EDT]
Version 0.9b1 of Npherno's Skin Tool is now available on The Q2PMP page. NST allows you to paint directly onto a 3D model as well as in 2D mode. Also featured are some skin mapping tools that are said to reduce the time it takes to map out a skin mesh from hours to minutes. One caveat for those buggy about bugs: this release is described as "a beta of a beta." You have been warned.

GameSpy Bug  [4:01 PM EDT]
Mark "Farging Bastage" Surfas updated his .plan with word of a bug in GameSpy 2.0 that will lead to a 2.01 release as early as tonight, recommending that users hold off on the new version until then:

First major bug: Some users are having problems with retrieving server lists via http. Tim has identified the source of the problem and we'll be releasing 2.01 tonight. This will be the wide release that goes up on tucows, etc. No one ever trusts a .0 "dot oh" release anyway. ;) I recommend waiting for this update before moving up to 2.x

Creative GamePad Drivers  [3:52 PM EDT]
The Creative Labs FTP site has new Windows 95 drivers for the Creative GamePad.

DNF E3 RealVideo  [3:44 PM EDT]
The Duke Nukem Forever video from E3 is up on the Apogee website in Real format, in both streaming 28.8 bps and non-streaming T1 flavors.

Q2 Editing: Wally  [3:37 PM EDT]
Public beta 1.09 of Wally, the editing tool that allows you to manipulate textures in Quake II's .wal format is available. If no show-stopper bugs pop up, it will become the full version 1.10 of the program (the latest non-beta version is 1.01).

Java Quake  [3:37 PM EDT]
A new version 0.5.4 of the Q2Java project is now available. Q2Java allows Quake II mods to be written in Java instead of C, including support for Java SecurityManager that makes executing a Java mod safer than a standard Quake II .dll. Here's a little more on Java and Quake to give a sense of the project's scope:

The current version is coming very close to matching the standard C deathmatch game, but also includes a plug-in system that supports addons like a telnet server for remotely administering games, and a full Java implementation of CTF complete with chasecam and grappling hook.  Some Java-based bots are also in the works, but haven't been released yet.

MailBag  [3:37 PM EDT]
I got so many responses to my post about the Quake II mod scene slowing that it seemed time to bust out the MailBag.

Unreal on W.O.N.  [3:00 PM EDT]
The World Opponent Network has announced they have 11 multiplayer Unreal servers "regionally located along key junctions of the Internet backbone" to reduce latency as much as possible. Details are on their Unreal Gameroom, where they have also got things set up to join an Unreal game through a web interface. Thanks Prophet.

BattleZone, Dark Reign Sequels  [1:33 PM EDT]
OGR is reporting that Activision has announced that they will publish five new games from Pandemic Studios, the first two being the sequels to BattleZone and Dark Reign, both projected for Summer 1999 releases. The newly formed Pandemic is headed by former Activision employees Josh Resnick (director on Dark Reign and producer on MechWarrior 2) and Andrew Goldman (director on BattleZone and Spycraft).

Sin E3 RealVideo  [1:09 PM EDT]
JUDGECAL, master of the mystic arts of RealPlayer encoding, sent along a copy of the Sin trailer from E3 in Real format (1.9 MB, courtesy of GamesNET's natural wood grained FTP). This rendition is considerably smaller than the AVI version while retaining a surprisingly high quality. You'll have to download it and play it from your machine since the server here isn't set up to stream RealVideo, but the 300 KB/Sec. encoding would overwhelm most connections anyway.

Shogo: MAD Update  [12:42 PM EDT]
The second weekly update to the Shogo: Mobile Armor Division page is up, with photos of the Shogo team hard at work, or play, or something in a profile that also offers a new shots of the LithTech engine: One showing off their newly added "displacement mapping" effect, and another depicting the bullet scar effect on walls. There is also a shot of one of the in-game menus and another of their modeledit program. Thanks Frans P. de Vries of 3D Action Gamers'.

More ADSL  [12:42 PM EDT]
After the mention earlier of the ADSL FAQ I have been shown the way to what look like great works on the subjects of digital connectivity, though neither is new: Dan Kegel's ADSL Page and Dan Kegel's ISDN Page.

Sin: A Boy and His Hummer  [11:54 AM EDT]
HardCorps SiN News has posted a new Sin screenshot featuring the game's hero John Blade showing off his new S.U.V. Saw that on Ritualistic.

ADSL FAQ  [9:43 AM EDT]
There's an unofficial ADSL FAQ on Coolinfo.com to answer questions about Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line technology (betcha I just answered one of those questions by spelling out the acronym). The FAQ looks helpful, though bits like this one make me wonder if it's 100% up-to-date: "ADSL is a separate network, and will be available rapidly as soon as the protocols and kinks are worked out (sometime in 1997)."

Incoming FAQ  [9:08 AM EDT]
The FAQ for Rage Software's Incoming has been updated. Thanks Frans P. de Vries of 3D Action Gamers'.

Mplayer Unreal  [9:08 AM EDT]
Mplayer is announcing their support for Unreal in the free area of their Internet multiplayer gaming service (it debuted as a premium pay service).

Quick Start: Eraser Wizard  [9:00 AM EDT]
Version 2.14 of the Quick Start - Eraser Bot Wizard is out, almost entirely consisting of bug fixes and minor tweaks, rather than any new features.

Reviews: Panther XL  [9:00 AM EDT]
Here's a PlanetQuake Review of the MadCatz Panther XL, the only combo joystick-trackball controller that offers a glowing ball.

Blood 2 Update  [8:20 AM EDT]
An update to the Blood 2: The Chosen page adds Weekly Update 8 where Greg Kettell, Lead Engineer for Monolith's upcoming first-person game, talks about of weapon modifications in Blood2 and even shows how to create one. Thanks Billy at VE.

Mail Call  [8:20 AM EDT]
Though not always noted here, PlanetQuake's Dear Mynx column is updated on a weekly basis, and is invariably enlightening, entertaining, and embarrassing (now that's an E3). Also, a reminder that Ask GrandMaster B over on Voodoo Extreme offering Q&A for id's Brian Hook, is updated twice every other day, obviously more often than I could note each time, so make with a bookmark if it's your bag.

Cheers!  [8:20 AM EDT]
Wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to Phoebus, tireless maintainer of Hexenworld as well as a a bazillion gigabytes of content on Activision's website. Drop by one of his pages and give him some virtual noogies if you get a chance.

EGN  [2:03 AM EDT]
EGN (1.0 MB) is a new program available as an open beta from EnterNET Global Network that sounds like sort of a combination game server browser and contact manager. Here's a good hunk of their press release:

BrainScan Interactive has completed a preview version of its gaming and communications platform, EGN, or the EnterNET Global Network. In the preview you will be able to take a look in this awesome product, and check out a sure to come gaming/communications revolution. With game support for many popular games, including Quake, Quake 2, Unreal, SubSpace, FireTeam, and Tanrus, and many more on the way, this is sure to be your gaming platform for the future. Ping times built into your contact management list let you know who is the best for you to play with. The platform itself is customizable with the ability to choose from many "skins" to decorate EGN in. Future plans include the ability to make your own skins.

EGN’s preview includes its exclusive server scanner. The scanner goes out to EnterNET’s server list, and brings you back playing information, so you can find the server of your choice. Right now the scanner works for Quake 2, but support for other games is on the way. (Remember this is a very early preview version, a whole lot more is going to be put in)

Here's a local copy (1.0 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's hand-polished  FTP.

Out of the Box Thinking  [2:03 AM EDT]
Today's GameSlice articleditorial takes on the issue of game boxes. How the box can influence buying decisions, and what makes a good box.

Job Openings  [2:03 AM EDT]
There are some job openings at Surreal Entertainment as the team creating the 3D PC action adventure game Drakan (well received at E3) looks to expand and add Designers, Artists, Animators, and Programmers.

Out of the Blue
Hmmm. I saw a blurb on PQ recently (yesterday?) questioning if the Quake II modification scene is slowing down, and I have to admit I have wondered the same thing. The daily flow of modification updates around here has become a trickle lately, to the point where it is rarely practical to make a separate Quake/Quake II mods section. Was the speculation that moving to a .dll for mod programming in Quake II would inhibit mod authoring correct? Perhaps it is just authors getting away from the release-a-day syndrome (which would be bad to complain about), I'm not sure. I did want to comment on this effect, though, just in case you were thinking I was starting to ignore Quake/Quake II mods as the scope covered by this site seems to be broadening: Blue's News will always continue to be true to its Quake roots. On the subject of the broadening focus of Blue's News, it's almost as if natural forces are at work to change the site's scope: Part of the focus here has always been community-oriented, so when a company like ION Storm that is part of the roots of the Quake community offers an RTS game like Dominion, it makes it hard to draw the line, and when they are working on an RPG that uses the Quake II engine, all bets are off. I worried for a while I would receive complaints that the site is wandering off-topic, but the feedback is insanely positive, with a whole bunch of mail expressing happiness that Blue's News has become a source of more quality gaming info than before. Go figure.

On an unrelated note: I think someone ran a backhoe through some fiber somewhere, 'cause about half the 'net has become very difficult for me to access (including my mail and this site), so I may have a problematic day with updates. UPDATE: Thanks St. Uriel and cdt for passing along word that I hit the cause of my 'net woes on the head as ZDNet is reporting that as of yesterday afternoon MCI crews were still searching for a fiber break in New York City that caused some ISPs to report up to 88% packet loss during the early hours of the slowdown (though the report's implication the problem has now passed looks dubious from where I sit).

Thursday, June 11, 1998

Sin Add-On  [10:31 PM EDT]
There's not much more info there, but word on 2015 Software's page is they are currently "working on the Official Add-on for Ritual Entertainments game SiN which is due to be released this spring." This was spotted by Operation 3.D.F.X.

Unreal PVRSG Shots  [10:31 PM EDT]
PVR-NET has posted some Unreal screenshots running on VideoLogic's upcoming PVRSG accelerator. Thanks to Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

New Qtracker & GameSpy  [9:55 PM EDT]
Version 2.1 of Qtracker is out as a Win 95 installer (1.1 MB), or a WinNT Archive (474 KB). New to version 2.1 is the addition of Unreal support to this server browser that already can help find Quake, QuakeWorld, Quake II, Hexen II, and Jedi Knight multiplayer games on the Internet. Also, on the server browser front, on Shooters tonight (next story) Bastage mentioned that "the man" over at Intel was not going to freak about the owners club thing (see story) at this point with the GameSpy 2.0 link, so here is local copy of GameSpy 2.0 (1.3 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's seedless FTP, as well as local copies of the Qtracker for Win95 (1.1 MB) and Qtracker for WinNT (474 KB).

QuakeCast ... err Shooters  [6:56 PM EDT]
Tonight on the show possibly still known as QuakeCast, we will talk to Randy "DuvalMagic" Pitchford, lead level designer at Rebel Boat Rocker about their upcoming game Prax War. We will also talk to Mark "Bastage" Surfas who will stop by (in that virtual sense) to p1mp GameSpy (Joost promised I could abuse him for excessive p1mpage). Everything starts at 8:00 PM Eastern time, Real player required.

Brian Hook Update  [6:56 PM EDT]
Brian Hook made a .plan update with a detailed explanation of his feelings about his public persona as has been represented in his .plan, and describing his intent to keep to techie issues in his .plan updates in the future. Describing his decision as inspired by BitchX (see story), Brian says he will save his more off-topic ramblings for his Ask GrandMaster B column on Voodoo Extreme. BTW, congrats to Brian on his one year anniversary at id (a few days ago).

Duke Forever Video  [5:56 PM EDT]
Ack! Sorry about messing up the links on this story at fist (HTML is sooo tricky). Here's everything all squared away: 3D Realms has finally released the original E3 Duke Nukem Forever .MPG (33.3 MB), complete with sound, etc. Here's a local copy (33.3 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's lemon-scented FTP. If you are daunted by the gigantic download, a RealVideo version is promised soon, as is the release of the Max Payne video.

This Old Level: Pro Design Advice  [5:47 PM EDT]
This Old Level is a new page up on Hoc Opus (Wedge and Choryoth's page dangit.) over at Valve. The page is for aspiring level designers, with your host Archy Vial taking the role of Bob Villa. the first edition is titled "Where DO Maps come From?" Thanks Devonx.

Unreal-Engine X-Com Screenshots  [3:41 PM EDT]
Gamer's Alliance has posted the first screenshots of X-Com V: Alliance which will use the Unreal engine. The shots show off the new first-person action perspective of the upcoming entry in this series, which started as a turn-based strategy game.

Follow-ups  [3:25 PM EDT]
A couple of notes to add to earlier stories: The Twisted Edge Games X-24 contest page (this story) is fixed for Netscape users. Also, as many wrote in correctly guessing, TGSer (this E3 pics story) stands for TeamGameSpyer, or as morbid said "TeamGameSpyer, you twit." Also, speaking of E3 photos, the Gamers Extreme guys have posted a feature on the E3 Booths complete with lots of photos, and finally, speaking of photos (desperate for segues at this point), Cali Girl News has a photo album up with pics of friends of CGN.

GameSpy Inside  [12:47 PM EDT]
GameSpy seems to have crested to the next level of mainstream recognition, as the main page at Intel.com links to the Intel Owners Club, where they offer an opportunity to be "among the first to download GameSpy 2." The Intel Owners Club is free to join, so this will offer non-registered users a crack at version 2.0, available in beta to registered GameSpy users for some time now. Congrats to TeamGameSpy, hopefully, FTC anti-trust invetigations will not follow.

morbid's E3 Photos  [12:47 PM EDT]
Jack "morbid" Mathews updated his .plan with word that he's posted his E3 photos. Nope, I do not know what a TGSer is (mentioed in the caption of a shot of me), and I'm not sure I want to.

Forsaken in the Zone  [12:16 PM EDT]
Microsoft announced today that Forsaken is now available for free multiplayer matchmaking on their Internet Gaming Zone.

Return of the X-24 & More Giveaways  [10:53 AM EDT]
Twisted Edge Games is back online after their promised Quantum3D X-24 giveaway busted their old bandwidth. They are still giving away the 24 MB single-Slot SLI Voodoo2 X-24, and have extended the deadline for entries through July 10. Also, warped's Hardware Kingdom is having a screenshot competition where the winners will walk away with "some great Logitech Stuff."

Voodoo2 Game Status Form  [10:53 AM EDT]
On the newly redesigned 3Dfx website there's a new page up to check Voodoo2 game status where you can enter a game and get up-to-date info on the state of its Voodoo2 support. Thanks Silver of The Q2Depo.

Screenshots  [10:53 AM EDT]
There is a new Heavy Gear 2 screenshot on Activision's Heavy Gear 2 page (thank Billy at Voodoo Extreme). Also TRI has posted 14 screenshots of the upcoming FLY! flight-sim dealie that looks so sweet (saw those on Operation 3.D.F.X..). Finally, on the subject of screenshot madness, there are four Thrust, Twist 'n Turn Screenshots on Gamer's Alliance showing off this upcoming 3D racing game. Finally there are a couple of huge (byte-wise) 1600x1200 screenshots of Quake II running on the pre-production RIVA TNT on RivaZone.

Aussie Unreal Server  [10:53 AM EDT]
The Ripper's Unreal OZ server list is an Australian Unreal server list to help find an Unreal deathmatch down under, where the game is just becoming available on store shelves.

Reviews - Unreal & The Reckoning  [10:53 AM EDT]
Unreal is reviewed by Reuters (thanks NORDS). Also, there's a Quake 2 The Reckoning Review and a Descent Freespace review on PC FAN.

Quake Frogbot Editor  [10:53 AM EDT]
Frogbot Editor 1.5 is up on the Metropolis Frogbot homepage for your FrogBot (bot for classic Quake) configuring needs. The new version boasts a speed increase of 20X.

Unreal Editing - Unofficial UnrealEd Manual  [3:10 AM EDT]
Skarz has compiled an unofficial manual for the UnrealEd editor that comes bundled with Unreal (this manual is not an Epic project). The manual comes in the form of a help file (hit <F1> to bring it up), and even includes tutorials contributed by habitues of EFnet #unrealed. Available on Skarz News, and here's the inevitable local copy (537 KB), courtesy of GamesNET's partially hydrogenated FTP.

Modelook  [3:10 AM EDT]
Alpha version 0.08a of Modelook is now available for both MacOS and Windows 95/NT, along with the first release of the program's source code. Modelook is an OpenGL Quake/Quake II model (MDL and MD2) viewer that runs on multiple platforms including MacOS, IRIX, LINUX, and Windows.

Interviews: Matrox & K6-2  [3:10 AM EDT]
HardwareCentral has an interview with Jason Della Rocca, Matrox's Developer Relations Manager talking about the Matrox Millenium G200 (just selected as a Windows Sources "Experts Choice"). HC also interviews Lance Smith AMD's Director of Technical Marketing about their K6 processor (each conversation presented in click-heavy one question per page format).

PReviews: Reckoning & Diablo II  [3:10 AM EDT]
GameHut reviews Quake II: The Reckoning (id's Todd Hollenshead reckons with Reckoning sales in his .plan) and a Diablo II preview on The Software Station gives lots of detail on what's going into the sequel to Blizzard's time black hole.

LAN Parties  [3:10 AM EDT]
Added the ever-larger K9-Con 98 (Santa Clara, CA, June 26-28) to the ever-larger LAN Parties section, which now weighs in with a total of 140 entries.

Quake II 3.16 Status  [2:06 AM EDT]
Christian "Disruptor" Antkow updated his .plan with a status report on the Quake II 3.16 patch:

---------------
Q2 v3.16 Update
---------------

We were doing some playtesting of the Q2 3.16 patch over the net this evening and things are looking very promising for a release "soon". Just wanted to make this update becase quite a few of you have been inquiring about it's status.

Here are the things that have changed since v3.15

- Fixed infinite grenade bug
- Fixed autodownloading to actually download sounds and console pics
- Fixed autodownload to not create empty directories for files not on the server.
- Added customized client downloading. cvars are the same as the server side:
allow_download - global download on/off
allow_download_players - players download on/off
allow_download_models - models download on/off
allow_download_sounds - sounds download on/off
allow_download_maps - maps download on/off
They can also be (more easily) set with a new Download Options menu accessible in Multiplayer/Player Setup/Download Options
- Changed checksumming code to be more portable and faster.
The checksum in 3.15 was seriously broken.
This change makes 3.16 incompatible with previous servers.
- Fixed it so sounds played for PPMs that default to male are only checked on disk once.
- Fixed player 'warping' present in 3.15 (this was an artifact of the hyperblaster optimizations).
- Fixed the autodownload in 3.15 so that stuff like skins for models are downloaded as well as pics.

If you've downloaded the v3.15 patch, you'll be able to download a small 200k file which just updates your quake2.exe.

3.16 clients will NOT be backwards compatible for multiplayer. Your 3.15 savegames for single player will work just fine however.

Thanks for your continued patience, but we want to make sure this update is damned solid before we release. Just a little bit longer now =)

Out of the Blue
I never got back around to posting a link to that opinion site I mentioned last week: GamingInsider.Com is a site hosted by PlanetQuake that is home to the rantings of BitchX, who writes on the subjects of "PC Games, online services and the Internet Gaming Community." These essays are presented from behind a veil of anonymity said to be in place to protect the author, who claims to work at a "large software publishing house." The link was pulled after a notice appeared on the site not to spread the URL around, but that apparently applies to more mainstream Wall Street Journal type press (though many who feel the heat of the BitchX flames were quite unhappy with me for posting the link to start with). The subject of opinion pieces is an interesting one (as I touched on last week), since it's hard to post a link to one and properly disclaim that the opinions don't necessarily reflect your own. Also, as someone who feels strongly about the close-knit community aspects of this scene, I don't always feel good about posting things that may harm someone. But as a local TV station's op-ed pieces always concluded: "We think it's important to know what your neighbors are thinking." Anyway, I expect to get some heat for posting this link, but if you read the page you'll also see that many of the stories there inspire responses from folks in the industry, so they're reading too (as also noted in .plan updates by Chris Hargrove and George Broussard).

Wednesday, June 10, 1998

Swat2 Demo  [11:48 PM EDT]
A demo of Swat2 is out (thanks SoB), weighing in at about 25 MB. Here's the Download.Com Swat2 page that offers the following about the demo:

The demo version features a highly intense SWAT case: the North Hollywood Bank Robbery. Sierra strongly encourages you to play the demo multiple times—you'll find that each time you play the mission, it will play out differently. This is also true of the full version of the game, which includes 30 missions. In terms of gameplay, the SWAT 2 demo is a fully functional, with all game features. A lot of time was spent on the artificial intelligence for SWAT 2, so you'll have to think about what you're doing. The associated readme file will have everything you need to help you get started, along with some of the key commands that will be critical to your success. The full version will support multiplayer games.

Sinfo  [10:32 PM EDT]
Paradox sent a massive list of the changes to the Quake II engine the Ritual killers have made to create their world of Sin posted to Voodoo Unlimited Power. This news courtesy of the 3D accelerated webmaster Billy Wilson at Voodoo Extreme.

Tomb Raider Movie Poster  [10:16 PM EDT]
Ain't It Cool News has posted a TombRaider Movie Poster featuring a view of Lara's silhouette that suggests the movie may actually focus more on the action aspects of the Tomb Raider franchise than displaying views of Lara's silhouette. Thanks Lanhdanan.

Unreal Overclocking  [9:19 PM EDT]
There are mixed reports on the value of overclocking in Unreal: The Unreal and Quake II Overclockers Comparison Page takes a look at performance in Unreal while pushing an Intel Celeron 266 processor to its limits. Hopefully it goes without saying that all this is try at your own risk type of stuff.

Cartoons  [9:19 PM EDT]
Another pair of Quake/Doom cartoons: Here's one, and the other, both passed along by Joe "CuJoe" Parsons.

More Doom2 - Gothic DM  [9:19 PM EDT]
Another large Doom2 release I should've mentioned already is Gothic DeathMatch 2, a 32 level deathmatch pack that has received good reviews, as did the orginal Gothic DM.

K6 Quake II Status  [9:01 PM EDT]
Billy at Voodoo Extreme posted an exchange with AMD over the availability off the K6-2 (AMD 3DNow!) optimized 3Dfx OpenGL minidriver that we've heard about:

When you mention the "mini" driver, you're referring to the "AMD 3DNow!/3Dfx" renderer that AMD added to the list of video renderers in Quake2.

The AMD 3DNow! version of Q2 should be posted in a week or so... Everyone here is working as fast as they can to make sure that everything is in order. It was not initially intended to be made public. It was simply meant to be a technology demo. I'm glad we're releasing it because as an avid Quake2 player, I know I wanted it for home... it's really nice...

As for additional patches, there will be a few but that isn't our focus. Most of our efforts are being spent on new, upcoming games... Software that is designed with the technology in mind at the concept stage is far more exciting. Besides, we expect gamers to be more interested in what's coming rather than older games. We want feedback if we're off base...

Future title support details will need to come from each of the publisher/developers but expect to see a steady array of announcements over the next year...

Unreal DetGun  [8:46 PM EDT]
Oddities has posted another Unreal modification, this one the DetGun (5 KB), a modified sniper rifle that shoots an arrow into the target, which makes a noise that gets louder and louder for about 15 seconds until the target completely explodes (don't play with that thing in the house!). Here is a local copy (5 KB), courtesy of GamesNET's preservative-free FTP.

Doom2 done Quick  [8:46 PM EDT]
The Quake done Quick folks are celebrating the one-year anniversary of their first Jolt-fueled Quake speed demo with a 21:16 run through all the levels of Doom2, recammed to be viewed from the third person.

CPL Tourney Full  [8:46 PM EDT]
The announcement-happy Cyberathlete Organization, sends word they've started a waiting list for applicants wishing to enter their Official One-on-One Quake Tournament in Dallas as the 256 slots for the tourney are currently filled.

Rage of Mages Screenshots  [8:46 PM EDT]
Wasting no time, Gamer's Alliance has posted five new screenshots from Monolith's just-announced RPG, Rage of Mages.

Quake Editing - New QuArK  [7:14 PM EDT]
Beta 5.0.b5 of QuArK is out on the Official Quake Army Knife Homepage. The new version of Armin Rigo's multi-purpose Quake/Quake II editor offers the return of Duplicators, Diggers, and Hollow Makers. Also, now Models (monsters, powerups, etc) can be displayed in the 3D views, and the 3DFX version draws transparent surfaces where needed. There are other fixes and enhancements, and word from Armin is that a version 5.0.b6 will follow "very soon" to fix any bugs that popped up. Thanks Dave "Fist" Pletcher.

Stingray2 Single Slot SLI Correction  [7:01 PM EDT]
Operation 3.D.F.X. has posted a correction to their recent report that Hercules was planning a 24 MB single-slot SLI Voodoo2 accelerator (similar to Quantum 3D's Obsidian2 X-24) in their Stingray2 line. There is no such board planned. Here's a quote:

A few days we reported that Hercules was planning to make a Single Board SLI Voodoo2 card with 24Mb of RAM. This is not the case. But, as Hercules told me, they are planning to package two Stingray/2s in a single SLI retail package with TV-out included at a reduced cost over buying two separate cards.

All-Star CTF - Orange Quake  [7:01 PM EDT]
I saw on Captured.Com that without much fanfare, All-Star CTF for Quake 1 has been updated to version 1.10. The new release offers Pure CTF as a server option, The CHEAT Complex 2: Barkfalls, has been added to Xeno CTF as xeno5.bsp, and all of the ThunderWalker upgrades have been added up to version 5.0. In addition, the Orange modules for Quake have been updated to version 3.7.

Unreal Skin Tutorial  [6:06 PM EDT]
Totally Unreal has posted a basic tutorial on creating skins for Unreal that promises you can "learn how to create your own skins within minutes."

Rage of Mages  [6:06 PM EDT]
Monolith has announced the acquisition of Rage of Mages, described as "a unique, well crafted, role-playing game developed in Russia." Here's a quote from a little PR they sent around describing the planned computer version:

Extending the boundaries of the RPG genre, Rage of Mages offers 16-bit graphics, an isometric 3D landscape with real-time lighting effects, and real physics.  Its unique Russian inspired character, creature, and story design impart a refreshing twist on the fantasy role-playing standard.

Ninja Quake  [5:25 PM EDT]
Missed this at first, but Ninja Quake version 1.2 was released over the weekend. NQ is a classic Quake mod that will test your skills from Taijutsu to Shurikenjutsu in shadowy virtual combat.

Red Baron 3D  [5:25 PM EDT]
OGR is reporting that Dynamix has announced that the upcoming 3D patch for their WWI combat sim Red Baron II will be available for download in July. At that time a repackaged Red Baron 3D, which will include the 3D upgrade as well as a client-server multiplayer feature over WON.Net, will be the new in-store version of the game.

Sierra Prez  [5:25 PM EDT]
Also seen on OGR is a report that David Grenewetzki has been appointed new president of Sierra online.

More on the Unreal Add-on  [3:21 PM EDT]
The reason for the sudden disappearance of word of an Unreal add-on from the Creative Carnage website (see the next story) seems to be held in the following email exchange forwarded by the ever-fair John Callaham (who closely followed-up on both sides of the recent Impel/Instant Access affair over the Abyss of Pandemonium):

As you may know by now, I always try to be fair when I report stories to you and the other web sites. I called Creative Carnage and the man who answered the phone said he could not talk about the Unreal add-on but asked me to email Darci Nagorski at GT Interactive for a official reply. I did and this was her response:

"The information Creative Carnage posted was premature and we are still working on details of the contract and we will have an official announcement on the Unreal add-on in a couple weeks.  I will keep you posted."

So the Unreal add-on from Creative may not be dead after all

On the Unreal Add-on  [12:38 PM EDT]
Process over at Processed News had an exchange with Epic's Mark Rein on the Creative Carnage Unreal add-on recently announced and then pulled, Here's the quote:

Epic MegaGames hasn't authorized anyone to create "authorized" or "official" add-on products for Unreal.

On Over-Clocking  [12:01 PM EDT]
This CNN article discusses CPU overclocking, giving lessons on how to do it, as well as providing warnings that may scare you off of the whole process. Thanks harpax.

Half-Life Interview  [11:54 AM EDT]
There's an interview with Ted Backman over on Valveworld. Ted, at one time a martial arts (Kenpo) instructor, is currently an  artist at Valve working on character models, skins and animations for Half-Life.

Voodoo2 Roundup  [11:10 AM EDT]
OGR has posted part one of their Voodoo2 Roundup examining the pros and cons of  four 12 mb cards: the Creative Labs 3D Blaster 2, Metabyte's Wicked 3D; Canopus' Pure 3D II; and the Orchid Righteous 3D II.

Unreal 'Net Patch Status  [10:33 AM EDT]
I saw on the Org, that Mark Rein posted a message to this thread on the Unreal MegaBoard on the status of a patch to fix Unreal Internet play:

The silence means that Tim is either working his butt off or sleeping. That's all he does these days. We know net play needs some work and Tim Sweeney is working on a fix. He's posted information about that several times on this forum and we maintain an entire web site devoted to Unreal technical issues including known bugs, what we think is causing them and how we think we can fix them. You can find it at http://unreal.epicgames.com. I suggest you go there and read the page before you boil over in frustration.

Tim has indicated a test net play update should be sometime this week but because it involves changes at BOTH the client AND server side it's a big project and needs to be done right. Your continued patience is appreciated and will eventually be rewarded with some fantastic net play.

Unreal Klingon Weapon  [9:43 AM EDT]
MicroProse has released the first weapon for their upcoming Unreal-engine game Klingon Honor Guard. The weapon, available on L.C.A.R.S -- Klingon Honor Guard (L.C.A.R.S stands for Library Computer Access / Retrieval System), is not just a screenshot or something, but a playable model of the Sith Har, which currently uses Unreal Rifle ammo since there isn't any Klingon Ammo on Unreal's maps. Here is a local copy (624 KB), courtesy of GamesNET's anti-matter powered FTP. Here's the skinny, ripped right from L.C.A.R.S :

To install this patch simply unzip the archive into your Unreal directory and type "summon klingons.sithhar" at the console while playing the game.

This version uses Unreal Rifle ammo since there isn't any Klingon Ammo on the Unreal maps. The primary fire uses up 1 ammo and does 33 points of damage. The alternate fire uses up 8 ammo and does 500 points of damage - in most cases an instant gib. You can only carry a maximum of 50 rifle ammo so you should use the alternate fire sparingly.

We hope that you like the Sith Har as much as we do. We see this as an oppurtunity to get player feedback as we begin fine tuning the game for release. Please send feedback to lbird@microprose.com.

Quake Editing - Epicenter  [9:43 AM EDT]
The first version of the EpiCenter Quake editor has been released, and though the current release is described as "crippled, faulty, and buggy," it also promises "The correct and proper Shareware build will be up very soon." Yes this is not the first project around here called EpiCenter, or event the first Quake editor with that name, so please keep your scorecard handy to avoid confusion.

Crack Investment  [3:14 AM EDT]
Dave "ddt" Taylor, Crack dot Com prez, updated his .plan with news that Crack is looking for an investor:

Crack is looking for an investor. To those not already aware, we are a small, tight, trail-blazing game developer, and we are looking for a serious investor to help provide our next title, Golgotha, with a stronger development budget. Golgotha already has about $1M invested in it, considerable pre-awareness, and we are using a solid business model for maximizing long-term company profits. If interested, give me a write at ddt@crack.com, and we can schedule a personal demo of Golgotha and overview of the company. Thank you.

Overclocking the K6-2  [3:14 AM EDT]
This Cyrellis 3D article goes into great detail on the science of overclocking K6 CPU's, and how well the new AMD K6-2 chips overclock. Thanks Billy "Underclocker" Wilson, head extremist at Voodoo Extreme (if you blow up your machine overclocking it, tell Billy about it).

Reckoning, X-24, K6, Unreal Reviews  [2:31 AM EDT]
Quake II: The Reckoning is reviewed on protQuake, and the Quantum3D Obsidian2 X-24 is reviewed on the Crack House. Also, Computer Heaven has the aftermath of their review of AMD's new K6 offering in 3D Now Revisited, as well as an editorial about CPU advances called Diminishing Returns. Finally (for now), ZENtropy reviews Unreal.

RIVA Tweaks  [2:31 AM EDT]
As always, tweak at your own risk, but at a glance it looks like the RIVA Tweaks on Dan's Page is a good one stop shop to get top performance and picture quality out of a RIVA 128.

Another CPL Sponsor  [2:31 AM EDT]
The Cyberathlete Professional League has announced that Logitech WingMan Entertainment is now a sponsor of the CPL.

iCON  [2:31 AM EDT]
A reminder if you're meandering through Collinsville, IL between the 12th and the 14th, you'll have a chance to catch iCON, hyped as the "Largest MidWest LAN Competition."

bluebar.jpg (1109 bytes)
Quake/Quake II Mods

Expert TeamSounds  [2:31 AM EDT]
The Expert Quake page has a sound pack that can be used with an unannounced feature of EQ 2.1 a system that allows players to send pre-recorded audio  messages to teammates. There are two types of TeamAudio messages: Team-Wide messages and Short Range messages, which only go to nearby teammates.

New Erased Launcher  [2:31 AM EDT]
Version 1.3 of the Erased Launcher Eraser Bot front-end is out.

Doom2 - Eternal Deathmatch  [2:31 AM EDT]
Eternal Deathmatch is a new Doom2 DM release from TeamTNT. Thanks Prophet.

Image of the Day  [2:31 AM EDT]
Been a while for the image du jour, but here's we have a worthy image of the day titled Piece of Quake posted on Quake2CTF.Com.

Out of the Blue
It's a fine line between gratitude and crowing: Thanks for all the kind words about the counter ticking off another million yesterday: You may have noticed as the visits tick off faster I don't really make note of the counter rolling over anymore (though having said that I do have something to comment on next time it happens, no big deal, but you'll see). Similarly, Billy and I kept joking about no longer posting plugs for the Internet Websites Top 100, but having hit #1 again, it would have seemed ungrateful to not thank everyone that voted this week. Having done that, however, I will just leave the mentions of that list alone and give someone else a shot at the top spot (it's a bit much to devote an Out of the Blue to it on a weekly basis). On the subject of my rambles, I got lots of responses to my AOL/ICQ editorial yesterday, all positive, (none negative!), interesting since a couple of people predicted I would be buried in flames. BTW, for the record, the ICQ page has a lengthy update on the subject (thanks Aaron), along with this quote that attempts to reassure:

Because AOL has asked us to continue to run the service exactly as before, we don't intend to make any changes in our policies. We will continue to offer the software and the service exactly under the same terms and conditions as before (time limited free beta). And of course, you will still be able to use ICQ No matter who your ISP is, or where you live.

Tuesday, June 9, 1998

New JailBreak  [11:22 PM EDT]
Version 2.2 of JailBreak for Quake II is out. This is a server-only release that addresses the team 0 cheating bug, and adds a new "sv_newjb" variable that servers can set to enable bleeding edge JB features that are being tested but are not part of the standard JailBreak.

Contest Update  [11:22 PM EDT]
Response to Twisted Edge Games contest (mentioned here) to give away the Quantum 3D Obsidian2 board certainly sparked interest, enough to bust their bandwidth, so you may have to wait a bit to enter as they splice more copper over there.

Diablo & Tex Murphy Patches  [11:22 PM EDT]
Diablo version 1.05 (1.4 MB) and Tex Murphy Overseer version 1.2 (750 KB), word on both courtesy of that honey roasted webmaster at the honey roasted Voodoo Extreme.

Prax War Screenshots  [9:31 PM EDT]
There are a pair of new screenshots from Rebel boat Rocker's upcoming 3D shooter Prax War over on BoatRocker.com. Also, RBR's Randy "DuvalMagic" Pitchford updated his .plan with some of the text for a preliminary design document he wrote for Prax War about a year ago. The update gives a sense of the gameplay focusing on "Game Puzzles and Game Skills."

Descent FreeSpace Patch  [9:18 PM EDT]
Volition has released the version 1.01 patch for Descent FreeSpace, available here courtesy of the fine gents at 3dfx Mania. The patch has been available for a day or two on the game's FreeSpace Launcher (the "Update FreeSpace" button). Here is a local copy (855 KB), courtesy of GamesNET's anti-bacterial FTP.

Messiah-Engine Licensing  [7:53 PM EDT]
Interplay Productions has announced that it will license the Real-Time Tessellation and Deformation (RT-DAT) engine currently under development by Interplay subsidiary Shiny Entertainment for their upcoming cherubic 3D game "Messiah."  No announcement has been made on any specific licensing deals. Messiah is currently slated for a Spring 1999 release. Thanks Lorien at Gamer's Alliance.

Unreal Add-on Not Real?  [7:53 PM EDT]
The word on the "authorized" Unreal add-on posted yesterday on the Creative Carnage site has been pulled.  Thanks John Callaham.

John Romero Interview  [7:11 PM EDT]
ION Storm's site mentions an interview with John Romero conducted by Fargo at E3 posted on StormTroopers.

EverQuest Movie  [7:11 PM EDT]
EverQuest.com has a new QuickTime movie available for download that shows off some to the gameplay of EverQuest, the massive online RPG due out the second half of this year. Thanks to the ever-vigilant Billy Wilson at Voodoo Extreme.

The SpecOps Sequels  [6:48 PM EDT]
More info on the sequels to SpecOps (first mentioned here last week) is up in a GameSpot blurb that gives word on a mission pack, in addition to SpecOps2:

An expansion pack for SpecOps: Rangers Lead the Way, the first title, will be released in October. It will contain three new missions as well as a multiplayer module. Panasonic is reportedly looking at an online distribution angle for the add-on.

SpecOps: The Green Berets, the sequel, is set for release in late 1999. Little has been revealed about the game, but it is Zombie Interactive's intention to feature as many special forces simulations with its engine as possible.

Carmageddon II Shots  [5:57 PM EDT]
There are four new Carmageddon II screenshots on Gamer's Alliance, along with a description of this in-progress car carnage game that indeed makes it sound like it will be banned in at least as many places as the original.

Max Payne, FFVII Previews  [5:57 PM EDT]
Prophet sends word that PC Games E3 Report on Max Payne is up, as well as a Final Fantasy VII preview on GamesDomain.

Stingray 2  [2:55 PM EDT]
Operation 3Dfx has word on the just announced Hercules Stingray 2 line of Voodoo2 accelerators, which include a single-board SLI model, previously only seen in Quantum3D's Obsidian2 line. Here's a quote:

Francesco Calpini send some more information about the new Hercules Stingray/2. It seems there will be three different versions:

Voodoo2 single 12 MB
Voodoo2 single 12 MB w/TV out (available 2 weeks later)
Voodoo2 SLI 24 MB SINGLE PCI SLOT (something like Obsidian... but MUCH cheaper!)

On each of these cards , each Voodoo2 chip will have it's own private cooling fan. (Yes, that makes three fans for the 12Mb boards)

Prey Video  [1:37 PM EDT]
The Prey Video shown off at E3 is up on the Apogee/3D Realms website in MPG format. Here is a local copy (15.8 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's April-fresh FTP.

Unreal in Europe  [1:37 PM EDT]
Unreal.Org is reporting that Unreal is finally showing up on store shelves in Europe.

QWar2NET for Quake II  [11:27 AM EDT]
Shadowgate productions has released version 0.7 of Qwar2NET, a Quake II mod that adds real-time strategy elements to the action of deathmatch. The new release fixes the single-player map bug and a problem running under Windows NT.

Obsidian2 & Voodoo2 Giveaways  [11:27 AM EDT]
A couple of contests promoting Voodoo2-mania: Twisted Edge Games has a contest where they're giving away one of those Quantum3D Obsidian2 X-24 single slot SLI Voodoo2 mamas. Thanks SoulTaker. Also, PC Fan's Quake 2/Unreal Level Design Contest is offering two Best Data Arcade FX II 3Dfx Voodoo2 boards for the best Quake II and Unreal recreations of the Doom2 deathmatch level Downtown.

More Voodoo2-ness  [11:27 AM EDT]
Word is that shipments have begun on Quantum3D's Obsidian2 boards like the X-24 mentioned above (thanks Lorien at Gamer's Alliance for the press release), and the Canopus Pure3D II LX (thought he Pure 3D II's may be a trickle at this point). Also, thanks to Billy at Voodoo Extreme for word that Diamond and Compaq have announced that the Monster 3D II will be offered in the Presario 5630.

More Linkage  [11:27 AM EDT]
On the subject of Quake link pages (mentioned earlier), I'm reminded that a primary focus of Focus on Quake is Quake links.

Win95 PERMEDIA2 Drivers  [10:42 AM EDT]
There are new Win95 PERMEDIA2 Drivers up on this 3Dlabs drivers page. Thanks Mauler.

On the Intel Suit  [9:11 AM EDT]
Intel Complaint Stretches Antitrust Law is a TechWeb article on the FTC's lawsuit against Intel, and this page outlines several TechWeb articles on the subject. The ZD anchordesk has a story up called FTC Nabs Intel. Here's What It Means to You. Intel lawsuit may be flawed is a News.Com article on the subject, and in response from Intel are Reuters press releases saying Intel says FTC complaint misinterprets law, and Intel chief plays down impact of FTC suit.

New Lithium II for Quake II  [9:11 AM EDT]
Version 1.02 of the Lithium II mod for Quake II is out. Lithium is a server-side deathmatch mod where almost every option it provides can be configured or turned off altogether. The mod's features include Runes; an improved HUD; damage, speed, and radius adjustable for all weapons; a grappling hook; a chasecam; player ID; safety time period for player spawns; a no camp option; options to kick chat and kill flooders; IP banning; min and max ping requirements; VWep support, GSLog frag logging (Gibstats Log Standard), and the proverbial more.

Clan TF  [9:11 AM EDT]
Sinth's TeamFortressPage is home to a project they call Clan TF 3.0, basically a variation on TeamFortress for Quake that departs from the official TF at version 2.7 by changing some features to enhance fair competition. The new release is not in any way affiliated with TeamFortress Software, but the Clan TF authors hope it becomes the standard for clan matches.

Quake2Link  [9:11 AM EDT]
With Slipgate Central down for its temporary repairs for a quarter-year and counting, Quake2LINK has been created to provide gamers with a searchable resource to find that elusive Quake-related weblink.

MechWarrior 3 Preview & More  [9:11 AM EDT]
There's a MechWarrior 3 preview on Games.Net that gives a report from E3 on FASA's & MicroProse's latest installment in their Mech combat franchise. Thanks Voodoo Extreme. Also on the p/review scene are GameZilla's Unreal review, PlayNOW's Sin preview; PlayNOW's Forsaken review; and PlayNOW's Incoming review (thanks FrenZon at riot.com.au). Also, here's GameStats review of Quake 2: The Reckoning and a review of AMD's K6-2 is up on Cyrellis 3D. Finally, this PlanetQuake Review of the Moritz SideKick describes foot-pedal controllers that can be mapped to joystick inputs adding a couple of controls for some users, as well as what sounds like a reasonable option as an alternative input for handicapped gamers.

Unreal Comics  [9:11 AM EDT]
This User Friendly Comic and this one have some fun at the expense of Unreal. Thanks FrenZon at riot.com.au.

No Backups is Stoop-id  [9:11 AM EDT]
The guys at the satirical Stoop-id Software lost their site when QuestGate crashed this weekend, and are hoping someone can send them a cached copy to get them back on their feet.

Green Ribbon Article  [9:11 AM EDT]
I am among those quoted in an article posted in Salon Magazine that profiles the Quake Green Ribbon campaign and examines its impact.

Jim Nitchals R.I.P.  [9:11 AM EDT]
From John Romero's .plan:

An Apple II legend, Jim Nitchals, died last Friday night of a brain hemorrhage.

I was SO looking forward to finally meeting him at the massive Apple II party in August.

He will be well remembered. Follow the links:

http://www.dadgum.com/glist/updates.html

http://pw2.netcom.com/~nitchals/about.html

MacQuakeWorld  [1:22 AM EDT]
MacQuakeWorld version 2.21 is up on the Westlake Interactive website, both a new client, and server. Here are local copies of the server (161 KB) and the client (1.3 MB), courtesy of GamesNET's ozone-friendly FTP. Thanks Greg Potts.

3Dfx Cool  [1:22 AM EDT]
There's a 3dfxcool review up on Matt's Hardware Page taking a look at this two fanned cooler that can be used for Voodoo2 boards, as well as any other PCI/ISA card you are worried is running hot.

Out of the Blue
I see AOL's purchase of ICQ is now official, Steve Case and my old boss, ex-MTV wunderkind Bob Pittman are quoted heavily in the announcement talking about AOL's plans to "Accelerate ICQ's Development as Major Web Portal with New Features and Functionality," which obviously means they plan to suck all the usefulness right out of it. The thing that I see most people reacting to is the idea that the free ride would be over soon (like this GamesMania editorial), but it seems to me that that was the point of the sale all along. I don't believe Mirabilis, ICQ's creators, were ever going to find a way to get the golden eggs out of the goose and make ICQ a service that generated them an income, in spite of the potential that its user-base represents (ever get one of those horrified petitions asking you to tell Mirabilis that you won't ever pay a dime for ICQ?). Instead they made their profit by making ICQ's profitability AOL's headache. I have no doubts AOL has grand plans for how to get the golden eggs from the goose, in fact, I think I can hear the carving knife being sharpened right now...

Monday, June 8, 1998

FreeSpace FAQ  [10:16 PM EDT]
Here's the Unofficial FreeSpace FAQ to answer all you FAQing questions about Volition's new Descent game. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme. I also see word on the Volition site that Netsquad's FreeSpace Forum is online for FreeSpace discussion.

Ask the 3Dfx Guys  [9:30 PM EDT]
In the grand traditions of Ask Epic, Ask Alex, and Ask GrandMaster B, the guys over at Operation 3.D.F.X. have kicked off a couple of similar columns of their own, where questions will be posed to 3Dfx software guru Brian Bruning (askbrian@3dnews.net), and 3Dfx senior product manager Tony Tamasi (asktony@3dnews.net).

Benchmarks  [9:19 PM EDT]
Billy at VE sends along word of this page on Quantum3D's site showing how dominant the single board SLI Voodoo2-based Obsidian2 X-24 accelerator is over a range of competition using Computer Gaming World's 3D GameGauge benchmark running on a PII-400. Also, I hesitate to mention this next one because 3D Winbench98 makes me uneasy (for reasons detailed in this article on Tom's Hardware Guide), but 3Dfx's announcement that the Voodoo2 set a record as the first card to break 1000 in 3D Winbench 98 seems to highlight performance gains in Microsoft DirectX 6.0, since the results come from using a pre-production version of a new 3Dfx reference driver for DX6.

Particle Accelerator  [7:02 PM EDT]
Tireless BagPuss, the big pink cat responsible for QBS, the gaming newshound utility; Hostile, his mod team; and the just-announced project, Modwatch (details on the QBS page), has also just gotten rolling with Particle Accelerator, a new site devoted to presenting reviews...lots of reviews:

"reviews of every game we can on PC, Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 formats. Not just new games either, but every game ever released on these three systems. So if you see a game in a bargain bin somewhere, the review telling you if its any good or not can be found on these very pages."

More Grandmaster B  [6:26 PM EDT]
There's more Grandmaster B than you can shake a stick at over at Voodoo Extreme. Billy's just posted the second update today to the techie Q&A column with id's Brian Hook. From now on the column will be updated twice every other day.

FTC Sues Intel  [4:24 PM EDT]
As speculated, the US Federal Trade Commission has announced they are suing Intel over alleged monopoly abuses. Here's what Reuters says:

The Federal Trade Commission sued Intel Corp. to stop the giant maker of microprocessors from wielding its dominant market position "as a club" against computer makers, an agency official said Monday.

The agency's top litigator, William Baer, said Intel withheld key technical information from leading computer makers Digital Equipment Corp., Intergraph Corp. and Compaq Computer Corp. to stifle competition and impede innovation. "The case the commission is bringing today seeks to prevent Intel from repeating this conduct in the future," Baer said.

Baer said Intel forced the three companies to share valuable patents they held that could otherwise have led to the development of competing microprocessors.

"In at least three separate cases against three major customers, Intel used its market to cut off these customers who had asserted their own patent rights with respect to microprocessors and related technologies that rivaled Intel's technology," Baer said.

The FTC determined that Intel's dominant market share constituted a monopoly, subjecting the company's conduct to heightened scrutiny under U.S. antitrust laws.

The FTC's announcement spurred an announcement from Intergraph, who are already involved in a lawsuit with Intel themselves.

E3 Award Nominees  [4:24 PM EDT]
The voting has been tallied and the UGO E3.Net Best of Show Nominees have been posted, with the winners to be announced June 22.

Tom Hall Interview  [4:24 PM EDT]
There's a short Tom Hall interview over on 3D Alpha talking about ION Storm and Anachronox and stuff like that.

Intel Price Cuts  [4:24 PM EDT]
Billy at Voodoo Extreme posted a link to this article over on ZDNet detailing the expected price cut announcements from Intel.

Official Unreal Add-on  [1:06 PM EDT]
I saw on UnrealNation that Creative Carnage is working on the first authorized add-on for Unreal.titled Unreal: A World Gone Dead, described as a complete rework of Unreal including new levels, monsters, weapons, powerups and more.

Quake II RA2 Tournament  [1:06 PM EDT]
This 2-on-2 Quake II Rocket Arena tournament is taking sign-ups from the first 20 teams, open to all pings.

CPL Doings  [1:06 PM EDT]
The Cyberathlete Organization has announced that The Gamer's Alliance is one of the official news providers of the CPL. They have also announced that Canopus Corporation will offer the fourth prize during the upcoming CPL Tournament to take place at QuakeCon in Dallas, Texas July 23-26, again involving an endorsement deal in an upcoming online promotion, and $500 cash.

Quake II SkinView  [11:54 AM EDT]
The first version of the SkinView Mod is out. This Quake II mod, created specifically for skin designers (though many will find it useful), provides a Quake II map with a standing model to wear skins, and five levels of zoom to view them. This allows you to check out how your skin looks in the game without having to dig up an empty server and a clanmate to play clothes horse, or chase around a bot. If your system supports GL, the included map will also allow you to view your skin under a variety of lighting conditions.

KeyGrip2 Q2 CTF Movie  [10:07 AM EDT]
Clan Phase 2 and David 'crt' Wright have produced a CTF movie demonstrating the scope and power of crt's upcoming KeyGrip 2. The movie is available in a sound version (3.4 MB), which adds music, and a silent version (215 KB). The movie is smooth and seamless, with the camera switches between scenes flawless, so it seems quality Quake II movie making will likely soon be within everyone's grip (sorry). Here's a local copy of the silent version (215 KB), and a local copy of the sound version (3.4 MB) courtesy of GamesNET's cholesterol-free FTP. Here's the lowdown on the state of Quake II cinema over at KeyGrip command:

The movie was created from two separate demos which were cut/pasted  together in KeyGrip 2. The movie was recammed in the KeyGrip 2 camera studio, and effects were added to round it out. Finally, I used KeyGrip 2's easy sound editing facilities to add the background music.

KeyGrip 2 is currently in private beta. We are just waiting for Quake 2 3.16 to be released so that we can test with it. Once that testing has been completed, KeyGrip 2 will be publicly released.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

eVolution  [10:07 AM EDT]
SolarWave Development has released version 0.1 of their Quake II mod, eVolution, a server-side only mod that rewards you for living, while also rewarding frags racked up in a single lifetime. There are no weapons to pick up, only the standard powerups, health, and armor, and you spawn with 200 Health/Armor and a Blaster. Then, if you can live long enough to get two frags, you get a Shotgun, three frags, the SSG, and so on up the line.

CTFBot+  [10:07 AM EDT]
Version 06/06/98 of CTFBot+, the bot that can fill your CTF game faster than dorm room T1 access, is out on the CTFBot+ and CTFBot Coordinator page.

LOC CTF Map Pack  [10:07 AM EDT]
The venerable League of Capture has released Loc map pak v1.0, a joint QuakeWorld and NetQuake pack described as "the latest, the best, and the freshest maps that CTF has seen to date."

The Sounds of Loki's Minions  [10:07 AM EDT]
Flag Noise, the home of sound add-on packs for Loki's Minions has a new home on Captured, and to celebrate, they have posted a preliminary version of their Terminator 2 sound pack. If you are a lawyer (look into my eyes)...this is not a copyright problem...move  along...these are not the droids you're looking for.

C.R.bot = R.I.P.bot?  [10:07 AM EDT]
Word on the CRbot page is that work will probably not continue on the popular CRbot for Quake II, citing "lack of time and interest." Word from author Mike Malakhov is that he may get back to it when he has more time.

Myscha Interview  [9:18 AM EDT]
Unreal level designer T. Elliot Cannon, AKA Myscha the Sled Dog is interviewed over on Processed News. The conversation tends towards editing, and includes tips on how to avoid common problems in creating Unreal levels.

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Unreal Mods
Mods, mod, whatever:

Battle Cows  [9:18 AM EDT]
Living up to their name, Oddities has released the first version of their new Unreal modification, Battle Cows (14 KB) which puts the fighting spirit into the Nali Cows, normally your typically peaceful bovines. Saw that on UnrealNation. Here's a local copy (14 KB) courtesy of GamesNET's minty-fresh FTP.

John Carmack's Quake 3 Update  [3:37 AM EDT]
John Carmack updated his .plan with the first announced changes for Quake 3 from Quake II other than he graphics. He starts off with an explanation of how mouse input will be handled differently in Quake 3, and goes on to talk of how Internet play will also be changed in Quake 3 (this is an excerpt of the full .plan):

I have also concluded that the networking architecture for Quake 2 was just not the right thing. The interpolating 10 hz server made a lot of animation easier, which fit with the single player focus, but it just wasn't a good thing for internet play.

Quake 3 will have an all new entity communication mechanism that should be solidly better than any previous system. I have some new ideas that go well beyond the previous work that I did on QuakeWorld.

Its tempting to try to roll the new changes back into Quake 2, but a lot of them are pretty fundamental, and I'm sure we would bust a lot of important single player stuff while gutting the network code.

(Yes, we made some direction changes in Quake 3 since the original announcement when it was to be based on the Quake 2 game and networking with just a new graphics engine)

The Eraser Lives  [1:19 AM EDT]
Ridah updated the Impact Development Team page addressing a rumor about the Eraser's demise:

It appears I have been quoted as saying:

"I am not working on the Eraser anymore, and cannot put in new AI to suit other games, as a result"

While this is not entirely correct, in that I will be working on Eraser until it reaches v1.0, it is somewhat correct in that am not able to add any major features, like support for other mods.

I thought this would have been pretty clear from my previous posts, and the fact that I have released the source code, but it appears that is not the case.

To the person that posted this email publicly, I ask that you stop by at your nearest gas station, your brain is deflating.

Speaking of Eraser development, I've spent some time fixing some minor issues in the AI, and preparing the next release. All I need now is a linux compile, and v0.992 will be good to go. I do hope to get v1.0 done real soon, maybe next weekend.

g.o.d. and Half-Life get Demented  [1:12 AM EDT]
On the June 8th Daily Dementia TC gets in the face of Valve's Greg Coomer talking about Half-Life, g.o.d.'s Mike Wilson, David Koon talking about Motocross Madness, and Steven Rippy discussing Age of Empires II. It's all from the floor of E3, it's all brought to you via RealAudio, and it's all, as the name suggests, demented.

Q2 Editing - QBSP3, QVIS3, and Map-Making  [1:12 AM EDT]
qbsp3, qvis3, and map-making is an article that attempts to explain the impact on a level the utilities that turn .map files into .bsp files have.

Out of the Blue
Had a decidedly low-tech weekend, chopping wood (down Beavis!) at my dad's out in the country. Billy Wilson wanted to know what I knew in advance that prompted the vacation on what turned out to be an especially slow news weekend (the answer, of course, being dumb luck). The weekend was about as peaceful as can be imagined, so I probably couldn't have stood another moment of it. BTW, Blue's News tops the pop charts over at the World Charts Foundation's Internet Websites Top 100 for a second week! Thanks again to all that voted, your Hickory Farms baskets (complete with Summer Sausage®) are in the mail as promised.

Sunday, June 7, 1998

Unreal Lag Fix?  [9:02 PM EDT]
3 Fingers of 3 Fingers' & Heron's Stuff sends along an Unreal batch file (2 KB) designed to help reduce lag by capping your framerate. Here are some notes:

Unlike Quake2, Unreal has no built in command to limit the framerate. This can cause high ping, freezing gameplay and packet loss during Internet gameplay. Your framerate can vary greatly during gameplay.

The included batch files will work fine if you use Gamespy to start Unreal for multiplayer games. If you don't want to use Gamespy to start Unreal then you MUST remove the "%1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9" from the batch file command line. So all you would have in the last line of the batch file is: unreal.exe

Prax War Screenshot  [8:22 PM EDT]
BoatRocker.com has a screenshot form RBR's upcoming Prax War that they apparently smuggled out of Sweden at the risk of life and limb.

Game-O-Rama: FFVII PC Gold, Diablo II Movie  [8:22 PM EDT]
A Next-Generation Online report says the PC version of Final Fantasy VII may have gone gold already, and quotes a source at Eidos saying “The game will be on store shelves no later than June 22" (thanks paranrml). Also, DiabloII.Com has posted an exclusive 2 minute MPG of Diablo II in action.

Anachrochat Log  [8:22 PM EDT]
Word is that Iontroopers has a log of the Anachronox chat session the other night, but the site is inaccessible at the moment, so I'm taking it on faith.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

DemoPlay  [8:22 PM EDT]
Version 1.2 of Demoplay is out, allowing you to launch Quake demos by double-clicking them in Win95. Quake II support is promised soon.

GSLogMod II  [8:22 PM EDT]
Now available fixing problems with Quake II 3.15 is version 1.3a of GSLogMod II.

Bot Front-ends  [8:22 PM EDT]
New releases: Version 2.12 of Quick Start - Eraser Bot Wizard. Version 1.6 of Bot Johnny. Version 1.80 of the Eraser Bot Launcher. Version 3.3 the Eraser Frontend (EFE). Erased Launcher version 1.2.

More Gore  [7:54 PM EDT]
There's a new Gore screenshot and a Gore update up on the 4D Rulers Homepage.

Oh Shuga  [7:54 PM EDT]
Looks like VRGN has gone into the Shuga Shack, taking their sites, like the Shuga Shack with it. Check out sCary's for word on how you can help out, the boy will work for food (or something).

Valve Chat Log, TeamFortress AVI  [7:40 PM EDT]
HalfLife.Net  has some valve goodies online, an edited chat log from the IRC session the other night, here's a slightly edited version, and another more edited version from The DOME. HL.Net has also posted some exclusive (so I guess I won't link it here) stuff: a TeamFortress movie, a 360° AVI of the Medium Infantry, and a co-op screenshot. Also, Valve level designer DRiller is grilled in a Contaminated Dave Riller Interview. Finally, Valveworld is online serving all your Valve-oriented news needs.

Robs the Rogue Interview  [7:40 PM EDT]
Will the mystery guest sign in: "My name is Robert Selitto, I'm from New Jersey. My current title at Rogue Entertainment is level designer." Intrigued? Who wouldn't be... read more in an intimate conversation with Robs.

Out of the Blue
Back in the Saddle. Lemme catch up a bit and post some news.

Saturday, June 6, 1998

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All rights reserved. Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Heaslip