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Friday, April 3, 1998

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Hot Releases

Headlines

Hot Releases
BattleZone Patch
Dominion Demo
Dungeon Keeper D3D Patch
FAQs (Updated)
Quake 3 FAQ
Voodoo 2 Doodoo
Official Hexen II FAQ
Unofficial Heretic 2 FAQ
Technology
ICQ
CL Voodoo2 Bundle (Updated)
Stealth II S220 Drivers
Intense 3D 100 BIOS
3D Card Focus
People (Updated)
John Romero Interview
Mark Dochtermann Interview
Topical?
Portal Patch
Half-Life Release Date
Display Doctor
ION Chat
UK Master Servers
Bot Extravaganza
Monolith - Microsoft Split
Go for the (TombRaider) Gold
Quake II Releases
Chaos Deathmatch
Bot Front-ends
Boba Fett Model
Editing
Ask the Authors
'scuze Me While Kiss the Sky
Competitions
Q2 Clan CTF Tourney
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

Hot stuff, though not a first-person shooter in the bunch:

BattleZone Patch
Activision has released a patch to update BattleZone to version 1.01. Saw that on PsychoNews.

Dominion Demo
For the real-time strategy crowd, ION and Eidos have released the Dominion demo (after a false alarm this afternoon, where it was posted and pulled). Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Dungeon Keeper D3D Patch
I pointed out EA's Dungeon Keeper D3D patch, I'm told I'm just catching up on old news, sorry.

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FAQs (Updated)
Remember, your answer must be in the form of a question:

Quake 3 FAQ
I see on PQ that there's another Quake 3 FAQ underway (here's the first).

Voodoo 2 Doodoo
Billy from Voodoo Extreme sent along Larry Moody's Updated Voodoo 2 Game FAQ, in Word format, which gives the lowdown on what games work with the Voodoo2.

Official Hexen II FAQ
Version 1.75 of the Official Hexen II FAQ up on HexenWorld containing new info about HexenWorld and the Portal of Praevus mission pack.

Unofficial Heretic 2 FAQ
Likewise, an update to the Unofficial Heretic 2 FAQ on Heretic II News brings it up to version .005. BTW, unrelated to the FAQ, but related nonetheless, if you have comments or suggestions about Heretic II for Raven, you can send them to heretic2@mail.ravensoft.com.

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Technology

ICQ
I saw on Redwood's that a new ICQ98 version 1.2 is available (here's the Tucows directory he pointed out).

CL Voodoo2 Bundle (Updated)
Creative Labs' has announced their 3D Blaster Voodoo2 12MB/8MB software bundle on their European site (thanks Tony Chang). Word from a Creative Labs USENET post is they will also offer the bundle to US customers and will annouce the details on the web Monday (thnaks Randy).

Stealth II S220 Drivers
Version: 4.10.01.0104 of the drivers for the Diamond Stealth II S200 are up on the Diamond Stealth II S220 Drivers page. Thanks VorpalKreep.

Intense 3D 100 BIOS
A new version 1.05 BIOS for the Vérité1000-based Intergraph Intense 3D 100 is up on the Intense 3D 100 Support page. Thanks ChainSaw.

3D Card Focus
Voodoo Extreme has a concise look at specs of three upcoming 3D cards that are vying for your Dollars (Francs, Yen, etc.), the PVRNG, , the MGA-G200, and the RIVA TNT.

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People (Updated)

John Romero Interview
John Romero is interviewed on The Razor Edge.

Mark Dochtermann Interview
Sin programmer Mark Dochtermann answers some interview questions over on HardCorps SiN News.

Topical?
A bunch of not necessarily on-topic updates: On the Dallas racing scene: John Carmack gives the rundown of another one of those nerve-wracking drag-race sessions in his .plan, as did Disruptor (who gets extra credit for visual aids). All this inspired Brain Hook to check in with an edition of Car Talk, and a follow-up. Disruptor also offers a StarCraft reaction.

Portal Patch
There's a version 1.12a patch for the Hexen II mission pack, Portal of Praevus up on Activision's Hexen II page. You do not need to patch (unpatched clients and servers can coexist), but the patch will fix the following problems: Game Crashed in Skill Level 4, Added Item Respawning in Skill 4, Tibet10 Did Not Circulate, Paladin's Axe Sometimes Crashed, Tibet 9 Breaking Floor Was Rather Hard If You Didn't Jump Off In Time, Dropped Items on Tibet 10 Would Respawn, Some Pentacles Could Cause Error, Dropped Mana Would Always Respawn, and the GL Model Glitch Solved.

Half-Life Release Date
René Valen noticed that the Half-Life release date on Sierra On-Line's website has been changed from April to early June. Also (ready for this?) on the H-L front, stay tuned for more from me on Half-Life this very day (or a really choice excuse in its place--okay, let me hedge right now: tomorrow at the latest <g>).

Display Doctor
Version 6.51 of SciTech Display Doctor is out, like 6.5 promising support for "just about every graphics card ever made", "the first and only universal display driver for Windows 95", and support for DirectDraw games. thanks Ant.

ION Chat
A reminder that tonight at 8:00 PM (Central Time) is the monthly Anachronox chat, accessible though www.ionstorm.com with your web browser, or IRC client (#ion). Thanks Prophet. Also, word is that the eager masses awaiting today's planned release of the demo of Dominion, ION's real-time strategy offering will be populating that same IRC channel all day. Thanks StormTroopers.

UK Master Servers
Sometime midday today the UK Quake master servers will go offline for maintenance (more details are on Minos Games Ltd.). They should return by around midnight (GMT) tonight at the following new IP addresses:

Q1 qwmaster.minos.co.uk, 195.153.47.60:27000
Q2 q2master.minos.co.uk, 195.153.47.60:27900

Bot Extravaganza
OGR has an article online taking a look at the world of AI opponents: Bots, examining the CR Bot 1.06, Eraser Bot 0.86, Famke Bot Version 4, Oak II Bot .2, Stupid Bot v1.02x, Secant Bot 1.25, and Ace Bot .06.

Monolith - Microsoft Split
An article on PC Gamer News describes a split between Microsoft, who funded the development of DirectEngine, and Monolith, in the midst of a couple of DirectEngine projects . The article describes Monolith paying MS an "undisclosed sum" for the rights to both DirectEngine, and Riot: Mobile Armor, one of their DirectEngine games (no word on how this affects Blood 2, also being developed by Monlith using D.E.). The agreement leaves Monolith without a publisher for Riot, and they are said to be considering self-publishing among their future options.

Go for the (TombRaider) Gold
Word from the crack staff over at JediKnight.Net is Eidos is offering the four new levels from Tomb Raider Gold as a free download for owners of the original game. Info can be found on GameCenter's Upgrades Patches Add-Ons section.

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Quake II Releases

Chaos Deathmatch
Version 0.1b of the Chaos Deathmatch patch for Quake II is out on their newly relocated homepage, fixing the "lasers stay on all the time" bug. Thanks Prophet.

Bot Front-ends
Alpha 1.1 of the Quick Start Eraser Bot Wizard is out, and  version 0.4 of Bot Johnny is now available (and the page now really does work under Netscape).

Boba Fett Model
A new Boba Fett plug-in player model for Quake II by Dan Bickell is one of the models available from the newly re-opened Q2PMP.

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Editing

Ask the Authors
TerraFusion has a new installment of questions and answers on level design posed to the pros. This edition asks hard questions about the trade-offs to be made between visual effects and framerates in map design, with answers from authorities such as Levelord, Kenn Hoekstra, Paul Jaquays, Randy Pitchford, Eric Biessman, and John Romero.

'scuze Me While Kiss the Sky
Slaughtered sends along a recommendation of a shareware program called Universe Image Creator that can easily make starry sky backgrounds that may be of interest to level authors.

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Competitions

Q2 Clan CTF Tourney
The Aiel Invitational Tourney is a 32 clan, single-elimination Quake II CTF competition looking to add a few more clans before they get underway.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
Whatever happened to the damn MailBag? Here you go, with a couple of reactions to the worlds biggest Quake screenshot from the other day.

Thursday, April 2, 1998

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QuakeCast

Headlines

QuakeCast
PingTool
GL Hexen II Fix
Quake II Releases (Updated)
Loki's Minions
Tectonic
JailBreak
Entropy
ServerConfigMOD 2
Quake 3 Requirements
UberEngine
Technology
Creative Labs DirectX
DirectEngine Update
New Netscape
Opinions
Most Wanted
A Female Perspective
*reviews
Wheel of Time
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

Tonight on QuakeCast, at 8:00 PM Eastern (RealPlayer required), we will talk to Talon from Talon's Strike & Jeff Yost from Ramshackle about level review, and Dave from Tsunami Tech Home to talk about their random map generator for Quake II. If we get time, Joost says I can grill him publicly about his booking three out of three guests from PlanetQuake sites. Also, another (unrelated) audio show, Smoke Break, has a new esisiode on line as well.

PingTool
Version 2.0 of PingTool is out of beta, and now available, offering complete HexenWorld support. Also, on the server browser front, the GameSpy 3D page has word on the status of GameSpy 2.0, edging ever closer to public beta.

GL Hexen II Fix
There's word up on HexenWorld on how to fix whacked-out models in GL Hexen by deleting the "\data1\glhexen" and "Portals\glhexen" subdirectories (GLQuake users may be familiar with this workaround from fixing models in add-ons using a similar technique).

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Quake II Releases (Updated)

Loki's Minions
Version 3.01 of LM CTF is out, fixing the CL_ParseMessage error on servers with more than 12 players. Saw that on Quake2.co.uk.

Tectonic
Version 1.0 of the Tectonic Quake2 Launcher is out with improved Eraser bot support and other enhancements.

JailBreak
Version 1.7b of the JailBreak server (clients can sit tight on this one) is out, fixing a few bugs. Saw that on Captured.Com.

Entropy
Version 0.99b of Entropy for Quake II is available, as both a client, and server-side update. The new version features rings: limited time power-ups.

ServerConfigMOD 2
An update DM version of ServerConfigMOD 2 is out, fixing bugs that prevent frag-logging and weapon banning from working properly. Thanks Ben_Dover.

Quake 3 System Requirements
Brian Hook updated his .plan with a response for those who feel Quake 3's system requirements seem steep. It's a lengthy update well worth reading in full. Here's a big excerpt:

"...We are not purposefully and maliciously excluding people with P5/133 processors and PowerVR PCX2 accelerators, but we are faced with an age old dilemma - how do we offer something better to the people with pimped out systems without completely ruling out the large market with older systems?

The easy answer?  We don't.   Q3 will be released during a major transition point for the entire PC industry -- the transition from crap 3D acceleration to ubiquitous good 3D acceleration...."

"...We are stressing scalability a LOT, so we do want to have acceptable performance across a wide range of accelerators.   Really fast accelerators should be able to run Q3 with real nice looking graphics at higher resolutions and with deeper color depths; older ones will run at an acceptable frame rate and with reduced features.

There's no such thing as a free lunch.  If you want better graphics (Q3 is essentially Q2 + better graphics), then you have to pay the price in required performance.  There's no dodging that bullet...."

"Another thing....

People have complained that I'm endorsing the TNT without having tested it, showing an "obvious bias".   This irks me to no end, since I specifically said I'm not endorsing it or even recommending it -- we don't have one, so I can't say if it rocks, sucks, or lies somewhere in between.  The only reason I've mentioned the TNT and not rumored upcoming products from Rendition, 3Dfx, et. al. is because the TNT is the only _announced_ product that has great specs.  NVidia is far from alone when it comes to cool new products coming out in the next 12 months, but TNT is the only chip I can comment on because it is the only one of the batch of next generation chips to be announced.

When Rendition and 3Dfx announce their next generation products, I'm sure I'll have something to say then too."

UberEngine
Ritual's Gary McTaggart officially let the cat out of the bag in his .plan about the UberEngine screenshot April Fool's joke from yesterday. As  I mentioned in "Out of the Blue" this was the winner of the day, as I had several people argue that it was real, and it was widely posted as news. The cool thing is that the features they listed for the UberEngine are real:

A few of the features in UberEngine:

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Technology

Creative Labs DirectX
This Press Release details plans for a new set of DirectX extensions for 3D audio to be developed by Creative Labs in conjunction with Microsoft and QSound. Thanks Tony on Yahoo.

DirectEngine Update
I guess I should have been clearer that the DirectEngine demo is for developers and the like: it is not a game, and it's probably not going to be that big a thrill for most people. Towards that end, Monolith is limiting the number of unlock codes they are distributing. Here is the post on the Direct Engine Forum that relates to brand coding. My apologies if my post sent you off for a large download for no purpose.

New Netscape
Version 4.05 of Netscape Communicator is now available. Thanks Ant (click his link if you want to give your browser a headache). Long time readers may note that this may have formerly been considered off-topic here, but this categorization dealie adds a little leeway (and I presume that everyone reading this uses a browser of some sort).

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Opinions

Most Wanted
I saw on Unreal Nation that a new OGR's Reader's Top 10 Most Anticipated Games is online, with Unreal in the top spot, and Quake 3 jumping from off the board to #2.

A Female Perspective
This PCWorld Gamebeat column is a refreshing editorial on the popular topic of females in the male-dominated market of computer gaming from a gamer's perspective (don't go calling her a "girl gamer").

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*reviews

Wheel of Time
There's a whopping big preview of Wheel of Time, the genre-busting Unreal-engine first-person action/fantasy-RPG title, up on OGR, featuring a conversation with the game's lead designer, Glen Dahlgren and lengthy background on the book series that inspired the project.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
Pretty funny living through April Fool's day at the newsdesk in the Blue tower, as tracking the jokes became more of a project than keeping track of the news. I think best one of the day was a certain screenshot that is still posted all over as the real goods. Worst April Fool's joke of the day? South Park. Boy did that stink.

Wednesday, April 1, 1998 A running list of April Fools Stories

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Zoid Officially "Da Man" for Q2

Headlines

Zoid da Q2 Man
Technology (Updated)
Hook on RIVA for Quake 3
DirectEngine Demo
New Engine on the New Matrox
3D Gaming API's
Quake Releases
PaintBall Map Pack
PureCTF
Quake II Releases
Loki's Minions CTF
Quake II: The Cartoon
Chaos DM
Viking
Battle of the Sexes
People
Christian Divine
*reviews
Sin
Descent: Free Space
Correction
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

John Cash made a .plan announcement declaring Zoid "da man" on Quake II:

Quake2
------
I don't recall if we've ever just come out and said it, but Zoid is now "da man" for Quake2. We're still working with him as needed of course. I'm also making sure to keep aware of what he's doing this time so we don't end up with the situation where QW had a bunch of stuff that Q2 didn't. I won't steal the thunder, but we've got some good stuff in the next version.

Quake3
------
What to say; what not to say. Hmmmm.... Unfortunately it's best not to say much right now. Just know that we have been listening, and will continue to listen, to what you all have to say.

other stuff

About the "other stuff," that tax proposal makes sense to me. I'd vote for Cash for President.

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Technology (Updated)

Hook on RIVA for Quake 3
Brian Hook made a .plan update responding to queries about potential Quake 3 performance on NVIDIA's RIVA 128, RIVA 128ZX, and RIVA TNT chipsets, speculating that the TNT has potential to be "the nearly perfect Quake 3 accelerator" if all the factors fall into place:

Someone asked me about the RIVA 128 and 128ZX and the RIVA TNT and how well they would work with Quake 3. Since Quake 3 doesn't exist yet we can't give a definitive answer, however I can say that we are aware of the RIVA 128's upside (high performance, lots of sales) and downside (various technical deficiencies). John mentioned in an earlier plan update that the RIVA will definitely be a target accelerator, although it will clearly not be a top tier accelerator for Quake 3. RIVA 128's are fast and extremely popular because of their price/performance, and so we're definitely going to have to take that market seriously. Unfortunately, it will be pretty onerous dealing with some of that hardware's, er, idiosyncracies.

The Nvidia TNT, on the other hand, could quite possibly be the nearly  perfect Quake 3 accelerator, ASSUMING that it lives up to its billed performance, doesn't miss any vital features, and ships on time with a good OpenGL driver. If all that works out, the TNT would be the one to beat, but   since we've only seen paper specs and hype so far, I'm understandably reluctant to bill it as the ultimate Quake 3 accelerator.

So in short: the RIVA128 will run Quake 3, but probably with lower performance and diminished image quality than most people will desire. The TNT _should_ be a great Quake 3 accelerator, but until it's shipping with drivers we won't know for sure. There have been many theoretically great accelerators that looked awesome on paper but failed to deliver in practice, so I'm quite a bit leery of recommending or even being enthusiastic about something that I haven't personally flogged.

DirectEngine Demo
A demo version of Direct Engine is now available for download. This demo edition of Microsoft's upcoming 3D engine (used in Monolith's upcoming Blood2 and Riot:Mobile Armor, there's a new Riot screenshot up, by the way) apparently boasts most of the features of the October build of the full blown engine except network support (an updated demo with a more current build is expected by the end of April). The demo can be downloaded after reading this post and agreeing to a EULA. Thanks PsychoNews. Be aware this is a developers demo, and not an actual game, so it's not likely to be worth the download for just play.

New Engine on the New Matrox
Here are a set screenshots showing off an upcoming game engine called the Twilight 3DGE engine on the recently announced Matrox MGA-G200 next-generation graphics card, demonstrating both the engine's and the chipset's capabilities in quite an impressive exhibition. Thanks Prophet.

3D Gaming API's
A new TechTalk column on OGR discusses 3D Gaming API's, and video cards and stuff like that there.

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Quake Releases

PaintBall Map Pack
Splat Paintball has posted a ten map PaintBall map pack.

PureCTF
Version 1.30 of Pure CTF for QuakeWorld is out.

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Quake II Releases

Loki's Minions CTF
Version 3.0 of the Loki's Minion's CTF mod for Quake II is out featuring new skins, maps, VWep support, and other coolness. Thanks Scott.

Quake II: The Cartoon
The Inner Circle has a very neat, brief, intro to a web-based animated Quake II cartoon online (major Java action). As opposed to many teases, this one has me very eager to see more.

Chaos DM
Beta 0.1a of the Chaos Deathmatch for Quake2 is out on their newly relocated homepage.

Viking
Version 0.90 of the Viking mod for Quake II is out, sporting a ton of new features, and  combining the CTF and deathmatch .dlls into one package.

Battle of the Sexes
Version 2.9.1 of Battle of the Sexes, the gender based teamplay mod for Quake II, is up on Spinoza's Quake 2 Mods Page, mostly featuring bug-fixes. Also, there's a BotS review on the The Quake II Modification Center.

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People

Christian Divine
ION Storm screenwriter Christian Divine is interviewed  (no Hugh Grant jokes, please) on TeleFragged answering 20(+) questions.

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*reviews

Sin
There's a Sin (SiN?) preview up on MeccaWorld. Thanks MostlyHarmlessFLAG.

Descent: Free Space -- The Great War
A big Descent: Free Space -- The Great War preview is up on PC Gamer offering screenshots and a trailer. Thanks Wicked (Voodoo Extreme).

Correction
crash of the fabbo crash's Quake2 pages lets me know that I was incorrect yesterday about the first user-created single player Quake II "Unit" (more than one level connected in a mission), which was apparently Station Zebo by Travis Almand.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
Sorry, I can't play along and slip April Fools jokes among the news, so you won't see Merced release announcements, Newton Quake announcements (if that one isn't a joke it should be), or Sin source code release announcements posted here, nor will you see any announcements that id is dissolving, or even announcements of id licensing the Unreal engine for Trinity II (that one was from Redwood, that wascally wabbitt--I won't name the hardcore site I saw fall for it). Temptation is also strong to post news of a high stakes Quake II mod (where you play for random .dll's in your system directory until your machine stops functioning), but I resist. Nor will I pass along word from Unreal Nation saying the official release date for Unreal will still be first half of 1998, as long as your definition of "first half" includes July and August. So there. Even it they make me laugh out loud, like the announcement that PlanetQuake has moved to Geocities (thanks Peter Lake), I won't do it. An announcement that GameSpy is reverting from shareware to freeware? Nah. Not even if they make me spit my Dr Pepper all over the keyboard like the announcement that S3 has created a super 3D chipset, will I falter. Other stories that will not be linked: Lucas Buys Star Trek License (saw that on Unreal Nation), KindaReal Ships, the UberEngine screenshot (another favorie), the Teamfortress2 Demo, the Quake2Fortress.com lawsuit, Voodoo 3 info, or any one of a half-dozen stories on GameSpot today (thanks Matt Dimmic), like their review of the turn-based strategy dud, Chess, Pope Blesses g.o.d. in Secret Ceremony, and id Quits Action for Puzzle Genre, or stories on PC Gamer like Ion Storm to License John Carmack, and Duke Nukem Sues GT Interactive, the CTF Old-Timers home, or even the PGL-CPL merger. For the record, the only April Fools joke I ever really fell for was John Romero's announcement last year that he hired onethumb to work at ION Storm (I still can't believe I fell for that... can you imagine one of the Dallas game companies hiring OT?). Happy April Fools day to all, foolish and wise.

Tuesday, March 31, 1998

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Technology (Updated)

Headlines

Technology
Obsidian2's
New SoundBlaster Drivers
Quake II Releases (Updated)
Lithium II
Atlas Phase 1
Bot Front-ends (Updated)
C.R.Bot
ServerConfigMOD
LA Quake II
Single Player Unit
Hook on 24 Bit Color
Portal of Praevus
Praevus Ships
Praevus Screenshots
Competitions (Updated)
Steed's CW Contest
PGL
PreyPoll
Unreal
Unreal Features/Requirements
Unreal Movie (Updated)
Heretic II FAQ
People
William Haskins
DuvalMagic
*reviews
Portal of Praevus
SpecOps
Lay of the LAN
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

Obsidian2's
Quantum3D sent along a press release detailing the pricing and features of their Obsidian2 line. As can be expected following the original Obsidians, these cards are high-end, starting with a 12MB PCI card, with AGP and TV out models leading up to the big-boy single board SLI cards (indeed topping out with the 24 MB beast I was pining over). As mentioned when these cards first appeared on their website the other day, the prices on these are targeted at gamers, albeit the "game extremist market" as they put it (the original Obsidians were a quantum leap in price over Voodoo cards).

New SoundBlaster Drivers
Creative Labs has released new Windows 95 drivers for the Sound Blaster 16 / SB32 / AWE32 / AWE64 on their FTP site.

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Quake II Releases (Updated)

Lithium II
Version 0.96 of Lithium II is out, adding IP banning. Version 0.97 is on the way soon too.

Atlas Phase 1
Version 1.05 of Atlas Phase 1 is out fixing a few bugs.

Bot Front-ends (Updated)
A few of these: Version 1.9 of the Eraser Front-end is up on the Industry News page, adding a manual command line feature, as well as a few bug-fixes. Version 1.5.5b of the Hot Launch bot launcher is out. Why? According to the page, "Don't even ask..." A new entry in the field is Bot Johnny (I can't read the page: I assume it's not Netscape friendly).

C.R.Bot
Version 1.08 of the C.R.Bot is out fixing a few bugs.

ServerConfigMOD
The final release of version 2.0 of the deathmatch variant of ServerConfigMOD 2 is out. Version 2.1 of the DM and CTF version are both promised this week.

LA Quake II
A Quake II 3.14 compatible beta 0.9 of the LA Quake II teamplay mod is out as an unsupported release (with no docs).

Single Player Unit
SPQ meets MPQ, as MultiPlayer Quake has posted the first (to my knowledge) set of single player maps linked together into a mission (unit), like in the single player game.

Hook on 24 Bit Color
Brian Hook updated his .plan commenting on a recent statement by 3Dfx's Brian Bruning about the impact of 24 bit to 16 bit color translation in games:

Saw Brian Bruning's comments on Voodoo Extreme, and I'd like to clarify the issue of 16-bit vs. 24-bit framebuffers with regards to id's technology. It is quite true that 16-bit dithered looks nearly as good as 24-bit graphics _for most games_. Even with GLQuake and Quake 2 the issue of 16-bit vs. 24-bit was largely irrelevant. However, with Quake 3 we plan on rendering with a LOT of passes, so the issue of framebuffer precision is amplified.

Also, he had a factual inaccuracy when he said that "*no game* has used 24-bit rendering even though Rendition supports it." Quake 2 will use whatever bit depth a particular accelerator will support -- it runs in 24/32-bit mode on Rendition V2x00 and 3DLabs Permedia 2 just fine.

Finally, his statement that "...Quake 3 will look and play incredibly on Voodoo and Voodoo 2" was not entirely accurate. We expect Quake 3 to be playable on a Voodoo, however Voodoo will define the bare minimum performance and feature set that will be acceptable for Quake 3. A Voodoo 2 should be sufficient for Quake 3 with most rendering features enabled. And a true 24/32-bit accelerator will most likely look noticeably better than a comparable Voodoo or Voodoo 2.

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Portal of Praevus

Praevus Ships
As noted on Hexenworld, today is the day that the Hexen II mission pack, Portal of Praevus ships, so you should be seeing it on store shelves in the next couple of days.

Praevus Screenshots
In celebration of Praevus going out the door, a couple of new PoP screenshots are up on Hexenworld.

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Competitions (Updated)

Steed's CW Skin Pack Contest
Steed's CW Skin Pack Contest, hosted by Redwood's  is online looking for a skin pack to dress up the CrackWhore, AKA Steed's Chick, AKA that bad lady with the gun.

PGL
The deadlines for clans to register for the teamplay bracket of the second PGL season is extended through midnight Thursday, April 2 (Pacific time).

PreyPoll
PreyPoll is running up on PreyGround gathering feedback that will go directly to the Prey team, and possibly win you some Prey doo-dads along the way.

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Unreal

Unreal Features/Requirements
GameSpot UK has posted an interview with Unreal Lead Programmer Tim Sweeney talking about the game's system requirements and a rundown of features.

Unreal Movie (Updated)
The Unreal movie recently issued on the CD with a German Gaming magazine that was posted earlier on UnrealNation and Unreal.Org has been pulled: apparently it contained some unauthorized footage. Thanks dmos-oberon.

Heretic II FAQ
The unofficial Heretic II FAQ is up to version .004, now at its new home at TeleFragged.

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People

William Haskins
ION's writer on the Storm William Haskins has the tables turned on him in an interview on StormTroopers.

DuvalMagic
Rebel Boat Rocker Randy "DuvalMagic" Pitchford is interviewed by Sgt. Hulka on VRGN.

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*reviews

Portal of Praevus
A Portal of Praevus review on the Eidolon Gamers' Society takes a look at the Hexen II mission pack. Thanks Prophet.

SpecOps
AVault has a SpecOps review online taking a look at Zombie's realistic military shooter. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Lay of the LAN
After a pretty unforgivable lapse (my apologies), the LAN parties page has been brought up to date: a noteworthy addition being the E3 UberFest '98 slated for Atlanta during E3, already boasting 150 sign-ups. Also, not many details are available yet, but the just announced TFcon '98 (the website is not yet updated) is looking for advance sign-ups for another TFCon this summer (apparently the organizers are changed from the last TFCon). For info on this TFCon contact BowDown, NBK-Mix, NULL-Rotnhed, or NULL-Novus.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
A few web anniversaries: Congrats to Unreal.Org, who will celebrate their first anniversary tomorrow. Also, loonyboi alertly points out that tomorrow is also the second anniversary of the Quake beta test at id that spawned Redwood's Quake Page. Oddly, both these notes came yesterday a short time after it occurred to me that this is more or less the second (approximate) anniversary of Blue's News (originally blue's Quake rag). Let's all head over to Carvel: Dumpy the Pumpkin is on me!

Monday, March 30, 1998

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Quake II Mods (Updated)

Headlines


Quake II Mods
JailBreak
Lithium (Again)
Orange
Oak II
Eraser Bot
Chaos Deathmatch
Q2Ring
Heretic II Screenshots
Sin Release Clarificaton
People
Mark Dochtermann Interview
Prey for a Day
Alex Quintana Interview
Technology
DirectX 6 Preview
Voodoo2 Review
Unreal: Game of the Year?
HexenWorld Update
Blood FAQ
TeamFortress Tunes
Editing
Natural Terrain in Quake II
*views
Battle of the Sexes
Dominion Preview
Editorials
Returning Fire
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

JailBreak
Version 1.7 of JailBreak is out, as a new Windows or Linux server pack and an upgrade for an existing 1.5 clients (1.6 was server only). Thanks Slipgate. Also available on the JailBreak page are the five new JailBreak maps, which will probably be required to connect to a lot of JB servers. The new version has the now near universal VWep support, and a new "CTF style" scoreboard.

Lithium (Again)
Version 0.95 of the Lithium Mod for Quake II is out (very hot on the heels of 0.94 which was kind of busted) offering a few visible fixes as well as changes "under the hood" to the mod's innards.

Orange
Version 3.16 of the Orange mod for Quake II is out. Thanks Prophet.

Oak II
Version 0.3 of the Oak II bot is out featuring VWep support and skill levels.

Eraser Bot
Version 0.9 of the Eraser Bot is out on the Impact Development Team page featuring a lengthy list of changes and enhancements including tweaks to general behavior and a bunch of CTF fixes. Thanks Jonas Nordlund. Also, undaunted by a seemingly already crowded field, Quick Start - Eraser Bot Wizard is a new entry in the Eraser Front-end category with an alpha due soon.

Chaos Deathmatch
Beta.1 of Chaos Deathmatch for Quake II is out, featuring a swinging grappling hook, new weapons and power-ups.

Q2Ring
Q2 Ring .25b is out. That's all I know about this.

Heretic II Screenshots
A pair of new Heretic II screenshots are up on GameSlice, showing off neat flowing water and particle effects.

Sin Release Clarificaton
A message from Giggler over on sCary's Shack o' Shuga clarifies Sin's release date (as well as Giggler's feelings about sCary's hair) amid apparently swirling rumors (about Sin, not the hair):

"There is a rumor on the net about Ritual releasing Sin at Christmas as well as one saying we are wrapping things up and sending it out the door. Both are false. The game will be nearing its completion around E3 time, where we''ll be showing a fully functioning demo of Sin. Oh yeah, and sCary DOOD, nice hair cut."

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People

Mark Dochtermann Interview
Ritual's Mark Dochtermann is interviewed on the somewhat daily Daily Dementia at MeccaWorld. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Prey for a Day
A Day in the Life of Paul Schuytema is a feature up on on 3D Realms' Site letting you know what life is like for the Prey Project leader. Thanks Lithium of 3D Portal.

Alex Quintana Interview
The Good Ol' Dominion Stress Test up on ION Storm's site, is an interview with Dominion lead tester Alex Quintana. (Lead tester, lead designer, who knew? Sorry for getting that messed up at first).

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Technology

DirectX 6 Preview
There's a DirectX 6 Preview on GameSpot UK.

Voodoo2 Review
There's also a 3D Blaster Voodoo 2 review on GameSpot UK (I can't find the comparisons to the Diamond card that the front-page describes, however).

Unreal: Game of the Year?
There's an enthusiastic look at Unreal on GameSpot UK that bandies about phrases like "game of the year?" in a lengthy preview.

HexenWorld Update
Raven's Rick Johnson's .plan gives the lowdown on the next planned Hexenworld Beta release, slated for this week.

Blood FAQ
Version 1.2 of the Blood FAQ is online, adding info related tot he recent 3Dfx patch release. Thanks 3dfx Mania.

TeamFortress Tunes
There is an .mp3 of music and sounds from TeamFortress II up on the TeamFortress News page. There are also notes there about TFCon (apparently a bit of a dud), and warnings that "leaked" TF2 beta reports are likely to be made up. Thanks SpaceMan Spiff of the Team Fortress Newswire.

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Editing

Natural Terrain in Quake II
Part one of an article by Fishman titled Natural Terrain within the Quake2 Engine is up on Rust (hey, hey, my, my) in the Style Guide section. The article features quotes from Levelord, Eric Biessman, Disruptor, Paul Jaquays, Drizzt and Iikka Keränen.

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*views

Battle of the Sexes
Battle of the Sexes is reviewed on Capturization.

Dominion Preview
A preview of ION's upcoming RTS Dominion is up on GamePower. Thanks Per Hammer.

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Editorials

Returning Fire
Inside 3D's recent editorial reply to John Bye's editorial, which takes a couple of sidelong shots in a long standing war with the fire-eaters over at Flamethrower, has prompted Flamethrower to respond, mentioned here in the name of "equal time". Flame-wars masquerading as editorials...We're having some fun now, huh?

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
Thanks to Cool of the Blood 2 Pit for the blue overline graphic (the "Thin Blue Line" as Matt Waggoner called it) to replace my HTML-only bar (which a quick calculation suggests would end up with higher load times than the teeny graphic, which looks better, to boot). I was very comfortable with the tweaks implemented yesterday, but it is still reassuring to receive almost 100% positive feedback on them, which is what has happened. Once again, thanks to all who've taken the trouble to respond to my recent on-the-spot polls on site tweaks.

Sunday, March 29, 1998

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Technology

Headlines


Technology
Hardware Roadmap
Unreal D3D
The Quake State

Quake Mods
FrogBot
QuakeRally: Leftovers
Heretic II Opinions - FAQ
Quake II Mods
C.R.Bot
Superheroes II
Entropy
GangWars
Linux TagYerIt
Eraser Front-End
Q2Tetris
Competitions
Quake II Ladder
QOTH II
Editing
New Quest
Hexen II Qoole
Q2 View
*views
Stupid Bot
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

Hardware Roadmap
Tom's Hardware Guide has a nice beefy look at what's going on in the near future on the bleeding edge in an article called Current State Near Future & Recommendations in PC Hardware that makes recommendations among the tangle of Socket 7, Slot 1, Slot 2, Slot M, the 100 MHz bus, those K6 3D processors, AGP vs. PCI, and the entire gamut of 3D chipsets (though diplomatically sidestepping the minefield that is the mouse-pad market).

Unreal D3D
In a post on the Unreal MegaMessageBoard that I saw mention of on Voodoo Extreme by way of UnrealNation (where they've just opened a new comprehensive Link Database), Tim Sweeney gives the lowdown on D3D with Unreal:

Direct3D code is in the works now (by an outside company) and it will be released if it's cool. At this point, it looks most likely that D3D support would come as a post-release patch, because of the amount of development and testing time remaining. We realize that the Riva 128, i740, and Rendition cards are cool and we'll get them supported in Unreal, though likely not in time for initial release.

For people without supported 3d hardware, Unreal's software rendering is still quite nice, especially if you have MMX. It supports colored lighting and fog, and the 16/32 bit color rendering is quite crisp compared to other 3D games.

The Quake State
Speaking of Voodoo Extreme, their hosted site 3Dgen has posted an article called The Quake state that gives side-by-side screenshots and performance figures for most popular 3D cards.

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Quake Mods

FrogBot
Ribit! Version 0.05 of the FrogBot is up on the Metropolis.

QuakeRally: Leftovers
Bringing some closure to the QuakeRally project that brought the magic of road rage to the world of Quake rage, is version 1.0 of QuakeRally: Leftovers, now available on the Impact Development Team page. QuakeRally hit the skids when Quake II was released, so all the stuff being worked on at that point has been rolled into an unsupported release that includes qrally4 (the lost map) and a couple of new features, including skidmarks (QuakeRally 1.2 required).

Heretic II Opinions - New FAQ
Version of the day of the unofficial Heretic II FAQ is .003. Also, Phoebus sends along word of a request Vertigon at Raven made for feedback about the third person perspective they plan for Heretic II:

All you enthusiasts can help by telling us what you'll need third person to do to work for you and for Heretic 2. And all you nay-sayers, please tell us what it is about third person that you HATE so much (specific things, rather than "it sucks").

Send your comments to opinion@mail.ravensoft.com. You guys are ultimately the people we're making the game for, so make sure you get yourself heard!

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Quake II Mods

C.R.Bot
Version 1.07 of the C.R.Bot is out fixing up some bugs and glitches before the author begins adding CTF support.

Superheroes II
Beta 8 CTF of Superheroes II for Quake II is now available, featuring, as the name implies, CTF support, as well as bug fixes, a new power and a new model.

Entropy
Version 0.94b of the Entropy CTF mod for Quake II is out, featuring team captains, and the ability to see victims of your flame-thrower in all their blazing glory.

GangWars
GangWars, a teamplay mod that features one flag and up to five teams is up on the Conquest page. In GW, each player is armed with nothing but an M16 (with but 12 bullets) and a short range grappling hook (both 'weapons' viewable) with scoring based on time of flag possession.

Linux TagYerIt
The Linux release of TagYerIt version 1.14 is out on SteQve's No Frills Quake Mods Page.

Eraser Front-End
Version 1.8 of the Eraser Front-End is up on the Industry News page

Q2Tetris
Quake II Tetris. 'Nuff said.

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Competitions

Quake II Ladder
The Online Gaming League has started a Quake II deathmatch ladder.

QOTH II
Polish sent along the Results of the Queen of the Hill Tournament: Tikilite is the winner in the LPB division, and the top high pinger is Lael. Thanks Polish. Demos and full reports on the results will be posted soon on the Queen of the Hill Tournament page.

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Editing

New Quest
Version 2.2 of the Quest Quake/Quake II level editor, boasting an (almost) complete undo system, is out on the new Official Quest homepage.

Hexen II Qoole
All you need to create Hexen II maps with the Qoole level editor can be found in a handy zip file on Ingenuity (I thought Qoole has H2 support, but who knew?).

Q2 View
Beta version 1.0 of Q2 View, a freeware front-end that offers file saving and an easy to use interface for Trey Harrison's md2view Quake II Model viewer is available.

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*views

Stupid Bot
Version 1.x of the Stupidbot is reviewed on False Dot Com.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
Well, the changes must be pretty obvious, the unanimous (!) choice of respondents to my query about the value of categories said they are a good thing. The headlines, however, actually generated more responses suggesting getting rid of them to save space than those that said they were useful. The responses that do feel they are useful, however, suggest that their main value is searching for older stories (one of the reasons for their implementation), so in an effort to have the best of both worlds, on a daily basis the headlines will be added to yesterday's news, so they can still be used to browse through archived news (at least until project search engine is realized). Thanks very much to the many that have responded to all my recent little impromptu polls, the feedback is very helpful. Finally, I think the new underline (overline, actually: it was Mrs. Blue's suggestion) works to set off the categories the way I was hoping it would.

Saturday, March 28, 1998

Headlines/Departments
Bot Board
Blood 2 Screenshots
Heretic II FAQ
Technology

3D Mayhem
See the RIVA
Obsidian Redux
Quake II Releases

StroggCTF
Orange
Eraser Front-End
Qstatlist
GSLogMod II

*views
Sin Preview
Intel 740 Preview
Sound Card Roundup

Competitions
Quake II Bot Challenge
Coast 2 Coast
Site Seeing
etc.
Out of the Blue

Yesterday

Bot Board
The Bot Board is a combined effort of a couple of automaton-related sites, the Quake2 Bot Epidemic, and Metropolis. It's a set of message boards with separate forums for discussions of Quake Bots, Quake II Bots, and as per Ridah's suggestion, a board to discuss the Eraser source code, which is due for release shortly. There is also a Kas-cam demo of the FrogBot on Metropolis, demonstrating the human behavior of this amphibious (at least in name) Quake bot.

Blood 2 Screenshots
Six new Blood 2 screenshots are up on Blood2.com.

Heretic II FAQ
The version of the day of the Unofficial Heretic II FAQ is .002, featuring some additions, and spell checking(!).

Battle of the Sexes
Among the new features in Version 2.9 of of the Battle of the Sexes mod, available on Spinoza's Quake 2 Mods Page, are "radio" messages that allow you to trigger audio communications to your teammates.

Technology

3D Mayhem
3D Mayhem is a feature on the 3Dfx Zone that tries to address the issue of what 3D accelerator to buy (or hold out for) in this time of seemingly daily announcements of new products and features. Similarly, The Alternative Voodoo Lounge at CeBIT is a Next Generation article by our buddy Sharky from VE that looks at upcoming Voodoo2 offerings that should be hitting the market soon.

See the RIVA
Dimension 128 has posted a photo of the RIVA 128 ZX, for all you video card voyeurs.

Obsidian Redux
To follow-up on this (again), I've received a couple of reports from people that contradict the notion that Quantum3D is shipping any 24MB SLI single-card Voodoo2's, and that the card fitting that description that was pulled from their website is not actually a production board.

Quake II Releases

*views

Competitions

Quake II Bot Challenge
The Quake2 Bot Challenge is online. Make like John Henry: Man versus machine!

Coast 2 Coast
Coast 2 Coast, a QuakeWorld deathmatch tournament, is looking for some West Coast teams to fill out that bracket.

Site Seeing

etc.

Out of the Blue
I've had comments that the headlines section on the right top of the news has contained too much and too little information to be actually useful. The last couple of days I have been trying the less is more approach. Any feedback on whether you feel this feature is more useful (or just generally useless) either way is welcome (as well as feedback about whether the general attempts to categorize the stories on a daily basis are a positive trend, or just a waste of time).

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All rights reserved. Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Heaslip