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Friday, May 15, 1998

Q2DM3 Guide on the Q2 Bible
The second level specific guide to deathmatch is up on Thresh's Quake II Bible where there's now a guide to Q2DM3. As always, the newest testaments in the the Bible can be found on the Latest Quake II Bible Updates page.

Reckoning Site
Activision's official Reckoning Site is up, offering some new info and screenshots from the first official Quake II mission pack.

MacQuakeWorld Server
The first public beta of the MacQuakeWorld server is up on Westlake Interactive's page.

Interactive Prey Screenshot
Lithium of PreyGround passes along news of a 360 degree interactive screenshot from Prey up on the Apogee 3D Realms Site. This innovative piece of technology uses the Live Picture 3.0 plug-in.

3D Card Roundup
GameSpot reviews next generation 3D cards, looking at 8 different accelerators from the current crop.

Wide World of Gaming -- FFVII PC Demo
3DfxMania has a page of download locations for the Final Fantasy VII demo for the PC. Here's a (working) local copy (50.7 MB) courtesy of GamesNET FTP (sorry about the zip with the CRC errors posted earlier). BTW, FF VIII (console) was also announced today, here's Gamespot's blurb.

Trespasser Preview
OGR's Preview of Trespasser is online, including spiffy screenshots (from dinosaurs to a 3D toilet), giving a look at this game that picks up following the Jurassic Park Lost World expedition. Thanks Redwood.

UberFest Plight
Don "onethumb" MacAskill updated his .plan on the plight of the organizers of UberFest '98 (I hope to drop in on this myself). Here's the skinny:

-[ E3 and UberFest ]-

SPONSORS AND HARDCORE DEATHMATCHERS - READ THIS:

A bunch of people have asked me what's going on with E3, and if we're having a cool spontaneous deathmatch party this year like we did last year....

The answer is Nope.  Instead, a trio of killer guys have put together UberFest, which is where I'll be spending my free time in the evenings....

What is it?  It's a 3-day LAN fest full of deathmatch, food, deathmatch, drinks, deathmatch, and more deathmatch.   Tons of Descent (now Forsaken? :), DOOM, Quake, and (at least) one Sin player will be there...

$50 gets you in the door, all three days, with lots of pizza to eat, drinks to guzzle, and people to smack down.

I believe John Romero is going to make an appearance there, as am I and I'm sure other developers...  I'm gonna see about bringing along a bunch of Sin T-shirts (brand new ones :) and pass them out in some sort of contest or something, so if you want to see the new design, show up.

However, 75 people just got cut a few days ago for non-payment... That means there are 125 people who have paid their $50, but 75 who have not...

That means YOU can come!

These guys have put a lot of time and energy into organizing this whole she-bang (very nice location, lots of space, etc etc), and now they might get stuck with a $3000 bill because people haven't sent their money in like they promised they would.

Sucks, eh?

Check them out over here:

http://uberfest.e3.net/

If you are a hardware vendor or software developer/publisher and are interested in helping to defray the costs of UberFest, please get in contact with me so I can help these guys out.

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Interviews (Updated)

More Levelord
Secrets Of SiN City is an interview with Levelord up on GameSpot UK, talking about Sin and Levels and stuff for which his Lordship has a passion. Thanks

Some Blue Dude
The Daily Dementia has part two of the Blue of Blue's News interview up where that dopey web-dude talks about his favorite Quake mod, his favorite game, and stuff of little interest like the "issue" about crediting news sites, and other web stuff.

Levelord
There's an interview with the Levelord up on www.fragzone.se/dnf/ (or as they put it "Som jag nämnt tidigare har jag försökt få en intervju med Richard Gray (oxå känd som levellord)." Saw that on 3D Portal.

Inoxx
Unreal level designer Inoxx is interviewed on Unreal News - Australia.

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RIOT: Mobile Armor Extravaganza
A bunch of items about RIOT, starting with the name change:

RIOT: Mobile Armor = Shogo: Mobile Armor Division
Monolith has announced a change in title for RIOT: Mobile Armor, with the new monicker for their upcoming LithTech engine game to be Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Here's the quote on the re-launched webpage from Monolith CEO Jason Hall explaining the new name:

"Now that we are publishing Shogo ourselves, we wanted the name to emphasize the spirit of the game and our vision for it."

RIOT, err, Shogo Screenshots
In celebration, their new Shogo Mobile Armor Division website is up including an awesome new weekly screenshot, and, not to be confused with weekly screenshot, some more new shots are up on the Screenshots page.

Shogo Chat
There is also a log of the Gamers-Zone IRC chat with the game's developers online, from way back before the name change.

Shogo Interview
There is an interview with the LithTech engine team talking about Shogo/RIOT, up on [PVR-NET].

Blood2: The Chosen Screenshot
On the subject of Monolith and LithTech engine games, there's a new "weekly vision" screenshot (yes, really new, Billy) up on the Blood 2: The Chosen page.

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Tech

New Pure3D II Drivers - Rebate Extended
New version 1.10.01 Win95 drivers (2.0 MB) for the Voodoo2-based Canopus Pure3D II are up on Pure3D II  Software Updates page, with fixes for accepting DOS SST commands. Thanks Voodoo Extreme. There's also word on the Pure3D II page that the $30.00 Pure3D II rebate for owners of earlier Canpopus cards has been extended through June 30, 1998.

High FPS Alias
There's a new alias up on the The Bind that maintains a high framerate by turning particles off only during firefights (particles off speed rendering greatly, but makes certain effects, like Railgun fire, invisible), sent along by 3 Fingers.

More 3 Fingers Tweaks
Speaking of 3 Fingers, the man whio may, or may not be as digitially challenged as onethumb has another update to his little chunk of GL heaven, his Quake II Tweak Guide has also been updated (in addition to the recent update to his Ultimate Tweak Guide for QuakeQW).

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Quake/Quake II Mods

Stoggs Gone Mad Routes
Eight new route files for the enemies to use have been posted on legion's Stroggs Gone Mad page.

Name Editor
Wmned, the Windows (or Wacky) multi-name editor for Quake/QuakeWorld/Quake II/Hexen II is now up to version 2.25.

Front-ends
Version 2.9b of the Eraser Front-end is out, fixing a bug that prevented the proper launch of a dedicated server. Version 0.96 beta of the Quake Launcher front-end is out. Version 2.0 of the Quick Start Eraser Bot Wizard is out.

Competitions - BattleCruiser
Galcom News Network on the BattleCruiser 30X0 A.D. Homepage has preliminary info about a competition that can net the winners 3D acclerators from Rendition, PowerVR, and 3Dfx.

etc.

Out of the Blue
I got a ton of requests for more details about my "TV career" mentioned yesterday: In a nutshell: I worked behind the scenes for MTV from shortly after its inception in 1981 (the REO Speedwagon years), and moved to VH-1 from 1986-1989 (well before their recent turn-around, but thankfully after the Olivia Newton John days). My boob-tube career ended as the 80's ended, working for a syndicated show called "Preview" that makes the bad stuff  I worked on for MTV Networks look like Museum of Broadcasting quality material. When I realized  that the only qualification the producer I worked for had was a credit as hairdresser to an on-air personality, I knew it was time to move on.

Thursday, May 14, 1998   The Day QuakeCast was preempted for Seinfeld

Star Trek: First Contact Cancelled
PC Gamer Online is reporting that the Unreal-engine project, Star Trek: First Contact has been cancelled by MicroProse, whose prime directive in the Star Trek universe will be to continue development of Klingon Honor Guard, also using the Unreal engine, and a strategy game titled Birth of the Federation. Thanks Unreal Nation/Voodoo Extreme.

Duke Nukem Forever Screenshots
Duke4.com has got two screenshots from Duke Nukem Forever scanned from the June issue of GamePro magazine. On the subject of scanned screenshots, the new Ritualistic Mailbag is online with feedback on the "issue" of scanning screenshots from magazines, including a letter from Geoff "Die You Scanners" from GameSlice, who clarifies his stance (not as anti-scan as one may have thought).

Help Wanted
3D Realms has posted that they are looking for a modeler for Duke Nukem Forever. Likewise, ION Storm has posted a want ad for a  ‘Level God’ for ION Austin to work on Warren Spector's Deus Ex team. More information is also up in the Daily Informant about Deus Ex. I'm putting these here for now, because the want ads here are broken (a fix is in the works).

PGL Playoffs
A ZDNNews News Burst announces the PGL Season 2 playoffs will be held at E3 in Atlanta at the end of this month, along with the league's all-star game. Thanks Jim Craddock.

Unreal Servers
Unreal.org is reporting that the moment the Unreal shareware is available, there will be multiplayer servers (free, of course), already online at the Org, thanks to the cooperation of the guys at Epic. The three servers, which eventually be divided into a shareware server and two registered servers, will feature a lobby area for arranging games, and other lobby-type activities.

Unreal Preview
The Unreal preview on Game-Online has 15 cool screenshots, all new according to the guys at Unreal Nation (by way of VE).

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Guidance Counseling
Beware the Ides of March, and the Guides of May:

Q2DM1 Guide on the Quake II Bible
A guide to deathmatch on Q2DM1 is up on Thresh's Quake II Bible with a detailed analysis of what it takes to control the action on the first DM level, with similar guides for the other DM maps promised.

Coven Guide to Lag Avoidance
The guide to lag and how to avoid it on the Coven's Guides has been updated with info on command line options like netgraphs, cl_minfps, rate, and how to use them to help minimize your lag in Internet deathmatch.

3 Fingers' Ultimate Tweak Guide
An updated version 1.18 of 3 Fingers' Ultimate Tweak Guide for GLQuake and QW is up with loads of valuable info for getting the most out of your GL experience on 3Dfx hardware in classic Quake and QuakeWorld.

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Tech

Tom's No BS BX Guide
Tom's Hardware Guide has a revamped mother of a Motherboard Guide with a new testing policy stressing compatibility and other factors over pure speed just in time for an extensive Review of Slot 1 Motherboards with Intel 440BX Chipset . Thanks Jacek Fedorynski.

BS Pentium II Detector
This CNN article describes a growing number of illegally altered Intel processors showing up in PCs, and a program to determine the speed for which your PII processor was sold, if you suspect you have one that's been so altered. Thanks Axeme.

New WinGlide(s)
Chris' WinGlide Page has new version 0.92 of Gamma WinGlide, Overlay WinGlide, and Multi-threaded WinGlide, three different versions of the replacement .dll that allows Voodoo Graphics output in a window. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Win98 Delayed to OEMs
Microsoft U.S. reach deal is the headline of the story describing an agreement between Microsoft and the US Justice Department that will delay the shipment of Windows 98 to OEMs planned for tomorrow, to allow time for last-minute antitrust talks with the Justice Department and state attorneys general to stave off lawsuits they were planning on announcing today until MS's announcement. Microsoft said this delay won't interfere with the software's June 25 release date. Thanks Dark Paladin.

Pure3D II Reviews
PC Fan's Pure3D 2 Review. Ritualistic's Pure3D II review.

Editing - Quake II Java
Quake II Java, the software that allows Quake II mods written in Java, rather than C, is now up to version 0.5.1, and now includes VWep (El Niño) support. There is also a Java version of CTF available written as a plug-in module for the base Q2Java game.

Siege Site
Phoebus has posted the official Siege site devoted to the new HexenWorld teamplay mod, giving an overview of the game, details about the character classes, and more. The new site can be found on the nav bar at Hexenworld. Also, a little on how to not be a Siege newbie is in Mike Gummelt's .plan in case reading the documentation is out of the question.

g.o.d. to Publish Jazz2
Gathering of Developers has announced that Epic MegaGames' Jazz Jackrabbit 2 will be the first title they publish. Thanks GameSlice, where you can read a bit more from Mike Wilson on g.o.d.'s E3 plans.

Going Back to KALI
A new beta version 1.45 of KALI is out, offering launch support for Burnout, Outwars, StarCraft 1.01, Armor Command, Total Annihilation 3.0, F1RS, Monster Truck Madness 2, and Myth.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

Balance of Power
The subject of fighting ping imbalance with a mod (nope, no flip comments from me today), has brought my attention to Balance of Power, another Quake II mod that attempts to tackle the lag issue, not by adding artificial lag, but by altering the damage you give and receive based on your ping.

Rancor
Rancor, the Quake II teamplay mod formerly known as L.A. Quake has been updated, and is now up to version 0.91, offering new documentation, new admin functions, death statistics, and a fix for  a bug in the implementation of the VWep (El Niño) extensions.

Big Front-endian
Version 2.9a of the Eraser Front-end is out offering a fix for the "index out of bounds" messages. Also, Tectonic version 1.37, the Quake II front-end is out, now offering LMCTF support. In addition, The BgBot Launcher has been updated, now checking in at version 1.6.3. Finally, there's a config editor succinctly titled Config Editor 1.0 up on Nezstor that makes classic Quake configs.

Voodoo Review
A new Voodoo Review is online, HTMLized for your protection.

Competitions - Suck it downTM
StormTroopers Suck It Down Contest is offering ION merchandise for winning entries from those who send in a "picture of you sucking down whatever it is you would suck down for Ion Merchandise." I don't think any bizarre comment I could add at this point would do this one justice.

etc.

Out of the Blue
That tip of the day is not a lie, there's no QuakeCast tonight, the TV is having its way (no, it was not my call, the concept of "TV history" amuses rather than impresses me). My anecdote on this day about he show about nothing is my meeting Jerry Seinfeld face-to-face years back (in my TV career, before his sitcom), and telling him I was a big fan (no lie) and proceeding to politely refer to him as Mr. Steinfeld (some big fan).

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

Kingpin: Xatrix's Quake II Engine Game
This Next-Generation Online article describes a new Quake II engine game in the works titled Kingpin from Xatrix Entertainment, creators of the Reckoning mission pack. Thanks Redwood. The article says the game will be unveiled at E3, and is due for release in first-quarter 1999. From Ridah's .plan, we now learn that this is the project he is working on that he's made reference to, and a bit more detail than the Next-Gen blurb, including that this is set in the Al Capone era. Here's Ridah's .plan:

You may have seen the announcement that Xatrix is working on a Q2 engine game, set in the Al Capone era, tentatively labelled 'Kingpin'. This is what's responsible for keeping me away from Eraser the passed month, and no doubt over the next year or so.

I'll be responsible for bringing the game to life, through AI advances, and other gameplay additions. I've been watching any 1930's Gangsta movie I can get my hands on, but I'm sure there are more out there than I'm aware of. So if you have any good recommendations, please drop me a line.

In terms of the "other" gameplay enhancements, we are intending on adding vehicles to the engine, which I'm very much looking forward to. I've been doing some more research into vehicle physics lately, which combined with full engine access (as opposed to that QR thing) should result in a very interesting touch on the typical 3D action genre.

Now, if we can only stick a 350 Chevy into those horse-cart come automobile contraptions of the early 30's.

QBS
Version 1.34 of QBS, the gaming news page and .plan watcher program is out, fixing the "Run Time Error 5." Thanks RaezoR.

Interstate '82 Screenshot
I have expressed my affection for Interstate '76 as a source of funky driving and shooting joy, and it seems that got around to the developers, as I just received a nifty brand-new screenshot from Interstate '82. I'82 is the upcoming sequel to I'76 that will feature an all-new (hardware-only) engine, and new environments, the game is set in a huge, alternative '80s Las Vegas. As in the original game you drive weapon-studded cars, but you'll also be able to exit your car and hop on motorcycles, car-jack your opponents, and cool stuff like that, and there will be indoor combat as well as outdoor action. Here's the shot (though I'm told the final Vegas will be darker than this):

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Quake II Mission Pack Preview
The Adrenaline Vault Previews the Reckoning Xatrix's Quake II Mission Pack. Thanks VE.

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Video-Rama

Dynamite 3D/GL
Version 1.03.0346 of the Windows 95 Drivers and Utilities for the Hercules Dynamite 3D/GL are on the Dynamite 3DGL Software page. Thanks Prophet.

RIOT: Mobile Armor - The Big Picture
There is a 1280x1024 screenshots from RIOT: Mobile Armor taken on a Matrox G200 up on MGA200.com. Thanks Config_Guy.

16 MB Voodoo 2 (Update)
Earlier Billy at Voodoo Extreme passed along word of a Voodoo2 board in the works by AOpen that will boast a 16 MB configuration, and now the guys on Operation 3.D.F.X. have the skinny that extra 4MB of RAM is texture memory, as the card boasts a third TMU, here's a quote:

"Now AOpen has something else up their sleeves, which we have not even heard of up until now, a 16 meg Voodoo2 with 3 TexelFX Texture Processing Units on board. Andrew said that the board was still in the design stages and that he had not yet seen it. He did say though that they are expecting a end of June or middle of July Release date for the card. He also could not comment on the price of the card..."

Quake 3 Suggestions
The project to collect suggestions for features to include in Quake 3 that OpenQuake is conducting for John Carmack and the guys at id  has resulted in a first list of Final Suggestions for Quake 3 (already passed along to id), and a Quake 3 Wishlist. There is a voting page up on the Quake 3 Suggestions page to offer your feedback, and the OQ guys promise to continue to bring updates on this subject. Thanks b..

RIOT Chat
Gamers-zone is conducting an online chat this evening with some members of Monolith's RIOT: Mobile Armor team. The festivities kick off at 8:00 PM Eastern time in IRC efnet #gamers-zone. If you have questions to submit for the interview shoot them to richard@gamers-zone.com.

Win Unreal
GameSpot's Unreal Giveaway offers an opportunity to win Epic's shooter upon release by answering questions about the Unreal interviews they posted all last week.

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Interviews

John Romero Interview
There's a John Romero interview up on sCary's Shuga Shack.

Paul Jaquays Interview
id Software's Paul Jaquays is interviewed on Bokatu's Realm.

Instant Access Interview
An Instant Access Interview over on PsychoNews gives the publisher's side of the the Abyss of Pandemonium publishing story.

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Technology

New Stealth II S220 Drivers
Version 4.10.01.0106 Windows 95 drivers for the Stealth II S220 Series are up on Diamond Multimedia Stealth II S220 Drivers page. Thanks Renaddiction.

On the Celeron
Anand's Hardware Tech Page has a blurb up about the results tests of a Celeron (Intel's new celery-powered PII CPU) on an AGP system to see if the Celeron's lack of cache would cause a bandwidth problem and impede gaming performance. Thanks Voodoo Extreme. Anand finds that contrary to some fears, there is no such problem:

Well, according to the above results, AGP Gaming Performance is NOT crippled by the use of an Intel Celeron Processor due to its lack of L2 cache.

Wicked 3D
Cyrellis 3D Games & Hardware reviews the Wicked 3D. Thanks Tony on Yahoo. This is the Voodoo2 card that claims enhanced D3D performance over other V2 offerings through high-performance drivers, though these results can only currently be verified using Ziff-Davis' 3D Winbench 98 (a "much maligned" benchmark as the article puts it: here's Toms' Hardware's article in WB98). That having been said, this does look like the current king of V2 speed according to the article:

Overall, the Wicked3D V2 benchmark results show the kind of speed that makes it our new "Fastest V2 Board" out of the previous V2 models we've tested.

It seems like each time the Hardware Center reviews a new V2 board that faster speeds are the result. This most likely is from further driver development, as companies like Metabyte and Canopus' V2 products both show the speed benefits from their software engineer's efforts.

Except for a few instances, the Wicked3D V2 card has distanced itself in the benchmarks from Creative Labs, Diamond, and even Canopus, to the tune of 1 to 2 fps max. One to two frames per second is no reason to start trying to sell your existing V2 card cheap, but all of the other V2 cards tested including Canopus' fabulous Pure3D II card are slightly slower than the Wicked3D V2.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

ThunderWalker 1.51
Version 1.51 of ThunderWalker CTF 2 for Quake II is out hot on the heels of 1.50 fixing the overflow error.

King of the Hill
Orange Smoothie Productions has released version 1.2a of their King of the Hill server-side mod for Quake II, fixing the map rotation problem.

Front-end Mania
Version 0.96 of the Quake Launcher, a front-end for classic Quake is out. Version 1.01 of QKey, the config editor is out (thanks Nehalem). Version 0.98 of the Viking Control Panel, a front-end for the Viking mod (more on that in Out of the Blue) is out. Version 1.70 of the Quick Start Eraser Bot Wizard is out. Also on the bot front-end front is version 0.93 of the Bot Commander.

QuakeCon CPL Tourney Page
A page for this summer's QuakeCon CPL Tournament (Dallas, July 23-26) is online. The official tourney is a one-one-one, with several unofficial competitions as well.

Correction
Ooops. Referred to the version 1.8 of the Hexen II FAQ as the HexenWorld FAQ at first yesterday. Thanks Frans P. de Vries of 3D Action Gamers'.

etc.

Out of the Blue
I should have picked a less controversial topic to touch on yesterday than ping adjustment for LPB's (in reference to the Viking mod), perhaps politics or religion would have inspired a more subdued reaction. Let me restate it as my opinion, rather than the broad comment I made: I personally don't have much desire to log onto a server with my ISDN and have it add 200 MS to my ping (though even saying that, I can picture that coming in handy for one of those HPW's who will claim he would destroy you on an even ping). Anyway, I didn't mean it to sound like I was slagging on the Viking guys, who've made a mod that lots of people love. As for being an LPB, my policy on ping is to not be the only LPB on the server (though every time one of my modem buddies picks a game to join, I end up being the only LPB, I think they just like hearing people bitch at me). Anyway, in honesty the ping evener is a probably great idea, especially for tourneys and such, and I meant no disrespect for the Viking team's hard work.

Tuesday, May 12, 1998

Todd H Interview
The second part of the Daily Dementia interview with Todd Hollenshead, id CEO, is up (dated tomorrow, but there it is).

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More Video Cards
Today's second dose:

NGO 3D FAQ
An updated version of Next-Generation Online's 3D Accelerator FAQ is up with more questions, more answers, and three times the "D" as competing 1D brands.

Conspiracy Theories
Next-Generation Online also has an update on the state of the Rendition Conspiracy chipset. Here's just about the entirety of the blurb:

While it has been known that Fujitsu was working on a 3D chipset for quite some time, few people actually knew what form it would take and how it would be positioned. Next Generation Online has learned that Rendition's Conspiracy Project is indeed the very technology that Fujitsu has been working on.

As previously reported, the chipset is said to be geared towards offering better performance for lower end CPUs or CPUs that don't offer stellar floating point performance. As one would expect, the emphasis of such hardware will be in the realm of geometry setup, thereby removing (or at least reducing) the need of the CPU to be particularly fast or good at flops.

As such, Cyrix has been fingered by one source as another company closely involved with the project given the 686's marked deficiency in said areas.

Quake/Quake II Bibles
Part two of Thresh's DM2 Strategies (classic Quake) are up on Thresh's Quake Bible, and there are now Latest Updates for the Quake Bible and Latest Updates for the Quake II Bible sections that will be frequently updated. Finally, Thresh's Front Line column on GX is back.

Unreal MP3's
Unreal is getting closer and closer. Two .mp3s of Unreal music are up as an exclusive on The Village. Also, here's the text of the email on the subject of the Unreal shareware that GT Interactive sent to those who registered to receive such a notice (thanks Theta):

Dear Unreal Shareware Registrant:

The wait is almost over.  Unreal is about to become a reality.

Here's the plan.  As soon as the game is finished, the development team is going to spend a few days fine-tuning a demo version that we can post on the Internet.  We are currently planning to offer the demo a few days before the game gets to stores.   Rest assured that we will let you know the moment Unreal goes "gold" (a.k.a. finished).

New QBS
Version 1.33 of QBS is out. But if you have QBS, you know that already because it told you.

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Legal Beat

NVIDIA Responds
NVIDIA has released a statement regarding S3's lawsuit (announced yesterday). Here's what they had to say:

"As NVIDIA represents the largest threat to S3's comeback attempt into this market, it's not surprising they are targeting NVIDIA. Our RIVA processors were developed lawfully and we are prepared to defend ourselves vigorously," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA.

"Based on our initial review of the three patents in question, purchased by S3 from Cirrus Logic, NVIDIA believes it has valid defenses to S3's claims in the complaint. It's disappointing that S3 would rather compete in the courtroom than in the market."

Win98 Appeals to Appeals Court
This press release describes a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that will stop a 1997 lower court decision from interfering with the release of Windows 98, though it has "no effect on any new antitrust case that states or the Justice Department may file." Thanks Billy "Utah Rocks" Wilson of Voodoo Extreme.

New HexenWorld & Siege & H2 FAQ
Version .14 of HexenWorld, and the HexenWorld Siege teamplay mod are now available. Here's the new HexenWorld client (6.2 MB) as a Win95/NT installer, the new HexenWorld server installer (1.2 MB), the Siege Installer (4.9 MB), and the whole works in one big zip (12.2 MB). An up-to-date list of mirrors is on Hexenworld. Also, version 1.8 of the Hexen II FAQ is online.

Unreal DM Preview & Mark Rein Interview
As part of their CGDC coverage, PQ's Unreal Preview is online, taking a look at Unreal deathmatch, and proving when it pours, it reins, offering an on-the-spot interview with Epic's Mark Rein as well. Thanks Redwood's. I also see on Red's that Cliffy B made a MegaMessageBoard post saying that DM will only be allowed on the Unreal DM maps (11 are to be included with the game), as the single-player maps are not suited to DM.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

King of the Hill
Version 1.2 of King of the Hill for Quake II mod is out on the Orange Smoothie Productions page, compatible with Quake II 3.14 and including both Win95/NT and Linux versions and VWep support. This is a server-only patch.

Viking Mod
Version 0.98 of the Viking Mod for Quake II is out, offering a bunch of new features, including the ability to add latency to an LPB's connection (might as well ban 'em, who would voluntarily play at modem speed with a digital connection?).

QuakeWorld ThunderWalker
Version 5.0 of ThunderWalker for QuakeWorld is out, with a promise of a release of version 1.5 for Quake II    as early as this evening.

Bot Launchers
Version 1.2 of the Eraser Bot Launcher is out offering a bunch of new options. Also on the launcher front, the latest Epidemic Poll is being conducted for Ridah to determine which launcher to include with the Eraser 1.0.

CGDC Wrap-up
Combat Simulations CGDC Wrap-up is online, giving their take on the event.

Opinion Pieces
A full slate of editorials, rants, and other foamy bits of froth:

Online Gaming Still Sucks
Online Gaming Still Sucks is the premise of a Wired news article that comes away from the CGDC with a pessimistic attitude about the growth and vitality of online gaming, though concluding with one of those billion dollar business by the year 2000 predictions. Thanks Paul Steffens.

Advanced AI & Feedback
In a pair of separate editorials on GameSlice, Geoff takes on the questions of Advanced Artificial Intelligence In Games? (does it exist), and A Reaction for Every Action? that describes the importance of feedback in gameplay.

AoP Rant
How sucky publishers try to kill the community, and why it won't work is a rant on the Abyss of Pandemonium situation on TeleFragged. To clarify a point made here yesterday, Impels complaint about the marketing of AoP is about Copyright infringement, not box credits.

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Video Cards

Renegade 3D - Dead or Alive?
A blurb on Cyrellis 3D Games & Hardware describes the state of the Voodoo2-based Jazz Renegade 3D as tenuously depending on the shipment of chips for the card within a week. Thanks Tony on Yahoo.

New Alpha Permedia2 NT Drivers
Beta Windows NT 4.0 Permedia2 Drivers for DEC Alpha systems are up on 3Dlabs page.

Pure 3d II Review
Anand's Canopus Pure3D II Review. Thanks Michael Roska.

Blue Interview
Today's Daily Dementia features some numb-nut webmaster named Blue. The conversation covers QuakeCast and some community stuff.

etc.

Out of the Blue
I have recently suffered a spate of extra heavy spam, but I take solace in the notion that 99% of the spam I'm receiving is for bulk emailers, which I take as a sign that the whole pyramid bulk mailing mess may be collapsing under its own weight. Results of People's online poll for the 50 most beautiful people of 1998 are up with Hank winning 230,169 votes to 17,145 for Rick Flair, who it also turns out is more beautiful than lovely Leo (#3 with 14,471). Thanks Dark Wind. Also, speaking of ballot box stuffing, you guys are the absolute best, thanks to all who've voted, as the latest Internet Websites Top 100 dealie shows the House that Blue built creeping ever closer to the Top 10, landing at #12 this week.

Monday, May 11, 1998

S3 Sues NVIDIA
S3 has filed a patent infringement suit against NVIDIA (also sued in April by SGI) over the RIVA family of accelerators. This is from the press release:

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges violation of United States Patents No. 5,581,279, No. 5,402,513 and No. 5,625,379, and seeks both preliminary and permanent injunctions restraining NVIDIA from manufacture and distribution of its RIVA family of multimedia accelerators. Relating to VGA controller circuitry, scalable video windows and mechanisms for mixing video and graphics data, respectively, these patents describe fundamental graphics and video technologies S3 believes are inherent to NVIDIA's RIVA family of multimedia accelerators.

As this News.com article describes, these lawsuits may affect the value of NVIDIA's IPO. Also, S3's action could be the first of many lawsuits from them against their competitors. Here's a quote:

The suit could be the first in a wave of actions from once-mighty S3 against its competitors, in as much as it relates to patents the company acquired from Cirrus in January. Right now, the company is evaluating these patents to see if claims exist against other graphics makers, said Walt Amaral, S3's chief financial officer.

Diamond to Acquire Micronics & Orchid
Diamond Multimedia and Micronics Computers have announced a definitive agreement for Diamond to acquire Micronics, and thus rival graphics card manufacturer Orchid Technologies, in a deal worth over $31 million. You can find details in this press release Thanks VE.

More from the Abyss
AOP Both Sides Heard is follow-up to John Callaham's review of the Abyss of Pandemonium classic Quake mission pack with responses from the publisher, Instant Access, and the designers, the Impel Development Team, opposing sides in a dispute over the box credits.

Interviews (Updated)

Kenn Hoekstra
TerraFusion has posted an interview with Raven's Kenn Hoekstra talking about his work in general and touching on the Soldier of Fortune project.

Eric Biessman
Raven's Eric Biessman is interviewed on Bokatu's Realm, talking about his work at Raven Software in general, though avoiding specifics about "Project X" (since revealed to be the Soldier of Fortune Game announced today), though he does mention it's "looking sweet."

Video Benchmarks (Updated)

Voodoo2 Tops GameGauge Charts
A 3Dfx press release shows the Voodoo2 topping the performance results of Computer Gaming World's benchmark 3D GameGauge, where the Voodoo2 tested 294 percent faster than PowerVR; 230 percent faster than ATI Rage Pro and 150 percent faster than NVIDIA RIVA 128. Thanks Screwtape.

Mercury Research
Here's a large Benchmark Results Summary on the Mercury Research Homepage (nod again to Billy at VE) that includes WinBench 98 results for an up-to-date list of 3D accelerators, including the Voodoo2, the Intel740, the RIVA 128ZX, and the Matrox G200. Here's a News.com article about the results.

Righteous 3D II Reviews
Here's CombatSim's review of the Orchid Righteous 3D II, and the boys over at Voodoo Extreme have posted their review of the Voodoo2-based Orchid Righteous 3D II (that's where I found the CS link, as well).

Soldier of Fortune Hardware Only
Raven's Rick Johnson updated his .plan with the news that their upcoming Quake II engine game Soldier of Fortune (see this morning's announcement) will be hardware only (3D accelerator required), which is also noted in Kenn Hoekstra's .plan), as well as some reactions on his time at the CGDC, including praise for 3Dfx and criticism of PowerVR:

Well, Project XXX has been announced as Soldier of Fortune. I'll be the lead programmer on it. It will be a hardware only game. Although nothing is set in stone, ideal 3d cards would be:
VooDoo 1, VooDoo 2, Riva TNT, Intel 740, and S3's new hardware.
Probably missing a few.

Got back from CGDC. Met up with Gary, Charlie, and Jack. Very cool people. And I agree with Jack about the Yard House. Yummy!
...and the food was good too!

Lot of cool hardware coming this year, from 3dfx and nVidia. S3 surprised everyone with a new 2d/3d chipset.

I was disappointed with the NEC/PowerVR people. Their hardware wasn't looking that good, they aren't making OpenGL a high priority, and generally was shunned by them.

On the opposite end, is 3dfx. They have a ton of in house developers to support their APIs and to make cool demos. And they have people who are eager and excited to support OpenGL. They have a very good working attitude towards helping the game developers.

Saw Brian Hook give a talk. His favorite word is "sucks" in conjunction with Microsoft, Direct X, and a few 3d cards.

Brian Hook on Messiah / Quake3 Comparisons
Brian Hook updated his .plan with a reaction to a comment on Crack dot Com's Jonathan Clark's CGDC website about Shiny's Messiah:

"I was very impressed by what they are doing and it is more advanced than what anyone else is doing including id." - J. Clark

Except that Mr. Clark has no clue what we're doing here, and thus does not have sufficient data to make such a judgment.

That said, I'm really annoyed that I didn't manage to see the Messiah stuff, because all I hear are good things. I did get a chance to meet Dave Perry, and he seems like a personable individual -- AND he drivers an HMS Viper, so that scores many points :-)

Own John Carmack's Old Apple II
More in the buzzing of the Monday .plan updates, Rogue's Rich Fleider's .plan has word on the availability of some clutter/memorabilia (depends on your perspective): John Carmack's old Apple II GS, with more to come.

Taking g.o.d.'s Name in Vain
Letter to G.O.D. is the current "Fun of Invention" column by Randel Reiss on The Andover News Network that criticizes g.o.d. and their CEO Mike Wilson pretty harshly (thanks Aaron). The opinionated Randel, who recently took id to task over not altering Quake to German authorities tastes in Hey Id, There is No Return On Dictating Ethics to the World, and previously made allegations of possible "shady kickbacks" in G.T. Interactive's past in No more Good Times at GT Interactive, has a strongly worded take on Mike and g.o.d. Here's an excerpt:

G.O.D. is destined for failure. If not for the fact that the selected founding developers are going to be in litigation for breaching prior agreements with publishers GT Interactive and Activision. If not for the fact that the founding developers make all the same first-person polygon rendering shoot-em-up games that are starting to all look the same to the consumer. Then G.O.D. will fail because of the fact their CEO is a foul mouthed fool who speaks first and thinks later in a fashion I haven't seen since Billy Carter.

Intel's New Roadmap
There's a new Intel Roadmap up on Tom's Hardware Guide (thanks the ever-vigilant Billy at Voodoo Extreme). Here's the overview that accompanies the charts:

Here's the latest roadmap for CPUs. Intel has changed quite a bit in the last 4 weeks, Celeron at 300 MHz will be available very soon on June 7, 1998 and at the end of June the Pentium II Xeon will be launched at 400 MHz. The 450 MHz version will soon be available too, together with the Pentium II at 450/100 MHz. Both will be launched on July 26, 1998. The Celeron at 333/66 Mhz with 128 kB on-die L2 cache will be launched already on September 13, 1998.

And this blurb gives a look further into the future:

The successor of the Pentium II at 100 MHz FSB will be Katmai, starting to ship in Q1/99, initially at 450 MHz, then soon moving to 500 MHz. Katmai will have the new MMX2 instruction set, which includes double precision floating point SIMD (single instruction multiple data) instructions. This new instruction set will accelerate 3D graphics by a significant amount, being superior to AMD's single precision SIMD instructions used in the upcoming K6-2.

And finally a short note on what's in the works as far as 3D video chipsets:

In the graphics sector Intel is currently working on Whitney as a chipset plus i740 in one solution and on the successor of the i740, called
'Portola'. We can expect Whitney and Portola in the second quarter of 1999.

Raven's Soldier of Fortune Quake II Engine Game
Activision has announced they have acquired the worldwide license to the Soldier of Fortune magazine name and logo, attaining exclusive rights to develop and publish interactive games based on the property across all platforms (thanks Prophet). Here's an excerpt from the press release announcing that the first title to be published under the license is a Quake II engine game from Raven:

Activision's first Soldier of Fortune title will be a 3-D action shooter developed by Raven Software utilizing id Software's QUAKE II engine. Immersing players into a covert world of international intrigue, the game promises to deliver die-hard, killer-combat action. As mercenaries for hire, players will embark on insurgent operations in political hot spots around the world. Gamers will suit up and be deployed for one of the most explosive tours of duty in gaming history.

"The Soldier of Fortune license allows us to bring the appeal of first-person action shooters to broader PC audiences and to extend the genre to the present day political arena," states Robert Kotick, Chairman and CEO, Activision, Inc. "This game is as close as players can get to experiencing the dangers and thrills of authentic mercenary combat without having to ingest bad rations, suffer in sweltering heat and visit some frightening third world country."

"Soldier of Fortune is set to deliver more action, espionage and firepower than any other first person shooter on the market," states Brian Raffel, vice president of Raven Software. "The game's authentic 3D environments and scenarios will realistically reflect today's intense conflicts as players dodge bullets and pummel, toast, shred and incinerate hordes of enemies."

Blahbalicious Outtakes
On the heels of the triumphant night for the classic Quake film Blahbalicious at the Quake Oscars, Avatar has released the outtakes from the filming of Blahbalicious (7.1 MB), also available on the Avatar's page. A fan of the delicious Blahbalicious insanity? Try and imagine what was omitted.

Shiny Shines at the CGDC
Jonathan Clark of Crack dot Com has put up a website recapping his impressions of the CGDC (Computer Game Developer's Conference) along with photos of the event. Apparently most impressive to Jonathan is what he saw and heard about Shiny's game in progress, Messiah, from Shiny prez Dave Perry, who mentioned that they were no longer pursuing patents for some the technology they are developing for Messiah. Jonathan's comment speaks volumes: "I was very impressed by what they are doing and it is more advanced than what anyone else is doing including id." Also worthy of note is Ritual's Gary McTaggart's high praise for Messiah in his .plan on Friday.

Blood2 Mod Poll
Monolith's Blood 2: The Chosen page has a quickie poll on their front page to determine what is the most wanted mod for Blood 2, CTF, Bumper Cars, Soccer, or Superheroes (I vote Bumper Cars, we already have the others). Thanks Morpheus.

Gore Screenshots
There are new screenshots of Gore up on 4D Rulers' page where you can also find some information about this 3D shooter in progress.

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Video

On 32-Bit Color
There are screenshots up on MURC's G200 showing a side-by-side comparison of  16-bit screenshots showing the improvement in visual quality gained in rendering the image in 32-bit color and then dithering down to 16-bit color as needed. Thanks Billy over at Voodoo Extreme.

Rendition's Plans
There's a report on Renaddiction talking about what's up with Rendition's "Conspiracy," their next-generation accelerator, and why it was not shown off as planned at the CGDC (conspiracy, perhaps?).

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Quake/Quake II Mods

Stroggs Gone Mad
Version 1.1.00 of legion's Stroggs Gone Mad, the mod that adds a bit more I to the AI in Quake II single player is now available. Among the enhancements in SGM, skilled projectile wielding enemies will aim at your feet, the use of nodes for monster paths (no more killing stranded Berserkers with the hand blaster), and the reinsertion of some "missing" animations, like run and shoot animations.

Viking
Version 0.97c of theViking Mod is out. Thanks Pure Death Edmonton.

Eraser Front-end
Version 2.9 of the Eraser Front-end is up on the Industry News page while the EFE homepage is being fixed.

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Interviews

Todd Hollenshead
Part one of the the Daily Dementia's Todd Hollenshead interview is up, among other things commenting on the possibilities for the Quake 3 logo and the possibility that id will have something new from Q3 to show off at E3.

Joost Schuur
Joost Schuur is Interviewed by PsychoNews.

Interview from the Abyss
There's an interview on PsychoNews with the Abyss of Pandemonium team describing their dispute with their publisher.

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*reviews

Forsaken
Gamers-Zone reviews Forsaken.

Pure3D II
3Dfx World reviews the Canopus Pure 3D II.

etc.

Out of the Blue
It seems apparent that some server operators still do not think the backdoor Quake II/QuakeWorld rcon password applies to them. Until patched versions of the server code for both games becomes available, I strongly urge server ops to check out the patch to protect against the exploit.

Sunday, May 10, 1998 Happy Mother's day  

Tom Plays Beat the Clock
Tom's Hardware Guide has an article up titled How to Get All 66 MHz Slot 1 CPUs Running 100 MHz which demonstrates how to identify and mask pin B21 on the slot 1 edge to prevent CPU speed autodetection on BX motherboards, to allow 100 MHz bus speed on chips designed to run a 66 MHz. The Blue's News guide to achieving the same effect is to recommend the jumperless Abit BX6 motherboard which has all your overclocking needs handled through software, including disabling that B21 detection. Perfect for the speed freak.

Blahbalicious: Quake's Titanic
And the Oscar goes to... the 1998 Quake Movie Oscar Awards results are up on The Quake Movie Library with Blahbalicious taking most of the top honors (though Leonardo DiBlahblio refused to attend the ceremony after he wasn't nominated).

QBS
Version 1.31 of QBS ("cubes") the system tray utility that keeps tabs on gaming news pages and .plan files is available as a patch for QBS 1.25 or later. The major feature of the new release is a new custom category to choose what sites get your most attention, as well as several other enhancements and fixes. Thanks RaezoR. Also, Quake2.co.uk is now providing a utility to alert you with their news updates as well.

Mondo Unreal Mini-Interviews
A new Unreal Shot of the Day and the Full Monty, as they put it, of the 15 mini-interviews with the Unreal team are up on PC Gaming World's Unreal Exposed. Thanks Unreal News - Australia.

RIVA 128 Gamma Tweaks
There are a pair of new utilities up on RivaZone to tweak the gamma settings for Quake and Quake II under RIVA 128 OpenGL greatly improving image clarity. Thanks Meanstryk at Ramshackle.

Doom Done Quick
Doom done Quick is a speed run by the Quake done Quick folks, in their familiar breakneck style through the four episodes of the Ultimate Doom in a scant 19:41 (a similar time to the original QDQ demo). Thanks magenta.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

Freeze Tag
Version 1.44 of Freeze Tag, the freeze 'em and frag 'em Quake II teamplay mod is now available. In the new release the BFG will not  freeze players, and frozen players thaw twice as quickly when they're under water. Looks like "gibcicle" has stuck.

Script
Monkey's Quake2 Script is up to version 1.7.

Editing - New QOOLE (Hexen II Support)
Version 2.45 of QOOLE, the Quake Object Oriented Level Editor is out, offering full "official" Hexen II support.

etc.

Out of the Blue
Two notes about the Thresh game show dealie from yesterday, first it was the Computer Bowl, not the College Bowl, thanks Idoru (I think the comment about the crewcuts and horn-rims still applies), and second, it was, of course, the Red Annihilation tournament, not a PGL event where Thresh won his wheels. Thanks Mike Danylchuk. Happy Mother's Day all.

Saturday, May 9, 1998

Abyss of Pandemonium
The Abyss of Pandemonium project seems to be living up to its title, as the  Impel Development Team page has the Abyss of Pandemonium classic Quake mission pack available for download as shareware, apparently in retaliation for a dispute with their publisher Instant Access over their credit for the game. No word about this can be found on the Instant Access International Home Page where their AoP page does say "Developed by Impel Productions, one of the foremost Quake development teams," so perhaps box credit is the issue. Thanks John Callaham who let me know he added information to this effect to this Abyss of Pandemonium Review and Shitzu. There is now a Psycho News forum to cover discussion of this topic.

Editing - New QuArK
Version 5.0b3 of QuArK, the Quake Army Knife Quake/Quake II level editor is now available. Thanks Paco.

Brian Hook On Unreal
Brian Hook updated his .plan upon his return from the CGDC with his observations about the nature of the conference, as well as his reaction to seeing Unreal. Here's an excerpt covering the Unreal part:

Unfortunately I didn't get to see all that much because I was busy schmoozing, doing slides, sleeping, or drinking too much. On the show floor the two most demoed games were Forsaken and Quake 2, something that warms the cockles of my heart. Forsaken looks cool, as does Incoming. I also got to see an Unreal demo at the Quantum3D booth running on a Voodoo2 SLI in a P2/400, and I have to admit that Unreal is really beginning to look good. The water and lava effects are extremely nice, I dig the light halos, and all in all it looks like the game is becoming a game instead of a disjoint set of special effects. I didn't get to see the software renderer, but word is that it looks really nice also. I saw some empty display boxes at EB, and the minimum system requirements looked pretty low (P5/133 w/ 16MB I think).

Sinful Summer Update
Our digitally-challenged pal from Ritual updated his .plan with a reaction (but not a denial) to the report (below) that Sin was now delayed until summer:

-[ Sin Delayed? ]-

Sin will be out "when it's done," as it always has.  We're working hard to stay with our hoped-for Spring release date, but if we "miss" it, it's because we are still improving the game.

Sin has been in developement for a year and a month now.  Spring ends near the end of June.  Even if Sin becomes a Summer release, that will be a phenomenal achievement as far as developement time goes.

Daikatana, Half-Life, and Unreal have all made decisions to delay their games -- and it shows.  Each time new information is released about them, it eclipses everything.  They constantly improve.  All three games are looking incredible now, and it's because they are taking the time to do it right.

Again, I repeat, we're working hard to get it done, but we won't ship it before it's ready.  If that eventually means a "delay" from our anticipated  date, so be it.

Sinful Summer?
From yesterday's GameSlice Editorial Nugget from the CGDC, we find that Geoff at GS feels he has learned the truth about Sin's release is that it's now pushed back to a summer release. Here's the quote ("about three people"?):

Especially with Sin being delayed until Summer -- a fact which was confirmed by about three people at CGDC

Under Siege
Raven's Mike Gummelt has another Siege update in his .plan. The new version of HexenWorld and Siege should now be expected Monday.

Quake Movie Oscars
The Quake Movie Library's presentation of the Quake Movie Oscars is set to take place live today at 3:00 PM Eastern time in irc.planetquake.com #QMovies (a new location announced a nifty half-hour before showtime). Remember to arrive on time or you'll miss Billy Crystal's nutty opening montage. Black Tie optional.

Technology - Divx Delay
A little on the Divx saga, Studio & DVD News over on  The Digital Bits - Home Page is reporting that Circuit City representatives are announcing the Divx rollout is delayed "a few weeks," with analysts reporting this due to "licensing problems with Hollywood studios." Thanks John Lebel.

The Biz - Wal-Mart's Software Influence?
Watch Out for Wal-Mart says an article on GameCenter that draws a connection between the retail giant's policy of only stocking children and family-oriented software titles and the news that these are the two largest growing segments of the software market. The article questions: "Is Wal-Mart turning into a de facto regulatory body that decides which games get made--and which don't?" Thanks Bryank.

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Quake/Quake II Mods

Disposable Heroes
The Coven Home Page has version 1.1 of the MAD demo from their Disposable Heroes Quake II preview, fixing a few bugs from the first version, adding a couple of new configurable features for map cycling ad MOTD, and some tweaks.

GibStats II
A new version 1.8 of GibStats II, the program to extract graphs and stuff from your Quake II server logs, is now available, offering new 3D and 2D graphs, dialog to read in logs, speed increase reading client logs of up to 400%, and much more.

Quake Launcher
Quake Launcher is a classic Quake front-end now up to version 0.95.

Interviews - Paul Butterfield
Voodoo2World has an interview with Monolith's Paul Butterfield talking about Blood2: The Chosen.

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Wide World of Gaming

Small Soldiers Movie
GameSpot's got a preview of Small Soldiers that has a short QuickTime movie showing off the game's models. Thanks SL.

StarCraft Strategy Guide
GameSpot's Guide to StarCraft is online.

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Competitions

Fragapalooza '98
Registration is getting underway for Fragapalooza '98, scheduled for  July 16-19, 1998 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Um....
Mierdus Party 6 is like a LAN party or a tourney or something. The notice I received was in Spanish and Portuguese (I believe... probably in Brazil). Anyway, if you share one of those tongues (settle down Beavis), then you might want to head over and figure it out.

Corrections
I posted an update when I learned of the error, but if you read yesterday's story about the S3 Savage 3D before it was corrected, the information quoted from Cyrellis about the Savage3D being a 4X AGP card was incorrect. The card is a 2X AGP card, though S3 claims 4X AGP performance through the use of compression. Thanks RoLanD. Also,  I was mistaken is saying the source code was available for ThunderWalker CTF II, it just plain isn't, I'll try and get off the crack.

Out of the Blue
Another follow-up on the Jeopardy story (Blue's News -- where just a razor's edge separates the responsible follow-up on stories and beating a dead horse), turns out the contestant did correctly respond with "Quake" as the correct question to the answer, perhaps less surprising when we find out it was one of those college editions of the show. Having heard from Bear, a proud friend of the contestant, I can also tell you he is Andrew Hutchings, a Harvey Mudd College (for a second I thought that was Harry Mudd) student, Andrew went on to win the game and proceed to the semifinals of  the College Jeopardy Tournament. On a similar front, Ferrari turned out to be the answer to a question on College Bowl, and yep, the question was about Thresh, and what he won in addition to cash in the Red Annihalation tourney last year (the contestants didn't get this one, apparently humorously offering "a bundled copy of Windows 98" as an answer). Thanks Gargoyle[AMMO] and Thanos. Wow I remember College Bowl from my childhood when the guys always had crewcuts and horn-rimmed glasses (hey that could be today!). Who knew it was still on?

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