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Friday, December 4, 1998

Deus Ex Interview  [5:53 PM EST]
Deus Ex Incarnate interviews Albert Yarusso, talking to the ION Storm programmer about ION's upcoming Unreal-engine game, Deus Ex.

Shogo Editing Guides  [5:53 PM EST]
There are two Shogo level editing tutorials on PlanetShogo, one on installing the LithTech tools, and the other on getting started building a simple Shogo level.

Zoid Update  [5:53 PM EST]
Zoid updated his .plan with word on his Daily Dementia appearances (story), his thoughts on Sin and Half-Life, and a bit on the final Quake II release. Here's the Quake II part:

As John Cash mentioned in his plan, 3.20 is the final patch for Quake2. The 3.20 beta testing went very well so we have stamped it as official. We won't be doing another update on the Quake2 code base unless something major shows up (like a serious DoS attack or bug).

The Quake2 upgrade path has a bit bumpy (3.15's air control), but overall the path was to solve two essential needs (a) address bugs/security issues such as DoS (denial of service) attacks, and (b) provide new features.

I hope the mod makers out there are excited now that we've released the new updated game code--including the Xatrix and Rogue game code as well. It has been a long time coming, but we wanted to make sure that when we re-released it, it wasn't going to change again a couple weeks later. It's going to be good to see the new features added to all the existing mods out there such as IP banning, flood protection and spectating.

Heretic II Internet Play Tip  [4:49 PM EST]
Raven's Marcus Whitlock's .plan file has a tip to help Internet play for Heretic II:

Set (at the console) cl_frametime to 1. See what is printed - i.e. your framerate. If your framerate is really good - say 60fps, then try capping this: set cl_maxfps to say 30. How does that play? Better? Good - you can play around a bit more. raising cl_maxfps if you're really framerate conscious. No - still sucks? Ok you may need to experiment a little and reduce it further (if your ping is really lousy). Of course, the best thing is to go find a server (use gamespy that came with Heretic2) server that gives you a much better ping. One more thing - just because ping times are good - still doesn't mean your connection is wonderful - intermittent packet-loss (not lag) can strike at any time.

Explanation: Heretic2's client-side prediction (CP) (and of course, Quake2's CP - people have experienced the same problem with Quake2) can handle predicting a limited number of CLIENT frames ahead while your machine (the client) is waiting for the next update frame sent by the server. So if your ping is really sucky and your framerate is very high (say you've got a voodoo2). it is quite possible that prediction is EFFECTIVELY wanting to predict too many frames ahead and can't cope. Hence, reducing the maximum displayable framerate via cl_maxfps, reduces the number of frames it will try to predict and thus you won't bust the limit I just described. As some observant folks have pointed out - sometimes changing to software rendering makes the problem go away - because of course, software is probably slower than your super-charged, turbo-nutter-bastard TNT or Voodoo 2.

Tribes Chat Log  [4:49 PM EST]
Datumplane::StarSiege has posted a log of last night's Meet the Dev Team chat with GotMilk, as well as a Meet the Dev Team Synopsis.

CL Voodoo2 Drivers  [4:49 PM EST]
The Creative Labs Voodoo2 drivers page has new December 5 release candidate drivers for their 3D Blaster Voodoo2 cards. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme. The new drivers include the latest DirectX 6 compatible 3Dfx reference drivers, an integrated installation program, and their control panel with an overclocking slider and other extra features.

Levelord Interview  [3:13 PM EST]
Pels Interactive has done another of their neat finish the sentence interviews, this time giving the third degree to Ritual's Levelord.

Anachrochat  [3:13 PM EST]
This month's Anachrochat will take place this evening, with Tom Hall and the Anachronox team answering questions about the game, as well as participating in some general chat. The session starts at 8:00 PM CST, and you can join through the Java chat client in the Online section of the ION Storm website, or through IRC server "www.ionstorm.com" in the channel #ion.

AvP Feature  [2:58 PM EST]
There's an Aliens Vs Predator special on GameSpot UK that offers a game intro called Loving The Alien, part one of an interview with Jason Kingsley, CEO and Creative Director of Rebellion, the UK-based developers of Aliens versus Predator (part two is promised on Monday), and an Aliens Vs Predator Gallery offering some new screenshots.

On Sin Editing  [2:58 PM EST]
Ritual's Beau Anderson updated his .plan with a couple of quick words for editing types about the just released full Sin tools (story), including a brief example of the usage of .def files for organizing model files for use in the game.

Descent 3 Chat Log  [2:58 PM EST]
PlanetDescent has a chat log from last night's IRC chat with the game's developers from Outrage, and a list of planned bug fixes for D3 version 1.1. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Italian Master Server  [2:58 PM EST]
The GIB (Gamers Italian Board) is now home to a master server for QuakeWorld and Quake II. You can get the new master server list at satan.gib.it on the standard ports, and server admins in "south-middle" Europe should add IP 194.20.232.121 to their server.

New Half-Life Model  [11:29 AM EST]
Magic Coffee anyone? I AM HALF-LIFE has word that Sierra/Valve has quietly released a Too Much Coffee Man player model, based on Adhesive Comics' cigarette-puffing, caffeine-crazed comic book character. There's also a new Half-Life DM map there called The Hill they say is running on the half-life.pcgamer.com HL server. Here's a local copy of Too Much Coffee Man (269 KB) and The Hill (660 KB), on GamesNET FTP. Thanks Matthew Rorie.

More Zoid Dementia  [8:58 AM EST]
Today's Daily Dementia offers round two of TC's conversation with id Software's Zoid. Topics include Unreal, Unreal Tournament, John Cash, Linux, Half-Life Server Port for Linux, and a new version of GLQuake. RealPlayer, or equivalent, required.

Sin Editing Tools  [8:58 AM EST]
The Node has posted the full SinEd tool suite that will allow editing types to edit Sin maps and compile them for the full version. The compiled 3DSmax and 3DSmax2 plug-ins are included this time to allow modelers to export models and animations to Sin's .sbm and .sam formats, and skins to .tga format. This release also includes a "beefed-up" readme file with detailed instructions on how to install SinEd.

Unreal Tech Update  [8:58 AM EST]
The Unreal Technology page has an update from Epic's Tim Sweeney on the state of the upcoming version 220 release. It's possible a pre-release version of the update will be released early, maybe as soon as this weekend, for mod authors to allow them to port their mods to the new code. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Blood2 Chat Log  [8:58 AM EST]
A Blood 2 Chat Log from last night's online chat with the gang from Monolith about their new release is up on 3DGN.

The Final Quake II  [8:58 AM EST]
I don't think I noted where it was confirmed most recently, but as John cash mentions in his .plan (quoting Disruptor) "This is, for all intents and purposes, the last official release of Quake II." John also apologizes for the delay in the "long time coming" release of the source code for mod authors.

Bloodshot Interview  [8:58 AM EST]
The Adrenaline Vault interviews Bloodshot, the start-up company formed of 11 ex-ION Storm employees, who've just announced their first project, based on Todd McFarlane's (or as they put it, Todd Farlane) KISS Psycho Circus series (story). Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Navy Seals Interview  [8:58 AM EST]
H.I.M.O.N. Interviews Jay Lee, one of the developers of the upcoming Navy Seals Unreal-engine game.

ShogoTech  [8:58 AM EST]
ShogoTech is a new site devoted to editing and modifying Monolith's LithTech powered robo-game. The goal of the site is to be the Shogo equivalent of The Unreal Technology Page.

Blood2 Review  [8:58 AM EST]
The FiringSquad's Blood2 review, giving Thresh and Kenn's tag-team views of the game. Here's a quote talking about the game's control:

After playing the slow-down game with Quake II, Unreal, and Half Life, it was a big shock for me to be scoot around at a Doom pace, jump as high as Duke Nukem, and have almost the same in-air control (misleadingly labeled air acceleration) as ROTT

Half-Life Server Launcher  [8:58 AM EST]
Version 0.5.3.1 beta of HALFSERV, a Half-Life server launcher program, is now available. The proggie offers the ability to toggle WON authentication, LAN game setup, and one-step setup of a quick Half-Life game.

The REAL Stat Machine  [8:58 AM EST]
The first public release of The REAL Stat Machine is now available, offering powerful statistical analysis of quake II games. TRSM has only been fully tested on Loki's Minions Capture the Flag.

On Pure3D II DirectX 6.0 Drivers  [8:58 AM EST]
An update to the Pure3D II  Software Updates page explains the delays in the release of new drivers for Canopus' Voodoo2 card, saying "Canopus has been working closely with 3Dfx to get these drivers finished but for the last two months we have been waiting for 3Dfx to add extensions to the OEM DLL specific to the Pure3D II to properly support Glide 3." Thanks Purified3D.

etc.  [8:58 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [8:58 AM EST]
If you are one of those who is accessing this site through one of the hosed connections to its host, again my apologies for what can be terribly long delays in loading the site (when it loads at all). There are some changes in the works that should address this shortly, but in the meantime, I can only offer my sincere apologies, and thanks for your patience. Again, most users are still experiencing very fast service, so if this post makes no sense to you, you are probably one of them. Thanks for all the feedback on the pimpage issue raised yesterday, I got 47 pieces of mail on the topic, many of them pretty darned insightful (45-2 in favor of pimpage, but of course this isn't a vote, so the two negative letters were of greatest interest).

Thursday, December 3, 1998

Multiplayer Reviews: Sin, Blood2  [2:32 PM EST]
FiringSquad reviews Sin multiplayer with Thresh and Kenn's impressions after a SinFest. Also, LANparty.com reviews Blood 2 The Chosen, similarly focusing on multiplayer play.

Aliens versus Predator Screenshots  [2:00 PM EST]
There are new screenshots from Aliens versus Predator on Final Conflict. The seven shots, some showing off in-game combat between aliens and marines, are scanned, though it isn't clear from what magazine (presuming they are from a magazine). Thanks Gredd.

Quake III Arena FAQ  [2:00 PM EST]
An updated version 0.21 of The Unofficial Quake III Arena FAQ is now online for your viewing pleasure.

Creative Labs WinNT TNT Drivers  [2:00 PM EST]
The Creative Labs FTP site has new Windows NT drivers for their Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT. Thanks Chris from BetaNews. According to the site, this update improves the stability and performance of the drivers and solves system lockup during startup on the retail version of Windows NT4.0. Before installing these drivers, you must already have installed Windows NT4.0 Service Pack 3.

Hercules TNT  [2:00 PM EST]
Sharky Extreme reviews the Dynamite TNT, looking at Hercules' late entry into the RIVA TNT sweepstakes, calling it "one of the best TNT-based video cards on the market."

Shooters  [10:17 AM EST]
Tonight on Shooters we will have a show we taped last week with Ritual's own Levelord, who was able to come up to the famed Pseudo offices face-to-face: always one of our favorite shows to do. The show was shot with one camera and no mikes (other than the camera mike) since the studio was unavailable when we shot, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the quality turns out okay (I haven't seen it yet myself). The show will go online at 7:00 PM Eastern time, RealPlayer, or reasonable facsimile thereof, required.

Half-Life Add-on Shots  [10:17 AM EST]
Voodoo Extreme has posted three screenshots from Half-Life Level 5, an upcoming add-on from RadioActive Software (not sure if this is meant as commercial, unless something has changed since the last quote I saw from Valve about add-ons, there are none officially authorized yet). The shots show off a holographic Barney in a new training level.

New Delta Force Demo  [10:17 AM EST]
As mentioned in the story about the DFDemo patch yesterday, an updated version of the entire Delta Force demo is up on NovaLogic's site. Thanks Tim at 3DFiles.Com.

Harry Miller (KISS) Interview  [10:17 AM EST]
AVault has posted an interview with Harry Miller of Ritual/g.o.d. talking about the KISS game announced yesterday (story) g.o.d. will distribute. Also, while I called the crew that is now Bloodshot Entertainment the ION eight, based on the eight simultaneous resignations from ION Storm, an email from Will Loconto points out the start-up actually has no less than 11 ex-ION Storm employees: For the record: Programmers: Adam Hayek, Mike Maynard, and Jonathan Wright. Designers: Matt Hooper, Sverre Kvernmo, David Namaksy, and Steve Rescoe. Artists: Andy Chang, Ronn Harbin, and Mark Morgan. Audio: Will Loconto.

Drakan Interview  [10:17 AM EST]
PC.IGN.COM interview Alan Patmore talking to the lead designer for Surreal Software's Drakan: Order of the Flame about their upcoming dragon-riding action/adventure game.

Third Person Quake II  [10:17 AM EST]
Spine Design has posted another Quake II mod in their quest to post a mod a day this week, offering Third Person Perspective Quake II, with what they describe as a "realistic, non-buggy" third person view for Quake II.

FireArms for Quake  [10:17 AM EST]
The homepage for the FireArms Quake II Modification has a Quake (1) version of their mod for download. Most of the website is dead links, so there's nowhere to find a descriptions of this one (may have something to do with guns, or something).

3D Card Round-ups  [10:17 AM EST]
GameSpot's PC Workshop 8 is titled 3D Graphics: Making the Right Choice, and 3D Video Card Buyers Guide is part two of three in a similar guide on Ace's Hardware that goes into more techie stuff. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Mac Texture Tool  [10:17 AM EST]
The newly released Wadtool offers Macintosh users a comprehensive tool for editing and managing textures for Quake editing in a US$10.00 shareware program.

Competitions  [10:17 AM EST]
A couple of chances to win gaming PC's from Falcon-Northwest: Those who register to play multiplayer CyberStrike 2 online will be automatically entered in a drawing for a 400 MHz PC, and purchasers of InterAct's GameShark for Win95/98 can also win a Falcon PC.

etc.  [10:17 AM EST]
There are some rumblings over at the venerable Matrox User's Resource Centre where it looks like some die-hard Matrox supporters are quite unhappy with the recent announcement of further delays in the OpenGL ICD for G200-based cards, as well as word that the next release of the ICD will offer no performance improvement in games (story) ... Lockheed's Tombs has a new five map expansion pack for Loki's Minions CTF for Quake II ... Similarly DyerMaker's Domain has a new deathmatch level for Half-Life ...

Out of the Blue  [10:17 AM EST]
I get mixed messages on my attempts to pimp for the Internet Websites Top 100. I got a bit bummed over a letter complaining about my (what I felt was) good natured lobbying for votes (I wish I could find it to repost here, it basically said look at all the visits and stuff you get, it's not classy to pimp like that. It was well-stated, and hard to disagree with in that light). So I'm contemplating this issue (and watching Blue's News drift down the charts below sites getting fewer votes as the weighted averages they use take their toll), and a week later (after failing to mention the charts), I receive the following:

"I would appreciate it if you would continue putting a link on your main page to vote for you in the top 100, so it's just one easy click to help you get to the top :-)"
--Matt Tirevold

So I'll continue to keep an eye on feedback about this burning issue if anyone provides it. In the meantime, consider this the pimpage for the week, and I will try and contemplate why I seem to make a point of mentioning this on mornings that I've gotten a late start (which would have to make a voter question the worthiness of the effort). Smart, eh?

Wednesday, December 2, 1998

Delta Force Demo Patch  [10:23 PM EST]
The NovaLogic demos page has got a patch to update the Delta Force demo if your current demo has expired, and does not allow you to access single and multiplayer missions. Thanks Ben at 3DFiles. Word there is a new version of the entire demo will be uploaded, but it's not there yet.

TombRaider III Patches  [10:23 PM EST]
3DFiles has posted a bunch of patches for different language versions of Tomb Raider III to fix problems such as invisible doors on the second level, sound glitches on AWE 64 cards, a save game problem and a few more cosmetic things.

Interstate '82 Preview  [10:23 PM EST]
GameCenter's Sneak Peek at Interstate '82 is online, offering a preview of this driving and shooting sequel that's set in, as GameCenter puts it, "The Reagan Years." Thanks CiDcO at StormTroopers.

New NIQ for Quake II  [10:23 PM EST]
Version 1.94 of NIQ for Quake II is available, offering the following changes to the grappling hook (tractor beam): It's more responsive, the damage the hook does to enemies is now minimal, and it won't hook onto the sky by default (server ops can enable this though).

New Forsaken Levels  [7:44 PM EST]
The Gaming Krib has three new levels posted for the registered Forsaken, as well as a new level installer cooked up by RAY from Kali.

The Hidden Rogue Disruptor  [7:44 PM EST]
Rogue programmer Patrick Magruder updated his .plan with word on a weapon they developed for their Quake II mission pack, Ground Zero, that can be found in the source released today (story). Here's the lowdown on the weapon, called the Disruptor, and how it can be accessed for those tinkering with the source:

Well, now that the source has been released, I guess that answers the questions people had about when our source code would be released. How about now?

Some enterprising folks might try changing a #define (hint .. KILL_DISRUPTOR, line 38) in g_local.h from 1 to 0. Who knows what new weapons might end up back in the game. (hint .. disruptor). You might even find a few on our deathmatch maps (rdm4, rdm5, rdm6, rmd7, rdm8, rdm9, rdm13 .. and maybe more).

Yes, the weapon is called weapon_disintegrator, and the ammo is ammo_disruptor.

If interest warrants it, we'll try to arrange for a precompiled DLL on our website.

MX300 Ships  [7:28 PM EST]
According to a report on OGR, Diamond Multimedia's Aureal Vortex 2-powered Monster Sound MX300 sound cards "should be shipping to North American retail outlets this week." Thanks Apache from Contaminated.net.

Quake III Arena Music Update  [6:51 PM EST]
There's an update on Mindphaser's FLA page on some impressions on some of the tracks Front Line Assembly has submitted for Quake III Arena.

Heavy Gear II Delay  [6:51 PM EST]
Word on Avault is that Heavy Gear II is delayed until January 1999. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Heretic II Tips  [6:51 PM EST]
Activision's Heretic II Game Tips page is online, offering "Heretic II Gameplay Tips And Tricks From The Source."

Descent 3 Demo FAQ  [6:51 PM EST]
Outrage Entertainment has posted a Descent 3 mini-FAQ to help out with questions based on the demo. Thanks Assasin.

New Kali  [6:51 PM EST]
The Kali FTP server has version 1.59 of Kali95. The new version of this server browser program adds support for a few new programs, including Delta Force, Blood 2, and the Descent 3 Demo, though the page has the following note to Descent 3 Demo players: "Descent 3 Demo was added to the TCP Games list, but currently V1.0 of the Descent 3 Demo doesn't support the command line we're using to connect to D3 games. When D3 Demo V1.1 is released this should work."

Deus Ex Interview  [6:51 PM EST]
There's an interview with Bob White from ION Storm on Voodoo Unlimited Power talking about Deus Ex.

Quake II 3.20 Released  [4:19 PM EST]
id Software's Christian "Disruptor" Antkow updated his .plan with news of the release of the final (non-beta) version of Quake II 3.20. Here is a page with local copies (various) on GamesNET FTP. Here's the lowdown from his .plan:

Link Description

Size

q2-3.20-x86.exe Quake II 3.20 Final. Win32 x86 Binaries 5,327,872 bytes
q2-3.20-x86-full.exe Quake II 3.20 Final. Win32 x86 Binaries.
Deathmatch maps included
13,842,432 bytes
q2-3.20-x86-full-ctf.exe Quake II 3.20 Final. Win32 x86 Binaries.
Deathmatch maps and CTF included
19,267,584 bytes
q2src320.exe Quake II 3.20 Final gamex86.dll source code 455'680 bytes
roguesrc320.exe Quake II 3.20 Final Rogue Mission Pack
gamex86.dll source code
700,416 bytes
xatrixsrc320.exe Quake II 3.20 Final Xatrix Mission Pack
gamex86.dll source code
519,168 bytes

Quake II Voodoo3 Screenshot  [4:19 PM EST]
Sharky got his hands on a couple of screenshots from 3Dfx showing off Voodoo3 1600x1200 in action. He's posted a shot of Unreal. Here's the Quake II shot (thanks Shark), a 5 MB bitmap in a 2 MB .zip:

lev2_rail.bmp (5760054 bytes)

Ex-ION Team Joins g.o.d. & the KISS Army  [12:55 PM EST]
The Gathering of Developers (g.o.d.) has announced a game based on Todd McFarlane's KISS Psycho Circus Comic, based, of course, on Kenn Hoekstra's favorite 70's rock band. The game is going to be the first project of the "ION eight," the team that recently announced its departure from ION Storm, now known as Bloodshot Entertainment. Here's the lowdown from the press release:

Dallas, TX, December 2, 1998 -- Put on your kabuki makeup, black leather and metallic studs, and stick out your tongue in your best Gene Simmons impression, KISS is going digital! Developer-driven computer and video game publisher Gathering of Developers today announced a publishing deal with new developer group, Bloodshot Entertainment, to create a game based on the best-selling KISS Pyscho Circus comics and action figures series by Todd McFarlane.

Bloodshot Entertainment, comprised of designers, artists and programmers formerly of ION Storm, is developing a 3D action game that integrates McFarlane's rendition of the KISS "universe" with the likeness of the legendary KISS members and their music. The game will be published in the U.S. by Gathering of Developers, and Take 2 Interactive will co-publish the title in Europe. The Gathering has secured the KISS Psycho Circus license for all game platforms.

 "Our shows are a sensory ambush--filled with hard-core rock and roll, cutting-edge technology, and in-your-face action," proclaims Gene Simmons, KISS vocalist and bassist. "We are working with Bloodshot to convey that same raw electric excitement in this game." Simmons continued, "We aren't all gamers ourselves, but we got the word that The Gathering was the place to call if we wanted a guarantee of quality and artist recognition. Besides, it's good to have g.o.d. on our side for once!"

PowerVR Series 2 Announcement  [12:55 PM EST]
PowerVR has posted a press release announcing they have begun sampling  PowerVR Series2 graphics processors, and an "optimized version of the device will be released to manufacturing this month, with volume availability planned for Q1 1999." Thanks Lorien at Gamer's Alliance.

High Visual Quality CFG for Half-Life  [12:55 PM EST]
3 Fingers sends along word that he's doing his thing over on his Tid-Bits page, offering an autoexec.cfg to give the highest visual quality in hardware accelerated Half-Life, discussing the performance trade-offs involved.

Heretic II Editing  [12:55 PM EST]
Jeremy Statz's .plan file has an update on single-player Heretic II map editing that includes a downloadable example on how to use buoys in a map file.

PingTool - Blood2 Support  [9:06 AM EST]
PingTool 2.4 beta 2 is now available, adding Blood2 support and fixing a crashing problem when scanning Half-Life servers with this server browser, which now sports a new cleaner design. Thanks Meanstryk.

On Video Game Violence  [8:02 AM EST]
Violence Invades Video Games is an ABC News article describing an annual report card released yesterday by US Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), "assessing the video game industry and its impact on children." Thanks Phil "Cain" Hall. Similarly, an article titled There's a generation gap in video knowledge (Minneapolis Star Tribune) quotes a report by the Minneapolis-based "National Institute on Media and the Family," that says "'Duke Nukem' is a video game in which the action character forces women to disrobe, and then he kills them. Eight out of 10 American junior high school students already know that, but only five in 100 parents do, according to a report on popular video games released Tuesday in Washington, D.C." Thanks ·T· Diomedes and ElGringo. Reading that quote, you'd think the report was saying that stuff about Duke, but it's the 80% figure that they're quoting, the description of the game is the Tribune's own. Interestingly (for me as webmaster of a gaming site), one of the subjects discussed is that most gaming websites carry no ratings based on the content. On this subject, ABCNEWS.com has a front-page poll up asking "Are video games bad for children?" Thanks Mike Kinsman.

Titanic Quake II  [8:02 AM EST]
Titanic Quake 2 offers you the chance to explore the trendy sunken ocean liner (though no chance to gib that annoying Leo, as far as I know). The setup requires altering a back-up of your Quake2.exe, and doesn't support the Quake II 3.20 beta (it actually GPF'ed for me, but I didn't mess with it much). Thanks Ant.

Tribes Chat  [8:02 AM EST]
Mark "Got Milk?" Frohnmayer, lead programmer on Dynamix's upcoming Starsiege Tribes, will participate in an online chat this evening as part of a "Meet the Dev Team" series. The chat will start at 5:00 PM PST (8:00 PM EST), in UnderNET IRC in channel #tribes. Thanks DatumplaneStarSiege

Sin Entities  [8:02 AM EST]
For editing types, The Node has been updated with a complete list of entities from Sin, with 462 entries listed (according to the site, almost double the 250 entities in Hexen II, the most previously found in a Quake/Quake II-engine game).

Sin 1.01 CD  [8:02 AM EST]
I saw on Ritualistic that the Activision Sin site is offering a free copy of the Sin 1.01 update and Paradox's eponymous deathmatch level on a CD. Here's the poop:

Send an email to sinupdate@activision.com. Include only your name and mailing address. Activision will notify you when your email has been received, and again when your CD is mailed. US customers only.

Messiah Shots  [8:02 AM EST]
Some new twisted individuals have been added to the gallery of characters on Shiny's Messiah page. Thanks Voodoo Extreme. Also, The Messiah Universe has posted some screenshots that they believe are new.

Septerra Core  [8:02 AM EST]
Monolith Productions Septerra Core page is up with info, screenshots, and character pics from this RPG they will be publishing (announced in this press release).

TeamFortress2 Interview  [8:02 AM EST]
TF2.com has posted their interview with Robin Walker of Valve/TeamFortress Software talking about TF2 based on questions submitted by readers.

Vigilance, Sin, & Heretic II Reviews  [8:02 AM EST]
GameSpot's Vigilance Review gives PostLinear Entertainment's new shooter a 5.1. Also GameSpot's Heretic II Review is up giving Raven's new third-person action title an 8.1, and Falcon Mach V Fan Page reviews Heretic II as well, calling it a worthy sequel. Finally, in an odd matching set, Thresh's FiringSquad reviews Sin , focusing solely on single-player play, while Gamers Central reviews Sin multiplayer. On that subject, Sin was awarded an Editor's Choice award from PC Gamer in the January issue of their print edition.

Banshee Drivers  [8:02 AM EST]
New Voodoo Banshee reference drivers are available. Thanks Rambisboy.

USR Modem Ping Fix  [8:02 AM EST]
Jeremy Blackman's .plan gives a possible fix on the U.S. Robotics Upgrades page for problems some are apparently having with soaring pings on some USR/3Com modems.

MailBag  [8:02 AM EST]
Lurch... Mails in! Hey, it's time for this week's Mailbag we have a fellow "colorblind" gamer, O.J. on Blood2 (huh?), more on Physics, some complaints about the WON part of Half-Life multiplayer, a mention of (ack) Barney, more on the reflective thread and its retraction, and a request for a review of Magic Coffee (in today's Out of the Blue).

Competitions - Daikatana w/Romero  [8:02 AM EST]
Will you be ready to deathmatch John Romero? This is the question on EIDOS Interactive Deathmatch challenge page that has sketchy details of what an opportunity to DM ION's John Romero (called "the founder of deathmatch himself" on the page), in Daikatana. Entries will be taken until February 12, 1999. Expect to hear more of this between now and then. Thanks Unreal Kingdom. Also, there's a Quake and Quake II tourney getting underway at o-w-n-e-d.com with both high and low ping divisions. Finally, the next season of the Online Gaming League is getting underway soon. A follow-up on yesterday's Aussie challenge report from Sasquatch: "Worth noting is that to get to the final the GolSyds had to beat every other Australian Regional team; the NZ'ers invitational (picked from up and down the country, with no real teamplay experience with each other) team came to face just the GolSyds, but also beat every other Regional team that they played. It wasn't such a dusting of the Kiwis as it appears. Thank you for listening :-)". Finally, the organizers of Impulse '98 apologize for the misunderstanding, but it turns out there will not be a demo of Duke Nukem forever at their event, after all.

etc.  [8:02 AM EST]
Version 0.98 of WinGlide (allows Voodoo cards to output in a Window) is up on Chris' WinGlide Page, the new release combining B2 WinGlide and Overlay WinGlide into one file. The MMX gamma correction code in B2 WinGlide includes some minor optimizations and there are some new advanced options  ... An interview with Iikka Keranen on 5 Years of Doom talks to the Anachronox level designer about his Doom designing days ... MagixX continues to keep the PainKeep (Quake 1 mod) fires burning, having posted the PainKeep tournament pack ... GameStats Interviews Sandy Petersen talking to the designer about his past at id and his present at Ensemble Studios ... Zarathustra Studios has their second tutorial posted dedicated to editing demos ... TheGUF's Old School Briefing Room offers TeamFortress tips for the old school ...

Out of the Blue  [8:02 AM EST]
As mentioned in the MailBag, I set out to check out the magic of "Magic Coffee" as described in last week's MailBag, a task I would not take on without my aide-de-camp MrCoffee, who edits the Mailbag, LanParties and Classifieds here. With all the required ingredients (Dr Pepper, coffee, and sugar) assembled in the BlueLab, we set out to our task. We brewed the coffee as directed, using Dr Pepper instead of water (this can be done without ruining a coffee pot, BTW, just use a Melita-type filter). Tasting the coffee at this point was interesting enough, it wasn't really great or anything, but I could actually see someone drinking it in this state, it was kind of like oddball sweetened coffee. Following the recipe literally, however, was a frightening experience. MrCoffee was not surprised to see how much sugar would actually dissolve into the already sugary brew, but I sure was. We were able to add a half-cup of sugar to a half-cup of coffee before over-saturation. If that science class I failed to skip during High School doesn't fail me, by over-saturating the solution, we actually ended up with a trifle less sugar in the mix than we would have if we had stopped a hair earlier, but that's a quibble for the chemists out there, this ended up being one of the most undrinkably sweet concoctions I have ever tasted (gee, a half-cup of sugar in a half-cup of soda, go figure). The consistency was about that of warmed syrup, and it was about as sweet as that. We were able to drink about as much of this as you would be able to drink of honey, and it was not long before our small sips put us each in a bit of intestinal distress, and I truly believe drinking the cup, now nearly full from all that sugar, would be a harmful experience. We are planning a small LAN party at the end of the year, and may try experiments with "unsweetened" magic coffee, but as for the literal recipe, I can't say I recommend it (though I'll let you know how the stuff we brewed up last night tastes on pancakes). Oooo, Time's Person of the Century Poll is up (thanks CAESAR). Anyone for Hank the Drun... aww nevermind  =]

Tuesday, December 1, 1998

Trespasser Patch  [9:59 PM EST]
The Trespasser team site has the version 1.0 patch for Trespasser (thanks Trespasser Central). Here's the lowdown on the patch, that comes in normal and giant versions:

Below are links for the Trespasser patch v1.0. The first is a new executable only, and contains code fixes and optimizations for jump consistency, object pickup, keypad interaction, interpenetration, aiming, box model interaction, etc.

The second (Trespasser Full) contains both the executable changes, as well as data fixes for almost every level. The data patch addresses floating objects, terrain texture resolution, new partitions, object disappearance, etc.

We attempted to fix and optimize everything we could. This patch will not double your performance... rather it addresses many of the small bugs and complaints we received. We felt we owed it to you, to do what we could.

The instructions are straight forward. Download the appropriate zip file and follow the instructions provided by the application.

Trespasser Patch Exe Only (2.7MB)

Trespasser Full Patch (36MB)

John Romero Q&A  [7:00 PM EST]
Romero Weathers the Storm is a brief Q&A with ION's Chairman on GameSpot. This is how the chat is described by the ION Storm Daily Informant: "John discusses his goals and challenges as a designer, his opinions of Sin and Half-Life, and answers the obligatory questions about life at ION Storm."

Zoid Gets Demented  [6:34 PM EST]
Saw on Sharky's that Zoid is the guest on the Daily Dementia talking about Quake III Arena, a new version of Quake II CTF on the way, QuakeWorld, and stuff like that.

New Drivers: Monster 3D II & TNT  [6:34 PM EST]
The Diamond Multimedia Monster 3D II Drivers page has the new version 4.10.01.0205 of the drivers for their Voodoo2-based card. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme. These drivers offer Glide version 2.54 and it now has 3DNow! and DirectX 6 support! Also, word from Planet RIVA is that new NVIDIA reference drivers for the TNT are available. Here's the lowdown:

  1. Unreal -- several visual artifacts are corrected, including a "rainbow" effect on some textures. There are still someTexture downloading performance issues that we are working on, but this is a significant improvement.
  2. Descent3 demo -- texture problems are corrected.
  3. Rogue Squadron from LucasArts -- W-buffering problems are corrected.
  4. 3D Studio MAX 2.5 -- fixes possible freeze of desktop, better wireframe drawing, fixes miscellanious crashes when selecting objects
  5. Multigen Creator 2.2 -- textured object performance dramitically faster
  6. Caligari TrueSpace 4.0 -- occasional crashes fixed
  7. Solidoworks 98 -- fixes some rendering anomolies

Also, users who run 3DStudio MAX 2.0 and higher will see significant changes in terms of look and performance.

Drivers are available below:

(0.9 MB) Build 0.48 for Win95/98 AGP
(0.9 MB) Build 0.48 for Win95/98 PCI
(0.5 MB) Build 0.48 for WinNT 4.0

Heretic II Map Editing Tip  [6:34 PM EST]
Jon Zuk updated his .plan with some tips on Heretic II map editing including examples on how to use his program called qdata for converting .pcx's to .m8's.

Trespasser II AVI  [6:34 PM EST]
PC Gamer Online has a short movie from Trespasser II (already!) showing off some action from DreamWorks' upcoming sequel. The clip is available in AVI and RealPlayer format (word on VE is this is a gag, but I can't get through).

Thief Ships  [6:34 PM EST]
Word over on Voodoo Extreme is that Thief: The Dark Project has shipped to retailers, so this 3D action/adventure game from Eidos & Looking Glass Technology should be on store shelves soon.

eyeSCREAM H3D Support  [12:48 PM EST]
Hot on the heels of the previous story that speculates about future H3D support from Metabyte, comes a scoop from Sharky Extreme about a press release they say is due in a few hours about Metabyte's plan to market H3D drivers under the name "EyeScream" and to continue to supply eyewear even after current inventory runs out by using a small vendor to supply new glasses. The new product will allow the use of H3D glasses with any Voodoo2 card, not just their Wicked3D. There are more details on Sharky's, and presumably, more to come when the release is issued. The story gives a price range of $119-$129 for the EyeScream package, but no word yet on whether there will be driver support for existing H3D owners.

On H3D  [11:39 AM EST]
Classy Glasses has a message on their webboard titled My thoughts on H3D posted by George Belle, formerly of H3D, giving his feelings on the company after its recent chapter 11 filing. The story gives some of the details behind the decision to close the company, and offers this on the future of the H3D stereo technology:

As H3D owners/users, where does it leave us? It's hard to say. IO Displays is still lisensed to manufacture the units, so more units CAN and WILL be made if Metabyte (or other companies) still wants them. This may not be of much use to those of us without Wicked3D cards (myself included), at least until Metabyte decides to release (or sell) their drivers.

Return of the Lightning Gun  [11:39 AM EST]
Spine Design ("is this a joke?") has posted a Quake II weapon mod on their Quake II Projects page that replaces the BFG with the lightning gun from Quake. Word from the team is that they'll be releasing another such mod every day all week.

Vigilance Review  [11:39 AM EST]
Sharky Extreme's Vigilance review is up offering a look at this first person shooter to see how it stacks up against the stiff competition in the genre that currently exists.

Running a Half-Life Server  [6:11 AM EST]
Running A Half-Life Server is a new site on Contaminated.net with instructions straight from Valve on how to configure and run a Half-Life server.

Half-Life Exec Creator  [6:11 AM EST]
Tweak3D's autoexec creator for Half-Life is up, offering a web-based config maker to help improve performance and alter the appearance of Valve's shooter. The Sin and Quake II autoexec creators have also been updated after the discovery of a few JavaScript errors.

Giants Interview, Screenshots  [6:11 AM EST]
There's a Bob Stevenson Interview on RIVA 3D talking with the Vice President and Co-Art/design director at Planet Moon Studios about their upcoming action/adventure. The piece also includes some new Giants screenshots.

Descent 3 Chat  [6:11 AM EST]
There's a moderated chat planned with Outrage to talk about their upcoming Descent 3. The session is scheduled for this Thursday at 6:00 PM Pacific time (9:00 PM Eastern). The chat can be accessed on the web at The Annex Cafe Chat (link seems wrong, or busted), or point your IRC client at chat.annex.com and join #interplay.

William Haskins Interview Pt 2.  [6:11 AM EST]
Part two of the Action Xtreme Interview with William Haskins concludes their conversation with ION's web dude.

glDoom Interview  [6:11 AM EST]
There's an interview with Bruce Lewis, the man behind the upcoming glDoom on the newly opened Doom Source Port page.

Genesis3D = OpenSource?  [6:11 AM EST]
There's a new Open source thread on the Business Forum on the Genesis 3D Engine that discusses the possibility of making Genesis3D an OpenSource project.

Q-Racing Update  [6:11 AM EST]
A new version 1.1 of Q-Racing is out, offering improved handling, and some other changes to this Quake II racing mod.

Quake Random Map Generator  [6:11 AM EST]
A beta of the Quake Random Map Generator is now available, offering an on-the-fly map creation utility based on a similar Doom project.

New Linux ServerConfigMOD  [6:11 AM EST]
A new version 3.0 of the Linux port of ServerConfigMOD is now available.

Heretic II Review  [6:11 AM EST]
There's a very positive Heretic II Review on AGN3D.

Competitions  [6:11 AM EST]
Monolith's Get Gaming Contest offers the chance to win a copy of Shogo signed by the development team at Monolith. Also, New South Wales "GolSyds" won the Village Quake Challenge 3-0 over the New Zealand team. Word from Hoony is that Australia's Reload is a player to watch (he won several exhibition matches along the way).

etc.  [6:11 AM EST]
Tom's Hardware Guide's Comdex report is online. Thanks taxi_driver ... A new development update on the Wheel of Time page offers the latest on WoT development (basically the Varghina Incident demo has derailed them for a while). Thanks oPerrin ...

Out of the Blue  [6:11 AM EST]
Today is World AIDS Day (thanks Lorien at Gamer's Alliance). A follow-up on my comments about not having tweaked Half-Life multiplayer: My games on the 'net have been smooth since I did a few things: First, get a server browser that supports Half-Life (if the built in browser is offering ping times from my desktop, I'll be damned, because it seems to be showing the server's ping to WON), and turn off decal display and loading (a tip originally sent by goldmund). To turn off the decals (which will also stop bullet holes and blood spots from showing), add the following commands to your .cfg, or type them at the console (you need to start Half-Life with the "-console" option for that):

r_decals 0
cl_download_ingame 0

I also needed to up my rate (defaulted to 2500) to 10000 for my ISDN. Voila, much smoother. More Half-Life tips to come (the pertinent project to which I recently referred).

Monday, November 30, 1998

Gabe Newell Interview  [8:21 PM EST]
Talking With Half-Life's Creator is a GameCenter interview with Valve's Gabe Newell talking about the game's success, patches, multiplayer, and more. Thanks CiDcO at StormTroopers. Gabe has this to say about the authentication system that has caused some problems:

"The authentication system we've put in place is a really important part of the health of the multiplayer community," he says. "There are a group of people who work to destroy games for other people and we want to keep them as far away from the community as possible. They try all sorts of nasty things to screw up servers and cheat. There are a bunch of things they did when Quake II came out that gave people an unfair advantage in multiplayer. We don't want them hurting other customers' experience because in the long run that's the thing we're really jealous of. Nobody should be [toying around] with the Half-Life community."

The article goes on to say:

That said, the patch removes authentication checks for LAN games. But even in Gamespy's upcoming support for Half-Life, games will still have to be validated on Sierra's servers. And as for allegations that a key generator is duplicating existing authentication codes and locking out legitimate customers, Newell says there have been only about a half dozen successful instances of faked multiplayer authentication codes.

Heretic II Server Setup  [4:21 PM EST]
Activision's Steve Stringer sent along the following info on setting up a Heretic II dedicated server that will allow it to be publicly seen by programs like GameSpy:

If you want to have your server seen by GameSpy and other Master Server List-based utilities, you need to set a GameSpy port and make your game public. To do so, do the following:

The default port for a Heretic II server is 28910. You will want to set your GameSpy port to that number + 1 with the following command:

In your command line launch or config:
    +set gamespyport 28911
Or in the server itself:
    gamespyport 28911

Next, set your public setting to 1.

In your command line launch or config:
    +set public 1
Or in the server itself:
    public 1

Additionally, you can set up multiple servers on a single machine by changing the port number.

In your command line launch or config:
    +set port 2x910
Or in the server itself:
    gamespyport 2x911

...where 'x' is an integer. For instance, you can have three servers, each on ports numbered 27910, 28910, 29910. Remember to set your GameSpy port numbers accordingly (e.g. 27911, 28911, 29911...)

Sin Walkthroughs  [4:21 PM EST]
Ritualistic has got some walkthroughs posted covering individual levels. They've currently got each level through the Construction Zone covered, with the remainder to follow. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Monster Fusion Drivers  [4:21 PM EST]
The Diamond Multimedia Monster Fusion Drivers page has new version 4.10.01.0211 drivers for this Voodoo Banshee based card. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Sin Update  [12:02 PM EST]
Ritual programmer Mark Dochtermann updated his .plan with a Sin report, including details on upcoming 3DNow! support, the new tools release, the new source release, and the patch:

A few things

- 3DNOW - I worked very hard on getting 3DNOW support in for the 1.01 patch, unfortunately there were a lot of issues with their 3dfxgl driver (it didn't recognize my PURE3D). Right now I am in a holding pattern waiting on AMD to see what they do to improve their optimized drivers. Another issue that came up is that the 3DNOW optimization is basically targetted solely at VOODOO customers. Anybody out there own a K6 and not use a VOODOO based video card? It seemed to me like there would be quite a few people in this situation and I want to make sure the optimized 3DNOW driver is compatible with all the popular cards.

- Tools - I am getting the new tools ready for release. This time I will also include the MAX and MAX2 plugins (compiled) sorry about that, didn't realize I just sent out source. Incidentally, the MAXSDK comes on every MAX disk.

- Source - We are also putting together a release of the source code for the gaming dll, this will take a little longer because it will be our first release ( the tools as you know had already been released for the demo ).

- Patch - I hope everyone is Sinning out there ;). I apologize for the change in Save games, but since most of the level scripts had changed, the old save games were truly no longer compatible.

Matrox OpenGL ICD Slips Again  [11:01 AM EST]
Matrox has announced another delay on their full OpenGL Installable Client Driver, which would have had to have been released today to make their revised November deadline. The ICD is now expected to be released on December 9. The second piece of unfortunate news for owners of Matrox MGA-G200-based accelerators is that this will be a pre-beta ICD for Win95/98 only (WinNT support is promised for first quarter 1999), and will not improve performance over the D3D wrapper currently available for G200 cards. Matrox will continue to work on the performance side, as this quote shows:

While the pre-beta ICD will not exceed the performance of the currently available Matrox Direct3D Wrapper, Matrox wanted to assure customers that, despite the unfortunate delays, we are aggressively working on the ICD development under Windows 95/98 and NT in order to deliver the maximum performance possible for MGA-G200 based graphics accelerators.

This pre-beta ICD released on December 9, 1998 will support a limited number of OpenGL games and applications including, Quake II and Half Life.

loonyness  [5:47 AM EST]
This week on loonygames there's all sorts of new stuff afoot, including the site's new affiliation with Next-Generation Online (never fear, the site is still "a Blue's News publication") that will offer loonygames headlines on Next-Gen and vice versa, a redesign that makes navigating the site's weekly outpouring of content more manageable, and, oh yeah... issue fifteen to boot. Here's the lowdown, in convenient loony format:

ION Interview  [5:47 AM EST]
Action Xtreme interviews William Haskins, ION Storm web guru, on several topics including the recent personnel shakeups at ION, with part two of the interview to be posted tomorrow.

Doom Interviews  [5:47 AM EST]
There's a Sverre Kvernmo interview on 5 Years of Doom as part of a series of interviews they are running with noteworthy names from the world of Doom playing and level creation. There are already interviews posted talking with Joel Huenink, Mike Gummelt, T. Eliot (Myscha) Cannon, and John Bye. The Sverre interview is described as everything from his first days with Doom to his final days with ION Storm.

FleetSpy Debut  [5:47 AM EST]
The first live "broadcast" of a Quake II match using the FleetSpy streaming demo viewer mentioned here recently (story) is slated for tonight. Here's the deal, from the Loki's Minions Capture the Flag page:

Do you remember the days when you had to download demos? Remember when you had to wait for them to be recorded before you saw them? Those days are over because Nachos have released Fleetspy v1.0b (500k zip) which makes demos viewable (even to 28.8 users) immediately without download! It means that an unlimited number of observers could start recording a match as it happens, with about a minute or so latency. The instructions are ridiculously easy.

The premiere Fleetcast will be on the Nachos server at 9pm EST on Monday the 30th where HD plays PTH. LMCTF 4.0 required to view the broadcast.

New NIQ  [5:47 AM EST]
A new version 1.93 of NIQ for Quake II is available, offering a single new feature, an off-hand tractor beam.

Descent 3 Demo on the TNT  [5:47 AM EST]
If you've had trouble with the Descent 3 demo on a TNT accelerator, you might want to try OpenGL mode, rather than D3D, as RIVA 3D points out (they've posted some screenshots of the demo in OpenGL on a TNT). Similarly, if this helps anyone, I had all sorts of mouse problems when I tried Half-Life in D3D mode on a TNT, but was fine in OpenGL.

Shogo, Blood2 Reviews  [5:47 AM EST]
Games Domain Reviews Shogo Mobile Armor Division, and PlanetBlood reviews their namesake game.

Half-Life Pricing Follow-up  [5:47 AM EST]
Just for the record, crack attack, or not, I've revived follow-ups from several readers who've had some forms of success with the Half-Life price matching scheme discussed here recently (story), including some with successes even when the price to match couldn't be verified. Your mileage may vary.

Celeron Overclocking Guide  [5:47 AM EST]
Sharky Extreme's Celeron Overclocking Guide gives step-by-step instructions on tweaking the celery out of your Celeron, Intel's low-end processors that go in like a lamb, but can be boosted to come out like a lion (of course, all warnings about voiding your warranty with Intel, burning down your house from the heat, and losing your girlfriend because you're at your fast new computer too much still apply).

Competitions  [5:47 AM EST]
The Impulse 98 Wireplay LAN Championships will be this weekend, the follow-up to last year's quite successful Australian LAN competition. Robin Walker from Valve Software will assist running the TeamFortress competition, and GT Interactive will be demonstrating Duke Nukem Forever. The website has an AVI-format trailer using Quake II footage created by Damian Scott, ex-TFS employee (the man behind the Team Fortress movie demo).

etc.  [5:47 AM EST]
This O.D.E.N. Quake II Survey is for someone's communication thesis (you gotta love that) ... The action-lovers at Action Quake have announced they are "semi-porting" their popular Quake II mod to Half-Life ...

Out of the Blue  [5:47 AM EST]
If that dog wasn't enough, now Yellow 5 points out Blue's Barney Page devoted to children's TV's other most mindless icon. Eeek. Yesterday's Quote was Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime. Riffing on that theme, this is from Viz (with apologies to David Byrne):

And you may ask yourself... When is Quake 3 Arena coming out?
And you may tell yourself This is not my beautiful palletized 16-bit Voodoo 2!
And you may tell yourself My god! I'll need a new card!

Same as it ever was smiley3.gif (948 bytes)

Sunday, November 29, 1998

Varginha Incident Demo  [4:19 PM EST]
A playable demo of The Varginha Incident (too easy), a first-person shooter being developed by a Brazilian gaming company is now available. The demo is a doom-like thing with an odd mlook (holding alt), and it doesn't really live up to some of the cool shots on the site, which may be from cut-scenes. The demo is a modest three-some-odd MB, so it's easy enough to check out yourself, and here is the skinny on the game from their page:

An overwhelming military operation is in progress to cover up the landing of an alien spacecraft. Frustrating the military personnel involved, some aliens escape towards the city, where they are spotted by several eyewitnesses. You are one of those witnesses - the first who actually makes contact - and who is assigned a very special mission...

Half-Life Patch is US Version  [3:40 PM EST]
Valve's Gabe Newell sent along a P.S. about the new Half-Life patch (story) saying that it is for the U.S. version of the game only:

Also, this is the US version of the update. You will get an error message if you try to apply it to the UK, French, German, ... versions. The update will be localized for each of the different language/country versions.

Messiah Music Interview, Shots  [3:40 PM EST]
There's an interview with Jesper Kyd, composer of the music in Messiah, Shiny's upcoming third-person game featuring Bob the cherub, as well as some new Messiah character shots on The Messiah Universe.

Black Crypt  [2:31 PM EST]
Raven programmer Rick Johnson updated his .plan with word that he hopes to release a single level as a compatibility test from Black Crypt, an older project of his that he's reviving. If the test goes well, the full game will be released as donationware:

My current plan, barring any legal problems, is to put together a build that will contain just the first dungeon level (which is 2 player levels) and put that out sometime next weekend. I mainly want to do this to see if there are any current bugs or compatibility problems with the code. The game should run well on any Win95, Win98, and WinNT system (486 66mhz and above). If everything goes well, then I'll put out the full release shortly there after.

Remember that we are going to be putting this out as donationware. If you enjoy the full product, feel free to send us some money or anything worthwhile. :)

Quake II Racing Mod  [2:21 PM EST]
Flitsoft development has released a Quake II mod that puts you behind the wheel of a large automobile ("where does this highway go to?") in a TC called Q-Racing. Actually it's a small automobile, as the theme seems to be based on the concept of micro-machines: Toy sized cars driving in a full sized world.

Tectonic  [2:21 PM EST]
A new version 2.1 of Tectonic, the Multi-Mod Quake2 launcher, is now available. The update fixes some bugs, and adds a 'map note' feature with HTML export, for maintainers of map review sites. New versions of Sincest and Quake Launcher are promised soon with the map note feature as well.

Zoom  [7:59 AM EST]
Off in the BlueJet for home. There was a problem with the first version of the Half-Life patch I uploaded (sorry about that), but it should be okay now.

Half-Life Patch  [2:27 AM EST]
Valve Software has released a version 1.0.0.6 patch for Half-Life. The update can be installed automatically via the Sierra Utilities, and is also available as a separate download, here's a local copy of the update (768 KB) on GamesNET FTP. Gabe says this patch will not harm your saved games, and that anyone having problems with the patch should email him directly. I'm also told the patch resolves the problem I posted a warning about yesterday (story), so uninstalling the Sierra Utilities is no longer the dangerous proposition it had been (thanks Marc). Here's what's new in the patch from Contaminated.Net:

Update 1.0.0.6 addresses:

1. Disabled the music track check in CD Authentication. One problem that some people faced was that they have CD-ROM drives that either can't play the music tracks or they have disabled CD audio on that device. We've disabled the portion of the CD authentication that checked for the music tracks since it was tripping up legitimate customers. Of course they still won't hear the music until they get their CD audio fixed, but they would have that with any game that uses CD music.

2. Adjusted the default configuration for multiplayer to be more appropriate for people with lower speed modems or with high ping/bad packet loss.

3. The default rate for LAN games is now set to 9999. Previously the LAN rate was being set to the be the same as the Internet rate.

4. Removed the WON authentication attempts for LAN games. LAN games are limited to a single Class B address range.

5. Fixed an uninstall issue that may affect custom locations.

6. Fixed an A3D underwater sound bug.

Revenge of Stroggos  [2:27 AM EST]
A new game .dll for the Revenge of Stroggos Quake II mod is now available. The update provides full compatibility with Quake II version 3.19.

Descent 3 Demo Cheats  [2:27 AM EST]
A few of the cheat codes from the Descent 3 demo have been discovered and posted by Descentia.

BattleField Commander Interview  [2:27 AM EST]
This interview with ShadowFactor talks about their BattleField Communicator product, which allows real-time voice communication in multiplayer games over the Internet.

Sin Review  [2:27 AM EST]
The Sin Review on Computer Action Games at The Mining Co. offers a look at the game, including commentary on gameplay after installing the patch.

Half-Life Price War Crack Attack?  [2:27 AM EST]
I've gotten a few mails saying the post from yesterday on getting a bargain copy of Half-Life doesn't seem to be correct based on the prices listed by both stores. I haven't gotten to check on this, so if the story is in error, my apologies for getting anyone's hopes up.

Competitions  [2:27 AM EST]
Riding the Rocket is a site dedicated to weekly Quake II challenges including ongoing bot challenges.

etc.  [2:27 AM EST]
Cinner Designs offers free webpage design, and free clan skin/model design ... An update to the CTF Survival Guide adds strategy guides for all the Capture! maps ... gfxspace.com is looking to fill the void left by SlipGate Central's seemingly permanent temporary shutdown and become a search-engine driven page of game site listings ...

Out of the Blue  [2:27 AM EST]
Here's part two of yesterday's Half-Life/Shogo impressions, covering the Shogo half of the equation. This is my single-player experience prior to installing the point release, since multiplayer didn't really work on the pre-patched game (I'm eager to check out deathmatch now that the patch is out: I haven't heard much about how well it works over the 'net). I got to play a bit of Shogo before its release, and I knew how cool much of it was, with some of the most over-the-top weapons effects and explosions I can recall in any game. But I've also found it surprisingly engaging as I continue to play through the game, and I'm impressed by the effort that went into the single player game. I estimate I'm at about the half-way mark, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't caught up in the goofy soap opera plot here, and so far I seem right on course to actually maintain enthusiasm throughout. There are a couple of downsides: the graphics are generally great, but some of them are not up to that same level (the hand on the weapon when you're on foot, for instance is pretty awful), the enemy AI (prior to the patch, at least) is pretty lackluster, and the slight "stiffness" of the mecha controls is a little frustrating (but it is a giant robot, and damn nimble in that context). But the upsides are many, including a plot, a sense of humor, good level design, a nifty engine (that renders nice large outdoor areas well), and the above mentioned weapons and explosions. Though I'm not finished with either game yet, both Shogo and Half-Life have carried my interest with the single player play farther into the game than any of my favorite shooters, including Doom and Quake. While I haven't really tweaked around Half-Life for the 'net, or tried the patched Shogo for Internet play, I've deathmatched both games on a LAN, and they're both quite fun (though quite different, Half-Life being a bit skulkier, and Shogo being in-your-face action). As I said up top, these are first impressions, but they have been formed after enough time with the games that I'm comfortable that they're pretty solid based on what I've seen of the games. It doesn't really seem right to do this without following up on it, so I'll post my final impressions when I'm done with both games as well (I imagine I'll push this all onto another page by then).

Saturday, November 28, 1998

Descent 3 FAQ, BB, Tips  [6:34 PM EST]
The Descent 3 Frequently Asked Questions page has been updated to version 0.35, with information about the newly released demo, as well as some conversation with some of the game's developers. Also, here's a Descent Community Forum for public exchanges about the demo, as well as the upcoming game. Finally, there are some updated hints and tips on Descentia for the demo, including dedicated server configs, a SpaceOrb config, bug info, and a step-by-step procedure on how to run in the as-of-yet unsupported 800x600 mode.

Quake II Systray Utility  [6:34 PM EST]
Version 2.0 of Quake 2 Peek is out, an improved version of this system tray utility that can notify you when a game of Quake II is started on your LAN.

C.O.R.E. Quake II  [6:34 PM EST]
Center Of Radioactive Emissions, or C.O.R.E., is a new Quake II mod that offers an interesting teamplay variant on a CTF-style game where scoring is centered around possession of a radioactive core that is constantly draining the life of the player carrying it, as well as other nearby players. The rules feature twists that include the ability to nuke a whole room with the core, and the awarding of weapons to the player who scores.

Matrox BIOS  [6:34 PM EST]
Matrox Graphics BIOS page has a new version 3.45 of their unified BIOS setup file that updates all of Matrox's cards. Thanks BetaNews.

New UK QW & Q2 Masters  [10:51 AM EST]
The folks over at BarrysWorld pass the news that the UK master servers for both QuakeWorld and Quake II will no longer be operated by Minos UK, so BarrysWorld is stepping up to the plate. Here's the lowdown:

Servers Ops need to change the address their servers report to. ALL UK & European QW and Q2 servers should send heartbeats to 194.88.93.12 from now on (default ports)

European Gamers wishing to add the new Masters manually should add:

QW Add Master Server list Name: BarrysWorld UK Internet Address: qwmaster.barrysworld.com Port: 27000

Q2 Add Master Server list Name: BarrysWorld UK Internet Address: http://q2master.barrysworld.com:8080

Permedia2 Q2 Colored Lighting Fix  [10:51 AM EST]
Billy at Voodoo Extreme sends along a fix to enable colored lighting in Quake II ona Permedia2 acclerator that was discovered by PGR. Here's are the commands to add to your autoexec.cfg:

Place these commands in your autoexec.cfg:

gl_3dlabs_broken "0"
gl_dynamic "1"
gl_monolightmap "C"

Make sure you have the latest 3Dlabs reference drivers and at least Quake 2 v3.17. Next switch to a desktop color depth of 32 bits and start up the game.

Thief Demo  [4:05 AM EST]
A playable demo of Thief The Dark Project is up on GameSpot. Thanks Solomon Grundy.

Giants Interview, Shots  [4:05 AM EST]
GameHut interviews Tim Williams of PlanetMoon Studios about their upcoming action/adventure game, Giants, offering four new screenshots of the game along the way.

Source of Power for Quake II
Spine Design has released a new Quake II mod called Source of Power that wires your weapons into your body so you are firing your life instead of ammo. As the authors point out, pinpoint aim really helps in this one. Weapon balance is considered, so the bigger the gun, the more life it drains.

Half-Life Warning  [4:05 AM EST]
I've received a couple of warnings from readers who've had the unfortunate experience of uninstalling Half-Life, or the Sierra utilities that install with Half-Life, only to find the uninstall deleted the entire directory structure where they installed the game. The results of such a deletion could range from the annoying (the uninstallation of the Half-Life OEM or other Sierra games if you installed in the default directory), to the really problematic (if you install games in a dedicated games directory) to the truly catastrophic (if you install the game in your program files directory), so until this is fixed (or it turns out these scary anecdotes are proven incorrect), I would suggest exercising extreme caution when removing Half-Life.

Half-Life Scheme  [4:05 AM EST]
Gregory Kwok sends along a scheme to get a good bargain on Half-Life that's worthy of I Love Lucy:

I'm serious. Remember earlier this year when you could get Quake2 for $5 because of price-matching and rebates between EB and CompUSA? Well, here we go again--

CompUSA is advertising it for $29.99. Electronics Boutique is selling it for $39.99. Go to EB and get them to price-match CompUSA for you. The go to http://www.ebworld.com/ and find the $10 rebate.

On a similar front, Todd Hollenshead's .plan covers bargain pricing on some id products.

Competitions  [4:05 AM EST]
Ravage.Net is now offering a Half-Life one-on-one league, divided into high and low-ping divisions.

etc.  [4:05 AM EST]
The PlanetFortress TeamFortress History page has nothing in the way of history posted so far, but is soliciting input into what they hope will become a comprehensive resource for tracing the history of TeamFortress, focusing on clans in particular ... Neurogib is a serialized piece of Quake fiction ...

Out of the Blue  [4:05 AM EST]
I am having a lovely time spending the weekend out of town visiting my in-laws, but it's poor timing in one regard: in addition to my usual deathmatch jones, in an unusual twist (for me) I'm also feeling pain because I'm in the depths of some single-player addiction, with both my Half-Life and Shogo: Mobile Armor Division games awaiting my return. I figured I'd try and get a little of that frustration out of my system by sharing my first impressions of these games before they become golden oldies. (For the record, I play on what is best described as a monster system.) I'm about half-way through each game, and am still enthusiastic about both, which is saying a lot, because while I love deathmatch, most first-person shooters are work to play single player. Half-Life I expected to be great based on what I'd seen already, and so far it has actually surpassed my expectations. The only downside I can see so far is there seems to a bit of jitteriness in Internet games, but I can't even say that for sure because I haven't experimented with it greatly, but I do believe there may be a problem there. In single-player, the software is not bug-free, but is pretty damn close. The single player play is the most immersive I've ever experienced in an FPS: The game finds a way of making the shooter tradition of following a path beset with lifts and buttons seem interesting, almost reveling in the task, rather than avoiding it (though there is the unavoidable feeling at times that you are following the only possible path, though I won't complain: I don't really think dead-ends and such would add to the game). There is enough realism to be fun, while not getting too caught up in it (there are still the occasional pieces of machinery or architecture that are clearly created for cool value over realism). The graphics are stunning, as are the models and animations, the level design is tight, the AI is the best I've ever seen, and the weapons are well done in look, feel, sound, special effects, and are particularly well balanced. The sense that the game is a fulfillment of a vision, and a well-realized one at that, strikes you on a constant basis. The reviews on Half-Life are glowing, and so far it's near-impossible to find reason to argue. I jotted down my Shogo impressions here too, but it got too darn long. I'll post this stuff on a separate page when I get back, but for now, I'll just save Shogo for tomorrow's Out of the Blue. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the NPCs, with scientists and security guards (Barneys) to assist you in your struggle. While these characters are annoyingly cloned (there's one Barney face, and three or four different scientists, who all usually use the same dialog), their impact in the game makes you think of them as more real than you'd expect (also, Barney is a total badass). The best is when you get a couple of them together and they start to talk. Here's my favorite exchange (paraphrased):

Scientist: Perhaps we ought to try and capture a specimen?
Barney: Nope.

And I bet Barney didn't even go to college...

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