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QuakeWorld Launch Review
First off, to set the scene, I ran into a fellow named David Kosak, and we talked a bit. It turns out when I got home, I found he had written out his impressions of the event in fine style and mailed them to me. He describes everything in perfect detail, so I'm just going to post it as is, here. I'll post some further first-hand accounts of what I saw and did later, but this'll help me get to sleep. Thanks David!
(Thanks to all that pointed the bad link from *late* last night's update--all fixed): I also received a review of the web-based coverage of the event from _BIG_WILLIE who was very disappointed. I am not surprised that the coverage blew, but I'm surprised that he's mad at id. It was an outside company doing that press, and the fact that all the id guys were being run around for interviews and stuff, so that they couldn't hang in IRC, certainly doesn't mean they don't care.
Now for my thoughts. First off let me say the id guys were great. Very patient with being barraged with questions, they were always good-natured, we had a lot of laughs. A bunch of us (me and my clan, a few other clan's members, Carmack, Bear, Tokay, sCary and V. Long of Computer Gaming World) ended up at dinner and they just kept going with the flow, eating, answering questions between bites, more laughs. Thanks guys for a terrific time.
Okay, on to the juice. It's 2:00 a.m. and I'm fried, so I'll prolly add stuff, but I know everyone wants to hear the latest, so:
QuakeWorld Release Date
We did not play on the QuakeWorld client as we expected (we were actually playing on WinQuake!)
John Carmack: "QuakeWorld will probably be released around a week from next wednesday (which would be October 4th)" Carmack is away till next Monday, and Michael Abrash has "101" things on his todo list to be fixed for when John gets back. Wednesday is a hedge to allow a couple of days to work with the fixes.
Quake 1.05 Release Date
Soon. Michael Abrash says it's ready to go.
WinQuake Release Date
Within a "few" months. WinQuake works a lot better over TCP than in a DOS box (Cash). In Fact, WinQuake provides better ping times than using the B&W DOS TCP stack.
Quake II Release Date
Around 8 Months.
Though Carmack doesn't want to raise expectations too far, he also did stand by the assessment that a good 28.8 connection under QuakeWorld will play a lot like ISDN does now. It is important to note that he also says that people with severe lag problems caused by having a crappy ISP will not be helped by all the programming in the world.
QuakeWorld also only requires a single port, so it should be far easier to connect to the net from behind a firewall (Cash).
Quake II Features
A PLOT!?! Yep Michael Abrash seemed to enjoy the shock this invoked when he told me this. He also said that the levels would flow together, and there would be more of a feeling that you understand why things are the way they are. He "guarantees it."
Carmack added this about Quake II: "It implements many features (arbitrary brush rotation was the only one I retained as he rattled of a list) that will allow the level designers to be designers rather than slaves to technology"
A lot of the new QuakeWorld networking code will be in Quake II (Abrash), but some of the latency reduction features are only practical for a separate client, because QuakeWorld requires a dedicated server (Carmack). Though there are possibilities of making this work on a Windows client by using multiple threads, which they are investigating. (Carmack)
Raven's current project for Quake is a lot like Hexen was for Doom, with character classes and stuff like that (Carmack). The problem with the first generation of 3D cards is that each of them has at least one serious deficiency. (Carmack)
I could watch Tokay (American McGee) deathmatch all day. Between his incredible skill (has to be seen to be believed) and the running banter shouted over the monitor, it's incredibly entertaining. We got locked out of the event site after we returned from dinner, so I never got to play him one-on-one, though he did pound on me a bit when he and Cash (no slouch either) and I went at it in a three-way early on (before I was warm, yeah, that's the ticket). tokay's one-on-one with John Romero also never happened, because by the time Romero got his left-handed Logitech mouse working he was ready for a bite (he was going to come back, but as I say we were locked out by the time we returned from our dinner, so he prolly was too).
BTW, John Carmack admitted to me he actually does play Quake, shattering one of the more bizarre myths of the id development team.
That's all for now. Maybe I'll think of stuff I forgot. I'll post pictures tomorrow (err, later today) also.
QuakeWorld Launch in NYC Today
QuakeWorld Coverage on the Web
"The first QW beta we received was kinda cool, but was too small (only ran in about a 6x5 window) and had no sound This weekend (Hopefully) when the Direct X version is ready it will have sound and support different res modes."
"What I did play of it - only 2 hours (Got tired of squinting at the small window) it was smooth, but of course I don't really count cause I have a 128 ISDN"
"It seemed that my ping rate was lower still though (Usually < 100) So maybe
28.8 will have a similar drop."
"There have obviously already been changes to the QW client, while playing in the game Tues. Night JohnC kinda mentioned that HIS version had mouse support :/ (Which ours didn't) So he was wiping the floor with us :)
<The advantages of being the programmer>"
Since I am going to be there, and won't get to check out this cutting edge web coverage, I'd be interested in reports from anyone who wants to bother mailing them in on how the event came across, and how all those doo-dads worked (last I saw, the web AV squad was still running around fixing stuff).
"After minor delays, QCPL v2.0 has been released. I hope that people will find that QCPL's main attraction/feature is not colors or graphics but a strong focus on QuakeC patch file-management. My main concern is that people will cease to use QCPL due to its lack of graphical presentation ... oh well, we'll just have to see."
I played around with it a bit and he's right, it is sparse. But I've always liked mean and lean little DOS programs, and it worked great (though I wish you could highlight the patch and hit enter, rather than having to type the patch name--but it's no biggie). I don't know where it's uploaded, so for now get it here (28 KB).
"My God, you are actually scaring me! I think it's even bigger than you suspect, though, I just found out today that the guy who runs our server ("Anubis") was taken to the ER this morning with some kind of creeping crud pneumonia-type infection, and he might not be able to tend to the server today! I am totally serious about this..."
I also received a note from Abducted of Abducted's Quake Page:
"You can add my page to the list of Quake pages that have been effected by this "conspiracy" if you want. Though I have been able to read the news on the web, I have not been able to upload to my site yesterday or today. I guess I'll just lump all the new news together and try and put it up tommorow morning..."
and this from a webmaster of an upcoming site:
"Speaking of sickness and Quake Sites :) I've had food poisioning that has delayed the opening of my Quake Page. <spooky music plays>"
Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
More QuakeWorld Than You Can Shake A Boomstick At!
Verite Card | Quest Beta | BSP Alpha | QView
QuakeWorld stuff: Stomped's Client Preview | John Carmack's .plan | Dave Riller's Response
Later tonight they're going to try to get CUSeeMe going for a video feed, where you will (theoretically) see tomorrow night's matches!
"I'd like to clarify that it was stated that way as to prevent any hype problems. The truth is that my avg. ping of 250 felt like 120! So basically, it blew me away! All the T line people out there are going to have some problems on their hands when the 28.8'ers come back for revenge :) (look out Tokay, I'm gonna get you, sucka :)"
As I told Dave, this is like music to my ears! Not that I think this would actually help versus Tokay <g>, but some of you low ping bastards are gonna be seeing a few rockets with "blue's revenge" written on the nose.
D'oh! Rising expectations alert! Now I know what Dave was watching out for! Eeek!
We are now beta testing the first release of QuakeWorld.
It seems to be going well. The latency reductions are very real, and significantly improve control and responsiveness. There is some loss of smoothness in some cases, but you can tune the tradeoff to your liking.
I don't want everyone to think that it will instantly turn their 28.8 modem into a lan connection, but it should be solidly better than what we have in all circumstances.
On an internet connection that provides a stable flow of packets at a reasonably predictable rate, the gameplay is very good. Single packet drops are not even noticable, but dropping several packets at once or having a large variability in latency can still mess up a game.
The really cool ISPs will run QuakeWorld servers right at their pops, which should give 28.8 modem players 200 ms or less pings, providing a nearly flawless game.
I'm a little disappointed in how lukewarm that sounds. Not that anyone promised this, but more than once I heard the reference that modem connections would be like ISDN. So I was really hoping the Internet games via modem would be described as good, not "doesn't seem nearly as bad."
I'm not saying I'm not still looking forward to the lag-reduction QuakeWorld will provide (I can't wait). I'm just realizing my expectations were maybe a little unrealistic, and that I should prolly tone them down a bit.
"Check this out. I think its the best server browser out there and even if I'm wrong, its definately been overlooked."
Check it out on the QView Homepage. (I'd hate to be accused of a conflict of interest between the News and the QSpy Homepage).
QSpy Beta Testing Closed | QuakeCast | Strategy Guide | Quake Spreadsheet
John Carmack's Reply (quoted from Quake Fiction):
"There is no simple fix for it. If I come up with anything that will help, I will certainly add it."
"One of the techniques I am using in QuakeWorld can be used to save about 30 ms of latency. We will probably add this as an option in a later version of Quake."
"I could add a "fair mode" that equalized the lag for both players."
"There is a pretty good chance that two people dialing up to a local ISP and playing on an internet QuakeWorld server resident there will get a better game than if they dialed directly to the other player, because the QuakeWorld dedicated server can respond faster than the other player's computer that is also running the game."
For those fortunate enough to have avoided it, modem games in Quake are impossibly unfair, as the client has a 50+ ms ping time while the player who is the server has a ping of zero.
It sounds like the "fair mode" (with equal lag for both players) would be easy enough to implement, and I think they should. I know in a way it sucks more (both player experiencing a lag, rather than just one), but as the name says, at least it would be fair.
ID Software and Pseudo Programs Inc. are co-hosting an official "QUAKECAST" on Thursday, September 19 from 7 - 9 PM (EST) -- please be our guest! Join in by logging on to http://pseudo.com, where you'll be able to hear RealAudio interviews with leading industry CEO's, ID software gurus, game developers and clansmembers. You'll also be able to chat with us live (irc.pseudo.com or go to the site and click "chat"), join us on CUSeeMe (seeyou.pseudo.com), or call in to the show at (212) 965-1390. QUAKECAST -- it'll destroy you!"
"I have created an Excel spredsheet which keeps track of several different Quake frag statistics. Although this would not be practical for internet Quake, it works out excellent for Quake on a LAN. I play Quake with a lot of my cronies up here at work and we developed this spreadsheet to determine who is the best Quake player."
"You must manually enter data after each Frag Fest. The only things you must enter are the number of frags and minutes played. The spreadsheet does the rest. It creates pie charts, ranks people in order of frags per minute, and calculates several other statistics which are interesting to look at."
"Players are ranked by something I created called EFR (Effective Frag Rating). Players kills for a certain day are adjusted according to how easy it was to get kills during a given deathmatch. For example, if I were to play on a day with 15 other people, well I would get a lot of frags and have a high average. If someone else only happens to play on days where only 8 people play, well they would have a lower average. The calculations are complex, but you can follow them on the spreadsheet if you like. It is absolutely the fairest way to rank Quake players."
"You will probably need to customize this spreadsheet quite a bit to fit your group of players, but it should prove to be an excellent skeleton....I am sorry, but I cannot support this spreadsheet, but I will upload someday a more advanced and forms-based version."
"I just wanted to let you know about an interesting creation of mine. It's the ping weighted performance chart on my Lag City page. People can use this to judge how well they are doing with the lag taken into consideration. In other words, somebody with less frags can win if they have a greater ping. Hehe."
It may be kinda like figuring out how to say you won the fight when the other guy knocked you out, but hey I understand the grasping at straws... the lag'll do it to you. (I'm just a 28.8 boy myself.)
"It's for single-player (yawn), but I guess somebody out there plays that way. Other stuff (secrets and cheats), but nothing. . .uh. . .earth shattering."
It's "Beg for Artwork" Day at blue's
Moves (again) | Another 3D Blaster
Preview | Upcoming Patch
Beta Test QSpy | THRED Beta Delay
"Jon (Mavor) want's the weekend to add more stuff to Thred before the copy becomes public."
Thanks to Hexadecimal, for dropping me a line letting me know.
And I'll leave you with this tidbit from Planet Quake's "Bastard:"
"While this is clearly good news, the great news is that the list of new features on the drawing board is really interesting. Stay tuned!"
The other message Joe sent was a call for volunteers with artistic talent:
"...we'd like some assistance...specifically, I'm looking for two new icons for the toolbar:
1. Launch Quake 2. Player Query
If anyone wants to give it a shot, they need to be 18x19x256 icons.
BTW, speaking of the icons, you might want to see if anyone can improve upon what we already have!"
So if you've got artistic talent, and want to help out with QSpy, the Quake player's best friend, please feel free to give a whirl and send along what you've got! Also note my sad plea for skin help down in etc., as it's officially "Beg for Artwork Day" here at the Quake Rag.
"I wish to inform you of a program being currently in the finishing stages of development called 'Quake C Patch Launcher', (QCPL) for short. It features 4DOS style descriptions for all your Quake C patches for easy identification, it has the ability to compile files if not already done so, and of course execute Quake with all necessary paramteres to launch Quake C patches making it easier for beginners, yet flexible enough for experts. If all goes to plan, the full public release will be uploaded on Wednesday 18th."
As he say's, he's shooting for the 18th. I'll keep you informed...
Legions of Quake Free
"Within a few hours, I am just going to make legions.com registration free, for servers and players, and update the polling software to actually poll every 30 seconds, so as to make the info more accurate. there are now over 20,000 players cataloged, and it is slowing the search engine down a bit. If you/anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!"
"With the registration, you will be able to add in an email, url, and description to your listing, and password protect it, and also claim alliance to a clan, so that your stats cound towards a clan's grand total."
"Since this is now going to be a free service, anyone that can help is welcome to help improve the pages, graphics, look/feel, stats generator, suggestions, etc...., and especially fix the bug that players with special characters arent logged."
"Also...I am going to try to support saving all server activities for a 24 hour period, as long as the disk space will hold out(nearing a gig pretty rapidly!) So you will be able to see a 24 hour history of a server, pretty neat!"
Still don't see why this is cool? Go to their search page, and enter your nickname. When the list comes up, click on your name. Cool, huh? Now go back to search and enter idsoftware.com. Not bad, huh? Go have some fun.
Quake 1.05 Bug Fix Out
|Up, up and away in your jetpack!|
Faster Fast Modems | Jet Pack | New ][ronman Features | Clan Skins Wanted | Quake 1.04 Beta Bug Fix
There is a "beta5a.exe" self extracting file on the ftp site that has a new progs.dat file that fixes the dissapearing weapon bug.
You can all stop emailing me with that bug report :-)
Here's the entire contents of the text file:
Replace the progs.dat file from q105beta with this one. It fixes the dissapearing weapon bug.
"Now three different types of searches are available, including one that searches ][ronMan's Player database which tracks each and every Quake player by nickname and reports how many minutes (rounded to the nearest 5 minutes) they have played Quake since 11-September-1996."
"This is just a quick patch to give ya'll something fun to play with. It was mostly a learning tool for wedge."
The patch, screenshots, and even the address of a multiplayer server where you can test it out are all available on their page. They're also asking for skin submissions for it for all you artistic killers out there.
"That Rockwell stuff is cool, but how would you like 6 Mbits over standard copper wire? AT&T and GE and some of the Baby Bells are backing it already and there's beta testing going on, and modems shipping in a month or so. I found this stuff a month or so ago...thought everyone knew. :)"
Here's an informative press release from AT&T Paradyne back in June about Rate Adaptive DSL Technology.
The downsides of RADSL vs. the new higher speed modems is summed up in this email I received from Paul A. Smith (aka Sgt.Shultz) of the P.S. Survey Pages:
"...I thought you might want to mention that it is indeed being BETA tested ... but it's likely to not see the light of day until cable modems (which right now are at least twice as fast as ADSL) come or have arrived."
"The reason? Phone companies wanting to implement ADSL, like cable companies wanting to implement cable modems, have to upgrade their equipment before you can use the new technology. From everything I've read in the technical trades, we're not likely to see either ADSL or cable modems used on a wide scale until 1999 at the earliest, because of the labor and cost involved."
"Sounds to me that this new Rockwell chipset isn't hampered in exactly the same way (i.e., you've just got to wait for your ISP to upgrade his modems). My advice to those waiting for ADSL and cable modems would be to get ISDN or the fastest modem available and to stop waiting."
"In preparation for the upcoming QuakeWorld debut in New York City, we are collecting 'skins' from any Clans that wish to contribute."
"These skins will be distributed, free of charge, from our ftp site, to anyone who wishes to download them. This is strictly voluntary and by sending your skin to us, you are giving us permission to distribute your skin to anyone who desires it, free of charge."
"Please get the 'skin.zip' file from ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/quakeworld/skins which contains two files. The first is base.pcx, an example file you can use as a guideline for creating your own skin. The second, skins.txt is a file containing the instructions for creating, as well as, contributing your skin. Please following these instructions exactly to help make this as smooth as possible."
"We will then take these skins and make them into zip files that everyone can download and implement. We will explain how to do this once we have collected the skins and placed them on our ftp site for downloading."
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