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Mailbag
January 3, 2000

Letters are (occasionally) edited for spelling errors , and may contain profanity.
This section contains normal correspondence as well as letters submitted to the MailBag.
Commentary by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman.

Seems like a strange thing to leave out...

Previous Mailbags
August 17, 2000
May 24, 2000
May 4, 2000
April 19, 2000
February 23, 2000
February 16, 2000
February 9, 2000
January 26, 2000
January 19, 2000

January 12, 2000
January 3, 2000
December 22, 1999
December 16, 1999
December 9, 1999
November 11, 1999
November 3, 1999
September 29, 1999
September 9, 1999
August 18, 1999
July 28, 1999
July 20, 1999
July 13, 1999
July 6, 1999
June 30, 1999
June 23, 1999
June 15, 1999
June 8, 1999
June 1, 1999
May 24, 1999
May 2, 1999
April 25, 1999
April 22, 1999
April 18, 1999
April 14, 1999
April 11, 1999
April 4, 1999
February 1, 1999
January 6, 1999

From: Jongenu
Subject: (no subject)

Dear Malebag,

Is there any way to remove the default Mouselook from Q3? I've always been able to disable it before (Q1 & 2, Unreal etc.); and use the mouse to move purely horizontally and the keyboard to move vertically.

Is there some command at the tilde that will do this?

Yours

completely pants at mouselook

aka

jongenu

Believe it or not, you can't turn off mlook in the current version of Quake III Arena. id has added it in, however, and you'll be able to turn it off as soon as the first patch is released.

Close, but no cigar.

From: Andrew
Subject: number at bottom of mainpage.

I'm on to you and your little game...

that number is how many secret test specimens blue has released into the wild..

Don't think you can get something past me... you gotta wake up pretty early in the damn morning to get something like that past me (oh no, i forgot, blue never sleeps. ahh!)

Sorry...you're getting warmer, but that's just not it.

I stand corrected.

From: Whapper
Subject: ID programmers Names

I know this is sorta unsupported, but I remember reading a .plan file a while back, where one of the programmers complained 'bout John McCarmack kicking all their asses, and claimed that there must be code "If Player = "Alloy" " or something to that effect. For this reason I have thought that his name was Alloy, true?

Whapper

You're right, that was in a .plan update by Graeme Devine, so it would stand to reason that he plays under that nick. When he's played at QuakeCon and other events, he's always played as "Carmack" but then, he could be using "Alloy" as a supersecretalias or something. :)

Sayy...I remember that show!

From: indiv
Subject: Shooters

Hey, how about a Holiday Special of Shooters, just for old time's sake? I miss that darn show.

indiv

Well, maybe some day. :)

Source comments.

From: David Chase
Subject: Quake 1 source release

I couldn't agree more with James Hall -- the release of the Quake 1 source code is really exciting. id really took a chance on this one and I think it will benefit the community greatly. While Doom is still a lot of fun to play, there's no doubt that the technology was obsolete when the source was released.

However the Quake 3D technology, GL support, and QuakeWorld networking code are as solid (and fun!) today as they ever were and that means two things: 1) id stuck their necks out by releasing it, and 2) the community should be able to create some real masterpieces with this source code.

My guess is we'll start to see some really exciting things happen with the game we've come to know and love, and nothing could make a better Christmas gift.

Thanks, John.

David Chase.

The dark side of the release.

From: Drew Cowan
Subject: A sad day for a long term Quaker....

Hi. I read your page every day that I'm online and have for pretty much the last 2 years. I've also been playing quake online since QW came out, and playing on LAN since qtest. I am a Quake (specifically TF) fanatic. (My quake directory is 650MB, made up mostly of TF maps, numbering around 150) It is literally the only game that I have ever played on a nearly daily basis and never been bored with. I'm saddened by the release of the source code because it now means that anyone with a C compiler can now make their own QW client, using whatever hacks they decide to put in. They can then take this hacked client that does things like pu a light source on every model and play a competetive game online against me. This means I don't know if the guy that just got an amazing frag on me did it using superior skills, or because he has minor programming abilities and made a modification to the source code.

id just killed my favorite way of having fun online. I imagine the hole will be filled with something like Counterstrike or TF2 if Valve ever actually manages to ship it, but nothing will ever match the kind of thrills I got with my many first Quake/TF achievments. I can still remember how happy I was when I first learned to do conc-jumps from the water to the sniper deck on 2forts, or made a rocket jump to the sniper deck from the lawn instead of using the ramps. December 21st, 1999 will go down as the day online gaming lost it's magic for me. The only reason I'm writing this is because I'm sure alot of people have already moved on and maybe don't look at it the same way. I don't know who is responsible for the quote, "You can never go home again", but now I know what they mean.

GG, id. Thanks for the memories.

Drew Cowan

AKA [Ht]HellBat

Well, let's not get too dramatic. There are proxy servers you can use to make sure only "pure" QW clients get through. And I think it's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a real solution (hey, the source code is available now! Someone make a secure client already!).

Well...duh.

From: Derek Carroll
Subject: ROTT stuff on OOTB

Just thought I'd dispute ROTT's claim to be the first to do voice over LAN for taunts, as well as the non-linear mission progression.

Who was first? Marathon, baby.

(some of the other claims are easily disputed by other games not in the fps
genre, like bounce pads, used in every 2D side-scroller...)

-derek

Actually, that was a trivia question a while back (the voice-over-LAN thing). There's a reason I wrote those, and not Blue. ;)

Yeesh.

From: Bil Simser
Subject: Quake source, take your pick

Hi Blue!

Sigh. I feared this would happen. Over the last few days no less than 3 different groups have 'got together' and formed source repositories on SourceForge. In addition to the Quake Standards Group this makes 4 'official' places to get the source from with the intention to further an organized development effort with it. Unfortunately, none of the groups are talking to each other so we should end up with no less than 4 incantations of new versions of Quake in a couple of months.

-prototype

Is that so bad? If these people are smart, they'll stay independent and build off of each other's ideas. That way if there's a major disagreement then they aren't forced to compromise their individual visions (hey, just look at NetHack as an example of this working).

Uh...

From: WillHead
Subject:

THIS GAME DOSENT EVEN FUCKING WORK........I want either my money back, or another cd...... please reply to ****@usa.net u little bioches.

What can I say...I got a kick out of this letter.

On game music.

From: Eric Rush
Subject: i82

Not sure if it was mentioned or not, but apparently Interstate 82 is out. Saw it on the shelf in Babbages the day b4 Xmas.

Also, sad day - Curtis Mayfield died. He was a singer/songwriter for the group the Impressions, and was big in the Civil Rights movement. One of my favorite tunes by him was covered by Rod Stewart and Jeff Beck - "People Get Ready". Beck's solo is just so haunting - ooh, what a great tune. Chris Duarte used to play it live in his show, too (blues guitarist out of Austin, Texas).

Saw the mention of Nikki Six's band doing music for a game. While I realize that big name bands doing soundtracks for movies is nothing new, and even not that new in terms of video games, you have to wonder how long before other bands realize how big the industry is for gaming. And, eventually, I bet you see just as many soundtracks for games as you do movies, and will probably see a ton of soundtracks a lot better than the games (remember Last Action Hero - great tunes, semi-good movie). Betcha this is one of the niches that takes off in a couple years. Yes' song from Homeworld has grown on me, but the game didn't too much (even though I'm a big AoE & TA player).

Don't know why I'm emailing you this - just wanted to say it. Thanks for keeping up with the news, and listening to my rants.

Eric "Rush" Bennett

Actually, there's several other "name" bands doing game soundtracks. There's Fear Factory doing the soundtrack to Messiah, and of course there's that weird Wu Tang fighting game, too, but the most impressive (IMHO) is David Bowie's soundtrack to Omikron: The Nomad Soul. Impressive, because unlike almost every other soundtrack of its sort, Bowie was really involved in the game's development, and it shows. It's a full soundtrack, complete with ambient music in addition to original songs. Great stuff.

On Q3A benchmarking.

From: General Lee D Mented
Subject: Q3A unfair as a benchmark?

I've noticed something rather disturbing that is probably having a major impact on how most video cards are scoring in Q3A.

High Quality mode defaults to having Trilinear Filtering enabled. This feature is available on pretty much all of the currently selling 3D cards, but only a few of them actually implement this when Q3A requests it.

Brief background: Trilinear filtering is done to reduce the appearance of those annoying "bands" or "zones" you see when you look into the distance in 3D games. You may have seen this on the floors in Quake2, which used standard bilinear filtering. To do a trilinear filter, you need to make two bilinear textures and then average them to create the smoothing effect. The downside is you have to generate two textures and blend instead of one. This would be a big performance hit on most 3D cards, so instead they cheat.

Some 3D cards will do trilinear via mipmap dither (dithering alternate bilinear textures) instead of doing real trilinear texturing. This costs almost nothing in performance but gives the image a slightly "grainy" look to it. Cards that do this include:

TNT
TNT2
Voodoo2
Voodoo3
most current ATI cards I know of

On the other hand, some cards will actually make two textures and do real trilinear when Q3A requests it. These cards include:

GeForce
G200 (I think, not positive)
G400 (definately)
most S3 Savage series (they seem to do it free according to postings by Brian Hook when he was still at iD)

This means that when you change only the texture setting from bilinear to trilinear, GeForce and G400 will slow down, but TNT2 and Voodoo3 will not, as they don't truly implement the feature. This is about as unfair as comparing V3 "22bit" dithered 16bpp versus TNT2 true 32bpp modes, or say comparing all 3D cards at 1024x768x16, but the Voodoo2 at 800x600 because it doesn't support 1024.

I would like to request that sites that have done comparisons of 3D cards note this and possibly re-score the cards in bilinear mode so we can have a fair comparison on which to base our decisions of what we buy.

More on those strange numbers.

From: Evan Turner
Subject: Number

That number at the bottom of the News page- is it a counter? It's a counter. Right?

Anyway, assuming that it /is/ a counter, my rudimentary calculations (stop watch and calculator...) lead me to believe that Blue's News gets around 100,000 hits a day. Wow!

I noticed that you no longer have the big counter on the top of the news page (ran out of digits, probably ;) ), so this would make sense.

--

Evan Turner
"The Rat Stomper"

P.S. Quake III: Arena is the best deathmatch game ever.

Pssh. Yeah, right. A counter. That's the least original guess yet.

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