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Mailbag
January 26, 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.

A SoF bedtime story.

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: CmdrTrev
Subject: SoF download story

Here's the short abbreivated version.

OK, I've got an ADSL line, so I didn't think it'd be too long. I orginally began downloading off of PcWorld, but it was too slow <10K. So I tried telepac. I was downloading at 30K, woohoo! However, I then realized I was only downloading 35.5 out of 95 megabytes. Telepac hadn't finished. I eventually found one that would download at 10K again. So I left it. Upon returning I found a site that downloaded at 20K, so I used both. I waited to see which would finish first. I came back to find the 20K one at 90 megabytes. So I cancel the other which is at 80. As the file is copying to my computer, bam my computer crashes! NOOOOOOOOOOO! Then, I start another download, but this time at 120K, download is done in 15 minutes 20 seconds. Demo rocks, end of story.

Trev

Good question.

From: John Justice
Subject: Q3 Linux/Alpha Dedicated server

Has anyone heard of plans for a Q3 Dedicated server for Linux/Alpha? I'm sure that it'd be popular with all the alpha server operators out there.

Thanks much.

--John

I don't know what id's plans are for the Alpha platform. If I remember correctly, Brian Hook handled the Quake II Alpha port, so with him no longer at id, it may not happen.

Hey...lookit! We got a new reader!

From: Ken Wigger
Subject: blue's news

I stopped by your website after seeing it in Yahoo Internet Life Jan 2000 edition. I really enjoyed my visit to your site! I liked how you had it laid out. It made for a pleasant visit!

Ken Wigger

The debate rages on...

From: Chad Johnson
Subject: ASDL-Cable Newsflash

There is a growing notion that ADSL is faster than Cable internet access, growing so much in fact that ADSL is sometimes a network speed option in FPS games, ranked above cable. This growing notion is a MYTH. Yes I may at first sound like an ignorant cable junkie, but I can assure you, I am a computer professional that has logged thousands of hours on CANADIAN @home cable access and Bell Symatico ADSL access and my conclusion is simply, Cable is faster.

Uploads, downloads, ftp, http, telnet blah blah blah cable is faster... always. Despite the subscriber loop phenomenon experienced when a whole neighborhood goes on cable, it never falls below the speed of ADSL. Sure this may be a trend only experienced in Canada, but hey Canada has a huge online FPS showing and I think it's time the truth be spoken.

If I had a dime for everytime I had a ADSL user sighed when they hear im on cable, it can be absolutely infuriating. Maybe Canadian cable just kicks ass, but the undeniable specs of cable modems proves that it has the potential to beat ADSL in speed, 1 on 1, and in practice... it does. The states is notorious for poor phone lines and unclear coaxial connections and in a typical American fashion, cable is shunned as a slower connection format... pure, ignorant BS.

Its like the kid with a 56k connecting at 28 000 because of his crappy phone line, posting a msg saying 56k is no faster than 28.8..... plain ignorance. So if the fabled Blues News has the balls to stand up, and speak the truth no matter how many DSL junkies it may piss off... speak the truth... speak it loud and clear.... Cable.. in a fair atmosphere where cable and phone lines are of the same quality, is faster... period.

This won't get posted but thx anyways
Thanks

The issue isn't as simple as one being faster than the other, because usually DSL lines have bandwidth caps on them. They *can* get upwards of 7 Mbps, but that's extremely expensive - more often than not your average person with a DSL connection has a less than 1 Mbps connection. Cable modems typically go up to 2 Mbps, but they're all over the map, because of the way they work. A cable modem fluctuates constantly, so it's not easy to pinpoint your speed.

Regarding Instagib.

From: Joe Bako
Subject: Give Rhea some credit

Hey Blue, after the mixup over the creation of Instagib, I think it'd be only proper to give Rhea some credit.

Rhea is the father of Instagib. After KofL set up the first rail-only server, Rhea took things a step farther. He set up a server that featured rail-only play, but would instantly kill the opponent. His servers can be found at:

129.237.166.126:27910
129.237.166.126:27915
129.237.166.126:27914

OSP (Rhea's coding group) created the Tourney mod, and that is now the configuration mod of choice for Instagib servers. Brandon Reinhart used to work for OSP. Most of the ideas in UT Instagib are actually from Rhea, which Brandon implemented.

Please give Rhea some credit for creating one of the most popular mods in FPS games.

Thanks,
Joe "Thorian" Bako
Instagib Administrator
Online Gaming League
www.ogl.org

On auto-downloading.

From: Josh Albury
Subject: The dynamic downloading issue in Quake 3

I think we, as a community, should see about getting this issue addressed or addressing it ourselves... Here's an excerpt from the message I posted to the Quake 3 message boards.

"...an idea for the current problem people are running into with custom maps/models/paks in general. Rather than have an informative box, rather than having a server specified command (user's choice) as to whether to allow downloads or not, why not let the map makers and/or the server administrators include an href in a text file (or in the actual .map file) or a list of hrefs to locate the file at? I realize, and totally agree and understand, that map-makers don't always have permanent location on the net, but cdrom.com and fileplanet (to give two examples) don't really go anywhere that I can tell... but this would address those issues... Server administrators could have a list/script with the links for all the maps running on their server (compiled by code in the game that just rips out the hrefs from the maps and pastes it in the format for the dnloader) and downloads them two at a time (arbitrary number pulled out of... well.. anyway) until the list is completed. All this would take is the incorporation of a simple ftp downloader in quake3 that can import the href's from the server and retrieve the needed files...

...Id software has, yet again, created an excellent and enjoyable game. No plug there - it's the truth. But that game, like most others, has a limited life-span unless the user community is allowed to thrive, which we naturally do, since the engines are always so damned pretty. Hell, there's a decent chance that an end user could program the ftp downloading plug-in for Q3 (i.e. Gamespy) and id just include it in another point-release, or that Q3 could automatically check when you send the cd-key in if you have the latest version and if not, update as necessary...etc. etc..."

I don't know where you guys would put this, or even if you want the information itself, but custom maps, models, and skins, aren't recieving the exposure their authors deserve. I felt that perhaps this message would prompt some thought in others in the community with more skill at coding than I, or that perhaps id would give it a thought.
Later, and thanks.

Rasputin[DEV]

A tech support story.

From: Ted Knutson
Subject: Unreal Support

Hey Blue,
I don't expect to have anything happen on this, but I had to mail somebody, because what I have run into with GT is ridiculous, and I have little recourse other than returning UT. Anyway, here's my rant:

I have worked technical support most of my adult life and I m generally cool with things if I feel they are trying to help. The service I have received from GT technical support is ridiculous, and I ll detail why.

I played the demo and it ran beautifully on my system at work. My work system is a PIII 550 with 128MB RAM, a voodoo3 3000, ensonic sound card, and an MS intellimouse. The service pack on the computer has been both 5 and 6 while working on this problem. Anyway, when we installed the full version on the computer, we click on play Unreal Tournament, and immediately get a Blue Screen Memory Dump error. So we tried running UT in safe mode, Same Blue Screen. So we tried installing on a PIII 450, 128MB RAM, and a TNT card, and running UT in safe mode: same error. So we tried a 3rd computer , PII 400, 128Mb RAM, TNT card, same issue, so I updated all drivers for each video card, uninstalled, reinstalled on ALL 3 systems, and the same error pops up, so I decide it s time to call tech support. This is what the conversation was like:

Me: "I can t get UT to run on NT 4, I keep getting a BSOD."

Tech Support: "We don t run on NT 4."

Me: "That s interesting, because your box and your website both say you do."

TS: "Let me check& Oh, I guess you re right, we do."

Me: "Okay, here s my system config (gives both configs)"

TS: "We don t run on the TNT card, only voodoo."

Me: "Your documentation says you run on TNT just fine, but we have a voodoo3 that gives the same error."

TS: "I checked, and we do run on both video cards."

Me: "So anyway, what do I do next?"

TS: "Get service pack 6, update your video drivers, download our patch."

Me: "Did all that, none of it worked. Tried all versions of patches out there, and get the exact same Blue Screen every time."

TS: "Well, that s all we know, just take it back, and they ll give you a refund."

Me: "You re kidding, right? You don t know anything else? Do you have a 2nd level of Tech Support?"

TS: "No, sorry, that s all we have. We can t help you anymore."

So basically, what we have is a tech support department who only knows that you need the most updated drivers and the new NT service pack, and then they don t help you anymore. They actually tell you to TAKE BACK THE GAME, instead of trying to troubleshoot your problem past our 5 minute conversation. The kicker is that we called again, got a different person, and had the same conversation with the SAME RESULT! I was very polite, and simply looking for some help, and got nothing, so now I have a 50$ game that I actually paid for that simply refuses to run, even though I meet all the system specs with premium products&. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I just want some help troubleshooting the problem, and can t get anything from the provided avenue. I think the UT demo was awesome, I just want to play the full game at this point. Perhaps if GT Interactive can t provide better support for their products, they aren t worthy of publishing games, and they sure as hell aren t worth me spending my money on their games. I don t want to download a WAREZ version first, but I may have to from now on, just to see if the freaking game works like they say it should.

Disgruntled,

Ted Knutson (i.Opus)

I've been found out!

From: Joel Levin
Subject: project for loony!

So, there I was about 8 months ago, surfing the 'net, minding my own business. I decided, on a whim, to see if there was such a site as 'www.dawnofthedead.com' seeing as how Romero's mid-apocalyptic masterpiece, Dawn of the Dead, is my all-time favorite movie (or at least its my favorite horror movie).

To my surprise, not only did it exist, but it was owned by none other than our own Jason loonyboi Bergman! I was excited. I thought "wow, a webmaster I actually respect is going to do something really cool with this site... I can't wait!"

Well, here it is months later and you've done nothing with it! What a shame!

So here's something I thought of that might inspire you to do something useful with the site:

Petition for a DotD computer game to get made! Seriously! The plot of DotD could easily be adapted to either an 3D-FPS type of game or a kick ass RPG. Or even better, a nice hybrid ala System Shock 2.

George Romero has stated many times in the past that he wants to do more
with zombies... a quote from him: "I'll never get sick of the zombies, just get sick of producers." Well, if that's the case, then I think the PC game market is the perfect avenue for him.\

Ideally, Ion Storm could design it. Not that I particualarly admire Ion Storm, but I just think the name 'Romero and Romero Productions' would sound too cool! (Except I guess it might confuse people like John and Adrian Carmack do... oh and the game would probably take 8 years to get made anyway... uh, on second thought, maybe Looking Glass should just make it :p)

Anyway... George Romero is not a stranger to the games arena, having directed a commercial for Resident Evil 2. I think he just needs to be approched by some game company who is serious about adapting this wonderful movie into the best game ever! And perhaps your prodding in your already-registered webpage could help make the difference.

Nok

Yep, you've caught me, I do indeed own that domain. The site was going to be a side project between myself and loonygames contributor Josh Vasquez, but we got sidetracked with the launch of loonygames (I bought the two domains on the same day, so I've actually had it since August '98) and another, unrelated Zombie project.

To make a long story short, I'd still love to do something with it, but I don't have the time. If anyone out there is interested in doing something with it, drop me an e-mail. It's one of my favorite movies, and I'd hate to see that domain go to waste...although it does serve as a really badass e-mail domain ;)

Oy with the caps lock.

From: viper 69
Subject: DEAR WWW.BLUESNEWS.COM

HELLO BLUESNEWS I WAS VISTING YOUR WEBPAGE AND WAS VERY IMPRESSED HOWEVER WHEN I LEAVE YOUR HOMEPAGE MY KEYBOARD STOPED WORKING EVERYTHING IS NOW BIG LETTERS

LEASE SIR HOW DO I TURN MY CAPSLOCK KEY OFF?

vIPER

Try pressing the "caps lock" key, or failing that, hold down the "shift" key. Restart your computer/Windows, and it should work fine. Of course, how it got that way to begin with is a little odd.

The answer to last week's puzzle.

From: Crowdpleazr
Subject: the mailbag message with a 733t subject

Well, I figured it out. As with all l337 5p34k, it's best to blur your eyes a bit to help decipher the meaning:

(,) |_|/\|<3 15 |\|0+ y0|_|r fr13|\|d
Q ua k is n ot yo u r fr i end

Quake is not your friend. Obviously this person has so deluded himself that not only does he believe himself to be l337, but also believes that Quake is evil (or at the very least, not friendly). I weep for him.

--
Steve "Crowdpleazr" Latta

How disappointing. I thought it might have been the location of the Holy Grail.

On the grapple...

From: Zapf
Subject: Quake III Grapple

Well, with the release of the Q3A source code, every ex-Q2CTF-junky is firing up their server with the "exciting" grappling hook. Well, as someone who plays daily on public CTF servers, I can honestly say that the grappling hook sucks. I don't like to say "I told you so" (actually, I do, heh), but Zoid was right. The grapple is unneccessary and completely wrecks the balance of the game and of the maps.

People just experiment with the grapple, and go into corners of the maps, which were NOT designed to be grappled around in. Flag carriers are near-impossible to catch if they are using the grapple wisely, and the team aspects of the game are diminished. Of course, Zoid made this perfectly clear to everyone, but the kiddies wouldn't listen. Now I can barely go onto a server without the speed being tweaked (everyone always has haste), the grapple being added, or someone cheating.

-Ian Spencer

I can't say i've ever understood the draw of the grappling hook, but some kids really dig it. Hopefully those servers are obviously flagged, so players looking to avoid them entirely can do so easily.

A possible addition to the site...

From: Marco A. Zamora Cunningham
Subject: Suggestion for News categorizations

Hi Blue,

I've been a rabid follower of FPS games since Doom, and a reader of all *good* gaming sites since Aftershock (I'm showing my age :-).

For a looong time now, Blue's News has been my first choice when I want to catch up on news, reviews and plain old gossip, but with the proliferation of good games in the last few years, and the Real World (TM) taking up more and more of my time away from gaming, I fall behind on my required reading :-).

Since I really can't follow all the news on all the games that you cover, and I think this happens more frequently to more of us: How about categorizing the news items by game (or meta-topic) and showing those "slices" as sub-sections of your news page?

That way we --your faithful fans-- can catch up with all the news that interests us by topic, so we don't give up looking for what interests us amid the other gaming news we don't have time for.

Just a suggestion, but I think it would really help all us hard-core gamers with real jobs and information overload, so we can continue to stay in touch with the gaming world.

Thanks for all the good work.

Cheers... Marco Zamora

Actually, this is something that Blammo has been able to do since day one, but we haven't launched yet. If/when we ever do, I think people will be very pleased with it, but as for now, we have no immediate plans to go live with it yet.

Anyone know?

From: Dean Barker
Subject: "isset-es" means ???

Do you know what error "isset_es" is? Trying to install Freespace2 and on autorun I get this. I also get this now (didn't use to) on Need for Speed 3. It's gonna put me in the nut hut if I can't figure out what this isset_es means so I can at least have some direction to fix in. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

-dean

I have no idea. Can anyone help this guy?

The most aggravating thing in the world.

From: Dakota Smith
Subject: the cancel button

oh jeez... that reminded me of a story.

lil' dakota is downloading the new demo for kingpin. he's trying to kill time while it downloads, writing this and that. finally, several hours later, it finishes, but in the midst of the file copy, he cancels it...

and has to download it again.

and to top it all of, the game sucked

It ain't my daughter.

From: John C. Weston
Subject: Offer to help rescue your daughter from Raven's corporate office

Blue,

As of this moment (10:47pm E.S.T.) there have been eight headlines devoted to Soldier of Fortune today, and I'm sorry to say that this feels like just another typical day of SoF reporting on your site. Look, I don't know what Raven has on you: embarassing photographs, gambling debts, your little girl, whatever. But I'm here to say that I'll help you fight back against these guys if you need the assistance.

Just let me know, man. Late!

John Weston, a.k.a. Tuco

While you're at it, see if you can get Blue's pet gerbil back from HeadFirst. If I have to write "Cthulhu Interview" one more time, I'm gonna snap. :)

Why we make you register.

From: Andrew Palmer
Subject: comments one bluesnews

Hi,

You probably get tons of email so I'll keep this relatively short:

Why must you have to have a username/pass to post a comment on bluesnews, I was going to post a comment today but I found out I had to arse about registering so I decided not to. I also notice that people tend not to bother in general posting comments - probably because of this system. I just think it would be better if you could post a comment without registering.

Do you have them protected so you don't get loads of immature tarts posting rubbish (like on the shugashack)? Anyway, all I'm saying is that people are more likely to post comments if they don't have to register (then remember a password for when they return)

Andrew Palmer

You nailed it right there. We get less posts when we make you register, but we cut back on the silly anonymous posts this way (and people impersonating developers, etc.).

And for the record, you only have to enter your password once, if you set the cookie. And if you forget, you can always have it e-mailed to you.

More Kingpin.

From: Jim MacDonald
Subject: Kingpin

I am a first-person gamer of an action, adventure sort. I waited for months for the new releases of Quake and Unreal. Alas! Their new games are not adventures but merely uncomplicated, no mental muscle needed here, arcade games. I was very disappointed. I write this email to ask if anyone out there knows of a game like Kingpin, put out by Interplay.

It's a real sleeper and I am surprised it has not gotten more attention. Yes the language is rough, but often so are "R" rated movies. Until now I liked what Quake was all about and that goes for Unreal, too. I loved Half-Life, but the mission pack was disappointing. I am playing Sin now as well as Aliens Vs. Predator, System Shock and The Nightmare from "Chosen." But Kingpin has become my favorite.

For Blues: Are there as many disappointed fans of Unreal and Quake as I suspect since they have made the multiplayer, chase the flag, arena, king-of-the-hill change of genre? Come on. At least give us something to figure out while skulking through a strange and terrible environment. (Or have I missed something?)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions for games I haven't already mentioned. And if your a gamer who doesn't mind salty language, you better give "Kingpin" a serious but fun look.

Sincerely,

JimMacDonald
Salem, Oregon

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