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Mailbag
February 9, 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.

More Daikatana...

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: Roy Done
Subject: Hating Daikatana already?

Hey Blue,

I am anticipating two FPS in the 1st quarter, Soldier of Fortune and Daikatana. Why is everyone already said they hate Daikatana? With 50 monster types, unique maps, and lots of weopens and good AI, up to date graphics ( other people may have different opinion about graphics, but to the public Fly graphics look good:)

So what is bad about it!? Its silly how people can become so immature because a game has had delays and hate it, its just plain immature. Any way if Daikatana fails Ion Storm got it made with Deus Ex (a bull's eye for sure! Warron Spector=god!), and Anachroix (Tom Hall, pretty good, not sure about his reliabilty over delays!). Eidos is goign to be hauling in the cash, unless the stupid public don't buy good games ( System Shock, Battle Zone), its the evil sterotypical view of gamers(more like PC gamers) being nerds, thats what most probably causes less sales.

[NvrH]bad aka:C strike god :-)

The other side of the issue...

From: Alex Beckers
Subject: UIX boards

Regarding Dale Cooper's letter in the latest Mailbag...

Here's what REALLY happened. The boards were closed down, and then people figured out that they could still edit posts they already made. So thousands of posts on the technical forum went from being "Here's how to fix problem X," or "How do I fix problem Y," to "I HATE YOU ORIGIN! DAMN YOU FOR CLOSING DOWN THE BOARDS!" CapnBill, one of the game designers, who frequented the tech board to try and HELP people, was instead confronted on this day with tons and tons of flames.

All of these posts had no purpose being on the tech forum any longer, so the threads were deleted.

Once again, lemme stress -- the posts were deleted because they were
transformed, by the users, from technical solutions into outright flames. Off-topic posts weren't ever allowed on the tech forum, so those posts would've been deleted even if the boards were still officially running.

SO basically, a bunch of angry people came over to the tech forum and ruined it for everyone else. Then of course when they don't get their way, they complain some more. Sigh.

Alex Beckers
aka Pariah, ex-Ultima Ascension Conference Host

I have no idea what this means.

From: The nnN
Subject: Dah

I don't know how.

With my luck, that's some sort of secret code for, "kill the loony-one - he knows too much."

The other download manager...

From: Carl Christensen
Subject: download manager

Kudos to the maintainers of my homepage ... Blues News.

About that guys comments in the mailbag about gokingkong (or was it gozilla now? =) )

i've been using getright (www.getright.com) for years--way before that goswampthing (no wait it was goDracula) was released. I have no financial investment in them either. Just thought i'd throw that out to the unwashed masses so we have some equal time... =)

Carl Christensen ^*|LS|*^Car

For the record, I use GetRight myself. :)

Tech support troubles...

From: kfc
Subject: help!!!

Hi i have to a big problem that i can not solve on my own and maybe you could post somthing about this to get some action done.

I bought an Alienware computer this past summer and it's been going well except for my abit be6 motherboard. I called up abitUSA and they said that the motherboard was on recall for the power cord problem and a few other bugs and for me to send it back to abitusa for a replacement or to send it back to my computers manufacture. So I desired to send it back to Alienware. I called up tech support and stated my problem and that abit told me to get a replacement board. and they were like ok. Then the guy asks me how would you like to pay for shipping, and I said its a hardware problem so you guys cover it right? And he said that "we'll take care of it". Now unless if he's from some other world the statement "we'll take care of it" means he will cover the ($169.00) shipping charge.

So I get my computer back and it seems to be ok. Now a month later I get a credit card statement and the ($169.00) shipping charge is billed on my credit card. For one I never authorized them to bill it to my credit card and two they said that they would cover it.

So I called up these people and they said that they just upgraded the bios and they didn't replace the mother board so I had to cough up the $169.00 for the dam shipping. Now I have argued a long freakin time to them about this and they keep sticking to there dumb ass story that doesn't fly of "its software we don't cover it in shipping". But the thing is I agreed to them paying shipping and that they would get me a new motherboard. Now if they felt like being cheap ass's and skipping the motherboard and just doing a bios update that's not my problem. And I shouldn't pay for it.

Don't know what to tell you...but hey, maybe someone will be able to help.

A Response from 3DR.

From: George Broussard
Subject: Response to Open letter to 3D Realms

JonnyZ,

I'll try to clarify things a bit as well as our position.

>>Open letter to George Broussard: I can understand that 3drealms doesn't
>> want to mess up the Duke Nukem franchise with crap. I can also
>> understand that they want their product as polished as possible. But just
>> how long is too long? There's a gazillion platform games released using
>> the Duke Nukem name (okay, maybe no a gazillion, but a million at least)
>> and for this we've seen, what? 3 PC titles under that name to be out in
>> over a decade? Sheesh.

I'm sorry, but we're not into making clones, tc's or titles fast to cash in on a character franchise we've carefully built up over the years. You will not see a Duke game every Xmas to cash in like Eidos does with Tomb Raider. It won't ever happen.

>>Enough with the hush-hush already. George, if you're listening, get >>3drealms down off it's high horse and release some details about the
>> damn game already. Either that, or don't give any at all.

We don't give out any info, or very limited. We do so to ultimately benefit you fans. We don't want to over hype the game before its release. We turn down 10 interview requests a week. We turn down magazine coverage constantly. We refuse press that want to come see the game in our offices. We do all this because the game isn't ready for consumption yet, and until it is we don't want people seeing it. That's simple enough to understand.

>> This putting out 8 screenshots over 4+ years of development kinda blows.

DNF has been in production slightly over 2 years. Yes, it's taking a long time. Primary delays have been from switching from Quake 2 -> Unreal which took longer than estimated (Plus we re-did parts of the game we weren't happy with), and patching to multiple versions of Unreal which has slowed code progress at times. But It hasn't been 4 years by any stretch of the imagination. It's been 4 years since Duke 3D, but factor in time for the Duke 3D add on, and Shadow Warrior's completion and some team relaxation time and it's all accounted for. DNF started in earnest near the end of 1997.

>>Okay, it really blows. Stop leading the game community on. I have no
>> doubt the game is great and it's really playable and you've done a lot of
>> mods to the Unreal engine, but, come on. Why don't you devote your all
>> programmers time to DNF and stop producing damn platform titles?

You misunderstand the situation here. We license Duke Nukem to console teams to make games. We do not develop them internally. We merely oversee and comment on the game as we get builds of it to test. This amounts to the same effort as "playing any game", be it Half-Life, Starcraft or anything else we spend time on in the offices. Doing console games does not affect DNF's release by any time at all.

For example, Keith Schuler and myself spent 3 hours after work last night (until 3am in the morning) playing Duke Nukem: Planet of the Babes and generating a tweak list for n-Space (the developers). That's about all we will do for the next few days until we receive a new version to play. And bear in mind that this play time comes after a 12 hour work day on DNF.

We understand your frustration and passion for the game. But understand that all we do, we do to make the best game we can.

--
George Broussard, 3D Realms
www.3drealms.com

A mouse wheel solution?

From: Billy Rosewood
Subject: I'm too damn tired to figure it out

>> Any chance you can set up Blue's News so that upon loading the focused
>> window is the main (news) frame and not the left (table of contents)
>> frame?

>> I like to use the mousewheel and/or the arrow keys to scroll down through
>> the news, as I'm sure many do, but I have to use the mouse to click the
>> news window before I'm able to do so.

>> Small quibble, I guess, but I think a lot of people would appreciate it.
>> Thanks.

-------

Go to hotmail.com in ie or something and your cursor defaults to the name field so you can just start typing. Somehow I know you can use JS to have cursor go to your main news window. Reason I care is I browse sans a mouse in my pre-calc class and I have to hit your site last cause no mouse. If that doesnt work you can use Shift-Tab to cycle backwards though links and get to the news window and then just page up to the top and start reading.

On LithTech hype...

From: James Fitzgerald
Subject: Monolith

Does Jason Hall think that if he uses the phrase


LithTech is a licensable technology for multiple platforms
that functions as a complete 3D Game Operating System which
allows developers to easily design, develop and focus on
content without reinventing new technology for each project

enough times that people will actually start to believe it? They've already admitted it's not *really* an operating system, but the hype machine keeps spitting it out anyway.

-JamesF.

Just the FAQs.

From: CHUCKCAL
Subject: Rainbow 6

Have Rainbow 6: can you tell me where I can find out how to skip Missions ?

Have accomplished thru #10, but stuck 7 days on 11, inspite of buying their Stategy Guide....just can't manipulate mouse fast enough.

Chuck

According to GameSages, all you have to do is press the quotation mark key, and type "debugkeys" to enable cheats. Then hit [F12] to skip to the next level.

Razor problems.

From: David Hoffman
Subject: Razer Boomslang Troubles

Hey Blue (and co.)

So, the Boomslang, huh? Getting lots of coverage alllll over the web and itís just the greatest thing since sliced bread, eh? Wellsir, Iíve got one (presently two, but thatís part of the story) and while the higher sensitivity is a dream and the bigger buttons, different orientation, stiffer wheel, etc. are all fantastic, there is a *serious* design flaw in this magnificent gizmo.

It creaks.

Like a rusty hinge, this beast creaks, it does.

Check it; got my Boomslang 2000 (first edition no less, very cool) and I go through the install and all the fun stuff and Iím blasting away at Quake 3 and can only barely follow the crosshair around the maps. And as Iím wondering at the amazing difference (no lie), Iím thinking what is that infernal racket? I figure itís the mousepad so I switch out the 3M dealie and that doesnít do the trick. So I work the thing on bare desk and that doesnít do the trick. Finally, I call up Razer and they explain itís a problem with some of their mouses (mice?) and theyíll send me out a new one.

Well, now weíre getting somewhere.

Two weeks later, the new mouse gets here and guess what? Sucker creaks. This oneís worse than the last one.

Well, dammit, I called up Tech Support and they explain that its not a problem with the manufacturing, its cuz (get this) THE DAMNED THING IS TOO HEAVY!!!

And the worst thing about all this is, Iím actually keeping it.

Just thought Iíd share,

OhBalto

Mine doesn't creak, but it is an ergonomic nightmare. For someone like me, that's on the virge of getting carpal-tunnel syndrome, that's not a good thing.

A mod review.

From: Matthew Berkers
Subject: They Hunger HalfLife mod

I've just finished downloading, installing and playing They Hunger, and its a top add on for Halflife. Imagine an 80's zombie flick brought to life... and you're the poor su-.. id-.. fellow stuck in the middle of it. Reach for your crowbar and prepare to do the zombie waltz (play through it and you'll know what i mean) because guns and ammo are scarce.

The levels are well done.. claustrophobic and dark and raining.. the textures are pretty well done especially on the variety of zombies you find hungering for your flesh The sounds are nothing short of eerie, see last comment And the scripted sequences are excellent!

Design: 8/10
Gameplay: 9/10
Pucker factor: 9.5/10 damn near as scary as System Shock 2

Kudos and congratulations to Neil and the rest of them for such a great mod. Now i can't wait for the next Episode!

Wondercat
(Do not try and bend the spoon. Instead try to realise the truth. There
is no spoon.)

I downloaded that, and keep forgetting to try it out (I'm stuck in a hypnotic trance thanks to my new Jaguar CD-ROM's Virtual Light Machine) but i've been told my quite a few people that it does indeed rule.

I'm still waiting for someone to make a zombie mod (or full game) that's in black & white, but hey - this will do for now. :)

German ISPs must really suck.

From: McBlast
Subject: German guy needs help

Hi Blue !

First off, great site big News. Your site is the NUMBER ONE site on the net.

So here is my problem.
Germany SUCKS !

Let me explain this. I am german. I live in Germany. I want Internet.
Germany Sucks.

Its like the fastest way to the net is the good old ISDN connection. There is no way to get ADSL or cable or satellite or anything else for beneath 1000 $ bucks per month. That Sucks. Even that damn slow Ping 200 Crap-ass fuck ding dong ISDN is expensive as hell !! You pay about 0,03 $ per minute !!! So please Blue. Go to the german Telekom, or this Bundeskanzler guy called mr. Schroeder and KICK THEIR ASSES !

I WANT CABLEMODEM !!!!!
I WANT ADSL !!!!

I told everyone, but nobody even listens, you are our only hope luke(err Blue) .... PLEASE HELP !
--------
Carsten Pohl AKA mcblast

Hey, I want a DSL line myself! (Still waiting - no dice yet.)

Say it ain't so!

From: atomic8
Subject: MDK

the MDK 'stands for' bit is getting old

Really? Boy, I hope people aren't totally sick of it...we're just starting to get really creative. (If you are totally sick of it though, let us know.)

He's got a point...

From: theAntiELVIS
Subject: "Truly, the apocalypse has begun."

Notice, however, that even though I am absent, my presence is, nonetheless, felt.

;-)

theAntiELVIS

On TRIBES 2 authentication...

From: Crass
Subject: A Tribes 2 question

Just throwing something out here...

I read that recent Tribes 2 interview over at pc.ign, and while most of it was copy protection and other such things, one thing rubbed me in a very wrong way - registering your name. Does anyone else find this absurd?

The deal is, you register the name you wish to use, and only you are allowed to use that name, no one else can go by that name. Sounds kind of interesting at first, eh? You having your own unique identity seems kind of nice, only one "superdude" [as an example] out fragging, it's just you, no one else has the same name.

As I read it, this stems from the notion that, instead of servers only being able to ban IP's [which can change], they are able to ban unique nicks instead, thus making sure that an offensive player won't bother them again. But this is also possible by banning the offensive player's account.

I thought that was quite a novel idea at first, and then I wondered, what if someone registers the name I want first? Tough luck, huh? Okay, maybe I can go by s00perd00d, or superd00d!, or perhaps sup3rd00d or other such nonsense. But why the hell should I change the nick I want to use just because someone else beat me to the punch?

I don't know about everyone else, but I've never run into anyone using the same nick as my own, and I doubt I ever will. So why should I care if someone has the same nick as me? I realize that this is a result of admins wanting more power when kicking offensive players, but will kicking individual names help any? I imagine the following scenario would be the norm..

>evil superdude is causing trouble
>Admin X kicks the nick superdude
>superdude then creates the name ultrasuperdude and goes back to being
>a jerk
>Admin X then bans superdude's account, and they never hear from
>him/her/it again

So, if the most effective way of eliminating offensive players is to ban their account and not their nick, why bother registering nicks? I just find the idea of registering names ludicrous, it's like saying that only one person in the whole world can be called John.

I really hope I read that wrong.

--Crass

That's similar to what id planned for the original QuakeWorld...it was a specacular failure, if I remember correctly. But things have come a long way, and it might be possible to actually do right now.

Gotta love them Trekkies.

From: Chris Witt
Subject: Stardate for Elite Force chat

Well, you asked for it... ;)


The actual Stardate for the chat, in Star Trek chronology, would be -323096.0 (Stardates begin in the year 2323). However, to avoid using negative dates, some people refer to the Stardate of the current Star Trek episode, since as the season progresses, they follow a timeline parallel to our own. Using this method, the Stardate of the chat would be 54096.0 .

This info was found using a JavaScript Stardate calculator at
http://www.interlog.com/~pcarr/star_trek/stardate/sd_calc.html , and
Peter Carr's Stardate FAQ at
http://www.interlog.com/~pcarr/star_trek/stardate.html .

RebelScum
(Chris Witt)

Yeah? Well nuqDaq puchpa'? HIq vItlhutlh. :)

Happy new year!

From: Will
Subject: Happy New Year

Kung Hei Fat Choy Cantonese for Happy New year
(gung hey fa choy)

I thought that you would like to know that this is not just the year of the dragon, but it is the year of the Golden Dragon because the Chinese Lunar New Year falls at the begining of February.

It only happens every 60 years, the chinese signs (rooster/cock, dragon, rat, tiger etc) cycle every 12 years and every 5th Dragon is a Golden Dragon.

The Golden Dragon (to the chinese culture) signifies GREAT luck. The plain old Dragon simply symbolizes luck, but the Golden Dragon is especially lucky.

Another interesting thing I have learned is the fact that having a child born in the year of the golden dragon is a very lucky child, but getting married during the lunar year of the golden dragon is considered bad luck (in so many words). There are certain dates during the year of the golden dragon that are OK to get married on, but for the most part, marriage in the lunar year of the golden dragon is not so lucky. Hence dozens apon dozens of people getting married in the past few weeks, especially the past few days.

Anyways, I just thought I would share a bit of the tradition and background of the Chinese Lunar New Year with you. I am personally on vacation in Hong Kong, and can only say that this place simply kicks ass. Dallas, LA, New York (no offense ;) don't hold a candle to the wonders of Hong Kong. The only thing that sucks about Hong Kong is the fact that its 2pm before I can read your morning news =(.

Oh well

Kung Hei Fat Choy from Hong Kong

Will "Chickenator" Lawler

Uh...

From: Steve "Falken" Nelson
Subject: Crazy invention

Okay, I just found out about this one over on UserFriendly. The patent is
for a Cranium Cooler. It is solar powered and has a heat sink. It is supposed to do just what the name suggests. But my question is....Does this mean I can overclock my brain? Or did Intel limit my clockspeed?

-Steve "Falken" Nelson

And if you squint, you can make out the headline.

From: Andy
Subject: Blue's News Mascot Guy

Doh! I just realized that the bald Blues News mascot is reading the paper.
All this time I kept thinking to my self, "Man that is one wacked-out lightning gun!" (The newspaper and the barrel together sorta look like a
gun:P )

Andy

I think we've flogged this horse enough.

From: FunkAvenger
Subject: The counter-I've solved it all

OK, I've submitted in two "guesses" allready, both stating the same guess. The guess was that the number, is in fact, just a simple ordinary counter. The reason for this is the little line right below the user friendly links on the main news page. When the number at the bottom was above 67 million, that line said "Over 67 million hits since 1997."

Once that "mysterious" number reached over 68 million, sure enough that line changed to "over 68 million hits since 1997." Now, the reason why so many think it's counting the seconds...well, I'm not completely sure other than the fact that it kinda is. It goes up one number per second....maybe thats how fast your counter can go? I'm not sure...but if it does equal to one hit a second, there's a reason it started in 1997, on November 28th, and not when the site started in 1995.

Thanks to someones allready submitted guess, he had found out that if they were seconds, they started approx. the same time that bluesnews had server problems....which could have very well erased the counter. I'm not quite sure about the counter and why it only goes one hit a second...and I'm not sure if I'm right on the server problem thing either....but there's no way they the number at the bottom of the page and that line stating over 68 million hits is a coincidence. =)

-D -Derek Atwood (FunkAvenger)

Okay, you got it, enough with the guesses already. :)

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