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Mailbag
April 19, 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.

Grass-roots promotion!

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: Tom Caban
Subject: Wheel of Time gaming community mobilizes !

Blue -

I wanted to let you know that the Wheel of Time gaming community is mobilizing to get the word out about the wonders of this game. WoT has now been out for approximately 3-1/2 months, and to this day, new strategies are emerging for both the Multiplayer Arena (deathmatch), and Citadel modes.

The gaming community at large is working to spread awareness of this under-marketed game. In particular, as individuals, we are trying to inform the Unreal Tournament Assault players of the great features that WoT Citadel mode offers. There appears to be a great opportunity for cross-over support from the UT community.

Just wanted to let you know what was happening in our little piece of cyber-space!

Thanks

Tom Caban - aka Phaze Zero
(not in any way affiliated with the gaming industry - just a player !)

Picking on the big guys.

From: Sean Malone
Subject: Again with the...

I'm confused. It's quite obvious that when it comes to the hardcore gaming audience on the Internet, whatever happens to be the most popular or has some new feature that the competition didn't implement because it's just a trend marketing keyword, this group of people will denounce it as the evil empire set to destroy the world. We all read this crap on message boards around the net. Slash dot had one yesterday where these guys were just ridiculous in their slam on 3dfx. They were down on their knees giving a shine to Nvidia rod, but when another company comes up with something better, they'll jump on that ship and ride it on out.

Intel sells the most CPU's and their Satan. Microsoft sells more OS's and their Satan. Then when the competitor like AMD sells more, poof hey, AMD is now Satan. Now I'm not talking about manipulation, like some of the accusations of Microsoft.

You know, just about a year ago, I bought my V3 3500. I wanted to have the 3D and the TV stuff. I didn't feel that the TNT 2 Ultra fulfilled my needs at the time. All of the sudden, according to the 'game community', my card is shit and I'm a moron for buying a 3dfx product. Now I'm not stacking my card against a GeForce, but It's still a usable card. I have purchased at least one new video card for the last seven years. Let's see, there was the a couple of Tridents back in my old 386 and 486s, then a S3 Virge and a Voodoo Monster and a Riva 128 and a Voodoo 2, and a Voodoo Banshee (I know, don't laugh) and my Voodoo 3500. I'm looking at the V5 because I'm dying to play with all of the 'Hollywood effects'. Not because I'm a 3dfx only guy, as my past has shown. I'm eager to see the NV15.

So I guess my point to all of this is, please, let's all keep open minds about this stuff. Competition drives down prices and accelerates technology. Basic stuff folks. I'd hate to see the day a competent hardware/software company closes their doors, just because the 'community' convinces the masses to buy Brand X instead. Some community eh?

Sean Malone

This sort of thing has always been a problem with some people. When I was a kid, there were the Sega kids that didn't understand the Nintendo kids (and before that the Coleco and Atari kids) not to mention the IBM vs. Apple wars, which still go on today.

Most people aren't so silly, but there will always be people that hold biases against certain companies. Personally, I own two NVIDIA cards, and three 3dfx cards (four if you count the second Voodoo 2) so I'm open to anything. But then, I did own a Sega, Atari, and an Apple IIc as a kid. :)

Yet again...

From: Ty
Subject: What do you do?

Hey, I am kind of new to Blue's (only known about it for ~1 year), and I was just wondering what you and all of the guys that run this site do for a living? I know that a lot of people will call me a dumbass for asking this, but I seriously don't know how you get along. I am assuming that you are somehow paid through this (kickass) site and/or reviewing hardware and games.

Ty

This question gets asked every other month or so...and for the record, yes we do Blue's News full-time.

Love those one-liners .

From: ZentriX
Subject: More Windows 2000

You remember the Y2K bug? Were they talking about Windows 2000?

~ZentriX

Anyone listening?

From: Tanner
Subject: the need for killing jaggies.

So now there is this battle for the best engine. Best lighting. Curved surfaces...

GET RID OF THE JAGGIES! Argh, nothing pisses me off more then looking at a screenshot or playing a game in which the edges look like someone took a Q1 axe to them! (Which by the way, they need to bring back. Ax kills were the best!)

So to all the card manufacturers: ANTI-ALIASING, and I will buy your card!

Tanner

...I'll just assume you've already pre-ordered a Voodoo 5 then. :)

For the record, you should probably stay clear of the Playstation 2 - if you can't stand jaggies, you'll probably hate it.

Garsh.

From: Jeff and Kandice
Subject: Jeff and Kandice

I've been to this site every day for well over a year! I love this site!

Keep up the good work!

Thanks!

X-Box bugs.

From: Allan
Subject: X-box call me unimpressed

Just when you thought Bill Gates couldn't get any greedier, along comes another market he wants to dominate. Well good luck because I can't see it happening. Sony dominated with the Playstation despite the N64 having better graphics and even the Dreamcast hasn't caused a mass exodus. The Playstation 2 is set to achieve huge sales and they are already working on the Playstation 3.

Lets just say though that the X-box does have a fighting chance in the open market. Exactly what is this machine ? From everything I've seen it looks like a stripped down PC. Well that's what it looks like at the moment, by the time it hits the shelves it will be a well and truly out of date PC. 600 MHz processor ? The 1 GHz chips have just hit the shelves, by the time the X-Box hits the shelves a 600 MHz processor will be the minimum specifications on most games being sold. Also about this supposed super graphics processor which they are singing the praises of as being 3 generations ahead of the current chipsets ? Well given that the X-Box is due for release the third quarter of next year and that all the other technology for it already exists I'm guessing the graphics hardware will be ready by about the same time. Which, funnily enough, is enough time for 3 or more generations of the current processors to hit the shelves.

Finally Microsoft is trying to convince us that we won't need to download patches for the X-box and that all games will be ensured to be 100% working. Err, sorry ? This is from a company that release Windows 2000 with over 64,000 bugs. It's a very rare PC that doesn't need to have Windows reinstalled because something has gone wrong with it. If Microsoft have worked out a way to stop this why haven't they released it to the public ? Also I thought the X-box was supposed to run PC games out of the box ? Was this a false rumour ? More to the point what OS is the X-box supposed to be running ? Microsoft has already vowed not to support gaming on Windows 2000 so why are they saying developers can expect the X-box system to be using a similar 32 bit OS ?

The console gaming paradigm is so simple you have to wonder how Microsoft so completely screw it up. They aren't releasing a console, they are releasing a cut down PC. Why would anyone buy one when you could just buy a real PC which will be around the same price come third quarter next year ?

Allan

For the record, I don't think even Microsoft is going to be stupid enough to release a console system with bugs. That's just suicide. Not to mention the fact that while some systems have had problems (look at the PS2's Japanese release, or the web browser screwup with the US Dreamcast) nobody has made mistakes like Microsoft's OS goofs. It's just not done, and I don't think it's going to start now.

Grr...aargh.

From: atomic8
Subject: lack of cool/scary monsters

The one main thing that's been lacking in recent FPS are cool, scary monsters(enemies). Sure, they behave more intelligently and are better animated, but there about as intimidating as the Smurfs. Yeah, the marines in Half-Life & the Skaarj in Unreal were good....but, where are the Barons of Hell, with it's bone chilling yell/scream its greets you with, the Arch-Vile or the hoof stomping, ass kicking Cyberdemon! That's what's still great about Doom, fire it up and good head to head against hordes of cool monsters:)

handsome b. wonderful

I agree - there have definitely been some weak enemies of late. Although, I have to admit, System Shock 2 had some seriously freaky monsters ("iiiii'm sorrrry....").

Hmm...Relic's new game?

From: <omitted by request>
Subject: Relic game

I saw the announcement of Relic Entertainments new title for Microsoft. I noticed when glancing at the Smacker page that Relic has a game called Sigma that is using Miles.

Check it out:

http://www.smacker.com/mssgames.htm

Is this the new game for Microsoft?

In memoriam.

From: Brian Bland
Subject: Seumas McNally Treadmark Memoriam

I'll be honest, until I read of Seumas MacNally's death, I'd never even heard of the McNally family. I had some notion of "Longbow Digital Arts", and of its game called "Treadmarks", but I never really paid any attention to either. I never before realized just how small the company was, that it was, in fact, a family of four.

After reading Carmack's plan, I decided to take a look at Seumas's legacy: Treadmarks. Bravo Seumas. You not only finished the game, but you made a good one as well. We should have a Seumas McNally Treadmark Memoriam. Throw up some dedciated shareware servers, spread the word, and the players will come. After all, playing online is the one thing that this entire community has in common; why not honor the McNallys by doing what we do best?

Meanstryk

Now here's an idea...

From: Randy Melton
Subject: Forget Star Wars On-Line!

Hey Lucas! How about a MMRPG worth playing - like the Old West (ie: Outlaws)? Who'd wanna be a damn Wookie when they could play Cowboys and Indians for real? You guys REALLY missed the boat on this one!

Drunken Disgruntled Cowboy

I'm pretty amazed how most of these MMORPGs are all the same...although I have to admit, while it's not quite my cup of tea, that Need for Speed online sounds like something very different.

My fault, my fault.

From: David Chase
Subject: Trivia Contest

Dear Blue,

Whatever happened to the trivia contest? That was a big hook for alot of us and I know I spent many dozens of hours researching the answers to some of those questions. I know the feature has died and I'm trying to guess the reasons:

1. Prizes too expensive or difficult to deliver.
ANSWER: People loved this feature because it was fun not for the prizes. Put the winners' names in lights on your page and they'll be as tickled as a new game would have made them.

2. Not enough really tough questions.
ANSWER: Not all the questions have to be killer if you're not giving out expensive prizes. I know I sent loony a number of terrific questions (I'm a huge gaming trivia buff so yes I *do * know a good question when I see one) but perhaps the free prizes prevented him from posting any questions submitted by readers for fairness' sake. Lose the prizes and maybe he can post reader questions. Maybe 2 easy and one killer question per week?

3. Other?
I'm not sure why the trivia contest is gone because it was really a tonne of fun and got me back to the site daily to a) check on the new contest, b) research the answers, and c) see if I had won. It's hard to fight with a formula that improved customer satisfaction and generated ongoing hits. :)

It's been so long, that I don't even remember why I stopped doing them, actually. :)

I did run out of my backlog of questions, but I've been slowly building them back up (if anyone has any to suggest, feel free to e-mail them to me) and at some point in the near (or relatively near) future we'll have another one, I'm sure.

You'd think this was a joke, right?

From: Bobby
Subject: hI

i JUST WANT TO KNOW IF I CAN SEND http://www.dukeworld.com/
A PITCHER OF DUKE MONSTER . It is attach to this email.

Bobby

P.S
I got caps lock on

Q32k

From: Travis Isaacs
Subject: Q3 for Win2k

greetings! here's the deal-- will quake iii run on windows 2k or not? i can't seem to find any answers so i turned to the best! other games of mine (like rogue spear) work so i know that it's possible to run games on win2k, but q3 just won't work...

PLease please pleas respond--i am having fits w/out q3

you guys rock,
travis isaacs

I'm not sure why it won't work for you without specifics, but it should run just fine. Actually, it should run under Windows NT, too.

More on Prey...

From: David Chase
Subject: Feb 23 mailbag

This is in regard to the Feb 23 mailbag question by Joshua Kuntz in reference to Prey. While your response to Mr. Kuntz is technically correct in that Prey has been postponed, I think the Kuntz letter could use some more delving into.

The entire development team has been pulled off the project and the primary selling point of the game (a portal technology 3D engine) has been scrapped. The game is 5+ years late and untold sums of money have been written off without a penny earned.

The chances are slim to nil that 3D Realms will start from scratch in a year's time to rebuild Prey from the ground up with a new engine. Prey has effectively been scrapped. This, I believe, is a more accurate answer to the Kuntz question.

(Oh my, I can't keep a straight face...)

Ah, semantics.

From: Jon Frisby
Subject: Minor correction...

Your news item titled "Microsoft = Monopoly" is badly titled.

The judge already concluded that Microsoft was a monopoly with his "Findings of Fact." Todays ruling is a "Findings of Law" which -- as your story points out -- rules that this monopoly was illegally abused.

It is not illegal to get, or have a monopoly per se. There are many things you can't legally do to get, hold, or expand a monopoly -- which Microsoft did according to the judge -- but simply being a monopoly is entirely legal.

Apologies for the misleading headline. :)

<headline here>

From: MIRON, NICOLAS
Subject: Sacrifice Press Release

I just read Shiny's press release for Sacrifice. You have to wonder if all the companies out there are using the same template:

Developed by <Company Name>, the team that has produced such highly acclaimed hits as <Insert Previous Games>, <Insert New Game Name> will open up an entirely new experience for gamers. <Insert Short Description of New Game>.

"<New Game> is a truly epic adventure that will blur the lines between multiple genres," stated the President of <Company Name & President Name>.

"Gamers will absolutely be blown away by the look and feel of this title. It's a multi-player's dream come true."

"A total of <Insert Random Number> unique creatures await the <New Game> gamer, not to mention seemingly countless <Insert Cool Item>. Additionally, hordes of characters are able to do battle with no slowdown in frame rate.

Players will also be pleased to learn that <New Game> contains one of the easiest level editing tools ever created for the pc, allowing for completely customized and unique battles in both single and multi-player games. This will enhance the already impressive environment, which permits the player to see for miles without walls or fog.

Geek points awarded.

From: Mark Levin
Subject: "obscure comic reference"

I believe your obscure comic reference in the April 15 story on "Invasion for Q3" is to Dark Horse's Aliens: Hive. What do I win? ;)

--
Mark

The pride and admiration of your fellow geeks. Revel in it. :)

Again with the one-liners...

From: John Weston
Subject: Nocturne E-Missions

Wow, I didn't know you could get new missions for Nocturne electronically. Guess it's time to change the sheets...

John Weston, aka Tuco

Uh...cookie bugs?

From: mr. gary 2
Subject: where to file

Do you know where I can file an Oreos bug report? The new promotional Oreo for March Madness, aptly named "Munch Madness", has a serious design flaw. The interior of this limited edition Oreo is colored orange, presumably to match a basketball though they look more like Halloween cookies. The charactaristics of this orange interior are such that splitting, twisting, or pulling the Oreo in half leaves you with unacceptable results -- the orange interior adheres to both cookie halves with greater force than it adheres to itself, thereby causing a split of the filling somewhat evenly across both halves.

As any Oreo eater knows it is imperative that the Oreo be split into one piece of only cookie and one piece of cookie and double the cream. I haven't yet determined if it is the orange interior (most probably cause) or the revised cookie exterior containing a basketball embossment that is to blame for the bug.

gary2

I know what you mean - my Chewy Chips A'hoy keep crashing. I think they really need to up their QA department at Nabisco.

QW Ranting

From: Jason Ely
Subject: Quakeworld Rant

I'm sorry, but I have nobody else to really rant to at the moment. This message is going to go off about the current state of Quakeworld. Basically Quakeworld is DEAD! Its not dead because of Quake 3 Arena, its dead because of such things as Speed Hack, Kleenex aimbot and all the other low life, non-skilled, whiner players that have surfaced in the past few months.

I've been with Quakeworld since it's debut. I've been here through the changes, both good and bad. It is sad for me to say that tonight I will remove Quakeworld from my machine. It is truly sad for me because I had many hours of pleasure playing this game. I started a Quakeworld Clan (Masters of Pummeling) back in June of 97. The clan came together and several people become very close friends, we never really cared about being the best clan. I'm sure throughout the Quakeworld community, many others share the same experience. I fear those days are now long gone. Clans have come and gone, most moved onto Quake 3. A few who never really enjoyed Quake 3 (I being one of them) wanted to stay with the game that filled that void, that desire for action and excellent competition. Many of us stayed behind in Quakeworld.

In the early days there were people who were good, people who were bad and people who were lame. The lame players either camped, tried to exit levels over and over, spammed grenades while running in a frenzy, used dark skins or whatever else they could do to inflict emotional and mental agony on all the players in that game. That was fine, it was accepted as a part of the game. In recent times Quakeworld has been suffering a huge illness. This disease known as cheating has been tearing at the very foundation that has kept Quakeworld alive for so long, the honest players who enjoyed the game.

Now cheating has been debated and I personally have always dealt with it. My personal opinion was let this guy use hacked models, skins and maps. It makes him/her a much more challenging opponent. The feeling after you drive a cheater from a server is a very good feeling indeed. Since the release of the quake source code, cheats have become far more popular. The most famous is the speed hack. This hack is idiotic. The moron runs around at about 10 times normal speed. 90 percent of the players using it are idiots who cannot control themselves and end up taking a dive in the lava or blasting themselves with their own rockets. However, they still destroy the game for some players. Some High ping players believe that the speed hack (in moderation) can even out the performance gap between the high ping players and low ping players. Personally I think nothing warrants using a cheat.

The worst cheat of all is the aimbot, most popular being the Kleenex. People who have to resort to using this cheat are worse than any knat buzzing in your face, lower than the gum on the bottom of your shoe. The truly sad thing is that I've seen players who have a fair amount of skill turn to using this proxy. That makes everything even more frustrating. The Kleenex is so easy to spot. I've seen some good shafts in my time, but you know when your being zapped with a Kleenex guided shaft. You die INSTANTLY, there is no way to escape. If you are in view of the player and they are within shaft range, kiss yourself goodbye. There is NOTHING you can do to avoid being nailed DEAD ON with this weapon. Also, any player who is owning a level with the double barrel shotgun would be under heavy suspicion by me. Most players using this cheat are morons and don't know how to use it properly, so they end up shooting into the floor, making odd spins for no reason and try to use the rocket launcher. The RL with a Kleenex is useless to a long distance moving target.

Ok, so we have all heard this whining and complaining about cheating before. And as I have said, up until now I have dealt with this crap. I was extremely happy when the Muppet Clan hosted a Quakeworld Forever server. Yes! At last I can go to a place where A) I am no longer called a cheater and B) Players will not have to suffer the wraith of the speed hack and aimbot. So here I am, sitting on Muppety QWF Matador server. I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for a player to join. Nothing. I check back an hour later which was a time when that server was usually packed with players.... again Nothing. What in the world? Why is nobody playing? Why? This escapes me! People complain about the cheaters but will not play on a server where there is no cheating (I believe models and such were still an issue).

All the cheaters are on the non QWF servers and thus, the non QWF servers have players while the QWF servers tend not to. Holy rolling dungheaps Batman!!! So again I try to just deal with the cheating. I figure I'll just deal with it. The cheaters will help me improve my game. In the last 2 days alone I have experienced more players in a total of 3 hours of playing than I ever did in my 3 years of Quakeworld before then. In fact I was on a particular server were 4 of the 6 players had speedhack and 2 of those players were using some form of autoaim. What is the point of the game if you don't play it the way it was intended to be played? How can you measure ones skill when they are using a proxy or hacked source code to aim and shoot for them?

Quakeworld is suffering from a terminal disease and it is just a matter of time before the rest of its organs decay and die. Someday in the not so distant future one will open up GameSpy and there will not be a single server under the Quakeworld tab. The last server will be shut down and Quakeworld will slip into the afterlife only to be remembered at Lan parties and in the columns of the wonderful sites that documented the events that molded and shaped the life of this great game.

I hail all those players who had then and still have today, honor and respect for the game.

Manowar (Leader of MOP Clan)

Mmm...beer.

From: Brian Murphy
Subject: 5!

Just wanted to say that in your 'Out Of The Blue' Section for today , the 17th of March, you included no less then 5 cliche's which really piss most Irish people off. Unfortunately there are still some of my fellow country men who insist on milking this whole Pot of gold/drunk on Guinness thing that really is just stupid. Yes ,we all get shit faced (thats drunk to you)on Paddy's day but not necessarily on Guinness. Get my meaning? Just thought you should know you offended one of your few Irish weekly visitors. Other then this little complaint I love the site and keep up the good work :) Now if you will excuse me , I am going to go watch a shitty parade.

Slain leat mo chara ,

- Brian 'Disgruntled Irish Man' Murphy

Actually, he said all of that because I really do get drunk as a poet on payday on St. Patrick's Day, and I do it all on Guinness. No, I'm not Irish, but I am a regular at an Irish pub, and the St. Patrick's Day drinkfest has been a tradition for me for several years.

A plea.

From: Ender
Subject: Not news, just a plee

Following the source release, some Very Good Things were done to Quake1. But lately, as with mods, we see the same old features packed together in one bloaty collection of borrowed, copied and pasted code. This is okay, I've fallen into the trap of doing it myself. Reinventing the wheel is not fun, either. But please.. give credit where it is due. Let the people who have done hard work and, those who have submitted stuff and patches, to QSG, QuakeForge, QER, and UGLQU (to mention a few) take their bows. Some may not mind, but regardless they deserve it for the hard time they have put into making these additions and enhancements. On behalf of myself, myself and I. We thank you.

== Ender

Weird.

From: John Ranger
Subject: Leap Years

Yesterday was not the sort of leap day that occurs every 4 years, it was one that occurs every 400 years!!!!

Basically years divisible by 100 are NOT leap years UNLESS they are also divisible by 400. ie 1700, 1800 & 1900 weren't leap years. 2100, 2200, 2300 won't be either

KemosabE

Obviously, this letter is slightly old...but I thought it should go in here anyway. :)

Strange, strange, strange.

From: Tony Fabris
Subject: Regarding "First Contact" conference in OOTB

Regarding that item in "Out of the Blue" about the First Contact conference...

Holy shit, man I was THERE. What a coincidence.

Actually, I wasn't there for the "Contact" event. The hotel was hosting two two conferences at the same time: Contact and Consonace. Consonance is a Filk (New Folk Music) convention. We were stepping on each other's toes the whole time. Those ET people really hogged the good conference rooms. Our big concert started an hour late because of them. :-)

I think us Filkers gave the Contact people the willies. Filkers refer to this phenomenon as "Scaring the Mundanes". Which is ironic, considering that the whole point of the Contact thing was to embrace the possibility of alien life and overcome the xenophobia. Perhaps they need to look a little closer at the alien life walking around them...

The story he's referring to is this one, in case you can't remember, where a bunch of scientists got together and simulated contact with an alien civilization. Crazy stuff.

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