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Mailbag
October 25, 1998 -- Previous Mailbag

All we are saying...
From: Scorch

Now, I understand that when a game sucks its very aggravating. But don't give up just yet. When Quake2 came out it was that best thing that happened to gaming. After many of the first couple of patches came out I saw dramatic improvement. I looked back when it came out and realized that compared to Quake2 3.19, 3.06 just doesn't add up. It took time to get Id where they are now with Quake2. It doesn't all happen in a week. People are already giving up on Unreal in its early stages. Now granted I do think that they should have perfected it more before the release, but jeez give it a chance. Have patience. People lost interest due to a bug infested and patch consuming game. Aren't they all like that? Unreal is one of the first "new technology" games as far as video enhancement. I maintain a gaming mailbag at a personal address and found that most of the complaints come from people either with a Pentium and some even with out 3d cards. If you haven't moved to a 3d card your pretty far behind. Anyway all these people were complaining and bitching about the poor fps and jumpiness and I said "get a real computer!". My point is that Unreal came before people were familiar with the requirements and technology. I still believe in Unreal and its capabilities. Don't let someone else make up your mind. People aren't always right and all gamers aren't experienced game creators. You don't know the frustrations until you've tried to make a game. Its not easy at all. Computer development is fast. Software is not. Software has to catch up to hardware and when it does it jumps. So I'm just saying give the game a chance.

Campers who love Jerry Lewis
From: Aslan the Furry

I was scanning my server's logs from last night and found the following exchange:

arthur: tu campe ou la

gunbitch: je campe pas je te cherche

I guess some things are the same the world over :-)

For some, killing their friends isn't enough
From: Jeff Reeves

Mr. Blue sir, this humble, frequent visitor to your site hopes you may be able to provide some insight into the lack of coop play lately. I put together my first network just to play DOOM coop. My wife and I loved it. Then came Duke and Blood and Quake (not great single but lots of fun coop). Deathmatch got old fast when DOOM reigned as king of the shooters but coop has always been fun. Now it seems as if every shooter lately has either no coop at all or if it does it is crippled in some way. Quake II had none until patched months later, Unreal's coop is crippled ("will be fixed in a later patch"), Shogo has none, Blood II will have none even though the concept of four chosen working together you would think would lend itself well to coop. I had high hopes for Rainbow Six - they specifically said this game was made with multi-player coop in mind....but what do we get but a crippled coop mode with no story and no strategic planning mode at all! But it has Deathmatch! Am I in a tiny minority that doesn't care for Deathmatch? It seems all that is important is making every shooter capable of great Deathmatch play over the Internet. (yawn - get rocket launcher or equivalent, hold down run key, hold down fire key, repeat ad infinitum). Perhaps some of the team oriented games are enjoyable, I can't honestly say I have tried any, don't have the time or desire to join a "clan" or whatever this games group is called or time to track down a group of individuals with the same interests and time schedule and most of all I don't believe that Internet gaming (shooters) works well enough with anything less than DSL or better speeds. I have a LAN, so do several of my friends and we all want the same thing: COOP play - not more mindless (but smooth) Deathmatch. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you may have on this subject, great site, the CNN of the action gaming community.

Is Method Man's M.O. OK?
From: unclejoe

I just read the mailbag today and was very amused by "method man's" argument against Unreal. He says he doesn't like the levels, yet he admits to only getting through 3 or so before shutting it off. This would be like a movie critic saying "this movie blows, I left after 10 minutes". How can one make an informed argument about a game that they have only played 5% of??? Ya, the first 5 or so levels in Unreal are pretty crap, but the rest of them rock. If you want a comparison, look at quake2. The first level set was all right, but the second one absolutely sucked. And the last one was incredible. Now, if someone had only played the first 2 level sets of quake2, would you say that they knew what the game was REALLY like? Of course not, after all, by only playing the first 2 level sets they have essentially experienced the worst bits of the game. The same thing goes for Unreal. The first 2 sets are pretty lame and uninspired, but the later ones are breathtaking. I suggest that "method man" go back and play Unreal straight through. Only then will his opinion mean anything.

FPS: The Final Chapter
From: Fraggle

I've been following the recent posts regarding FPS blah, blah, blah and I think everyone is overlooking a simple but brilliant way to improve framerate.

The average person blinks about twenty times per minute i.e. once every three seconds. Given that the average blink will conceal at least one frame and possibly more any player can improve their FPS by at least 0.3 by the simple expedient of never blinking. This can be achieved in a number of ways - by using either the temporary "two matchsticks" solution or the more permanent "super-glued eye-lids" technique. All you need to guarantee success is a friend or colleague who is prepared to stand behind you while you're playing with a small spray containing distilled water. The player simply shouts "Blink!" and his helper sprays a small amount of water into each eye. This will inevitably lead to the birth of LBBs (Low Blink Bastards) who will sweep all opponents before them.

I am also currently conducting research into the negative effects of breathing on Rail Gun accuracy, I shall forward my results as soon as I've been discharged from hospital.

Duh?
From: Brian Crober

Not too obvious that this installment of the mailbag was really a lame attempt at a Quake/id/3dfx owned site to bash Unreal. Shame.. It's even worse when I agree with the stuff sometimes but the obvious overload of hate against Unreal in this edition is too much to even take seriously. Like the punch or lack of a punch when you fire a weapon in Unreal.. It's as obvious as can be it should be improved and probably could be in a patch and in future Unreal games. Simple isn't it? There's more I don't like about Unreal too but unfortunately the stuff in the mailbag is for the most part a load of Quake biased garbage that doesn't even jive with what I find I miss in it as compared to a game such as Quake. It isn't Quake in the first place nor is it supposed to be from anything I've ever heard from Epic so if it doesn't quite feel exactly the same well duh.. I do hope Quake3 rocks though and also hope it's a much better multiplayer game than Quake2 was and still is. Quake 1 is still king in my humble modem playing opinion for multiplayer heaven. FPS what's fps when your still stuck on a modem and your fps is determined by your lousy rate setting? Last time I checked the majority by far are still using modems so I'm really rooting for further improvements on that side of things too. I guess you put things in there to stir up controversy and I'll bet you get quite a few letters wondering what is with all the Unreal bashing in one mailbag from Unhaters of Unreal or non brainwashed players of Id products only.

Editor's note: In case y'all didn't know, Blue's News is NOT in any way owned or operated by any of the companies mentioned above. As for the letters in the mailbag about Unreal, I just post 'em like I see 'em, and many of the anti-Unreal rants are in response to pro-Unreal rants already posted in this space. I got nothin' personal against Unreal, the Czar or Pepsi.

Well....maybe Pepsi.

--MrCoffee

Mmmmm.....mailbag
From: Joel

blue-

Bless you and your mail bag. Entertaining as all get-out!

You mean Q3 won't run on CE?
From: tAE

Oh, frickin' great - I just bought a PII 350 with a RAGE Pro Turbo AGP, and the bastards come out with this.

There's just no way to win with this hardware stuff - we should all get behind Levelord's contention that technology is irrelevant if there's never time to develop and refine the techniques for employing it.

Of course, this will not in any way stop me from buying yet another new machine next year when the 800mHz copper machines come out. But I still think we're pushing the limits just for the sake of doing so - not for any real, thought-out benefit it might bring. The stuff that's going on in the game industry reminds me of the price-wars gas stations used to have. Instead of giving away dishes, the development companies seem to be in a race to see who can build a game that won't run for shit on ANY existing platform. Yet, IMHO, one of the best games to come out in the last year was Forsaken, which runs comfortably on a low-end machine with a low-end 3D card, yet has stunning graphics and absolutely bitchin' gameplay. The developers had their heads on straight - a good game, designed and implemented with creativity and style, will kick the crap out of any CPU-eating techno-monster every time. Unreal is a perfect example - amazing technology, and a total yawn to play. I thought if I got a machine that could handle it, I might find that I liked the game. Wrong. The game sucks - there IS NO game - just a very elaborate demo of a very advanced rendering engine.

I never thought I would say this, but it looks as if Romero is the only one with the right idea here - technology without content is just a pile of nuts and bolts, with no reason for being. I await Daikatana with the expectation of seeing the most perfect marriage yet of the two elements. Lets just hope I haven't smoked too much crack today. But as a professional programmer, sometimes I seriously consider chucking my comfy and lucrative biz software career, and starting a game company to try doing it MY way. Actually, there's the first title - you're Frank Sinatra, and you've got this hard-on, see....

Anyway, thanks for listening to this little rant - if you actually did. Please consider this topic for a Shooters episode - I'd just LOVE to hear his 'loness and Carmack or someone else from id debate this, a la "Crossfire" or something. Actually, that's my Shooters suggestion for the week - don't stay locked in the "preview" format - kick-up a little controversy. Who knows, you guys might get a mention on a well-known news site or something.