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Friday, December 25, 1998    Merry Christmas

Levelord Interview  [1:53 AM EST]
Ritnews interviews Levelord in a short, but as always, entertaining interview.

Mortyr Interview  [1:53 AM EST]
Gamer's Alliance Interviews Mike Pearson and Pawel Kalinowski of Mirage Media about their upcoming shooter, Mortyr.

3Dfx Interviews  [1:53 AM EST] has a brief Q&A with 3Dfx's Brian Bruning talking about what screen resolutions will be supported by their upcoming Voodoo3, and Game Asylum has posted an interview with Steve Schick prior to his departure from 3Dfx, asking about 16 versus 32 bit color depth on the Voodoo3.

New A3DXstream Drivers  [1:53 AM EST]
The Turtle Beach site has new Win32 drivers for the Montego A3DXstream offering improved support for Cyrix, AMD, and Pentium Pro. These drivers are not for Dell Montego cards, DirectX is required. Thanks Fletch.

DukeFest  [1:53 AM EST]
DukeWorld.Com has a bunch of Duke 3D downloads as a holiday time killer, including two new previously unreleased Dukematch maps by the one and only Levelord.

Competitions  [1:53 AM EST]'s Holiday Giveaway is underway with the first batch of prizes awarded, and time still remains to enter and win.

etc.  [1:53 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [1:53 AM EST]
Things seem great so far on the new site, again, thanks to Kevin for busting out the space on the server so quickly. There was indeed a quote yesterday, from Face Off, and thanks to John S. for the thought on adding Festivas (from Seinfeld) to the holiday list yesterday (by the way I'm told Australians celebrate Christmas on the 24th, if that's true, belated Merry to down under--correction it's been made clear to me that whoever said this just meant in terms of time zones--Aussies use the 25th as well).

For the record, Blue's News took the lead in that poll thing for a while yesterday (thanks for the incredible support), but the poll has since been hacked or doctored beyond credibility, so it's kind of over I guess. I reckon the doggie lives (a riff on a classic National Lampoon cover, likely recognizable to the geriatric set). To the animal lover I offended, my apologies. I'll let you in on a secret -- it was only an electronic picture of a doggie (the life-like moving head will fool you every time). Anyway I'm an animal lover too, but when it comes to votes, it's a dog-eat-dog world.

So instead of more p1mping, let me instead take this opportunity to point out that no one has more reason to be grateful for the support their site has received than I have. Over the close to three years of Blue's News and its earlier incarnations, this site has gone through a bunch of hosts and servers, loads of technical difficulties, all sorts of nonsense, but so many of you have hung in there that if there was a poll for the best audience... ah hell I'm getting maudlin. Anyway, thanks for everything, your continued support is the only real vote that matters.  Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 1998

New Home  [6:33 PM EST]
Well, here we are at our new home at pair Networks. Huge thanks to all the folks who've worked so hard and helped out so nicely to help work this out over the holidays here, including Kevin at pair, Larry, Sharky, Ben at 3DHosting/3DFile, Grendel at GamesNET, and no doubt a few I've forgotten. Thanks to everyone for their patience with this double move, and the server problems in-between.

Top 50 Game Guide  [4:51 PM EST]
GameCenter's Gifts for Gamers feature offers their lowdown on the top 50 games of the year offering the hits and misses broken down by category. Their choices for the shooter fan are Half-Life, Diamond 3D II Megamonster, a cable modem, and a ViewSonic 21" monitor, calling Unreal (which received four X's in their review upon its release) "the fruitcake," symbolizing the unwanted gift. Thanks Apache

Half-Life Wallpaper  [4:51 PM EST]
Check out the Lambda, a nifty piece of Half-Life art, suitable for desktop wallpaper.

Rhapsody Quake II Server  [12:18 PM EST]
The Omni Group's Quake II page has the first release of their port of the Quake II server for Rhapsody / MacOS X. The app requires the Rhapsody Developer Release 2 for PowerPC and the levels from the Quake II CD-ROM. As the page describes: "Omni Development is responsible for this port (with the blessing of id software); please do not bother id with bug reports etc. dealing with this port."

Quake done 100% Quick Lite  [12:18 PM EST]
Quake Done 100% Quick Lite is the latest release from everyone's favorite speed-freaks, the Quake done Quick team. Their newest demo run through of Quake is a first-person recording with no re-filmed movie version. Here's the lowdown:

Picture the scene. Granny has come visiting for Christmas. And just as happened last year, she's proved she ownz you at CTF and Quake2 DM, and has now started boasting about her aptitude for Quake on Skill 0. "Little kids? They suck, dear..." Get revenge. Ask her how quickly she thinks she could complete the whole game, killing every monster and uncovering every secret along the way. Then show her Quake done 100% Quick lite, in which the QdQ team complete the task in under forty-three minutes. It'll make you feel better, honest...

New EGN2 - TRIBES Support  [12:18 PM EST]
The Enternet Global Network has a new release of their namesake EGN2 program, a server-browser, ICQ chat dealie that now offers support for finding Starsiege TRIBES servers.

Heretic II Teamplay  [12:18 PM EST]
Crowd Control is a patch to allow teamplay in multiplayer Heretic II until the official patch to allow this is released. The mod is a server-side .dll that supports two teams with skins, team specific Scoreboards, as well as a third, FFA indie class who can be killed by anyone. There is also a team_say command that is untested, but believed to be working.

Mork from Na Pali?  [12:18 PM EST]
From a Mr. Showbiz Robin Williams interview. Thanks Diragor. Q: What's your favorite game?

"There's a new one, Unreal…a shoot-'em-up. You know, it's weird. People have this perception, "Oh, he's kind and fuzzy." When you're playing games like Unreal [does sound effects like a grizzled cowboy], "Pow! Smith and Wesson. He's back! He's gone postal."

New QERadiant & Wally - Half-Life Support  [12:18 PM EST]
The QERadiant page has a new build 147 of the QERadiant level editor (based on id's QE4 source code). The new version adds a plug-in to support editing Half-Life maps. There is a separate Half-Life plugin for QERadiant page to offer info and resources on this new feature. Also, Wally's Home has a new beta version of Wally, the texture editing program that is compatible with Quake II's /.wal format texture files. The new version also offers support for Half-Life.

Unreal Sources on the 'net  [12:18 PM EST]
There is an Unreal Resources on the Internet page at the location formerly known as The guide focuses mainly on helping to locate sites focused on level editing.

AMD vs Intel Face-Off  [12:18 PM EST]
There's a face-off ("I'm Castor Troy!") on Thresh's FiringSquad with Thresh and Kenn taking opposite sides of a debate over what CPU will be the processor of choice in the future, debating the merits of AMD versus Intel (good thing they always come out on different sides of these "issues," eh?).

BattleCruiser Ships  [12:18 PM EST]
Version 2.0 of BattleCruiser 3000 AD is shipping. Previous owners have the chance to upgrade to the new version for $10 on the website. There is also a 2.01 patch in the works to offer 2D support for NVIDIA TNT, Matrox G200 and Voodoo Banshee cards and other "obscure" fixes.

More Editing Stuff  [12:18 PM EST]
In addition to the new QRad, and Wally (previous story), the MAPZ project is underway. MAPZ stands for Map Automated Processing System (*whistle* flag -- penalty for acronym abuse), a way for editing-types to have the sometimes lengthy compile process for their map files done elsewhere (though this leaves your work vulnerable to possible "borrowing" -- be sure to read the warnings). Also, the OvEr ThE tOp TC has been disbanded, and they're freely distributing the models created for the project. Finally, Sean's Crappy Temporary Page has 46 textures for download.

Shooters  [12:18 PM EST]
No Shooters this week or next, with the holidays. Next stop for our real nutty RealPlayer extravaganza, 1999.

etc.  [12:18 PM EST]

Out of the Blue  [12:18 PM EST]
Best wishes to all, whether you celebrate any of the many Holidays or not. I realize there's a lot of Christmas cheer being bandied about, but whether it's Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, Festivus, or just a couple of days when you don't have to schlep to work, hope it's being great to you. I thought the server was going to move yesterday, but it hasn't (as of this writing) it will likely move today, brace yourself for some mad slathering as I thank the folks working hard on Christmas Eve to get this worked out. More on violent international sports. From Sean "Waverider" Hardiman: "You truly haven't lived until you've been to the All-Ireland Hurling Final in Croke Park in Dublin. <G>."

About the pel's Poll on Pels Interactive, theAntiELVIS says, "You'd shoot that cute little puppy?... I'd use an ax...." Well, the safeties are off, because drawing more attention to how dire the situation was helped a ton in the standings, but we still can't say fire, as we're still 9% points down (as of this writing). So remember the deal:

maricon.gif (13151 bytes) anashoot.gif (20314 bytes)
Vote for this site... ...and the dog...
...says hello to my little friend!
Wednesday, December 23, 1998

New Genesis3D Engine SDK  [10:30 PM EST]
The Genesis 3D Engine page has a new beta 4 of the SDK for their free 3D engine. The new version offers support for procedural textures, improved documentation, editor fixes, improved compatibility, and more.

New glDoom  [10:15 PM EST]
The Official glDoom Homepage has version 0.94e of glDoom, described as a maintenance release fixing some problems that have popped up that are annoyances, but not show stoppers. word is the next release will be a bigger "point release" type dealie, likely after the New Year. Thanks Phil Hall.

New Qizmo  [10:15 PM EST]
A new version 2.56 of the Qizmo shareware QuakeWorld proxy is out, offering support for the new QuakeWorld test version 2.33-0005 (story). Thanks Executor.

Messiah Shots, Interview  [10:15 PM EST]
The Messiah Press has posted four new screenshots from Shiny's upcoming Messiah, as well as an Ego profile with TeamEgo artist Siggy.

New MGA-G200 Drivers  [10:15 PM EST]
There are new version 4.51 drivers on the Matrox MGA-G200 Windows 95 and Windows 98 drivers page (though they're still dated December 18 as of this writing, the version 4.50 drivers were released on the 18th). Thanks Pyscho_Clown at The 3DNow! NOW Page.

New Obsidisan2 Beta Drivers  [10:15 PM EST]
The Quantum 3D Drivers page has new Win95/98 and WinNT beta drivers for their Voodoo2-based Obsidian2 accelerators. The new drivers offer support for directX 6.0. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

New Kali  [6:11 PM EST]
A new version 1.60 of the Kali server browser is now available, adding support for NBA Live 99, Ancient Conquest Demo, StarCraft Brood War, as well as more options for currently existing games.

Shooter Shootouts  [6:11 PM EST]
There's a Half-Life vs. Sin Shoot-out on GameCenter doing that head-to-head thing they like to do. Also, I saw on Voodoo Extreme that Happy Fraggin' Holidays is up on OGR/CGO describing "The Death and Resurrection of the 3D Shooter."

Outcast Shots  [6:11 PM EST]
Outcast Central has posted eight Outcast Screenshots that may or may not have previously appeared elsewhere. Outcast is a 3D-action/adventure with polygon characters and voxel-based landscapes and buildings. The game is being developed in Belgium by a company called Appeal,

New Spectra Drivers  [6:11 PM EST]
The Spectra Software Download Page has new version 1.20.03 Windows 95/98 drivers for the TNT-based Canopus Spectra 2500. "This release includes the latest drivers from NVIDIA and some needed fixes." Thanks Ol' Dirty.

New WinNT SB PCI Drivers  [2:57 PM EST]
The Creative Labs FTP site has new Windows NT 4.0 drivers for the SB PCI128 and the PCI64, and what I believe are newer SBLive! NT drivers than the set released yesterday (story) which "resolves the problem of the driver update hanging at 95% when executed on a dual processor system." Thanks BetaNews.Com.

Win 95/98 Security Fix  [2:57 PM EST]
The Microsoft Windows Update page has a critical update for Win95/98 that closes a frame spoof hole in MSIE ("There have been no reports of any customer being affected by this issue") that could be used to extract information from your machine.

Unreal 221 After Christmas  [12:23 PM EST]
Epic's Tim Sweeney updated the Unreal Technology page with word on the state of the version 221 Unreal patch, which will not be released for another couple of days. Thanks Entropy and Anyware. Here's the quote:

We're going to hold off on the upcoming 221 update until after Christmas. A few minor issues remain and, with most of the team away or inaccessible for Christmas, testing has been going slowly.

Have a safe and happy holidays, everyone!

Heretic II Decay 1.0  [12:23 PM EST]
Version 1.0 of the Decay mod for Heretic II is now available. The new release offers teamplay support (once Raven patches the .exe), new server vars for more configuration options, pre-built server.cfg files to run normal, "expert", and teamplay servers, and tabs for GameSpy and PingTool.

Q3ATest in a Month?  [7:26 AM EST]
Paul Steed was the guest on Monday's episode of Lilith & Eve (a new audio/video RealDealie female gaming show) and he made a few comments about Quake III Arena, which include a mention of the possibility that Q3ATest could be available in as little as a month. Thanks Dan "Jago" Naoumov. Here's the exact quote I just dug out (which was given after many objections that the obstacles barrng a release are technical, and not his area to comment on):

"...I would hazard a guess, like, the way things are, about another month or so..."

Santa Half-Life Model  [7:26 AM EST]
Planet Half-Life has posted a Santa Claus player model created by Valve Software's Steve Theodore as a holiday gift. The Santa model can be used in deathmatch, and a multiplayer bitmap has been provided by Wavelength to allow the model to be selected from the in-game menus.

Quake II Christmas Movie  [7:26 AM EST]
The Clan Drooling Chickens page proclaims "We do nothing.....We are nothing.....We just suck," but the Quake II movie they've just released tells a different story (though the loop of "A Man and a Woman" on their site does support the "we suck" theory... I had to mute my sound). The movie, available by following the movie link on the menu, is "Twas the Night Before QuakeMas," of course a variant on the oft-parodied (in fact there have been other Quake versions) of the Clement Moore classic A Visit From Saint Nicholas. The movie is simple, but simply awesome as well, I thought it was great fun. Here are local downloads (2.6 MB) courtesy of Blue's News FTP, Walnut Creek CDROM, and Tweak Coffee.

More on TF2 Reactions  [7:26 AM EST]
Planet Half-Life has posted a bit of correspondence between Robin Walker of Valve/TeamFortress Software and someone who wrote in criticizing the decision to release TeamFortress2 as a stand-alone game   There's also a post on PlanetCrap along the same lines offering a response from Robin Walker to a similar query, and the opportunity to post feedback in typically non-PC PC style.

TRIBES Manual, TRIBES in Stores  [7:26 AM EST]
The Starsiege TRIBES User's Manual is now online, and according to a few emails I've received, it's likely that TRIBES (who knew it was all caps?) is appearing in stores, and may be available at your proverbial local retailer. Thanks Hostile[B7].

New Tank Game Shots  [7:26 AM EST]
Seumas McNally from Longbow Digital Arts sends word that they've posted the first screenshots from an upcoming OpenGL tank game they are working on. There aren't many other details about the game listed except that it will have LOD (Level of Detail) adjustment on both the models and the terrain.

John Romero Q&A  [7:26 AM EST]
GameGirlz has posted an eight question Q&A with ION Storm Chairman John Romero, asking questions about Daikatana deathmatch, and even inquiring about whether he ever plans to part with his trademark long hair.

Heretic II Expansion Pack Update  [7:26 AM EST]
Raven's Jake Simpson updated his .plan with the latest on the state of the Heretic II mission pack, which will likely not be released until after the new year:

Heretic II EP. Well, it won't be out till after Christmas, probably not before the new year. The big problem is that Activision gives us an extra day off if we take off the time between the 25th and New Year, so you KNOW we all are. And so is QA. In which case its tough to get the game properly QA'd intime for the New Year. Sorry guys. We just have too much we want to get in there. We got all the new Aureal 2.0 A3D code, and I've got to hand it to them, it Kicks Ass..very nice. Now I'm waiting to see what the Creative guys are going to come up with in the case of EAX support.

Quake II OSP Tourney DM  [7:26 AM EST]
The Orange Smoothie Productions page has posted version 1.0 of their new OSP Tourney DM, a server-side only mod designed to facilitate match play for LAN-based or online tournaments. Here are some of the details:

OSP Tourney DM is a server-side only mod designed to facilitate match play for tournaments, whether LAN-based or online. It also has an enhanced regular DM mode for relaxed warmups and informal play.

Rather than having different specific mods used for various aspects of tournament play (i.e. Battle/GX for team play, Duel for 1v1, and even id DM for FFA qualifiers), the tourney mod was designed specifically to handle these modes of play with all of their unique requirements with the configurability of Lithium.

OSP Tourney DM supports 4 "modes" of operation: - Regular DeathMatch - Qualifier DeathMatch - Team DM Play - 1v1 DM Play

Each of these modes are in fact unique and are not just simple hacks to give different modes of play. OSP Tourney DM is in fact 4 separate mods in one. The mod conveniently includes separate pre-fabbed config files for each mode of operation. Numerous other configuration options exist.

We are running OSP Tourney DM Servers at:

Mode of Play IP Address
Regular DM
Team Play DM
1v1 DM
Rail Only Insta-Gib DM
Team Play-Rail Only Insta-Gib DM

Reviews  [7:26 AM EST]
AGN Hardware reviews the Creative Labs TNT.

PGL Qualifications Begin  [7:26 AM EST]
Qualifying rounds are now underway for the AMD Professional Gamers' League Spring '99 season, and will continue through January 17 (new players can register until January 15, 1999). The cash purse for the Spring ’99 Season will be $60,000, divided between the Action (Quake II) and Strategy (StarCraft) categories (plans for a third category have been suspended until the Fall ’99 Season).

Choosing a CPU, Next-Gen CPUs  [7:26 AM EST]
How to Choose the Right CPU on gives Thresh and Kenn's take on choosing a processor. Looking ahead, part one of Sharky Extreme's AMD K6-3 400 MHz review is online looking at AMD's next-generation CPU. Also, Billy at Voodoo Extreme sends word that Hardware Extreme has posted some preliminary benchmarks comparing their upcoming K7 processors (already!) to Katmai CPU marks, though they admit: "Please note that the K7 is not in my lab ! The results come from one of my contact overseas which has close relations with AMD." Finally, there's an WinChip-2 Review on the HPC Hardware Guide that looks at the newest version of IDT's inexpensive CPU line, which offers improved 3DNow! support.

Competitions  [7:26 AM EST]
Today is the final day to enter GameGirlz.Com's Name the Female Corvus contest. Also on the H2 front, Future Games Network is giving away a signed copy of Heretic II.

etc.  [7:26 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [7:26 AM EST]
I expect to move the site to a new server sometime today (fingers fully crossed again). This CNN article (thanks Hoonis and Ant) is another example of games (or James Bond movies) and reality converging, describing a flame-thrower option for automobiles. On Football stuff, Karl Monaghan writes commenting on the Gaelic football comment yesterday pointing out that "maiming is also not approved of" (though he doesn't say it's against the rules), pointing out "if you want a game that allows both, you should see Hurling (a hockey game that resembles open warfare more than anything else). You can get away with killing if you score..." (sounds like hockey to me), going on to send a link to an "an interesting commentary of a Gaelic match that might provide some insight into the game." Also, theAnitELVIS points out "The Aztecs played with 100 players per team, on a field about the size of 4 American football fields. The ball was a severed human head or skull, and killing opponents, while not a part of the rules, didn't break any rules, either." Going on to point out: "It was kind of like their version of Quake." Yes, theAnitELVIS rules.

I received two letters crabbing at me for p1mping (yes the p1mp-busters are back) the pel's Poll on Pels Interactive yesterday. I take negative feedback very seriously, but considering the the points already made on the subject in discussing the Top 100 (and the fact that I'm a distant second in the poll), I'll just finish with one simple thought:

anashoot.gif (20314 bytes) trainp.jpg (18660 bytes)
Vote for this site Or we won't shoot the dog!
Tuesday, December 22, 1998

New Rainbow Six Map  [9:35 PM EST]
PC Gamer Online has posted an exclusive Rainbow Six level from RedStorm designed for multiplayer play. Version 1.04 of R6 is required.

New ZDoom  [9:35 PM EST]
The ZDoom page has a new version 1.16 of this port of Doom for Win 32 that offers FreeLook, high resolutions, translucency, a console, MOD and MIDI support, improved mouse support, limited TCP/IP networking, and more.

Heretic II Add-on Screenshots, H2 Map Packs  [9:09 PM EST]
The Raven Archives has posted a half-dozen new screenshots from Raven's upcoming Heretic II expansion pack. Also, The Heretic II Atlas has posted a pair of new Heretic II map packs, one with every user made map available, and another with BladeMatch only maps.

Half-Life Patch Info  [8:21 PM EST]
B0dhi's Gibpage sends word of an email they've posted from Robin Walker of Valve/TeamFortress Software that reveals that a new patch is in the works for release "in a matter of days and includes much stronger networking than the original code."

Redline Demo  [6:12 PM EST]
The playable demo of Redline is up on the Adrenaline Vault PC Release List, where they have scooped Download.Com where it was announced the demo was to debut (story). Here's the lowdown:

Urban Warfare in the not too distant future. Enter a world of pain in this first ever 21st century gang combat action game. Redline features a seamless blend of vehicular and on-foot combat that will have you carjacking your opponents’ rides, fragging rival gang members in drive-by shootings, and camping out with your sniper rifle to blow away unsuspecting punks.

This demo includes two REDLINE multi-player arenas: KILLCAGE and TRIAGONIZER. In these two arenas you will have access to up to 11 vehicles, each with its own unique weapons and characteristics. You will also have access to 10 weapons you may use while on foot. The object of the multi-player game is to stomp, kill and frag as many of your opponents as possible. The final release version of Redline will offer both single player missions and numerous multi-player arenas.

This is a beta multiplayer only demo

More Half-Life Walkthroughs  [6:12 PM EST]
Saw on Voodoo Extreme that Part two of CGO/OGR's Half-Life walkthrough is up, offering a quick guide from part VI (Power Up) through Part X (Questionable Ethics).

3Dfx Doom Legacy Preview  [4:42 PM EST]
The Doom LEGACY Home Site has a public preview of the 3Dfx version of the Doom Legacy port of the Doom source. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

ATi Interview  [4:42 PM EST]
Sharky Extreme has posted an interview with ATi talking with PR Manager Raymond Spencer about the RAGE 128.

Hired Guns Preview, Shots  [3:27 PM EST]
There's a Hired Guns Preview with screenshots on GameSpot UK looking at this upcoming Unreal-engine game where you control four characters at once, as the article describes, "via a complex, but workable, graphic interface."

Updated 16/32 Bit Color Demo  [3:27 PM EST]
The Kick Engine page has an updated version of their new demo that gives a side-by-side comparison of 16 bit versus 32 bit color (story). Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Tribes Beta Shots  [3:27 PM EST]
There are more screenshots from the Starsiege Tribes beta test on the Tribes Uplink.

Half-Life Guide  [1:17 PM EST]
Half-Life Unlocked is a new GameCenter feature giving some tips on how to make it through Valve's shooter alive, offering a spoiler section (that's not a "full-on walkthrough"). Thanks Bullviper at the Half-Life Haven.

ATi Rage 128 Heat Response  [1:17 PM EST]
A post on The Adrenaline Vault gives a replies to questions raised about the heat generated by their upcoming video accelerator chipset stating that the 91 Celsius operating temperature reported recently in a review falls well within the acceptable range for the chip, which is from 84 to 100 C (that's not Fahrenheit... wow!).

SBLive! NT 4.0 Drivers  [1:17 PM EST]
The Creative Labs FTP site has new SBLive! drivers for Windows NT 4.0 users. The update adds dual-processor support, a frequency shifter, Live!Surround, auditioning of Environmental Audio settings, and support for 32 DirectSound 3D streams. Thanks G-Man.

BattleCruiser Movie  [1:17 PM EST]
The Galcom News Network has a new 18 MB movie trailer showing off scenes from the upcoming BattleCruiser 3020AD. There is also word there that Derek Smart and Take 2 Interactive have settled their long-standing feud.

QuakeWorld 2.33-0005  [5:56 AM EST]
Zoid has released another test of QuakeWorld, posting version 2.33-0005 on Thanks Origen =Aster=. Here's part of the update, which goes on to explain that itchy sites shouldn't go mirroring this file to avoid confusion with the frequent updates.

A new test release is now available. This addresses a few more outstanding issues in the QuakeWorld client. Assuming that no problems show up with this release, 2.4 should be available then after the holidays.

Test release 2.33-0005 is now available. Changes are:

Test release 2.33-0005 downloads:

As people may have noticed, I changed they way I handled updates to QuakeWorld. Even though I has hoped 2.30 would be the last version (it was only the seriousness of the denial of service attacks that I'm developing this new release) I'm trying out a new build, test and release method with this version.

On TeamFortress2  [5:56 AM EST]
There's a brief interview with Robin walker of Valve/TeamFortress Software on The War Academy talking about the announcement that TF2 would be a stand-alone game, rather than a Half-Life add-on. Thanks VUP3D by way of Planet Half-Life. The first couple of questions address this hot topic quite well:

1. How did Valve come to this decision?

Over the final months of Half-Life, we made a lot of small changes to the HL engine specifically for TF2. By the time HL shipped, there were a bunch of other, much bigger enhancements we wanted to make (like, Parametric Animation), and that meant we would have to update the Half-Life Engine.

We weighed the pros and cons of restricting ourselves to only the code that shipped in HL versus making the changes that would make TF2 a great standalone multiplayer game, and decided to release TF2 as a standalone game.

2. The news has not been well-received by everyone. Is there a chance the decision will be reversed if the reaction is strong enough?

No. We are a bit taken aback by the the people who don't like the decision. The bottom line is that shipping TF2 as a standalone game means it will be a much better game than it could have been as an add-on.

In some ways, I think it's similar to when Valve made the decision to delay the release of Half-Life. Everyone got miffed. We said it'd make the game better. I think most people have agreed it was a good decision. I think the same thing will happen with this.

Unreal Update  [5:56 AM EST]
An update by Tim Sweeney to the Unreal Technology page adds the version 221 read me in HTML format for those curious about the upcoming Unreal patch, as well as the original Unreal read me. Thanks Anyware.

Daikatana Team Additions  [5:56 AM EST]
Daikatana.Com has posted an announcement that level designers Chris Klie and Bobby "Xcalibur" Pavlock and programmer Mike Montague have been added to the Daikatana team, and that long-time ION Stormers Rich Carlson, Iikka Keranen, and Stevie "KillCreek" Case have joined the crew on the big ole sword game.

Starsiege Movie  [5:56 AM EST]
The Starsiege Universe has posted a new QuickTime format movie of this upcoming multiplayer FPS set in the Earthsiege/Starsiege series. Also, WarWolf's Starsiege Site has posted some screenshots from the Tribes beta test. Thanks schnoz from Datumplane::Starsiege.

Messiah Shots  [5:56 AM EST]
Messiah Press has posted four new screenshots (though two are nearly identical) from Shiny's upcoming Messiah.

CL TNT Unreal 220 Shadows Patch  [5:56 AM EST]
Unreality.DK has what's described as a release-candidate driver to enable real-time shadows using the stencil buffer on Creative's TNT drivers that will work with Unreal 220 (the previous release only worked with version 219).

New DOSDoom  [5:56 AM EST]
The Official DOSDoom Homepage has a new version 0.65 of the DOSDoom port of the Doom source (which was released exactly one year ago tomorrow, for those keeping track of mini-coincidences). The new release is admittedly shy of documentation, but the docs are being worked on, and will be posted as soon as they're ready. Thanks Andrew Serong.

DM Pack  [5:56 AM EST]
A new version 1.7 of the DeathMatch Pack is out offering an improved front-end to allow the selection of maps to cycle through using an interface similar to the Winamp playlist editor, as well as control over all sorts of DMFlags for classic Quake servers running Windows.

Half-Life Editing  [5:56 AM EST]
The Half-Life Editing Resource Center has posted a utility written by our old pal theAntiELVIS that allows you to set every command line option for QCSG, QBSP2, VIS, and QRAD when compiling Half-Life maps. Also, I see there that the Half-Life editing FAQ has been updated recently, and that BSP Headquarters has posted a Half-Life .qc file to enable Half-Life support in the BSP level editor.

Side-by-Side Demos  [5:56 AM EST]
A pair of comparison demos have been released to give the opportunity to do a side-by-side comparison of a couple of hotly debated topics. The makers of the Kick Engine have released a small demo to compare 16-bit color rendering versus 32-bit color (32-bit color support obviously required for the latter). Also, a couple of days ago 3Dfx Interactive released a 60Hz-30Hz demo allowing you to compare a framerate of 60 FPS side-by-side with 30 FPS.

STB Q&A & Q3D/3Dfx News  [5:56 AM EST]
3dimensional 128 has posted a short Q&A with Kevin Sproff at STB talking about their recent acquisition by 3Dfx. Also, this Quantum3D and 3Dfx Interactive press release gives the latest on the partnership between 3Dfx and its spin-off card company in light of the recent STB acquisition. Thanks [JPB] Polymorph.

Doom Movie Rumor  [5:56 AM EST]
Been a while since we had an update from the Doom movie rumor mill, but now Cinescape Online has a bit that speculates that comic artist Todd McFarlane will take part in the Doom movie, which is often talked about, but never seems to come close to production. Thanks Daryl Maxwell. Here's the blurb:

Additionally, McFarlane and Co. may be hired to flesh out the world of the hit video game Doom. "We are very close to signing a deal with Columbia Pictures to work on their Doom feature film based on the PC title," Fitzgerald said adding, however, that it's "too early to tell. Todd and I would exec produce, story consult and design characters."

Myth II Demo  [5:56 AM EST]
GameCenter has posted the Myth II Demo Premiere. Along those lines, Thresh's FiringSquad's Sneak Peek at Myth II is online, as well as AGN3D's Myth II review.

Reviews  [5:56 AM EST]
Richard "Zdim" Carlson's .plan has a short review of Thief from this avid gamer calling it "Game of the year, no contest," and Action Xtreme reviews Thief, as well. Sharky Extreme's Tomb Raider III review is online. Also, Thresh's FiringSquad reviews the Monster MX300 examining Diamond's a3D Vortex2-based card.

Corrections  [5:56 AM EST]
The demo of the Stroggos Conspiracy mentioned yesterday (story) is not a playable demo, but in-game demos recorded to show off the features of this free upcoming Quake II mission pack from Black Omega. Sorry about that. Also, Dr. Bunsen of the The Muppet Clan points out several errors in the LAN guide posted Sunday (story), so be careful there.

Competitions  [5:56 AM EST]
That pel's Poll on Pels Interactive has turned into a two horse race since Billy and I posted it, but as I check the results from my window ledge I see Billy's lead grow (I'll survive). Similarly, the nominations in the Quake Women's Forum year-end Quake II Year in Review poll are up with opportunities to vote for nominees (oddly, occasionally as few as one in a category), for all sorts of level/mod/site of the year things.

Also, the Holiday Giveaway is up, offering a boatload of prizes to be awarded between December 24 and January 1, and The Techs Network is giving away a bunch of stuff to random entrants as well.

etc.  [5:56 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [5:56 AM EST]
As I sort of let slip yesterday, the problems with the site have led to the point where I'm gearing up to move it off to another host (again). There is nothing I want to do less than further disrupt things around here so soon (or spend lots of time working on these arrangements instead of news), but hopefully a well-done move will restore the kind of reliable connectivity that we managed to achieve this past year. My sincere thanks to all that have written in with suggestions for hosting arrangements, etc. Though there are far too many to respond to each individually, the help is appreciated, and I want to thank you all. File all this under the heading of growing pains, since the traffic here has increased by well over 300% in 1998 following a 500% increase in traffic over the course of 1997 (both dwarfed, of course by virtually infinite growth the year before).

More on the Soccer thread, I'm told that some Europeans call their football soccer as well (as do Canadians), with Gary Jacobson pointing out that American Football could be called handball for all the touchie-feelie with the ball that takes place. Jim McCauley points out that "In Ireland they play Gaelic Football, which is sort of like football (soccer) but without many rules. I think killing a member of the opposing team counts as a foul, but that's about it."

Monday, December 21, 1998

Redline Beta Tomorrow  [3:05 PM EST]
Accolade sends word that a multiplayer only beta of Redline, their game of vehicle and foot-based combat, will be released tomorrow on Download.Com. Here's the lowdown:

Accolade will be releasing an open beta multi-player only version of Redline on Tuesday 12/22/98. It includes two arenas and will be available on Accolade's website as well as from Expected posting time is 4:00 pm pacific time. Redline offers a seamless blend of vehicular and on foot combat.

Back  [3:05 PM EST]
My email (next story) is back. Wheee! Thanks Ben.

Bzzt -- Bzzzt  [2:19 PM EST]
Work continues apace to find a new home for this site, and now, in a compound complication, I am not receiving any email, so it's Internet hell for Blue's News at the moment. You have my apologies and my assurances that I am hard at work on sorting through all of this, but in the meantime, if you are emailing me, it doesn't seem to be getting through at the moment, though I'm told I may be happening again soon.

loonygames  [9:41 AM EST]
It's that time again, as the new issue of loonygames is hitting the "stands." Here's the schedule of articles to be posted over the course of the coming week:

Set phasers on gooify, it's issue eighteen of loonygames! Acting childish this week:

The communists?

FAKK2 = Third Person?  [7:53 AM EST]
Ritualistic is reporting that Ritual's upcoming FAKK2, for which not many details are available, will be a third-person game. This report is based on an apparent appearance by Levelord on IRC yesterday (which is unusual, for him).

Brian Goble Q&A  [7:53 AM EST]
PlanetBlood has posted a short three question Q&A with Monolith's Brian Goble talking about the upcoming Blood2 multiplayer patch, as well as the upcoming Blood2 expansion pack.

The Stroggos Conspiracy Demo  [7:53 AM EST]
A playable demo of The Stroggos Conspiracy has been released by Black Omega. TSC is described as a free commercial-quality Quake II mission pack, slated for release soon. The pack will ultimately offer new single-player and DM maps, as well as new weapons, enemies, and in-game cutscenes, and the demo offers a taste of the new levels, enemies, music, cutscenes, and the intro.

CTF Survival  [7:53 AM EST]
The CTF Survival Guide has been updated with new strategies for five maps, three from the new L-Fire map pak.

K6-3 Preview  [7:53 AM EST]
AnandTech previews the AMD K6-3, looking at AMD's next-generation CPU, offering the article on Anand's next-generation site (due to a recent redesign).

USB Networking  [7:53 AM EST]
PlanetHardware Reviews Anchor Chips EZ-Link USB, a USB networking solution that seems to offer typical USB ease-of-use (the description is 10 minute network setup) to overcome NIC configuration difficulties, which can be so common.

Competitions  [7:53 AM EST]
Looks like I'm a conscript in the latest competition: pel's Poll on Pels Interactive asks for votes on a "site of the year" competition, offering a choice between Planet Quake, Planet Crap, The Quake Movie Library, Blue's News, Voodoo Extreme, Sharky Extreme and TeleFragged.

Out of the Blue  [7:53 AM EST]
I got correction (thanks Steve Williams) to my generalization yesterday saying that outside the States soccer was called football. The letter was from an Australian, pointing out that Australian Rules Football is another thing altogether, which indeed it is--that's a game I always thought must share rules with Fizzbin (from Star Trek). With the holidays approaching the last couple of weeks, with a couple of hectic days as exceptions, have been getting steadily quieter for news, but things change fast around here, so I'll keep on my toes throughout.

Sunday, December 20, 1998

Descent 3 Screenshots  [8:21 PM EST]
Gamer's Alliance's first look at Descent 3 is online, offering a half-dozen screenshots from the upcoming installment in this airborne shooter series.

New Qizmo  [8:21 PM EST]
Version 2.55 of Qizmo, the shareware QuakeWorld proxy, is now available. In the latest release powerup timers have been completely removed, enemy reporting is now always disabled, waypoints can be used to report positions on the map, and a bunch of other changes and enhancements. Also, the trial time has been upped from 15 to 50 minutes.

New Shogo CTF  [2:09 PM EST]
The incredibly bare-bones (no pun intended) Sticks 'N Stones CTF page has word of a new version 1.05 release of the Sticks 'N Stones CTF modification for Shogo: Mobile Armor Division. Thanks Chris.

Descent 4 Update  [2:09 PM EST]
The Volition page has posted a short update in Q&A format giving more details on the recently announced Descent 4. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme. Here's the poop:

Q: Why aren't you using the Descent 3 engine?
A: There are two reasons. We started on D4 in June, 1998 when the Descent 3 codebase was undergoing rapid change. This would have made it difficult to start adapting it for D4. The other thing is, we're adding some features that are quite different than Descent 3.

Q: Why did you start D4 so early? Why not wait until Descent 3 was completed?
A: We'd like to avoid the long delay between Descent releases. If a game takes 18-24 months to develop, you either have that long between releases, or you have to overlap development. We chose to overlap development.

Q: Who is this Parker guy?
A: That's a working name for a character in development. And the concept art we posted is just concept art. Things have progressed a bit since that work was created. We hope to post new concept art soon.

Q: Will I get to fly the Pyro?
A: There are some twists in the D4 story. You won't start in the Pyro, but...

Q: When will you post a list of D4 features?
A: Sometime after Descent 3 has been released.

Q: Will we see any ingame art before then?
A: Maybe a little, but not much.

Q: When will Descent 5 be announced?
A: Next week.
Q: Really?
A: No. :)

Carmageddon 2 Patch  [2:09 PM EST]
3DFiles.Com has posted a new version 1.2 patches for Carmageddon 2, which fixes a mouse issue with Banshee and Rush boards, fixes force feedback support, and a few more fixes.

Heretic II Map Tip  [12:49 PM EST]
Raven's Rick Johnson made an update to his .plan explaining that to use the recently released Heretic II DM map pack (story), you must add a base/maps/ subdirectory structure to you Heretic II directory, and place the maps there.

Thief: Editors Choice  [12:09 PM EST]
The Adrenaline Vault reviews Thief: The Dark Project calling Looking Glass' new stealthy first-person action game a Reviewer's Choice.

Unreal Tech Update  [11:55 AM EST]
Steven Polge added some info to the Unreal Technology page on enhanced support for user-created skins and mods in Unreal 220, giving a demonstration on how to add seamless support for skins and mods to the main Unreal menus. Tim Sweeney also made an update, with word on progress on the version 221 patch (which sounds due pretty soon, as he describes a 24-72 hour estimate to go through final testing), and word that version 221 will feature an actual installation program. Finally, Tim also added a new section on licensing, with pages on Partners, Features, a Licensing FAQ, and Company Info.

Sin Editing Source  [10:39 AM EST]
For programmers interested in coding modifications for Sin, the source code for the game .dll for Sin version 1.01 has been released. Here are local downloads (756 KB) courtesy of Blue's News FTP and Walnut Creek. Thanks to The Node (serving your Sin editing needs).

Heretic II Walkthrough  [10:39 AM EST]'s Heretic II Walkthru is up, giving a roadmap through the game's early maps and puzzles if you are stuck, with more walkthroughs to come.

Messiah Screenshots  [10:39 AM EST]
There are nine new Messiah screenshots on Messiah Press showing off Shiny's upcoming game that stars Bob the Cherub.

Final Heretic II Decay  [10:39 AM EST]
Though only numbered version 0.9, the new release of the Decay mod for Heretic II is described as the final version. Decay is a multiplayer mod that has players' health steadily decrease, to be replenished by doing combat damage to your enemies.

Quake Head Soccer  [10:39 AM EST]
A new version 0.9b of Head Soccer is available, offering more opportunity to play soccer (football outside the States) using the Quake engine for gameplay, and of course, a disembodied head as the ball. Keek!

New ClanOrg  [10:39 AM EST]
The ClanOrg Homepage has an updated version 1.0c of ClanOrg, the program that allows you to quickly set up clan challenges over the 'net.  The new version doesn't really offer new features, but has been re-written in C++ for much faster performance.

QuakeWorld 2.33 Polyblend Patch  [10:39 AM EST]
Suami's Polyblend Patch page has a QuakeWorld 2.33-x compatible version of the Polyblend Patch that removes the murky water effect from software rendered QW, allowing software users the same effect that OpenGL users can achieve by using the gl_polyblend switch.

CL TNT Drivers w/Unreal Shadows  [10:39 AM EST]
Creative Labs Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT Drivers page has release candidate drivers for the Creative Labs TNT boards that use the TNT's stencil buffer to create realistic real-time shadows in Unreal. These drivers were accidentally leaked early, so I'm not sure who was the first to tell me they were up for real, but I saw the link on Sharky Extreme

Wicked3D Drivers  [10:39 AM EST]
The Wicked3D Support/Drivers page has new beta version 3.0 of their eyeSCREAM drivers that support H3D stereo glasses. The new drivers are based on the latest DX6 drivers from 3Dfx, offer support for DX6 multitexturing, support for AMD K6 3DNow! optimizations, as well as offering bug fixes and other enhancements. Thanks again Sharky Extreme.

ATI D3D Unreal  [10:39 AM EST]
There are tips on playing D3D Unreal on an ATI video card on cosmo's 3D GAMING site using the latest ATI drivers.

New DirectControl & Matrox Overclocker  [10:39 AM EST]
A new version 2.0.8a of DirectControl for DirectX is out, offering complete control over DX settings, and a new version 2.0.8b of the Matrox Overclock utility is also available, both on the bgr software page. Thanks SailorScout.

Competitions  [10:39 AM EST]
As mentioned in Kenn Hoekstra's .plan, there's now GameGirlz Name the Female Corvus Model Contest, they've apparently received over 200 entries so far (not sure if that includes, my "Corvette" vote).

etc.  [10:39 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [10:39 AM EST]
The news page and headlines were messed up about all day yesterday, I just have no idea what went on there, but it was terrible timing, as I was out for the day, and never was able to get online remotely to see there was a problem (worse still, since I didn't have a proper local copy of the current news on my laptop, I wouldn't have been able to fix it very adequately anyway). My apologies for the foul-up, that was pretty ugly. Happy belated birthday to Dakota of Captured, one of the cornerstones of the CTF community, and tour guide at the Gamer's Guide.

Saturday, December 19, 1998

Q3A Shots Carmack Interview  [11:07 AM EST]
Word is the current issue of the UK print magazine, PC Format, has the Quake III Arena screenshots that were recently published in a US PCGamer, as well as an interview with John Carmack covering present projects, and looking all the way back through the days of Doom. Thanks Curtains.

On Online Gaming  [11:07 AM EST]
The venerable Forbes Digital Tool has an article up called Taking Aim that focuses on online gaming as a business, looking at the business models of outfits like TEN and MPlayer. Thanks Ben Bleything.

PlanetMoon Interview  [11:07 AM EST]
There's an interview With PlanetMoon on Gamerz Online talking with P.M.'s Tim Williams about their upcoming action/adventure, Giants. Thanks Citizen Skarstedt. I wonder if Critical Mass is planning a PlanetPlanetMoon site?

Unreal Tourney Editing  [11:07 AM EST]
Tim Sweeney's Unreal Technology Announcements page has some notes for mod authors on what kind of support to expect out of the box when Unreal Tournament ships. Here's part of the update:

I've had several inquiries from mod makers about how hard it will be to "port maps and mods from Unreal 1 to Unreal Tournament". The answer is, port? What's this talk of porting? This stuff just works.

Steve Polge put a lot of effort into updating the Unreal 220+ game code so that it integrates seamlessly with Unreal Tournament. Both products install into the \Unreal directory, and are mutually compatible. So, you can install one, the other, or both -- and existing maps and mods which are compatible with the latest version of Unreal, will be fully compatible.

For convenience, Unreal Tournament ships with all of the script packages from Unreal 1 (including UnrealShare.u and UnrealI.u), all of the .utx files, and all of the .uax files. Unreal Tournament is a superset of the Unreal 1 with the exception of the Unreal 1 maps and music. All new UT content (lots of scripts, textures, sounds, game types, and new actors) are designed to interoperate with the existing ones in Unreal 1.

Shogo Editing  [11:07 AM EST]
The Shogo Level Building Tutorial: Number 3, Light Your World! is online showing lighting tips and techniques for building Shogo levels.

Talking 'bout My Generation  [11:07 AM EST]
After a long hiatus, there's an update to the Generations News page giving the state of this Quake II mod, showing off screenshots of the upcoming Doom models. Thanks Morpheus...

Correction  [11:07 AM EST]
I referred to TeamFortress2 as a Half-Life add-on in this story yesterday, when in fact, it's a stand-alone game. Thanks ScAtTeRbLaK, who points out that there are members of the TeamFortress community unhappy about this shift, since they bought Half-Life (and Quake II before it, for that matter) on the premise that it would be  a prerequisite for Teamfortress2.

Competitions  [11:07 AM EST]
The Locater, describing itself as the ultimate Quake1/Quake 2 clan and tournament web list site, is celebrating six months of service to the community.

etc.  [11:07 AM EST]

Out of the Blue  [11:07 AM EST]
Server update: no news yet (if I don't give ongoing updates I get flooded with messages). The First Church of the Gooey Faith, etc., reference yesterday was from an old Imus in the Morning bit, so don't feel bad if you didn't catch it (no-one else did).

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