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Friday, November 20, 1998

Requiem Screenshots  [8:54 PM EST]
The Requiem page has some new screenshots from 3DO/Cyclone Studio's upcoming Requiem: Avenging Angel according to Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

3D to Die For  [8:50 PM EST]
GameSpot's 3D To Die For is a round-up of the latest and greatest in accelerators, as judged by the GameSpot staff. Dig that wild ad at the top of the page--that crazy technology.

John Carmack on Quake III Arena  [8:28 PM EST]
Carmack Speaks Out on Q3A is a GameSpot piece with a summary of what id's programming guru spoke about at the PGL finals. Thanks Steve from AGN3D.

Rainbow Six Story  [8:28 PM EST]
Rainbow Six From the Inside Out is a GameCenter feature by Brian Upton, VP of engineering at Red Storm Games, giving a behind the scenes look at the making of R6, including some of what could have been done better.

Shogo Review  [8:28 PM EST]
LithTimes reviews Shogo: Mobile Armor Division, giving a 9.2 of 10 to the most recent release from the company that inspired their site.

Sin Patch Soon  [7:58 PM EST]
Ritual programmer Mark Dochtermann updated his .plan with the good news that the Sin patch would be out sometime this weekend (correcting an update he made just shortly before,):

Expect the patch this weekend. Activision QA wants to give it one more day of testing to make sure we don't have any open issues.

Blood 2 Apology  [7:58 PM EST]
Chaimowitz Issues Apology is the headline of a Next-Generation Online article that describes the unusual circumstances that resulted in GT Interactive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ron Chaimowitz issuing an apology to GameSlice editor Geoff Keighley for a slam that was included in a debits section that followed the credits in Monolith's Blood 2.

Half-Life & Sin Reviews  [7:58 PM EST]
GameSpot's Half-Life Review and GameSpot's Sin Review are both online, giving the games a 9.4 and 7.7 respectively.

Half-Life International  [6:24 PM EST]
Valve CEO Gabe Newell passes along an announcement about the status of some of the international versions of Half-Life:

Half-Life has gone gold in the UK and in France. The release candidates for Italian and Spanish will be burned on Tuesday.

Unreal DM Map  [6:24 PM EST]
The official Unreal page has word of a new deathmatch level for download on GameSpot called DM-Loxi. The map is authored by Epic's Cliff Bleszinski. Shame on for misspelling the name of Unreal's lead level designer (that's why it's safer to stick with CliffyB).   =D   I kid of course, with my spelling, I can't really get on anyone else that badly.

Shiny Interview  [6:24 PM EST]
Gamer's Dimension interviews Scott Herrington of Shiny in a short conversation about Messiah.

CyberStrike2 Demo  [6:24 PM EST]
A new version of the playable demo for CyberStrike 2 is now available on Games.Net, now featuring multiplayer play. Thanks Prophet.

BC3KAD Patch  [6:24 PM EST] has a new patch for BattleCruiser 3000 AD for download. The patch fixes a bug, and there is also apparently a new mission available for the updated version. Thanks again Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Quake II Extremities Gold  [4:40 PM EST]
I just got an email from id CEO Todd Hollenshead with word that the Quake II add-on, Extremities, is gold and off to manufacturing. The new release, which features some of the most popular Quake II add-ons created by the community since the game's release, should be in stores by November 27.

L-Fire CTF & DM  [4:40 PM EST]
A new version 1.02 of L-Fire CTF has been released, along with version 1.02 of L-Fire DM that mainly offer bug fixes. There's word on their page that an L-Fire map pack, made in conjunction with Team 3, is in the works.

New GibStats II  [4:40 PM EST]
A new version 2.5 of GibStats II is now available. The new release of this adds a load of new features, which is a bit surprising, since the last release was supposed to be the, well... last release (as in final). The GibStats train is still rolling however, as there are a couple more features mentioned on the page that they still plan to add.

Corrinne Yu to Program Prey/DN5 Engine  [1:19 PM EST]
The Apogee/3D Realms Site has word of the full press release on the hiring of Corrinne Yu, announced yesterday (story). The announcement reveals that the former Director of Advanced Technology at ION Storm will be heading up a new technology development group at 3D Realms that will focus solely on 3D engine development for internally developed games, and for third-party licensing. Prey and Duke Nukem 5 (tentative title) will be the first games to use this technology. Here's an excerpt:

GARLAND, TX - 3D Realms is excited to announce that Corrinne Yu has joined the company to lead the development of future 3D engine technology. Prey and Duke Nukem 5 (tentative title) will be the first games to use this technology.

Ms. Yu previously worked at Zombie as Systems Lead Programmer, responsible for 3D graphics architecture and design on Spec Ops, and more recently worked a year at Ion Storm as Director of Technology rewriting and greatly enhancing the Quake 2 engine to meet the needs of Anachronox design goals, as well as being an aid to the graphics programmers of Daikatana.

"Corrinne is one of the industry's top 3D engine coders, with an exceptionally strong math and engineering background," asserted George Broussard, partner at 3D Realms and project leader for Duke Nukem Forever. "She's exactly the person we want to be leading our new technology development group, and we expect that it won't be long before she's properly recognized and rewarded for her skills and dedication as being one of the best in our industry."

Half-Life Support Page  [12:30 PM EST]
Sierra's Half-Life Support page is online with known issues from the game and some potential workarounds, including a registry file that will allow Quantum3D Obsidian2 owners to install the 3Dfx reference drivers, since Half-Life requires Glide 2.54, and the Obsidian2 uses Glide 2.53. Thanks Meanstryk.

Half-Life Editing  [12:30 PM EST]
The Half-Life Editing Resource Center is online to provide tips and resources for editing Half-Life levels. The site will obviously be most useful at first for using Worldcraft 2.0, the native Half-Life editor, but it will also cover any tools and utilities related to the subject (there are plans to provide QERadiant/QE4 Half-Life entity support soon). There is an updated version 1.1 Worldcraft .fgd file posted there that's unchanged from the original, except it's alphabetized to make it easier to use. This site is run by autolycus, erstwhile king of thieves and curator of The Forge, a Worldcraft-oriented Quake level editing site.

EGN2 w/Half-Life Support  [12:30 PM EST]
Another server browser tool that's been updated to support Half-Life multiplayer is EGN2, the ICQ-like server search utility.

Action Quake2 Fix  [12:30 PM EST]
There is a note on the Action Quake2 page with the tip to delete the autoexec.cfg from your Action Quake directory, which is the cfg of one of the authors that was included accidentally. Thanks Ant.

PingTool w/Half-Life Support  [10:21 AM EST]
A new beta 2.4 of PingTool is available, offering Half-Life support. As the PingTool page points out, Half-Life's in-game server browser works great, but does lack a few of PingTool's features. Thanks meanstryk. When I first posted this story, I commented that one of those missing features from the built-in Half-Life server finder was the ability to sort the server list, but Crabs points out that you can do so by simply clicking on the heading by which you want to sort.

Craig Hubbard Gets Demented  [10:21 AM EST]
Monolith week over at the Daily Dementia concludes with today's RealPlayer conversation with Monolith's Craig Hubbard to talk about Shogo and stuff.

Brian Goble Interview  [10:21 AM EST]
A double dose of Monolith interview action today, as PlanetBlood has posted a conversation with Blood 2 programmer Brian Goble.

System Shock2 Interview  [10:21 AM EST]
Through The Looking Glass has posted an interview with the System Shock 2 Developers talking about their upcoming first-person action/RPG.

Delta Force Update Today?  [10:21 AM EST]
NovaLogic has announced that an update for Delta Force, their strategic combat game is imminent, due perhaps as early as today. The patch will mainly offer multiplayer improvements. Thanks GameStone.

Mark Rein at Comdex  [10:21 AM EST]
Mark Rein has posted a Comdex update on that gives his perspective on some of the Unreal-related stuff he saw, including screenshots of Unreal running on the TNT with that new stencil buffer trick to create real-time shadows (I'd post one of those shots here, but the thumbnails just lead to larger thumbnails).

Voodoo 3 3DMark99  [10:21 AM EST]
The futurists at FutureMark managed to run their 3DMark99 benchmark on the 3Dfx Voodoo3 alpha board being shown off at Comdex. They have posted the results of their tests on this early silicon on this page, summed up like so:

"Running on a PII450 at 800*600 Voodoo3 scored 3020 3DMarks. That's good for pre-production silicon and alpha drivers. If you look at a similar Voodoo2 setup on the results section of our web site, you'll see it scores 2135 3DMarks. You can drop by the result section and compare for yourself."

Bungie's Third-Person Animé Game  [10:21 AM EST]
Onipic.jpg (82019 bytes) Bungie sends along word of their new upcoming project, a third person action game to be called Oni, where gamers will play the part of Konoko, "an elite cop and one-woman SWAT team whose approach to fighting crime is a devastating combination of rational calculation and fighting fury." Bungie calls this "Perhaps the most stylish of Bungie's games so far, the game puts the player in a near-future anime world which can be imagined as a blend of "La Femme Nikita", "Ghost in the Shell" and "Fists of Fury." Konoko's attire, attitude and fighting skills evolve as her world becomes ever darker and more dangerous." Oni is being developed for Windows 95 and MacOS and is expected to ship in 1999.

Half-Life Review  [10:21 AM EST]
Next-Generation Online's Half-Life Review is up, calling Valve's FPS "a work of genius," and "the best Single Player PC Action title ever made."

Fusion Review  [10:21 AM EST]
Voodoo Extreme Hardware's Diamond Monster Fusion AGP Review looks at Diamond's Voodoo Banshee offering.

Assassin3D in Half-Life  [10:21 AM EST]
The (shocked) Clan Assassin 3D page has posted the files and info necessary to get the Assassin 3D trackball dealie working properly with the retail version of Half-Life (funny, I just ran into a clan A3D member playing Half-Life multiplayer online last night).

Competitions  [10:21 AM EST]
ActionXtreme has posted word of a Rainbow Six team tournament with open play continuing through today, and a Quake King of the Hill tournament scheduled for Saturday afternoons beginning tomorrow. Also, Southern Quake 2 Frag Fest 99 is set for February in New Orleans, LA. Also, you can win an H3D glasses setup at Classy Glasses.

etc.  [10:21 AM EST]
Planet Ho Slap is open, devoted to poor sportsmanship ... Dave Taylor goes underground, good luck ddt ... Until their move to Gamer's Alliance is completed, RIVA3D can be found here ... Similarly, until something gets straightened out, this is the temporary home of Tweak3D ... Barco sends mail mentioning a couple of game mentions in the prestigious New York Times yesterday, in Barco's apt words "a positive review of Shogo ("Angst and Anger Japanese-Style, With Wink") and a nice behind-the-mice report from San Francisco and the PGL championships, detailing the jangled nerves of Kurt "Immortal" Shimada upon his whomping of Thresh and Thresh's subsequent re-emergence as Quake II Uberstar." ... " A new .mp3 player came out a week or so ago (haven't scoped it out yet myself), as the name implies, FreeAmp is free (source code available, as well). Thanks Alex "KB3BZG" Bischoff ... The sale of Cendant's software unit has been completed to Havas. Details are in this article. Thanks Maverick and Jonathan Ruff ... A new PlanetQuake Dear Mynx. 'nuff said ...

Out of the Blue  [10:21 AM EST]
It's tough for me to play through a game all the way through quickly enough to make timely reviews practical, but I can't hold off anymore commenting on what I'm playing at the moment, so I am going to scratch out some impressions on a couple of games today and post them up.

Thursday, November 19, 1998

ION's Corrinne Yu Leaves For 3D Realms  [8:58 PM EST]
George Broussard updated his .plan to announce Corrinne Yu, formerly the Director of Advanced Technology at ION Storm, has taken a position with 3D Realms "to lead up development on our  new next generation graphics engine." Though the Prey project is not specifically mentioned, you may recall that Prey lead programmer William Scarboro recently left 3D Realms. This announcement is the ninth resignation from ION today, as earlier eight other employees announced their departure to form their own concern (story). Here's George's announcement:

[New member of the Realm]

Exciting news! 3D graphics programming guru Corrinne Yu (Former Director of Technology at Ion Storm) will be joining us soon to lead up developent on our new next generation graphics engine. Look for a press release on tomorrow some time. We are VERY excited about the future.

Paul Steed on Shooters  [6:00 PM EST]
Tonight on Shooters, loony and I will be joined (via telephone) by id Software artist / modeler / animator Paul Steed to talk about everything from Crackwhores to Australian Beer, and maybe even a little Quake III Arena. The action gets underway live at 7:00 PM Eastern time, RealPlayer, or MakeBelievePlayer required.

John Romero on ION Resignations  [5:42 PM EST]
From the ION Storm Daily Informant comes a quote from ION Chairman/Daikatana Designer John Romero in response to the resignations earlier today of eight ION Storm employees (story):

"Thankfully, the Daikatana team members that decided to leave and start their own company left at an opportune time. Most of the levels are in a final state, much of the coding has been completed for most of the game, and almost all the music has been done. Everyone that left made significant contributions to the project and I am thankful to have had them on my team. But it is time for them to move on and I wish them good luck on their journey. Thanks for everything, guys!"

The article continues with this, mentioning that work continues on the demo:

Romero said that the departures will not significantly affect Daikatana's development cycle. Plans are already underway to fill the vacant positions, and the remaining 20-plus members of the Daikatana team are continuing work on the upcoming worldwide demo. "We are all excited about the demo," John said. "It really shows off the scope and size of Daikatana and what makes it different than all the other FPS titles on the market."

Romero will speak at greater length about Daikatana and ION Storm in an exclusive interview on the Daily Informant, to be posted Monday, November 23.

Heretic II Console Commands  [3:10 PM EST]
A newly updated list of Heretic II console commands from Overlord has been posted on the new Heretic II Console Commands page on

Half-Life Review  [2:06 PM EST]
GameSpot UK has posted PC Gaming World's Half-Life review, taking a look at the final version of the game in an odd paragraph-per-page format, scoring Valve's new release a 9.8 out of 10. They've also posted some new screenshots.

ION Group Resignation  [1:28 PM EST]
I just received an email from Sverre Kvernmo with the startling announcement that no fewer than eight members of the Daikatana and Anachronox teams have tendered their resignations at ION Storm. As the letter indicates, it seems quite likely that the group resignation, submitted by Matt "DaBug" Hooper, Sverre Kvernmo, Will Loconto, Mike Maynard, Mark Morgan, David "Cleaner" Namaksy, Steve Rescoe, and Jonathan "Nelno the Amoeba" Wright, will impact the release date of Daikatana, if not both games. Here's the announcement, which indicates the eight will remain together as a team:

The signees of the following statement have decided to hand Ion Storm their resignation, effective immediately.

The first and most important reason for this public statement is to apologize to those that have been awaiting Daikatana for any further delays or obstacles this action may present for the game's development. Also, we regret leaving our friends and respected colleagues behind and wish them the best of fortunes. Walking out now has been an extremely difficult decision, and although we're leaving as a group, there are individual reasons for us doing so. We will not be disclosing these reasons to the public since they vary somewhat for each person, and also because we have no desire to start a war of words with Ion Storm. New companies springing forth from existing ones is nothing new in this business, neither is the pointing of fingers that sometimes follow. Suffice it to say, we all felt this move was inevitable and that there could be no other time than now.

We will remain as a group in the games industry and continue forward, but as a separate entity with our own set of goals. For those that are interested, the details about our company and its projects will be announced in the near future. We're all eager to show you what we can do on our own and to focus on we love best: making games.


Matt Hooper - Level Designer, Daikatana
Sverre Kvernmo - Lead Level Designer, Daikatana
Will Loconto - Audio Director, all projects
Mike Maynard - Programmer, Daikatana
Mark Morgan - Artist, Daikatana
David Namaksy - Lead Level Designer, Anachronox
Steve Rescoe - Level Designer, Daikatana
Jonathan Wright - Lead Programmer, Daikatana

TR3 Interview  [1:28 PM EST]
3DNews.Net interviews Mike Schmitt, associate producer at Eidos Interactive in a five question interview discussing Tomb Raider III, which I'm told is due in stores this weekend.

Comdex: K6-500, More Voodoo 3  [12:45 PM EST]
Sharky Extreme's Comdex Live!98 coverage continues with a report on cooler manufacturer Kryotech's plans to release a 500MHz overclocked K6-2 in December for $1,600. There is also more there on the Voodoo3, including Quake II benchmarks Sharky ran on a PII-450 that are slightly lower than those listed in Maximum PC (story). Both sets of benchmarks are not much higher than those achieved by Voodoo2 SLI setups running on a PII-450, though this is an alpha card running at a lower clock speed than the final version. Scott Sellers (3Dfx CEO) told S.E. that "they're seriously considering 32MB variants of the Voodoo 3."

Star Wars Trailer Mirrors  [12:45 PM EST]
One of the biggest non-gaming stories of the week for gamers is clearly the release of the Star Wars trailer (story). Here are a few mirrors of the nastily congested Star Wars Episode I - Production Updates page: GameSpot (as mentioned earlier), PC Gamer Online, here's a huge list of mirrors sent along by Puck, and what's described as a better mirror list on the Countdown to Star Wars page sent along by Eric "Croaker" Smith, and here's a local copy of the QuickTime version (20.2 MB), and a local copy of the AVI (9.3 MB), courtesy of GamesNET FTP.

Messiah, SpecOps II  Interviews  [11:26 AM EST]
Cash's Fresh 3d is back online, offering an interview with Scott Herrington of Shiny, talking about Messiah, and an interview with John Williamson, co-producer of Zombie's upcoming SpecOps II: The Green Berets.

Shade Interview  [9:53 AM EST]
TC's got it made in the shade on today's Daily Dementia, as Monolith's Jay "Shade" Wilson stops in for a visit to discuss Blood2, why he won't be part of Blood3 (presuming there is one), and assorted DD stuff like Jackie Chan and Adam Sandler movies. Deja vu: RealPlayer, or equivalent required.

Klingon Honor Guard Demo  [9:53 AM EST]
PC.IGN.COM has the playable Klingon Honor Guard demo for download, offering a chance to check out this Unreal-engine game set in the Star Trek: The Next Generation universe. Thanks Jeff Niemoeller. Here is a local copy of the KHG Playable demo (31.1 MB), 3D accelerator required.

Half-Life in Stores  [9:53 AM EST]
I'm receiving scattered reports of Half-Life sightings, so it sounds like it's getting out there to store shelves even as you read these words.

Custom Blood2 Sounds  [9:53 AM EST]
Monolith's Brian Goble updated his .plan with a description on how to easily add custom sounds to Blood2. He also describes the extra steps taken in the Shogo patch, which apparently addresses some single player stuff as well as multiplayer changes and fixes.

TNT Round-up  [9:53 AM EST]
There is a RIVA TNT Roundup on GameCenter offering the lowdown on the current offerings of accelerators based on NVIDIA's latest chipset from Canopus, Creative, Elsa, Diamond, and STB.

On Voodoo3 16-Bit Color  [9:53 AM EST]
Billy has posted a page with some quotes on Voodoo Extreme offering some developers' thoughts on the Voodoo3's planned use of 16-bit color. Here is a quote from John Carmack:

Voodoo3 will be in the ballgame with TNT, rage-128, and permedia 3, but it will be the most limited of the bunch. It will likely trade off somewhat higher delivered performance against the loss of flexibility.

3dfx downplays 24 bit color because they don't have it. NVidia downplayed per-pixel mipmapping when they didn't have it with NV3. PowerVR downplayed bilinear filtering when they didn't have it with PCX1. Etc.

If there isn't any blending or textures with alpha involved, the internal 24 bit rendering (just like current voodoo cards) dithered into a 16 bit framebuffer looks reasonably close to a full 24 bit path.

Blend a couple layers of thin clouds over an environment box and you will think you are back in 8 bit color...

Creative Driver Mania  [9:53 AM EST]
A whole bunch of new drivers are up on Creative Tech Lab Drivers page (unless something messed up a bunch of date-stamps). There are new Win95/98 drivers for the Sound Blaster PCI128, the 3D Blaster Banshee, the Sound Blaster PCI64, the Graphics Blaster RIVA TNT, the Creative Video Blaster WebCam Monitor, and the Creative Ensoniq AudioPCI.

Competitions  [9:53 AM EST]
The Knights of Ni are accepting applications through Friday for their Shrubfest '98 Quake II tournament.

etc.  [9:53 AM EST]
There's an editorial up on loonygames by web entrepreneur Angel Munoz discussing the trials and tribulations he experienced in his first year of organizing the CPL ... Game Hints from Star Wars Trailer is an article on GameSpot that gives an opportunity to snag local copies of the trailer of the upcoming prequel (thanks Eric Laufer) ... I see on VE that Quantum3D is offering a $100.00 rebate on their X-24 single slot SLI Voodoo2 jobbies ...

Out of the Blue  [9:53 AM EST]
Ritualistic's Hexagon and ace proofreader JinXter both pass along word that the Dutch paper 'De Volkskrant' recently ran a full-page article on Quake and its followers, called 'Oorlog op Internet' (War on the Internet). The article mentions plans to organize Quake World Championships around the end of 1999 to be held in The Hague. Among the links at the bottom is a link to Blue's News (thanks!). Hmmm, I would attend those championships myself: Mrs. Blue and I honeymooned in Amsterdam, which, IMO, is one of the coolest cities in the world. Oh, yeah: One vote a week is all we ask.

Wednesday, November 18, 1998

Heretic II Gold  [9:29 PM EST]
Raven's John Scott just sent word that their third-person action/adventure game Heretic II is now officially gold, and off to manufacture, and should be in stores soon. Congrats to the Ravenites.

Rainbow Six Patch  [3:50 PM EST]
The Rainbow Six News page has a new version 1.04 patch to update all prior versions of Rainbow Six. This patch file does not replace the release of Monday, August 24th, and is not multiplayer compatible with any prior version of Rainbow Six. If you have installed any third-party mods that update your data files, this patch may fail to install. Thanks rATF_Karnical.

Blood2 Review  [3:50 PM EST]
OGR reviews Blood2 taking a look at the full version of Monolith's second LithTech engine. Thanks Matt Sorian.

MX300 Rumor Correction  [3:33 PM EST]
Bob Nelson from Diamond Multimedia just sent an email to correct a rumor that was posted on Sharky Extreme and Voodoo Extreme earlier (story).

Regarding reports that the Monster Sound MX300 will not ship until late December, this is incorrect. Just spoke to Todd Moore, our product manager for the MX300, and he confirmed that the Monster Sound MX300 will be shipping in late November (this month).

John Carmack Interview  [2:12 PM EST]
The PlanetQuake Interview with John Carmack is a short conversation between crt and id's lead programmer at the recent PGL finals in San Francisco focusing primarily on Quake III Arena.

Technical Excellence Awards  [2:12 PM EST]
Quake II was one of the finalists in this year's PC Magazine Technical Excellence After Hours award which went to the LEGO MindStorms Robotics Invention System. The other finalist was the Microsoft SideWinder Freestyle Pro. Thanks [QcK]Dim.

GameCam  [2:12 PM EST]
Version 0.25, the newest release of GameCam is now available, as their new home on TeleFragged has been worked out. This mod can add a spectator mode to any other ("well-behaved") Quake II mod, and the newest version adds a tournament mode.

MX300 Delayed  [11:22 AM EST]
Sharky Extreme has posted a blurb from Comdex (continuing some kick-ass coverage of the show) with the scoop that Diamond's eagerly awaited MX300 sound card will be delayed until January 1999. The reason for the delay on the A3D Vortex2-based card is given as "driver immaturity." Thanks Randy Perry.

Ken Birdwell Interview  [11:22 AM EST]
Half-Life Tech Master Gives Away Secrets is the title of a GameSpot interview with Ken Birdwell, the man partly responsible for breathing life into the characters in Half-Life via the game's skeletal animation system. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Barrage Reviews  [11:22 AM EST]
3DGN's Barrage review takes a look at this new action shooter from Mango Grits, philosophically asking "Can four guys in an apartment in lower L.A, while dodging bullets and crack dealers, make a good game?" Also, I see on VE that Computer Games Online reviews Barrage as well, giving it two stars out of five.

Video Chip and Dip  [11:22 AM EST]
The Comparison of 3D Chips chart on Lux 3D has been updated with the just released Voodoo3 specs.

Starsiege Tribes Beta Server Program  [4:35 AM EST]
This Beta Test Application is looking for servers to run dedicated Starsiege Tribes servers for the beta testing of this multiplayer first and third person shooter. Server candidates must have a permanent ISDN or better connection to the Internet via a reliable ISP, a minimum 266MHz Pentium processor or equivalent, at least 64 MB of RAM, and Windows95/98 or NT. Participants will receive a free copy of Tribes. Thanks Schnoz's Starsiege Universe

Heretic II Status Report  [4:35 AM EST]
Raven's Brian Pelletier updated his .plan with word that Heretic II will miss its planned shipping date because "QA testing over the weekend found some outstanding issues with the game and it was decided that we are too close to greatness, to let these things slide." They've got another gold candidate in QA right now.

Pimping the Levelord  [4:35 AM EST]
This week's edition of the 3DGaming.Net Pimping Hour offers ten questions with the Levelord himself.

More on the Rogue AI  [4:35 AM EST]
Pat Magruder updated his .plan with more detail on the post I made yesterday about using the Rogue Ground Zero mission pack AI in Quake II. He also points out that Pete Mack was his collaborator on the AI (Doh! Pat, that's why I had Robs ask you if it was just you!). There's also some scoop on the weapons in the pack:

Has anyone notice the relatively obscure effects each of our new weapons have? For example, the ETF Rifle .. it may just LOOK like a regular projectile shooter. Tried it in deathmatch? Notice what it does to armor and power armor? It totally ignores armor (200 red = 0), and takes away twice as many cells as regular damage. The other two also have similar (in style, not necessarily in effect) "special" characteristics.

Zaero Review  [4:35 AM EST]
Computer Action Games at the Mining Company's Zaero Review is up looking at Team Evolve's Quake II add-on.

3DMark 99 Results  [4:35 AM EST]
The 3DMark 99 results page has the top 50 scores for each accelerator averaged to try and give a better view of the big picture. Thanks 3DFiles.

Derek Smart Interview  [4:35 AM EST]
Gamers' Crypt Interviews Derek Smart talking to the good doctor about BattleCruising through the millennia.

Tony Tamasi Interview  [4:35 AM EST]
Next-Generation Online interviews Tony Tamasi of 3Dfx, specifically asking some questions about the Voodoo3. Here's his answer to the question about 32 bit color:

Tamasi explained that everyone at 3dfx wants 32-bit rendering, but they want it without a loss of performance. Rendering true 32-bit would cause the system to run at one-half speed. Eventually, we can expect 3dfx technologies to expand past 16-bit, but only when there is not a significant loss in performance. When we asked why not go ahead and allow people to take the loss in performance if they really, really wanted to, Tamasi explained that, given the loss in performance, 3dfx determined it was better to meet its schedule for Voodoo 3 and not risk breaking the core Voodoo pipeline. Voodoo 3 will use the same fundamental pipeline as Voodoo 1 and 2, and that architecture is not made for 32-bit rendering.

However, Tamasi explained that Voodoo 3 "is not the only bullet in our chamber," alluding to a totally new architecture down the road that will include every bit of high-end functionality users could hope for.

Shogo Multiplayer Point Release  [4:35 AM EST]
As Jason Hall announces in his .plan, the Shogo: Mobile Armor Division version 2.0 patch (the "Point Release") is now available for download. It can be found on the PlanetShogo Shogo Patches (where you can win copies of GameSpy and Blood2), or here is a local copy (6.9 MB) on GamesNET FTP. Here's the Shogo portion of Jason's .plan:

The Shogo Multiplayer Point Release is DONE.

It has all kinds of new stuff in it, including new awesome Deathmatch maps!

It is going to the mirror sites as I speak.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you ALL for your support and patience in this matter.

BTW - I will be playing Shogo on many different servers all week! Put up a server, and you may find me on it!

Competitions  [4:35 AM EST]
Sierra sends word of the iGames Half-Life All - Star Tournament which involves face-to-face one-on-one Half-Life competition this Saturday at participating locations with team competitions the following day between these locations with teams comprised of the top qualifiers from the Saturday tourney. Check the page for all the details. Also upcoming on the Half-Life front is Half-Life Splatter Bowl coming in December from the World Opponent Network. Thanks GameLinks.

etc.  [4:35 AM EST]
The Star Wars Episode I - Production Updates page has the trailer from the movie in RealPlayer, QuickTime, and AVI format. Thanks Stephan Suhocki ... 3Dfx has been trying to cool-ify their site forever, and with their new Shockwave enhanced Voodoo 3 site succeeds, though of course Shockwave doesn't work with some browsers ... Quake Women's Forum is accepting their Best of 98 Nominations, which includes some website categories (hint, hint) ... Happy belated Birthday to Whaleboy and Levelord ...

Out of the Blue  [1:02 AM EST]
Blue is in style (and no, I'm not talking about that darned dog), check this Excite article called The color of the future: Blue. Pretty snappy, huh? Thanks to the few who passed that along, the first being Spof of Spof's WarBirds News. Yesterday's oh, so suited to the moment quote was indeed Stripes (one point). The answer to the question of who Gordon Freeman is really modeled after, is none other than his "father," modeler Chuck Jones. Here's an image of Chuck and a previous incarnation of the Gord-o look that was that much chuckier courtesy of the Gordon Freeman page on Atomic Half-Life.

chuckjsml.jpg (6042 bytes)gordonfacesml.jpg (7428 bytes)

Tuesday, November 17, 1998

Half-Life Reviews  [8:18 PM EST]
OGR's mini-review of Half-Life is up, with a full review promised down the road. Thanks Level Alpha. Also, GameCenter's Half-Life review is up giving Valve's hot-off-the-presses shooter five stars out of five. Thanks Billy at VE. Perhaps someone can help the reviewer with his hardware setup, which he says crashes on Quake II every 15 minutes (Quake II doesn't crash for me every 15 days).

Saxs and Violence  [7:33 PM EST]
Bright & Shiny Biographies profiles Saxs Persson, lead programmer for Shiny's upcoming Messiah.

Thief Forums  [7:33 PM EST]
The sticky fingered Thief fans over at Through the Looking Glass send word of their Thief Discussion Forum which is buzzing already with the announcement of the game going gold.

Coop-World  [7:33 PM EST]
Version 0.3 of Coop-World, the modification that adds coop play to the lag-reduced multiplayer QuakeWorld environment. The new version adds monster respawns which can be turned on and off by the server operator, and an alternative scoreboard which shows the ratio of monsters killed to the total number of monsters on the map.

ATI Rage 128 Info  [6:21 PM EST]
Billy has posted some new info and benchmarks of the ATI Rage 128 on Voodoo Extreme straight from the Comdex floor. The benchmarks provided show this card outperforming the TNT, the Voodoo Banshee, the G200, and the Savage3D at 3D WinBench 99 and 3D Mark 99 at 1024x768 16bpp and Unreal at 800x600.

AMD K6-2-400  [6:21 PM EST]
AMD has issued a press release offering the details on their rollout of the new 400 MHz flavor of their 3DNow! enhanced K6-2 processors, which will power a line of newly announced Compaq Presarios.

Genesis 3D SDK Beta 3  [3:38 PM EST]
Beta 3 of the Genesis 3D Engine is now available, the newest iteration of this state-of-the-art 3D engine being released with a revolutionary free licensing agreement. Here's the info that accompanies the file on the download page:

Enough source code for our 3D rendering engine is provided for you to program your own 3D application for free. Included in the SDK is our sample game, Gtest, with a level editor. You will also find 3DSMax plug-in tools for exporting actor files, as well as our Actor Viewer tool.

Volumetric Shadows in Unreal  [3:38 PM EST]
A blurb on Maximum PC gives word on work Creative Labs is doing to add volumetric shadows to Unreal through their TNT drivers, using the TNT's stencil buffer (thanks Richard J. Wurzer):

In a weird technology twist, Creative Labs is in the process of adapting its Graphics Blaster TNT drivers to provide real-time volumetric shadows for Epic MegaGame's Unreal.

By using the TNT's stencil buffer, Creative's adapted drivers take model geometry and lighting information and then uses this data to create a real-time volumetric shadow that reacts realistically to the light source shined on it. It also takes into account light direction, so shadows are rendered appropriately.

Currently, Unreal is the only game that will support this effect (via a patch), but game developers are more than welcome to talk with Creative Labs with regards to taking advantage of this new technology.

RRedline Flat-lined  [2:47 PM EST]
Amid all the lustrous new 3D accelerator announcements coming from Comdex, comes a story on TechWeb titled Rendition Cancels Next-Gen Graphics Chip detailing the decision by Rendition (recently acquired by Micron) to cancel their planned V3300 chipset (codenamed RRedline), focusing instead on the V4400 with embedded DRAM, slated to debut in mid-1999. Thanks Renaddiction.

Half-Life Primary Server Program Closed  [2:22 PM EST]
Sierra sends word that due to overwhelming response, they are no longer accepting applications for their primary server program, which will result in a number of multiplayer servers being in place when the game hits shelves. Here's the announcement:

Bellevue, WA (November 17, 1998) - On the heels of Sunday's announcement from Sierra Studios when the Primary Server program for their upcoming game Half-Life was launched, the company announced today that they are closing the program due to the overwhelming number of applicants in the pool.

"We had over 1,000 people apply to be server hosts from around the world," said Doug Lombardi, product manager for Sierra Studios. "The reaction has been fantastic. Our goal was to have 500 by launch and within 24 hours we were blown away with the response."

Loose Cannon Shots  [2:22 PM EST]
GameCenter's Sneak Peek at Loose Cannon offers some screenshots of this upcoming 3D car shooter from Digital Anvil showing off some highly detailed skins.

Roguish Quake II  [2:22 PM EST]
One of the cool things the Rogues at Rogue did in their Quake II mission pack, Ground Zero, is to take some of the Strogg and put them through some remedial courses to beef up their intelligence (I think programmer Pat Magruder is the professor responsible). Anyone who's played Ground Zero will tell you the enemies tend to be much harsher and more aggressive, using lifts and jumping off of and onto ledges and other structures, making for a much greater challenge. You can actually start the original Quake II with the Rogue AI in place (I imagine this would work for most any single player map), though Robs tells me lifts and belts may not work properly. If you want to check it out for a challenge, just start Quake II with the following command line (substituting the skill level you want to choose for the "X"), though I don't know how far you can go before hitting an impassable obstacle:

\quake2\quake2 +set game rogue +skill X +map base1

NVIDIA TNT Reference Drivers  [2:22 PM EST]
Marcel Wobbe sends along links he found in PC Professional magazine to new NVIDIA TNT reference drivers for Win95/98, and for WinNT. These drivers may not address certain features of your manufacturer's variation on the board, but are often called for in workarounds, and may offer performance improvements.

Shogo Patch Status  [6:17 AM EST]
Monolith's head-honcho Jason Hall updated his .plan saying all his mea culpas for failing to produce the Shogo patch by his own deadline. In the update we learn that the new version of Shogo will be version 2.0, the patch will be about 7 MB (zipped), and the current ETA is 8:00 PM (presumably Pacific time) tonight. Jason ends the update by offering his email address for flames. I'd suggest laying off, because I think they've been doing a strong job with after-release support on Shogo, and because Jason is a really big guy (call it a word to the wise).

Jason Hall Gets Demented  [6:17 AM EST]
Speaking of the Monolith CEO, The Daily Dementia is back from vacation (and all re-affiliated, I see), with Jason Hall stopping in on TC and his damn-near daily (if you don't count those nasty weekends as days) dip into the world of gaming via the magic of RealAudio (and the telephone). The conversation covers topics like being a self-publisher, and LithTech 2.0.

TNT2  [6:17 AM EST]
RivaZone has posted some info they found on TechWeb describing the expected TNT2 announcement (which they say is the Vanta, also announced yesterday (story), but I'm not sure this it the same as that). Thanks Ghost. Here's the poop on TNT2:

Nvidia was more forthcoming about the TNT Release 2, the next iteration of its flagship Riva TNT "enthusiast"-class graphics accelerator. Stocki said the Release 2 will likely be renamed. Scheduled to be launched in the spring of 1999, the chip will feature about twice the performance of the TNT, partly through the 0.25-micron process Nvidia's foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, will be bringing online.

The Release 2 chip will include support for 4 to 32 megabytes of SDRAM or SGRAM used as a frame buffer, as well as a 4X AGP and digital flat panel interface.

Voodoo3 = 16 Bit Color  [6:17 AM EST]
Maximum PC has posted some more scoop on the Voodoo3 straight from the Comdex floor, including more benchmarks, and a confirmation of the missing feature that set my warning lights going yesterday, as they say the card only goes as high as 16-bit color ("as going to a 32-bit color depth with a 24-bit z-buffer can incur up to a 50% performance hit"). They also posted some benchmarks on a PII-450 running Quake II demo1 on three day old alpha silicon:

Resolution FPS
800x600 98.6
1024x768 72.7
1600x1200 31.6

Half-Life Commands and CVars  [6:17 AM EST]
The Dark Requiem page has a list of commands and cvars pulled from the client released with the primary server program (story). Word from libtech is they've actually got every command listed already.

Greg Ballard (3Dfx) Interview  [6:17 AM EST]
Next-Generation Online interviews Greg Ballard 3Dfx CEO, as part of their ongoing series profiling "the players" at 3Dfx. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Rancor for Quake II  [6:17 AM EST]
Version 0.93b of the Rancor competition mod for Quake II is now available, offering lots of bug fixes, including a fix for the menu crashes, and a working Solaris version. New features include the addition of the id command, and a maxteams setting.

LithTechLinux Details  [6:17 AM EST]
Monolith programmer Jeremy Blackman updated his .plan with further details on LithTech Linux porting, pointing out that this is not an "official" Monolith project, but one he feels strongly about working on nonetheless (basically this means that Linux users will not have telephone tech support, not that they need it).

PGL Article  [6:17 AM EST]
Salon 21st looks at the PGL, profiling the league after attending the finals this past weekend. Thanks Ywwg.

RIVA 128 and Unreal  [6:17 AM EST]
Ghost found a pair of RIVA 128 tweaks for Unreal on the RivaZone. They are similar, and this one, that RZ found on Planet RIVA looks a bit more comprehensive:

  1. First, make sure you have version 2.18 or higher of Unreal installed.
  2. Install the NVIDIA reference drivers for your RIVA 128 card.
  3. In NV3Tweak, disable mipmapping, iterated vertex alpha, and square texture support.
  4. Launch Unreal and setup for Direct3D support. Do this through advanced options.
  5. For added speed, goto advanced options --> game engine settings and set the cache to 10MB less than your system RAM.

Tribes Skins  [6:17 AM EST]
The following comes from Schnoz's Starsiege Universe on Tribes skins (I think I missed the previous skin releases when they were made):

Over time, Dynamix has been releasing different skin templates for the different types of armor in Starsiege:Tribes. Each of the 4 major Tribes has it's own emblem and color scheme. Tonight, Dynamix has released the Starwolf Light and Starwolf Heavy armor skins. These will likely be the last skin templates released before the game ships, as each of the major tribes now has at least 2 skins released.

MailBag  [6:17 AM EST]
This week's MailBag comes a couple of days late (by a loose definition, since last week's didn't occur at all), and shows the return of the eclectic mix of topical and nonsensical threads we've come to know and love, specifically: A couple of letters from readers bugged by Sin's bugginess, an examination of whether campers are just form following function, some cookie commentary, some envy of the glamorous webmaster lifestyle, the first ever pro-Fresca vote in the soft-drink wars, Rob Zombie the 3Dfx pitchman, fear of realism in games, and absolutely not a single word on the subject of FPS.

Competitions  [6:17 AM EST]
The Quake II portion of season four of The Invite Capture Ring is getting underway, with the QW and LMCTF rings to begin soon (thanks Brainer).

etc.  [6:17 AM EST]
In the shadow of the release of the new version of Rocket Arena 2, Portals has posted a new map for RA2 that has six arenas and a pickup map called Gibbage Is Good ... Tha Blood Shack has an image of the Blood 2 Box ... Gamers Link is trying to be like the Yahoo of gaming, they're looking for gaming sites to register there ... Sonique version .062 is now even up on its own homepage (thanks again Manpreet Jagpal) ... Sgt. Hulka's bootcamp is down temporarily for repairs ("Sergeant, does this mean we're through for the day?") ...

Out of the Blue  [6:17 AM EST]
Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart updated his .plan mentioning I look like Gordon Freeman (or as he put it, "the guy in power armor in the 'LOADING' screen of Half-Life"). Since it's come up, let me revive the separated at birth from back in April on this. My nominee, on the left, is Valve's Mark Laidlaw, and jwriney sent along the side-by-side of me and Gordon (Gordon's the one in the middle). That photo of me is obviously the one used for the startling charicature on the Levelord interview (it's hard not to cock an eyebrow at someone when they startle you with a camera, but I'll have to learn to avoid it, 'cause it makes for an odd photo). The funny thing is, I think I know who Gordon is really modelled after, so I'll see if I can get my hands on a shot for tomorrow.

marc.jpg (5586 bytes)gordon&blue.jpg (8606 bytes)

Monday, November 16, 1998

Shogo Status Report  [10:55 PM EST]
PlanetShogo has word from Monolith programmer John Jack on the status of the multiplayer patch (thanks Wojtek Baran):

The patch is undergoing heavy testing, and a release is imminent--hopefully late tonight or
early tomorrow morning.

3Dfx Interview  [10:55 PM EST]
There's an interview With Brian Bruning of 3Dfx on Game Asylum. Two of the answers in the short interview stress that he feels 32 bit color is not a major factor at the moment.

V3 Site, Shots  [5:13 PM EST]
Billy at Voodoo Extreme has news of 3Dfx's official Voodoo3 site going online for their just announced cards (story), and Billy has scored some Voodoo3 photos from Comdex, one of them showing off the V3 on a motherboard.

PGL Spring '99 Qualifications  [5:13 PM EST]
According to the schedule on the AMD Professional Gamers' League site, qualifications for their Spring '99 season begin today. Thanks OtterFondler.

New Quest, QRad Bug/New QRad  [5:13 PM EST]
Version 2.35 of the Quest Quake/Quake II/Hexen II level editor is out offering faster, span-buffered rendering, lighted and shadowed preview, a built-in leak finder, and a new map building system. The source also includes the files necessary for compiling Quest under Linux, but the Linux merge isn't finished nor is it tested. Thanks Martin. There is also a new version of QRad posted, as word is posted there of a bug in the QRad program that can cause problems for all map authors (including id's, according to the post):

I recently found a serious bug in qbsp3. It causes higher r_speeds and can also cause visual errors (overlapping and disappering polygons). The error is very common, it appeared several times in every single player Quake 2 map included in the retail version, and also almost all other maps I checked. Thus, I've released new versions of qbsp3, qrad3, and qvis3 with this bug fixed. Get them from the downloads page. If you want more information and details on the fix, read this."

Son of Headlines  [5:13 PM EST]
Folks seem to be digging on the return of the new-and-improved headlines function, here's a page to bookmark if you want to start with the headlines on as a default.

QIP Update-More on "Hacked" Minidrivers  [4:12 PM EST]
The Quake Info Pool has been updated with the latest details in their war on Quake/QuakeWorld bugs. Included in the update is a clarification of what all those "hacked" 3Dfx OpenGL minidrivers actually do for Quake/QuakeWorld:

  1. 3Fingers created the hacked port with my tool "OGL16BIT" as stated in his readme. OGL16BIT was released on my last update.
  2. The tool was created for hacking the 3Dfx MiniGL port in conjunction with Classic Quake and QuakeWorld, as these do not provide a switch like in Quake II to ignore the 8bit texture extension of the 3Dfx port.
  3. The 8bit texture extension is just renamed ("GL_EXT_shared_texture_palette" -> "DISABLEshared_texture_palette"), so GLQuake and GLQWClient can't find it and are forced to use 16bit textures. The driver's function is not modified in any way. Quake II says "...ignoring GL_EXT_shared_texture_palette" when 8bit textures are disabled.
  4. Credits for the idea belong to Jon "Sacrifice" Graehl.
  5. OGL16BIT provides an undo function.
  6. Although the tool was written for 3Dfx's MiniGL port, it should work on other GL ports too.
  7. I think that must people of the ongoing discussion never read the readme files or visited my page to get more information about this hacked port.

Preliminary Q2 V3 Benchmarks  [2:18 PM EST]
Sharky Extreme has a post up with some preliminary benchmarks of a Voodoo 3 3000 (next story) running Quake II at 1600x1200 resolution on a PII-400 getting 32FPS. Thanks Randy Perry. A 3Dfx spokesman told Sharky & company "that they hope to have the same setup running near 40fps well before the card ships in Q2 '99." I still haven't seen a mention anywhere about whether the Voodoo 3 will support 32 bit color, however (as far as I know 32 bit rendering does not necessarily mean 32 bit color).

Voodoo 3 Announced  [12:38 PM EST]
3Dfx has made the announcement that has generated so much speculation, as this press release reveals details of the Voodoo3 accelerator. The V3 is planned as an AGP 2X card (with an AGP 4X part planned) with 8.2 million transistors using a .25 micron CMOS process, and they say it will offer double the 3D processing power of two Voodoo2 boards in SLI mode, as well as the Banshee's very fast 2D core. The cards will be sampling in December and are scheduled to be in volume production by the second quarter of 1999. Thanks Mark. Here's some of the skinny (the full release also covers Ultra High-Resolution Display support, MPEG2/DVD Video Acceleration, and complete Voodoo Compatibility):

3Dfx Interactive® Inc. (Nasdaq: TDFX - news) today announced its Voodoo3™ product family, a range of integrated single chips that expand on the award-winning Voodoo2™ and Voodoo Banshee™ architecture to deliver the world's fastest 3D and 2D performance and support ultra high-definition displays. The first members of the product family, which are expected to be available commercially the second quarter of 1999, include the pin-compatible Voodoo3 2000 for the PC-OEM market and the Voodoo3 3000 for the retail add-in-board market.

With its dual, 32-bit rendering pipelines, Voodoo3 can generate greater than 7 million triangles per second utilizing its 100-billion operations per second 3D architecture. Voodoo3 delivers more than twice the triangle performance of two Voodoo2 boards in the Scan Line Interleave (SLI) format -- currently the industry's fastest 3D graphics configuration. The Voodoo3 family utilizes the 3Dfx patented full-speed, single-cycle, single-pass multi- texturing, which enables critical features such as hardware accelerated bump- mapping and trilinear mip-mapping at 60 frames per second for today's most demanding entertainment titles.

The Voodoo3 product family will debut with two new products, the Voodoo3 2000 and the Voodoo3 3000. Targeted at the mainstream PC-OEM motherboard and add-in-board markets, the Voodoo3 2000 is capable of achieving a maximum fill rate of 250-megatexels per second, while the enthusiast-targeted Voodoo3 3000 is capable of delivering greater than 366-megatexels per second fill rate performance.

Dhabih Does Sin  [7:05 AM EST]
dh-sins.jpg (4626 bytes) Dhabih "Octone" Eng sends along his latest work of art, this one based on Sin (offering a kinder, gentler looking Elexis). There's word on the page with the full-sized image on how you can win an autographed copy of Sin, and other cool stuff from Ritual. For the record, Dhabih has changed his nickname to "Octone," making him the artist formerly known as Doc Holiday.

Cornering Carmack  [6:34 AM EST]
A chat with John Carmack is Rob Jellinghaus' write-up of his conversation with Mr. C. at the PGL finals. Also, the news page on Softcom CTF Central has a couple of comments from Thresh and John Carmack collected in passing at the PGL finals as well.

Requiem Shots  [6:34 AM EST]
There are three new Requiem: Avenging Angel screenshots on Requiem level designer Erik Robson's Requiem page.

loonygames  [6:34 AM EST]
Issue 13 of loonygames is online, offering an interview subtly titled Blue and Levelord Get Drunk, a recent face-to-face confab between myself and his Lo'ness (and a few beers). Here's the skinny on the new issue straight from the loon's mouth:

Mike Dussault Interview  [6:34 AM EST]
A Interview with Mike Dussault talks with the Monolith programmer about LithTech programming and stuff like that.

Experience Interview  [6:34 AM EST]
There's an interview with Patrick Moynihan talking about WXP's action/adventure game, Experience that offers screenshots of the upcoming title, as well as specifications for the game's engine.

Ground Zero Review  [6:34 AM EST]
3DGaming.Net reviews Ground Zero, Rogue Entertainment's official Quake II mission pack #2 giving the add-on a C+ overall.

Shogo Review  [6:34 AM EST]
There's a review of Shogo Mobile Armor Division by Pipa, the newest extremist over at Voodoo Extreme.

Blood2 Review  [6:34 AM EST]
The Adrenaline Vault Reviews Blood 2 taking an in-depth look at Monolith's new LithTech-engine offering, giving it 3˝ stars (out of five). Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Slave Zero Feature  [6:34 AM EST]
The AVault's preview of Slave Zero, takes a look at Accolade's upcoming game of giant robot combat.

Shadowman Preview  [6:34 AM EST]
The busy bees at the AVault (they seem to be redesigning, as well) have posted a preview of Shadowman, an upcoming third-person action title based on the Valiant Heroes comic of the same name.

Gloom  [6:34 AM EST]
The first beta of the Gloom Quake II modification is available from the makers of JailBreak for Quake II. The mod offers new AI, new weapons, a clip reloading system, an encumbrance system, and a teamplay option that their testers say is more fun than Jailbreak.

Gauntlet  [6:34 AM EST]
The first release of Gauntlet is now available offering the opportunity to do hand-to-hand combat in Quake II in a mod that removes the weapons from the game and provides players with the ability to perform kicks, trips, and knockdowns from a third-person perspective.

Shogo: 3DLater!  [6:34 AM EST]
Jeff at the AMD Zone sends word that he was told by Monolith's Mike Dussault that a lack of testing time for the 3Dnow! optimizations for Shogo means they will not be included in the upcoming patch (expected today):

I'm sorry to say that it won't be in this patch. We just didn't have the time to test it out. We'll be doing another patch in a couple weeks and it's very likely that it'll be in that (or we might release a 3dnow renderer between now and then).

Vanta Announcement  [6:34 AM EST]
Riva 3D has posted the first news of NVIDIA's next chipset called Vanta, or knowing NVIDIA, VANTA. Not a lot of details about the new chipset are available, other than it's based on the TNT chipset, and is aimed at the business/enterprise market.

Competitions  [6:34 AM EST]
The sp3D Quake II Level Design Contest offers a copy of each of the Quake II mission packs to the best original Quake II level ... The Monday Morning Interview on Mod Central is with Dave "WhiteNoise" Wallin of Team Reaction, creators of Jailbreak, QPong, and the new Gloom ...

etc.  [6:34 AM EST]
Version 2.05 of Winamp is out. Thanks Mr. Nonacho ... The new QuakeinDOOM section of The AquaQuake Vault offers Quake (1) conversions of noted Doom2 levels (the ones that feature water, naturally) ... cLoNe sends word that the Discovery Channel aired a piece on the USMC using Quake as combat training (I hope they remind them the spacebar doesn't respawn you in real combat) ... On a similar front, David "Shavey" Ruzicka wrote in to mention something I noticed myself, a new USMC recruiting commercial (quite game influenced-you can see who they're targeting) that ends in a confrontation with a huge lava creature: it's like the Marines versus Chthon (though the marine uses the sword, rather than any handy electrocution switches ... The Macintosh crowd at Bulldog Beach Interactive have an Unreal server running version 217 at unreal:// so that Mac users can connect while they wait for a 219 client ...

Out of the Blue  [6:34 AM EST]
Yello There is a follow-up on the satire site mocking the ole Blue's Newsroom that was mentioned here a while back, some of it clunks a bit, but I do still like a couple of the spoof titles (stuff like Running Around the Bank and Unpronounceable Sword Thing). Kudos to loonyboi for actually distilling down over an hour of tape-recorded conversation into that Levelord interview. It's rare to get the opportunity to do face-to-face interviews in our Internet-centric community, but the result is so different than IRC or email interviews. I hope to be able to do more of those in the future.

Sunday, November 15, 1998

Sin Patch Soon  [9:36 PM EST]
Don "onethumb" MacAskill updated his .plan to dispel a rumor that there would not be a patch for Sin, saying the patch is in fact, due soon:

-[ Sin Patch *is* coming soon ]-

I can't believe I have to post about this, but some malicious person posted on the HardCorps message board that they were from Activision and that:

"Activision has decided not to release a forthcoming patch due to the difficulties encountered during the past few days. We have decided to release any patches with the upcoming release of the SiN add-on levels. We are sorry for any inconveninece this may cause for our customers"

Well, guess what? It ain't true. :) We're almost done with the patch now, and we're anxious to make sure that our fans and customers get it as soon as possible as well as making sure future retail copies have all the latest stuff right out of the box.

Shogo Patch Delay  [8:33 PM EST]
Monolith CEO Jason Hall updated his .plan with word that the Shogo multiplayer patch would not be released today as promised. Here's the lowdown, which includes word that it will probably be out tomorrow:

This just in from John Jack (Shogo's producer):

"Here's the status of the patch:"

"The multiplayer side of things is looking really good. Mike and Kevin have made quite a few bug fixes, and testing on the new multiplayer maps is going well."

"There are still a few single player bugs that we're trying to work out--we're still testing, but a release tonight isn't going to happen."

"We're shooting for tomorrow night at this point--I'll give you a status update tomorrow."

This totally sucks I know, but the fact of the matter is that the team has been busting ASS on this! It is very important to us that when you get the patch it resolves as many issues as possible. We want to make sure that the patch is well worth the wait, and lives up to expectations.

Sadly, it looks like we are going to be about a day off of our initial prediction (that we made 25 days ago) of Nov. 15th.

I'll own up to that. I assure you though, hitting exact dates is very tough. Although we have successfully hit all our dates in the past, this is our first miss (and hopefully the last), and hopefully you will cut us some know we want this patch in your hands BAD.

I'll keep you posted on the situation as it develops.

Kick Engine Patch  [8:33 PM EST]
The first DirectX 6 version of the Kick Engine is available. The patch to enable DX6 offers support for the Matrox G200, the RIVA TNT, and the Savage3D.

Download Shogo Patch & Win Stuff  [4:25 PM EST]
In conjunction with the planned release of the multiplayer patch (Point Release) planned for today (story), comes the opportunity to win stuff by downloading the patch when its available from one of the mirrors PlanetShogo will list on their downloads page. Random downloaders will be eligible to win one of 10 copies of Blood2 or 10 GameSpy registrations (check here for complete details). The patch is expected to be available at 5:00 PM Pacific time (8:00 PM Eastern) today.

CPU Roadmap  [4:25 PM EST]
There's a CPU Roadmap on The Quake Benchmarks Site with a densely packed chart loaded with what's known of the plans AMD, Intel, IDT, and Cyrix have through the year 2003.

Half-Life Primary Server Program  [2:53 PM EST]
The promised word on what's being called the Half-Life Primary Server Program comes from Sierra. Here's the poop on the program which offers server ops an advance copy of the server software, and incentives to run a server:

Half-Life Primary Server Program Launched Special Incentives offered to server hosts

BELLEVUE, WA - November 15, 1998 - Sierra Studios and Valve Software just announced the Half-Life Primary Server Program, a special offering for those interested in hosting dedicated Half-Life game servers. Winner of numerous awards and due in stores around the globe in time for Thanksgiving, Half-Life is the most anticipated title for the 1998 holiday season.

In preparation for this massive release, Sierra Studios and Valve are offering special incentives-including advanced copies of the server software and prizes -- to those who sign up to become server hosts at launch.

Primary server enrollment begins with filling out the short informational questionnaire located at Applicants need to be running over a cable modem or better connection to be accepted into the program. Sierra Studios and Valve will be checking servers incrementally and sending rewards to those who continue to run dedicated Half-Life servers over time.

"We are extremely excited about the multiplayer features we've put into Half-Life," said Gabe Newell, co-founder or Valve. "The Primary Server Program is just the first of many efforts Sierra and Valve will be making to support and interact with the community."

TeamFortress2 Preview  [1:33 PM EST]
TeamFortress Software (part of Valve) has their own Team Fortress2 preview online giving some details on the upcoming teamplay oriented multiplayer add-on for Half-Life. The preview includes details about gameplay, a features list, which includes 20 maps, over a dozen weapons, AI teammates and opponents (TFBots!), a  variety of vehicles, including Armored Personnel Carriers, Tanks, and Helicopters, and an easy-to-use communication system for in-game strategizing between teammates. Here is the list of player classes: Commander; Light Infantry; Field Medic; Heavy Infantry; Rocket Infantry; Sniper; Commando; Spy; and Engineer.

On the Shogo Point Release  [1:33 PM EST]
Monolith CEO Jason Hall updated his .plan last night with word on the status of the Shogo multiplayer patch, which was promised for today:

Talk about riding it close!!!

So far things look good. The multiplayer patch is just about done and will be released tomorrow as promised!

I will say this though...I just got a message from John Jack regarding the patch and I wanted to share it with you-

"Jace, -I want QA to be able to test the build that gets done tonight all day tomorrow, and we need the rest of tomorrow afternoon for any bug fixes that get done. The plan right now is to be ready with the patch early tomorrow night (6pm or so)."

"If I'm not convinced that the patch is relatively bug free by late tomorrow night (eg, it causes more issues than it fixes), then we will push back the release til Monday. This is a worst-case scenario, but I'm letting you know that there are still issues 1 day from release."

Whew! Well let's hope the team can pull it off and Monolith can retain its perfect record for predicting a release date and then releasing ON TIME!!

I think they can do it!

Stay tuned!!!

Outcast Movies  [1:33 PM EST]
Outcast Central has four Outcast movies available for download in RealPlayer format showing off gameplay from Outcast, an action title due in Spring of next year with an impressively buzzword-filled feature list, which includes bump-mapping and voxel technology, all rendered in software.

Quake II Benchmark Analysis  [1:33 PM EST]
An article on Jeff's PC Hardware Review examines the different aspects of the system stressed by the different Quake II demos used as benchmarks, reiterating a point I recall seeing before, that the crusher demo is almost 100% CPU dependant, while not being impacted at all by graphics fill rate. There are a couple of graphs up there showing how Voodoo2 SLI, RIVA TNT, and Intel i740 each scale with resolution in Quake II.

Giants Interview  [1:33 PM EST]
There's an interview with Tim Williams of PlanetMoon Software up on TeleFragged's Giants page talking about their upcoming Giant-sized action/adventure game.

Sin Red Skin Fix  [1:33 PM EST]
Thermo sends along an explanation for why some players in registered Sin deathmatch server show up with red skins, along with a workaround (obviously you should substitute your own name and choice of skin when you use this technique):

There is a bug in GameSpy that screws up the skin selection so that everyone default to the metallic red skin with a question mark beside there name 'cause the model and skin are not set right. There is an easy fix that should be passed on to the masses before I need to get my glasses redone from all the red :)

Simply create a cfg file called skinset.cfg and put this in your base directory. It should contain the following lines which can be cut and pasted right out of config.cfg in the players dir if you want.

set skin "jc_base2.tga"
set model "pl_jc.def"
set name "OTHC.Thermo"

Then just set your gamespy profile to exec this cfg as a custom cfg. This way you don't have to fix your multiplayer settings every time you launch using gamespy.

Eclipse Interactive Demo  [1:33 PM EST]
The Vulpine Design Homepage has "the completely new" Eclipse Interactive Demo II, which adds a bunch of features since the last release of this engine demo. They have also ported the engine to Win95/98, and included support for 3D accelerators.

RIP II  [1:33 PM EST]
5thD team has released RIP II version 3.0, a "highly modifiable" class -based mod for Quake II that offers eight main classes and one class that can be modified during the game (armor, speed, equipment). The main classes are Warrior, Mage, Thief, Infantry, Miner, Turret Driver, Flamer and Trooper.

Matrox Overclocker  [1:33 PM EST]
Version 2.0.8 of the Matrox Overclocking utility is available offering the opportunity to simultaneously improve performance and void the warranty on Matrox video cards. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Competitions  [1:33 PM EST]
Ravage.Net allows US gamers to compete in one-on-one competitions in Unreal, Sin, and Quake II (and soon, Half-Life), divided into high and low ping divisions. I mentioned the Champions League for Quake around the time of its launch, and I just received an email from an enthusiastic participant talking about how cool their ranking systems are, and sure enough their page declares "There is no need to join the CLQ. We keep track of 416,351 players on 6,978 servers." Wow!

etc.  [1:33 PM EST]
Version 0.62 beta of the Sonique .mp3 player is now available. It's not listed on their page yet, but can be downloaded from mirrors by changing the version number to 62 (for example, here's a link on Tucows. Thanks BetaNews and Manpreet Jagpal. There's a movie showing off the unreleased GunMan TC on the Gunman TC downloads page, the interesting thing is this is a Half-Life TC, so the movie is done with currently accessible Quake II technology, showing off ideas they have for the Half-Live version ...

Out of the Blue  [1:33 PM EST]
Spent some of yesterday cooking up a little headlines dealie, you can fill the left menu frame with a list of today's headlines by clicking on the Headlines link in the upper left. It should be pretty self-explanatory, and certainly harmless enough if you don't want to make use of it. Played the new Rocket Arena 2 into the weeeeee hours, I just want to compliment crt for having orchestrated the smoothest software release I can recall, pro or "amateur" (though I'm guessing crt is amateur by choice at this point, I'd be very surprised to find out he hasn't turned down job offers by now).

Saturday, November 14, 1998

New Rocket Arena 2  [10:00 PM EST]
Right on the nose, the Rocket Arena page has the release of the new version 2.20 of the mod. Here's a local copy of the full installer (27.1 MB) and the version updater for 2.10 (14.7 MB) on GamesNET FTP. Here's a feature list I cobbled together from a couple of different posts on the subject:

Thresh Wins PGL  [8:58 PM EST]
PlanetQuake PGL Season 3 Coverage has all the scores and highlights of the finals today, which saw Thresh come back from the loser's bracket to defeat Immortal to become champion of the Quake II one-on-one, with his clan, Death Row taking first place in the Quake (1) clan competition. There was a StarCraft tourney too, and word is they had contestants and a winner and everything.

Half-Life Screenshots  [8:41 PM EST]
The FiringSquad's Game Preview of Half-Life has some new screenshots of Half-Life up focusing on multiplayer, offering a few screenshots from single-player later on that are a bit spoiler-ish, so you have been warned. There's also a preview of HL based on playing the OEM demo over on the newly opened 3D Map Realm.

Another Jason Hall Interview  [8:41 PM EST]
There's an interview with Jason Hall up on Planet RIVA talking with Monolith's CEO about Monolith, Shogo, and Blood2.

Spectra 3200 Poll  [8:41 PM EST]
A Purified3D Poll is the Purified3D team's effort to prove to Canopus that there's enough interest from consumers in their Spectra 3200 TNT offering to warrant marketing it in North America. The 3200 is described in a Purified3D posting as a Spectra 2500 with SGRAM instead of SDRAM, no TV-OUT, and no WitchDoctor support, which should get about a 10% performance improvement in some cases.

Sin Review  [8:41 PM EST]
The Sin Review at 3DGW is up, giving the game a 90%.

Action Quake2 Fix  [4:10 PM EST]
The Action Quake2 page confesses to a mistake in the new version released earlier (story) in the VWep for the terrorist model, offering a small fix. Here's a local copy of the Action Quake II VWep fix (311 KB). Thanks Cruel Tea.

John Carmack at the PGL Finals  [3:20 PM EST]
The All Games Network will try to make up for the whack shooters taping of the John Carmack talk at the FRAG2 (story) by showing the John Carmack interview live from the PGL finals today at 2:45 PM PST (5:45 Eastern), in addition to their ongoing coverage of the festivities. Real player, or equivalent, required.

Action Quake2  [12:44 PM EST]
A new version 1.0c of Action Quake2 is available for download as an update for the client side only, servers need nothing new. The new release includes two new player models, full VWep support, a few new skins, and some legal changes (copyright infringement removal was always part of the plan for the mod, but now that the mod is going into the Extremities pack, that has been completed). The new version is described as almost the exact version that will be shipped on Extremities (id's upcoming add-on pack featuring user modifications), and is available as an update for the previous version of the client, as well as a full release. Here's a local copy of the updater (3.4 MB) and a local copy of the full client installer (8.5 MB) on GamesNET FTP.

Revenge of the Avenger - Banshee 2?  [12:44 PM EST]
3Fingers, who likes to keep his trio of digits firmly on the pulse of such things, points out a post on Sharky Extreme on the rampant rumors that 3Dfx is set to announce a super-accelerated "3Dfx Avenger" chipset at Comdex next week. The post is called "Rumor Control," and offers control in the form of yet another rumor, that the announcement forthcoming from 3Dfx will be to unveil the Banshee 2. Here's the post:

Several industry folk told us that the product 3Dfx is set to unveil this Monday is in fact none other than the infamous "Banshee 2" and not a unit with three times the processing power of the Voodoo 2 as earlier reported. The "Banshee 2" is rumored to sit atop a .25 micron die size, have faster memory and a possible second TMU. Again, everything before the official announcement on Monday is strictly speculation.

Sin Review  [12:44 PM EST]
3DGaming.Net's Sin review is now online giving Ritual's shooter straight As, resulting in an overall A rating.

More Valve IRC Logs  [12:44 PM EST]
More logs from last night's chat session with Valve celebrating Half-Life going gold (story): The PlanetFortress Valve Chat Log, and an edited log on Wavelength. Thanks Matt Stevens.

On Half-Life Client & Server  [7:06 AM EST]
Some of the discussion of the distribution of a Half-Life server program and talk of a network client in an IRC chat last night with the team at Valve (next story) has caused some confusion. To try and clarify this, Valve honcho Gabe Newell cc'ed me on his reply to a question from Stephen Sopp on the subject that covers playing with multiple clients from the same CD on a LAN (you can play with up to five clients installed off the same CD if your server is not "public" to WON). The second question deals with the program to have dedicated servers online when the game is in stores by pre-distributing the server along with a multiplayer client on CD, which will be done on a limited basis with details to be released today (it says tomorrow, but this was from last night). Here's the correspondence, edited into easier to follow Q&A format:

Question: Having a LAN party for the release of Half Life, about 16 people or so, and I believe some of these people won't have half life by the time of the party. But 3/4 of the people should. My question is can a CD be used for multiple mutliplayer installs for the remaining people, just for LAN play? Don't know what your guys policy or security is on this, and I want to plan ahead for this contingency.

Gabe: If your Half-Life server doesn't authenticate (in other words it doesn't have an IP connection to WON's authentication servers), you can play up to 5 clients sharing a single CD key. If the server can authenticate itself via WON, then it insists that all of the clients have a unique CD key. This basically differentiates LAN games from Internet games.

Question: And second, I read in the chat, that you guys were releasing the server software early. how can someone get this? We have a box sitting on a partial T3 just ready to run a dedicated server.

Gabe: The details of the server program will get announced tomorrow. There will be a qualifying questionnaire, and once you get a server up that can be connected to, you'll be sent a multiplayer client and a CD key. There will be a limited number of people who can participate in the program.

Valve Chat Logs  [7:06 AM EST]
There's an edited log of last night's IRC chat with the Valve crew talking about their just-completed Half-Life on, and another on The Daily Death.

TF2 in '99  [7:06 AM EST]
Fortress Brimstone sends along a quote from that chat session with Valve that gives the status of the release of Teamfortress2, the upcoming Half-Life multiplayer add-on:

<LintODeth> Red: we won't be released before christmas. a MP-aimed title like TF requires extensive network testing, and we're not going to release it until we're certain its balanced

Quake Night with Conan O'Brien  [7:06 AM EST]
What some people will do to get mentioned on this page! Late Night with Conan O'Brien last night offered a sketch that featured Conan and Andy playing Quake II, apparently finally getting bored of driving their desks in their racing game, which they've decided is too '80s, so they switch to first-person shooter combat (these are Blue's News kind of guys), apparently doing in some enforcers on Quake II level one. Thanks Andy Lynch for the first of many mails on this, and Dave Clarke, among others, for the explanation of the sketch. As noted by a couple of readers, they used software rendering (you'd think TV types could work out a 3D accelerator).

Turok2 Shots  [7:06 AM EST]
The Turok2: Seeds of Evil Level 02 preview is up offering screenshots from a mission called Slaughter by the River of Souls. Thanks Natch.

Jason Hall Interview  [7:06 AM EST]
Though the server is down as I try it, Mike at LithTimes sends word they have posted an interview with Monolith CEO Jason Hall talking about Blood2 and Shogo (of all things).

UNLoaded for Unreal  [7:06 AM EST]
The first beta release of the UNLoaded mod for Unreal is now available. The mod offers a 2D top down view of the map allowing for play from a different perspective, to say the least. The first release offers two maps and three weapons, a HandCannon, a Rocket launcher, and a Flame Thrower. The final release is expected to offer between six and nine new weapons, and the ability to play the normal Unreal maps from the top down.

Sharky's Joy and Pain  [7:06 AM EST]
Sharky Extreme's Creative Labs SoundBlaster PCI128 review is up, as well as Sharky's Space Bunnies Must Die review.

Banshee Control Panel  [7:06 AM EST]
An updated version of koolsmoky's 3Dfx Voodoo Banshee Control panel is available, offering enough powerful tweaking options for Banshee-based cards to require a warning label. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Intel's Future Plans  [7:06 AM EST]
Merced EPIC and future IA64 is an AnandTech article that offers some insights into the next few iterations of CPU from Intel. Also, Intel targets low-cost PCs is a ZDNN article giving more of what the big I is up to including plans for price cuts all down the line predicting a $300 wholesale cost per CPU for a PII-450, and saying a 533 MHz Katmai processor is due in mid '99 for $745. Thanks Billy at Voodoo Extreme.

Competitions  [7:06 AM EST]
The DukeWorld Holiday Giveaway is getting underway, running for the next month or so, and offering over 100 prizes with a total retail value of over $7500, including a Sony PlayStation (with an autographed copy of Duke Nukem Time to Kill) and five 3Dfx Voodoo 2 Graphics accelerators. Also, Infinity Online Systems, an ISP in Toronto is holding a Game Fest on November 27-29 at the Computer Fest 98. They are featuring a Quake II one-on-one tournament where the winner will receive a Quantum3D Obsidian X-24, and Activision is supplying prize packs for other tournaments which will include Sin and Heretic II free-for-alls.

etc.  [7:06 AM EST]
The Quake Movie Library has an interview with Starfury of Clan Phantasm, who wrote and directed the Quake movie Devils Coventant ... Analysis of that Transmeta dealie mentioned yesterday (story) is in Slashdot. Thanks STriker RedWolf ... Trey Harrison is unhappy with the way the John Carmack video got cut off at the good spot saying in his .plan "the genius filming apparently decided to cut him off. Thanks." He's right, and that does suck. I will try and find out what went wrong, as the Q&A session ends abruptly and cuts into Paul Steed's presentation. Apologies to Trey and all his friends at Mensa, and anyone else frustrated by this in the meantime ... Pimpage of the day is for GamesOnline Sydney because Paul Steed tells me they bought him beer when he was in Australia, and I can't be sure I won't ever be down that way and feeling a bit thirsty ...

Out of the Blue  [7:06 AM EST]
I like John Cash, I respect his work, I fear his mad deathmatch skills (hell, I fear his son who can't be more than seven), but will somebody tell me where this man-who is so damn smart-where on earth does he get his ideas about Girl Scout cookies?? For the love of god man!!!! Oh well, I did like the SNL reference... Mail from a couple of readers drew connections between the cookie talk and my dental trips, as have some with the riffing on sugary sodas. I guess I'll revive my make believe .plan one of these days and give a rundown of why my teeth were so rundown, which is certainly unrelated to my current sugar intake: though of course for you kids out there, celery makes a wonderful snack: tell the produce man that Uncle Blue sent you... Yesterday in the Pop Culture Game it was Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young "...this is the story of Johnny Rotten" (two points). I got mail from someone that knows it 'cause his dad plays it all the time. Eeeek!

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