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Tuesday, May 11, 1999

  

New Bowzer & Qtracker

The Qtracker Homepage has a new beta 5 of version 2.3 of this server browser tweaking the newly-added Quake III Arena support now that the Q3ATest is available to test it. Also, a new version 0.30 of Bowzer on-line game browser is now available fixing the Q3ATest launching bug, adding a "true" status bar, and more.

Screenshots

The Starbreeze Homepage has some new screenshots up as they head off to E3. The new shots are the first to show off their curved surfaces technology. Also, there's another new Diablo II screenshot on Diabloii.net, and three new Experience shots on Voodoo Extreme.

Half-Life Linux Server Released

Jenni from Valve sends along the following announcement about the release of the Linux dedicated server for Half-Life, available here:

We've just released the Half-Life dedicated server for Linux, v. 1.0.0.9., which includes Team Fortress Classic support. It's approximately 80 MB, and should only be downloaded by people wanting to run the dedicated server (not the game itself) on Linux.

This release supports x86 Linux machines. The code was compiled on RedHat 5.2 with glibc.

To install the server, download hlds_l.1009.tar.gz from this location: http://www.won.net/gamerooms/action/half-life/. Untar/unzip the file and read the linuxreadme file for further instructions.

We have a mailing list for people interested in discussion about Half-LIfe/TFC dedicated server issues, both Win32 and Linux. To join the list, mail majordomo@lists.caitiff.com with "subscribe hlds" in the body. If you have install questions or problems, email the mailing list: hlds@lists.caitiff.com.

Quake 3 Tips & Resources

We've gone and compiled a whole bunch of information together into a quick little page (that will be constantly updated as new information becomes available) that we've titled Quake 3 Tips & Resources. Swing by and check it out.

FAKK2 Site Up

The official Heavy Metal F.A.K.K. 2 site is up with new info and images from Ritual's upcoming Quake III-engine game, asking questions like, "What’s two feet tall, wears sneakers, and will suck your soul from your body with a straw?" (and answering with "Play the game you'll find out."

Q3A Server List Moves

On Q3ATest Bug Reports

John Carmack updated his .plan with word on where to send bug reports:

Do NOT send bug reports and game comments directly to me! If I have to filter through hundreds of emails a day, I won't get any more work done... Only crashtest related problems should come to me, everything else should go to q3feedback@idsoftware.com

On Q3ATest SOCKS Support

id's John"Hellrot" Cash updated his .plan with word on Q3ATest SOCKS support for folks tucked behind firewalls:

Stuck behind a firewall and think you can't play Q3ATEST?

Q3ATEST has support for SOCKS5 (RFC-1928). Well, at least the wintel version does... I'm not certain it has been picked up for the Mac and Linux code yet; I'll have to check on that and take care of it. There are three cvars that control it. They are only settable from the at init time (from the command line).

+set net_sockEnabled 1
+set net_socksServer
+set net_socksPort

Please note that you use the address (name or IP number) of the SOCKS server (firewall machine), NOT a Q3ATEST server. The port number defaults to 1080, you should not need to change this.

Currently it does not do any authentication. It would be pretty easy to add the username/password authentication method (RFC-1929); I will do so if there are people who need it. The odds of us doing the GSS-API method (RFC-1961), however, are not very good. I am only supporting IPv4 addresses; I mention this just to satisfy the curiosity of people who know SOCKS and would have asked.

This piece of code has not been beaten on very much. If you have/need/want to try it out, please let me know how it works out for you. Thanks!

On Q3ATest Benchmarks

An update in Brian Hook's .plan says that timedemo and timerefresh are broken in the Q3ATest release (nonetheless Tom's Hardware has some results posted, I don't know what's the deal there). Here's Brian's update:

Turns out that TIMEREFRESH and TIMEDEMO do not work in the build that got released due to a bug on our part. We will have this fixed in the next major release, but may be a while (please don't bombard us with e-mail about the next release...or at least if you do, send 'em to Graeme :-) ).

I'll try to have benchmark figures up on Thursday night.

New Server Browsers

PingTool 2.5 Beta 7 and Kali 1.65 are both now available, each of these programs adding Quake III Arena to the list of games for which they can find servers.

New Falcon Machines

A couple announcements from the folks at Falcon NW, who have a couple of exclusive hardware deals coming up: Falcon Northwest Reveals Details of System Powered by 3Dfx is a press release on the 3dfx site announcing new systems by Falcon NW with Voodoo3 on the motherboard, and the Falcon Mach V Fan Page has word on an exclusive "Falcon Northwest Special Edition" of Guillemot's Ultra TNT2 card, which they say will be clocked at a higher speed than any other board maker's UltraTNT2 part in an effort to create the create "the Ultimate Ultra TNT2 card."

Alive?

Server seems to be behaving a bit better, the mail is in, and the database is accessible again (for the moment at least), so I'm going to try and get back on track. My apologies for the problems accessing the site today (and for the future if they return).

Ouch!

My apologies for the lack of updates today... the pounding on the server surrounding the Q3ATest has been unprecedented, and has prevented us from accessing the database, or even our email... we're on a mad scramble to fix things here, and get the situation stabilized so this is not a problem as loony and I head off to E3 tomorrow. The (for the moment, at least) missing .plan tracker above is one of the temporary measures underway as we work on this.

A Bug's Death

Another update to John Carmack's .plan gives word the first bug has been squashed (don't tell Edgar). Here's the poop:

BigImp wins the first prize. It doesn't crash the server, but fmtspec names will crash all clients that try to log on. Technically that would be an upkeep required DOS attack, but I'll let this one go.

I even had a "FIXME: make vsprintf safe" comment by the offending line...

I am going to update the server to filter out all % chars that come in over the net to prevent any other similar things

Zaero Demo

Our big toe, Sgt. Hulka, sends word that the playable demo of TeamEvolve's Zaero for Quake II is available. Here's the deal:

Download the Zaero Demo by Team Evolve It's 25Meg, requires Quake II 3.14 or Higher to play. Zaero Features the first few missions from the full retail package (Which you can order online if you like it and want to help support Team Evolve) The Zaero Demo also has two brand new Deathmatch Maps from our upcomming FREE deathmatch pack. Get a taste of Zaero Deathmatch!!!

From the guys who created PainKeep comes Zaero DM. Be Prepared to DM with a whole new armory of weapons, powerups and special DM only items like you've never seen before! Like the Armageddon A2k Bomb Suit, the Sniper Rifle, The IRED's, the Sonic Cannon, Plasma Shields, Visor and remote cameras in the levels. As many have previously said, "Zaero kicks Major Ass!"

25 Meg Self Extracting Install

Decay Shots

A couple new shots have been added to the Decay screenshots page on the Insomnia Software site showing off the scenery in this upcoming 3D game. Thanks Billy "Decay" Wilson.

John Carmack on the Plan

John Carmack updated his .plan with the plan (a .plan plan!) for Quake III Arena Test releases going forward (to culminate in the release of a demo), and word on a bounty for server crashing bugs(!), kicking off the update with a mention of lag that may be occurring at this very moment due to the Q3A-related net brownout. Here's the whole deal:

Everyone should realize that many popular net links are going to be clogged up with q3test downloads for a while, so net play may be a bit patchy to a lot of servers.

-------------

Now that the first win32 test is out, here is The Plan for going forward:

All future releases should be same-day for all architectures.

There may be an exe-only update to the current distributions if there are significant problems, but it isn't scheduled.

The next major test release will include a new one on one map designed for tournement play, and new executables with server and game modifications, but will not require downloading a new pak0.pk3.

The release after that will introduce various teamplay rules on the original two maps. This version will likely be another full download, because I know that I still have a couple things to change in the map format. This will probably be the first test running with the virtual machine.

The final major test release will introduce the single player game with bots and ranks.

After any bugs are shaken out of that, it will be the "Q3 Demo" instead of the "Q3 Test", and we should be ready to release the full game to stores.

In an ideal world, people that aren't prepared to deal with in-development software would wait until then to form an opinion of the product.

---------------

I am offering a bounty for server crashing bugs. Q2 had several releases forced out because of malicious attacks on all the public servers, so I want to try and flush out what I can during Q3's testing phase.

There is a server running in the debugger here at crashtest.idsoftware.com (192.246.40.68). Anyone that can repeatably hang or crash this system can have a $100 prize and some misc bit of Q3A paraphenalia that I can dig up.

Operating system level attacks don't count -- only things that I can actually fix or protect against in my code.

Denial of service attacks don't count if they require upkeep, but if there is a fire-and-forget DOS attack, it will still count.

Any actions you can perform with the released client are fair game. Crashing the client isn't good for a bounty, but I would still like to know about it.

Custom attack programs are also fair game. These are actually what I am most concerned about -- malicious programs that goes through and crash all listed servers.

Ideally, you would practice on a private server under your control and only hit crashtest when you think you can repeat it.

If you find one, email me the instructions so I can reproduce it. Include "CRASHTEST" in the subject so I won't miss it.

First come, first served, one bounty per bug. I will update crashtest with our internal builds, so it will certainly be possible that an attack on the released servers no longer functions on crashtest.

UT Preview

Unreal Universe's Unreal Tournament Preview is up with Apache's look at the game along with eight new screenshots.

Soldier of Fortune Shot

Computer Gaming Review has posted a new Soldier of Fortune shot from Raven's upcoming Quake II-engine combat game.

Jason Hall on LithTech2

Monolith's Jason Hall updated his .plan with talk of what he can say about LithTech2 at E3, with word that a couple of screenshots are up showing it off:

A few items:

I've been getting a LOT of questions regarding the new enhancements to the LithTech Engine (v.2)...

Unfortunately, until our E3 "backroom" demonstration is over I can not give out the itemized list of the cool and neato things that have been added thus far.

I will say this though -
The engine is now fully indoor/outdoor. For example, you can walk right out of a super detailed castle into the scary wilderness, seamlessly. It is quite impressive, and you don't have to have an "ultra-fog-clip-plane-make-the-engine- go-faster-by-hiding-geometry- with-lots-of-fog- oh-did-I-mention-that-we-need-to-put-fog-in-there- to-speed-things-up-already"

Anyway, due to repeated requests I have snagged 3 preliminary screenshots of some LithTech 2 test maps for people to check out.

If you are going to be at E3 and have managed to reserve a timeslot with us for the backroom demo, we appreciate your interest and look forward to seeing you there.

The shots below show only a very small portion of what the new LithTech stuff can do. I was under heavy restraint in terms of what the team would like to show prior to E3, so I just took what I could get (there is a bunch of other cool stuff that I can't show until E3 - sorry)

If you don't see these images directly in the webpage, please go to the following URL's for the 3 LT2 screenshots:

http://www.lith.com/lt2/LT2Demo3.jpg
http://www.lith.com/lt2/LT2Demo4.jpg
http://www.lith.com/lt2/LT2Demo2.jpg

On GLSetup Compatibility

Some 3Dfx Chips Not Supported is a page on the GLSetup site with word on what chipsets are supported by this utility released with the Win32 Q3ATest that can hook up your accelerator with the proper drivers automatically (thanks Ant). Here's the poop:

Unfortunately, the initial GLSetup Public Beta v0.99 does not support all 3Dfx chipsets. Only Voodoo 3 is supported in the GLSetup.exe archive. OpenGL drivers for the other 3Dfx chipsets are available on the web at the link below.

We are working on this problem with 3Dfx and are planning to integrate OpenGL drivers for the other chipsets in the very near future. Check this page for updates.

Zaphod on Q3ATest

id's Graeme "Zaphod" Devine updated his .plan mentioning high CPU usage in Linux Q3ATest 1.05, and mentioning that more info on GLSetup is forthcoming.

Here (at long last for most of you) is Q3Test version 1.05. We've worked long and hard to get this to you and we look forward to your feedback on what's right and what's wrong with it.

There's one known issue with the Linux dedicated server taking up way too much CPU time. As other known issues come to light we'll try to keep you all in the loop. Please try and email q3feedback with a good sensible subject line, mention what sort of system/OS you have, and remember that humans read all the feedback.

GLSetup will have it's own press release sometime later this evening, but we're very excited to be part of this venture. But I'll let Chris Hecker tell you all about it.

More on 3dfx NT

id's Brian Hook made another .plan update about NT 3dfx support, following up on his previous post (story) with what he's been able to determine of their official position:

I've had repeated e-mails about the state of 3Dfx's drivers under NT, so I went ahead and asked what their official stance was. The best I could get from them was along the lines of "We're gonna support it, but we're not committing to a specific date". I'm under the impression that the drivers for WinNT aren't that far off. I don't have any more information on this, so please don't send me questions about their drivers. I suggest you contact 3Dfx directly if you have more questions about their driver situation.

Win32 Quake III Arena Client

It's out. Here's the Win32 client for Quake III Arena Test, here's GLSetup (sets up your video card automatically), and GLBug (to report the system configuration of a system if GLSetup fails to run). Enjoy!

Q3A Banshee Drivers

etc.

  • Win32 Quake III Arena client is out...
  • Win32 Quake III Arena client is out...
  • Win32 Quake III Arena client is out...

Out of the Blue

Q3ATest is here, wheee! Look for a page to go up with a list of hints and resources today, feel free to send along anything you come across. Pre-release anticipation got to this site, huge thanks for the guys at Pair for scrambling like Scotty with the Dilithium crystals getting things running again when the reload mad masses busted things at one point (this update and a couple yesterday were delayed while trying to connect to the overworked database). Also, thanks to all who wrote in with help with the HTML problem, which was caused by Navigator's insistence on drawing boxes around hidden input areas. Several people also wrote in with solutions, the one currently in place is an easy semi-kludge sent along by Antony Espindola.

Link of the Day: The Bunnies Strike Back a sequel to the famed Bunny Survival Tests. Thanks Caliban.



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