April 18,1999 -- Previous Mailbag

Letters are edited for spelling errors only. Commentary by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman.

Looks like I've been found out...

From: jonathan
Subject: religion degree

wow, now that's interesting. So who is it with the theological degree, and what sort of degree is it?



From: Jeremy Williams
Subject: Read my Watchtower?

Hello, brother, I just thought I'd write in to say I'm one of the other Religion majors. Always good to hear there are more. So, have you found a practical use for it yet? The rest of us are in need of some divine inspiration.

Jeremy Williams

Alrighty kids, you caught me. In a few scant weeks, I will be the proud owner of an undergraduate degree in religious studies. As you can see from the work I'm doing here, it's being put to good use. Just wait until I get my graduate degree...then I'll really be doing some great news updates on Quake mods. ;)

Bueller? Bueller?

From: Sennan Lagaluga
Subject: Starship Troopers from GT Interactive(?)

Starship Troopers... game based on the movie, have you heard anything about it? release date etc. I am dying to give this game a go!


I know of two Starship Troopers games, actually. There's the one by Kesmai that's been live for quite some time now over on GameStorm, and then there was one that was in the works from Microprose, but that seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. If you're looking for Starship Troopers-esque games, look no further than good ol' fashioned Doom (which if you ask me is so much like that movie, it's scary) and of course, Quake II. Paul Steed has said on a number of occasions that the intro movie to Quake II was inspired by Starship Troopers (the Heinlein novel, not the Verhoven movie).

More on the lawsuit...

From: Paul Furio
Subject: Mailbag letters about Teen Murders Lawsuit

Greetings. I just read through the mailbag letters regarding the lawsuit by parents against various entertainment firms. I thought I'd add a little heat to the fire...

First: It is truly tragic that these children were killed. However, it would seem to me that the only person who stands to gain anything from this lawsuit is the lawyer who is presenting it, and he will probably not get much more than his retainer. No precedent exists for this kind of case to go forward, and it it doubtful at best that this will change with this case.

Second: I don't think this particular crime is any indication as to "The Decline of America." The notion that this country was once a great and stable nation is sadly an illusion. Things are now simultaneously as good and bad as things have ever been, give or take, and will probably remain as such. Any solid research into our domestic history will attest to that. People tend to think that things were "better in the old days" simply because of the lack of accumulated life experience they had back in "the old days."

Third: Preventing or at least minimizing the chances that such an event will occur in the near future is not the responsibility of some nebulous presence known collectively as "the media" or "game makers" but is the responsibility of every citizen of the country, and even the world. Taking the time to think rationally about matters, teaching our children and even our adults to find constructive outlets for their emotions, tolerating that which is different instead of fearing it, all these things take effort and time. And yet it is these things, not legislation written on paper, not suits debating in a pristine chamber of government, not more soldiers of peace parading the streets, which breed a society that may hope to reduce it's own misfortune. Sadly, how many people will ever consider this option in their lives?

I have a great respect for the people who contribute to this site, either by creating content, making the games that are featured on it, or just checking in now and again. On the whole, we represent a reasonably well educated open minded segment of society. Yet, our focus is on generally violent games. It is a testament to our ability to realize that these games are an outlet, not an end, and that we and our parents take the effort to instill this ability to reason within us, that makes us good citizens. If only the world could emulate these qualities, and realize that even in great tragedies it is better to fix the flaws in ourselves and work for improvements on a local scale than to point broadly waving fingers at distant entities, how much better a place would the world be?

Thanks for your time.


From: Travis Schneider
Subject: re: this ID lawsuit thing

I am totally blown away by the greed shown by these parents and their "representation". Do they ask for counseling or psychiatric care or neutering or something for their kid? No, they ask for money.

And as for that "Doom made him kill better", hell, all those kids had to do was climb UP something, and the killer wouldn't have been able to track them.. Unless he learned that "+mouselook" from Quake. And he wouldn't have known how to jump either.

On to their "games taught him that killing was OK", I mean, are you people IDIOTS? Since the dawn of time absolutely EVERY primitive culture has recognized that killing one another is morally wrong. Some scientists believe its even hard-coded in our genes. So this clown somehow was able to undo millions of years of social evolution with a few sessions in front of a video game? Right, right.

Then there's the issue of where he got 5 guns from. It's not exactly from Aisle #9 at K-Mart now is it?

This lawsuit has no merit. Any judge with half a brain will throw this out, and slap an extreme stupidity fine on the parents and lawyers.


From: Ross
Subject: Mailbag

Hi, I was reading the mailbag about the lawsuit against id (frankly, I could care less about the other companies) and I noticed that almost all of the things that people were saying had a common flaw. About 95% of the mails I read were written by people who thought the parents of the GUNMAN were suing, when in fact it is the parents of the victim. I just thought you might want to clear that up.

(Second letter):

In fact, now that I am done reading that mailbag on the lawsuit, I did not read a single mail that had the facts straight. Every single letter I read said that the parents should take the blame instead of placing it on others, and only the truly sadistic would actually try to blame the parents of the victims for this shooting.

-Ross McIntosh


From: Jeremy Goodner
Subject: RE: Parents suing game companies.

Could you see if you can't dig up an actual press release of the story on the 14yr old that killed his classmates and now the parents are suing everyone in site. And post it, I want to read it and I'm sure others do to but don't really feel like looking for one. Thanks.


I guess I could make some snide comment about laziness here, but hey...I'm in a good mood. :)

Here's some stories from CNN:

And of course, you can find the Blue's News reports of the lawsuit here:

Unreal Shareware?

From: Martin Edelius
Subject: Unreal Shareware?

"... (though it doesn't mention if it will be out before the Unreal shareware)."

Well, it seems more and more as Epic is taking a Monolithic approach to the Unreal shareware and will ignore it until nobody wants it anymore. I hope not but that's how it looks... 8/

-- Martin
Unreal Nation
"Just the facts, ma'am."

What I find strange about the Unreal shareware, is that there's an OEM demo available that comes with various hardware. Why Epic doesn't just package that up as a massive download and call it a shareware version is beyond me. It would probably be about 100+ megs, but least they'd have a demo out already.

Oh, and for you pop culture's a quote in response to Martin's sig file:

"Anything else, sir?"
"Just the fax, ma'am."

Balls of Steel?

From: Dave Pletcher
Subject: Balls of Steel


Thanks for the link to the "Balls of Steel" patch. It's a great game if you don't have it, buy it. When I'm not playing Quake II, that's what I'm playing.


Admit it. You're just playing it so you can say you have balls of steel.

To each their own...

From: Dennis Gorrie
Subject: Q3 wallpaper - Quake/Quake2/Quake3 monsters

Is it just me, or does ID have a hard time making scary looking models? This Q3 model that's been shown around, with alien looking creature with spikes out of it's back, is just plain stupid. I don't know if I should laugh or cry? Many model son Q2pmp are much scarier looking. Steed knows how to make fine models, but it sure would be nice to see something that looks at least half-scary for a change. Baron of Hell, Cyberdemon, Arch Vile, Revenant etc. all look a lot more scarier (imho).

Gotta love our readers...

From: Tom McLeod III
Subject: Correction.

I know I'm not the regular guy to send in these kind of itty-bitty things, but I thought I might as well, as he might be sick today. (Ant? I can't remember who it is you always mention, Blue.)

Anyway, in the Review section for today, you have a semicolon instead of a colon in your mention of "Requiem: Avenging Angel." It's possible that you only have part of a colon left, with taxes due today, but I thought I'd point it out.

By the way, why not put hardware bits in bullets also?

Have a nice day, all.


PS - Thanks *so* much for that support link of the day, I've been able to clear out almost 3 megs so far on an old 486 (caught a great deal on floppy disks at =o)

Hey Tom, any relation to Conner MacLeod (of the Clan MacLeod)? :)

Taxes really hit the Blue tower hard...for a while there the only punctuation we were allowed to use was commas and can't imagine just how tiring that's a pain in the tuchus to not be able to use periods at all...


From: John Hodorowicz
Subject: q3test file found

Hey look at this directory

Look for the 100+ MB file q3test.exe. (Seriously!)

Too bad I get permission denied w/ cuteftp (any suggestions?)

Looks like someone's pulling your leg there...for starters, if I recall correctly, the file size on Q3Test was estimated around 20 meg, not 110 like that file is. Also, that says it was uploaded on April 4th...we would have heard something by now, don't you think?

More Daikatana feedback...

From: David Krider
Subject: Daikatana Updates

"From: Nolan Bailey

Can you please post something positive about Daikatana...? and cover it with some of your frequent updates...? I've really become frustrated how you never seem to post anything about this game... when you do post about the company or the game... it is usually a link to a slam article... or some sort of negative press."

Huh? I've seen two years... count them... TWO YEARS of press on Daikatana, and have NOT seen so much as even a "test" of the game. I have heard PLENTY about the game. In fact, I think we all have heard plenty about the game by now. So much so that I think if Romero and Co. didn't say another word until shipment, there'd still have been enough said about the game.

Seriously, it seems Romero started his company specifically to make that game, and he laid on the hype thick and heavy for the first year. I thought he was just a couple months away from shipping when Ion was first founded because of all the press. It gives other shipping games an unfair slight when a company with as much reputation that they have (or had, as the case might be) give so much time and money to promoting their game.

In fact, it's much like Microsoft's attempt to divert the corporate world from a shipping product (Novell's NDS) while they hype their still nonexistent and two-years-late product (Active Directory.) Let's get coverage on SHIPPING products, or at least games that are due Real Soon Now (TM). Games (and software in general) that isn't anywhere close to market ought to have a mention, but it's not worth anyone's time - no matter how much you salivate over a particular product - to give complete coverage to something that will change before you get it.

David "Dunkirk" Krider

In all fairness it should be pointed out that there is a Daikatana "test" out there, the Mplayer demo. Of course, some people simply refuse to use Mplayer, so I guess that doesn't count for them.

One for the conspiracy nuts...

From: John Nevaquaya
Subject: Re: An impassioned plea ( Daikatana )

Let me guess. Nolan Bailey is a pseudonym for John Romero. Heh, what's next - a cardboard sign and the streetcorner?

Yes, that was The Romero. He's also written every article about ION Storm (except that Dallas Observer one) under various pseudonyms. In fact, it's true...I'm really John Romero. And no, you can't touch my hair, dammit.

Just kidding. Everyone knows my hair is way better than Romero's.

You want me to plug that where?

From: czar
Subject: re: ultimate mouse

Optical mice are all right, but they require a flat, stable area. You can't get food anywhere near the pad, and if you get fingerprints on the pad, forget it. The ultimate interface would link your brain to the PC.

But I like the Keytronics mouse that doesn't use a ball. Instead it uses two wheels to make direct contact with whatever surface the mouse is on. The wheels are connected directly to the optical trackers. Use PS2rate to kick up the sample rate, and you get some great tracking. You really gotta see it for yourself.

I'm sorry, but I've got a hard enough time dealing with a Microsoft OS on my hard think I'm going to plug one into my brain? And don't get me started with Linux...I ain't uploading anything that's open source into my head either. That's just nutty. With my luck, it'd be a Trojan horse that'll make me act like a chicken or something.

I just like saying "wacom"

From: Ken Alverson
Subject: mice

In response to the laser mouse letter, I'd first like to say that I still have one of those mice at home, I've also long since moved on to "regular" mice, my Logitech MouseMan+ suits me very well right now. I think the true future of mice is in the direction of large Wacom style tablets with mouse shaped pointing devices. There already exist tablets that take any number of different pointing devices including pens, mouse type devices, cad pucks and others. The resolution is great, depending on which pad you get, my cheap Wacom Penpartner (I only have a pen for it, no pucks or mice) has 1000 dpi resolution, compared to the 300-400 dpi of most mice. The tablets can even detect pressure, which is great for Photoshop and could be used innovatively in gaming as well. The biggest problem currently is price - my small tablet (4x5, low res for a tablet, only have a pen) was $60, for a higher end 4x5 it costs around $100, and for larger tablets the price jumps significantly.
Ken Alverson
Programmer, Desktop Publisher, Network Consultant

I've got a Wacom tablet, several mice, and my lovely Trackman Marble...I use the tablet and trackball for graphics stuff, and my mouse for games. You ever try playing Quake with a Wacom tablet? Yeow.

Maybe that's giving her a *bit* too much credit?

From: LordXar
Subject: Regarding Alanis' Irony

Joe Kennedy said, posted in your Mailbag:

"Heh heeeee! Got a grin by way of "Out of the Blue" today. Nice to know it's not just me that has a problem with Alanis Morrisette's perception of irony. Although I really dig the song, it's pretty clear to me she's clueless on the subject. "...Like rain on your wedding day," "A traffic jam when your already late." Those things
aren't ironic in the *least* bit. Frustrating maybe, but irony???

I think not.

(edited because, well, it was boring.)

-Malcontent (Joe Kennedy) "

This guy, Joe Kennedy, is a twit. Alanis is smarter than this. She knew perfectly well that those situations were not irony--the simple fact that none of those situations were ironic, yet the song is called Ironic, makes the entire thing Irony.

The same goes for her new song, Unsent. They were Unset love letters. Well, they're no longer Unsent. Alanis knows this.

Jeeze. Dimwits.
LordXar_, of the Nexus

I like exclamation points!

From: Chris Sibert

Dear Blue,

That little search box is a neat idea. But what is the origin of the propensity for programmers to put exclamations on things !? What is the purpose behind it ! Why are they shouting at us !? What gives !?


A good software developer has to have reasonable people skills in order to write good code. Other developers will be using their code in the future, and good communication skills equate to well written and understandable code.

As a developer myself, it's always a dead giveaway for the incompetent, in my opinion. These incompetent programmers have to yell at people constantly, "Don't do that!", because their software is written so poorly, it will trash itself quite freely. Bad programmers think that mistakes that the user makes are the user's fault but in general, it's that they've written the software so poorly in the first place. I think that it boils down to that the exclamations are just a form of yelling and obnoxious condescension towards the user. Exclamations show a real propensity for blaming others for one's own incompetence.

Chris Sibert

Actually, you can blame me for the exclamation point in wasn't in there originally, and I thought it looked a little...unenthusiastic. Once we added the exclamation point, it looked much happier, IMHO. :)