June 8,1999 -- Previous Mailbag

Letters are edited for spelling errors only, and may contain profanity. Commentary by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman.

Quake 3 Complaints

From: Michael Rodriguez
Subject: Newbie Q3!

Well, for those of you out there that are wondering what the hell id is doing with Q3A, I have the answer. At this years E3 I was dying to ask anyone at the Q3A booth why their game sucked so hard. Here are some of the things I wanted to bring up to someone at id:

The plasma rifle looks like you are shooting cotton candy balls.
The back flips make me feel like I am playing Mario Bros.
You can actually see where you are shooting because the weapon effects get in the way.
The rocket launcher has almost no splash damage.
The Railgun's effects.
Those stupid jump platforms.

Well, I did get to ask these questions and more to Paul Jacquays, the first thing I asked was:

Why was there such a dramatic change in gameplay from Quake2 to Quake3A? I specifically mentioned that it is more fast-paced than Quake2. His response answered ALL of my questions, he said that they were trying to capture the new player marketplace with the gameplay style. id feels that by making the weapons easier for NEWBIES to kill with and taking the skill away from the veteran user that they will have a game that sells alot of units. I almost had nothing to say after that, I realized that all the Quake players such as myself were not in id's consideration for making this new game. Basically there are going to take their winning game format and sell it to AOL newbies.

Also, Paul is one of their level designers, he is driven by deadlines rather than creativity take a look at that 2nd map that was released with Q3Atest. Talk about a rush job! Incidently, while I was speaking to Paul I was wearing a Team Fortress 2 shirt now there is a company actually doing something different with the multi-player genre.

The best thing about Q3A is the Q3 jersey I bought.


Wait...if you don't like the game, why did you buy the jersey?

Blue's News: it's Lynx enhanced!

From: berden
Subject: browser

I just became aware of this little nick pick. Blue's News web site supports every browser that I presently have, being that I am on an older machine at the moment-my other is being updated-I was surprised to find that Blues is the only news site to have this compatibility. Thoroughness, just one of many reasons Blue's News is the standard in gaming news sites. Nuff said.

You mean Q3Test isn't Quake 3?

From: Robert Smith
Subject: q3a test and idiots who dont get it

It is truly sad to see people hassling id about q3atest, perhaps they are so used to downloading software from the net instead of paying for it that they cannot distinguish between a retail program and q3atest, id spoil us with all the goodies they chuck at us, we've had quake c, quakeworld, glquake, all the qtests and much more for FREE and people seem to be taking this for granted now.

And on the subject of content. there are a lot of people who are looking at the quake series and criticizing them for unoriginal gameplay, and i can see where they're coming from. however, i have to disagree, i DO love to play a good plot oriented game, but for me quake has never been about that, at least for me. half life was great, but strangely i played right through the game and put it back on the shelf, I still play quake.. because quake probably has the greatest "gameplay" of any game, being truly non linear. so, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that quake IS a different kind of game to half-life, because the reason people are asking for a plot in something like quake 3 is because unfortunately, as good as half life was.. the story eventually came to and end. deathmatch will never do that.


There's always something to complain about...

From: Barry Grosfield
Subject: Gripe.

Hello Loony or Blue, depending on who reads this.

I've got this little gripe about your page that I've been reading for well over a year now. It's about that blue's news logo up on top of the main page. Why does that link you to your own page? I mean, you're already there! Sometimes I accidently hit it and makes the page reload. God I hate that! :) Anyways, Keep up the good work.


Truth be told, even we're not entirely sure why it does that. I think it's a Microsoft conspiracy to continually reload your browser.

Uh...that's probably not a good idea.

From: michael
Subject: Hopping is WUSSY

Please ask for the readers, who agree with Mr. Carmack, who feel hopping to avoid damage is wussy to email Mr. Carmack and show our support of his decision to bring good old fashioned whoop ass back into the game.


That's probably not a good idea...he was mailbombed recently, and I think the only good that would come from a mass e-mail campaign right now would probably be a delay in the next release of Quake 3: Arena. In the meantime, talk about it on IRC, in newsgroups, and in forums like this one. They are listening, you know. They're all around us. Wooooooooo.

This guy has waaaay too much time on his hands.

From: Kevin Burfitt
Subject: someone else leaving ???

Name: Annakin Skywalker
Description: Jedi Knight
Project: (unknown)
Final Entry
Egads, how rumors fly so quickly and brazenly. And how scary that they are often so close to the truth and yet so far. :-)

To make a long story short, I'm leaving the Jedi.

My work with the Jedi has been a pivotal and important part of my life. I've learned a lot about the Force, team work, and dealing with being in a position of high visibility. Even better, I've made some really good friends.

The knights here have given me a great opportunity to advance myself both professionally and personally and they've rewarded me far better than expected in the process. This is a once in a lifetime gig, and will mark one of the most significant periods in my life.

For all these things and more I am hugely appreciative to Yoda, Obi, and Mace. I cannot emphasize enough what kind of a privilege and learning experience it has been working here and, specifically, working with Obi. The type of talent, genius, and hard work he has demonstrated is the kind of thing you see once in a generation, and I feel privileged to have been able to work with someone of his caliber.

I will probably remain here another week or two cleaning up loose odds and ends, getting things transfered over cleanly, and saying my goodbyes. For business stuff, if you are an Jedi wannabe, your interim point of contact will be Mace ( I expect that I will continue to receive e-mail here for a bit, so I will start forwarding relevant e-mails to the appropriate parties.

There is a sinister reason for my departure, it's actually an age old story: I got an offer from the Dark Side that, quite simply, I could not refuse. Later this week a press release will be issued announcing my new position, and I'm sure some of you will not be surprised when you see where I've ended up. :-)

Signing off,
Anakin Skywalker

Okay, i'll admit it. That was clever.

Mexican Jumping Quakes?

From: Brian Tickler
Subject: Tribes 2 @ E3

After reading John Carmack's .plan this morning, I could barely restrain my joy at the notion or not having to put up with all the "Mexican jumping bean" players out there :) I'm sure you'll be receiving lots of Email from people who can't dodge any other way; and doubtless they'll be upset...but let's face it, the incessant "huah huah huah" of the non-stop jumpers only detracted from the game's suspension of disbelief. What would really be great would be for players to fall to their knees and have to huff and puff for 5 seconds (assuring their death of course) after 15 seconds of continuous jumping...The next great step (for CTF): a delay between grapple launches. This would cause the "grapple to the ceiling 80 times while trying to escape with the flag" people to actually have to learn some skills and use their brains...

Um...ION Storm?

From: Roger Dankert
Subject: re: Brian Hook leaving id

Now this is just a wild guess, but who is looking for talent right now in the same state?

REMEMBER! This is just one person's guess....

I think he's going to Ion Storm.

Roger Dankert
AKA: El Guapo in all quake games
Austin, TX USA

Obviously the truth is out now (he's going to Verant, the makers of Everquest) but jeez, dude...that was a pretty weak guess. ;)

Should have made that bet...

From: Carl and Becky Christensen
Subject: mailbag

I don't know when he'll announce it, but I'm betting he's going to work on Everquest!

Well lookit you...should have made that'd be a couple of bucks richer.

Quick, the boss is coming! Hide the pr0n!

From: Aleks Zawisza
Subject: Blue's News undercover?

I'm an avid reader, and like many other people, I read your page at *gasp* work...

Well, as you might or might not know, reading "recreation" web pages at work is a no-no and it puts a lot of pressure on the reader. It wouldn't be so bad if pages like Blue's News looked more "casual", so that you could pretend it's serious reading material. Not that it's not serious, but you know what I mean.

So, this is what I propose. How about you write a script or something, some nifty gizmo, that lets readers pick a bare-bones version of your news page, on a white background, so that they can read it at work without attracting unwanted attention from the internet police? Would that take a lot of work? I'm sure many people would love that.
Aleks Zawisza

I hear you, man...what you need is something the old PC version of Tetris used to have: a "boss panic button." What it was, is a key you could hit when your boss walked by, that would instantly turn your screen into a spreadsheet. It wasn't exactly foolproof...heck, if anyone bothered to read your screen they'd instantly know what you were doing, but if they were casually walking by it was wonderful. I'd look around...this is too common a problem not to have an easy, downloadable solution.

More Q3A Thoughts

From: Philip Mayes
Subject: Re: My Thoughts

You know, it's letters like this that make me angry!! uninformed assumptions and personal opinions passed off as a logical argument. grrrrr....

"I think Q3A will be a success but not for long, I think they have carried the old "run around, find the rocket launcher and kill" theme around far too long. It should of stopped at Q2."

Well welcome to the first person shooter. when i think back over half-life wasn't i really just running around picking up increasingly powerful weapons and shooting things? run-shoot-kill is at the heart of any FPS game. take that away and what do you have?

"Q3A should of incorporated something that was rather different between the normal quake style of gameplay. The normal Quake style of gameplay is a lackluster single player game with multiplayer added on top. the gameplay of Q3A couldn't be any more different. Although many people enjoy this style like myself, q3a is yet just another one added on top with better visuals and a few new weapons. I see it as being a mod for Q2 really, you don't see many changes between the three games; besides the weapons, model animations, curves, fog etc. oh, and yeah, it has a new engine, new maps, new gameplay, new graphics...."

oh hang on, doesn't that make it a totally new game?

"If id had a Single Player that had a story, strategy, suspense theme like Half-Life, I'm sure it would sell ten times more than just a multi-player edition that includes bots."

Perhaps if all the world thought like yourself. Here's a quick anecdote: I used to live in a house where we had 3 computers on a LAN. 2on1 CTF is not a lot of fun, so we'd play Quake2 with the Eraser bots to make up numbers and had a blast! Bots aren't as pathetic as people think. The Gladiator bot is now the king of the house, and these are bots written by the MOD community. imagine how well two dedicated programmers at id, who can alter and change the game code, will fare. and knowing Carmack's on desire to get these bots done right, i feel people will be suprised when the bots finally arrive.

"Sure bots are good and all but they will get boring very quickly. Most of the time we only play single player once, but still it adds to the whole point in buying the game. "

Oh, you've played against these bots have you? Reserve your judgment until you actually have something to judge. Also, you are making the point that you'd rather have a Single Player game that you play once than a Multiplayer game that you'd play for hundreds of hours? i don't buy that.

"All the rant over the last couple of months confronts me as being nothing to special. I was really looking forward to Q3test, but no I see that there hasn't been all that many drastic changes in the gameplay issues at all. Now I'll discuss some issues that I think where a let down in the test release (I'm your English teacher now biatch!). "

uh, who needs the English teacher?

"* The fact that id released the test without all the weapons in the maps kinda sucked, of course they want to save some good things for the release but how are we supposed to test these out to give you our thoughts on them? We cant! "

Ummm, I thought we were meant to be testing the network code and engine stability?

"* id released only two maps, Test map 1 and The Longest Yard, I found this disappointing, 3 maps would of been decent because then we would not become as bored of it as we all now, I mean sure when we got it we did not sleep for the next 48hours but now we aren't bored of it, just cant be bothered playing it because we are bored of the maps. Plus the other thing I noticed is that they should of released a map that had more Volumetric Fog. Once again, how can we give our response's about this if there's only one room that has very little of it in there? "

Only 2 maps?? What kind of a stupid whine is that!?! i mean, why stop at 3? We'd surely get bored of that new map too... why doesn't id release 30 maps? And all the weapons? And the bots? Why don't they just give us the whole damned game and then we can tell them if we like it. THIS IS ONLY A TEST. it is not even a demo. stop trying to make it more than it is.

"* A rather STOOPID thing, the player does backflips right? Ever noticed how stupid, and crap it looks when someone jumps backwards, resulting in a back flip and then fires his gun! I tell ya, I wouldn't like a rail trail(TM) coming out of my arse whilst in mid-flight. Something they definitely need to change. " please you. you know, for every opinion you have there are hundreds of people out there that feel exactly the opposite. id have asked for the community input to help make Quake3 a better game for everyone, not for you and your mates. personally i would love to be able to fire rails out my ass. just think of the havoc you could cause after a meal of baked beans....

"I think overall Q3A will be popular because of id's reputation, although I don't think it will be a favorite for very long with things like TF2 coming out in September and so on."

i won't even get into the realistic warfare vs. hardcore deathmatch debate. suffice to say, TF2 and Q3A are appealing to 2 different audiences, and i feel both will be successful in their own right.

"Hopefully id's next game will incorporate Single Player and a new strategy in the way death match is evolved with a different weapon that dominates rather than the Rocket Launcher all the time. "

like the gluon and hornet guns in Half-life? weapon dominance sucks, player dominance (through skill) rules. A good SP comes at the expense of a good MP, and vice versa. why not concentrate on the one you do well? more power to id i say :)

i could go on for hours about this, but ill try and summarize. Quake 3 Test is only a test. it is not a demo and is not indicative of the final game. Don't criticize things (bots, other weapons, lack of levels) that you haven't seen. Don't pretend your opinions are the same as everyone's and don't pass them off as facts

Think before you type! gah! It feels better to get that off my chest.....


Philip Mayes
(aka PorkBelly)

The big issues.

From: Geoff Gasior
Subject: Ray Simpson and Righteous Christians

An interesting little bit of trivia for the righteous Christians looking to place blame on violence in society for the Columbine shootings...

"I think people should see the obvious idea that there was no TV, there were no books, there was no music to inspire Cain killing Abel, and that kind of set the tone for the rest of mankind. Man is violent by nature, and he doesn't need inspiration for what he's going to do."

-Marilyn Manson in an MTV 1515 interview

I'm sick and tired of 'righteous' Christians professing to be the model for humanity while their own holy book is so mired in hypocrisy. The Columbine shootings were a senseless act and it doesn't come down to violence in society, or a lack or morals, or a lack of good parenting, or even gun control... those are all just scapegoats for our inability to comprehend the fact that two people had the mental dysfunction to kill in such large numbers and with such brutality. The fact that we don't really have them to blame as they took their own lives further compounds the need to find some plausible answer to this horrific act. Unfortunately there are just some things in life that we will never be able to truly understand, and some answers we may wish to even ignore... but that doesn't mean we should scapegoat anyone and anything that we can link to what we can't explain.

Beware of God

Geoff Gasior

To Ray Simpson: I feel you're stereotyping Quake or Unreal players a little too obviously here... assuming that someone is great at Quake or Unreal doesn't preclude them from being 'great at life.' I think you may need to revamp your image of the typical Quake player as we're not all overweight, pimply teen-agers holed up in the basement clutching our computers... we have lives, jobs, hobbies, etc... Don't try to preach to us about 'offering something of our own,' you're assumptions are both irresponsible and alarming. I would have thought someone with your Christian ideals would be a little less judgmental.

My lord...was that an intelligent quote from Marilyn Manson? Surely that's a first. ;)

Seriously, you do make a good point, but it's important to recognize that we all come from different backgrounds. Argue as much as you like, but in this issue you're walking a fine line between arguing and insulting another person's beliefs. Don't confuse who the real enemy is in all of's not the religious right, or id, 3D Realms, or Columbia Pictures, it's the kids themselves.

Oy with the T-Shirts.

From: Sean Malone
Subject: Yes more T-Shirt requests

Oh how sad I am. Once again, while sitting on your blue throne and with a subtle royal, wave of dismissal, we loyal Blue's News readers are left wearing T-shirts from lesser game pages. How the children mock me when I go outside. Not even a patronizing pat on the head, or empty promises of T-shirts to come. I was even saving up my "left over assorted Slip Gate Central socks" joke. We expect royalty to be aloof, but being forced to go out amongst the living without the proper attire (Blue's News T-shirts) is downright tyranny!

I guess now isn't a good time to point out the fact that I've got a couple Blue's News shirts then, huh? (Even Blue himself doesn't have one).

Hey, what did Brian Hook do, anyway?

From: Thomas Grimes
Subject: Brian Hook

I know that Brian Hook is a programmer at id. Well was. At least that what his plan said. What i want to know though is what exactly did Brian do in the creation of id's games. Because i know JohnC programmed the engines so i was thinking, "well then what part of the programming did Brian do." And it is sad to see one of id's employees leave. Just like when John Romero left i was like, "WTF??" Now him, i hope no one else leaves. Welp that's it for now.


Well, first of all, John Carmack isn't the only programmer at id, in fact John Cash was the lead programmer on Quake 2. Brian Hook's specialty was in graphics programming, and he concentrated exclusively on that, allowing Carmack to work on all the other stuff I can't comprehend.

On media responsibility - or lack thereof.

From: Steven G. Lynch
Subject: Media there such a thing?

I am a friend of a friend of a cousins brothers niece' nephew who knew this guy that saw the whole damn Columbine thing on TV..... and I'm suffering. Suffering through 24hr / 7 day a week coverage of one of the most senseless/asshole things known to man, committed by social retards ( non-PC term.. oops). The flood of the" 'insert group here' should accept responsibility" stuff has totally overlooked a whole group in themselves...

CNN, ABC, FOX, HNN, TNN, CBS. . . etc. etc. etc. The 24/7 BOMBARDMENT of this crap can in no way HELP a situation. Here's a scenario I believe can easily happen directly resulting from "Headline News, all todays top stories every fuckin' fifteen seconds. . . over and over..."

. . . . I think the media and it's feeding frenzy has accepted NO responsibility for not only encouraging that "borderline" homicidal bunch (regardless of HOW he became that way) but SHOWING him a way of "taking a stand" and becoming INFAMOUS!!! Every household in the country KNOWS those two rejects names, and how they will always be remembered because of the CONSTANT barrage of headline news stories about who what how and where. No one has once said " Gee Mr. Headline Newsman, wouldn't it be more productive if you fuckin' vultures maybe LANDED that NewsCopter and helped the wounded instead of circling the school grounds trying to get "GOOD FOOTAGE" of the CHILDREN running for their lives?? Instead of the reporter standing in front of the school where shots are ringing out saying " Tom Sawyer here, standing in front of Columbine Highschool where children are being killed by two nuts as we speak,we are going to IMMORTALIZE in the media. . . blah blah blah" maybe you could forego the goddamn cameras for a minute and help. Now every fucked up kid in the country that saw an upside down pretzelgram ( a sure sign that if viewed with the naked eye in a video game makes you a raging homicidal maniac) is now being bombarded with this CONSTANT coverage that lets them know "Attention all screwed up kids, commit a heinous crime in a school and we promise to cover it all day all night for weeks to come, insuring you'll be remembered by millions..."

I think it's a valid point that when parents are unaware that poor Homicidal Johnny has been on the internet for 16 hours a day... maybe thats a bad sign. Maybe when Homicidal Johnny doesn't get the right medication today, maybe he shouldn't be playing Doom or Unreal. But most important of all. . . . .

MAYBE WHEN HOMOCIDAL JOHNNY ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTIONS ON A DAY TO DAY BASIS, MAYBE IT'LL BE O.K. FOR HIM TO WATCH SCARY MOVIES AND PLAY THEM SATANIC THINGS CALLED VIDEO GAMES. Because then and only then, when he is held accountable for his own actions ON A DAILY basis, and Network news isn't running NON-STOP coverage of "Great HOMOCIDAL ideas in progress" things like this will be few and far between....

Don't like my assessment. . . . think about this...

How many incident have occurred like this before the MASSMEDIA coverage of the Columbine incident???

How many have happened since the MASSMEDIA coverage???

Scary, now isn't it?

I couldn't give a rip about news ratings anyway. . . . making my opinion, in their eyes, invalid anyway.

Send all hate mail to:
Steven Lynch

Well, it is true that the Columbine shooting incident is one of the most covered news stories ever (frightening thought, but it's true), but you can't hold the media any more responsible than you can yourself for watching it. It's a viscious circle you get into when you start pointing always ends with you pointing the finger straight at yourself.