July 20,1999 -- Previous Mailbag

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

The official Unreal Tournament Site?

From: Silent Sorrow
Subject: Is this Blue's News or the official Unreal Tournament page?

Alright, fine. I have to say it. I can't remain silent a moment longer. I read Blue's News every day (it's my start page, actually) but over the last three months or so I've grown increasingly irritated over the incredible, possibly unprecedented domination of the news page by Unreal Tournament. I feel like I've already seen and played the entire game given the literally endless number of screenshots and gameplay bits, etc., posted to your site. It's almost as if Epic is paying you to guerrilla market for them. There has scarcely been a day (believe me, I'm actually tempted to go through the archives and do a simple count--I bet I wouldn't be far off) that has passed without some mention of UT--seemingly out of all proportion to its worth, whether it's a great game or not. For God's sake, today you even went so far into the depths mundane minutiae as to post screenshots of the IRC CHAT CLIENT said to be included with UT. Really! I actually clicked the link and saw exactly what I thought I'd see: a big screenshot of a lot of people babbling.

Wow. How exciting and interesting.

Are you SURE you don't have some sort of arrangement with Epic? Because if I'm Epic marketing I have to be more than pleased with the incredible ease with which I've been able to seed dozens of gaming sites with almost daily interviews, Q&A's and screenshots (all ad nauseam) and then on top of that have them end up on a well-traveled aggregator site such as yours. Quite a coup. But you know what? In my humble opinion, I think you're overdoing it. Let them release a game that actually works properly before you fall all over yourself handing them more free publicity than they or any other game has ever seen. Done ranting. No offense. Just had to get that out of my system.

Silent Sorrow

Well obviously we're not paid off by Epic...or has all the Q3Test news of late not proven that to you? :)

Kool Mouse™

From: John Riney III
Subject: Logitech Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper

On the heels of the recently announced "monitor cooler", Logitech today announced its latest rodent, the Logitech Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper Gaming Mouse Plus. Logitech intends to capitalize on the current trend of super-cooling every concievable computer component to unheard of levels.

Senior Technician Professor Cccccccccccccccchill, Logitech's most recent hire, explained the Logitech Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper Gaming Mouse Plus for our interviewer. Professor Cccccccccccccccchill was hired by Logitech soon after his experiments with immersing a ordinary keyboard in 14 gallons of super-chilled chocolate pudding. "We managed to overclock the keyboard's scancode buffer," said Cccccccccccccccchill while taking a fresh toke off a joint, "and were able to turn on the Numlock light 0.2481 nanoseconds faster than manufacturer's specifications! Now that's innovation!" His groundbreaking research into keyboard overclocking lead Cccccccccccccccchill to begin experimenting on other input devices.
After some disastrous early work with force-feedback joysticks, resulting in the violent death of Cccccccccccccccchill's beloved cat Mitzy, he decided to concentrate on mice. Cccccccccccccccchill's experimental prototype consisted of a conventional Microsoft Mouse immersed in a vat of tapioca. The early results were sufficiently promising for Logitech to offer Cccccccccccccccchill a $15 million research budget and a senior position at the company.

At Logitech, Cccccccccccccccchill refined the design somewhat. The current Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper Gaming Mouse Plus floats in a small basin of liquid helium, ensuring a thorough cooling effect and allowing some amazing levels of overclocking. "We discovered that we could crank up an ordinary mouse's sampling rate to over 2 GHZ," grinned Cccccccccccccccchill. Although use of the mouse causes inner ear disorders to any dogs in the area, as well as localized temporal distortions, the increase in smoothness in popular games is tremendous.

Some beta testers reported slight ill effects from having their mouse hands submerged in -400 degree liquids for long periods, but all raved about the increase in control. "Until my hand broke off," gloated one enthused tester, "I was having the best game of my life! I swear I rail-spanked that guy right in the left nostril! PH34R!!!!!"
The Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper Gaming Mouse Plus will be on store shelves this month at an estimated price of US$ 10000000. The high price, according to Cccccccccccccccchill, is due to the high hazardous materials handling fees required by state and federal governments. Still, though, Cccccccccccccccchill belives that the hard-core gaming set will buy in. "If you absolutely, positively have to hit your target with sub-atomic accuracy," says Cccccccccccccccchill, "get a Mouseman Arctic Pro Plus Gold Ultra Super Hyper Hyper Gaming Mouse Plus today."

--John Riney


From: Chubascos
Subject: Endings...


I am a fan of your site and visit it at least twice daily to keep up on the news. I was reading through the mailbag today and saw the message about Kingpin's ending and your reference to the console systems of old that had bad endings. Have you ever beaten Quake II in single player? Its the same deal!!! You get the console with "THE END" in big white letters! I was horrified. The rendered intro sequence was actually decent... why couldn't they do one at the end? I must say I was dissapointed... especially with it on the hard difficulty! I guess some games will end better then others, eh?


id has a loooong history of lousy endings (they seemed to get worse with each progressive game), Doom, Wolfenstein 3D, heck, even the Commander Keen games had pretty lame endings. But the all time reigning champ for the worst id ending would have to be the original Quake. Yes, Quake 1, which made absolutely no sense whatsoever. At least Quake II had something to do with the game that proceeded it!

More from the Linux geeks.

From: Drennan Smith
Subject: A reply...

Hey Guys,

Saw this in your most recent mailbag...

>This is interesting...
>Microsoft's own version of GeoCities, runs off Apache

Also on a similar note, after MS bought Hotmail they tried without success to transfer Hotmail's servers from Solaris to NT 4, eventually returning to Solaris...

Drennan Smith

I should point out, since it was brought to my attention by one reader, that Apache runs just peachy under NT. Of course, that still doesn't change the fact that they're using a freeware web server instead of their own, highly touted piece of software...but it should be mentioned anyway.

Take that you Mac freaks!

From: Pheral
Subject: q3test phase 4

Well well well... looks like the little mac'ers are crying now... Serves 'em right for laughing at us because they got the first test earlier... I think id should hold on to the mac version of the test for a year or two, just so we can have a chance to laugh back at 'em...


P.S. id can go ahead and release the linux version as soon as possible, i have nothing against them.

Naah...I say screw 'em all. Here's to Windows dominance! W00p, w00p!

(The proceeding was sarcasm. Send any hate mail to

All hail to the king!

From: Robert Holm
Subject: Important news.

I'm now the official king of Quake 3. It's official.

Like I said, It's official.

(Oh man this DSL is getting to me.)

As I fall into a deep slumber. zzzzzzzzzzzz

(Blue is hardly impressed as he swiftly strikes the delete key.)

You 0wn our sorry butz.

Fearful symmetry?

From: [GoE]Hellkeeper
Subject: version-numbers

Hoi Blue!

Did you notice that the new q3-test version number is the same as the version number of quake1 when it came out as registered version (1.06)? Hmm, maybe q3test is now as good as quake when it came out *g*


I understand that the number of lines in the Q3Test code is equal to the number of hair follicles on John Romero's head as well. Truly there is some sinister higher power at work here.

Big ol' downloads.

From: Phil Hall
Subject: Q3test 1.06 demo download size

What is the deal with ID making the 1.06 demo 31MB in size? Hello! I, and a lot of other people, are still on a lame-ass 33.6 modem (until TCI gets my cable hookup).

This is unacceptible to anyone with half a brain, especially since ID declared that no magazine or anyone could have 1.06 on a CD. That's major BS.

They should have just made a patch file for us who already had 1.05 installed. You guys are respected, can't you explain to these companies that not everyone has the "fat pipt" to the house yet. Please! Makes one want to scream.

Phil "Cain" Hall

PS--a similar letter was sent to ID already, we'll see if they listen.

It sucks, no question, but you gotta admit that the test is significantly smaller than a lot of demos these days, which are moving steadily higher and higher. And hey...I feel your pain. Until Thursday, I'm on a dialup as well.

Regarding Outcast.

From: Lars Westergren
Subject: Outcast out in Europe


Outcast has been out in most of Europe for a week or two, and for those Americans who didn't download the 116 MB demo (who did???) I must say you are in for a great surprise. I was very disappointed in the voxel graphics at first since the insides of houses and close up faces looked so primitive, but when you got to the enormous and varied outdoor levels you will first get used to it and then be more and more impressed as the game progresses. (People who think that "Hyrule Field" in Zelda is a big outdoor level should see this!)

The fighting is difficult, action filled and quite thrilling, but the best thing about the game is the varied interaction with the people you meet, and exploring the flora, fauna, religions, intrigues, language(!) and customs of this strange new world. The game has been developed by a European team, and I think it shows. Characters personalities and backgrounds are very rounded and developed (compared to, say, Half-Life. What do you know about Gordon Freeman except his MIT education and a single photo in his locker?). Animals in Outcast are somewhat anatomically correct (your ostrich like riding animals have large and realistic anuses), and further into the game I have heard hints that mature themes will be explored.

Actually, come to think of it, the BEST thing is the atmospheric ambient sounds (think Unreal squared) and the beautiful movie like music, performed by the Moscow Orchestra and Chorus. Utterly awesome!

Unfortunately I haven't seen any online reviews yet.


I've heard similar things from people - once you get by the ugly Voxels, it's a great game...the same thing happened with Delta Force, which really was a very good game once you got by the ugly visuals. I'm definitely looking forward to the stateside release of Outcast so I can give it a whirl.

Who do MacVoodoo?

From: Beavis
Subject: Mac Voodoo2 drivers

Hi Blue et al.

Thanks for the Mac attention in the past few months. One teeny correction, though. Today you said:

> Mac Voodoo2 Reference Drivers [Blue-5:01 PM EDT]
> 3dfx Interactive's Voodoo2 Macintosh MacOS 8.x Reference Drivers are now
> available for Mac owners to get their first chance at V2 action. Word is
> that no support is available for these drivers. MacOS 8.x and a Voodoo2
> Accelerator required. Thanks Torsten.

Actually, there's been a Mac v2 card out for many, many moons. It's the GameWizard by MicroConversions I have one, & it's rather kewl. They were bought out by iWonder, but the cards still float around. Renegade v2 drivers ran them out of town. Hotline is a mixed blessing. </smirk>

We're all fraggots!


Graeme's scruffy picture.

From: Jeff Wilson
Subject: Pics of Graeme Devine

Anyone that is curious what the employees of their favorite game company look like may be hard pressed to find pics of Graeme Devine (being so recent an addition to id). However, any pack rats out there are in luck. Graeme is featured in the video "The Making of The 7th Guest" which was packaged with the early release of The 7th Guest.

Friends don't let friends install NT.

From: theAntiELVIS
Subject: Don't do it, man!

>>today may just be the day I go for a WinNT install

Research shows that JUST ONE MORE NT install could upset the Earth's delicate axial balance, and send us all hurtling into the Sun!


Okay, okay, that's enough out of you. Get back to gracelessland, will ya? :)

Be afraid.

From: Noah D. Burt
Subject: Big Bang Lab = Black Mesa?

I must say that the whole experiment reeks of Black Mesa activity. I can almost see the headlines now:

"Dr. Gordon Freeman saves world by jumping in black hole"

just too freaky. =)

thanks for your time.


Hey, am I the only one who's worrying that the thing might not be Y2K compliant?

Wish I thought of that...

From: Jim Magdich
Subject: Today's Bonus Link

On the subject of "Super Marketing" in comic books, don't laugh. I know the guy who holds the "patent" on 'Sea Monkeys' and he's a damn gazillionaire....


Jim Magdich

Damn, and here I thought they were just brine shrimp. Pretty cool. Do you know the guy who invented those X-Ray Specs? I always wanted those...


From: Jonathan Ruff
Subject: universal language

Art can't really be the universal language, as it doesn't have any consistent uniform nature. Not only can it interpretted differently by everyone, but the term alone means many different things to different people. Plus no two pieces of art drawn or sculpted by hand are the same. There are a bunch of other reasons, but you're a busy guy.

MATH says me!


Art does have some form of uniform nature, but it's all in the perception. Math is a good candidate...Carl Sagan certainly thought so. Thoreau said that silence was the only universal language, which I'm almost inclined to agree with...but if you ask me, the universal language isn't one that crosses cultural barriers (as there are tons of things that do that...storytelling is a great example) but one that crosses age barriers. The only thing that does that would have to be laughter - a newborn, and a man on his deathbed will both laugh similarly. Of course, you could make the argument that a newborn can interpret art...but I'm not buying it completely. :)

Is the Tiny Print™ wrong? (NO!)

From: Bishr
Subject: Tiny Print (TM) correction


"Christianity has a billion followers. Islam is next in representation with half this number."

Ahem. This is totally inaccurate. Here's the correct data, with its source.

(and I thought you guys researched this stuff...I've lost faith in you, looni!)

Religious Body

Number of Adherents

Catholic Church** 1,043,000,000

Sunni Islam* 900,000,000 source:

(Those are the two largest; Christianity has maybe 1.4 billion, Islam has about 1.2 billion)

Hope to see a correction soon; som'n on the news page about it would be nice...

Sadly, you are correct. While the Tiny Print™ is never wrong (heaven forbid!) that particular fact was out of date. Guess that's the last time I consult an old textbook for a fact, eh? ;)