September 9th -- Previous Mailbag

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

Don't ever say we don't try.

From: Chuck
Subject: No where else to turn...


This may not be the place, but have tried all other online sources.

Bought new 'Blade Runner' game..and it works fine. BUT cannot get out of first part of it, or get any hints as to concept of what to do next with theclues. Just keep going round and round.

Online 'Blade Runner' 'Help' sources will not reply.

Have been 'dead in the water' for 2 weeks.....

Can you help?


If you're where I think you are in the game, you'll need to go back to your apartment and sleep before it'll move on to the next chapter. If that still doesn't help, try looking around BladeZone, the resource for all things Blade Runner.

Totally hardcore.

From: Dave Raftery
Subject: Not here too

This is in response to a message by fRy concerning id's apparent abandoning of the 'hardcore gamers'. To you I say: get a life.

The music scene is bad enough, with everyone preaching that they're more hardcore than the next guy, don't make the games scene that pathetic. I am sure you are forgetting you were a newbie once before. Everyone was. There was even a time when Carmack himself hadn't played a computer game. Hard to imagine isn't it?

Q3Arena will be an excellent game, id has proven time and time again that they can pump out classics. As to your objection of the colors, thats fine, a personal preference. As for me, I enjoy a change now and then. Quake was good, but browns can only go so far.

Anyway, if you hate these newbies so much, and they're so pathetic in your eyes, arent they just more people for you to frag? hardcore boy?

-- DaveR

Open source the mods?

From: William Robert Night
Subject: Mailbag - Compiled code in Tribes

People are asking Dynamix for the ability to compile Tribes 2 mod code to stop people from reading it. What hypocrites. The source is available for default Tribes like the QuakeC was for Quake 1, this is how they got started in coding. It's not like they used a debugger and watched tribes execute instruction by instruction to reverse engineer the spec. They took the code that was provided to the community and started modifying it. Now they want to deprive other people from the ability to look at code their code. What hypocrits.

Existing copyright laws deal perfectly with this. If someone uses, verbatim, a code snippet that you wrote, you have legal recourse to make them stop. That's the protection they claim to want from Dynamix.

But what they really want is the ability to keep secrets. If they develop some neat little piece of code they want to keep anyone else from looking at it and learning how it was done, no matter that they took all of their code from someone else to begin with.

The fact that mods have been open source hasn't slowed down Quake mods, nor will it slow down Quake 3 (which will have decompilable mods). If one mod was a copy of another there'd be a public backlash on the forums and the copycat mod would go away.

And it's helped mods a lot. CRT of Rocket Arena fame has released RA2 source to help new coders write mods. Zoid has released CTF source (even back when he wasn't an id employee) to help new coders.

Now people want to take this sort of legacy and destroy it, all so that they can be assured that nobody can benefit from what they write.

How childish. I say screw em. Open source in mods. Mail Dynamix and let them know that Open Source has helped speed mod development in Tribes and other games and that you want it to continue.

The death of co-op.

From: David Rehm
Subject: sad no co-op trend

I truly believe this calls for an outstanding rant, yet I at the moment haven't the time or energy for one. Simply, with all the focus on multi-player and how much more fun these games are with buddies, I find it a very near-sighted and foolish decision to not support co-op in current and upcoming games.

Even those games which included it (quake2, etc) had poor, almost last-minute 'hacks' instead of true co-op mode. I, for one, have been _dying_ for a great co-op experience, and I believe once the SS2 patch allowing for co-op comes out (I think this game _screams_ co-op) it is going to smack all these developers in the face and we'll here all these announcements for "immersive co-operative campaigning with complete storylines". Seriously, what better than to bring together the two opposite ends of the spectrum, single-player and multi-player, then to integrate them into gameplay that lets you experience an interactive storyline *with* other players??

And all this bullshit regarding "the cinematics" is completely dumb. Pre-rendered cinematics, yes, but nobody likes/wants these anymore! In-game, in-engine cutscenes are the way to go, they take less space, seem more integrated, and allow for more flexibility, _including_ the implementation of more or less characters with simple 'if' statements so that co-operative players would also be represented in cut-scenes nd fit into the storyline.

Mark my words, one of the Next Big Thing(s) <tm> in the FPS genre is going to be "completely co operative single-player-esque gameplay".. in the meantime, i guess we'll have to satisfy ourselves with TeamFortress2's multi-level campaigns, which will at least be a step in the right direction.

David 'daDocta' Rehm

The problem isn't the in-engine cutscenes, it's the scripted sequences. If you missed the scripted sequences in Half-Life, would the game have been the same? It's doubtful. Games that are created for a single player experience simply don't work with co-op anymore.

That's not to say that co-op has to die, it just needs to evolve. Baldur's Gate works as a completely co-op experience, as will Vampire: The Masquerade when it's released. The days of a game that supports single player games, co-op games, DM and teamplay are behind us, I'm afraid.

The what game?

From: Darcy Brockbank
Subject: funny

Eidos reported earnings today. This was in the WSJ online:

"During the first quarter the company was dismissed from a lawsuit bought against Eidos as one of a number of games, media companies and Internet service providers who make or provide access to violent entertainment.

The suit was brought by the parents of school children killed in a 1997 shooting in Kentucky. The plaintiffs, however, excluded Eidos voluntarily -- the Basketball Diaries game which was named in the action had not been published at the time of the shootings."

I find it funny because it shows you just how much merit these suits have. Damn lawyers just blitz it forward without thinking. If they're blaming vaporware, they might as well blame Satan too.

- van der leest

Um...correct me if I'm wrong here, but there is no game based on the Basketball Diaries. Never was, never will be. What kind of a game would that be?

I can see it now: you play a young Jim Carroll, and it's your duty to take heroin, get horribly addicted, and then wean yourself off in an excruciatingly painful manner (while writing really nice poetry).

Again with the nude reptiles.

From: Michael McAlister
Subject: Blues News Filtered!

Logged on this afternoon at work....clicked on my shortcut to the BLUES NEWS site and ....Company's Proper Web Usage Policy page popped up!!!

Quick brief:

-We have 29,000 NT4 workstations in our company in the State of Georgia alone
-All sites are tied to the WAN in Atlanta by T1s
-There we have a T3 to the Net
-All Workstations come through the Firewall in Atlanta which has Web Filtering
-Today your site was "redirected" by the filtering software ....

This is the first time this happened that I know of in over a year. The only reason I can think of is this sentence from your page:

"I see a lot of people are playing with nude reptiles!"

This is nuts!
The Man is bringing us down.....

Mike McAlister

It might have been the Blue's News pr0n collection that all the kids are talking about - but I wouldn't know anything about that.


From: Niall Litchfield
Subject: There is no spoon

and I must eat


(OK so i *know* its not pop culture but wth)

This week's token AntiELVIS letter.

From: theAntiELVIS
Subject: New Game Announced!

Just caught this press release "somewhere on the Net":

* * * * * * *

Carbon Copy Games of Van Nuys, California, announced their new first-person shooter "Deja Vu: The Return: Part Three" today. "Deja Vu: The Return: Part Three" will feature "revolutionary game play just like 'Deja Vu: The Return: Part Two' did, and a cutting-edge rendering technology that uses a completely new code-base, yet looks just like every other 3D game out there" according to CEO Timmy "The Brat" Miller. Using Carbon Copy's new "Xerox Engine", "Deja Vu: The Return: Part Three" will incorporate all the visual effects available on today's high-end graphics cards, which almost no one has yet, and which there are certainly no working drivers for.

In "Deja Vu: The Return: Part Three", the player takes on the role of "Count Crushem", a wise-cracking space marine cut off from his platoon, on a hostile world filled to the brim with magic-using alien mutants. "We're really excited about the concept and the unique story line. This will be a very story-driven game, because if we don't promise that no one will write us up" said Carbon Copy lead designer Fred "Busta" Hacker. "The monster AI is unique - they get stuck in completely different places than any previous AI opponents have. And our level editing is 'way ahead of everyone else in disabled scripting features. The levels are HUGE, with as many as 500 doors and an individual key the player must find to open each one". Right now the game is first-person perspective "but we're thinking about adding a third-person view and changing to a female character, because today's graphics systems can render very realistic butt cheeks, and butt cheeks sell".

Carbon Copy is estimating a first quarter 2000 or third quarter 2001 release date, with a multiplayer patch to be released "soon after the full game comes out".

* * * * * * *


Someone beat id to it.

From: Christopher Reimer
Subject: Greetings!


I noticed that Graeme Devine at id Software updated his .plan with the following comment:

"Okay, that's more of a suggestion than a truth. We'll probably do something completely different based on stories of the Quake 3 Bus and the Nevada desert."

Somebody should really tell him that that particular game is being done already, and with better class than what id could ever put together: Duke Nukem Forever. I think id would be hard pressed to match that one, even with the Quake 3 engine. ;)

Christopher D. Reimer - QA Tester - Infogrames North America

Boy, I hope 3D Realms is smart enough to ship Duke Forever with a gallon jug of water...if playing the game's anything like watching Lawrence of Arabia, I'm going to get really thirsty.

Ah, flatulence.

From: David Whittinghill
Subject: flatulence filter

Even scarier than them having their own domain name is the fact that it's flatulence-filter (with a dash) and may mean that someone beat them to


Oh dear lord.

From: Wade Bowmer
Subject: Quake by Email!

I have actually played Quake by email. It requires low-latency email (i.e. minutes not hours), rather a lot of time and participants with a good imagination and considerable honesty. You also have to know what you are all really like when playing!

For a transcript of one session, look at (we never finished it). The first session was better, but I forgot to save the email. The map that comes out of such a session is ... umm ... wierd. We never finished that, either.


The neverending battle.

From: Griphis
Subject: Will Consoles Blow Away PCs?

There's something wrong here. Quote from good ol' loony: "...the production costs of Final Fantasy VIII, which at $30 million were more than six times that of an expensive PC title." Remember that FF VIII will be available on the PC soon after the console release, so also being a PC title, it can't be more expensive than a PC title. ;) The fact that this and many Sega titles are ported to the PC and are usually superior is something the article conveniently doesn't mention.

It's funny that anybody could think a console can stay on top of a PC for more than a couple of months, especially graphically. They have to figure out ways to cram wonderful new graphics chips into a console system, AND great sound, AND CPUs, AND a modem/networking of some kind, AND a CD/DVD reader, and manage to sell all of this for $200-$500 if they want anyone to buy it. All the video card companies have to do is the graphic part of this, and it doesn't take long for them to severely beat the graphics of a console system for $300 or less.

The other thing the article doesn't mention is that you rarely see many styles of games on a console. Real time strategy games are almost nonexistant on consoles, while there are gobs of them on the PC. First person shooters aren't as common as they are on PCs either because generally they have inferior control with little console joysticks, and low res (consoles usually run in 640x480 or lower, since TVs suck) makes things hard to see. (If we see many console games that let people play against PC users, the people using their consoles will probably get very frustrated.) Basically with at least the next generation of consoles, I think they're going to be the same thing they've always been... cheap, fairly low-powered systems which everyone will have, and when you want more power, resolutions that don't hurt your eyes, good online play, and different styles of games, you can go back to your PC.

Oh yeah, and you can read Blue's News easily on your PC.

LPBs will never die.

From: Jason Grundy
Subject: Rate cap != LPB Doom

Argh, I read Carmack's .plan and Blue's response then another response in the mailbag about the rate cap in Q3A. I hate to break it to y'all but it is not the doom of the LPB. I've played around with rate extensivly with Q2 [and cap it on my server with BW-Admin], and you know what, it does damn close to nothing. Unless you lower it to ludicrous levels, like sub 2000, you aren't going to notice any real difference in normal play. This is, however, a huge convience for server admins and is very worthwhile for that. When Q2 came out, you were looking at 56.6 modems as about the best connection available and 28.8 was what was around. Q2 can get by just fine on a 3000 rate, anything higher just means you don't get dropouts in heavy action [6+ players on screen at once].

From what I gather about Q3A it has even LESS bandwidth requirements [you do know rate is about bandwidth and has nothing to do with ping, right?]. I'd be surprised if John didn't know the effects of rate, so I suspect he was merely unclear in his .plan. The important thing in John's .plan which went unnoticed was this: reduced client to server bandwidth by 35%. Now THAT is something to cheer about! This means more players can connect to the same server, and might even make those 9600baud modems playable.

What HPWs need is a sv_minLatency which will add latency to packets received and sent that are below the value, thereby giving a minimum ping that a server will give out. In fact, if they were to have this in the game at a default of 100 and change the weapon fire to account for this like they do with the rocket launcher... Nirvana! :)

These things take time, dangit.

From: Igor \"Sixxo\" Bachinsky
Subject: World Not Changed?

It's already 10:05 (wow, I never thought I'd fuss over 5 minutes) and the world still hasn't changed. They must have some trouble loading the nuclear warheads onto the trucks. Hmph.

Hey, these things take time!

Stop discriminating against LPBs!

From: David Johnston
Subject: LPBs, im one, im tired of the discrimination!!

I'm getting sick of all the people whining about their high ping. If your sick of high ping, then why dont you DO SOMETHING about it?? I mean, us LPBs spent $200+ to buy the latest tech and then we get yelled at! All the HPBs spend maybe 20 bucks for a crappy 56k modem, pay $10 a month, and they still wonder why theyre connection sucks. I mean, low ping is the way the game is supposed to be played, not the other way around. So im on a crusade to STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST LPBS!!!!!!

Preach on, brother.