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October 11, 1998 -- Previous Mailbag

From: Viz

If you read Richard "Sat" Connery's farewell to his Quake II FAQ with even the least critical eye, you can see part of the problem with some fan-based cries for recognition. They're selfish.

Connery says he never asked id software for moral support, but not getting any *gratis* pisses him off. Yet why should he receive e-mail from id in the first place? Nearly everything that anyone needs to know about Q2 is already public knowledge. id's docs are quite adequate, and there are dozens of sources with in-depth info elsewhere. Connery says he's doing id a service by publicizing the game, but the truth is, the game doesn't need publicizing, having sold copies up the wazoo without him.

Yes, nice of him to use his free time to maintain a FAQ. But whaddya want -- a medal? Do public services for the rest of us if you wish. And then shut up about it. Don't expect us to think of you as Mother Theresa, or to feel sorry when a software house doesn't look at you that way, either.

FAQ me? FAQ you!
From: Richard Connery

In the interest of truth I decided to dwell on my Foreword and clear out some misunderstanding some people, who mailed me, demonstrated:

Firstly, I never expected anything from either id Software or Raven Software, not even a celebrity status as some who mailed me said. Raven just begun to acknowledge the FAQ (and the rest of the community) thus my drifting towards them. If you go to a country where you're well received, you tend to like/go there more often...

Secondly, I *know* id Software is terribly busy and receive tons of mails. My point is, if they answered my questions I would put the answers in the F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions <g>) so that *could* reduce the amount of mail id receives, so id would be helping themselves in the process. That's what a FAQ is all about, to prevent 1000 mails asking the same question.

Thirdly, I'm not "bitter" as I've been described; I'm just sad id didn't realize this. Also, I never wanted to promote controversy as some who mailed me pointed out. Quite the contrary, I never wanted publicity for the FAQs I write, nor did I want to stir up trouble with my Foreword. I just wanted those who read the FAQ to have the reasons for my decision not just a "Okay, no more Quake 2 FAQ!"

To all of those who can see beyond the looking glass, my thanks. To the others, blindly following a company isn't going to do you any good. Like I always say: I like id's games, I don't have to like the company itself. I follow their games, not their .plans.

PMS Sucks
From: Mark Allman

Yikes. Dude. Am I, like, the only person that hated this product? I don't expect a reply, but out of whimsy I'm emailing you anyway. I bought one of these spiffy looking pads and hated it immediately. I stuck to it stubbornly for a month, trying to force myself to like it and I just COULD NOT! It's like one of those utterly cheesy Warner Brothers mousepads with the slick, gripless plastic surface. Man, the cheap-ass radio shack mousepad gripped better. Maybe it's my Microsoft mouse but I dunno...It didn't increase my frag count or my productivity it just plain stank. :)

PMS Deluxe
From: Tim Mayben

Ah, another fan of the PMS! I've had one of the asymmetric purple pads for over a year now, and I just got one of 3M's combo PMS and gel-filled wrist rest. I was attracted to the new pad because:

* It's a nice royal blue.
* The PMS part is bigger than the regular PMS.
* The gel feels good.
* I've never had a $45 mouse pad before. Thanks, expense account!!

Anyway, the combo unit is great and you're right, it does help the 'ol frag count.

From: Falcon IceHole

No need to reply to this or put it in the mailbag but I gotta give you a BIG THANKS for the update on the new 3M Precise Mousing Surface mouse pads!

I first heard about them here about a year ago and promptly ordered one then and have used the HELL out of it. I swear by these things, they are the best mouse pads I have EVER seen or used. I've probably only needed to clean my mouse rollers two or three times in the past year whereas before with conventional mouse pads I was doing it several times a week. YUK!!

And now that 3M has made the pads a bit larger and given us a choice in patterns I've gone and ordered a new one (I picked the blue one in honor of you). :^)

Another Satisfied Customer
From: JRX1

Blue, just wanted to say "excellent", the new revision to the mailbag is a lot better than the dual-pane version.

Return of the Son of FPS' Revenge
From: Czar

Well, it looks as if we have a qualitative versus quantitative fight here. "I think this looks better than this." Yea, an apple tastes better than an orange. Without looking any info up, play Doom on a P2 and tell me just how many FPS you think your getting. I'll let that one sit. There is a definite max, but I won't say what it is yet. Nick, I hope you realize that this page is a psychology page, and if I'm not mistaken, psychology has to do with thought processes and reasoning more than the study of the senses. Biology however, would have been more appropriate. In fact, psychology is under some fire right now for "manipulating people to believe something other than the truth" I am not arguing the point that a higher FPS allows for things like smoother control, and better gameplay due to physics being run more frequently, but rather I argue what you can actually see. Look out the side window of your car when you are going 50 MPH. What do you see? Well if you are not trying to focus on a specific point, you see a blur. I am not arguing the speed of the nervous system, or the speed of light, or any of those other facts, but rather, I point the finger at the human retina. The human body is electro- chemical. When light hits the eye, it is focused on the retina by the lens, but any of you with biology backgrounds know this. There is a specific sample rate that this chemical reaction caused by light can achieve. Anyone with any chemistry in their background will know that not all chemical reactions happen at high rates of speed. I have tried to explain before, if you could slow things down and watch what happens in a few frames, you would understand why there is some perceivable difference between 60 and 120 FPS. Start with a frame in the video buffer. What happens is the physics for the world are processed, input taken, your new position is registered, AI is run to account for your new position, the geometry for the world is calculated, and collision detection is done. Not in that particular order, but that is what happens, it is all right there, explained in the QC of Quake. There the real fun begins, the the rendering. That geometry data that we just processed is adjusted for perspective, and the engine does a ray cast (typically) As the scene is scanned, the new data for the scene is sent to the video buffer bit by bit. Pixel by pixel the image on the screen changes. The faster this transition can happen, the better the illusion, and if I can pump all that info into the video buffer before a screen refresh, you only see old frame, then new frame, no transition. If I were to render the scene, store it in system memory, then manage to get all that info into the video buffer between refreshes, I would still have the the same illusion, even if it happened only 30 times a second. Still think I'm nuts? well, your TV has a refresh rate of about 60 Hz, can you see the scan lines WELL, CAN YOU?! If you answered yes, get your ass back to the mothership and get the hell off of Earth 'cause you aren't a native of this world.

The only reason you can see a difference in FPS is because of the WAY in which the screen is redrawn.

Oh wait, you do care what the hell I say because my name doesn't happen to be John Carmack, Jesus Christ, or God.

3D cards, well, I agree that present prices are reasonable, and they do seem to be on a falling trend. But let me point out another market that we figured would remain good and affordable, CPUs. Yes, AMD is doing an incredible job of keeping their prices down, and it is due to their efforts that we have our choice of low priced CPUs such as the K6-2 and Celeron. But please, look at what is behind all the pretty packaging of a Pentium 2. What was the codename of the P2 266 core? IT was Klamath. What is the codename of a p-pro's core? Surprise, Klamath. P2s are simple MMX retrofitted, repackaged, and overclocked p-pros with some minor tweaks here and there. So, what is a Xeon then? a P2 with sync L2 cache. So, if A+3=B, and B+3=C, A+6=C right? And Intel doesn't see anything wrong with a $2000 processor built out of older technology. Furthermore, they don't seem to think that the consumer will mind paying $700 difference between what processors use to cost, and today's tech. All right, chalk one up for the consumer on this one, this insanity cause the buyer not to buy Intel, so the big I released the Celeron, a CPU with the same core, but minus the pretty box, and the L2 cache. Similar price hikes were uncovered in the memory industry (which is why the prices fell to an insanely low rate a few years ago), and I can only help but wonder when this same turn of events will play out in the 3D accelerator industry.

The answer to the Doom FPS question, Doom is limited to a maximum of 35 FPS due to an internal clock, it can never go higher. Could you tell?

Q3 Good
From: Kevin Kite

Blue, There is a fellow who has a lot to say about the single player aspect of Quake III over at PQ. I'm not sure how to reach him or who to ask to post this "other side of the story", but he has failed to realize that if you buy StreetFighter, you are getting the same single player game that ID and Activision are going to sell in Quake III. The only difference is you get soooooo much more with this game, in weapons, in the worlds, and in the fact that they are about quality. I feel that a good rocket up the ass is what this guy needs to show him that it's all about the enjoyment of a good game, and not to see who can make the most noise about ifs, ands and buts. Thanks.

Q3 Bad
From: Nemesis

Andrew Smith was completely right. Activision is going to throw another snow ball at us like they did with the incomplete Quake 2. A few months ago I got a reply from John Carmack on this (you may remember me e-mailing you about this as, guess you consider me an unreliable source) who said he knows that sales will be down and id did it to feel where they fit in best. I replied to him that as an average gamer, the one who buys a game and plays it and maybe a little DM , but none of this community business, would never by a product such as Quake 3 Arena (believe it or not, Q2 single player I enjoyed a lot) because id wanted to cut down time between games by cutting down the game in its self. I basically told him that he and id where shooting them selves in the foot and if it doesn't work, then id's good name would be tarnished and my (and I believe other gamers) belief that they make the best 1st person shooters would go down the toilet, along with my copy of Q3 Arena. He never replied back. Just so you know, if Andrew Smith raises a little hell with this well written editorial, than he does it justly so. Thank god for Unreal (2?) and Epic. If you are going to, post this and my e-mail address however you wish.

Unreal deal
From: b0dhi[O2]

OK, I know you prolly don't like complaints, you just report this stuff... but another reference to Unreal 'fixing' multiplayer will make me sick, they've been saying that for how long now? BS - each fix has done nothing for me

I think it is their way of holding off the truth that they can't fix it...boycott Unreal, and God help the programmers that make games from that engine...

From: Joe Cheng

In response to one of the previous mailbags:

"Well, if your asshole is truly as big as a human brain, then that explains why you like that fu-fu drink Pepsi. Coffee straight up, no cream, no sugar, heat optional."

Never mind that... my drink of choice is a mouthful of water and a couple of Vivarin (tm).

Editor's note: Coffee AND Vivarin actually - with a Bawls back. =]