November 3rd -- Previous Mailbag

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

DiY Mousing Surface

From: David Chase
Subject: Mousing Surfaces

I've heard great things about the Everglide pad too, glad you're enjoying it. However I've found a solution to one of the biggest complaints about the 3M Precision Mousing Surface that has suited me quite well:

Go to your local Office Depot store and buy one 3M mouse pad, one large el-cheapo foam mouse pad, and one bottle of glue. Cover the back of the 3M pad with glue and attach it to the foam mouse pad. No more kinks or curled edges. I've been using the same 3M pad for about 6 months without a problem at all.

You can also go the extra mile if you're a true gaming freak like me. If you glue the foam mouse pad to the desk you'll never have to worry about your mouse pad sliding across the desk while you play. As long as you choose a relatively gentle washable glue the worst thing that will happen is you'll spend a little while scrubbing the glue up if you change your mind.

I have to admit, I used to be a die-hard PMS fan, but after using the Everglide, I think I've jumped ship. My big problem with the PMS (besides the sliding, of course), is the complete lack of any sort of gel-support for those of us in danger of that carpel-tunnel action, and the Everglide has that swanky ridge for a gel. Very cool.

And he even snuck a Simpsons reference in.

From: Antony Espindola
Subject: Re: LOD for 20th Oct 1999

Blue wrote:

> Link of the Day: ZDTV Poll Is Linux the Heir Apparent? Thanks Mike
> Mulligan. Quote: "Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of England,
> Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (they gave up on France)

Just to point out (being British and all) that the full title would actually be:

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom or Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the commonwealth of Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Montserrat, Pitcairn Islands, Saint Helena, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands.


But who cares about France anyway?

As Hank Scorpio says to Homer Simpson:
"Which one do you hate most, France or Italy?"
Homer: "Er ... France."
Hank: "[Laughs] No-one ever says Italy."



Any Freudians in the house?

From: Matthew Rorie
Subject: A Dream about Blue's News.

Don't ask me. I had it, I can't explain it.

Anyway, I was browsing the web, updated BN, and Blue had updated the page saying he had started a new page, which would cover the world of pool (billiards). So, I clicked the link, and it looked a lot like Blue's News, except the black background was orange, and the white text was blue. It looked pretty ugly. And there was a bunch of billards news.

I don't know what it means. I've been spending a lot of time in our arcade lately playing Rush 2049, and there are a lot of pool tables near there. I don't know.
Matthew Rorie

Leaders of the free world, indeed.

From: Guile Green
Subject: fact...

On average, in the US, 3 people die every year because of vending machine accident...


It's true, he just doesn't sleep.

From: Spiffy
Subject: Screwed Up

I would have never thought I would see the day when Blue, screwed up with the news script. Well today was the day... and I almost cried. Then I started to laugh my ass off because I realized that blue wasnt a machine! : D

- Spiffy

Testing, 1...2...3

From: William Robert Night
Subject: id and Epic don't get this TEST thing.

Both Q3Test and UT-Test have gone through changes since the current public test version was released, but both id and Epic have stated that they won't release another test version before going gold.

Ummmm, hello? Isn't the idea of a public test to actually test the software that you're going to release?

Originally id was going keep releasing q3test until they didn't get any more serious bug releases, then they'd declare the CURRENT version to be out of beta, and they'd release it.

Now they're going to release something that hasn't gone through testing.

Carmack said they'll release the demo a few days early to check for show-stoppers, but that's not much of a test. Software is complex enough that it's hard to say they didn't cause more problems by fixing the ones they've found. But they're going to release without the hard-core test which would find these.

So much for "When it's done." I note that Q3 is scheduled to be released by the end of November, coincidentally before Christmas.

Now, I understand the need to release a product during the peak buying period, but I just wish they'd done this a bit better.

If they don't want to go through another long test cycle, then they should have done more frequent testing builds and released them as alphas, not even guaranteed to boot, and let the hackerish community bang on them while the less adventerous played the 'stable' test version.

Epic is doing the same thing. A bit of a test, to work out the bigger bugs, and then a release to hit the xmas season.

If this was the plan, why didn't they just say so in the beginning?

Well, let's face it - they do have internal testing on these games, you know. And given the choice between a full retail release and another test...I'll take the full game.

Welcome Frans!

From: Doug Crabill
Subject: Welcome aboard Frans!

Welcome aboard and all that. Blue and Loonie were starting to run desperately short on original quotes to use when crediting you for digging up reviews ("Thanks Frans", "You guessed it, Frans sent..", "Our old buddy Frans dug up...", etc.). I'm sure they are heaving a collective sigh of relief :)


You have no idea. :)

From: Garrett Phalen
Subject: Good choice

Frans is doing a great job with the site. Keep up the great work.

Nocturne - It's good!

From: Bud Yates
Subject: Nocturne Review

Hello from the Catskill Mountains of New York!

First off...I want to compliment you on a smokin' site. I tip my hat to you folks for your concise, eclectic style. The reason for my writing you today deals with my having spent the last twelve hours playing Nocturne. Wow! I am in awe. It's nice when the immersion factor is beyond what you're expecting. The Stranger is kind of like Harry Callahan meets David Ducovny. Beautiful light sourcing, extremely accurate sound placement (using SBlive X-Gamer), credible voice talent and DETAIL.

You have to experience a Sentinel attack first hand, then die on purpose just to go through it again. Wings that truly appear to have a skin membrane stretched across them and in flight respond to the weight of the creature attached to them. Yeah, there's some "shuffling" in place that seems out of sync with the high level of polish found elsewhere in the game. Even so, seeing the Stranger "moonwalk" isn't enough to break the spell this game has on me. It's been a while since I used a bunch of expletives in a positive way as I played a game, but I was "f"ing this and that in amazement all night.

Well....just wanted to give the people at one of my favorite sites a little review. Now it's time to have a go at these damn (literally) werewolves. As Monty Python's Black Knight would say "It's only a flesh wound".

Sleepless in Romania (I think),

Bud Yates

I've been trying to play Nocturne, as I've got a big thing for horror games, and horror movies, but i'll be damned if the thing just hates my two computers. If I ever get around these dang system requirements, I'm looking forward to actually playing it.

Revenge of the Blair Witch Reference.

From: Matt Dillahunty
Subject: Blair Witch Game

Several years ago a small group of artists and programmers disappeared while working on a game in an office building in Dallas, Texas. Recently some of their screenshots were found. This is their story...

The Daikatana Project


More Nocturne.

From: Chris Sweitzer
Subject: Nocturne

Does anyone else feel like Terminal Reality, the developers of Nocturne, are acting a little bit like assholes? First, there's the fact that they don't support Voodoo cards. I can understand that developers don't like getting told they don't need 32 bit textures, but Terminal Reality seems to be shoving it in 3dfx's face by blantly not supporting their cards. They don't list Voodoo cards on their hardware list and when you enable 3d hardware support, it puts the word "(slow)" by the voodoo card. I haven't heard of any other developers having any problem with 3dfx's cards, so instead of making me think the rendering is slow, it just makes me think that Terminal Reality are shitty developers not willing to take time to make their game support all 3d hardware.

Of course, this I can forgive. After all, I'm sure it will work, and if I really want to, I can put in my TNT card. But it leaves a foul taste in my month when such unprofessional behavior is exhibited by a software company.

However, I noticed something else. Under the title screen, there's a line that says "Patent Pending". Software patents are still highly controversial, and seeing a game company appearently patenting something in their game makes me sick to my stomach. Are we going to see the gaming industry start down the same road that many other software companies are going? I would hate to a good game get destroyed because some other company claims a patent on some feature in the game. When 3drealms came out with DN3D, id didn't sue them, they made a better game. Imagine if id had tried to patent or copying any of the ideas in Wolf3D or Doom. How many games would we have missed because of it? And now Terminal Reality seems to be going down that road. And it sad, yet amusing, that their publisher, GOD, which is seen as a sort of maverik publisher, is leading the way.

I still haven't decided whether or not I'm going to return the game, but this is the first time I've ever thought about it based on something the developer and publisher did and not because of the quality of the game. Bravo, Terminal Reality and GOD.


In TRI's defense, the game does run on Voodoo 3 cards, just not really well (and don't even try it without the most recent drivers). Also, they have the best software renderer I've ever seen (it's really very good), so long as your card supports 32 bit color.

Wolf 2K - a bad idea?

From: theAntiELVIS
Subject: RE: Wolfenstein 2000 and the anti-game media

For the Mailbag, Buds:

Wolfenstein 2000: BAD MOVE! The suicidal tendencies of the development community never cease to amaze me.

Let's follow the scenario here: Wolf 3D was a groundbreaking game, no doubt about it. I played it. It was my first experience with 3D shooters (I guess it was the first). But a quick flip through the news channels or the evening papers today will give anyone with half a brain the idea that a game featuring Nazis and POW camps and killing doggies just isn't a Bright Move, p.r.-wise. Am I advocating knuckling-under to the anti-violent-game media? You're damn right I am.

Look, pissing-off the adults for its own sake when you're 12 years old is just a fact of life. But for game developers to be re-doing what was an incredibly tasteless game to begin with, in a era when high school kids are re-inventing Adolph Hitler in their own image is just plain stupid. Games like Hidden & Dangerous can squeak-by with a claim of "historical theme", but Wolf was NEVER historical. It just had lots of pictures of Adolph on the walls, surrounded by swastika-emblazoned flags. It really could have been any theme. You'll notice that Carmack and Romero have moved on.

The era of "Any Press Is Good Press" is over. If FPS gaming ever wants to move into the mainstream of entertainment, it has to accept some harsh realities: you stick your head up, people will shoot at you (so to speak). Wolfenstein 2000 is exactly the kind of flash-point title that will get politicians to call some kind of lame committee hearings to look into censoring games (a la Germany). The next time some maladjusted moron walks into his math class and starts firing Daddy's shotgun at the teacher, and then Wolf 2000 is found on his hard drive at home, YOU KNOW what the conclusion will be among the clueless. It doesn't matter if they're right or wrong, it only matters that WE, all of us gamers, will become the target of witch hunts. Do you people really want to be playing "Pokemon 3D" next year? Do you really want to see companies like Ritual, id, Raven, et al, go down the tubes because it's easier to shut them down than it is for parents to become responsible for their twisted offspring?

It's an election year, kids. We would make easy meat for some shiftless politician to toss into the grinder. And the fundamentalist Christians, and animal rights clowns, and whoever else needs to get some headlines. I'm not advocating censorship - I'm advocating some common sense when it comes to the survival of that which we all love - fragging. They aren't going to care that you're shooting the bad guys - they'll just see portraits of Hitler and swastikas and dead pooches lying around. The anti-game forces don't play the games. They just hate them. And when it comes down to it, they have all the power.

Case in point: The Right Reverend Jerry Falwell has just kissed and made-up with his favorite whipping boys, Gays. Know why? He's found a better target to get him on CNN - us. We're obviously in league with Satan, you know. And this weasel has MILLIONS of dollars to smear us with. It's coming. Get ready. We just don't need Wolf 2000 at this point in our history.

Sorry this was so long, loony.


No problem. :)

And for the record, I agree with you (now there's a first).


From: Pro-Filer
Subject: Mail bag article

dude, somebody is stealing your kick ass logo:

So go bust him!!


Pro-Filer - CEO

I dunno...I find that background music more annoying than the stolen logo. ;)

Get a GameBoy, dude.

From: $ikander
Subject: not fair

so i'm sitting in my computers class at 8:40 in the morning, its very hot and stuffy, i am hungry and sleepy and i want to go home, and there is my teacher, blabbing away about stuff like why you cant put the word "static" in public.static.void main(String args[]) throws IOException when doing blahblahblahblah in the java program and this guy comes in the class... and he sits two seats in front of me.. and he opens his bag and takes out his LAPTOP he turns it on and THEN HE STARTS PLAYING QUAKE II DAMN THATS NOT FAIR !! HERE I AM BORED BEYOND BELIEF AND LISTENING TO SOME LECTURE ABOUT BLAH BLOH BLEH AND THERE HE IS PLAYING QUAKE II NOT FAIR !! NOT FAIR !!


Oh, these kids today. In my day we had to play Nibbles in computer classes (and in Blue's, they had to schlep all those punch cards just to play a game of solitaire).

Hm. Never noticed that before.

From: David Chase
Subject: Mailbag

Hey you crazy kids. I was just noticing that you have AvP, Hexen II, Oni, and even Requiem sections in your Links area, but no Doom.

Since any FPS veteran acknowledges that Doom is the best FPS of all time (even if we have switched to Quake I, II, III for the purty graphics) I gotta wonder why you have no Doom section.

Were you paid? Have you started down the dead-end road toward harder drugs? Is it because your mothers didn't breast-feed you? Please explain.

Oh, well, you see, there's no Doom links section, because we hate Doom. Doom sucks. Down with Doom! Damn you id Software, for making such a terrible game! A pox on you all! We're trying to forget it was ever made.

(Yes, that's extreme sarcasm.)

Hey, waitasecond...didn't you already have a letter in this mailbag? Get out of here!

And for those of you who think I was serious, go read Blue's definitive Doom Deathmatch Guide.