miniblue2.gif (10698 bytes)
Mail Bag

Tuesday, November 4, 1997

Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 13:44:11 -0500
From: Rob Palkowski
Subject: One for the MainBag(tm)

Regarding FullaHate's Andrew Smith comments..

He said:

> One letter congratulates id for listening to its customers by including the single player game play in Quake 2 that was so lacking in Quake. Wow! How far has this community sunk when we start thanking a gaming company for including actual game play. <

I doubt, after what ended up happening with Doom, that id reasoned that SPQ would be the main way that the game would be played. The same thing happened with Quake as with Doom: People trained themselves in single-player, and then started Deathmatching, virtually to the exclusion of playing alone. Which is not to say that I deathmatch a lot. Actually, because of my wretched ISP and lack of any network card, I challenge myself in SPQ quite often (i. e. playing through an episode on Nightmare with no use of explosives except for zombies).

> Both of these letters convey the idea that leaving out support for CTF and other multi-player enhancements and including them later as an add-on, is more than acceptable. Not only is this unacceptable, but for id to refer to CTF and multi-player as merely "add-ons" is an insult. >

id has never, in my recollection, considered multiplayer anything less than an integral part of the game. CTF, on the other hand, sure as hell is an add-on. Nothing more, nothing less. Granted, it's a damned fine, ass-kicking add-on, but still merely an add-on nonetheless.

> These "add-ons" were the "REASON" for a lot of the downloads of the Q2 Demo over the past week. <

Do you even read? Or did you just miss the snippets on Blues, not to mention the README file, which all specifically said that the Q2 test was exactly that. A __TEST__. To see if the engine worked properly. Not (and this was very specifically said), a demo. And id was very forthcoming about the fact that this engine test (not demo) would not have multiplayer. CTF in the Q2test is just a joke. How can you seriously expect me to think that you were really expecting CTF in the test?

 Oh, and in case you missed it, there will be a demo released, eventually. Probably before Xmas, but not "until it's done." :-) If the actual demo lacks deathmatching, on the other hand, I will be quite disappointed.

> id's inclusion of the multi-player option in their games is one of the big reasons for all the support they receive from so many dedicated individuals. <

On this, I totally agree.

Date: Mon, 03 Nov 1997 15:59:40 -0500
From: Dalias
Subject: more on tweaking vs cheating...

I would have to agree with Modi. Although some client side settings may give some players an advantage, I think their benefits to the enjoyability of the game far outweigh any unfairness.

First of all, I hope Zoid was at least forgetting about sensitivity when he commented about just using the standard menu options. Personally, I find the range of the snesitivity selection bar in Quake disgustingly limited to slow speeds completely unfit for playing. Even if you did consider those speeds playable, though, they may not be for a user with a different system mouse sensitivity setting, not to mention the variance on a completely different operating system with different ways of accessing the mouse.

Moreover, many options have performance implications and tradeoffs. For example, setting your FOV higher will give you a wider view, but it also slows down the game (and if I'm not mistaken it makes your weapon model disappear). Lowering fov, on the other hand, can give big performance boosts but severely limits what you can see. Similarly, the d_mipcap and d_mipscale settings, which some players claim are cheats because they can make players easier to see, give you an ugly and distracting world, but provide performance boosts on systems with little or no L2 cache.

Perhaps a more controversial setting is v_kicktime, used to lessen or eliminate the effect making your view spin all around when you get hit by heavy damage. I use it, and many players I know do, and I do not consider it to be a cheat at all. From my experience, being thrown around by another guy's rockets is bad enough when you've got anything but an extremely low ping. The added effect of not being able to properly aim while being hit makes fighting back nearly futile against good players, especially if their ping times are significantly lower than your own.

If we were to call settings like this cheats, we would have to agree that a faster computer or a different system mouse sensititivity level were cheats as well, and I certainly do not think that is the case.

The line does need to be drawn somewhere, though. IMHO, tweaking usually becomes cheating when you alter the actual game data (skins, models, sounds, etc.), or alter/intercept/reinterpret the data being transferred between the client and server in a way to give you an advantage. The only such technique I ever really used was altering my client executable so TF couldn't change my speed. (I was moving SLOWER than my character was supposed to though; I can't stand nonstandard maxspeeds!) After trying the game like that, though, I still didn't like TF, but that's another story that belongs elsewhere...

I hope I've clarifed some issues about what client side changes should and should not be accepted as fair. There's virtually no way to come up with a general rule that fits all cases though. I did not consider my TF modification or my v_kicktime cheating, but perhaps you would. I guess only time and experience will tell us what's really unfair. I know one thing, though - if I ever reenable skins in QW (ie turn off noskins), my copy of shroud is gonna be a symlink to redboy! :)

Previous Mailbag