The Haus

Monday, August 9, 1999

Quake III Arena Preview

There's this game coming out called Quake 3 Arena. Maybe you've heard of it. :) At any rate, Mugwum over at 3D Action Planet has posted an extensive preview of Q3A. He mentions Q4 1999 or Q1 2000 as the possible release time-frame, which is the latest I've heard so far.

He also mentions that Unreal Tournament is scheduled for a September release. As with any release information, take it with a grain of salt.

LZW, GIFs, and Unisys

I'm not sure how many people out there know about this, but Unisys is the patent owner of the LZW compression algorithm. This means that ANYONE who uses LZW must buy that privelege from Unisys. At anywhere from $7,500 to $10,000 a SERVER. DO YOU HEAR ME?!? A SERVER!!! Good GOD. The compressed .gif format, .tif, Postscript level 2, and several other formats (including Microsoft's .cab and other compression formats) use LZW. Now I know how Unisys has managed to survive their fall from the big-iron market. They charge the web community for use of the .gif compression scheme. I'm just slightly irritated with Unisucks right now...

Athlon NDAs Expire

The AMD gag order on their new Athlon processor has been lifted. Everyone and his dog has a review of this new processor out. Rather than take up this entire page listing links, go here for a complete list and brief summary of the reviews of the chip that's making Intel nervous. Can it save AMD from going bankrupt? We shall see!

The rumor-mongers are reporting that Intel is planning to buy AMD, figuring that Via's aquisition of Cyrix will save them from the long arm of the DOJ. Personally, I don't buy it. I don't think that the DOJ would let it go through. However, if AMD does go into bankruptcy, all bets are off.

The Master comments: I personally do not think Intel would be allowed to buy up AMD even IF AMD was to go bankrupt otherwise. I think the gov't will find a way to keep AMD alive no matter what just to keep Intel from ulitmate monopoly status. The Cyrix chips will never compete with Intel since they have no technical merits or solid engineers to push them into the big time.

Sunday, August 8, 1999

Unreal Tournament Info

Here's a little nugget from this week's 10 Questions with SamHell with Epic's Cliff Bleszinski regarding the current status of Unreal Tournament and the demo of the same.
SamHell: 11. In all close is Epic to releasing a UT demo?

CliffyB: The game is done, but we are just testing and improving our net code. Make a new rev, send it to our remote testing force, test, improve, repeat.
So it's basically what we knew before. It could be released any minute or it may not be for many moons. Stay tuned.

WraithLaunch for Shogo

Wraith (the Shogo coder who never sleeps) has released v1.0 of WraithLaunch. WraithLaunch increases the size of the selection boxes for the multiplayer launcher (if you've every played Shogo or tried to set up a server, you know the boxes can be annoyingly small). I noticed a couple of minor glitches, but it does make the multiplayer wizard easier to use. Check it out!

Testing the New Shogo Anti-Cheating Rez

I was just testing Thorin's new anti-cheating rez on Satan's server. After some initial problems it was determined that Netscape had botched my first download. A subsequent download via IE worked fine. The rez is now in a ZIP file so the downloads should work fine with either browser. Get the rez here and make sure to compare the size of validate.rez with the size mentioned on that page.

There did seem to be some lagginess but I don't think the connection between my system and Satan's server is ideal. Hopefully we'll get a chance to play-test it some more tonight. We'll put the llamas out of business yet!

A Decent File Manager

One thing that Microsoft has never incorporated into Windows is a decent file manager. Windows Explorer (read: IE) is buggy, crash-prone, and ill-suited to the most basic file management tasks. It has never made sense to me that in the age of GUIs nobody has created a Windows file manager with the elegance and ease of use of good old Xtree in DOS.

I think I may have finally found a decent replacement in PowerDesk 98 from Mijenix. I just downloaded it and I'm very impressed. It allows you to have two different folders open at the same time for easy copying and moving (Hello Microsoft! Why in the world can't Windows Explorer do this?!?). It also has built in file viewers via QuickView which is integrated nicely. It can also handle .ZIPs natively. Best of all, it's dirt cheap at $29.95. To quote John Dvorak, "highly recommended."

Live!Ware CD Rant

OK, ever since Live!Ware 2.0 came out for the SoundBlaster Live! I've been trying to order the CD via Creative's website. Every time I check, the CD is out of stock. How hard is it to press CDs?!? The drivers have been out for almost three months! I also shouldn't have to boot my system with only Explorer running to get my sound card drivers to install either.

Having said that, I really like my SoundBlaster Live! Value. Playing the Half-Life demo with EAX is downright creepy (OK, creepier). If you are into MIDI files (hello, The Master) the SB Live is a real treat. I did some timedemos to determine the fps hit for using high quality sound in Q3Test and it was less than 1/4 of a fps. Pretty slick. Also, since the latest patch from LucasArts, the 3D sound in X-Wing Alliance is excellent and really adds to the feeling of "being there."

X-Wing Alliance Atmospheric Shipset

I've been playing the X-Wing series of games since the original X-Wing came out. I bought X-Wing Alliance the day it was released, although I still haven't finished it (too much Q3Test). There is an Atmospheric Shipset in the works, hoping to enable you recreate the Battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back among other planet-based missions. Just a warning though, their web design is a little annoying.

The Master comments: Yeah AT, you alone haven't inflated Lucas's net value at all with your Star Wars addiction, have you?!? :-)

Another cheap shot at M$

Oh, my. User Friendly has taken another free pot-shot at Microsoft's Windows2000 Test site. The cartoon can be seen here.

Past Two Days' News

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
August 10, 2007: SCO SUCKS IT DOWN!
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