The Haus

Saturday, August 21, 1999

Intel Roadmap

I saw on Ars Technica that Intel plans to move the Celeron from the PII core to the PIII core in early 2000. That means that Celerons a) will remain a low-cost alternative, and b) will shrink to the 0.18 micron manufacturing process, get a 100 Mhz front-side bus, and get the PIII's SSE instructions. Now if someone can keep AMD from self-destructing, we'll be all set.

Shogo is dead?!?

Holy Christmas! Just read this on the Blue's News messageboards. I can't believe someone from PlanetShogo would comment this way, but he's got a right to his opinion.

Monolith has done such an incredibly good job at killing Shogo that they should be applauded for stealing the money out of their own mouths. I've played a little Shogo since A.T. has been constantly goading me since it's release, and I'm impressed with the storyline. Single player is quite interesting. I personally don't like the MP much, but that's because the lack of color contrast on the MCAs versus the arenas you play in makes it very difficult for me to target the other players, NOT because the gameplay is bad.

A.T. replies: Well, as a person who downloaded the Shogo demo the moment it came out and bought the game shortly thereafter, it pains me to see so few servers when I know Shogo is a great multiplayer game. The lack of support from Monolith should have killed it, but there are enough talented people in the community to make up for what Lith hasn't done. I will say this: I will think long and hard before buying another game from them if this is going to be their level of "support".

NHL 2000 interviews

NHL-Online has posted a couple of interviews with the team working on EA's NHL 2000. There aren't many "hardball" questions, but it does give you a good idea of the changes made in the latest version. I'm keyed that they are working on getting rid of the "invincible goalie" AI (try scoring in NHL 99 on a slapshot or a breakaway, it's almost impossible). ESPN's Bill Clement will be providing color commentary. Another cool feature is that you can import a picture of your (or anyone else's) face and slap it on a player. Want to be the starting center for the Red Wings? You can!

NHL 96 is easily the most frustrating game I've ever played. It took me months to figure out how to win. Finally I did, and took my beloved Red Wings to the Stanley Cup (a year before they really made it). If NHL 2000 delivers on EA's promises, I'll be buying it. It is scheduled to be released in mid-September.

System requirements: P200 (P300 recommended), 32M RAM, 1M 2D card with DirectX 6.1 (Glide or D3D 3D card recommended), 70 MB disk space (200 recommended), 4x CD-ROM (16x recommended), DirectSound sound card (EAX supported--yeah baby!), and 33.6K modem for Internet play (56K recommended). What?!? You mean to tell me that I have a computer that can actually handle the latest EA NHL release? Will wonders never cease!

Shogo Swirl Coming Soon

Despite the terrible signal-to-noise ratio on the PS forums, I did see that Rohan Night announced the upcoming release of a mod called Shogo Swirl on September 9 (9/9/99). It will have new textures, sounds, gibs, a new weapon, and the list goes on. I'll pass along more information as soon as I get it.

The Master comments: Ya know, it amazes me still how hard the fan community fights to keep Shogo alive, and yet Monolith does less than nothing to support them. I won't be surprised if they get little fan support for their new games. They've shown an amazing lack of willingness to support the fans they've worked so hard to win. No skin off my back, I'll keep playing Quake and liking id :-)

Graphics News

Hercules, maker of the highest rated TNT cards on the market, has been rumored (with some "anonymous" supporting info) to have gone out of business. And I remember when I had to write Hercules support into my graphics apps because they had one of the top cards in the industry. How things change...

Other news: Intel is out of the graphics card business. I think this may be the only place where Intel has ever forfited a toehold into an industry. I'd have to research that one some more to prove it tho. Wow!!

Saw all this on Blues's News.

A.T. Updates: The Hercules rumor has been verified by a number of sources. A press release is expected on Monday. More unsubstantiated rumors state that the reason for the downfall was financial mismanagement, possibly even embezzelment. If you ordered one of their TNT2 Ultra cards, but your credit card was never charged, you will never get it.

As far as the Intel i7 series goes, good riddence to bad rubbish.

The Master retorts: Ya know, I don't think that's really fair to Intel. They are STILL going to design graphics processors for embedded CPUs and chipsets, which is really their killer market. I think Intel could make a real graphics processor. They're just 4 years behind the curve. And not willing to give up their huge profit margins...

Friday, August 20, 1999

Haus Keeping

I did a little redesign work on the Haus today. Per The Master's suggestion, clicking on any of the commentaries on our commentary page will take you directly to the current column and not to a list of all columns. That way you don't have to dig to get to the new stuff.

I also redid the navigation bar at the top of each page. That way my Haus of Shogo doesn't get completely lost. There is currently nothing in the Haus of Quake, but that is my next item of business . . .

Which leads me to a rant. I've visited three sites today (popular ones at that) that I cannot view in Netscape because the webmasters neglected to close their TABLE tags (or a TR or TD tag). IE is much more forgiving in this regard, but it doesn't take much to check it. There's no excuse for bad code.

So Ya Wanna Make Games?

You had better read this article on Slashdot first. It seems that jobs in the gaming industry aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Advertising Rant

OK, I've seen enough. On several websites now I've seen ads for video cameras which one moment gives the features of the camera, the next it displays a picture of some blonde woman. What's the point? If you get this camera, you get a free blonde? They have these women in poses which I assume are supposed to be sexy, but they look more like the woman is either a) scared to death, or b) constipated. ("Lookit this, Vern! If we git this here camera, we git a free blocked-up blonde!")

I won't even get into the issue of sexism here. The ads are pointless and I wouldn't take one of their products if it was given to me. Web advertising is getting even sleazier than T.V. advertising (if you can imagine). It's time for advertisers to wake up, smell the coffee, and realize that we don't make purchases based on a sudden burst of testosterone.

The Master comments: Well, we might not, but a LOT of people do. And more's the pity.

SB Live!Ware 2.0 CD, Part III

Well, I got my SB Live!Ware 2.0 CD in the mail yesterday. For some reason, even though I placed my order on Wednesday the 11th, the order date says that 13th and it wasn't shipped until the 16th! How hard can it be to put a CD in a padded envelope? Even though the website said that 2.1 discs are available and I specifically asked for one, the disc I got was a 2.0 disc. Not a big deal, but annoying nonetheless. I also wish that I didn't have to disable everything except Explorer to get the stinking things to load. Don't get my wrong, I love this card, but all this business gets old quickly.

Update: I just got off the phone with Creative Labs and the person I spoke to said that even though the disc sleeve and the disc itself says 2.0, it is in fact a 2.1 disc. 2.1 discs have "CD ASSY: 1483330974" on the sleeve and "Part No. 1713330974" on the disc itself. I guess I'm not the first person to call about this. The woman I spoke with was very nice. As a matter of fact, all the order people and tech support people I've dealt with from CL have been very friendly and very helpful.

I'm afraid that next week I'm going to have to dust my system and reinstall Win98 (gak). It's nice to know that this disc will bring me up to 2.1 and I don't have to worry about keeping the patches around anymore.

Nick Triantos Interview on PowerGamerz

PowerGamerz posted an interview with Nick Triantos, nVidia's OpenGL guru. I know this came out yesterday, but for some reason my DNS was refusing to resolve their domain name. At any rate, it works now, and here's a snip:
PG: Will games have to be written specifically to take advantage of the T&L technology, or will all OGl/D3D games automatically use it as they please?

Nick: The Direct3D API has changed somewhat to accomodate features like hardware transform and lighting, and applications will need to change to take advantage of that. For some apps, the change will be fairly trivial. For others, it may be harder. Well-written OpenGL games would automatically be able to take advantage of faster driver transform pipelines (like Quake2 and Quake3), while there are others (sorry, I won't name names) that perform their transforms in the game code, instead of in OpenGL. Those will need to be modified to take advantage of any hardware that could potentially do transform and lighting.
That bodes really well for the NV10, but not so well for the Voodoo4 and their T-Buffer. It certainly makes the NV10 look like more of a viable option knowing that its transform and lighting acceleration will work automagically with Q2 and Q3 without modification.

Webdog 2.0?!?

Richard Smith, the creator of Webdog has announced a possible new 2.0 version of WebDog in his .plan. Ironically, I had just recently written him about some issues on the web .plan tracker, and then informed him of some minor firewall/proxy issues in the current WebDog as a side-note. Wonder if I accidentally goaded him into a new release.


Well, I actually spent an evening AWAY from my computer, and didn't experience withdrawl symptoms! Moving all of the books on my and my wife's bookselves to the living room was an awful experience, but we got it done. Tonight we rearrange our PCs in their room and I finally get to start building my NT machine at home. Goody :-)

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