The Haus

Thursday, November 18, 1999

No T&L in S3!!!

According to this brief blurb on MaximumPC, the new S3 Savage2000 cards will NOT support hardware T&L, instead doing T&L via software. This is a HUGE blow to S3, since the T&L engine seems to be the only winning feature in the eyes of consumers in this newest generation of video cards.

A.T. comments: OK, so now my motivation to buy this card is what? Here I was ready to praise S3 for getting back on track and now this. Ugh.

Q3DemoTest Review

Stomped pointed me to a review of the Q3DemoTest on The Oxygen Tank. It's the best Q3DemoTest review I've seen so far. I keep meaning to write one myself, but I can't pull myself away from playing it long enough.

Biker Animation

The Shugashack has posted a QuickTime movie sent to them by id's Paul Steed. It shows the Biker model from Q3A cutting a rug. Pretty hysterical. Pack a lunch, though. Their FTP server is being hit pretty hard.

Graeme Devine .plan update

Graeme updated his .plan with some news on the Authorize server. Doh :-)
I'm debugging some stuff on the authorize server (and using you guys as testers on it).If you can't authorize for the next few hours please be patient!
Oh, and A.T. I read the news this time :-)

Pondering the Imponderable

7,000 hits! Woohoo! The Master and I wish to thank all our loyal readers for making The Haus what it is today (whatever that is :). We have some spanking new content coming for you pretty soon, including a brand-new column dedicated to Linux and Linux gaming. Stay tuned!

I set up a non-dedicated Q3ADT server last night. The Master hooked up and we took on some bots. Despite the less-than-ideal networking situation, we had an aweful lot of fun. Now if Crawl will set up the dedicated server . . . :)

Q3DemoTest Medal Explanations

GamesWorld has put up a nifty little Flash animation to explain the medals in Q3DemoTest. Naturally, you will need Macromedia's ShockWave Flash plugin to see it. Thanks again to Billy and the boyz at VE.

The Sounds of Slave Zero

3D Sound Surge has posted an interview with W. Scott Snyder, the sound designer for Accolade's new giant robot game, Slave Zero. They go into detail on the game's EAX and A3D support and some of his thoughts in implementing both technologies. Thanks VoodooExtreme.

Mac Q3DemoTest Mirrors

Blue has a local copy of the Mac Q3DemoTest and a list of other mirrors up. I was pretty impressed with Sandpiper's delivery system when I downloaded the Win32 version, so your best bet may be to go to

Windows NT SP6 Hotfix

Well, within a week of yet another botched Microsoft NT hotfix, the Microsoft Windows NT Service Pack 6 homepage has a hotfix posted to fix the problems with Lotus Notes (did they do this intentionaly, I wonder :-) and a bunch of other WinSock apps.

In other news on a related front, Microsoft just recalled another regression-bug-laden piece of crud hotfix for Windows NT 4 that was posted on 10/17. Nice job Microsoft, it only took you a month to catch your idiot mistake. Howsabout putting in some serious quality control before the government decides you should just close your doors for the benefit of mankind.

John Carmack .plan update

Another monster .plan update from John Carmack-this one concerns the ports to other O/Ses, and a new worklog. First, the ports issues:
The mac version is out. Go to for links.

The mac version going out has the executable fixes that we have made in the last couple days, but most of the fixes have been in code that runs in the virtual machine, and we can't update that without making it incomptable with the pc version.

The game remains very marginal in playability on 266mhz imacs and iBooks.

A 333mhz imac should be playable for a casual gamer if the graphics options are turned down to the "fastest" setting.

There is still a lot of room for improvement on ATI's side with the RagePro drivers. Almost all the effort so far has been on the Rage128 drivers.

The G3 systems run fine, but a little slower than a pc of equal mhz

The rage128 cards in the G3s are only clocked at 75mhz, so you can't run too high of a resolution, but you can get very nice image quality. I usually play with these settings:

r_mode 2 // 512*284 res
r_colorbits 32 // 32 bit color
r_texturemode gl_linear_mipmap_linear // trilinear filtering

I haven't played on one of the new iMacs or G4's but theyboth use the rage128 driver, which is fairly high qualitynow, so they should perform well.

We found a fairly significant problem with inputSprockets and mouse control (motion is dropped after 40msec). I have done a little working around it, so mouse control should be somewhat better in this version, but it will hopefully be fixed properly by Apple in the next IS rev. It isn't an issue ifyour framerate is high enough, but iMacs never see that framerate on their very best days...

Linux version tomorrow night, if nothing horrible happens.

Some advance warning about something that is sure to stir up some argument:

We should be handing off the masters for all three platforms within a day or two of each other, but they aren't going to show up in stores at the same time. Publishers, distributers, and stores are willing to go out of their way to expedite the arrival of the pc version, but they just won't go to the same amount of trouble for mac and linux boxes.

THE EXECUTABLES FOR ALL PLATFORMS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD UNTIL AFTER CHRISTMAS. This means that if you want to play on the mac or linux, don't pick up a copy of the pc version and expect to download the other executables.

Our first update to the game will be for all platforms, and will allow any version to be converted into any other, but we intend to hold that off for a little while.

We are doing this at the request of the distributors. The fear is that everyone will just grab a windows version, and the separate boxes will be ignored.

A lot of companies are going to be watching the sales figures for the mac and linux versions of Q3 to see if the platforms are actually worth supporting. If everyone bought a windows version and the other boxes sold like crap in comparison, that would be plenty of evidence for most executives to can any cross platform development.

I know there are a lot of people that play in both windows and linux, and this may be a bit of an inconvenience in the short term, but this is an ideal time to cast a vote as a consumer.

Its all the same to Id (I like hybrid CD's), and our continued support of linux and mac (OS X for the next title) is basically a foregone conclusion, but the results will probably influenceother companies.

Then The Carmack gives us his updates worklog:

Wednesday, November 17, 1999

Q3DemoTest for Mac Soon!

Graeme Devine updated his .plan with this good news for Macintosh gamers:
Okay, the Macintosh Test build is going up real soon now. It's all built and working well. I'm really happy with the way we're working on the Mac. I've been building the new id servers on a G3 using Java and it's been a real nice change from the PC.

You'll need the newest version of OpenGL for the Macintosh, which came out today. It's available at Go download that while we're coordinating on getting the Mac build out there through Sandpiper.

BTW. There's been over 1 million downloads of the Win32 build!!!
A million downloads?!? Wow. Looks like Q3A is shaping up to be a HUGE seller (as if we didn't know that already).

New GLSetup

Yes, kids, there's even a newer version of GLSetup out, the handy-dandy utility to update your system with the latest OpenGL drivers for your video card. Thanks sCary.

IE 5.01 released

Microsoft has released a new version 5.01 of Internet Explorer. Supposedly this version fixes a lot of bugs and stuff. My bet? Lots of new security holes. Microsoft actually breeds security flaws.

Bots on Q3ADT Servers

Several people are complaining that Q3DemoTest administrators are running a number of bots in Nightmare mode all the time on their servers. I can understand why you'd want to play online with bots (The Master, Eeyore, and I did all the time on the QW Requiem mod), but why they'd want to have bots that powerful on 24/7 is beyond me. Of course, if they want no one to join the server, that's a good way to go about it.


Okay, there was a time I would have had no problem with the sexually explicitly advertising methods of UGO's ad banner subscribers, but now that I have a child, I AM PO'D! I understand sex sells. But do we really need to do this kind of crud? If your product doesn't sell itself, get it the heck out of my face. Geez. . .

Mozilla M11 Released

Mozilla.Org, Netscape's open-source web browser site, has released Milestone 11 for Win32, Linux, and Mac. Make sure to read the M11 release notes before downloading.

Note: this is pre-alpha software with a number of known bugs and incomplete features. It is NOT Communicator 5.0, or even a beta of the same. A beta of Communicator 5.0, based on Mozilla, is scheduled to be released in early 2000. I'm downloading M11 to see how well the new layout engine, codenamed Gecko, is progressing.

Thanks Slashdot for the news.

Intel 820 Still Messed Up

Ars Technica pointed me to an interesting article on EBN News. Even though Intel formally announced its 820 chipset (Camino) at Comdex, this article claims that the signal integrity problems that caused errors with three Rambus RIMM modules are still there. Basically, Intel decided not to fix the problem, just to release the chipset and change the specifications to use no more than two RIMMs. Would you be willing to trust your company to such a solution?

The Master comments: Are you REALLY surprised Intel would do this? They did this with a MAJOR crash issue in the GX (Pentium II Zeon) chipset as well.

VE and CliffyB

VoodooExtreme has posted an interview with Epic's CliffyB with his thoughts now that Unreal Tourney is shipping. Included is his favorite things about UT, things he wished he could have put in UT, and his favorite brand of vacuum cleaner. Don't ask.

UT AI Info

Epic's Steve Polge has posted a document mainly for level designers and programmers. He goes into detail on how to design levels or mods so that bots can efficiently navigate them. He also discusses the differences between the AI levels and gives some helpful console commands for debugging the level. Some of the console commands might have other uses too (hint, hint).

Thanks Blue for the link.

More Q3A Renders

Redwood has posted more renders of the various characters in Quake 3 Arena. In this installment, they present Angel (who is anything but), Mynx (another model brought to you by N.O.W.), and Biker (the only model with a quarter slot). As always, links to all of the renders can be found here.

John Carmack .plan update

John Carmack (da MAN) updated his .plan in the bloody wee hours, with more news on the demo.

First, he talks about the flood protection (whooo!) in the Q3ADT servers:
The demo servers have general purpose flood-protection that hascaused some confusion.

Clients are only allowed to make one command a second of any kind.

This prevents excessive flooding by chats, model / name changes, and any other command that could possibly be exploited. The command streams are stalled, so it doesn't have any effect on processing order or reliability.

This means that if you issue two commands immediately after one another, there will be a one second stall before the second command and all movement clears. You see this on the lagometer as yellow spiking up for a second, then dropping away.

Hitting tab for the scoreboard sends a command, so you trigger the flood protection if you bang tab a couple times. This has been fixed so that the scoreboard will never send more than one update request every two seconds, but you will need to watch out for it in the existing demo.
He also explains the deferred model loading system in Q3ADT, which IMHO is a very good way to deal with rapid joins/leaves of players who are attempting to lag out/crash the server.
The defered model loading has also caused some confusion, but that is a feature, not a bug. :-)

In previous tests, you hitched for a second or two whenever a client with a new model or skin joined a game.

In the demo, when a client joins the game they will be given the model and skin of someone else temporarily, so there is no hitch. The only time it will hitch on entry is if it is a team game and there isn't anyone on the team they join. I make sure the skin color is correct, even if the model isn't.

These "defered" clients will be loaded when you bring up the scoreboard. You can do this directly by hitting tab, or you can have it happen for you when you die.

The point is: you died BEFORE it hitched, not as a result of the hitch.

The scoreboard header is up, but it is still a bit easy to miss.
Then he adds an update to his worklog:

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