The Haus

Saturday, November 20, 1999

No EAX in Q3A

Well, we all predicted this, but according to Billy Wilson of V3E, there is no EAX 3d sound support in Q3A. My assumption is Creative decided NOT to contact id to get the support in there. (A3D is almost always coded by Aureal, not the game vendor) Too bad, that doesn't do Creative any favors. Hope they get some SERIOUSLY SOLID A3D emulation into EAX quick.

A.T. comments: Actually, I remember Carmack talking about this quite some time ago. If I remember correctly, he didn't want to support it because it was platform-specific (Win32).

S3 T&L Update

MaximumPC has updated its comments about the Savage 2000's hardware T&L support. Here's the update:
While the Viper II will not support hardware transform and lighting when it ships this Friday, S3 representatives stressed today that it will support the feature in future driver releases. As it stands right now the chip has hardware T&L capabilities but they are not enabled by the current drivers.
Gee, driver issues with an S3 product? Go figure! Add to this the news on several websites that the Savage 2K's D3D drivers need serious improvement. I cannot imagine recommending that anyone get this card until the driver issues are sorted out. Methinks that S3 tried to bring this one to market too quickly before NVIDIA steamrolled them and before 3dfx could get its new cards out.

First the fillrate was lowered from 700 megatexels/second to 500, now the D3D drivers are bad and hardware T&L is disabled. Not good.

New "Ask Hook"

VoodooExtreme has put up the latest installment of their "Ask (Brian) Hook" column. In this edition, he discusses T&L and collision detection and palletized textures.

Messiah Demo

Shiny has released a demo of their much-anticipated new game, Messiah. This is one of the first games to make use of the hardware T&L capabilities of the GeForce. You can get info on the demo from Shiny's site. You can download the 70M demo from Gigex here, if you are behind a firewall or here, if you aren't. The demo requires a PII 233, 64M RAM, and a 3D accelerator.

Just one caveat: I've been hearing that a lot of people have had a lot of problems getting the demo to run properly. Check Shiny's site (see link above) for any news or fixes.

Update! One of Shiny's programmers forgot to compile a script for the demo. Thus, when you start it for the first time, the program compiles the script, which could take up to five minutes. From then on, you should be golden.

Brandon Reinhart .Plan Update

Epic's Brandon "Don't Call Me Brian" Reinhart updated his .plan. It seems like he's been getting a goodly amount of flames for GT Interactive's decision not to put the Unreal Tournament Linux client on the CD.
Who the hell is Brian Reinhart? (A.T. comments: yesterday, Slashdot reported on GT's decision and called him Brian instead of Brandon.)

Please stop sending me pro-Linux hate mail people. I don't have any say in GT's marketing decisions. I just write the port.

Understand this again: This was not my decision. I am not an operating system advocate. I am more or less indifferent to the OS debate. I just want to program.

Originally this update was much more aggressive. I'll simply say this: I feel that the Linux community is intensely detatched and unrealistic about how it approaches games developers.
Translation: you won't win friends and influence people by flaming the very people who are trying to help you! I don't know Brandon personally, but I have observed his comments and help provided to the Unreal community. He strikes me as a stand-up guy who was just as torqued about GT's decision as the people who are flaming him.

Hey folks, sit back, relax, take a deep breath. If that is the way Linux advocates will react to similar situations, you can bet that gaming companies won't be in the least bit inclined to make products for the OS.

The Master comments: Before people start torching ME, remember I don't care much about O/Ss either. The one thing that's stood out to me in all the O/S wars, is that Micro$oft has damn near no grassroots support, Apple has a very kind and generous support community, and Linux seems to be made up of hundreds of screaming fanatics backed by a core of wonderful people who are rarely heard from unless spoken directly to. So, when you speak to the Linux community, you get the radicals. What a shame.

Graeme Devine .Plan Update

id's Graeme Devine updated his .plan with this short, but sweet message:
We're at RC2. Life is good.
Translation? Quake III Arena is thisclose.

Friday, November 19, 1999

GeForce/Athlon Fix

NVIDIA has posted new drivers for GeForce 256-based cards which will hopefully fix all the problems some users have been reporting with systems powered by AMD's Athlon processor. Thanks Blue (actually, loony) for the tip.

More Q3A Renders

Redwood has posted more character renderings from Quake III Arena. Up this time are: Razor, Tank Jr., Klesk, and Cadaver. I'm sure that Tank Jr. and Klesk will be favorites on the servers. I'm still holding out for Doom Guy, though.

Y2K Movie: Media Irresponsibility

I cannot believe that NBC is going to be airing a T.V. movie called Y2K. The movie portrays world-wide catastrophes occuring as a result of the Y2K bug. It is well-known that the main problem with Y2K will be paranoia. This movie will only serve to increase that paranoia. This is just another classic case of the media being totally irresponsible. It just proves that the big networks are concerned only with ratings and nothing else. I guess it does not bother the NBC executives to make money off others' ignorance and fear. Why am I not surprised?

Q3A Motion Capture Videos

The Shugashack has posted a couple of videos showing id's Paul Steed doing some motion-capture for Quake 3 Arena, as well as the resulting animations for the characters Xaero and Anarki. Once again, their server is taking a pounding, so pack a lunch. Maybe dinner too. And a case of Pepsi.

Star Wars site

I HAVE to thank Blue for this incredibly cool link: Star Wars Lightsabres-Use, Style, and Application (my name). This site ROCKS. I just wasted way too much time checking out the COOL commentary on this site. HIGHLY recommended.

A.T. adds: It's a pretty slick site and exhaustively researched. If nothing else, I'm always impressed when people appear to have more readily available free time than I do.

The Reverend on Voodoo4/5

The Reverend has put up a sweet article on the hubbub at Comdex over 3dfx' recently announced Voodoo4/5 3D accelerators. The article is the most balanced I've seen from Comdex (so many others read like 3dfx marketing material, which it very well may be). Here's his take on the chip's lack of hardware T&L:
The way 3dfx have sounded off, it doesn't look like the Voodoo4/Voodoo5 is/are what gamers would keep for any substantial length of time. If any company is serious about a product of theirs', they should intend for that particular product to last any prospective consumer a reasonably long time. "By the time T&L games are a dime a dozen, we and most others would have a T&L card out by then" just doesn't cut it - I intend my money spent to be of a certain value for a certain length of time. And to play the the very latest of games without the itch to get another card that has a feature which a game will benefit from.
He makes one comment in an update dated today that I would like to comment on:
With all these, the USD$600 asking price for the Voodoo5 6000AGP just doesn't look so steep after all if you just judge it on feature and component value. I mean, for memory alone, how much does 128MB cost now? Get my point?
Point taken. The question is, how many people will really want to drop $600 (more than a number of whole systems are going for today) for a video card? It's one thing to be the fastest (and the 6000 undoubtably will be), but what does it matter if no one can afford it?

One marketing statement that gets blown up right away is the comment that every game will work with the Voodoo5's full-scene anti-aliasing and other T-Buffer tricks right out of the box. Reverend comments:
Whichever the mode [2x or 4x anti-aliasing], the uncertainty is whether it will work well in ALL games. It won't. It will be great in some and not others . . . It is all just very game dependent.
Reverend concludes his article with the most insightful comment of them all: "It all looks good. On paper." That's a key point. Ignore the marketing hype which is 50% exaggeration and 50% bold-faced lie (not just 3dfx, ANY marketing). Wait for the benchmarks, which never lie.

FCC DSL Ruling

The Federal Communications Commission decided that phone companies must allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to share the main telephone line into homes for high-speed DSL (digital subscriber line) access. Previously, the Baby Bells could share a line, but ISPs had to have their customers get a second line, substantially increasing the cost of ISPs' DSL service. This levels the playing field and hopefully will make DSL service more widespread. Naturally, the Baby Bells are having a hissy fit. Read the whole story here.

Yes folks, I never thought we'd live to see it: an wise decision from a regulatory agency. Will wonders never cease?

Of course, if CenturyTel doesn't get off their rear and replace the switch here in town, DSL won't even be a pipe dream for me.

Unreal Tourney for Linux Update

While we're on our morning Linux kick, Epic's Brandon Reinhart updated his .plan with more bad news for Linux users:
Earlier I said that Linux UT would be available out of the box. GT decided that they didn't want to support a Linux version and didn't want it in the box. We decided not to argue the issue, so the Linux UT libraries and executables will not be available in the box.

Instead, I will make them available for download when UT hits shelves. You'll need to own a copy of UT to use them, obviously.

Q3DemoTest for Linux Update

John Carmack updated his .plan with some bad news for Linux users:
Linux version isn't going to make it tonight. We got too busy with other things. Sorry. Tomorrow.
He also gave us the latest bug fix report:

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