The Haus

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

Intellectual Capital

Just discovered Intellectual Capital from a link on Jerry Pournelle's website (Chaos Manor). Check out some of these articles:

UT: CPU Limited?

I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere I read that Unreal Tournament was CPU-limited, so no matter what resolution you run at, you'll get essentially the same number of frames-per-second. My initial reaction was "yeah, right." Then I tried running the UT demo on my TNT at 1024x768 instead of my usual 640x480. All I can say is "WOW!" I did indeed get just about the same fps. Amazing. Try it yourself!

The Master comments: I think this is a combination of three things. Procedureal texturing, UnrealScript interpretation, and DirectX. UT isn't nearly as optimized as Q3A in the rendering pipeline since they support 3 different rendering models, none of which have anything to do with the others.

Q3A and Character Size

I've seen a couple of sites and a couple of reviews mention that, because the Q3A characters are different sizes, some are easier to hit than others. Actually, the bounding box is the same for them all. It doesn't matter if you are Tank Jr. or Orbb, you're "target" is the same size.

UT Patch

Gamefan has a list of all the fixes and changes in the forthcoming 401(c) patch for Unreal Tournament. The patch is in final testing and should be out shortly. Isn't 401(c) a tax shelter?

Quake III for Linux: Gold!

Linux Quake is reporting that Quake III Arena for Linux has gone gold. If you ordered a copy, it should be in your grubby little hands within a week. Show your support, Linux heads--the industry is watching . . .

Thanks Blue's News.

Microprose Alameda Closing

According to Anthony Chiang's .plan update, one of Microprose's two studios (the Spectrum Holobyte studio) is closing. Spectrum was the maker of Falcon for the Mac, Tetris (American version), Falcon 3, Star Trek: A Final Unity, and Top Gun: Fire at Will (along with many others). I do hope that the other Microprose studio carries on the fine tradition of the Master of Orion series. I would hate to see that license die.

Microprose and Atari all all a part of the massive Hasbro Interactive game empire. It is incredibly difficult for me to deal with the reality of formerly huge game companies like Microprose and Atari as dinky parts of a board-game manufacturer. How the wheel turns . . .

Q3A! Mine, mine, mine!

Thanks to Mrs. The Master (aka Eeyore), The Master has a copy of Q3A and I will have one by Thursday. Expect many bots to be whacked. If Santa Claus reads his list correctly, I should have Unreal Tourney soon too.

The Master comments: Admit it, A.T., you just like being able to blame us for purchasing this for you without you knowing. Kinda like when I got my new SB: Live :-)

3dfx OpenGL Support

The Reverend pointed me to this quote from the recently released Glide FAQ (on Glide's Open Source status and other issues):
Voodoo3 can not run OpenGL as fast as Glide. How will you compensate for this in the future?

This is dependent on the application, however future OpenGL drivers from 3dfx will access the hardware directly and have higher performance characteristics than our current OpenGL drivers which are layered on top of Glide. Our plan is to optimize our OpenGL implementation such that it will run as fast if not faster(depending on the application) than Glide.
No wonder 3dfx OpenGL is so slow since it is essentially a wrapper! Yikes! It would certainly be a major step forward if 3dfx could produce a high-quality OpenGL ICD. More power to them.

The Master comments: Lets see if they can deliver first :-)

Grossman Interview

Stomped has an interview with David Grossman, a big anti-violence "expert" who has borne the brunt of many flames in the gaming community. He makes some valid points (I don't think six-year-olds should be playing first-person-shooters either!), but his final comments are very disturbing to me:
Is it worth ONE life for all the kids in America to be able to play violent video games? Every major medical and scientific body says the price is MUCH more than just ONE life. REAL lives, with real families, dead. No reset button. Dead. No extra lives. DEAD. Even if all these medical and scientific experts MIGHT BE WRONG, is THAT a risk with taking?
This is the real danger in Grossman and people like him. This comment is fascist, pure and simple. We need to remove anything from the people that could possibly endanger them because they are too stupid to know the difference. Shall we eliminate the freedom of the press or freedom of speech because someone could conceivably be libelous or slanderous? Shall we eliminate the freedom of religion because some religious "extremists" may get carried away? While I may agree with him on points, his overall argument is very dangerous.

This is the same arguement that neo-prohibitionists bring up all the time. Think how many drunk-drivers, drunk-driving-related deaths, and problems with alcoholism we could eliminate if only alcohol were illegal! Instead of dealing with the people who are the sources of the problems, we make every adult who has a beer on Friday night a criminal.

I'd also like to know why when a white kid shoots up a school, it's an unbelievable, unexplainable tragedy. When a black kid shoots another, it barely gets mentioned. Why is that?

The Master comments: Personally, I think it's because society for some seriously SCREWED UP reason has decided that black people shooting each other is normal. And white people shooting anyone isn't. That's such exquisite BS, but that's the image most people carry around. And TV/Media/Movies don't exactly try to rectify that situation either. Update: I do need to qualify all of this with "American people" since this typically ISN'T the attitude outside the U.S.

Monday, December 6, 1999


IBM has a new process that uses silicon germanium transistors with copper interconnects. Theoretically this could make for 90Ghz CPUs in the not-too-distant future. Ahhh, pure research. Thanks Ars Technica.

SB: Live tip

For those of you with Sound Blaster Live! cards, here's a tip for those living in a household with different musical preferences than your own :-)

Plug your headphones into the primary speaker jack. Plug your speakers into the rear speakers jack. When using the headphones, put the sound options in the Speaker applet to Headphones. When you want to blast the tunes, switch to 4-speaker mode. Voila!

Credit Cards

They suck. SUCK. Thank you. I've said my piece.

Webdog on Hold Part Deux

Well, it appears that Webdog will be fluctuating all over the place for a couple of days until Richard finally makes his big announcement. Don't be surprised by the finger and news trackers failing off and on over the next couple days. FWIW: The frontpage of Webdog at least sounds promising :-)'s huge new facility

I couldn't believe this when I saw it: Pair.Com's new network facility. Un-freaking-belIEVABLE. I want one. No, two :-)

BTW: Pair's move to this new facility is why Blue's News and a lot of other large internet websites were down today.

Graeme Devine .plan update

Another .plan update from Graeme Devine. The hackers are starting to irritate id methinks:
Okay. First off, don't run crack executables on your client! All it's likely to do is grab your CD key and send it off somewhere. Authorization is server side, not client side. We will pursue and close down cracked servers with all available resources.

Secondly, CD keys are "leased", so if you log on through a dialup, play, then disconnect your modem and log right back on, your CD key will have to timeout on your previous IP before you can play again. This timeout period is currently set at 5 minutes.

Linux Heretic II ships

According to Loki Products, the Linux version of Heretic 2 is shipping. Thanks Blue (he's BACK!)

3dfx makes Glide open-source!

Huge news from 3dfx, who finally caved and made the proprietary Glide graphics API! WOW! HUGE news. And it's about time too. If you're a linux junkie, check 3dfx's linux Glide site.

A.T. Hun comments: I think you can partially thank Creative for this too. Their Unified driver threatened to embroil 3dfx in a lawsuit they neither needed nor wanted. The long and the short? Maybe there IS hope for 3dfx after all!

On This Day?

Check out On This Day. This is a cool site. And it even pointed out an incredibly important date for A.T. (he's a homebrewer, besides his massive webslinging skillz :-) Prohibition is ended in U.S. by ratification of 21st Amendment on December 5, 1933.

I couldn't help picking on you A.T. :-) I actually remember you telling me that homebrewing over certain alcohol levels and stuff is STILL illegal in some states . . .

A.T. Hun comments: Actually, I knew that. I posted it on my homebrew club's website yesterday.

Graeme Devine .plan update

Graeme Devine updated his .plan today with news on hackers versus valid users pounding the authentication server at a rate of 2:1. Nice try guys-why don't you just turn yourselves in to da man now. I hope you're MASQing your IPs :-)
Okay. Hacker attempts with invalid keys are outnumbering real keys by a factor of 2:1 or so.
. . .
The actual algorithm is a 64 bit DES key encryption method open to a very small window. The chances of coming up with a real valid key is in the range of billions and billions to one. A random pass through the available keys shows no sign of repeating sequences, it looks like good old chaos (in fact, statisical math proves this).

The client has no idea if your key is really valid or not, it just checks on the correct characters being entered.


I'm posting this even though I (and other EZ-Net subscribers) are the only ones who can read this right now! EZ-Net's upstream provider, who shall remain nameless (<nervous tic>Times-Warner</nervous tic>) is borking again. You can't access The Haus, I can't access the Internet. Fortunately, EZ's getting another T1 from a different upstream provider which should eliminate future problems like that. Hopefully the trained monkeys at T-W will get the problem corrected soon. I need my Blue's News fix!

The Master comments: Hey, FWIW it isn't TW, I think somethings mega-broke in Chicago. AT&T's internet service seems to be dead from Chicago on as well. At least I can reach The Haus :-) AND I NEED MY BLUE'S FIX TOO!!!! ARRRGGGHHH!

A.T. Hun comments: Mea culpa. Sorry for accusing T-W so quickly.

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