The Haus

Friday, December 17, 1999

Q3A Tweaks

In my never-ceasing quest to tweak Quake III Arena for a few more frames-per-second, I ran across this Q3A tune-up guide on nV news. Some of the information I knew already, namely that setting cg_gibs 0 and turning off dynamic lights give a substantial speed increase. What I didn't know is the dramatic effect turning marks on walls off and setting cg_draw3dicons 0 would have.

Here's my setup. I start with the "high quality" settings, then I set geometric detail to "high," filtering to "bilinear," turn off dynamic lights, and set cg_gibs 0. I ran some timedemos of demo001 with those settings (#1), then with marks on walls off (#2), then with both marks on walls off and cg_draw3dicons 0 (#3). Here are the results:
#1: 41.7 fps, #2: 46.6 fps, #3: 48.0 fps.
Not too shabby if you ask me. Try these settings out for yourself!

My Experiences with UTDemo's Netcode

It's a slow news day (and I'm trying to avoid doing actual work). Therefore I decided that seeing I have tested Q3A and Q3ADemo's netcode quite a bit, I should become more familiar with UT's. I've been playing a bit of UT online and have found a couple of things to be true. I was on one server with a ping between 230-280. It was close to unplayable. The weapon firing animation is client side, but the actual firing is not, so you see your weapon kick, then a smidge later the rocket/plasma/whatever fires. Very disconcerting. When I began to drop some packets I got the "warping" effect where the server would inform my client that I really hadn't run that far yet so I'd be yanked backwards as soon as my client updated. Blech. Both of these make it very hard to compensate for lag.

On the other hand, I was on another server and my ping was between 150-180. There it was very nice and very playable (despite the one j@ck@$$ with auto-taunt turned on who was shooting everyone in the back). Since I haven't played UT enough, I was thinking about which weapon to use way too much and getting picked off too easily.

I guess that if the connection is bad (200-300 ping) I find it easier to compensate for lag with Q3A than with UT. With a sub-200 ping, both games play very nicely and very smoothly. Kudos to the guys at Epic for taking Unreal's abysmal netcode and turning it into something rather nice!

The Master comments: From what I'm reading on the Q3ACoding mail list, the UT network code feels like an intermediate Quakeworld, which is pretty cloes to what A.T. is describing. That's still a huge step from Unreal.

Daikatana Chat

PlanetDaikatana has posted an edited transcript of last night's chat with ION Storm's John Romero and others. One of the coolest aspects of Daikatana is the ability to play through the whole thing in co-op mode. You and two of your friends can go through the whole thing and the server will save where you are. Pretty slick. Hopefully it will be out in time for the lucrative Groundhog Day shopping season.

UT vs. Q3A: Update!

I've been having an email conversation with a man by the name of Edward H. who read my UT vs. Q3A article and took a bit of umbrage with my comments on UT's bots being "cookie cutter" bots--essentially all the same. He pointed out that when you start up a practice session or network game, there is a button called "Configure" under the "Bots" tab that lets you adjust some settings for the bots, including weapon preference, accuracy, alertness, camping, strafing, and combat style. This does offer you great control over the bots you play, but unless you change the settings yourself, all the bots will be essentially the same on any skill level. Notice that I didn't say that was bad, mind you, because UT's bots are quite nice. I plan on updating that commentary (or maybe writing a whole new one) once I have the full version of UT.

Thanks to Edward H. for his comments and insight!

Domain Names for $13?

Tucows has announced that they will be offering domain name registration to ISPs in real time for $13 per year through their new openSRS website. Recently, Network Solutions (formerly Internic) lowered their price to $35 per year. Isn't competition great? It looks like they may need to get those .biz, .web, and other subdomains going though since everyone and their dog will have their own domain. It also looks like it may be time to register!

Thanks Slashdot.

Thursday, December 16, 1999

No Daikatana for X-Mas

Now, I know EVERYONE is surprised by this one, but according to Blue's, Ion Storm missed shipping Daikatana for the X-Mas holiday. Well, I can't say I'm surprised since their publisher wouldn't have a snowballs' chance in heck of getting that sucker pressed in time. Maybe next century John Romero?

A.T. Hun comments: If Daikatana turns out to be the great game that Romero thinks/dreams/imagines it is, the real tragedy will be that it may go down as the best game no one bought and as one of the most catastrophic failures in gaming history. You'd better believe that publishers are going to be a LOT tighter with the purse strings than they were before. Unfortunately that also means more half-baked, almost-completed, needing-15-patches games out there.

If you are bored you can check out an interview with his hirsuteness (Romero) at CheckOut Games.

Q3A Mac Incoming

Well, according to Graeme Devine's .plan update, Q3A for the Macintosh is done.
Mac demo will be out tonight. Mac full version is also complete.

New Q3A Tools Soon

id's tool-time guy, Robert "Don't call me Patrick" Duffy updated his .plan with news that he will be releasing a patch for the Quake III Arena tools which have been crashing on some people. Most of the problems seem to be video driver related (no big surprise there).

Review of the Threewave CTF Maps

155&Rising on Barry's World was one of the testers for the recently released Threewave CTF maps for Quake III Arena. She has posted a detailed review of these maps including tactics for attacking and defending. She shows how the very design of the maps eliminates the possibility of the "one man army" attacks and forces teamwork to be successful. A must-read for Quake III CTF players and wanna-be map designers. Thanks Redwood.

Thresh on Q3A

Thresh's Firing Squad is another one of those sites whose reviews I will link to. They have put up an exhaustive review of Quake III Arena, covering its highs and lows (and they seem to find more lows than highs). They conclude with a couple of paragraphs on the whole Q3A vs. UT debate. It seems that their last analysis is very similar to mine, but I'll let you read the article to find out what that is :)

You can also check out their equally exhaustive review of Unreal Tournament here.

Past Two Days' News

Recent Headlines

January 5, 2015: It Returns!
August 10, 2007: SCO SUCKS IT DOWN!
July 5, 2007: Slackware 12.0 Released
May 20, 2007: PhpBB 3.0 RC 1 Released
February 2, 2007: DOOM3 1.31 Patch

January 27, 2007: Join the World Community Grid
January 17, 2007: Flash Player 9 for Linux
December 30, 2006: Darkness over Daggerford 1.2
December 19, 2006: Pocket Tunes 4.0 Released
December 9, 2006: WRT54G 1.01.1 Firmware OK with Linux/Mac

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