The Haus

Monday, January 17, 2000

Updated DE Mutators

Digital Extremes has released an updated version of their mutator pack. This pack installs correctly now, so you don't have to edit your UnrealTournament.ini file. It requires the 405B patch. Thanks PlanetUnreal.

As an aside, someone at Digital Extremes really needs to look at their site in Netscape. It looks like, um, all kinds of text mashed together.

Improve Your Ping

My man, Vengor (aka the guy who is going to give The Haus a major speed boost), gave me this link containing various Win95/98 tweaks to get the most out of your modem. He reports a substantial drop in Unreal Tournament pings and general speed improvements. If you have a modem, check it out. I'm going to try out some of the tips myself and report back.

More QVM vs. DLLs

Now that the id Quake III Arena source code has been released several sites (including Shugashack and Barry's World) have posted compiled DLLs to run instead of the QVMs. It does give a speed-up and that's all fine and good, except that a) I'm not sure I trust people just giving me DLLs to run and b) They definitely won't work with future mods (and I'm not sure about pure servers). Is it worth it? Not for me, but I realize that rarely is my opinion in the majority :)

UT Beta D3D Renderer

The Unreal Technology page was updated with news of a beta Direct3D renderer you can try if you are having problems with D3D in Unreal Tournament. Here's the scoop:
We are testing a new beta of UT's DirectX7 D3D rendering interface DLL. People experiencing problems in D3D mode may want to help test it, keep in mind this is an unsupported, largely untested beta. In particular, this should allow you to run UT on certain combinations of GeForce-based cards and drivers for which the original DLL crashes shortly after 'precaching'. To install, backup the d3ddrv.dll that's in your UT system folder and replace it with this file. Feedback welcome at

Point Release news

Robert Duffy updated his .plan with word on the upcoming Q3A point release, and some comments about the QVM vs DLL debate. Here ya go:
We will be releasing a point release within a week that addresses the fs_game problem that exists in the current executable. This problem forces clients to start with the same fs_game parameter as the server. It does not affect normal game play but keeps the server from specifying which "game" directory to use. This is a bug. Mod authors do not have to wait for the fs_game patch to get started as the code will be the same either way on their end.

There are two other basic issues for mods that have come up:

  1. DLL use for mods

    Our position on DLL use for mods is that it is a bad thing. DLL's are not multi-os compatible and they pose a much greater security risk than qvm's. Note, I did not say that qvm's are totally secure, they are not, but they are definately more secure than DLL's. DLL's are for debugging only and qvm's are the only official supported way to produce and distribute a mod. Period.

  2. Auto-downloading

    We are currently exploring several options for auto-downloading. There will support at some level for mod surfing and downloading. This support is geared towards the "mod" type of add-on as opposed to downloading maps or models ( or skins ). The goal is to not consume server bandwidth for downloads but push the bandwidth use to some sort of a dedicated "mod" server or something.

Graeme Devine .plan update

Graeme Devine updated his .plan on the availability of the 'bot documentation for Q3A, and some associated commentary on the whole QVM vs. DLL debate. Here's the .plan:
Mr Elusive just put together some bot editing documents, the file is available on our ftp server:

We've been following the whole DLL vs. VM debates, and id is firmly on the side of using VMs for game mods. We will be addressing the "auto swap" VM depending on which server you go to quickly (this was a bug) but I think we will be strict on saying that people should use VMs over DLL files. The next executable release will probably have a warning screen come up that you will need to agree to and click through if the game is about to load a DLL.


Okay, I'm gonna go off on something that has been bothering me since the Q3 source was released. Why the heck does every single mod author out there feel it's their obligation in life to compile the DLLs instead of using the QVM?

I personally think that the QVM allows a LOT of new programmers a shot at making a mod for Q3. This harks back to the days of QuakeWorld where a programmer didn't need a $1,000 compiler to properly build a mod. Good grief, people, 2-8 fps is NOT that important unless you're getting < 25-30 fps anyways, and if your fps is that low your system specs are pushing the requirements of Q3A anyway!

Carmack did this for a lot of good reasons. You don't have to wait for a (name O/S here) guru to target your code over to some system you don't own. You don't have to worry about some lamer using the .dll to hack your system. And, most importantly, you don't have to be bloody rich to compile your mod.

Give QVM a chance, huh? In the end, I think you'll appreciate it.

Sunday, January 16, 2000

Barry's World Q3A Demo

The folks over at Barry's World have created a benchmarking demo for Quake III Arena. The demo is a 32 player fragfest on Q3DM1. FWIW, my system got 28.7 fps.

The Master comments: On my system (Celeron 300A), with gibs ON, I got 15.1. Ick, but I LIKE the gibs :)

A.T. Hun comments: I'm guessing that cg_gibs 1 in a demo like that will slaughter your framerate. Too much stuff flying around for your video card to keep up. Gibs are cool and all, but IMO it's the worst thing to have on because it eats frames-per-second when you need them the most.

The Master comments: I'd agree with that-what I really wanted to see was what would happen with my current game config. Obviously, you need a heck of a CPU or GPU upgrade to get away with much in Q3A once the number of players gets very high.

Mozilla/Netscape 5 Status

BrowserWatch posted an email from a Netscape employee regarding the the current status of Mozilla, the open-source browser project which will be the basis for Netscape Communicator 5. None of the information is official, but it seems like we may see an alpha/beta version of the browser soon. I've been using Mozilla's Milestone 12 release for a while and it seems very promising. Either Mozilla or Netscape 5 will definitely be my next browser. Thanks Slashdot.

Rocket Arena for UT Update

Epic's Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart has posted a big status update on the Rocket Arena for Unreal Tournament website. Included is information on voice work and planned gametypes. Should be fun! Thanks Shugashack for the heads-up.

crt on the Q3A Source

crt, the man behind the popular Rocket Arena mod, has been voicing his displeasure over the current state of the Quake III Arena source code. Upon talking with Graeme Devine, he feels a bit better knowing that these issues will be addressed. Check it out on the Rocket Arena homepage.

InstaGib for Q3A

When I first started playing Unreal Tournament, I really liked using the InstaGib mutator. Everyone gets enhanced shock rifles with unlimited ammo and no powerups. One shot kills. You are either alive or dead. I thought, this would be pretty cool to do in Quake III Arena with a railgun! Fortunately, someone with programming ability thought the same thing. Thus was born Q3A InstaGib a mini-mod that will be a part of the carnageArena mod. Cool stuff. Thanks Blue for the link.

Update! I downloaded and installed the mod. It is a blast! If you need to work on your railgunning skills (or your railgun avoidance skills) this is the mod for you. It works with all of Q3A's gameplay variations too! InstGib CTF anyone? <evil grin>

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