The Haus

Wednesday, March 8, 2000


Eric Biessman updated his .plan with this enigmatic entry:
Add some seasoning, bake until golden brown.

Something smells good...
Something tells me SOF is gold today or tomorrow. Consider this a hunch :-)

Obi-Wan Preview

A German site called the GamersZone has a preview of LucasArts' Episode I: Obi-Wan online. It is in German, so you may need to make use of a Babelfish, which will give you at least the gist of what they are saying. Included are a couple of never-before-seen screenshots. Obi-Wan is my personal most-anticipated game, but I'm a Star Wars freak.

The Master comments: Oh, admit it A.T., you're just a freak (you saw that coming, right?!?)

Update! Oops! I forgot to credit Blue's News for the link. Mea culpa.

Reverend on the 5.08 Detonators

There have been some unofficially-released NVIDIA 5.08 Detonator drivers floating about on the web (a little birdie told me you could possibly find them here). They reportedly enable S3TC (S3's texture compression) in OpenGL and allow for full-scene anti-aliasing. Reverend puts these drivers through their paces. The S3TC really didn't help him much since he has a 64M Quadro card, instead of the standard-issue 32M GeForce. The FSAA provides some very noticable improvements, but at a HUGE performance penalty.

I installed these drivers yesterday on my TNT. Some sites are reporting 5-20% speed-ups with these new drivers on TNT2 Ultras and GeForces. I haven't experienced such speed-ups (but I think my poor TNT is pretty much maxed out as is), but there haven't been slow-downs either. Remarkably, these are the first post-2.08 drivers that DON'T cause NHL 2000 to lock up on my system! I'm keeping them installed for two reasons: 1) to see if they get rid of the mipmap corruption I often see in Unreal Tournament, and 2) to hopefully correct some 2D anomalies I see with the 2.08 drivers. I'll keep you posted.

To Bail or Not to Bail?

Today's Ask Hook column on Voodoo Extreme tries to answer the musical question: if the game I'm working on seems like it is never, ever going to ship, should I stay on board out of some sense of loyalty or bail for theoretically greener pastures? Knowing Brian Hook's recent history, the answer probably won't surprise you. Makes for a good read nonetheless.

Qstat website down

It appears that the Qstat homepage is down. I'm looking for an alternate link at this time. I'll keep everyone informed as I find out what's going on.

Update! It seems there was a new apache install that borked the Qstat homepage. It's all fixed now :-)

Salon on Daikatana Crunch Mode, Pt. II

The second and final part of Salon's article on Daikatana cruch time has been posted. Key figures in this installment are Stevie Case and Luke Whiteside.

Carmack on Hardware Solutions to Texture Thrashing

id's John Carmack made a whale of an update to his .plan with his hardware-based solution to a problem that everyone has faced: texture thrashing. Yes, you have faced it if you play any 3D games, even if you didn't know it! It's a monstrously huge update, but well worth the mental effort.

The Master comments: Wow. I have strained my brain. :-)

A.T. Hun comments: Tell me about it. And I was reading it after midnight!

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Daikatana Info

John Romero made a post on the PlanetDaikatana forums dealing with various gameplay issues. Included is the word on instant weapon switching, footsteps, and The Romero's next project (coming to a computer near you in 2005!). Thanks Stomped.

Christopher Blizzard on Mozilla

LinuxPower has posted an interview with Red Hat's Christopher Blizzard, whom the company has "lent out" to work full-time on Mozilla. It is a very interesting interview on where Mozilla has been and where it is heading.

If you read this page often enough, you know I'm a big supporter of the whole Mozilla open-source browser movement. I use the Mozilla M14 release for quite a bit of my browsing now. I like it because I want to be able to use a modern, standards-compliant browser in Linux. I also want to be able to never ever run Internet Explorer again on my Win98 box. Thanks Linux Today for the link.

NVIDIA in X-Box after all?

According to this EE Times article the forthcoming Microsoft X-Box gaming console will use an NVIDIA graphics chip, and not GigaPixel as had been recently rumored.
But on Monday (March 6), Microsoft selected Nvidia as the graphic chip provider for X-Box. [GigaPixel president and CEO George] Haber said he was summoned by Microsoft and told of its decision to work with Nvidia in order to minimize the variables and risk factors associated with the X-Box launch. "They obviously felt that Nvidia is a safer bet," he said, because it is a market leader and has closer relationships with software developers.
The box is supposed to be formally announced at the Game Developers Conference this Friday. Strangely enough, the article also says,
Current plans call for an X-Box launch in time for the Christmas 2001 selling season.
A year and a half away? Is that a typo? If it's that far in the future, it certainly won't be competing with Sony's Playstation 2 which was just launched in Japan. I guess we'll know for sure on Friday! Thanks Evil Avatar for the link.

Update! Jack at the Shugashack has pointed out that NVIDIA's stock has soared over 20 points (up 26 63/64 at 85 31/64 right now) on the strength of this rumor.

VeriSign to buy Network Solutions?

According to this article VeriSign buys Network Solutions. According to the article, the $21 billion dollar deal will allow Network Solutions to sell more security solutions in addition to their DNS name registry services. Wow.

Salon on Daikatana Crunch Mode

Salon has the first part of a two part series on cruch mode for Daikatana. The amazing thing is that the material for this article was gathered BEFORE Christmas. Since it's now March and the game still isn't out, there must have been some pretty catastrophic bugs in there. The article is an interesting look at the past three years in the life of Romero and why it really isn't surprising that Daikatana is 26 months late (and counting). Thanks Blue's News.

"Crunch mode" (working endless hours to finish a game) seems to run contrary to the way the human body works best. Lack of sleep and proper nutrition do not improve the body's ability to function. I wonder how many times cruch time is actually prolonged because of stupid errors either introduced or not found because their minds were not working at optimum capacity. I'm sure that game developers (if any of them read this, which I doubt) are preparing their flamethrowers. But I really wonder how counterproductive the "typical" game programmers lifestyle really is.

The Master comments: I'd say it's very counterproductive. I know if I stay up till 3am reading a good book, then try to program databases at 8am, I suck. And game programming is MUCH more strenuous. On this article, this comment caught my eye:
It's like game designer Tom Hall tells me half-jokingly outside his office one night: People don't become gamers for fun, "we do it to work out our pain."
Heh-I can relate to that :-)

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