The Haus

Wednesday, March 22, 2000

More on the 411 Patch (Give or Take)

The folks at Unreal Universe spied some information from Epic's Jack "Mek" Porter on why forthcoming Unreal Tournament patches change version numbers more often than I've had hot dinners.
>>What happened to 406, 407, 408, 409, and 410? <<

We made all these versions, but they had problems or bugs. We sent them to the ngStats guys to test the ngStats changes, tested them internally, etc. Last night the server admins were testing 411, and we found a problem - so today we gave them 412. If a big problem is found in 412, we'll release 413.

We keep incrementing the version number so there's absolutely no confusion about what version a build is. People don't seem to like it when we add letters - last time we got to 405b, but people thought that meant Beta. We should have just called it 406.
Expect the 478 Patch any day now :) Mek also commented on the rumors about no further patches coming from Epic.
We've been fixing bugs for UT and will continue to. We're not adding features to UT or changing UT's gameplay in any way. UT is the game you bought from the store. UT has been "Done" since it went gold in, terms of being feature complete. Features we've been adding in the patches have been things to encourage people to make cool mods for UT, or things which encourage server admins to run more UT servers.

So while we're continuing to support UT by fixing bugs and keep the community going by encouraging modmakers and server admins, we're also moving towards our next big thing.
Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

UT Version 411

Looks like Epic blew right past version 406, and are going to 411. Here's a list of features and fixes (grabbed from UnrealTournament.Org):

New FeaturesBugs FixedA.T. Hun comments: OK, so I was right in the first place, they did blow past 406 altogether. I just started noticing the "squares" problem when I upgraded to the 5.08 Detonators. Good to see that's being addressed. I hope the plan is still to make this a simultaneous Win32, Mac, and Linux release. I may have to email GreenMarine about that . . .

SB Live! drivers for Win2K

Creative has finally released Windows 2000 drivers for the Sound Blaster Live! cards. This download is the full Live!Wire package, so anyone running W2K with a Live! card is now ready to rumble :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2000


Okay, gotta vent here. If the intellectual level of the Shugashack messageboards decreases any further I'll SWEAR we've somehow found a way to take cow dung and make children out of it. I haven't seen IQ's so low since the concept of frontal lobotomies. Good grief.

I say take the PCs away-they obviously need to learn how to
  1. Think critically and RATIONALLY, and
  2. Write
before they begin typing a single word of drivel on the internet. It's a shame this can't reflect on families anymore. You'd see a lot of this crud go away.

More Obi-Wan

The Obi-Wan Network has posted an article from PCG UK about LucasArt's Episode I: Obi-Wan on their news page. It is written as if it were a Jedi training manual in an effort to be clever. That hinders more than it helps, but the basic information is there. Also, since I didn't see a "reprinted by permission" this smells like it could be a copyright violation <sniff, sniff>. Thanks

NVIDIA and Linux

NVIDIA's driver support in Linux has always been somewhat, ahem, sketchy. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be getting any better. According to this article on Slashdot, the new binary-only drivers that should be coming sometime this century from NVIDIA will not be using DRI (Direct Rendering Infrastructure--XFree86's answer to DirectX) at all. It's bad enough not make closed-source drivers in Linux (which is the unforgivable sin in the Linux world), but they are also throwing away the DRI standard which their own Linux FAQ said they would be supporting.

I guess it will all come down to this: if the NVIDIA binary driver proves to be by leaps and bounds better than any DRI driver, then people will use it. But if it is closed-source and it sucks, no one will come within 500 miles of it. I hope NVIDIA rethinks this position. Of course, since the vast majority of gamers use Win32 and they just got the big X-Box contract, they may not give a rats. J.t.? Any thoughts?

Update! In reading through the comments on that article, I came across this one which may give some insight into the situation:
NVidia is going to take a lot of heat from the Open Source community over this. But the reason why its closed source is because they're stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The AGP DMA technology their cards use is licensed from this other company (forgot their name). They signed an NDA to get this technology.
Interesting point, if it is correct. Rarely are these matters as simple as they may appear.

Gaming Skunk Works

Graeme Devine updated his .plan with some ideas for a game company "skunk works". Check this out:
I've been thinking a lot about this whole idea of giving out degrees in game design, and it seems that there's a genuine need to be pro active in bringing new people into the community and teaching them some of our mysterious ways. What I'd like to look at doing for those people not enrolled in game design courses at school (who teaches those anyway?) is to start a small skunk works inside id that has active ongoing support from a few people here, a small budget, and actively encourages and teaches our trade.
Anyway, I'd like to propose that our new skunk works helps out by helping the game design process, looking at maps, looking at code, and communicating directly between us, other developers, and the community at large. It's only in our best interests to pass on knowledge, get input and give input on what we're doing, and help make this industry grow.


New Q3A Models

Paul Steed posted a couple of Metastream shots of the new models he is working on for the forthcoming Quake III Arena expansion pack. Pretty cool stuff! You will need the Metastream plugin to see the models. Thanks Planet Quake.

Pondering the Imponderable

So, you think I've just been slacking off with the past few slow news days? Certainly you jest! The Master, Crawl, and I have been working feverishly on EZ-Net's new game server. Yesterday, I made several updates to our Game Servers section of the site, including hardware information and setup guides for Quake III Arena and Unreal Tournament. This weekend, The Master got the traceroute page done as well as taking tons of screenshots for the Half-Life servers (the H-L server on the new machine is running the new Counterstrike mod, by the way).

I saw on Gone Gold yesterday that Best Buy is offering the Half-Life Game of the Year edition for $9.99 after rebate. I think I have no reason not to get it now.

As soon as work is done on the server pages, I'm going to turn my attention to our Linux Stuff section, which currently has absolutely nothing in it :) I've got a bunch of things I'm going to move into that section and a few things in the queue to write for that section too.


So, is it going to go gold or what? A lot of folks at ION (Romero, KillCreek, Stephens) made a big deal about how they were all leaving for the weekend. Maybe they left too early?

Update! Evil Avatar is reporting that the release candidate that was submitted on Friday was rejected by Eidos and another was submitted yesterday. Oops!

ZeroPing's Author Answers

Jibe, the author of the much-maligned ZeroPing mutator, responds to comments posted yesterday if Cliff Bleszinski and Brandon Reinhart's .plans. Here's a snip, check out the rest of his homepage:
Zeroping is an experiment, not a crusade. It may be that client-side hitscan's never been done because there's something horribly wrong with it; if so, I'll be happy to let it go -- you learn the most from the experiments that fail. But the hundreds of technical arguments I've read against ZP seem more like relfexes than anything else, and I've yet to hear any complaints that I don't feel I can address. I'm happy to have Epic in the conversation (although not quite in the format I'd prefer) because I suspect they'll present the harshest and most weighty objections.

To state my position a little more clearly... We've all seen the odd side-effects of client-side movement: warping from one location to another, lifts changing state to compensate, etc. I doubt anyone would call client-side motion a bad thing any more; it's much better to accept the occassional eccentricities than to have a 200ms delay on your "forward" key. I'm arguing that the same is true for the fire button, and whatever oddities client-side hitscan presents.
The "warping" his refers to is, for me, the most annoying thing about Unreal Tournament and makes it very difficult to compensate for lag.

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