The Haus

Tuesday, March 28, 2000

AOL Open Mail Relays

In the "stop me if you've heard this before" category, AOL got itself added to the ORBS list for having open mail relays. Smooth. Only the largest ISP in the history of ever. Actually I'm rather amazed at the number of ISPs who have their mail servers wide open for spammers. You'd think they'd value their bandwidth and server usage a bit more than that. Thanks Slashdot.

Update! Upon reading through the comments on this article, I found this from someone claiming to be an AOL employee (not that I necessarily doubt it, I just can't verify it):
AOL has some new machines in place to redirect part of what would normally be the dialup (* mail traffic through machines where we can monitor the volume to control spam. We're just testing it at the moment, and these redirection proxy machines are the ones listed in ORBS, with my support and permission. AOL's dialups have been listed in ORBS and the MAPS DUL for a long time, because well, lots of mail shouldn't come directly from dialups to someone else's mailserver.

SoF SDK Available

Raven's Rick Johnson updated his .plan with the following good news for aspiring Soldier of Fortune mappers and mod makers:
You can download the inital version of the SoF SDK at SoF News. This SDK contains a version of Radiant for SoF, the BSP utilities, scripting compiler, ghoul exporter, documentation, and the original map and script files for the first level of the game (the New York Subway).

Evil Avatar and Tim Sweeney

Evil Avatar fired off some questions to Epic's Tim Sweeney. Here's what I found to be the most interesting:
Evil: If Quake III Arena runs so great under OpenGL, how come the Unreal Engine doesn't and what are you going to do about it?

Tim: Quake's OpenGL support is superior to UT's OpenGL support because id Software designed the engine 100% focused on OpenGL. From the very beginning, their level designers were placing textures in their levels, and the programmers were doing their thing, with OpenGL's performance characteristics in mind.
Basically, that's what we've known all along. The Q3A engine was built from the ground up to be an OpenGL engine, the UT engine was built from the ground up to be a Glide engine. Thus the differences. Tim continues,
We support Direct3D, Glide, software rendering, and now PlayStation2 rendering. Supporting multiple API's requires a different set of tradeoffs. This is bad for OpenGL performance, but good for other things. For example, Unreal Tournament is fun and playable on those $400 to $500 PC's that are so popular in retail stores and are bringing computers to ordinary people, as opposed to hardcore gamers. Most of these computers can't run Quake 3 because they lack adequate 3D acceleration. But they have fast CPU's, so Unreal Tournament's software renderer saves the day.
Quite interesting, but I challenge you to find a $400-$500 PC that will run UT decently. Especially without at least a Voodoo2.

Noel gets his hands slapped

Noel "Shadow" Stephens posted a note in his .plan:
I have been informed not to post in my .plan file.

Sorry guys,

I think Eidos doesn't want any "almost there" news posted anymore. Does anyone else sense the impending doom?

A.T. Hun comments: Translation: No game for you. No demo for you. No anything for you. At least not anytime soon . . .

The Master comments: So, when did you start learning Eidosese there A.T.? :-)

5.13 Detonators: 1st Impressions

I got the new drivers installed (tip: change to PCI VGA first and THEN uninstall the old drivers). FPS are about the same in Unreal Tournament and maybe a smidge faster in Q3A. I still can't get decals not to flash in Half-Life OpenGL, but they still work fine in Direct3D. H-L didn't crash when I exited (but I only tried it once). NHL 2000 runs fine. I didn't play Unreal Tourney long enough to see the 2.08 driver's mipmap corruption was still gone, but I have no reason to doubt it. All in all: good first impressions. N.B. this was with my Creative Labs AGP TNT.

Ask Sweeney

The crazy kids at Voodoo Extreme have posted a Q&A with Epic's Tim Sweeney. Topics include getting into the biz, programming consoles, and Glide vs. D3D. Good stuff, Maynard.

5.13 Detonators

Hey kids! More unofficial driver fun! Copies of the NVIDIA 5.13 Detonator drivers are out and about. Rumor has it that they provide all the benefits of the 5.08 drivers with added stability. It seems that GeForce users also have a checkbox to enable FSAA in OpenGL and D3D. A little birdie told me you could get these drivers here. I'm going to try these out and report back. Hopefully they will cure some of the crashes I've been experiencing in Half-Life.

UT D3D Troubles

Well, so much for the 413 patch. Some users are reporting performance problems in Direct3D with this latest patch and Unreal Tournament. The UT Direct3D page has been updated with the old beta d3ddrv.dll to see if that helps anyone. Personally, I didn't see any major slowdowns with the new patch, but I also didn't see any performance gains either. Thanks Blue's News.

Monday, March 27, 2000

Why No Linux Viruses?

Site Review has a short, but sweet article posted about why there are no Linux viruses. Because of the very nature of the OS, it is very unlikely that a virus can gain access to anything important and reproduce itself. Thanks Slashdot.

3dfx Buys GigaPixel

According to this press release, 3dfx is dropping $186 million to buy GigaPixel. You may remember GigaPixel as the company that lost the Microsoft X-Box contract to NVIDIA. I'm not entirely certain what 3dfx will gain by buying GigaPixel. I would guess that losing the X-Box contract made them a very attractive take-over candidate. 3dfx's Scott Sellers also gives this reason in the press release:
"We view the GigaPixel technology as a disruptive capability in the 3D market," said Scott Sellers, founder and chief technology officer of 3dfx Interactive. "By reducing memory bandwidth requirements by up to a factor of 10, we can now perform true 32-bit full-scene anti-aliased rendering at previously unseen performance levels. This technology is not theoretical -- it is real and exists in GigaPixel prototype silicon right now. Furthermore, we can now render in 3D at substantially reduced power requirements and cost points, thereby enabling a new class of 3D capable devices in the consumer electronics market."
I still don't know what it means, but apparently Sellers likes it :) Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Daikatana Demo Soon?

PlanetDaikatana posted this blurb from their newly-opened chat server, regarding a demo version of Daikatana from Noel Stephens:
[n1NtH] there plans to release a demo sooN?
[n1NtH] if SOOn
[Noel_Shadow_Stephens] Yes
[Noel_Shadow_Stephens] like this week
I'll believe it when I see it, but more power to them. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

PHP 4.0 RC1 released

Zeev Suraski of Zend has just announced the availability of PHP 4.0 Release Candidate 1:
After about 9 months of public beta testing, PHP 4.0 has gone out of the beta cycle, and a release candidate (RC1) is now available. This version of PHP is considered release-quality code, and unless outstanding problems are found in it, the final release version of PHP 4.0 will come out on early April. All new users of PHP should now use PHP 4.0, and legacy users of PHP 3.0 can feel safe to begin migrating to the new version.

UT 413 Patch Is Out!

Epic has released the 413 patch for Unreal Tournament. Here's a list of mirrors: FilePlanet, Blue's News, and 3D Action Gamers. This is a Win32-only release. The Blue's News and FilePlanet mirrors have a complete list of fixes too. It is a 5.6M file. Note: I updated my Unreal Tournament setup guide to include this new patch.

Brandon "GreenMarine" Reinhart updated his .plan with this very important news for Linux fans:
I'll be putting together a 413 for Linux really soon. I'll start on it today.
Look for 413 to show up on the EZ-Net Unreal Tournament server as soon as GreenMarine is done!

Interview with BioWare

LinuxPower interviewed Dr. Greg Zeschuk and Dr. Ray Muzyka of BioWare about their port of the upcoming Neverwinter Nights AD&D RPG to Linux. The possibility exists that they'll be porting Baldur's Gate 2 as well. Some of us would be very happy to see that! Check out the interview here.

No Daikatana News

Still no word on Daikatana going gold. Maybe Romero and KillCreek actually ran off to Brazil to avoid Eidos. :) I'm sure we'll be hearing some sort of new excuse reason from ION Storm soon.

Update! Color me prophetic. ION Storm's Noel Stephens updated his .plan with this tidbit of information:
So there has been a little bit of <ehum> latency in the testing over this weekend. Things are still on track with Daikatana, and the programmers are done. Unless something horrid happens and we absolutely have to modify the code then we will do so, but as of right now we are mainly here just as a 'safety' net.

Don't panic... :)

Red Hat 6.2 Is Out!

I received an email this morning that Red Hat 6.2 has officially been relesed. Snag it at your favorite mirror site or on Red Hat's public FTP. Here's a list of the main changes:
  • The system can now be installed onto a loopback file on a FAT filesystem. This allows users to install Red Hat Linux onto an existing partition rather then having to repartition their system.
  • The upgrade process recognizes Linux RAID arrays.
  • Better rescue mode on CD and NFS, allowing improved disaster recovery.
  • Networking services have had their client and server components split into separate packages to improve sysadmin flexibility.
  • Pentium III support for improved performance
  • Workstation installs no longer install networking daemons
  • Many system daemons turned off by default (Ed. note: both this and the previous item will help make the default installations a lot more secure)
  • MesaGL now included
  • All man pages gzip'd
  • Added support for /etc/X11/xinitrc/xinitrd.d for X startup logic
  • Piranha clustering updates
  • Beowulf-style clustering added
  • Automatic support for up to 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • ISDN configuration utility added
  • Encryption now included!
  • More beauteous vim included -- /usr/bin/vim supports syntax color and langauge-based indention
  • anacron used for many system jobs
  • termcap, terminfo, and various terms have been modified to support the Debian Backspace Guidelines for Backspace and Delete, as well as to make Home and End work consistently
  • DocBook support included
  • Colorized ls by default (remove /etc/profile.d/colorls.* to disable)
Amazingly, they named this release after my dog, Zoot. OK, it's probably after the character in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but still . . .

Interview with Hyperion's Thomas Frieden

On January 11th of this year, Monolith announced that they had given Hyperion the rights to port Shogo: Mobile Armor Division to Linux (in addition to the Amiga and Mac ports Hyperion was already working on). I conducted an interview with Thomas Frieden, Hyperion's Shogo/LithTech project leader about the Linux port. Here's a clip to whet your appetite:
A.T. Hun: How difficult will it be to port a mod to be usable with the Linux version?

Thomas Frieden: It depends. For the Object.lto/ServerShell, it took 20 minutes to port it over to Linux. The ClientShell is a bit heavier on Windows code. If the changes to the original are not too extreme, mod authors can use a lot of our code to fill in the gaps.
Whether you are a fan of Shogo or a fan of Linux (or both!) it's an interesting read.

Final Kingpin Releases

Ryan "Ridah" Feltrin updated his .plan with word on a "final" release for Kingpin-the Linux Kingpin 1.31 dedicated server binaries. You can get links for all the various patch releases in his .plan update.

I've gone and compiled a dedicated Linux Kingpin v1.21 binary set, it is available at:

Since Interplay have locked Kingpin at v1.21, I decided to roll back the changes and release a linux v1.21. This should be the final Kingpin release, assuming there are no issues with this Linux release.

John Carmack .plan update

I know John Carmack's .plan update isn't really game-news related, but it's something to think about:
Two years ago, Id was contacted by the Startlight Foundation, an organization that tries to grant wishes to seriously ill kids. (

There was a young man with Hodgkin's Lymphoma that, instead of wanting to go to Disneyland or other traditional wishes, wanted to visit Id and talk with me about programming.

It turned out that Seumas McNally was already an accomplished developer. His family company, Longbow Digital Arts (, had been doing quite respectably selling small games directly over the internet.
. . .
Longbow continued to be successful, and eventually the entire family was working full time on "Treadmarks", their new 3D tank game.

Over email about finishing the technology in Treadmarks, Seumas once said "I hope I can make it". Not "be a huge success" or "beat the competition". Just "make it".

That is a yardstick to measure oneself by. It is all too easy to lose your focus or give up with just the ordinary distractions and disappointments that life brings. This wasn't ordinary. Seumas had cancer. Whatever problems you may be dealing with in your life, they pale before having problems drawing your next breath.

He made it.

Treadmarks started shipping a couple months ago, and was entered in the Independent Games Festival at the Game Developer's Conference this last month. It came away with the awards for technical excellence, game design, and the grand prize.

I went out to dinner with the McNally family the next day, and had the opportunity to introduce Anna to them. One of the projects at Anna's new company, Fountainhead Entertainment (, is a documentary covering gaming, and she had been looking forward to meeting Seumas after hearing me tell his story a few times. The McNallys invited her to bring a film crew up to Canada and talk with everyone whenever she could.

Seumas died the next week.

I am proud to have been considered an influence in Seumas' work, and I think his story should be a good example for others. Through talent and determination, he took something he loved and made a success out of it in many dimensions. for more information.

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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