The Haus

Thursday, April 6, 2000

Lawsuit vs. id Thrown Out

id's Todd Hollenshead updated his .plan with news that the lawsuit pending against them and others has been thrown out of court.
In a decision that has just been made available, id has prevailed in the Paducha lawsuit (more formally known as the "James Case") on all points. Judge Johnstone has dismissed the case on all grounds, validating what we have said all along: the case lacked a shred of merit.
The "Paducha" lawsuit was after a 14 year old in Kentucky shot several of his schoolmates to death in December of 1997. Here's a link to the Avault report of this lawsuit when it initially occurred, courtesy of Blue's News.

John Carmack .plan update

John Carmack updated his .plan with some observations on his research for the new graphics engine he's working on. If you are a hardcore geek, go read it.

Netscape 6 PR1 Review

PC Week has put up a review of Netscape 6 PR1. They give it a mostly favorable review. One comment that they make that I don't understand is that there is less screen real estate than previous versions. Haven't they figured out how to turn off the "My Sidebar" panel? Thanks Linux Today.

My top reasons to use Netscape 6/Mozilla:It's a little unstable for full-time use right now, but once it is out of beta (or even alpha for that matter), Mozilla will be my full-time browser. I suggest you do the same.

No Verant Snooping

It seems that some people at Verant must've completely lost their minds for a moment. Fortunately sanity has been regained. According to this article the latest EverQuest patch contained a small utility that would scan a user's hard drive for cheats. The license with the patch included this ominous statement:
"You also grant us permission to access, extract and upload data relating to any program that we, in our reasonable discretion, determine interferes with the proper operation of EverQuest"
They also had said that people who refused to allow their drives to be scanned would not be allowed to play EverQuest. After an obvious public outcry, the scanner has been removed and Verant has backed off.
"We can admit when we make mistakes, and I believe this is a case where we owe an apology to our player base," wrote Verant Interactive chief executive John Smedley in a message to players this afternoon. "In our haste to try and thwart people from damaging the game, we went overboard."
Wasn't ANYBODY at Verant bright enough to see that people would justifiably have multiple hemorrhages about this? Yikes. Thanks Slashdot.

LucasArts Obi-Wan Page

LucasArts finally formally admits Episode 1: Obi-Wan exists by adding this page to their website. Not much information there, except a couple of screenshots. Thanks Blue.

Wednesday, April 5, 2000

Aureal Files for Chapter 11

Avault is reporting that Aureal has filed for chapter 11 protection in the light of their miserable financial situation and the recent resignation of every major officer (story). According to the financial information given on Avault, it appears that their major downfall was legal expenses from the suits and countersuits with Creative Labs. Thanks Blue.

Pondering the Imponderable

This is the third day in a row now that Win98 has booted up on my computer and Explorer has not GPF'd! Makes you wonder if the end of the world is coming. Or if Daikatana is going to be released. Something cataclysmic at any rate :)

J.t.Qbe comments: Figures. Microsoft gets nailed, then his Win98 starts working correctly. Yep, strange things are afoot!

Ask Hook

Voodoo Extreme has slapped up a new issue of "Ask (Brian) Hook". Today, Brian answers questions on games driving hardware advancement or vice versa and a more technical question about color palettes in more recent games. May need a translator for that last one.

The Master comments: Actually-I understood that color one quite clearly. Course, I've been reading Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book, which has about a million times more detail on VGAs, DACs, and color pallettes than you really need to know :-)

J.t.Qbe comments: Great book! Originally I bought it because it has "The Zen of Assembly Language" on the CD--priceless stuff. Plus it was a remainder book for $6. Abrash wrote some great stuff for Dr. Dobbs Journal in the late 80s--now there's a programming wizard. . .

GameGirlz and CliffyB

GameGirlz has posted a short interview with Epic's Cliff Bleszinski. Here's a snip (and the best part of the interview, FWIW):
[GG] In doing levels for Unreal Tournament, which level in the game that is mostly your work was the hardest for you, design-wise?

[CB] I'd have to say Tempest. I had just done Barricade which I thought turned out only OK... I'm not that stoked with the final result of the map. I felt that any deathmatch "purity" that the map had was compromised by the sheer gimmick nature of the castle on the cloud. I was building Tempest and it was originally going to be some sort of a structure above the city that you could go around but the first version, quite frankly, blew. So, I decided I was just going to make a hardcore, big DM map and set to making it and I think the end result is pretty cool.
In my opinion, Tempest is THE best deathmatch map in Unreal Tournament by a long shot. I've played that one over and over. Maps like Barricade and especially KGalleon (ugh!) suffer due to the fact that they look very cool, but simply do not flow well enough to be good deathmatch maps.

Obi-Wan Shots

Gamespot UK has ten in-game screenshots and thirteen shots of the CGI cutscenes from LucasArts' forthcoming Episode I: Obi Wan. Now that I hear that a lot of this game will be played (have to be played?) in third-person, I'm losing a little enthusiasm for it. I guess I'll wait for the demo and see how I like it. The premise sounds awesome though . . . Thanks Blue's News.

Netscape 6 pre-release

Netscape has released preview release 1 of Netscape Navigator 6. Very cool. Must download . . .

A.T. Hun comments: I downloaded and installed it. It seems to be basically the exact same thing as the latest Mozilla release, except that some things carry the Netscape logo now. If you already have Mozilla M14 installed, don't bother downloading the Netscape preview release.

There still are some stability issues with the browser, but seeing as it is still alpha-grade software, that is not terribly surprising.

Brandon Reinhart .plan Update

Brandon Reinhart updated his .plan with his rebuttal of an article on entitled "Which Engine?". Basically, he rebuts most of the support issues the article raised.
The author argues that Epic is not putting a huge effort into support the user community. My response is "?" Maybe I'm not being clear here. Epic is actively PAYING mod authors we feel have cool projects. We have also purchased equipment (programs like 3DS Max) for mod authors who have shown us cool work. While we can't pay for every mod under the sun, we are working hard to create an active scene.

I've personally written a TON of documentation on UnrealScript and programming issues for mod authors. In addition, every Epic employee answers emails about mod development related questions. Shane Caudle runs a UT model information site, James Green is preparing a UT related art information site (, and Jack Porter, Steve Polge, and I are extremely active on the UnrealScript at eGroups discussion list and the Epic hosted UT Mods development discussion list.

Had the author of the Machinima article approached Epic or asked scene developers about their experiences with us, they probably would have painted a different picture.
Finally, Jack, Steve, and I are all available through email if you have any mod development related questions. Every question might not get answered because we do get busy sometimes, but I definitely try to answer what I get (and I forward a lot to Tim).

Dreamcast Q3A

Some more news today on the Dreamcast port of Quake3: Arena. Next Generation conducted an interview with John Carmack on the DC Q3A port, and Daily Radar posted a snip. I thought the first question was interesting:
Next Generation: So, is 56K fast enough for Quake III on Dreamcast?

John Carmack: You use basically the same protocols that you get on PC. So it's very similar to what you get on PC with a 56K modem. Right now, in general >QIII development on Dreamcast has gone quite well. You can play Dreamcast against PC on the same maps, dialing in right over the Internet, and it works pretty nicely.

The maps are slightly modified to fit in the lesser memory, but I believe the plan is to have those maps available on the Dreamcast disc so that people with PCs can interact and connect to the same game. They're inter-operating just fine.
Now, if I can play against DC Q3A users-that will be VERY interesting indeed.

Carmack on 3D graphics

John Carmack has been posting his thoughts to the slashdot forums quite a bit lately. Yesterday he posted his views of the current hardware on the new 1GHZ P3 processors. And it's not actually full-on-super-techy either! :-)
A GeForce should be able to run Q3 at 200 fps at 400x300 (r_mode 1) or possibly even 512x384 resolution if the cpu was fast enough. A dual willamette at the end of this year will probably do it.

We currently see 100+ fps timedemos at 640x480 with either a 1ghz processor or dual 800's, and that isn't completely fill rate limited. DDR GeForce cards are really, really fast.

Yes, it is almost completely pointless.

The only reasonable argument for super high framerates is to do multi frame composited motion blur, but it turns out that it isn't all that impressive.

I did a set of offline renderings of running Q3 at 1000 fps and blending down to 60 fps for display. Looked at individually, the screenshots were AWESOME, with characters blurring through their animations and gibs streaking off the screen, but when they were played at 60hz, nobody could tell the difference even side by side.
Exagerated motion blur (light sabers, etc) is a separate issue, and doesn't require ultra-high framerates.

There are still plenty of things we can usefully burn faster cpu's on...
Yeah-like better AI, more realistic lighting, more action in the worlds . . .

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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