The Haus

Monday, April 24, 2000

Graphics Programming

Blue has been able to secure permission from Michael Abrash to post the Quake-engine related chapters from his Graphics Programming Black Book (out of print-but thankfully I have a copy :-) on Blue's News. This is a wonderful thing, especially since Abrash has a great way of writing about complicated graphics topics. The Black Book is HUGE, and recommended reading if you can get ahold of it (and understand all the math!!)

On a personal note, I wonder if Abrash is still working on dictionary/thesaurus/language stuff over at Microsoft. It seems a shame to the graphics community that he's doing that :-)

ICQ2K Released

The non-alpha version of ICQ 2000 has been posted on their downloads page. I'm about to install it so if you don't hear from me for a couple of days, you know why :) Thanks Blue.

UPDATE! Well, I survived. Can't really say if it works better or not. There are even more buttons now to clutter things up even more. Fortunately you can turn them all off.

Pondering the Imponderable

I feel a bit sad and nostalgic right now. Tomorrow is one of the "spring clean-up" pickup days in my little town. Basically you can put anything that doesn't go in the regular trash or recycling at the curb and the city will haul it away. I just put out the majority of the first real computer (not counting my Commodore 128) that I bought with my own money way back in 1990: my old AT case which is built like a Sherman tank, a 386SX mobo, and a 3.5" floppy drive. The case's power supply was dead, the mobo was flaky and limited to 1M memory, and the floppy drive had this nasty habit of eating disks. Still, we had some good times logging on to BBSs, playing games, and all manner of other things. Memories . . .

J.t.Qbe comments: There, there, it'll be all right A.T. I'm sure your high-speed Celery system is a comfort to you in this time of despair. Just learn not to throw things away. If my wife knew that I still have my old '286 in the closet and take it with us whenever we move, she might not move with me next time. . .

The Master comments: Heck, I STILL have the carcass of my old P90 around here. My Apple //c and /// are still at my Mom's place-I really should pick those things up one of these days :-) Ahhh, the days of 6502 assembly, Mircosoft Basic and ProDOS.

V5500 vs. GeForce DDR

Sharky Extreme has posted a comparison between a beta 3dfx Voodoo5 V5500 card against a GeForce DDR. The results may surprise you. Here's a snip:
Overall, the performance of the Voodoo5 5500 AGP was a bit underwhelming. We were saddened that, not only is 3dfx a generation behind the competition in feature implementation but, realistically, in performance as well.
True, the V5500 was a beta board, but they were using old drivers (due to NDA restrictions) with the GeForce that did not allow for texture compression, so it pretty well evens out. Oh yes, NVIDIA has an announcement on Wednesday :) It looks like I'm going to wait until the NV15 gets in major production and get myself a cheap GeForce DDR. Vroom! Thanks Slashdot.

SA Daikatana Review

OK, this is the last Daikatana review I'm going to link to. I promise. This one is Lowtax' review on Something Awful. He experienced far more problems with the game crashing than I did (it ran perfectly fine for me) and hated the #$% &*@# frogs and mosquitos as much as the rest of the world does.

More Q3A Mission Pack

Hellchick over at PlanetQuake has posted some more information on the Quake III Arena Mission Pack. According to the article, the id folks are trying to make it feel like more than just an add-on. Hopefully that isn't an indication of how much they intend to charge for it. Thanks Voodoo Extreme.

Video Games and Violence

This study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology seems to indicate a link between violent video games and violence in society. I read through the whole article, and my summary of it would be twofold:
  1. If you play video games too much, your grades will drop and you may become more antisocial
  2. If you are aggressive to begin with, violent video games will probably make you worse
To both I say, "Duh!" If you just sit in the flickering glow of a monitor playing games all day, it will be kind of hard for you to practice your social skills or study for class. Read the forums on some gaming sites that allow anonymous posts for proof of that. If you are particularly aggressive to begin with, hearing ABBA on the radio might set you off as much as a quick game of Doom. Thanks Slashdot.

J.t.Qbe comments: Hearing ABBA on the radio sets me off, and I'm not particularly violent to begin with!

Daikatana Demo Review

As I promised I have risked life, limb, and possibly my sanity to provide for you, our loyal readers, a review of the Daikatana demo. What did I think about it after an entire night of downloading? Read the review and find out! You can find links to this and all of our reviews on our reviews page.

Sunday, April 23, 2000

Daikatana Tip

Under "Video" set Brightness to 100% and Intensity to around 5. That will make the game bright enough so you can see things. Season to taste. :)

PKZip Creator, Dead at 37

Philip Katz, the "PK" in PKZip, died in a motel room on April 14. He was 37. His death was a result of apparent chronic alcoholism. What a senseless waste.

I remember when PKZip first came out and how much better it was that all the other (ARC, ARJ, LZH, etc.) compression programs out there--which is a HUGE thing when you are using 2400 baud modems.

J.t.Qbe comments: Other than MS-DOS, I don't think I used any other software more than PK(un)Zip throughout the late '80s/early '90s. It was a great time saver when I had the old 1200 and 2400 baud modems.

I remember one summer day in '92 or '93, driving the back roads from Mequon to Grafton. I came up behind a sporty red car (Corvette maybe?) with a vanity plate which said "PKWARE". . .

Romero .plan Update

His hirsuteness, John Romero, the man behind Daikatana, updated his .plan with some help for people havign difficulty with the Daikatana demo. Since it's going to be a slow day, I'll Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V the whole thing.
There have been a few technical issues with the demo that you can fix or workaround with the following information:

(Q1) Multiplayer is laggy or extremely choppy.

(A1) The server should have its CONNECT RATE turned up to T1/LAN (in the Multiplayer Menu). Make sure your client connect rate is turned up as well.

(Q2) Daikatana doesn't work with a Voodoo2.

(A2) There are two fixes for this: (1) edit your config file (in the DATA subdirectory) and change "opengl32" to "3dfxgl" or "3dfxvgl", (2) download and install the miniGL driver from

(Q3) Running the DKDEMO.EXE on Windows 2000 gives you an error (Insert Disk 1)

(A3) Use WINZIP to extract the DKDEMO.EXE file, then run the SETUP.EXE program to install the demo

(Q4) The game pauses for a long time when you're playing multiplayer (seems like a lockup)

(A4) This is a bug in the demo only that occurs when you are attempting to connect to the Catacomb level (Greek time period). Just wait 20 seconds and you'll connect.

(Q5) The game is too dark

(A5) Check out the README.TXT file, it has some useful tips.

So far, these cover 99% of the problems that people are having. I'd like to say thanks to everyone who has been emailing me their raves and congrats -- thanks a lot, you guys make it all worth it.

Telefragged Daikatana Demo Review

Telefragged has slapped up a review of the Daikatana demo. This review is far more generous than Evil Avatar's was, but the author still has his justifiable complaints. Here's a smidge:
When you start off in the demo, you're in a swap/marsh area running around trying to find a way into a fortress. The level takes place in the future. How do I know? Well, there are mechanical animals that attack you. Apparently, in the future, people will create mechanical animals that attack people on sight. They won't even be big animals. They'll be little mosquitos (that oddly sound like the flies from Quake II) and little poisonous frogs. The fact that you have to fight stupid, annoying animals (that don't even scare you, like the headcrabs in Half-Life) made me hate the game right from the start. In the other levels, there aren't annoying little monsters like the frogs or mosquitos except a spider here or there. I'll be pretty mad if in the retail version, you're forced to fight crappy little monsters 90% of the time.
I made it through the first level (haven't had much of a chance to play today). Let's just say I was VERY eager for that level to be over. Thanks VoodooExtreme.

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