The Haus

Friday, June 2, 2000

GameSpot Obi-Wan Preview, Pt. 2

As promised, GameSpot as posted the second part of their preview of Episode I: Obi-Wan. In this part, they discuss each of the levels briefly, talk about interaction with NPCs and the ability to use vehicles (!), and reveal the plans for multiplayer. It looks like they are pretty serious about multiplayer this time with a new client-server setup and four gametypes out of the box (deathmatch, CTF, Protect the Queen, and Jedi Arena).

Stackpole exits BattleTech

Just read a little essay over on Michael Stackpole's website entitled "Last Call II: Why Prince of Havoc was my last BattleTech® novel", indicating that since (A) FASA can't get their royalty schedule unscrewed, and (B) ROC doesn't really want to publish BattleTech novels, Stackpole is no longer going to write BattleTech novels.

I know a LOT of people in the BattleTech fan community who don't like Stackpole's writing-they consider it trite and unimaginative. I think his novels are the best in the BattleTech universe, and I will sorely miss his BattleTech writing. But that's the way it goes. Blech. Guess I'll have to try some of his other stuff and see how I like it . . .

A.T. Hun comments: Well, considering that you are basically trite and unimaginative yourself . . . :)

The Master comments: I'll file that comment away for the future-you just wait :-)

Jim Dose' to id

Mark Dochtermann of Ritual updated his .plan with word that Jim Dose', programmer at Ritual, has joined id Software.
When we started Ritual Entertainment 4 years ago, the 6 of us made a pact with each other never to let business affect our personal lives. We have definitely had some tough times during that period and we've had to swallow our pride on more than one occasion. For the most part though, we have managed to stay good friends with each other and we hope that never changes.

It is with some sadness and a lot more jealousy that I must report that our friend and chief technologist, Jim Dose' is leaving the company to join Id Software. Jim has had a tremendous effect on how Ritual Entertainment has turned out and he will certainly be missed.

Microsoft Responds to the Breakup Plan

Microsoft has made its next move in the antitrust case by filing a response to the breakup plan. And as usual, it's humorous reading because Microsoft just Doesn't Get It (tm). You can read about it in this article from The Standard.

I can't decide which is my favorite part: Microsoft's request to share technologies among companies and reunite after 4 years, or DreamWorks producer Jeffrey Katzenberg's claim that a M$ breakup would cause DreamWorks to suffer. Microsoft has never taken this case and trial seriously, and still doesn't. Which explains its current predicament. . .

The Master comments: It's okay-they're not going to win, the government is going to break them up, and even though in the short term it may cause damage to the Windows monopoly, in the end we'll all be better off for it. Bill Gates doesn't understand real politics, and in that lack of understanding he has sown the seeds of the "disaster" on his hands. I still say he'll be happy in a few years after the Baby M$s make even more money than before. . .

Kevin Cloud on Steed

Kevin Cloud made a rare update to his .plan to indicate his viewpoint on the whole Paul Steed departure from id.
Although Adrian and I alone made the decision to fire Paul, it is the general opinion among the rest of id that we made the right decision. Paul was not fired as a result of his support for DOOM. Other people at id supported DOOM in the exact same manner. For several reasons it was time for id software and Paul Steed to part company.

This should have no reflection on Paul's talent as an artist. It goes without saying that he is one of the best modeler/animators in the gaming business.

As owners of this company, it is our responsibility to make these types of difficult decisions. Adrian and I made the decision we believe is in the best interest of the company.

id Boycott

In a classic case of overreaction, The DTeam has decided to boycott id and stop making mods and maps for the Quake series of games in view of the firing of Paul Steed. Their site has a huge graphic at the top with the violently hyperbolic statement "Paul Steed Was Id." Sorry, John Carmack is id. End of story. Even if Steed's firing might have seemed a bit childish (or a bit late), it's kind of arrogant for a mod group to think that they should be able to decide corporate policy at id. If anyone can fill me in on anything that the DTeam made that I might actually have heard of, please do so. Thanks Stomped, I think.

GameSpot Obi-Wan Preview

GameSpot posted the first half of their Episode I: Obi-Wan preview. I really like the idea of using only two keys for force powers and the attack button plus mouse movement for lightsaber control. That alone should make things much easier than Jedi Knight. I'm really intrigued by the possibility of playing the whole game using nothing but the lightsaber. Too cool. Part two of the preview should be posted today. Thanks Evil Avatar.

More Marketing BS

In the never-ending war to see which 3D chip manufacturer can make the stupidest comment, following up on NVIDIA's "Pixar-level animation" comment, 3dfx' Gary Tarolli posted this gem (which The Reverend copied for the world to see) on why hardware T&L will decrease the lifespan of a video card. Here's a snip:
So why would a Voodoo5 have a longer life span than a card with T&L? One reason is because it's feature-proof, as strange as that may seem. Hardware T&L cards like the GeForce have their feature set pretty much frozen. For example, the GeForce supports lerping between 2 matrices from what I understand, and no more. Developers basically cannot use this feature, and require 4 matrices at a minimum. When APIs support this, the GeForce will have to fall back to software T&L or not expose the feature. The Voodoo5 uses software T&L all along and thus can implement any feature that comes along. Basically hardware T&L will accelerate (and even that is questionable) today's features only.
This is utter malarky on several different levels:
  1. "from what I understand": thus a good chunk of his argument is based on ignorance. Always a nice start.
  2. "Developers basically cannot use this feature, and require 4 matrices at a minimum.": Then apparently Q3A and the list of current and upcoming titles that take advantage of the GeForce's T&L really don't exist. OK.
  3. "GeForce will have to fall back to software T&L . . . Voodoo5 uses software T&L all along": So even though the GeForce 2 GTS is faster than a Voodoo5 and can fall back to this theoretical "software T&L" as well as the V5 can, the V5 will still have greater longevity? Huh?
I hope this isn't the beginning of posturing for 3dfx' NEXT product not having T&L either. At any rate, using Tarolli's logic, my TNT should have a greater lifespan than a GeForce because it doesn't have T&L. Somebody PLEASE sign these guys up for some logic classes at the local community college. Or just get them to shut up.

History today

Thursday, June 1, 2000

Developers Respond to DOOM News

Stomped has a whole bunch of interviews with the game developer community responding to John Carmack's announcement of id's new DOOM project (story). Interesting read-highly recommended.

A.T. Hun comments: Did anyone beside me find it rather bizarre that they were asking other gaming companies what they thought of Carmack's announcement? "Nevermind your product, what do you think of id's?"

Sony aquires Verant

According to Well-Rounded Entertainment, Sony has aquired Verant, maker of the online RPG Everquest, and upcoming title Star Wars Online (yummy). And another one bites the dust . . .

OK, Another Daikatana Review

I know, I promised no more Daikatana reviews. I'm so weak. Anyway, I read Gamecenter's review and found it to be entertaining. They give the game a 3 (out of 10) but that's not the reason I mention it. Some of the comments are priceless. Regarding the opening story:
For whatever reason, they [ninja assassins, naturally] spare your life, and you, of course, seek revenge for the death of a man you've known for five minutes. Or something.
Right after that one, there's also an obligatory Rocky Horror Picture Show quote. Of course, now I'm going to have that song going through my head all day.

id is making DOOM! Steed Fired!

Big news today in John Carmack's .plan update including word that their next game will be a DOOM remake, and that Paul Steed was fired as a result of company figting over whether DOOM was the next game or not. Read the .plan for the full scoop, it's huge.
It wasn't planned to announce this soon, but here it is: We are working on a new DOOM game, focusing on the single player game experience, and using brand new technology in almost every aspect of it. That is all we are prepared to say about the game for quite some time, so don't push for interviews. We will talk about it when things are actually built, to avoid giving misleading comments.

It went smoother than expected, but the other shoe dropped yesterday.

Kevin and Adrian fired Paul Steed in retaliation, over my opposition.

Paul has certainly done things in the past that could be grounds for dismissal, but this was retaliatory for him being among the "conspirators".
Update: There's a comment on Slashdot from David "Zoid" Kirsch on the Doom announcement. Good read, with comments on what is needed to make a new DOOM fly, and some sorrow at missing out on the fun and on Steed's firing.

A.T. Hun comments: I don't think I'll be guilty of too much hyperbole if I say that this is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, gaming story of 2000. Sounds like things aren't very happy in id-land. A Doom remake is something that most every fps fan has been looking forward too. I sure hope they can pull it off.

History today

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