The Haus

Saturday, July 29, 2000

RA:UT 1.40 Released

Believe it or not, a new more stable build of Rocket Arena for Unreal Tournament has been released! Here's a list of changes:
  • Four new incredible maps for a total of ten maps.
  • A humongous amount of bug fixes that covers every bug that I know of. Please let me know of any that you find.
  • The RA:UT menu. It's a nifty new menu called "RA:UT" (of all things :) that appears next to the Mod menu, and appears ONLY when you're playing on a RA:UT server (so as not to bother you at other times)
  • New options. Instagib servers, bouncier rockets, spectators can be prevented from communicating to players.
  • Improved botplay. Although they still don't measure up to humans, they are better than they were before. If you think the bots suck and are no challenge to you, even on Godlike, then I suggest you go online and play it like it was originally intended to be played. :)
  • A new gametype: "Rocket Arena: Regular Maps". This allows you to play any map (only small DM and CTF maps are recommended) with the RocketArena style. Everyone will wait in one line to have a chance to play on the big map. No arenas are available here.
  • If you're a person that likes making voicepacks, you can make custom voicepacks for the RA:UT announcer voices. Best of all, it's clientside, and the server never needs to know about it.
  • A ton of stuff that I've forgotten because it's been so long since I implemented it. :)
  • Here are the links to download the various versions of the mod:Sounds like great news to me! I was looking for an excuse to dust off my Unreal Tournament CD. Thanks Blue!

    A.T.'s Top Four

    Since it's a slow news day, I thought I'd post my Top Four Games That I'd Buy Right Now If I Had Money (which I don't, so it's kind of moot, but still nice to think about). All of this is based on demos I've downloaded and played:
    #4--KISS Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child
    When I first was told about this game, I thought it was the dumbest concept I had ever heard. Now that I've played the demo, I'd like to play the full version. Guess you can't judge a game by its title, eh?
    #3--Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force
    I'm not a Trekkie, so I figured I'd have no use for this game. The Borg level in the demo convinced me that this is a worthwhile game even if you don't follow the show.
    This silly but visually impressive game is a nice change of pace from my usual diet of first-person shooters. The humor and the (sometimes wacky) puzzle solving got me hooked.
    #1--Soldier of Fortune
    Yep, this one's a little older. I liked it so much that I actually put time in trying to figure out why the patch kept crashing my system. It's one of the few demos I've played all the way through several times. The violence can be a bit much for me at times, but that can be adjusted.
    Three games whose demos convinced me NOT to get the games are Daikatana, Starlancer, and Deus Ex, but all for different reasons. Daikatana was crossed off my list for obvious reasons that don't need to be repeated. Starlancer seemed like the old Wing Commander "fly to the waypoint, blow everything up, repeat" formula a bit too much. Deus Ex seems like a GREAT game, but my computer is going to need a serious upgrade before I have enough horsepower to run it. My poor TNT cries and begs for mercy every time I try to play it.

    The Master comments: What I don't understand is WHY your machine suffers so running Deus Ex. You have about 10% more machine than I do, with the same graphics chipset, and mine runs Deus pretty well. I just wish my keyboard wouldn't die every 10 minutes and force me to unplug/replug it. Oh, and the occasional system freeze while playing kinda sucks too. Otherwise Deus has been WELL WORTH my $40. :-)

    A.T. Hun comments: My only guess is that it has something to do with AGP. It may be trying to use AGP on my system and the TNT doesn't do it well. One of these days I'll figure out how to disable AGP and try it again.

    Pondering the Imponderable

    Looks like today has the makings of a slow news day. Sooo . . . in non-gaming-related news, I've been trying to learn to play the guitar as I mentioned on Tuesday. I'm pretty impressed with the wealth of information on the Internet for lessons, guitar specs and reviews, etc. I even tried playing my friend's electric through my SoundBlaster Live! Value. It gives pretty decent chorus, reverb, and distortion effects. I can't get the flanger or auto-wah to work very well. All in all, it really isn't a substitute for some good pedals, but it works pretty nicely for us poor folks.

    Oh, and I taught myself my first song: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle from the movie The Life of Brian. :)

    Friday, July 28, 2000

    Napster appeal granted

    Napster has won a last minute reprieve in Appeals court today, which basically means the leaching goes on. I'm actually surprised they stayed the shutdown order, considering it's allowing blatant copyright violation. However, the court basically stated that the law is so muddled in this case that it needs careful review. No duh-the only reason this is being considered at all is the fact that the industry has allowed taping and copying for "personal use" for years, which in most cases of law means you've forfeited your copyrights. We'll see how this goes in court . . .

    Abrash on XBox

    Michael Abrash, programming/ML/graphics god, has an article over on Dr. Dobbs entitled "Inside XBox Graphics", a major-techy commentary on the new M$ XBox that he's working on. Good stuff for hardware geeks like myself.

    I'm very happy to hear Abrash is pounding on the XBox. I was afraid his talents were being wasted working on spelling and thesaurus technology for M$ Word.

    A.T. Hun comments: This is really cool . . . except for the fact that I posted this link three and a half weeks ago. *cough*

    The Master comments: So, does it show that I'm not the normal news poster on The Haus??

    Wilson takes some shots at Apple

    Mike Wilson, CEO of Gathering of Developers, has made a couple of blunt statements in a Q&A GameWeek interview. He then sent a follow-up email to Blue clarifying his comments on Apple's lack of marketing support for gaming titles. Too bad for Apple-they can go ahead and pot themselves in the head. My view? The only people who put the major cash into system upgrades on a yearly basis are hardware junkies, gamers, and power users. And power users don't care about games. Hmmmm . . . so which third of the market is Apple ignoring?
    [We’re] not very happy at all. Apple has basically abandoned gaming as a priority, and therefore most game publishers are abandoning it. This will likely be the last Macworld that you see Gathering product at, if things don’t change drastically. We have been very vocal about our support of Apple and the Mac up to now, but I have to say that there has been no reciprocity whatsoever. [It’s] very disappointing and sad for the Mac users.
    Oh, and Apple has made a rather massive mistake with that blue cube server of theirs, since it infringes on Cobalt Network's Qube system design. Oops. You'd think with all the lawsuits they like throwing at companies that copy their designs, they'd make sure they don't step on it themselves :-)

    Serious Sam finds a Publisher

    Croteam, maker of the Serious Sam demo and upcoming game, have landed a publisher, according to GameSpot. Gathering of Developer's On Deck Interactive label is going to be SS's publisher. There's an interview with the On Deck and Croteam bigwigs on GameSpot as well. Thanks Blue.

    Go to Mars--It's Better Than Britian

    This MSNBC article outlines NASA's plans to send an orbiter to Mars in 2001 and at least one lander and possibly another orbiter in 2003. It also mentions NASA's plans to bring back samples of Martian rocks, soil, etc. for analysis here on Earth.

    And if things keep going the way they are I'm guessing that I (and probably Wraith) will want to be on the first manned mission to Mars. According to this article on The Standard, the House of Commons just bassed a bill recently passed by the House of Lords giving the British government access to all email going through British ISPs. It even threatens jail terms if companies fail to turn over encryption keys or if an employee even mentions to his superiors that the government has asked for such information. Makes the F.B.I. and Carnivore seem positively tame by comparison.

    It's just another case of governmental cluelessness. They pass some laws which will not actually effect criminals at all because they are easy to circumvent, while at the same time harassing honest, law-abiding citizens just because the leadership is paranoid. Thanks Slashdot for both stories.

    Past Two Days' News

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