The Haus

Friday, August 19, 2005

Q3A Source Released

John Carmack and id Software have released the Quake III Arena source code under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Here are the release notes:

A short summary of the file layout:

While we made sure we were still able to compile the game on Windows, GNU/Linux and Mac, this build didn't get any kind of extensive testing so it may not work completely right. Whenever an id game is released under GPL, several projects start making the source code more friendly to nowaday's compilers and environements. If you are picking up this release weeks/months/years after we uploaded it, you probably want to look around on the net for cleaned up versions of this codebase as well.

You can download it directly from id Software (being hammered at the moment), or from mirrors at 3D Downloads or I'm looking forward to seeing where people go with this. Kudos once again to Carmack and co. for releasing their work to the world! Thanks Linux Games.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Official Xbox 360 Pricing

Microsoft has confirmed the pricing of the Xbox 360. There will be two versions: a basic model with a wired controller and no hard drive for $299. There will also be a $399 model that includes a 20G hard drive and a wireless controller, among other tidbits. Personally, I think it's a bad idea to have multiple versions of a console. Most game companies will support the lowest common demoninator to make sure their games will run on as many systems as possible. It makes you wonder, at least initially, how much the hard drive will be used. It also makes the PS3's rumored $399 price point seem easier to swallow.

All of the sudden, though, consoles are losing some of the price advantage they had over PC gaming. Granted, you won't be able to buy a decent gaming PC for even $399, but when you start adding things like a memory card, second controller, and games at $60 a crack, the price difference isn't as attractive as it once was. Even a basic system with one game is going to run you about $400. That's a pretty good chunk of change for not a whole lot. Of course, that's also why I'm not an early adopter :) I'll let other people with more money than sense work out the inital, inevitable hardware problems and I'll swoop in when the price has dropped. At least nowadays old consoles can still work as a perfectly functional DVD player, even if their gaming days are past.

Update! I was just reminded that in order to make use of the Xbox 360's limited backwards-compatibility, you need to have a hard drive. So basically the low-end version is not compatible with any original Xbox games at all. They'd better make that very clear on the packaging. You just know that there are going to be people who are going to try to pop Halo into that bad boy only to be greeted by a whole lot of nothing.

Minor Rant Websites, please use "HDD" as an abbreviation for hard disk drive. "HD" is generally used these days to mean "high definition" T.V. All Xbox 360s will have HD, not all of them will have a HDD.

J.t.Qbe comments: Multiple versions is going to be a questionable strategy. As you pointed out, game developers are going to want to aim for the lowest common denominator, potentially leaving higher-end systems out in the cold. Anyone remember the PS2 hard drive?

One of the reasons I got an Xbox was that I didn't have the inclination to put several hundred bucks into my PC just to play some games. A gaming-quality PC is not cheap, especially if you're starting from scratch. However, I'm with you: let the early adopters buy the buggy unpolished consoles with the limited selection of games, and I'll buy one after several rounds of price drops.

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