Sorry I haven't posted much, I've been spending all my spare time, as well as my not so spare time, like when I should be cleaning my filthy house, on that book. It's almost ready to send to the LoC for an ISBN. You should be able to get a copy in six months or so.
So I'll post some fifteen year old stuff from my old website as a poor substitute for a real JE.
EA frags Quake on 2 wheels
Road Rash can't escape EA's tire iron
Electronic Arts finally responded to my query about when "Quake on 2 wheels", AKA Road Rash 3D, will be ported to the PC and if it will have internet support. The answer was: "Sorry but I have no information at this time for Road Rash on the PC. It is not listed for upcoming titles. Please check back at a later date."
So if you want to trade your rocket launcher and BFG for a chain and club to gib Strogg, er, cops and riders from a motorcycle, you'll have to do it on a lan or local call modem on the old '95 version. Meanwhile, drop EA a note telling them to DO IT!
Fair sinks like a rock
The infamous Illinois State Fair is this and next week. It's only gotten worse. Country-Western at the Bud tent, warm flat Miller at the "Rock" tent. The "rock" was warm and flat, too; barely rock. These are always the hottest two weeks of the year in Illinois, over 90 degrees (that's half the boiling point of water for you folks in the more civilized parts of the world, meaning everywhere except the U.S.) and so humid it makes the Florida swamps seem like the Arizona desert.
What's worse, the only thing even remotely Quake related is that a lot of the people there look like Strogg.
Bad servers should have used a smaller gun
I jumped into Tokay's Towers through GameSpy last Sunday, and either I had a better connection than usual or everybody was low on health, because I got 4 frags in less than a minute. I jumped up on that box for the armor, and ran over to the armor shards. As I was leaving to pursue more hapless victims someone started materializing on that pad in there. I don't like shooting anyone right off the pad (unless they're an LPB who's been ragging me), so I started for the stairs, and he fragged me with a rocket launcher, one shot. I had 100% health, plus jacket armor, plus shards. I didn't think much of it until I materialized - with a little blaster.
There are no transporters that I know of on Q2DM1 (If I'm wrong tell me where it is).
No frags can be counted if you got them cheating. So where's the fun? If your server allows cheats, it sucks, and I'll hit the "never ping" GameSpy tab every time. If you see someone on your server that appears to have a hack that lets him/her cheat even when your server doesn't allow it, block their access. Cheaters only ruin the game for everyone else.
If enough people send me mail with names and addresses of bad servers and hack cheaters, I'll start posting them.
Windows frags users
Don't you love that blue screen that says "invalid vxd call to xr48mumbojumbogobbldygook you need to run setup again? And when you do, Quake or Gamespy or half your other stuff won't run any more and has to be reinstalled, too? (I just reinstalled after a BSOD last weekend)
Windows 98? Hey, those guys are still using two digits! Haven't they heard of Y2K? When the new OS comes out in 2000 will it be "Windows zero zero"? Seems that's what they have now. They've promised to fix the bug that gives an incorrect date if you boot your PC at midnight new year's eve on any year. Who wants to bet some of their marketing weasels wanted to tout this as a "feature"?
So in order for them to have a chance at my hundred bucks two or three years from now, here's the minimum I need to get me to buy their new OS:
Complete voice activation. I mean I want to throw away my keyboard completely and leave room on the desk for a wheel and a MIDI keyboard. Voice technology's been in the hospitals for years, they should get with it!
Instead of making MSIE part of the desktop, make it so I can uninstall the damned thing. I hate that browser and only use it to make sure my web pages don't look too funky in it.
They've had long filename support for three years now, when are they going to implement it? Instead of IM1PU.DLL, why don't they name it "Unused driver for that turkey you deleted last year.DLL"?
Sweden Frags U.S.
Actually, Sweden's Quake team kicked the U.S. Quake team's asses, with our best players (including Thresh), no less. For a bloody firsthand blow-by-blow, surf on over to Thresh's Frontline column via the Links section (after finishing here, of course!)
Quake can't escape Doom's BFG9000
Mr. DooM is back! With the advent of Quake 1, Doom was, well, doomed. Doom did remain in a kind of nether region (dedicated consoles like Nintendo and Playstation). Quake 2 sealed the final nail in Doom's coffin. Even Mr. DooM's page, once linked from PC Gamer, disappeared from the internet.
Or so it would seem. But Mr. DooM (AKA Tom Sanders) has respawned after - what? Falling in the lava? tripping over his own grenade? Shooting a wall with a rocket launcher at close range? Not paying his ISP's bill? Who knows? Any way, the Mr. DooM page is back, and he's got a Quake page, too. He's calling on you mod writers to make a Doom mod for Quake 2. If you've got a Doom mod let him know. Let me know, too.
You'll find his Quake page linked from the "Other Shooters" column of the "Links" page.
Max gets Squished
I got an email from Max, who ran across the "elevator bug" in the "out of the box" Quake 2. My daughter got squished a while back, too. If you're stuck under the elevator with Max, see the Newbie page for a quick fix.
Fragfest frags 3.17 patch
The newest patch is becoming a permanent fixture at the Springfield Fragfest; it will be there longer than "a few more weeks". If (ok, when) the next patch is out, it will take its place. The short version (you need 3.12 or later to use) is right here. No muss, no fuss, no "Maximum number of users" or "server may be down". Just click the "get it here" above to download, it only takes a minute.
Click "Get Quake" to get the full patch from Id and other sites. There are also links to get demos of both Quakes. See the Patch section of the Newbie page for info about what the patch adds.
Steve frags George
I was listening to George Thorogood's Haircut CD the other day, and noticed - there aren't really many Quake 2 songs on it. The ones that are are either borderline, or level-specific and play on the wrong level.
So, I'm taking Lonesome George off the "Suggested Quake 2 music" list. Please drop me a line with some suggested replacements.
In honor of 'ol George, though, this week's theme is a monster 800k file that I just couldn't cut down any smaller. The tune is George's rendition of Dex Roger's ancient Killer Bluze.
It's still a good album, even though there aren't many Quake 2 songs.
Update: Here's the first suggestion I got: Prodigy, The Fat of The Land. I never heard of this band before, so I did a little surfing to find a sample or two. Here they are (Real Audio) - "Smack My Bitch Up" and "Firestarter". Quake meets Rap? This sounds more like Screamer 2 than Quake to me. (I always put the Screamer 1 CD in when I play Screamer 2.)
Springfield frags the world
I started the Fragfest back in Februrary when it was really hard to find a low ping Quake 2 server around here, and originally its purpose was to promote a Saturday Morning internet Fragfest where folks in Central Illinois could have pings less than 200 and even T1 players would have pings of at least 90.
The Fragfest page kind of kept growing and evolving. As the number of Quake 2 servers from St. Louis to Chicago grew, the Springfield Fragfest Quake 2 server, limited to Saturday mornings, kind of dwindled after reaching a peak sometime in June and dropped to nearly nothing after it was down for two weeks. There are plenty of low ping servers now, many of them empty much of the time.
I added an "invisible" hit counter a week or so ago out of curiosity to find out how many of you there are, and wow! There are a lot more of you than I thought! No wonder I get so much mail, It seemed that everybody that saw the page was writing (actually only a small percentage).
I also discovered from the useage patterns, most of you are scattered all over the world. I guess I'll have to get one of those "universal translator" programs.
So, since it seems that almost none of you are from around here, I'm changing the Fragfest page's name to the "Springfield International Quake 2 Fragfest". Also- you don't have to be from around here to get fragged on Saturday morning. Using the Springfield Balance of Power rules, you could be in Australia with a 14.4 modem and still win. See the Fragfest Server page (not the server commands page) for more info.
Fragfest Gibs Zombie
Did you wonder why the Quake 1 zombies disappeared from Quake 2? Actually, there's one left.
Fury (what a great Quake name!), looking for guitar tablature, sent in an excellent question about the mysterious band that does the music for the Quake 2 CD. By now, everybody is aware that Nine Inch Nails played Quake 1 to mixed reviews. Did you know that the Quake 2 theme was written by Rob "White" Zombie? No wonder the "Astro Creep" CD goes so well with Quake 2.
Listen closely to "Electric Head Part 2" and you may hear a sample from DOOM. I did.
The music on the Quake 2 CD was performed, and the rest of the tracks written, by Sonic Mayhem.
No mixed reviews on this sound track, at least from me. My opinion is it's the best game music I've heard, even surpassing Screamer 1's excellent sound track.
I've added links to everybody involved in the Quake 2 soundtrack and sound effects in the Music section.
My thanks go out to Sonic Mayhem and Rob Zombie for cutting a great soundtrack (stick it in your audio CD player when you're away from your PC), and to Fury for an excellent question.
CIH almost dodges entertainment firms' grenade
Last week I warned our overseas friends about that new nasty virus (see "old stuff"), thankfully still rare. 7/27 Jesse Burst ( ZDNet, non-Quake) reports that an unnamed U.S. West coast entertainment site almost made CIH not "rare". They found a copy in something they almost posted on the net. No word about who the entertainment site was, nor what kind of programs CIH infects. What is known is that it's native to win95/98, strikes on the 26th, erases your flash BIOS and the first meg of your C: drive, and comes from the former Soviets.
If your BIOS is erased, the only fix is a new BIOS. Unless the BIOS is in a socket, that means a new motherboard, or a soldering iron.
Here's more info about protecting yourself against this malicious piece of vandalism and the copycats that will surely follow. First, get a good antivirus program. Second, make sure your important data files are backed up; don't worry about your saved Quake games, 'cause Id will trash them with the next upgrade anyway. Also: keep your data off the C: drive if you have more than one drive, since the C: drive is what most vandals hit. Everybody has a C:. Now, there's another precaution you should take, thanks to the damned Russian Mafia: Password protect your BIOS if it will let you. If you buy a new PC or motherboard, make sure you can.
I don't know what a lawyer would say (any Quake lawyers out there who can set me straight?), but now that vandals can erase your BIOS, I'd say not being able to password protect your BIOS constitutes a "defect in materials and workmanship"!
If you want to know more about internet vandalism ("hell no! where's the 'back' button?"), I wielded my flame thrower against them in a page I posted last year. It's still up; there are (were?) links to places you can get antiviral software.
Virus update: PC Gamer's web site reports that the July edition (U.K. only, U.S. is ok) of its CD contains an unspecified virus in an unspecified program. If you are a U.K. PC Gamer subscriber, disinfect your PC!
Steve trips over his own grenade
I used ZD's "dupless" program to clean up my hard drives and found a ton of duplicate files, including 3 Netscape Mail programs. Being the idiot I sometimes am, I deleted the wrong ones; now Netscape can't find the "sent mail" folder and refuses to send mail. DUH! I received a boatload of mail from you folks this morning, so please bear with me while I fix this problem I stupidly caused. It may take a day or two to get an answer to you. If you don't get an answer by this weekend, please write back! Just in case Netscape eats my mail.
Quake.com trips over his own grenade
Quakedotcom solicited suggestions for improvements. I've got one: When somebody answers your request for suggestions, don't send it back with
"The original message was received at Thu, 30 Jul 1998 00:43:32 GMT
from 3dialin144.famvid.com [188.8.131.52]
----- The following addresses had delivery problems -----
----- Transcript of session follows -----
... while talking to mail.quake2hq.com.:
>>> RCPT To:
<:<:<: 550 Hey! Stop that! There's no firstname.lastname@example.org here!
... User unknown
----- Original message follows -----"
That kind of pisses your readers off.
Page almost escapes Microsoft's blaster
Those of you with IE or Netscape 4 point something may notice a change or two if you stick around in here long enough. Netscape 4.x users noticed a change right off. Other browser users may or may not have noticed anything (damned HTML!). The Fragfest was the first page I used Netscape's page composer in. When I started it, I had the old, fuzzy, dying monitor; I used a 14 point type size, since the white on black was hard for me to read on it. IE doesn't support point sizes. Note: If the type is too small, and your browser's preferences won't let you change it, let me know.
After I got the new monitor, I noticed the page looked better in IE, so as of last weekend (7/25) I got rid of the "point size" thing. I'm also going back to NotePad for page composing, since Netscape's composer undoes things I do and does things I have to go back and undo, and puts in a lot of unnecessary junk code. Its only real advantage is the spell checker.
I also put an "invisible" hit counter in, 'cause I was curious as to how many people are coming here. I didn't think many people saw the page until It started getting email and showed up on those top whatever lists. If you're curious, that's what the little button before the music section is.
Which brings me to the next change; "ambiance". If you just can't tear yourself away from this page long enough to go play Quake, you're too loaded to play well anyway. If you're not that loaded, you may have noticed the "loading junk" indicator is still going. Stick around long enough and a music track from the Quake 2 CD will start playing; that should remind you to go play some Quake! If it starts up fast when you come back, that's a reminder to empty your cache.
If you hate it, send a few flames my way. If I get enough "get rid of that damned music" mail I'll take it out, right now it's just kind of an experiment. (If I see someone named "Guinnye Pigg" the next time I play Quake I'll say Hi;)=
There's a control in the Music section to turn it up or down (or off). The IE control looks funky anywhere and doesn't have a volume control, and looks especially funky hanging past the column; but few ever accused Gates of hiring good designers. All graphics intensive pages (most shooter pages) load faster in Netscape. Animations play faster in IE. Like you give a flying frog, right?
If you are one of the "five percenters" that use a different browser you won't hear anything. If you use Netscape or IE 3.x, you won't hear anything either. Upgrade it, you'll be glad you did, both 4.x browsers are more stable than either 3.x browser, and support for supposedly "cool" stuff like java, frames, and all that other stuff I don't use here is better supported. You Netscape users, that "starting Java" message is your browser loading the wav player, not the Fragfest, you won't get that with IE. If you are using the AOL browser, get a different ISP and watch your Quake scores shoot up dramatically (and your I$P rates drop)!
I had a suggestion from one fellow to use frames, I guess they're cool now. Last year everybody hated them. A (very) few sites use them well and to the site's advantage, Quaker's Refuge, for one. If you want to see the Fragfest in a good frame, surf on over there, check it out for a while (their hit counter went kerflooey and they want to run it back up anyway), then come back here through their link section. Abracadabra, instant Fragfest frame.
Remember, folks - most of the internet and all browsers still suck. So play Quake or Quake 2 instead.
GL Commands can't escape QuakeWorld's super shotgun
I've got a few notes asking for the GL commands, even though I can't test them. As I replied to the email writers, there is a fairly large list of GL commands over at Quakeworld, a very large, entertaining, and useful Quake site (which is why they're listed in my "links" section). Before you run over there to get them, be aware of a few things. First, it's quite a few mouse clicks (and large page loads) away from their main page. Second and most important, Quakeworld does not test the commands in their command list. If they did, they would know that the "cl_stereo" command does not let you play Quake 2 with 3d glasses. Well, you can play with 3d glasses but they don't do anything except make the colors look funny. I did test this command (with 3d glasses), and what it really does (as listed in my Console section) is to give you the choice of stereo or mono sound.
There are also a few typos in their commands page, but give them a break- I know from experience what a PIA it is to spell check and typo squash that kind of page.
Quake on 2 wheels
There's a new Road Rash out. BAD NEWS: It's not out on the PC. Send Electronic Arts an e-mail demanding that they port it to the PC right now! While you're at it, tell them to make it internet compatible so it will really be Quake on wheels.
Quake on four wheels
When are they coming out with a Screamer you can play over the internet?? Update: I got this note from PBerry@SOL.com - "I can play over the net. nobody else is ever there."
Quake for kids
The July PC Gamer CD had a demo of a game called Jazz Jackrabbit, which my 11 year old daughter has discovered. The demo will play over the internet. The Marines are cute little armed bunny rabbits, and the Strogg are turtles. You can only play single player and CTF with the demo; my 11 year old wants the full version so she can play deathmatch on it.
Really! I'm not making any of this stuff up!
Steve frags Steve frags Steve frags Steve frags Steve
What a really strange Quake week! No real Quake news (so go play some Quake). People must be having a hard time coming up with Quake names. There are "name generators" on the net, which I guess is where those people named urnim2, etc. come from. I almost never see anybody using their real names, which is why I often do. Now they're lifting them from Quake pages. I played against "Thresh" last week! Funny, his ping was 327 and he was the lowest scoring player there. I saw "Immortal" with a 400 ping (the real Immortal has ISDN or ASDL or something). A few weeks ago I saw "Bill Clinton", "Bill Gates", and "Janet Reno"; Janet was pretty good, but like Bill and Bill, lots of people hate the real one. Duh! Janet trips on her own grenage.
Then, I got on one server with a dozen or so people - and 3 of them were named "Steve"! Wow, I'm flattered! I was playing as "Peng Hai" at the time, as packet loss had just got me kicked off of two Lithium servers (sorry, our server requires your ping to be less than 2 and yours is 999,999,999).
One of them immediately changed his name to "Kaine" and chased me unmercifully. I kicked myself off that server; I kept getting stuck to the floor, and everybody there was better than me, anyway.
I played a different server with the same name, and ib666pu or somebody changed his name to "Kaine" and chased me all over, too. Those guys also seemed better than me, but I wasn't getting stuck too often, and none were LPBs. They still kicked my ass.
If you're still playing single player newbie, go see the Newbie page, then play on the net! The funnest thing about Quake is what people say and do there. I'm still chuckling about the guy I saw a couple of months ago whose ruse was "I'm new at this and I'm drunk". Hey, I'm not new at this and I'm in awe!
Quake news died
Yeah, not much real news this week. So I'll bore you some more, when the music starts you'll wake up and go play Quake...
I got "sharked" real good on another Lithium server. I hadn't played that level in a while, and didn't recognize it right off when I jumped in, so I stupidly asked "is this a custom level?"
I blindly jumped off the ledge, and into a pool of water (where were my brains? That could have been lava... who cares?), climbed out... OK, I know where I am now... and there's this guy at the end of the corridor jumping up and down, holding a rail gun and not shooting it. I start shooting my little blaster (like I said, where were my brains) - and killed him!
"Bastart!", he says.
"Huh?" I replied. "Are there some rules to this mod I should know?" I mean, when I was a newbie I ignorantly got in to a CTF and started killing everybody and they were pissed. I check that Gamespy column now, but This felt the same.
"Yeah, you're only supposed to shoot robots"
Huh? OK, I'll try it a while. DUH! I died five or six times before I "got it". When I started shooting back, they all disconnected. They're probably still laughing.
Steve is disintegrated by Newbie
Hyjack writes, "Please I need the 3.17 Patch to get started on Deathmathes. I'm at 3.05 version and need to be upgraded so if you could please!"
Which got me thinking, there are over 100,000 Quake pages on the internet, and not one that I have found that is geared for newbies. Quake 2 is still flying off the store shelves faster than Windows 98. Everybody that is buying a PC for the first time needs Quake 2. And there is a lot of stuff you and I and Id take for granted, that newbies need to know (like don't camp and fer God's sake don't call me a camper or I won't be shooting at anybody but you)!
So for those of you that stumbled across this page looking for a patch, here's a link to the brand new newbie page.
I looked for Hyjack's patch, and GEES even the big one's hard to get, even when you know where to look; and my ISP might scream if I loaded that 10 meg patch here, so I've added a few links to some full patches at the bottom of the Patch section.
Abe is blasted by John
The results of the Abe Lincoln "controversy" are in. I've got so much email this week I haven't even had time to play Quake. The results are- nobody cares. Out of all the mail, nobody even mentioned it. My wife, who is the only one who actually saw the graphic in question, said it looked like (expletive deleted).