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The "Proof of loonacy" Dept.:
MailBag for Issue #14

Comments by Jason "loonyboi" Bergman


Every week our associate editor takes on the big ol' pile of mail for your reading enjoyment...got something to say? Send it in. You just might win a swanky loonygames t-shirt. Letters are presented exactly as they are recieved.

This week Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman's with the family doing the Thanksgiving thing, so letters are answered by Jason "loonyboi"

Dev Luv

Subject: Dev Luv

The Developer's Corner is an impressive resource.

Paul Steed's first modelling tutorial seemed to have a lot of good strategies for reducing the poly count of a model. And his second tutorial looks like it's got important strategies for building models with more complicated shapes.

Christopher Buechler's 2D art tutorial is also giving a good treatment to adding effects and ornaments to textures. Specifically, his use of overlay to create more color in certain areas of the image got me expirementing and produced some pretty cool effects. I look forward to seeing what type of textures he creates from scratch.

Code on the Cob looks like good stuff as well. But enough dev luv. It's time for a rhetorical question. (Because I said it is. That's why. :)

_Why hasn't this type of content been available before?_

Well, actually, it has. There are a fair amount of community sites with tutorials and various hints and tips. What sets loonygames apart is the source of the info. Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful for the content provided by my fellow hobbyists. I myself provide guidelines for things to avoid and aspire to when designing DOOM DeathMatch levels along my tiny strand of the web. But let's face facts, the only real credential as far as most game art goes is good art that was in a game people played. The writers for the developer's corner have impressive credentials.

(You might consider including some type of "Why this person kicks ass and is worth listening to." link on each of the developer's corner pages so that people who've never read a .plan before can be made aware that they've just hit a valuable resource.)

So why didn't someone ask these people to publicly share their knowledge before now? I'd guess there are a lot of reasons. Some people place developers up on a pedestal. Some assume they don't have the time to make a game and write about how they do it. Some just want the info for their own use and don't think about the community. And some probably have asked and I just don't know about it. :) At any rate, I'm glad this stuff doesn't apply to loonyboi and everyone else who made this site possible. Thanks everyone. I hope you keep up the good work.

P.S. These aren't just platitude's either. I'm still a student and a hobbyist so I'm not brimming with skills and know how, but if you have some monkey work you need done, you let me know.

Garsh, i'm all blushy. Thanks for the complements.

NT = Not Trying (hard enough)?

Subject: nt and gaming

Good article about gaming and NT,

My problem is that if NT5..ahem win2000 is going to be as big as 35 million lines of code, what about stability issues?

It will be the gaming platform of the future, but i would think to move to it about 2001, (assuming they actually release it q1 2000) (big serious i doubt it will happen assumption).

Good job at the loonybin!

Mark
aka Reload

Subject: NT for gaming

I'd have to say that the article about using NT for Gaming has a lot of 'hypothetical' assumptions. The facts are, that Windows 2000 is not released, and therefore certainly has not caught up with Windows 98.

Furthermore, anyone who has tried the DirectX 6 support in NT 5 beta 2 or pre-beta 3 will tell you that it's basically broken and so painfully slow as to be unplayable.

As a matter of fact, beta 1 ran games faster for me than either of the other two.

With regards to NT4 games, almost all of them that can play under NT are indeed faster than under 95/98, with respect to graphics. However, there are some serious sound issues with NT that result in a lot of audio problems and/or sound delays for many of these games. If these sound issues are acceptable or not is pretty much a pesonal preference.

I certainly hope Win2000 gets fixed, on time, because I am eagerly waiting to play games under NT. One thing I did not see you mention was multiple CPU support under NT, and how this could be very useful for games, perhaps as soon as when Quake 3 comes out.

 

Subject: Windows zero zero

Good article, I'm glad I took the time to read it. Only, I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach...

First, 250mz is twice the speed of my current machine. 64mb is twice the amount of RAM I have now.

"Full preemptive multitasking will provide..." They promised that with Windows 3.1, again with Windows 95, and again with Windows 98. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I trust Microsoft about as far as I can spit a truck full of rats.

Lack of plug-n-pray is a decided step backward. Non plug-n-play hardware with non plug-n-play software is fine- I can flip a few dip switches and fiddle with a few jumpers. As I found out with a plug-n-play motherboard and dos/win3.1, plug-n-play hardware and a non plug-n-play OS is a fraggin' NIGHTMARE. When I was finally forced to win95 by the fact that none of the new games ran on DOS, I wished I got it sooner.

From the article, it looks like if you have a 500mz non plug-n-play motherboard with 160 megs of RAM, you'll be fine, but games on windoze zero zero will be like games were on windoze thirty one.

Where is DR-DOS when you need it? Oh, yeah, that's right, Gates put them out of business by rewriting windoze 3.1 so it wouldn't run under DR-DOS.

-Steve McGrew
Springfield Fragfest

Dear golly, I had DR-DOS...I think you can even still buy that in places!

Anyway, my take on the whole Win2k thing: let's face it...we're screwed. Unless developers start supporting other platforms more heavily everyone's next operating system (for gaming) will be Windows 2000 (or CE if you're planning on getting a Dreamcast...lord knows I am). BUT, there are plenty of other kickass operating systems out there...loonygames is run on Linux, I'm a big MacOS fan, and hey...BEos 4.0 will support the Riva TNT, meaning that I can actually run it (they only previously supported like three 2D cards).

 

More on the Levelord/Blue Interview

Subject: LL

One thing that I think LL dosent realize, is that he (and all other mappers for that matter) ARE an important part of any game. Sure, you could have the coolest engine with the coolest OpenGL effects, dynamic shadows and skeletal animation, but if your just running around series of boxes connected together, a lot of the coolness will be lost. I always enjoyed Duke3D's level structure, beacuse you could relate to it. Sure, QUAKE has cool levels (and I enjoy it more than I ever did DUKE) but how many of us have run around gothic cathederals? But either way, the levels were there, and had to fit the theme. It would not work to see a Quake guy running around a duke level, and nither a Duke, running around a Slipgate Complex, making sexist remarks about the Grunts.

As a failed mapper myself, I just ADMIRE people who can make quality levels. And so do a lot of other people im sure. I will never be part of a 'scene' as LL was. And it was a BIG 3D scene at the time, and is still growing. And LL will always be a part of it. As long as there are the games he contributed to. Level making is becoming more and more of an art, as the engines can handle more. Doom couldnt have 2 rooms above each other, but the levels still kept you enthralled. Quake didnt have rotations (to begin with at lease) but they manged. Quake 2 dosent have curved surfaces. But Quake3A will, and where will that take the mappers?

"A failed mapper"? Come on...there are no failures in level design...just quitters. ;)

Credibility?

Subject: Loony alienware

I read you article on AlienWare. It was hard for me to tell if this was an unprompted review of a vendor, or if some money has changed hands (directly or indirectly) between loony and alienWare. Without knowing this, a reader such as myself can't give the article much credence. The usual disclaimers will go along way to insure credibilty.

Enjoy your mag, I visit it a couple of times weekly. I especially enjoy the tech articles (Steed's stuff). If you could get a weekly column from J.C. that would be the balz.

PBL

I assure you that no money exchanged hands between myself and Alienware (beyond the cost of the computer, that is), and that the review was based on my impressions from actually buying one of their PCs. They're really that good. :)

loonygames: we use the big words

Subject: Is that a word?

cognoscenti !?
Somebody used a thesaurus, didn't they?

Hey, those boys at Next-Generation sure like their big words, huh? Just since you asked, here's the definition (from the WWWebster Dictionary):

Main Entry: coˇgnoˇscenˇte
Pronunciation: "kän-y&-'shen-tE, "käg-n&-, -'sen-
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural coˇgnoˇscenˇti /-tE/
Etymology: obsolete Italian (now conoscente), from cognoscente, adjective, wise, from Latin cognoscent-, cognoscens, present participle of cognoscere
Date: 1776
: a person who is especially knowledgeable in a subject : CONNOISSEUR

 

And the winner of this week's loonygames T-Shirt (more family lovins!):

Subject: "Beaker's Bent" Game Design Philosophy 101

This particular column is Without a doubt the best that has been produced! Rich Wyckoff is an absolute genius and you are well-served by allowing him to write for your Pub.

Do I get a tee-shirt?

Rich's Dad

Oh...all right. Just do us a favor...keep it quiet! We have a hard time saying no to family members. ;)

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Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1998 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1998 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1998 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.