"there may be hope yet" Dept.:
Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" 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.
Subject: GameSpy's Future
I think you make a lot of good points on the benefits of GameSpy, all of them true.
However, I think one of the strikes against GameSpy's future is how bewildering it's interface and behavior is to beginners. With it's non-intuitive icons and potentially confusing and cluttered interface, it may find itself losing ground to simplified efforts like Half-Life's multiplayer tools as more and more new gamers venture online.
David T. Cole
Itís funny, I never realized how confusing GameSpy was until I tried to show someone how to use it. My brother had mentioned how its interface is difficult, but it really didnít sink in until then. Kinda makes you wonder, how many programs you use daily would make sense to beginners? Not many, I think. Now, the question is...can we change that? I donít know if we can. (For the record though, the one GameSpy Lite I sawÖthe one for Baldurís Gate, was simple to use, I literally had it open all of 1 minute to look at servers and decide I didnít want to play multiplayer.) :)
Subject: Gamespy's future...comments and other things ugly :)
Hello all(Jason included),
I'm just writing this in response to the article by Jason about Gamespy's future. While I agree that GameSpy is pretty slick, lately it has become a bloated behemoth of a server query tool! With all the ads you see for it everywhere, and for it's merchandise, one would think that it's a movie trying to promote itself so it doesn't fail at the box office. The fact is, GameSpy has grown slower and slower with every update, I'm not sure whether it's the enlarged cache of server lists, or that it has become even more of a resource hog, not sure there.
My point is(yes there is one), that there are other server query tools out there, not that Jason would ever acknowledge that! hehe :) Ping Tool is a very concise product that comes to mind, as well as EGN2, which has ICQ-like features for contacts and messaging, alongside FTP service to and from contacts, chat hosting, private chatting, voice recorded messages, an MP3 player(kinda in early stages), customizable themes(skins+sounds), and last..but not least, a gamescanner that supports 12 games at current build status! Granted, it's scanner does not have the "buddie" feature that GameSpy does, but your buddies are listed in the main window, if they are playing a game, and you want to join in DM or whatever...the appropriate game icon will appear next to their name, click on it and you will be taken to where they are. Pretty neat huh? Also, it's scanner is lightyears faster than GameSpy's. I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons for this. The original point was...here we go...that this excellent product, which gets almost no press on GameSpy affiliated sites, is faster, less resource hungry, and more generally feature packed than GameSpy, and news of it is deliberately played down by the boys on the PQ Network. Why do you ask? It's FREE! Yup there ya go, damn, they hate it when I say that! Now while GameSpy may have a future with those who have purchased it, and really like waiting for it to refresh( yeah, right ). I don't see it going very much further than say 5 years without some major redesign. And alot of thought to the whole pay to play idea. (By the way, EGN2 has tribes support now, not great yet, but it works) All this, in an alpha build product, not even beta! I'd really like to see it mentioned a whole lot more on some sites...but we all know that will never happen. No way to make money off it. Hehe, do I sound jaded? well maybe I am, but they did it to me with GameSpy hats, t-shirts, mugs, posters and oh yeah, one hell of a slow program, overloaded with some features that maybe 5% of people using it actually use more than once.
This is not to say EGN2 is not without it's fair amount of bugs, but what net based communications/game query tool doesn't have them, I still remember watching GameSpy grow up, through many buggy versions. The same can be said for ICQ. Time will tell for all of them. But I felt more people should know about their options! Especially if they spend alot of time on the PQ network reading updates and stuff on the various hosted sites. Which I might add is a barren wasteland for info about query tools other than GameSpy. Ok, I think I've said enough..maybe too much but hey, you can't make an omlette........ you know.
EGN2 is pretty neat...itís nice to see some real competition for GameSpy, after all, competition only brings out the best in all.. But Iím definitely a GameSpy girl. I hate to paraphrase Mark, but he did explain it best with his Half-Life example. Iím the same way...Iíve used the in-game server checker dealie in Half-Life all of once, and I canít wait for TRIBES support. Iím an ICQ user too, although I did have EGN for a while in its first version. So yah, Iím using 2 programs instead of one.
Just like I use Eudora, when I use Outlook for nearly everything else. Everyone has their own preferences. :)
[Editorís comments: just thought Iíd chime in here with my $.02. EGN2 is a fun program, no doubt, and itís always great to see programs by fans for fans, but I think itís time to admit that GameSpy has surpassed that. Of course the guys at GameSpy are fans at heart, but theyíve also got (*gasp*) a business model.
Yep. Who knew? While EGN2 is great, and I wish them all the luck in the world, donít expect to see custom versions of it on game CDs anytime soon or anything.
My challenge to EGN2Öif theyíre really not doing it for the money, then letís see them put everything on the table and release their source code. Then Iíll believe theyíre not in it for financial gain. Until thenÖwellÖwe just have to assume their heartís in the right place.]
I read Jason Bergman's article http://www.loonygames.com/content/1.21/mouth/ on Gamespy and I would just like to add a bit of information to his commentary on Kali. I have no illusions that Kali is at it's peak as it was when Descent and Warcraft2 were fledgling online games, but I think that Kali deserves another look.
Kali not only offers support for all of us IPX/SPX network players (Descent 1+2, Warcraft2, etc), but it offers a VERY nice TCP browser that is largely overlooked by gaming publications such as yours. The TCP browser offers all the customizability and ease of use that Gamespy offers, and the guys at Kali are constantly updated and supporting the newest games.
The other advantage Kali has is it's chat interface which really sets it apart from Gamespy. Where generally GameSpy users simply find a server and launch Q2, Kali has a built in chat utility for those users that like to post and pre game chat. There is also a wonderful Kali culture that has developed, full of people that will be more than happy to assist others in finding games and assistance.
Finally the folks that run Kali are just the coolest. Jay Cotton has been very supportive of the LAN events we have held here in Atlanta such as Uberfest 98 at E3. He has happily supplied all kinds of prizes for us, and at one event he even volunteered to play Quake2 vs. walk up players in a "Beat the Industry" challenge with some guys from STB. Brian Hayes, the head programmer at Kali, has also been very supportive of the gamers. Brian was also involved with both Uberfest 98 as well as the "Beat the Industry" challenge, as well as being at a small LANfest at my house last night!
All in all, I feel Kali deserves another look, perhaps you could even do an article covering the great service they provide. Thanks for your time.
kiln on kali
Best damn realaudio show on the 'net!
Wow, Kali. I havenít used Kali since I tried to play Quake on the Internet for the first time...through DOS! But it has been going strong, I just somehow forgot about it (see above for the reason) :)
The winner of this weekís loonygames t-shirt...definately one of the most original analogies Iíve heard in a long time.
Subject: John Romero is David Lee Roth
If John Romero sees himself as a videogame rock star, I would have to agree with him. In fact, I would go so far as to say that he has become the videogame industry's equivilant of David Lee Roth. Now don't get me wrong, I love Diamond Dave as much as I still love Doom, but let's look at the similarities.
David Lee Roth gets fired/ quits from Van Halen, it depends on who you are listening to. Eddie Van Halen claims that David Lee Roth wanted to be a movie star and was neglecting the band, David Lee Roth claims he could no longer work with his former bandmates. John Romero gets fired/quits from id. Rumors circulate that Romero is neglecting his job at id to live a rock star lifestyle. Some people say that Romero thinks he still is a movie star, Romero says he could no longer work with his former co-workers.
David Lee Roth starts out his solo career by releasing Crazy From the Heat, a product containing covers of other peoples work, which was probably used as a burn option. John Romero releases Dominion, a lack-luster product developed by other people, which was used as a burn option.
David Lee Roth forms a super group of talented musicians, and promises to release top quality product. David Lee Roth's new albums suck, and most of his band quits. John Romero creates his own super group, Ion Storm, their first product sucks, and a bunch of his employees quit.
David Lee Roth's following album efforts all subsequently suck. David Lee Roth decides to reinvent himself, forms the new DLR band, and produces a product that even Rolling Stone admits is better than the new Van Halen effort. Hopefully John Romero will reinvent Ion Storm, fire Todd Porter, make a product that lives up to the hype, and stay out of Rolling Stone.
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