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volume 1, issue 30

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

Real Life: Check out our newest comic strip, Real Life! Updated daily!

User Friendly: Updated daily!

T-Shirts: Stylin' loonygames t-shirts from Berda Compugrafix!

Artwork: Hey, dig the artwork on loonygames? We're selling some of the original art.

Feedback:

You've got an opinion...voice it! Drop a line to our Feedback column...you could end up with a free T-Shirt!

Random Feature :

The Community Summit: Our exclusive chat with the folks who run your favorite gaming pages (from our seventh issue).

Search the Archives!

The mmm...beefy! dept:
MailBag for Issue #30

 

 

 

Comments by Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman


The wonderful and wacky world of Philip K. Dick...

Subject: Blade Runner

Blade Runner was inspired by Phillip K. Dick's book "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep". It is an incredible piece of sci-fi. In many ways it is far better than the movie, it explains alot of things the movie could not possibly go into. Deckard was not a detective, he was bounty hunter. The book was published in 1968 and is just now beginning to get the recognition it deserves. It is definitely one of my favourite stories. Check it out!

Keep the Faith, Jamie

Oh, do we ever know. Jason actually is the nutball who got me reading Philip K. Dick (Iím not sure who got loony reading him tho), and I tell ya, Iíve never looked at drug dealers and cops the same way again. :) Heís a great author, just a little, well, nuts. All of you looking for stuff to read, check it out!

[Editorís note: believe it or not, it was actually Amazon.com. I buy a lot of science fiction and religious studies books from there, so one day it suggested I check out some Philip K. DickÖand Iíve been hooked ever since.]

I love when people read the archives!!

Subject: The Community Summit feedback

Hello,

I have read The Community Summit and foud it to be a very interesting feature. I have some comments to do on that matter.

I have been running a Quake 3 Arena web site for 9 days now. I don't own a domain and I don't want to earn any money for it. There are numerous things that can motivate someone like me to dedicate A LOT of time into such a project. The main reason is I have been hooked really bad on Quake 2. This is the first game that I have been able to play every day since it came out without getting bored at some point. Why? Because of all the community around it and because of the way the community supports the game.

What to do next? Get into this community dammit! I visit major web sites daily(Blue's News, Scary's, etc.) and found that there is no way I could do such a web site. I mean, I could do such a web site, but there is no point to it since they already do this job pretty well and are very popular already. If I had decided to enter the fray of "general gaming news", I would have died right away. I think that the only way for "Joe Schmo" to do a web site that "works" is to do a more specialized site. Example: On my Quake 3 site, of course I post relevant news about Quake 3, but it's not my main concern. The site is meant to be a large source of Quake 3 related files: Skins, Models, Mods, TC's, Videos, Tools, etc. I will also post reviews for the major Q3 related releases.

Up to now, my web site has not been extremely popular....but not that bad either. I had about 1000 hits (roughly 130 hits a day) on the first week, which I find satisfying. Now here comes into play one of the most important things: your own objectives. Some people can have 100 hits a day and be very happy, some others will think that below 5000 hits a day is not worth bothering. I think that there is place for everyone out there. Large money-making sites and smaller non-profit sites like mine. This is what makes the community what it is.

There are several things that can stop someone from doing a truly great site. Of course, you need good content, but if you don't have a good host, a good design and good web knowledge, then you're not worth crap. There's alot of technicalities that aren't so easy to work with. As simple as it may seem, a damn forum is actually a pain in the ass to set-up when you have no CGI experience at all. But there's always going to be these great hosts that help you out on that side.

Jonathan "ZANDAI" Côté

ResQ3 - The Quake 3 Resource Site

http://www.3d-unlimited.com/quake3

Sure...I remember back when I had my little personal site, and it broke 1000. I was SO happy. :) People were reading it, and it was MINE. Very popular, in my little world.

And since the subject of the summitís been brought up...I said in that article that we would follow up six months later, with the same people. It had since been brought to my attention that some people should possibly have been there who werenít, etc. So, feel free to e-mail me and tell me how youíd like to see this done. Irc again? And who should be there. The last summit brought up some great issues, and really got people talking...Iíd like to do that again.

A real man can kick with both feet....

Subject: Mighty Boot

Actually, it was possible to kick and shoot at the same time in Duke Nukem... with your RIGHT foot. In fact, if you had your "mighty boot" selected as your weapon, and you hit both your attack button and your kick button, you could kick with both legs at the same time! Toxy even bound the kick button to a key that he held down all the time... pistol dancing is a bit crazy when the guy shooting at you is trying to kick you as well.

Essobie

Ok, call me silly, but guess what Iím doing this weekend? Yeah...trying to get Duke to kick with both feet. I gotta see this!

I LOVE learning things from the mailbag....

Subject: Dreamcast modem comment...

Someone's probably already informed you of this, but I thought I'd let you know that the Dreamcast ships in two configurations: The Japanese DC, and an Asian package. The Japanese version includes a modular 33.6Kbps modem and Dream Passport communication software, while the Asian modem has a no modem, a variable power supply, and English manuals. The Asian model is meant, obviously, for Asian markets outside of Japan like Hong Kong. I'm not aware of an external modem available yet, but the Asian model just has a panel that can be removed and ostensibly replaced. Likewise, the Japanese modem can be removed, too, and conceivably upgraded, should Sega release a faster model, or a network card/cable modem option.

Hope this helps.

Josh

"You should view the world as a conspiracy run by a very closely knit group of nearly omnipotent people, and you should think of those people as yourself and your friends..." -- Robert Anton Wilson

Subject: Dreamcast n0-modem

It was most likely a distributor thing as Sega is shipping all Dreamcasts in Japan with modems, this may however change for the States.

But this is not the real issue here, Mr. Jump the Gun here is going to be sorely dissapointed when he buys a 56.6 US modem to find out that a Japan DC wont work on the American DC network. Also most likely the reason the modem was taken out, you cant use it here in the states anyway, unless i guess you can find a Japanese dial-up number. What the distibutor is going to do with all of the left over modems, and what they have to gain by taking them out is beyond me. It really doesn't pay to import, especially when you dont do some research first.

I seem to remember someone telling me you canít just call Japan and get on the network...something about phone line differences being similar to US vs Europe video stuff. But once again...Iím not sure. :)

And the winner of this weekís t-shirt...

Subject: Pal / NTSC Article

Nick,

Nice article, It's good that someone has brought this problem up.

But things are not necessarily as bad as they seem. It is a misconception that PAL machines are slower than their NTSC counterparts. Sure, the frame rate is less, but the internal working of the machine run at exactly the same speed. There is consequently more CPU power available per-frame on a PAL machine.

On the theoretical example of a 1MHz machine. The number of CPU cycles per frame available would be

NTSC 1,000,000 / 60 = 16,666.66 cycles per frame

PAL 1,000,000 / 50 = 20,000 cycles per frame - ADVANTAGE PAL

 

If you break that down to PER line basis

NTSC 16,666.66 / 525 = 31.74 cycles per line

PAL 20,000 / 625 = 32 cycles per line - PHOTO

FINISH!

This means 2 things:

1) A letter-boxed PAL port has MORE power available PER FRAME and should not suffer from more slowdown, apart from the initial drop to 50hz. Graphics could even be improved! (Less pop-up etc.)

i.e. A game which occasionally shows down ("chugs") in it's NTSC version, will probably run smoother in PAL.

2) Much more importantly, the processing power IS available to draw those extra lines, without any making higher demands on the machine.

Virtually perfect PAL versions are definately possible, if game logic were divorced from frame rate - This is emminently possible in 3D games, though would not work so well in old style 2D games.

PC programmers have been dealing with EXTREMELY variable frame rates, very successfully, for years. Doom & Quake (and even our own game Wetrix) automatically compensate on the fly for varying frame rates. By comparison, dealing properly with two different *fixed* rates should be a fairly trivial task for console programmers.

The real problem is lack of effort by US and Japanese developers who don't take PAL very seriously. Rare (who are, as you know, based in England) - simply make the extra effort.

If more people shout about this problem - it will eventually be a thing of the past.

Incidently, I have known several developers who charge publisher thousands of dollars to port a game to PAL, and do nothing more than change a few copyright messages!

 

John Pickford
Creative Director
Zed Two Limited
Wetrix "Buy two copies"
www.zedtwo.com

 

- Stephanie "Bobbi" Bergman is an associate editor at loonygames. She's probably the most normal person on the staff. That's really sad.

 

 

Credits: MailBag logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. The MailBag is © 1999 Stephanie Bergman. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited and not nice.