|August 29, 2001|
So she plays this game for hours, which I figured is a good sign. The whole time she's making comments that only someone who had read the books would know, and she understands the dialogue as if she had already talked to some of these people. This is great and all, but the whole time she's expressing how frustrating the game is to play. I can't blame her - though I didn't play it myself I sat there and watched her for a while and if you thought the control scheme in Resident Evil was bad - this one makes those games look refined. There's clipping errors, an annoying and frustrating interface, and the same habit that Resident Evil: Code Veronica had where the camera perspective changes from "following you" to "stuck in one corner". Oh, and the camera sucks as well. In one scene you have two paths in a cave to go through - one of which has this killer snake. Well, you go down either path and you disappear for a second until you get far entough down the path to change the camera to "following". Problem is the path curves and so you get stuck. My wife literally had to switch to the first-person perspective crossbow to see where in the hell she was, then blindly try to navigate some more, repeating this routine until she got out. Annoying.
Also there's the usual spate of problems - gameplay too linear (you have to talk to person A before person B, even though you run into person B first), unfeasible situations (a large rock wall crubles to dust with one swipe of an axe) and pointless lines of questions (no consequence to answering something wrong). Plus, you can't skip dialouge, so you inadvertently wind up having to listen to some conversations multiple times). On the plus side, the voice acting, while not perfect, is not bad. Far better than Shenmue - that game made me want to scream. Also, it does do a good job of synching the voice to the mouth movements - but no one other than Hank Hill shows his teeth that much. Overall, it's a passable game whose main draw is its license, which is enough to draw in fans of the books enough to forgive its flaws - witness the ability of my wife to keep playing while complaining about the game. I guess it's a telltale sign as to why GameStop sells this one for $20 ($30 for the PC version). It's also somewhat indicative of what was one of the original Dreamcast fears - that the systems WinCE abilities would make for straight PC ports with little to no consideration for the complexities of consoles - witness the 66 VMU blocks (close to 1/3 of the card) needed to save.
On an unrelated topic, I also decided to pimp my dot-com I also help do on the side. View it as the lone non-pop-up ad on the site. Or don't - I don't care.
|August 28, 2001|
My wife's running Windows XP now. Not sure if it likes her GeForce 2 better, but the point is slightly moot since she plays few 3D games.
BTW, the new link to AuntieZen above is to my longtime friend Donovan. Not sure if he's just got a ramblings thing or if he's trying to sell/promote something (like himself).
|August 24, 2001|
Oh sure, you can make the argument that the reason Windows powers 90% of the market is because it's a desktop OS aimed at the mass consumer, and that were you to look at the number of non-desktop applications Linux would hold an advantage. Well while Linux has more than 5% of the server market, the lion's share still goes to Microsoft. You could also argue that Linux also had to not only convince others to chuck their current operating system for a free unsupproted one, but that it had to more or less single handedly create the open source movement. True, but look at what Windows had to do. First off, they had to convince all the users out there to run their DOS programs in Windows - not a small task. Also, they had to convince all the programmers out there that development of software, especially games, was better in Windows. They did this with DirectX which took four versions to hammer out but they got there. Then they also had to convince the users of the world to buy more powerful machines to run this whole shebang in the first place.
Did it work? Well, I'm not writing this on a Linux box. The developers ultimately decided that DirectX was better (Carmack notwithstanding) - rather than code for 50 different video cards, program for one standard. Let the driver makers do the rest. It doesn't work that way 100% of the time, but most developers like it. Even the ones who use OpenGL use DirectX for the non-graphic sections. The end users went for the platform which runs everything. And the fact that people have to upgrade their systems periodically stimulated the economy (though this last point is kind of rude).
All was not roses and sunshine however. The marriage of 32 and 16 bit code was not a perfect one, as anyone who has experienced the "Blue Screen of Death" can attest to. The inclusion of legacy code (to run DOS and Win16 programs) neccessitated that the kernel was initially unstable. Windows XP looks to do away with this entirely - which will no doubt break any 16 bit drivers still bouncing about after six years - as it completes the graft of the NT based kernel into the desktop Windows OS. Additionally, every time a major OS revision rolls around, many vendors jump on the opportunity to charge full price for an "upgrade" (though this is less prevalent now that the mass distribution of the Internet makes casual patching a way of life). And don't even get me started on what many computer manufacturers will do if you "break" your system with a new OS upgrade. Some will offer advice on how to get the new OS working, others (Best Buy) will act like you just tried to put NEXTStep on your system and tell you to go fuck yourself.
Linux has its supporters, and their merits are not lost. True, Linux is "free". Linux patches take hours, not weeks. Linux likely runs faster. However, picture if you will that your house needs a new roof. Who are you going to have roof your house - a ragtag bunch of persons who have never met each other in person and don't do this sort of thing for a living, or are you going to hire a team of paid professionals. Sure the last one costs you more up front, but the first one ultimately costs more in the long run, and not just in terms of money.
I have to hand it to the Linux supporters, though - anyone can bitch about Windows, but it takes someone really dedicated to run something else. If you gripe incessantly about how much you hate Windows and Microsoft but continue to run Windows and Office then you're a hipocrite. Most of us dislike many things about Windows and Microsoft, but we just grunt and bear it. I'd rather have a flaky OS that can do anything I want it to than an OS that is stable but can't run anything.
So happy birthday to Windows 95, Linux and R2-D2.
|August 23, 2001|
|August 21, 2001|
|August 20, 2001|
This means then that Friday is the six year anniversary of the release of Windows 95. Not that that means anything.
So my adventures in DirectX have been foiled/delayed by the fact that the Direct3D samples won't run - they either tell me they can't create a Direct3D device or I don't have enough video RAM. Now, this is kinda rediculous - every Direct3D anything runs on my system, and the people in this thread I started tell me all should be obee kaybee, but still no go. I figured it was a "rollback from WinXP" issue, since I've had some other problems, but a reformat/reinstall didn't do the trick. Oh well, at least the other things I noticed seem to be okay now.
The part of the reformat/reinstall I hate is not the reformat/reinstall, nor is it the fear that you didn't back up something important on the drive you have to reformat - it's the reinstalling of everything. This wouldn't be such a big deal, if I didn't have so much shit. Office 2000,Visual Studio, FrontPage 2000, Corel Draw 7 (don't laugh! it still works!), Adobe Acrobat 4.0 (not the reader), Nero, The stuff that came with my DVD drive, the drivers for my mouse, the drivers for the Zip Drive, the million or so little utilites, it's annoying. I miss the old DOS days where you could just copy the contents of a directory - no registry, no shared DLL's, no system directories. It was nice. And what I really hate is those games that don't need to be reinstalled, but they think they do. Quake 3 runs more or less like the old Quake and DOOM did - you install it and it places an entry in your control panel to be uninstalled. Now if you reformat your hard drive you can still run Quake 3, but if you need to install a patch or the Team Arena mission pack it says you don't have Quake 3 installed. The fuck you don't! But since it's not "installed", it's just "there" you have to reinstall it over your old installation. Then you can patch it. Annoying.
With any luck I can finally tinker with V12 and DirectX tommorow night.
|August 15, 2001|
|August 14, 2001|
Tonight I'm going to embark on some adventures with the DirectX SDK.
|August 13, 2001|
This year I went with my wife Wendy and some of her gamer cousins, the aforementioned Moe and Robert. However, the first day (Friday) it was just me and my wife. So we get there and we get our little name tags, placing our names on them. Then we step into the BYOC room. It's much bigger than last time - the size of a couple of gymnasiums. She immediately kept apologizing to me that we hadn't planned well enough to bring our PC's (or perhaps just mine) but I assured her it was alright. Next we stepped into the room with the exhibits and displays. Immediately I was drawn to the table under the large banner reading "DOOM - Game Boy Advance" where they had four GBA's networked together running the GBA port of DOOM. While the screenies I've seen of this port looked crappy to alright, I can tell you this much - this port kicks ass in the flesh. While it can't really hold a candle to some of the recent Win32 ports with higher resolutions, it works really well. One thing though - neither myself nor anyone who was around when I was fiddling with it (some of which were wearing Activision T-shirts - the DOOM GBA publisher) could get Multiplayer working. Oh well - I'm sure they'll either iron it out or it will become obvious with the inclusion of a manual. I'll tell you this much - money permitting the day they come out with that port I'm picking up four GBA's, four copies of DOOM GBA (this game's too big to do the "one cart" thing), and a link cable. Yes, you're invited.
Next up was Return to Castle Wolfenstein. My lone disappointment with this game is that it's swastika free (as far as I can tell). I guess it's because in a multiplayer game having someone with a Swastika be the winner is a dangerous precedent (the original Wolfenstein had no multiplayer). Not that I like swastikas, mind you - but killing Nazi's without them just isn't as much fun. I bet they still can't sell the game in Germany as it is. They had four PC's running the single player version, and twelve or so networked ones running a multiplayer "Axis Vs. Allies" game (think Counter-Strike in WWII). Very cool - and very well done. Also, Raven had two PC's running Soldier of Fortune II. Lots of good old carnage.
Then for some reason my wife and I took a Discreet seminar. Discreet is the company who spun off of Autodesk and now handles the 3D Studio MAX product. They were giving seminars on how to use GMAX, a product which is a subset of 3DSMAX. The idea (I think) is that a game developer pays however much Discreet's cost is and buys GMAX to be used on their game. They then can write level and model exporters for GMAX and distribute it (with those exporters only) free to their end users. So we went to the "Character Modeling" seminar and my wife gave up at some point. I was barely able to keep up, and even then I had the horns on the wrong side of the thingy's head. Oh well.
After lunch we waited for the id press conference and the Carmack talk. My wife is bored out of her mind at this point. Couple that with the fact the press conference was late, the people around us were "unusual", and the fact that the smelly guy next to her couldn't stop staring with his creepy beady little eyes at whatever breasts were around (read: not that many at QuakeCon) and she was slowy becoming miserable. I pointed out John Carmack with his wife Anna Kang (not sure if that's still her last name) as they walked by to which my wife was shocked that they looked so normal. So finally they let us in and we all get to sit down. Todd Hollenshead (CEO) gives a little schpeil and then shows some video footage of Quake, Quake II and Quake III, the last of which was the Team Arena teaser again. He retorts, "I guess you've all seen that before," which gets laughter from everyone but my wife, who hadn't. Then they announce Quake IV, outsourced to Raven. Looks like that rumor was right.
Then they announce that their unannounced game is untitled and is a "multiplayer experience not based on an existing property" but not a MMORPG. Ok, cool. Next.
Next is the DOOM III demo. It looks badass. It has all the stuff from MacWorld and more. No gameplay or sound yet. Also no title. Damn. But it looks cool. Then comes a scene with a dead guy on the floor with his guts being feast upon by a demon, complete with blood curdling down the drain. Great id, just fucking great. I have to justify that the game industry is not full of evil violent school-shooting shit every day to some people and you go and pull something like that. Suffice it to say Wendy was not amused. To their credit it looked more like they were going for that Resident Evil, Silent Hill horror movie feel (as opposed to the more ominous Hitman feel) and they stated that this probably wasn't going into the final game, but it was still a gruesome sight.
Carmack followed that with a talk. Surprisingly, I could keep my head above water, which is more than I can say for the crowd which ranged from enthralled to filtering out to sleeping. Carmack of course is going on about everything he feels like talking about, no structure, no goal, he just goes on and on. It's like listening to a genius on the Hawking level - if you're looking for someone to sell you something, move along, but if you want to listen to one of the few geniuses in the game industry just go on about whatever, Carmack's the guy. His lone fallacy is his shrill, nasal voice and a habit of being just a little too phoentic at places. I didn't notice it too much (I heard him speak two years ago), but my wife couldn't stand it. Then there was the usual Q&A session.
The next day the cousins joined us, and Wendy brought a book. We had noticed that almost everyone had their handles on their tags instead of their names, so I wrote "Schnapple" on mine and Wendy wrote "Mrs. Schnapple". We attended Paul Jaquays' "Trash my Map" session where the id mapper critiqued people's Quake III levels - not so much on style or content, buyt mainly for technical aspects and their use (or overuse) of polygons - interesting insight into what level designers have to do to get levels everyone can run. Then we toured the joint, playing games and such. We wrapped up the day by watching the showing of Jedi Knight II. Folks, Raven is the shit. This is going to be an awesome game, handlily surpassing the first game. You know you get to see the good shit when they won't allow video or photos of the game to be taken (they did this at the DOOM III demo as well).
So that was QuakeCon - it sucks that I didn't get to bring my PC (especially when I discovered that when I arrived not all the BYOC slots were full), so the thing got dull quicker, but I got to see the id press conference at least (which was my main goal) and I got a T-shirt or two out of the affair. I got to show my wife that this was in fact a real industry with a huge following and I got to hang out with some family members I don't see that often.
So, what else? Well looks like the aforementioned (yes, I like that word) Moe redid her page, and apparently has been redesigned using Pepto Bismol. I was going to make a pee-on joke at her expense, but looks like she ditched that page. Drat.
Oh, and I rolled back to Windows 98. Guess that precipice had a bungee cord after all. Ironically I ditched XP not because of the OS - the OS is fine, in fact I miss it already. I ditched it because of no Voodoo3 drivers. Anything and everything I found just didn't work too well. I guess I could do the "install/roll back" dealie every time I wanted to play a game, but I didn't want to mess with that. If I owned a GeForce 3, I wouldn't have a problem - pretty much every video card whose maker is still alive has at least some beta drivers that work. In theQuake games there's some minor OpenGL glitches, but Black & White is unplayable, due to garbled text. I read I could turn off AGP text caching but it turns out I don't even have that. So even Direct3D games are spotty. Here's the thing, though - whose fault is it? Is it 3dfx's fault? Well it is in the respect that they're not here to make new drivers, but does this mean that every piece of technology dies along with its maker? To Microsoft's credit, they at least have a pretty good attempt at a Voodoo3 driver, but perhaps it's their fault old Win2K drivers don't work. Maybe it's Nvidia's fault - they "own" what's left of 3dfx and appear to be burying it in New Mexico along with those E.T. carts. Word is they refuse to let Microsoft have the source for the 3dfx drivers, and since Nvidia's not working on new drivers (they want you to buy Nvidia video cards, after all) then the drivers die. Perhaps it's EA/Lionhead's fault - they're the developers of Black & White and they don't have a product that supports XP yet - it supports ME and 2000, so XP should be a given, yet it isn't. Sure, come October they'll probably have a a patch out, or at least a workaround, but I don't need a workaround, I need a game.
So I'm not good enough to hang with the Beta OS boys after all. Ironically this wouldn't be a problem if I didn't run games - meaning that XP has at the very least made its claim as a professional OS. More ironically, short of the fact that the XP compatible drivers they made were imperfect, this isn't even a Microsoft problem. 98 is like The Phantom Menace, it ain't perfect and in some cases isn't even pretty, but it works for what it does. Consequently, there's no way I'm buying XP unless they can come up with a version that runs my 3dfx card flawlessly, so basically I'm going to have to hold off until I can get a new video card - like a GeForce 3. My wife couldn't do the XP thang since it doesn't like her hard drive controller (?). Same old stuff - new hardware for new OS.
|August 9, 2001|
Even more perilous is the just-announced news (rumor, anyway) that Dynamix, the developers of the successful game Tribes 2 have been all let go - roughly 300 or more of them. This isn't a bad thing per se (other than lots of people losing their jobs), except that Tribes 2 isn't just not finished, it's really not finished. The patches have been so haphazard some of them undo previous patches. The prevailing logic was that eventually the game would get stablized - but now that seems uncertain. This is different than the Eidos/Ion Storm situation - Sierra has enough internal developers that they can hand off the finishing job to someone else. However, will they bother? Perhaps at some point they'll just say "good enough" and leave it be. Perhaps the game was re;eased when it was in the state it was in (after being delayed multiple times) because Dynamix knew they were on the chopping block. But why were they on the chopping block? Tribes sold a berzillion copies and Tribes 2 sold plenty (last I heard was 200K units), but still they get the boot. Sierra probably isn't going anywhere themselves - each time they unveil a new Half-Life expansion/sequel/prequel/stand-alone-mission-pack/pack-of-the-previous-games-named-after-a-precious-metal, they more or less print money. I still like Sierra, mainly because I grew up playing the King's Quest line of games, but ever since Roberta Williams and her husband sold the company in 1996 (and vanished after the dreadful King's Quest 8) the company has become a corporate giant and, as a result, has come to represent everything people hate about companies in America - away with the love of the art, make way for the bean-counters. No, we won't be making another Space Quest game - they don't sell. Now hunting games - that's the money! You don't want to make another Tomb Raider game for us this next year? You want to "tweak the engine" and come out with a different game? No, sorry - please give us Tomb Raider II No? Well then you're fired - Shelly, please get me another development team to whip out some levels, and pronto!
Granted, I know nothing about the business world - and I sure as hell don't have a clue what it takes to sustain ones self in business. It always seems like when art and commerce mix, however, commerce wins and then commerce dies because it killed the art - witness TSR, makers of the Dungeons and Dragons products in the 70's, 80's and 90's - as soon as the bean-counters took over the company died. Ironically the company was bought by Wizards of the Coast, who have since resurrected the D&D line, but while people have praised them for sticking to their values, they look to also be succombing to the bean-counter mentality.
I'm headed to Dallas in a few hours to go to QuakeCon. While I love id and all their games - they're going to announce some new ones. I'll tell you what they are - Doom III and Quake IV, which they've farmed out to Raven. Any takers? Notice how id hasn't come up with an original game premise since 1996? Doom and Quake sequels, a Wolfenstein sequel (farmed out to Gray Matter) and even a Commander Keen sequel on Game Boy Color. Not to say they're not any good - especially the footage I've seen so far of Doom III - but I wish they could come out with something different and new. Who knows perhaps they'll surprise us all at QuakeCon.
Well anywho, couple these revelations with the fact that Gathering of Developers, the independent publisher out of Dallas has been sold to Take Two, a corporate giant, with 99% of the staff breaking off to form a DVD-Video based magazine (?) and the other 1% moving to NYC, and this is shaping to be one fucked up day in gaming.
Oh well, at least the V12 engine was released. Too bad I can't buy it just yet.
OK, so at least I can burn a CD, right? Wrong. Despite the fact that Nero has worked just fine up until this point in XP this morning it was no go. No ASPI layer. Well fookin a - it was there before. I'm sure I can get it to work - I've found info on some people with the same problems - but it's a pain. Still, I know it's my own fault for getting into this. The hell of it is that thanks to my taking off tonight to go to Dallas for QuakeCon this weekend I won't even be able to muck with it. If I can get things working - one way or another - I'll keep XP, otherwise it gets the heave-ho.
I revamped the linky linky at the top of the page. My sister, Amy Kidd, now has her own .com, interestingly enough. Click and try her Christian Singing Dealie. Oh, and the Duck link yesterday was to my (possibly aforementioned) cousin-in-law Moe's page What She Said. Since she's been so nice as to give me a permanent link, I figured it was appropriate to affiliate her site as well.
So, off to QuakeCon. Bummer that I can't bring my PC. However, so long as I get to see Carmack's press conference tommorow all will be good. Now I need to find directions to the darn thing. Who knows, perhaps my father-in-law will let me blog from his system.
|August 8, 2001|
Jeff Tunnel, GG employee.
Although I haven't mucked with it too much yet I found this this morning to try and give support to WinXP Voodoo3 users. If you find yourself afflicted by a dead video card manufacturer (as I do) check them out.
Anywho, QuakeCon in two days. Also, M R DUCKS.
|August 6, 2001|
So part of me wants to laugh at the web economy - we haven't even really seen the worst of it yet. All those fools who wanted to weasle out of the "real world" are now doubly screwed - they not only are unemployed, but they're now without marketable skills - marketable to anyone else besides other web companies whose date with the hangman is likely down the road a piece. But then I realize that there are some dot coms I don't want to bomb. Blue's News comes to mind. I'm willing to put up with the annoying pop up flash ads so that I can read about the latest Quake beta patch. However, look at Penny Arcade. They come out with an entertaining comic thrice weekly and attempt to make a living off of it. When their ad thingy went bust they resorted to donations. So far they've been able to dodge the bullet of traditional labor, but how long this can last remains to be seen. As someone who has plopped down hundreds of dollars on DVD's and Games I can play and watch infrequently at best, throwing a couple of dollars towards a couple of entertaining chaps so that I can check their humor three times weekly seems like a good tradeoff. Yet I haven't done it. The main reason is because I'm lazy, but on another level there is the fact that what they are essentially impying is that I and others should give them out money so that they can do what it is I want to do - sit around and play games all day. I'm sorry - it might be different if they were providing deeper content (and since I'm a longtime subscriber of various magazines, I know whereof I speak) but I'm not going to send you the money I work for so that you can not work. It doesn't work that way. However, I'm not completely without passion - they stated that if half the site's visitors donated a dollar a month they would be set. Okay, here's $12 - but I want my money back if you go bust in a year.
The next time you go to your grocery store, go to whatever aisle it is they sell Barbecue Sauce (hint: usually the same place the ketchup is at). The Barbecue Sauce market is, interestingly enough, a fierce one. Count how many sauces there are (as opposed to, say, how many different types of ketchup there are). It's mind boggling. Now notice how a lot of the bottles look like "a guy in his basement with some bottles, some locally printed labels, and a really big vat" put them together. Seventy percent of the Barbecue Sauce market (sales, in this case, as opposed to "using" an OS) is cornered by the big guys - Kraft, Hunt, Heinz - with over 30% of the overall market going to Kraft's K.C. Masterpiece. The remaining 30% is carved out of the hundreds of minor players. When I start to think of the romanicized notion of running a website for fun and profit, I think of all the guys in their basements making the next great niche Barbecue Sauce. Now, how many of these sauces do you think provide their creators with untold riches? Probably very few. Go far enough from the location you're at and most of these sauces won't follow you. Their distribution is local at best. While the Internet provides the much greater distribution that the niche Barbecue Sauce maker's can't even afford or fathom, at least the Barbecue Sauce makers have a tangible product, which is ultimately worth more.
So anywho, the point of this whole rant was that I'm glad I didn't drop out of college to do a dot-com (having said that, I do have a dot-com on the side). I'm also glad I'm not relying on the web economy - it will be a profitable venture in the long run and it will stabilize at some point, I'm just glad I'm not one of the hundreds who will be fucked until it does.
|August 3, 2001|
So I fire this puppy up. It takes an hour and a half to install it - I expected that. When it starts up finally it takes a long time. I sit there hoping this is a "one time" dealie, despite the lack of inidcations that this is what it is. When I finally get to the desktop, I realize I can no longer see my Trillian icon in the system tray, but I can still hear it logging on. After trying several things I discover that un/reinstalling it fixes this. MemTurbo starts up twice for some reason. The desktop disappears for a second for some reason. And a simple volume adjustment in the system tray results in 80 processes I have to end. I start to wonder if this was such a good idea after all.
Then I noticed that I'm in a 800x600 resolution mode. I figured out in Win98 SE that the largest resolution I can push with my Voodoo3 3500 card is 1152x864, so I go to Display Properties. I can't pick that - it goes from 800x600 to 1280x1064 - and that latter resolution just doesn't jive with my monitor. Then I noticed that it has something like "Generic SVGA" as the adapter. Well that simply won't do, so I figure just reinstall the driver. Small problem - what do I reinstall? 3dfx only ever came out with Win9x and Win2K drivers - and now 3dfx doesn't exist anymore. I installed the Win2K driver - but it didn't take. Crap. So I did a Google search for WinXP and Voodoo3 3500 and it sent me to NTCompatible (I wonder if they'll ever change their name) who tells me that I might as well hit the Windows Update site, so I do.
Well holy crap, "product updates" pulls up some hotfix and a "Voodoo 3/4/5 series compatible adapter". Cool - Microsoft of all people is going to keep the drivers up to date. I fire it up and it works like a dream. Except that now my system can only push 1024x768 - perhaps some more fiddling is due.
I hate skinning. Some programs, like Winamp, use it to good measure, but others, like Ulead's VideoStudio, use it to hide their inadequacies. So WindowsXP is like one BIG skin. However, surprisingly, I like it. It "feels" good - not like some idiot-proof Mac or something. I'm not sure what to make of the start menu - perhaps it can be modified. It puts your name in big letters on the top of it, along with a customizable icon - I wonder why it chose the Rock Gutiar for me (unless it does this for everyone). In addition, you can uninstall it and go back to whatever you ran before - how effective this is I don't know, but it's neat.
As for the Windows Product Activation? Please - like presenting your driver's license when writing a check or being polite to the police officer, so long as you're legit it shouldn't be a big deal.
So no longer am I relegated to using Windows 98, nor do I have to worry with Windows 2000's compatibility issues - though the sheer newness and beta quality of Windows XP does tend to make compatibility a whole different animal. I haven't made my final verdict on Windows XP but I can say this much so far: not bad.
Oh, and yesterday I forgot the Nintendo 64 port of Doom, which looked and played more or less nothing like any previous version of Doom ever - the levels had changed and the engine heavily modified and enhanced to the point where it just wasn't Doom anymore. I figured they had made a whole new game and just "pasted" some Doom enemies into it, but I learned recently that indeed it was based on the original Doom source code, so they just made a hard left with it. So, despite having the best graphics and sound and also being the last Doom port to a console (save DoomDC), it also wond up being the worst port ever.
|August 2, 2001|
So, on to other things. A port of Doom to the Dreamcast has been released. Coded by some independent hackers, DoomDC does a pretty bangup job. Considering that this is pretty much the first independent effort to port a piece of exisitng source code other than an emulator to the Dreamcast, it's mighty impressive. It will run the IWAD files for Doom, Doom II, The French version of Doom which lacks the swastica location, Ultimate Doom and both episodes of Final Doom. However, while it does have full speed and sound support, it doesn't play music just yet, nor does it feature multiplayer. Also, due to how the screen rendering is (so far) handled, the colors look a bit washed out. However, these are minor quibbles - this is the best console port of Doom ever. Doom's NeXTSTEP development platform meant that porting was relatively easy for id, so many consoles got Doom, but none of them ever got it right. The Atari Jaguar version was alright, but it had a low resolution (somewhere between the "high" and "low" on the PC) and the levels were abbreviated (some were missing, others had sections missing). Oh well, at least it had multiplayer through two linked Jaguars (finding a second person with a Jaguar, however, was the fun part). The Sega Genesis 32X version was laughable in that the screen size was too small and no sprites existed for any angle other than head on - all enemies were "coming right for you" all the time. The version for the 3DO player was pretty awful - lots of missing frames and the usual smaller levels. The versions for the Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn did what they could given the lack of technology, but neither really went down in the history books. And the Super Nintendo port (running with the assistance of the FX2 chip) was, like the upcoming port to the Game Boy Advance, more of a technical demo/stunt than an actual port of the game - impressive for the platform in consideration, but the worst ports in so far as the game was concerned.
Still, it felt damn good to play that game again. I think I'm going to have to go fire up the Bobby Prince soundtrack tonight. Let's just hope id doesn't blow it with Doom III.