Still need to get Bargle's console and such into the icculus.org CVS, but
everyone is stretched too thin to do so at the moment. We'll get it there
soon. Not counting the Mac port, we're really just about done with everything
we wanted to do with Duke3D.
Server is out. Details here.
Beta 1 of the Linux client is avaiable. Get it.
The First Encounter: Beta three is out.
The Second Encounter is now available, too!
Details are here.
Time to work on ssam is non-existant, and there will probably not be another
build for Linux for the foreseeable future, if ever.
Unreal Tournament 2003:
The Mac demo is out! Go find a mirror. It's about 135 megs. Reviews on the
various forums are good...and to my surprise, people are reporting acceptable
performance on machines I would have considered vastly underpowered! There's
one guy swearing he's getting 20 fps on a 400MHz machine. If you are
hesistating because you are under the minimum specs but have some bandwidth
to spare, it might be worth checking it out just in case.
Some other Mac stuff...there's some misinformation and unanswered questions
floating around I need to address:
MAKE SURE YOU'VE GOT OSX 10.2.6! Here's a brief breakdown on your results on
earlier MacOS versions (from memory, this hasn't been tested recently) :
10.0 and 10.1:
Probably won't even start up.
Anything before 10.2.3:
No S3TC support...textures lose quality, we have to cut a miplevel to
allow for higher video memory usage since we need to decompress the
textures manually. Lots of graphical issues, probably crappy performance.
Game will have rendering bugs and shitty performance on all video cards.
Run Software Update!
Game will run _extremely_ poorly on most ATI cards on this version...
there were about a million ATI-specific fixes for ut2003 in 10.2.5
(thanks to Chris Bentley, Phil Churchil, Thomas Fortier, and many others
who did everything from optimize the hell out of the drivers to add an
OpenGL extension to increase performance to fix a win32 bug of all
things). ATI engineers never get enough credit in this day and age, but
ATI's Mac engineers are first rate as far as I'm concerned.
Game will have rendering flaws and random crashes on GF2mx and GF4mx
cards (Thanks to Geoff Stahl and John Stauffer for smashing this for
a speedy 10.2.6 patch).
All known OpenGL bugs and performance issues at the OS level are fixed.
If you haven't gotten the hint yet: UPGRADE TO THIS VERSION NOW!
The OSX demo is network compatible with the latest win32 and linux demos.
The OSX demo has GameRanger support (thanks to Scott Kevill for staying up
until ungodly hours to help with this).
The demo UI won't let you specify various resolutions that fit (say) a 23"
Cinema Display well. This is because the list of available resolutions are
hardcoded in UnrealScript and changing this breaks network compatibility with
Linux and Windows players. I snuck all the popular Mac screen resolutions
(like 1680x1050 and 1920x1200) in before the latest win32 patch, so the
retail Mac version will have these out of the box. The brave among you can
get the demo to use these resolutions by editing a config file; otherwise,
you can use the in-game UI for the price of the game. :)
There are Altivec optimizations if you've got a G4 CPU, but this isn't
required (game runs on G3s for you poor bastards that are in iBook land).
The game does use dual CPUs...the music is decoded in a separate thread
which MacOS X will toss on the second processor on dual systems. Some
implementations of OpenAL will do their mixing on the second processor, too.
On Linux, this is easily a 5-10 fps boost for SMP boxes, and I wouldn't be
surprised to see similar results on the Mac...but I haven't explicitly
benchmarked this. Most games are generally single-threaded, but understand
that this means a Dual box will still be able to cook one CPU for the game
itself and run the other 20 or so system processes on the other processor,
so there's still a benefit to this.
We'll be listening to what people say to MacSoft (and I'll be trolling
various web forums)...we'll all be taking the responses seriously before
finalizing a gold master. The timeframe is short...my personal goal is to
bless a gold master sometime after returning from E3, but that is not
a solid date commitment, before you go and post my .plan file on Inside Mac
Games. We'll go with the standard Epic response of "two weeks". We all know
what that really means. :)
Don't email me bug reports; I am drowning in the workload from hell for
shiny things I'll be showing at E3. Email bug reports to James at MacSoft:
firstname.lastname@example.org ... he'll organize them and filter them to me. This is
the best way to get your bug report noticed! If you post a bug report on
forum, even a popular one, I can't guarantee the right people (like me) will
see it. While I'm talking about "don't email me"...don't email me to ask if
a given game is being ported to MacOS or Linux or your toaster. Those are my
guidelines. If you just want to chat, feel free to drop me a line. :)
Thank you for your patience...I know this took forever to get out the door,
but I hope we used the time to get it right. The good news is all of my
engine changes will be eventually be made available to all Unreal Engine
licensees, so hopefully this will result in more Mac ports...and more ports
on a faster timetable than UT2003 was done.
There will be another Linux dedicated server patch (that's compatible with
Spearhead 2.15), but...I'm fucking swamped. I'll let you know when it's here.
(Please, no more beta testing applications. Thanks!)
Beta testing continues.
I love the Apple Music Store. I am in love with the Apple Music Store.
I've been bitching for so long about how Napster demonstrated a few
things (in my mind at least):
1) People want downloadable music.
2) People don't want DRM-encumbered media.
3) People don't want to pay 18 bucks for a CD.
4) People sometimes just want one or two tracks from a given disc.
5) People want to search for what they are in the mood for.
THANK GOD Apple managed to move a million tracks the first week.
If this thing blew up in their faces, all those pricks that labelled Napster
a pirate's haven would be justified.
...well, okay, it WAS a pirate's haven. But music warezing aside, it shows
that the current system blows and the consumer wants more for their money.
Now we've got proof that people will pay for online music on their
terms, and will move a ton of inventory.
So I get a Music Store account, dig around. The selection could improve, but
for what is pretty obviously meant to be an experiment, it isn't bad. Of
course the real big Top 40 names are there, Eminem on the front page, etc.
A search for "Red Hot Chili Peppers" turned up zero hits, yet there's an
album by Rammstein up there, so the selection is pretty varied and not
necessarily what you expect.
Hit the "buy album" button for Sheryl Crow's debut disc, and it asks me
four times if I really want to do this, reminding me that this is going to
charge my card, and verifying my account password...you can disable all these
confirmations, but I refused to let it save my my password, for protection
against my own impulse buying more than anything. It charges me ten bucks for
the complete album in AAC (some MPEG-4 thing) format. It downloads faster
than I could burn it to disc using the Starbucks WiFi network, and puts it in
a "purchased music" folder in iTunes. Sound quality is good, but my hearing
sucks, so it's hard to say, really. When I got home, I popped a blank CD into
my Powerbook and hit the atomic-looking "burn" button in iTunes, and came up
with an audio CD a few minutes later.
My curiousity kicked in, so I popped the disc into another computer...the
CDDB query actually correctly identified the album...that was really the
deal-maker for me, honestly, dunno why.
Apple's terms of usage allow you to burn the disc, use it on up to three
computers at once, and convert it to MP3, etc...basically, there's no
significant legal restrictions on this that you wouldn't get from a physical
disc bought in a store. If there's only two tracks on a disc you want (cough
cough Norah Jones cough), you can buy them at 99 cents a piece. I recall
reading that you can print out album art from the site, too, but that's not
really interesting to me.
So what I want now:
1) Indie artists. I really hope Apple didn't sign away their right to do
this when dealing with Universal. Ideally there'll be an indie section
with a public moderation system that can allow really good unknowns with
no marketing to float to the top by virtual word of mouth. Let people
that have bought moderated tracks weigh in more heavily with their
vote...this both gives more weight to their word if they've actually
HEARD an individual track and it gives people incentive to buy through
Apple. I would love to see talented people make it big in the way people
think "making it big" works before they get their first assraping from
a publisher. This could be what MP3.com wanted to be now that the
technology is in place.
2) Bigger selection, more labels. I want to see Faith No More on there, I
want to find my searches for no-brainer titles and bands not come up
empty. I want more complete discographies and less "Partial Albums". I
want to see the Righteous Babe Records catalog online here.
At any rate, I'm predicting my ass will be buying more albums over a wireless
network at the airport while waiting for my flight to E3. One of Apple's
devrel people told me the Music Store was "Digital Crack" and I totally
believe it...but the bottom line is Apple totally nailed it on the first try
and I'm happy to have them as my Digital Pusher.