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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | May 5, 2000
   

PQ Mailbag

Somewhat Damaged

But only somewhat. I've got the hiccups right now, and they're really pissing me off. What relevance does this have? Well, I'm working on this right now so you can hear about it. Anyways, we were kind of short on feedback this week, so if the Mailbag seems a little short, that's why. But I'll try my damnedest to make this the best darn Mailbag ever! Wh00t!

y = (2deathmatch)^2 (.5deathmatch - 6)^3

According to the graph below, what are the roots of deathmatch? Oh, not those roots? Dammit. Anyways, this week's editorial was "Roots? You're Talking About the Tree" courtesy of Plummer. Great detail is gone into on the origins of deathmatch gaming, and it's an excellent history lesson for those of you that weren't around while it happened. We got a junkload of feedback, so check it!

From: Phoenix
Subject: Roots Article

Nice article, very well done. It's good to see you brought up the fact that Doom was the original Deathmatch game, and who could forget playing Wolfenstein for the first time?

For those still interested, there is a program out called Zdoom, available at http://www.zdoom.notgod.com that brings Doom and Doom II to an even higher level. It is fully configurable in a way similar to Quake II, and while it does not have Open GL support, it does boast some features like jumping, rocket trails, particles, and optional railgun (!), and enhanced net play. One can set it up to deathmatch over ICQ using the Internet telephony/games/chat option and setting up a client-server application with -join %i in the command line field and -host x in the server command line, with x being the total number of people playing, followed by any additional deathmatch flags. Weapon stay, force respawn, etc, are all fully menu controllable from the server during game, as well as gravity, etc.

Internet play is there with the click of a button thanks to ICQ, but lag IS a severe issue on a dial-up connection, so don't expect a real fun deathmatch unless both of you have a cable modem or better. Both the server and client will experience equal lag due to the nature of the network engine, however, so there is no such thing as an unbalanced game with one LPB owning the server. Only downside is if you have 3 cable players and a 500 pinger like me joins in! There IS a project called CSdoom (client/server Doom) that appears to be based on Zdoom, but with improved network options that is in the works. The beta is not yet available for download, but check out the page at http://www.doomnation.com/csdoom/.

However, if one wants to experience Doom-style deathmatch, but can't find any human players or the net is too laggy, the Zdoom author DID include some bots! Now, don't expect anything as fancy as the Eraser or Gladiator bots. They are very predictable, do very botlike things, and sometimes act just plain idiotic (getting stuck on a wall and running in circles has been observerd) but it's still fun! All you do is start Zdoom with the -deathmatch -nomonsters flags, warp to the level you like and type "addbot" from the console, and away you go! You can add bots by name, as many as you want, and can customize the bots.cfg file to fully customize their ability, weapons preference, aim, and suit color. While it will never be the same as playing a real person, it's fast and furious, extremely addictive, and a fantastic new way to experience the *original* deathmatch game for the first time if you've never had the chance!

Hellchick: Man, I miss DOOM. We used to run DOOM2 on the Sparc stations in the physics department. In fact, I probably could have gotten my research done a year earlier if I'd just stopped playing DOOM2 long enough.

From: Ransom
Subject: Secret Origins of the Deathmatch Genre #1

Thanks to both Plummer and Pirate for excellent, well-thought opinions.

I think if you're trying to identify the origin of deathmatch, both Doom and Quakeworld are excellent choices, for different reasons. Doom seems to be the first and best of early deathmatch games. I say that it is because of three points: weapon balance (wider range of weapons that were effective in deathmatch), playability (the intense speed, and the 2d/3d engine's way cool side effect: simple, easy to read map mode), and design (wider color range, better use of textures).

Then again, that's a purely critical opinion.

Quakeworld played client/server internet games pretty well over a modem. The change in bringing deathmatch to your home is like the relationship between movies and television. The Quakeworld deathmatch was always there at your fingertips, and that has become an essential element of what we today think of as deathmatch. I have seldom played deathmatch Doom since Quakeworld was available, although I may pick it up again now that I have DSL. It really is a lot of fun. But not very often, since I could be playing Q3A, which is the best deathmatch I've ever seen.

Hellchick: I remember when Quakeworld came out and I wanted to use the female skins that were available. I decided not to, because they all looked like Mack trucks with make-up because they had to fit over the male model.

From: Josh Liddick
Subject: dm beginnings

My first dm experiences took place on a BBS at 2400baud. The game? Trade Wars. Awesome game, you pilot a trade ship around from spaceport to spaceport, get enough money and you can upgrade your ship with armor, weapons, expanded cargo holds or buy a new one. There were many classes of ship, from your standard lowly cargo vassel to your top of the line battle ready flagship. If you were lucky enough to run across another ship, you could attack. I only found this game on BBSs that had more than one dial-in line, of course. What good would it be if you couldn't fight it out with anyone?

After Trade Wars, I started playing Spectre in the highschool mac labs. (Being a lab aide had its perks..hehe) spectre rocked for its time. I think you could have 8 people in the map at one time. Great fun.

Hellchick: Trade Wars, huh? Did you know there's a game called Dope Wars? I've heard it's hilarious. You can probably grab it off FilePlanet. It has nothing to do with Trade Wars or Quake in any way; I just had one of those weird mental segues, that's all. Nothing to see here, move along please...

From: Justin Sane
Subject: Marathon...

Dear Plummer,

I use PCs exclusively now and have for a couple of years, but I used to use the Mac and I so I am glad you credited Marathon. You really don't want the Mac Evalngelistas deluging you with flame mail.

Marathon was my first, hi-res FPS experience. At the time, the graphics on the Mac blew away any available on the PC--people were still playing mostly in DOS mode on the PC. Apple has since lost that lead due to their own fumbles and the pernicious effects of the scale economies of Windows PCs. Now the best graphics come out for the PC first and Apple has reduced expandability and flexibility for their platform further (Steve Jobs states that more than 3 PCI slots is unnecessary! My last Mac, a 9600/300, had six). I for one am glad that there is healthy competition in the FPS area. I doubt ID would have released the source for Q3 if there wasn't. This way we won't have the DOJ Id-busting ;-).

Anyway, good OpEd piece.

From: The Quake Demo Drive-In
Subject: Pirate's atricle about deathmatch roots

I think I can think of a game to beat Marathon and Doom: MidiMaze.

It was a game on the Atari STe that used the midi ports (!) as very basic networking. The idea was 3D pacman with guns, and you went round a level that would make wolfenstein wince. If you wanted to make a level, it was created purely in ASCII art in an arial view in your text editor, which the game would take and build the maze out of. I think. But then quake has eroded so much of my brain cells that I don't think straight anymore. Cup of lava anyone?

RaiLord
Head of the Quake Demo Drive-In
www.planetquake.com/drivein

Not a whole lot of feedback on this one, but a great read nonetheless, and it got me thinking. I love nostalgia. I've been playing id Software games since the first Commander Keen, and remember drooling over Wolfenstein and Doom. My first experience with multiplayer, however, was Doom on a serial cable connection between two computers in my friend's basement. It took us half an hour to get everything working right, because of a faulty cable, but once we did, it was pure heaven. We sat contented many hours blasting the hell out of each other, and were even contented just watching. We had no idea that multiplayer would come this far.. it's amazing.. but sometimes I just want to go back to Doom deathmatch.. call me crazy, but it was helluva fun. :)

On Page 2: Fragen und Kommentar


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