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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | January 17, 1999
   

"Yes, Yes, God is Good"

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may have been wondering why the Mailbag has now moved to Sunday. The answer is simple, I have become a true believer, and this is my ministry unto you. Jesus knows. Oh yes, He knows everything.

Thanks to ShOtgun for unveiling the wondrous light of His ways unto me -

"In light of your Thief: The Dark Project review I thought I'd tell you, I saw it in church this morning from the Bible, John 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy""

What more proof do you need? John "Gestalt" Bye gives Thief 10/10, and John the Apostle 10:10 talks about Thief. The wondrous symmetry of it all...

I am now attempting to complete Thief as He would want it. Unfortunately I'm stuck, as I need to say the First Prayer of The Builder before taking the talismans of Earth, Wind and Fire .. um .. sorry, Earth and Air. If I don't, I get zapped. If anyone knows HOW to say the prayer, for God's sake let me know .. He would want you to tell me!


Like I Give A Damn

My article last weekend, "What's The Point?", brought in a few mails...


From : Vangie "Aurora" Beal
Subject : Comments on What's The point?

I enjoyed reading your article very much. It clearly explains many issue about point releases and patches. I usually buy most of the 3D games that come out, and I too usually expect to have to download a patch shortly after buying the game, and in some cases, patchesare released before I even buy it. I think it is good to make gamers aware of the benifits to these things. You're right. They can often add new and fun features to a game which people are getting tired of.

I was, however, disapointed that you're article focused on the very good aspects and didn't cover the negative aspects that much. I understand that development companies have to stop somewhere with adding features or the game never gets finished. But what about the point releases and patches that don't fall under this catagory. Patches for joysticks, patches to make auto-run work, patches that include sound files that didn't make it onto the master CD (and as such you get errors when playing). What about the huge number of point releases that are put online because of carelessness and not enough beta-testing so a deadline can be met.

While after shipping Internet releases are fine, and yes some are just small things developers did not intend to have in the shipped version of the game. As a gamer I find this point release annoying. Sure... I might get some new levels and an assortment of other goodies in that download, but if a gamer needs to un-install a game or format a drive and put Windows back on again... you're now forced to go and download (in most cases) a huge release (again!) to play your favorite games. Most times, when it comes to the popular multiplayer games, you do have to download the add-ons, patches etc to be able to find a server. Really, developers aren't leaving us a choice to download or not if we want to play the game online.

Could you imaging going to a movie theater to watch a film..and then having to go back in 3 days because they forgot to add something when they released it? I haven't had this happen with anything I buy, and even with non-games software, you can find updates.... but in the huge majority of updates, they don't include things that seriously affect the software from the users end. I bet they have deadlines to make too, yet they are able to deliver what they promise right from the box... why can't game companies?

Thanks for listening to my rant!

Yes, there must be something wrong with me. I seem to be becoming unusually positive all of a sudden... /me shudders

The point of "What's The Point?" was to talk about Point Releases, not common or garden patches that are just there to fix bugs or patch up an unfinished game after it was released early. I think we can all agree that in general, patches suck. Games like Unreal and Quake II which have both had a dozen or more patches are ridiculous.

But I've beaten that topic to death, bundled it in the back of my car, driven it to the local landfill site, buried it, and left it to rot for six months in previous editorials.


From : Jobe
Subject : point release

I just want to make a quick point that was omitted from the article.

Point release is only somewhat good for the person who has the internet. People who are still in the stoneage due to lack of internet capabilities will never get these patches. For me Ill deal with the patch (just don't make it too many) and get on with the game. But that poor sap down the street is going to be stuck with a buggy game cause his parents think the internet is the devil and will have nothing to do with it and the gaming industry was in too much of a rush :(.

A good point, though generally point releases add new content to the multiplayer part of a game, which is obviously of no interest to most people who don't have net access.

However, if the point release or patch is fixing something important to the single player part of the game, or adding in a feature that was cut because of lack of time, ideally the publisher should exchange the original game CDs for the latest version or send out patch CDs.

Examples include Shogo (which had a major AI bug that was only fixed in its "point release") and Sin (where a patch CD actually was sent out .. though the only people who know about the offer are probably those of us on the net!)


From : Chris McMullen
Subject : Feedback for Point Release article

Well, I've just read the Point Release article on Planet Quake. What can I say? Well, 'Utter Bollocks' would be a start. I'm not referring to the article itself, but to the apparent acceptance by some programmers, not to mention many gamers, of Point Releasing.

"We want to improve a lot of things in Unreal based on gamers' feedback, especially from deathmatchers." Hello? There's this thing called Beta Testing that software companies should paying people to do, not getting the public to do it.

And how come console games, don't appear with a load of levels and features missing? Because they can't be patched, thats why. In my view, Point Releasing is just a way of getting gamers to fork out cash for an incomplete product ahead of time - it's a reprehensible practice and one which should not be accepted.


Is Quake Dead?

"But you're dead. Your husband thinks you're dead. The audience thinks you're dead. And you don't breath, I say, you don't even think..."


From : James 'Harvester' Apodaca
Subject : What ever happened to Quake ? ?

Just a question:

What ever happened to Quake and Quake news sites totaly dedicated to Quake 1? I am seeing less and less Quake1 and more of Quake || .... why is that? I can't find anythig I need for quake 1 any more ...


From : Hunter79
Subject : Quake 1 mods

My name is Hunter79 and I am an avid Quake and Quake2 fan. But over the past months, Quake2 has quickly lost its appeal to me and many other people I know.

After playing Quake 24/7 for 2 years straight, the physics and overall feel of Quake 2 seemed all wrong. What I needed was Quake. So I bought it again and got CTF and Zeus bots running again and I felt as though my life was complete again.

But when I went to Planetquake and Captured.com, I had noticed that they had not lived up to their codes of preserving their roots. Planetquake has almost totally given up on Quake! No new Quake 1 mods were coming out!

My friends and I really don't care for QuakeWorld. What we need are more Quake mods. We must protect our roots! Quake 1 was a breakthrough fro 3d gamers everywhere who didn't need uber computers just to play a fun game.

Please Quake Gods: Bring Quake development back!!


So, is Quake really dead? Or is it just smelling a bit funny these days? One thing is sure - so long as there is Quake news to report, you'll find it here on PlanetQuake. There are a few mods for Quake still being worked on out there, and there's still a steady flow of Quake I maps (both deathmatch and single player - try checking Gonz-O-Matic or TEAMShambler).

But given that Quake II has been out for over a year now and Quake III Arena is due in a few months, Quake is old news. There simply isn't as much going on in the Quake I world as there used to be (especially if you're going to ignore QuakeWorld!).

Finally .. whatever you think, we're not miracle workers. I could say "Everybody go and bring forth new Quake mods in vast abundance" and it wouldn't make a lick of difference. So please, we're not "Quake Gods" and we can't "Bring Quake development back". Quake I isn't dead by a long shot, but it will never be as big as it was "back in the day"... There's simply too many other, often better, games out there now.

Time to move on.


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