Archive - 1998

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12/15: Tuesday, December 15, 1998 23:00

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Ok, I've finished Half-Life, Sin, and Klingon Honor Guard so I actually almost have a life again. So I sort of did a review on SiN and literally had to be restrained over my declaration of hard-core primal lust for Half-Life. So what about KHG? My answer: a big . KHG is truly ho-hum at it's best. It has a few Neat-O™ moments and some buried cereal-box treasures for Trek fanatics but damn near bored me to death at points with it's complete lack of depth or detail. Some of the weapons could be fun in DeathMatch but I wouldn't bother with it unless you REALLY need another FPS around the house AND you're a Trek Junkie. With the scripting (not to mention graphical) abilities of the Unreal engine in all fairness I was probably expecting quite a bit but I think they could have at least met me half way just the same. Not so.


On the local SpaceMonster front, I've been hammering the servers quite a bit. The web server has been moved to a 100Mb switch and out of my office finally. It should be a whole heck of a lot faster now and generally feels so. Next it's getting another hard disk added so I can really start putting some FTP mirrors and hosted sites up. I've still got a few Gigs to go but I've got big plans too =). I may make the switch away from NT for www.spacemonster.org in favor of FreeBSD as NT is becoming a nightmare to administer. Just to keep myself sane I have to run an operating system that makes sense and scales well. If I see one more "management console" for my "convenience" I'm going to rip out the damn drives and erase each bit of each byte of NT 4.0 one by one with a little teeny magnet laughing hysterically and blasting the first 20 seconds of "Watermelon Man" by Herbie Hancock over and over again...


Speaking of hosting, in case you didn't know: SpaceMonster is looking to host sites locally. We're not particular to one game even though the concentration has been mostly Quake and there's that huge-ass Quake II logo on the home page. Everyone at SpaceMonster loves games, all kinds of games, all kinds of mods, and all the generous portions of goo that come with them. You've got an Unreal mod (like GELFspace) and you're looking for a place to publicize? Great! You want to make your opinion of the latest DM maps for Quake II general knowledge? We're your site! You want to jump up on a soap box and proclaim an unnatural love for Jedi Knight? Awesome! You think Worms 2 is the end-all and be-all of Multiplayer Online Gaming? You're our kind of Whacko!


What do we get out of all this? Well, nothing really... For the moment it's a labor of love. We're hoping that someday if we get enough big names around here we might charge a few big corporate cash factories to slap up an ad banner or two but we won't charge the people. Game site hosting at SpaceMonster.ORG will always be free of charge for non-profit entities and anyone we really, really like =).


Server Happenin's: One of the more recent additions to the server lineup is L-Fire CTF on ctf.spacemonster.org. L-Fire is the most popular Capture the Flag variant "on the market" and there are a lot of good reasons for it's popularity. Check it all out at the L-Fire Development Home Page. On another note, I think I will be retiring the Chaos DM server. I don't think anyone has actually been on the thing once yet this month. Lithium II has been very popular and I'm thinking about doubling up on the server and doing one with custom maps as the present Lithium II server is just standard id Software DM levels. Thoughts?


-Rhomboid


12/01: Tuesday, December 1, 1998 21:15

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I'm back. I have net again. Can I get a saucy OHYEAH? Just in time to make a couple of announcements...


I'll be putting up a Sin server sometime this week I hope. In order to do so I'll most likely be sacrificing the CTF server. It shouldn't be too hard to swallow for anyone as not too many people are using it anyway. Expect the CTF server, ctf.spacemonster.org, to magically disappear at some point this week and re-emerge a changed beast.


On the news front I'd also like to welcome our first hosted site, GELFspace. GELFspace is an Unreal game site dedicated to Unreal modifications influenced by the UK television series Red Dwarf. I'm a BIG fan of the show myself and I'm happy number_crunch and company hopped on the SpaceMonster wagon train. I can't wait to see what they do for Unreal...


More? Okay... I'd also like to welcome a new server to the fraggalicious lineup at SpaceMonster, null.spacemonster.org, run by Clan Null. Clan Null is a more than well-established clan who have been around the Team Fortress scene since way way back. Their machine is running a Half-Life server most of the time but may be a backup for their Clan's TF matches. If you're looking for some Half-Life DM action be sure to check out their server.


We had a bit of a LAN party last weekend at CyberRogue's place. We played a lot of Quake 2, Sin, Half-Life, and various mods for hours on end. I played for about 12 hours straight on Friday myself. I actually managed to burn out completely Saturday night after dreaming all night about nothing but Quake 2. Scary... It was a blast though. I think I actually had the most fun playing Sin. The guys at Ritual are long-time deathmatchers and they know what works. The weapons and the DM maps are great (check out the map "paradox" it'll freak you right out - especially if you're into M.C. Escher,) I'm really looking forward to getting the server up.


Dig the Funk...


-Rhomboid

11/30: Monday, November 30, 1998 13:12

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

My apologies to anyone trying to get in touch with me via email or looking for updates: My ISDN has been down since Thanksgiving and I have no update from GTE as to when it will be fixed. I, uhh.., don't own an analog modem. &*^%*(@! phone companies...


-Rhomboid

11/28: Monday, December 28, 1998 20:47

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Man, what a week. I don't even really know what just happened. I was thinking about the holidays getting here and all of a sudden it's almost the New Year. I've been kicking the server configurations around a bit. I was going to drop Chaos DM from the lineup but apparently the announcement that development on it had stopped somehow caused a resurgence in the number of people playing it. The end result is that I'll probably leave it alone for awhile again.


I've been trying to get my SiN server on some kind of server list but there just doesn't seem to be any such beast as a SiN master server for GameSpy. I've registered on the PlanetQuake page where you give them the IP of your server and they list it on an ASP page but it always goes away off the list after a day or two. It's a pain in the ass. Does anyone know of a *real* master server for SiN? If so mail me. I might just drop it which would be too bad, it's fun DM... I've seen you, you're out there, a few have even braved my server... =)


My apologies to those of you who have mailed me about the Half-Life DM server. I know it's frequently passworded but I'm just hosting the box, not running the server - I've tried to get on myself sometimes ;). Well, I'm not going to worry about it until they fix the net code anyway. Trust me, LAN parties are fine but you don't want to try to frag with a dozen other monkeys on an Internet HL server quite yet... unless you're on a T-1 or something, that is. I don't even know if it's running HL at the moment, it's been pinging out for me.


I've been trying to get a server up for Conquer the Base, an Unreal mod that just popped out. It's installed, I just can't find any directions for setting up the server for the damn thing... oh well, soon...


-Rhomboid


11/25: Tuesday, November 25, 1998 23:51

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

WARNING: GRATUITOUS HALF-LIFE REVIEW!


For all of you sleeping in caves out there, this has been a banner couple of weeks for the first-person-shooter game market. As if the arrival of Sin on the market weren't enough it has been followed closely by, in my humble opinion, the best first-person computer game of the whole year... Half-Life. Beautiful one moment, downright terrifying the next, I haven't jumped in my seat this many times since the first dark lonely late night I played Doom. In fact, this game is Doom - the plot lines are nearly identical minus the location (Phobos in Doom, Earth [err... mostly] in Half-Life) and the background of the player character (Doom's faceless space marine vs. scientist Gordon Freeman in Half-Life.) Some not-so-scrupulous scientists are holed up in a secret location picking, poking, and tearing at the seams of the dimension that is our reality. Like Al Roker popping open a box of Ho-Ho's expecting to "eat just one" they instead end up with inter-dimensional cake on their faces grasping madly at their sanity and the last shreds of the day-to-day world that they once knew. (side note: anyone ever see "From Beyond"?)


Of course *you* are the bad mutha who's on deck to smack 'dat ass. This is accomplished under the thin guise of "rescuing" your co-workers from a lab accident that turns out to be the sliver tip of one big-ass honking iceberg lurking below the surface. Although the formula has been done in Doom it's completely new and (arguably) even more engrossing this time around. If you've seen the original version of the movie "The Thing" and then seen John Carpenter's version you may have some clue of the different depths of execution the same script can inspire. Half-Life is as rich as the first-person single-player thing gets, kiddies, easily on par with Jedi Knight which many - including myself - hold sacred among FPS's (first-person shooters.) The big difference is that this one's got the AI and THE ENGINE.


Graphically, it's ALL here - lens flares, gorgeous texture design (the weathered steel plating is one of my personal faves - right down to the rusty rivets,) fantastic colored lighting including the best daylight I've seen yet, eye-popping electrical arc effects, translucent smoke trails, fiery explosions, eerie fluorescent lighting, phosphorescent liquids. The sound including that of the "real" world and that from another dimension is absolutely top notch and goddamn SPOOKY sometimes. Rather than repeating the same CD audio track during a level - ala Quake, Quake 2, etc. - a CD track will play through once at key plot points and the result is some of the most effective use of music in a game to date. I have to be honest, I'm not a paranoid person generally but I played most of the game wearing headphones in the dark - quite possibly a bad idea. A couple of times when I was wandering through the dark remains of the Black Mesa I could *swear* there was someone standing behind me. I had to take the headphones off at one point because I was getting so creeped out. My girlfriend even remarked that it looked like her nightmares. Horror movies... pah! Faces of Death... phooey! The WB network... yawn! ...Half-Life... MOMMY?!? 


As with Sin and honestly even more so, the level design is almost always dead-on and uses all that the heavily modified Quake 2 engine can slap against the inside of your monitor screen. What's that? There was an "almost" in there... What? Well, even though I'd have to say that 95% of this game is worth the price of admission and then some there's this pesky, screaming, hot-pink-at-a-funeral-kinda-sticking-out 5% that makes me alternatingly wince and yawn.


As I said the level design is so far beyond what you get off the internet or in other games that it will make you understand what the title "Professional Level Designer" actually and truly means. This is what I can't understand though; The game just hums along, massaging and treating your eyeballs like a day trip to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory and then all of a sudden you're in the middle of a level and you just look around in despair as your bubble pops. You'll just run across an area that just oozes lame all over your face and rubs it in. Sometimes it almost seems like the level designers went to lunch and the janitor sat down and added some stuff to the map. I have to say this doesn't happen often but because the rest of the game is *so good* it makes the *bad* stick out all the more. To add to the downside there are a few icky bugs, graphical and gameplay, that will leave you shaking your head. Minor examples include this door floating through the wall and into the next room error (series of screenshots) and this HOM (Hall of Mirrors) error the latter of which showed up at several points in the game.


The AI is first-rate. Many of the monsters are just plain stupid but some of your enemies will have you crouching in a corner, shuddering in nervous anticipation of what their next move is going to be. To make it worse (or better actually =) they don't do the same thing every time. I loaded up the same sequence several times on multiple maps just to see what would happen each time... Get this... IT VARIES! There are many events that are tightly scripted and verbatim on replay but from the first time I met up with a squad of marines in a warehouse I knew I wasn't playing my monkey's uncle's AI. I'm talking the same frenzied fury that only deathmatch has inspired in my twitch-reflex. There's no go-hide-around-the-corner-and-whip-out-my-health-pack crap here. You're in it, you're in the thick of it, and they WILL come hunt your sorry ass down and stick a big hot piece of lead in it. You WILL come to know that panic that comes with "Fire in the hole! MOVE IN!" followed by the dull thud of a grenade (or two or three) at your feet and the mad flutter of footsteps and flashes of camouflage fatigues ducking for cover. That being said, every once in a while you'll find a monster frozen and staring into space like someone forgot to put some AI in his coffee this morning. This falls into that 5% I spoke of - it's bad enough that you can walk up to them and beat the snot out of them with the crowbar without so much as a whimper and only the reaction of turning into low grade dogfood on the floor. It only happened two or three times but it was discouraging considering the work put into the AI in this game.


My one last beef, and probably about 2.5% of the sucky 5%, is the end of the game. It's not for the faint of heart and may drive you completely nuts. After what seemed like my second or third hour of trying to beat the end boss(es) I found myself trying to remember the names of all those game cheat sites I've seen on the internet. I was literally quick-saving every 5 seconds at one point, so afraid that I'd have to start the painful ordeal over again. Valve really had me thinking that they understood game flow until the last two levels or so. Luckily I finally figured out WTF I was supposed to do and then it only took me about 20 minutes of agonizing save, shoot, dodge, run, shoot, save, shoot, dodge, save, etc. AAARGH! I'm all for a big finish but the key word here is FINISH for fuck's sake. On the same note there are a few puzzles throughout the game that will have you whipping out old savegames because you forgot to do something a few levels back or don't have something you need to get past a level like health or power.


That's all that I really want to say. I don't want to get too specific because if you buy Half-Life I want you to have the same experience that I did watching the story unfold and to be as blown away as I was by the world you'll be drawn into. I waited for this game for well over a year and was not disappointed. How often does that really happen? If you like first-person single-player action and you don't buy even one more game this year, buy Half-Life. Half-Life good.


The Valve Software home page: http://www.valvesoftware.com


Sierra's Half-Life home page at http://www.sierrastudios.com


Local Collection of Half-Life Screen Shots (Dual Voodoo 2's @ 1024x768 some w/ gamma adjusted)


-Rhomboid (still working on sleeping with the lights off again)

11/21: Sunday, December 21, 1998 23:20

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

It's offical, it looks like the guys at Chaotic Dreams (the makers of Chaos DM which runs on one of the SpaceMonster Quake 2 servers) have called it quits at least for now. Whether or not this affects the upcoming project Chaos Arena wasn't clear from what they've put on their page. All good things come and go and the best stick around for longer than others. The life of and interest in Chaos DM outshined many of the mods that came out before it and after it but I think like it's spiritual predecessor, PainKeep for Quake 1, Chaos DM won't go quietly and will still pop up on servers for a long time to come. Aloha Chaotic Dreams...


I've been talking to the developers of a new Unreal mod that's on the way out in the next couple of weeks and it looks like SpaceMonster might be one of the first servers to run it. I don't want to mention any more details until something is totally solid but rest assured it will be a break from boring old DeathMatch and better than the half-assed CTF's for Unreal that are currently out there. More on this later...


If you're into Unreal and you're looking to hop on the development team of a hot new mod for it head on over to the GELFspace site and drop 'em a line. If you're into the TV series Red Dwarf I think you'll be especially thrilled. I'd be in on it myself but there isn't too much call for Perl and Korn Shell scripting in game mods... WAAAA!!!


On the Weapons Factory server I've dropped all the maps that weren't "offical" maps found in Weapons Factory Software's approved map PAKs. Putting up freelance maps on the server had the same effect on players as garlic on vampires, kryptonite on superman, and Quake 2 on girlfriends - they just went away. By strange coincidence, hmm..., as soon as I went back to "standard" maps people started coming back to the server. It's really too bad, some of the freelance stuff like Geidi Prime, CastleCYE, etc. is really top-notch. I hope these maps get more attention. I plan to 'leak' them in slowly on the server and hopefully not shock anyone into having to go cold turkey off of endless 2fort variations. Note: I'm down to ONE remaining 2fort map - 2fortme2. It's different enough to *almost* not be 2fort again. It too will go away soon however... LIVE WITH IT =).


-Rhomboid


11/19: Thursday, November 19, 1998 17:13

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Minor Update: I upgraded the Weapons Factory Server to 3.3c, the latest and greatest. The .DLL file was significantly smaller, making me hope they did some optimization (nice logic, huh? =).


Also, I've updated the smwfmaps.zip file (custom and recent "official" releases) to contain what is only actually running on the server. Right now, this is three maps: TKV (Twin Kingdom Valley), Geidi Prime, and 2strong. All of these are available at the Weapons Factory home page and are recommended by the authors of WF. Go git 'em! I'll keep the .zip file current with the map vote list on the server.


-Rhomboid

11/17: Tuesday, November 17, 1998 18:49

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Okay, I officially suck now... =) I haven't updated in so long it's disgusting. Truth be told it's just that I've been working so much recently and when I haven't been... well... I've been *playing* Quake rather than talking about it 8D. The Weapons Factory Server has been full or at the brim all week now so I might add a couple more players to the maxclients setting and see how she flies. Since the new OC-3 came in things have been extra smooth on the servers. Everyone on the west coast that was being pinched through two measly little T-1's is getting big, fat, buttery bits now. Can I get an Owwooo from the partay people in ze haus?


To add to my distraction, Sin came out last week and I finished it this weekend. You know I can't pound it in enough but LEVEL DESIGN is what makes or breaks a 3D game. Level Design MAKES Sin. The game itself is buggy as hell (I mean beyond beta buggy!) but Levelord and company absolutely rock the shit out of the game. Fan-muddafuggin-tastic! I'd wait until the patch comes out if you haven't bought it already but when it does go get it! Highly recommended! I've even assembled some screenshots here if you want to take a look... The screens won't even really do it justice. My favorite is the not-so-subliminal pump station, model #90210 =UCK=... hmmm... that kinda looks like... The game is chock full of little gems. You have to make sure to read the office bulletin boards and the warning signs everywhere. There's some really funny stuff.


Anyway, the near future holds the addition of a new server or two. I'm going to try to get a Sin server up soon but more on that when it happens.


-Rhomboid (lazy-ass sonofabitch server operator from the stinky pits of hell)

11/05: Thursday, November 5, 1998 21:25

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

It's done, fragmonkey.spacemonster.org is running Weapons Factory 3.3. I've been looking for good maps to add to the server. I checked out one site, Weapons Factory Direct, that has a whole bunch of user-designed levels. The only problem was... most of them suck. I tried all the maps they had as of yesterday and got quickly depressed. Well, you have to keep plugging even when things look bad so I pressed on and did find a couple of neat works which I've added to the rotation/vote with all the WF maps in the "Official Maps" release already on the server.


The two that I've selected are available locally in one 1.3MB .zip file:


http://www.spacemonster.org/q2files/smwfmaps.zip


I selected them for clean, fast-running design and strategic inspiration - i.e.: lots of cool spots for sniping, fragging, defending, and ambushing.


If you're a map designer, send me your maps! I'll be happy to check them out for possible use here at SpaceMonster. If you know a map designer or have seen a really cool WF (or other) map that you just think SpaceMonster ought to be serving definitely slap some mail bits my way as well.


-Rhomboid

11/05: Thursday, November 5, 1998 20:12

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Weapons Factory 3.3 is finally out in non-beta release. I've been chomping at the bit for this version for a while now so I'll be updating ASAP. That pretty much means tonight =). If the WF server goes wonky or disappears for a minute or two, don't panic, I'm just slapping it around.


If 3.3 absolutely sucks or something I'll go back but plan on updating kiddies!


Local link for 3.3a:


http://www.spacemonster.org/q2files/wfclient33a.zip


-Rhomboid

11/03: Tuesday, November 3, 1998 00:31

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

The grand whack-ass experiment continues...


I've put up two CTF servers. One is just a normal Threewave CTF server, the other is a Chaos CTF server, running a combination of ChaosDM and Q2 CTF.


Also, I've removed the Rocket Arena server permanently. You can chalk it up to my growing disinterest in DeathMatch play. I realize that it's still the most popular way to play on the net but it just doesn't bake my biscuits like it used to. I've been spoiled by teamplay mods. =) I'll be leaving ChaosDM and Lithium as are... I still like a pure frag from time to time... I also promise to never run more than two mods on one server until I get an SMP quad xeon server... ;) Many newsgroup messages and mailing list debates I've seen and participated in recently have confirmed my suspicion that the Q2 engine just can't handle more than 20 or so people on real world internet hardware, even top of the line stuff. In addition, the nature of the packets (lots of little UDP bitlets) makes routers and switches slaphappy and one bad hop through a saturated line can ruin a gamer's night.


The future: for those of you wondering, SpaceMonster will indeed host servers for both Half-Life and SiN. My first priority will most likely be a Team Fortress II server to be honest. I've played a little bit of Half Life and all I can say is HOLY SHIT! I am buying this game on the day it comes out and disappearing into a locked room for a few days! After countless add-on packs and mods I didn't think there was a whole lot left for the Quake 2 engine - Uhhh... I am a very stupid, stupid monkey. Yes, it is everything they say it is...


-Rhomboid (You thought I had no life before? HAH! I'll show you!)

10/31: Saturday, October 31, 1998 15:00

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

There's a new server in town, paradise.spacemonster.org, running QuakeWorld/Team Fortress. The server is actually owned and run by Proj of [CMC] (Clan Massive Carnage) and is [CMC]'s playground =). I'm looking forward to some TF action!


I've got my Solaris x86 machine up and running too. I'm still doing some config work on it - disabling a lot of Sun's networking goo and non-essential services. My long BSD-style Unix history is showing like a sore /usr/local mount =) - System V Unix is an interesting contrast and a fun learning adventure... most of the time. An Oracle developer I was talking to this week was joking that Solaris is the "NT of the Unix world" and I get the joke even more so now. It seems really nice and fast so far (other than the boot process =) and was really easy to set up, I dare say "Plug-n-Play" almost.


I've got the Solaris x86 dedicated Q2 server on it which I'm secretly playing with at the moment. As soon as it's ready for the world I'll put up an announcement and start the parade =).


-Rhomboid

10/28: Wednesday, October 28, 1998 21:12

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Sorry, I'm such a wank... I forgot I'd update the page when the ChaosDM upgrade was finished. It's done. There was a map in the map list that I didn't have that crashed it last night, I didn't notice until I got home today which is a big oopsie on my part. Wouldn't it be cool if Chaos was coded to just use the next map if one was missing instead of halting? I think so... =).


So for my next server I'm thinking about either a pure CTF or maybe even a Chaos CTF. Can't you just picture running for the flag when you hear the evil chuckling of proxies spying your sexy ass! Okay, maybe I'm totally messed in the head...


So, on the whole Clan issue... I used to be very anti-clan, mostly because I had run into lots of total ASSHOLES who were clan members. Recently things seem different though... the clan guys I've run into and played against/with recently have been pretty easy going and even polite and downright helpful. It could be because I've been concentrating on Weapons Factory and team games recently and there is much more of a spirit of cooperation among the players of such mods. You ask a question like "what's the bind for the cluster grenades?" and someone will actually answer you and not with just an insult.


On that note, I've just recently made my WF server available to two clans which may use it for a private game for an hour or so once in a while. I just didn't want to surprise anyone if they happen to try to play while it's happening. Anyone want to start a WF clan? =)...


-Rhomboid

10/27: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 21:02

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

You'll have to forgive me if things get a bit weird tonight. I'm working on upgrading the ChaosDM server to version 1.11 which just came out over at http://www.planetquake.com/chaotic. We've been having power failures all night here so I might get disconnected from time to time while I'm working. Hopefully it won't happen at all but keep your fingers crossed. Tonight is making me very glad I spent some money on UPS's for my home.


I'll post another update when the whole thing is done...


-Rhomboid


10/26: Monday, October 26, 1998 23:08

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Thanks to the wonder of software engineering that is Microsoft Outlook Express, I've lost most of my mail. Do these guys actually *READ* any of the RFC's for the standards they're programming to? If you've sent me mail and I haven't responded I probably lost your message. Sorry for any inconvenience...


Pine is the email client of the gods! Death to GUI mail!


-Rhomboid (just a railgun and Bill Gates is all I ask in life...)


10/26: Monday, October 26, 1998 17:50

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

It's been a slooooow week. I've been trying to find something exciting to put up but there really isn't anything happening. ZZZZ....


I've been following the development for Unreal and I'm excited to try the 2.18 patch and see if things are any better. I was most impressed with the 2.16 and 2.17 versions which cut my load times down to less than half of what they were. If 2.18 is any good I'll be putting up an Unreal server real soon.


I played Shogo last week, the whole game in two days. I really hope the Blood 2 team does much better with the LithTech engine. Shogo did *not* impress me. I will grant you that the explosions are cool and the animation is smooth but there were so many errors (Hall-of-Mirrors effects, weird visibility things, crashes, piss-poor AI) I was surprised that it made it out the door. The level detail is nonexistent and in my opinion eclipsed by even Shadow Warrior by 3D Realms running the Build engine. I know Build is not the more powerful engine but in the hands of level designers is where the magic really happens. One glaring example of guffaw factor: In one of the levels you jump out to a fire escape and follow it behind some buildings, up to a roof, and into a window. The space inside this window leads around a couple of corners and to another window through which you exit the building. There's nothing between these windows, it's essentially a tube ended by windows. Lame and indicative of the rest of my experience. Why did I finish it then? Obsessive-compulsive disorder =).


Then I tried to set up a server on my network at home. Even over LAN, the dedicated server was slow and choppy with just me connected to it. Ugh. I thought Unreal had a ways to go... I haven't tried the Shogo Alpha patch yet and have no intention of wasting my time until there's something of release grade.


So, enough whining... would somebody write a cool new mod or something? 8D


-Rhomboid


10/18: Sunday, October 18, 1998 14:08

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've moved the Discussion page back to a web-based system using the freeware version of the Ultimate Bulletin Board. It's pretty cool in the fact that it's Perl-based and therefore can be moved from Unix to NT to Mac to whatever can run Perl CGI scripts. This means that news.spacemonster.org will probably be going away soon but I don't think anyone (aside from myself =) is using it anyway. I'll be adding new forums as it becomes evident that they are needed.


In server news, I've updated Lithium 2 to version 1.22. On a suggestion from CyberRogue I think I might be going back to running the id Q2 DeathMatch maps so I have at least one server that nobody has to download anything for (except of course for the 3.19 patch for Quake 2.)


For my next trick, I'll be working on getting a web-based chat of some kind up but it's not a high priority. I've got a small IRC server up (10 clients max) at irc.spacemonster.org to play around with. I might be around on channel #boidland from time to time.


I've been running Solaris 2.6 Intel edition at home this week. It's pretty cool but I'm more of a BSD man than a System V'er. I have to say though that Sun's CDE (Common Desktop Environment) is gorgeous. It's so unclunky compared to anything by M$. You can get Solaris 2.6 for x86 Intel for only the price of shipping from http://www.sun.com right now if you go to their developer's section and register as a developer. I got both the Intel and Sparc editions for $30. Now I just need a Sparc box to play with =).


-Rhomboid

10/14: Wednesday, October 14, 1998 20:07

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I'm working on getting the Spacemonster Discussion Forums back up on a web page again. The News (NNTP) server didn't really seem to fly that well. Oh well, you live, you learn. I'd really like to have the time to write a CGI that would just post and read via NNTP so I could use INN as a backend but I've got a job already =).


I'll post a message and change the Discussion link once I've got everything tested, I guess you could say it's in "private beta" at the moment.


-Rhomboid


10/12: Monday, October 12, 1998 20:35

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I installed the most recent version of the Weapons Factory core map pack from the Weapons Factory home page. Get it below:


Weapons Factory Core Maps (wfmaps16.zip):

From Spacemonster.ORG

From various PlanetQuake mirrors


The WF 3.2 client is also necessary (wfclient321.zip):

From Spacemonster.ORG

From various PlanetQuake mirrors


There is discussion of a 3.3 release being close but I won't be immediately installing it. WF 3.3 is going to include some changes to classes and some other 'enhancements' so I'll let other people run it on their servers for a few days or so ;).


-Rhomboid


10/12: Monday, October 12, 1998 19:41

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I'm doing a little bit of work on the Weapons Factory server (fragmonkey) which may require a server restart or two. I'll quit mucking with it by 21:00 PDT, I swear =).


-Rhomboid

10/12: Monday, October 12, 1998 02:01

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

The Weapons Factory server (fragmonkey.spacemonster.org) has been upgraded to WF version 3.2.


I've dropped the Capture! server for the time being in favor of a Lithium II Deathmatch server running on quake.spacemonster.org:27912. Lithium itself requires no client-side files to run, it's all server-side. I've set it up to run the same series of maps that the ChaosDM server runs so players only have to download the one maps file for both mods. I'll try to keep the map rotation lists on the two servers parallel.


-Rhomboid


10/11: Sunday, October 11, 1998 23:58

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've upgraded the QuakeWorld Server to 2.30. I'm sorry I slacked on that for so long to those of you who have been requesting it. I've had my hands so damn full it just kept getting pushed back and back even though it was a simple little thing. It's still running Painkeep, just the QW version has been changed.


I think I'm going to mix up the servers a bit this week and see what floats. Weapons Factory has been getting the most play by far so I'll be leaving it alone. Rocket Arena and Capture! seem to get intermittent traffic but I might very well drop one of them in the very near future due to a lack of play other than the occasional clan match. Chaos DM still surprises me occasionally and just when I think people are getting bored of it I'll find five or six people on the server slapping each other about. I think I'll add a couple of new maps to the rotation if I can find anything interesting out there.


-Rhomboid


10/02: Friday, October 2, 1998 19:31

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I'm back... It's been a long time but Real Life™ has finally let up a bit. I moved into a new apartment and then went away for a week as soon as I was moved in. I'll be playing catch-up for the next few days but I'm going to be freshening things up a bit.


The first thing I'm going to do is move what is the "News" section to my own column and get a couple of more people doing updates to the news section if I can. I might be fiddling around with the setup of the site a bit as well. I'll try not to break any links for more than a few minutes though =).


-Rhomboid


09/20: Sunday, September 20, 1998 13:14

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

FYI: Updates to the site are going to be sparse or nonexistent for the next couple of days. I'm moving into a new apartment and the 'puters are going to be boxed up until I get a moved in. Also, my ISDN won't be in until Wed. or so and the only modem I have is an Intel 14.4e (Remember those days?)


I'll still be able to take care of emergencies on the servers but if I don't answer email immediately or post responses in the discussion groups don't get bent or take it personally, I'm just ape-shit busy for a couple of days... Thanks!


-Rhomboid

09/17: Thursday, September 17, 1998 18:52

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

You may have been wondering where I've been. I was down with a hell of a sinus headache early this week. Laid me out for almost two whole days. To add to the misery, my rack case finally came on Tuesday in the thick of it all. All I could do was stare at it and hold my head in agony. Suffer for Quake =).


I shook out the cobwebs on Wednesday and built the machine. As an experiment I've installed Windows NT 4.0 Server with ALL of Micro$oft's Networking goo and jelly removed. I'm going to try it with NO services, NO IIS, NO DC support, NO-thing and see how it stacks up. If it gets icky, I'll probably install FreeBSD on it as well. I've decided to lose the idea of running Linux of any kind unless I can find someone who actually knows what they're talking about to recommend some kernel tweaks or something to speed up it's otherwise hideous Quake 2 network performance.


The new server, fragmonkey.spacemonster.org, is running Weapons Factory 3.1 as it's only Mod so far. I'm not sure what else is going to go on it. I'm going to be watching the performance closely for the next few days to see how NT does. I ran it once before back in the early Spacemonster days but it was running too much crap to give it a fair evaluation.


If you like team games (especially Team Fortress for Quake) give WF a try. I was hooked after an hour the other night. It's an absolute ruckus of a good time. The WF guys have done a nice job of ironing out some of the big, fat bugs that were in the last version that I tried. I had such a good time I'm actually thinking about starting a team or a clan to play WF. It's so much better when you actually work with people and plan your attacks and defenses. If you're a straight DeathMatcher it might seem tedious but it's worth it when it works.


-Rhomboid (contact me if you're interested in playing on a WF team! I'm a junkie.)


09/13: Sunday, September 13, 1998 14:32

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've moved the discussions over to news service (NNTP) on news.spacemonster.org. The Web interface I had sucked, honestly. I hated it from the second minute I put it up. I tried to delete two old test messages on it and it screwed everything up completely.


CyberRogue is working on a web interface for NNTP so we can view discussion messages still in a browser when you come to the site if someone doesn't want to use a newsreader. If you've had experience with doing this or have seen it done I'm sure he'd like to hear about it. Eventually it will probably be the default to use the web interface but I'll leave an option to use a newsreader as well.


One of the good things about using NNTP is that I've got feeds for the popular Usenet quake and game-related newsgroups. I haven't enabled upstreaming yet so local posts won't go out to Usenet from here. This is just a sanity check for now, I'll enable it soon.


We're going to be hosting moderated discussions if anyone is interested in doing the moderating. My next project is putting together a mailing list server so we can set up some mail discussions.


Bastards didn't ship my damn rack case and couldn't even give me a reason why... next Wednesday it looks like.


-Rhomboid

09/11: Friday, September 11, 1998 04:01

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Just a couple quick notes:


The Quake 2 server has been updated to version 3.19. I'm glad I waited about a day... Zoid boofed the Linux package - forgot an object file when linking so the server was crashing. Sorry to those of you who rushed right out to upgrade and couldn't connect but I'm not an upgrade-happy 13-year-old. I don't fix it if it ain't broke. When you manage as many machines (mostly non-quake servers, ) as I do you generally avoid high-diving into the saucy entropy pool with a blindfold and a walkman on as often as possible =).


My damn rack case isn't here yet! UPS ground... augh!! If it doesn't get in tomorrow I'm not sure if I'll have the new box up until next week. Pray for a big brown truck everyone...


Lastly, I'm working on setting up a mailing list server and a news server here. CyberRogue and I are hoping to host some moderated and unmoderated newsgroups and mailing lists. We're looking to get others involved so if you have a discussion you would like to host and moderate that is at least vaguely Quake-related drop one of us a note.


-Rhomboid (19" of steely rack mounted lovin' headin' my way...)


09/07: Monday, September 7, 1998 23:38

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've been banging around the site tonight. It's going to be a bit hodge-podge for the next few days or so. I've got a couple of setups that I've been experimenting with and it might get ugly =).


Thanks to those taking the time to drop a line and even make suggestions. The feedback has been very good natured and almost downright polite (be afraid, be very afraid) and I really appreciate it. I really do read all of your messages even if it takes a day or so to get to them.


I'm looking forward to having the new machine to slap around this week. I'm planning on some fairly extensive experimentation before dropping the machine into production. There are a few kernel tweaks and things I want to try that I'd rather not put on the present machine until I see what they do. What I really need is a Q2 client simulator! Is there such a thing? I guess bots might work but they would have to be client-side... and where the hell am I going to get 10 systems or so to dial in and test... AUUGH! nevermind...


I'm going to try Linux again and see if I can squeeze any more network performance out of it. I tried it once and compared to the TCP/IP stack on FreeBSD, Linux's net performance was as slow as Al Roker passing a doughnut shop. I wasn't having problems with the desire to tweak, it was finding where to tweak without having to read the entire kernel source. Yes, I read everything in /usr/source/Documentation and all the Kernel-related How-To's but there wasn't anything specific there. I want to know where the magic naughty bits are and Linux doesn't make it easy =).


Anyone out there know what I can do to squeeze more bits through a network interface on a Linux box? Where can I push up the buffers? Where can I change the maximum number of connections? Where can I beef up the hash tables? Is there even a MAXUSERS in there anywhere? Anybody know of any juicy #define's? Where's the shiny, candy-like, red button?


-Rhomboid (I am not a bot =)


09/04: Friday, September 4, 1998 22:51

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I changed the QuakeWorld server to run PainKeep. Back when I first started running a Quake server I ran PainKeep and it was just a blast. The guys at Team Evolve really came up with something original and cool when everyone else was just either rehashing horror movies or working on CTF mods. I can't wait to see what their Q2 mod, Zaero, looks like.


ChaosDM for Quake 2 was inspired by PainKeep and even carries over some of the original weapons including the AirFist, the explosive shotgun shells, the Portable Black Hole (now the Gravity Vortex), and a few other features.


I'm planning on giving the site a pretty major overhaul this weekend CyberRogue's made up some cool graphics I want to slap up, plus I'm sick of the front page setup. It needs to be a bit more efficient.


I'm trying to generate more interest in the site. If there is something you would like to see here drop me a line. Mention us to your friends and in your postings to message boards... =) Come play with us...


-Rhomboid

09/03: Thursday, September 3, 1998 17:40

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Well I got a reply from SPA, one of the Chaos guys:


Thanx for the tip...I have to show Flash this post.... maybe we should try this thig again with the next update, because 50% of the V1.04 update are mainly net and gameplay enhancing ones...e.g. the proxies now use about 5% of the amount of processor resource they had before...and also like their enemy-aiming and moving routine also the one of the turrets has been changed.... should now smoot up the whole thing and prevent the overflows.... :)


I've got my hopes up. I'm impressed that these guys actually read their messages... and promptly. I had a problem with Loki's Minions CTF and it was like shouting into a black hole to get anything out of them.


It looks like the new box won't be in until the weekend after this. I decided to drop it into a 19" rackmount case so I can stick it in the server racks properly. I've got all the internals and the case is coming UPS ground from California, which means probably about 2-3 business days. It's going to be an AMD K6-2 300Mhz with 128M PC100 SDRAM (100Mhz front-side bus) so it ought to be good for hosting a couple of mods at least. I've seen a lot of people dropping big bucks on one big multiproc box to run several games with 20+ players per game and more but I'm a firm believer in server farms and redundancy - more smaller boxes doing less per box. Besides, I've got rent, bills, and more hardware to buy =), I can't justify getting a Dual P2 Intel box for a Quake server unless I've got investors... an AMD Super 7 system... weeeelllll.... that I can do... =)


I'm going to end right here as I've got to go off and fantasize about getting one of the SGI Origin 200 boxes I just got a brochure for... 256G (that's G) max memory, 128 potential processors... that's a whole lot of mods I could host...


-Rhomboid (my name is Rhomboid and I've got a hardware addiction problem...)

09/02: Wednesday, September 2, 1998 20:05

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've done a complete reinstall of Chaos DM on the server and a little bit of testing on the mod itself. I think it is the turrets that are screwing everything up. I did a test with just me and a turret. Everything was okay until I damaged the turret with a rocket. As soon as I did this and the turret started firing at me I saw an "SZ_GetNetspace: overflow" and "WARNING: datagram overflowed for Rhomboid" on my other monitor (xterm on the server) - ICK! Further testing proved that each time I damaged the turret things slowed down more. Soon I had several overflows in a row and I also noticed something else interesting: Every time I looked in the direction of the turret, it didn't matter how far away I was or if I was behind a wall, the rendering slowed down to a crawl. Hmmm.... things that make you go "Holy Shit!" Something's vewy vewy fishy awound hewe!


I'm working on my message to the Chaos guys which I'll probably just post to their discussion board to see if I can get some other people with dedicated servers to duplicate or not duplicate this. The other interesting thing to note was that I had turrets banned when I did this so the turret bug is indeed outstanding.


In the meantime, I'm still building my other box and I hope to have it up by this weekend. As for what it will be running, I'm really thinking about PainRift, another similar mod to PainKeep (and Chaos) to see if I can find a PainKeep-type mod that doesn't crash all the time! Team Evolve, where are you???? =) If they can hammer out ChaosDM 1.1, I'd really like to put up a ChaosCTF server...


-Rhomboid (Christ, I'm doing QA testing on Quake 2 mods... do I need a life?)

09/01: Tuesday, September 1, 1998 21:12

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Chaos seems to be having more problems all the time. I'm going to probably reinstall the mod completely and rout out the config. I'll be adding the maps back one at a time to see if it is a map-related problem. I won't add any new ones to what is already there. At some points everything seems to run smoothly and then, BANG!!, overflows and unreliables everywhere. I've noticed that the item banning doesn't work for certain things either. I tried banning the turrets as I suspect them of causing the overflows but they show up anyway. I'm going to send a message off to the Chaos guys tomorrow to see if I can get anything out of them. I've needed to get a message their way anyway because I wanted to use the lightsoff setting in the maplist (for flashlight matches, like darkmatch in Unreal) but it doesn't work unless I set it from the console manually.


Forgive me if the Chaos server is up and down for the next couple of days. I promise, I'm working on it. Once I get it working I've got another machine to bring up so I can have 3 whole dedicated servers. Sweet Buttery Biscuits!!


-Rhomboid (I've got a monkey on my back and I call it Chaos...)

08/31: Monday, August 31, 1998 21:29

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I've been watching the Chaos server more since I've set it up to page me when it crashes. There has been nothing conclusive yet but I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a certain map that is doing it. I might just start the server and background it so I can redirect the output to a file and check it later. Right now I'm running it under screen and haven't found a good way to capture the output after a crash. The other servers don't have the problem at all, only Chaos. Capture! and RA2 have been running non-stop since the last time I booted the machine - 13 days.


If you're playing on the Chaos server and it crashes, check your console log (Page Up) and let me know what map you were playing. Please include the map if you mail me, I can't do much without it.


-Rhomboid

08/28: Friday, August 28, 1998 00:41

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment


Man, it's been such a busy week I didn't even realize that it's Friday! I walked around all day yesterday thinking it was only Wednesday. That's pretty sad...


I've had a request to host a major TeamFortress server, co-locate it that is. It's my understanding that they're going to build a machine and send it my way to slap up on the network. It's cool because I've been itching to get in on some TF but the servers are all so far from here.


I've been toying with a model concept. I'm building another machine to host a couple of games and it struck me during a Capture! game two nights ago that there is quite a class system forming out there. There are people who have the time and mommy's and daddy's money to do nothing but sit around a play all day and then the rest of us who get a bit of leisure time here and there to do a little fragging. Anyway, in this game of Capture! there was a new guy who was just experiencing his first Quake 2 Mod. He had read about Capture! and was asking all kinds of questions. Now, I'll usually be one of the first to whip out an 'RTFM' on someone's ass but the first response he got was "Fuck you newbie!" Is this really where the game has gone?


It's that kind of crap that made me have to take a break from playing recently. Until we can put bouncers at the doors of Quake Servers, is there anything that can be done about this thirteen-year-old mentality crap? It was getting gang-banged by a bunch of asshole clanners on my own server one night that made me take my first server down and firewall it. They all just teamed up on me, 3 on 1, because they wanted to use my server and every time I logged on they would just team up and keep killing me and calling me names that would make Quentin Tarantino drop his Little Debbie Creme Horn. It was so un-fun, it soured the whole game for me and it was surprising because I usually don't let that crap get to me, in fact I usually ignore all the messages when I start seeing it.


I know, I know, I'm yapping... but here's my idea: I think one of the servers I'm going to set up is going to be a Newbies' server. I'll have to monitor it and make it a passworded server but I know what it's like to be learning the game. It sucks unless you got in on the ground floor of Internet play and you're at least a little good already. I'll set it up so people have to email me and I'll set them up with access. I know it will take some work but there needs to be something out there for beginners. Maybe I could even go as far as to get people to tutor =)... This is how you rocket jump... railgun 101... etc...


If you're new to the game and you would like to see something like this send mail to rhomboid at the domain spacemonster.org and I'll start putting things together.


Don't take any nickel woodies,


-Rhomboid

08/23: Sunday, August 23, 1998 19:08

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

Sentimental Journey: I've put up a QuakeWorld 2.21 server at 209.20.130.69:27500 (qw.spacemonster.org:27500). I'm running the Hipnotic (Ritual Entertainment) add-on pack, Scourge of Armagon, on it but also using some of the original Quake maps. I'm trying to keep it down to the truly classic levels. HIPDM1, the DeathMatch level by Levelord (Richard Grey) is my favorite DM level. I loaded it up and it was like being home again ;). Take a trip down memory lane with Quake. You know, I think I like the Trent Reznor soundtrack better than Q2's now...


After a few days of sampling I've noticed that the pings of the players on the Quake 2 server are looking much better on FreeBSD than when the machine was running Linux. When running Linux it seemed as though *everyone* was getting lagged and even people with ISDN 4 hops away from the box had pings of 300+ when there were a dozen or so people on the server. Now, the people who are really far away (10+ hops) seem to be the only ones with real problems.


If you're having problems, traceroute (tracert in Win95/NT) to quake.spacemonster.org (209.20.130.59) and check out the number of hops that it takes. If you're over or around a good dozen I don't want to hear about your lag problems =). Move to Seattle... or on second thought... don't! The traffic is bad enough...


Another problem that seems to be cropping up appears to be v.90 related. People with 56K modems have had a lot of trouble with Quake/Quake 2 and anything using UDP. I've watched their pings go from 120 all the way up to 1000 and back up and back down in a matter of seconds. This used to be more related to the X2 protocol put forth by USRobotics/3Com but seems to have worked its way into v.90. K-flex users never really had this problem and even though they got 42K to 48K connections they had better pings and playability. Making matters worse, there still is a distinct problem with the Netserver cards on 3Com (USR) Total Control racks to the point that it has been dubbed 'quake lag' even by employees of 3Com. Of course their answer to this problem of dropped UDP packets is to buy a new $1000 HyperArc card for every one of your racks. Umm... you guys been hanging around with Micro$oft too much? Every day I pray for Lucent (Livingston) Portmasters to replace all the 3Com crap.


Last note: I'm discontinuing the Loki's Minions CTF server due to general disinterest. Capture! and Chaos DM get the most attention. Rocket Arena might go next. There are just so damn many RA2 servers out there I don't know if I want to bother with having one when I've got perfectly good clock cycles that could be going to other things. =)

08/21: Friday, August 21, 1998 1:35

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

A couple of things new: I've added a Rocket Arena 2 server at the default port (27910) on quake.spacemonster.org. I tried the Weapons Factory mod but the thing really seems like kind of a mess. The weapons are somewhat half-assed and the maps really didn't grab me. On top of it all the thing crashes every time a level ends and there's been a map vote. Not very impressive. I'm still interested in the mod but it seems like it needs some work. So, now there be rockets, laddy!


There's a new site at Spacemonster - Rogue's Realm:


http://www.spacemonster.org/roguesrealm


Check it out...

08/17: Monday, August 17, 1998 23:12

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

The server takedown has happened. It didn't take too long at all. We'll see how it goes. I'm sure there's a little bit of tweaking left to do. I'm implementing some of the recommended tweaks for heavily-loaded web servers, including adding more net buffers and all that good stuff.


On a lark, I ran the Capture! server's log file through GibStats and whacked out an html file from the output. Check out the standings (warning: 300+KB!! - may blow your browser out =). I'm probably going to post new results on a roughly weekly basis.


I'm pondering the addition of a Weapons Factory CTF server... hmmm...

08/16: Sunday, August 16, 1998 23:08

Category: boidland Posted by: Rhomboid Add comment

I'm going to be taking down the server for a couple of hours early this week. I wish I could give an exact time but because of Real Life™ it's going to be an "as soon as whenever I can squeeze in a couple of minutes to do it" thing.


I'm going to be taking Linux off the machine because it just doesn't seem to scale well when the traffic gets heavy. I've tried all the tips, How-To's and everything I could find in the source documentation but nothing really seems to help. I'm going to try one more install using FreeBSD instead. I've run the Q2 dedicated server on a FreeBSD box with a 486DX2/66 and 32MB RAM and seen just fine performance with four people playing. I can hack a heck of a lot more performance out of FreeBSD than I've seen from Linux on the same hardware. Don't get me wrong, I still think Linux is the "personal unix" choice but FreeBSD is superior in the server realm. If you want games and more "stuff" on a personal workstation get Linux. If you want the power to serve get FreeBSD.


It's all a grand experiment... =)


Have you fragged your monkey today?

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