[Babylon 5]

Nathan Mates' Personal Info Pages

Nathan Mates's .plan Archives

Plan Archives from January 2001.

Login name: nathan    			In real life: Nathan Mates
Directory: /home/nathan             	Shell: /bin/tcsh
Job: Network Programmer, Battlezone 2, developed by Pandemic Studios http://www.pandemicstudios.com , published by Activision http://www.activision.com [Note: in this, I am *NOT* speaking officially for either of those, I'm only speaking for myself.]

1/29/01: How many of you have seen Terminator 2? [It's worth a rent if you haven't.] Think back to one scene fairly near the end: the T1000 has been hit with so much liquid nitrogen that he's frozen up. Arnie pulls out a pistol, says "Hasta la vista, baby" and fires a shot. The T1000 shatters into thousands of pieces, as if a bomb exploded inside him.

Got that scene in your head? Good. That's what would happen to the BZ2 community if the game source code is released.

No, I'm not calling the BZ2 community an evil assassin robot from the future. :) It's more the picture of things fracturing. And, unlike the T1000, it definitely won't be reformed in a matter of minutes-- months to years (or even never) is a better guess.

Why is this? Because in BZ2 the game .exe, .dll(s), and assets must be identical on all machines to play. [And if you think you can just yank that, that lockstep model is how BZ2 has been fairly resistant to cheaters for a long time. For all its performance faults, lockstep has provided a lot of benefits. And, as I said, trying to yank lockstep would fracture the community between the locksteppers and the non-locksteppers.] Thus, if everyone and their cat is tweaking their own BZ2 .exe with the source code, they won't be able to play against anyone else. As I said, picture a frozen statue blown to bits.

I've been pushing for source code releases for quite some time. The DM source code release was my work. The DM, Strat & MPI source code release was also because I did the work in packaging it up and getting approval.

Now, while our code may be pretty damn hard to follow (not quite http://www.ioccc.org quality, but close :), I have to say that I've not seen that much done with the source that has been released. The BZ2 Community project is doing things. The mpi-66 series is another. Beyond that, pretty much zilch.

There's a bit of a principle going on here: if you're faithful with little, you've proven you can be entrusted with more. That's true on many levels-- if you can't figure out the DLL code, you sure as heck ain't going to figure out the main game code. This isn't anything like a promise saying that there's some level at which the game code would be released-- see above on the fracturing, and the rights to the code aren't necessarily ours to determine what happens-- but there's been a lot of clamoring for source code with a lack of results.

Sorry to be harsh here, but source code seems to be blindly asked for as a solution to every problem. It's not. Learn to use what you've got, and do so well first, cutting down on the greed.

1/26/01: Looking forward to the Lord of the Rings movies? Check out this almost-trailer: http://www.modernhumorist.com/mh/0101/rings/ :)

1/25/01: As I detailed some system upgrades at home almost 2 years ago in this .plan, I figure it's time to (boast? notify?) of what's changed. I've kept the Abit BH6 motherboard, SB Live, 2940UW SCSI card, 9 & 2 GB UW SCSI HDs, and Plextor 12/20x SCSI CD-ROM. I've upped the RAM to 256MB, changed the video board to a GeForce 2MX, added a Plextor 32/12/10 SCSI CDRW, and upped the CPU to a P3-800 (100Mhz bus, as the BH6 is a 440BX chipset).

I've also taken the time to completely wipe the HDs and reinstall Win98 (not SE), along with all the latest drivers for everything. There have been reports that the latest nVidia detonator drivers break Gamespy game listings, but I can say that that's not the case for me. I'm using the official 6.31 nVidia drivers, and all the latest drivers for everything else. I'm not sure if there's an interaction with some other motherboard chipsets that need newer drivers, or something else, but this mess of conflicting drivers we call Windows is far from settled.

1/16/01: Wisdom teeth, if misplaced, can really be annoying. Had the back bottom two wisdom teeth excavated from under the gumline this morning. They had to knock me out for the process, and I've felt pretty lousy all the rest of the day. Ugh.