[Babylon 5]

Nathan Mates' Personal Info Pages

Nathan Mates's .plan Archives

Plan Archives from June 1999.

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.]

6/23/99, Later: Found a little sheet with the Win98 install CDs we have for a system around here, titled "ADDENDUM TO THE SOFTWARE LICENSE AGREEMENT FOR MICROSOFT(R) WINDOWS 95" ... it's got this little paragraph in it:

--- snip

1. The following additional terms apply to Microsoft Internet Explorer:

. Note on Java support. The software may contain support for programs written in Java. Java technology is not fault tolerant and is not designed, manfactured, or intended for use or resale as on-line control equipment in hazardous environments requiring fail-safe performance, such as ther operation of nuclear facilities, aircraft navigation or communication systens, air traffic control, direct life support machines, or weapons systems, in which the failure of Java technology could lead directly to death, personal injury, or severe physical or environmental damage.

--- snip [retyped by me, all misspellings mine.]

Geez. Anyone even *THINKING* of using Win95/98 for such a thing as listed above should be taken out and slapped around with a clue by four... and never allowed to work with computers again. Whatever MS may say about Java being "not fault tolerant," their OS is REALLY not. [This sheet has 000-43043 5787-05 303187 in small numbers at the bottom.]

6/23/99: Not too many updates recently... Might & Magic 7 is eating up all (and then some) my free time at home.

We've got some extra testers around the office now to help the in-house testing, and we managed to finally nail a very perplexing bug that'd been annoying everyone for a while-- while in multiplayer combat, the 'chat bar' would activate unexpectedly (supposed to be control-T to activate, but we swore we weren't hitting it). After dropping a ton of debugging breakpoints in the code, we caught this bug in action: the interface thought you had "double-clicked" on that chat bar, and activated it for you. Simple to fix, once the cause was known...

6/17/99: And in the continuing E3 news (a month after the fact), this was noted:
> Battlezone 2 won 3 more awards at E3...
> http://www.techradioshow.com/madscience/tre3index.shtml

6/16/99: We kinda got written up in a local newspaper:

Also, starting to do some internal builds and tests of the new stuff I've put in over the past week and a bit. Cool to see people using stuff...

6/11/99: This bit has sorta been adapted from some posts I made in regards to certain very old video boards not being supported by some games, even though the video board "supports Direct3D". Lemme explain a bit as to what all that means:

DirectX (and Direct3D, as a subset of that) have a thing called "Capability Bits," where a card's driver can be asked about a 3D action, and say "I don't do that." It is theoretically possible to make a D3D driver that says "I don't do that" to *EVERY* D3D feature. Is that a "D3D card"? Its driver says it's one, but it's really kinda useless out in the real world.

Of course, that's the extreme case, but you can add in one feature, say the ability to draw solid-color triangles (no textures or shading) on a 320x200 screen, but no zbuffering or blending. All of a sudden, it's implementing something out of the Direct3D spec, and is a "D3D device." Usable for a modern game? Heck no.

On the other end of the scale, there's the 3D boards on the shelves now (or in the very near future) that implement just about every feature possible. Of course they're going to be supported. So, there's a place that you need to draw the line-- if a card doesn't support some minimal feature set, IT AIN'T USABLE. I can't say off the top of my head what BZ2 requires, but here's a quick checklist: 640x480 or better, w/ zbuffer, textured polygons, alpha blending (aka transparency support), and a DirectX 6.x driver. [I can't mention names, but *cough* if you look at what my system at home used to have *cough* 2/20/99 .plan update *cough*, that's what I'd consider as a minimum 3D board for any game released in 1999. Something better is always nice :]

6/9/99: New monitor finally arrived at home. Very cool to finally have a monitor back on the Win98 box. As it's a 19" (18" viewable), I upped Win98 desktop resolution to 1280x1024, and things are still nicely readable. It's also a lot shorter depth than my old monitor, so I can place it farther back on my desk (another plus). I like this Optiquest V95. This should conclude my ramblings about monitors in this .plan for quite some time now unless something else breaks, either at home or at work.

6/8/99: Work continues on the stuff I hinted at in the 5/26/99 update... something cool on the network front is in the pipeline. I still can't say what it is right now, but am waiting on stuff to be announced by those who do such things.

[And, it looks like Might & Magic 7 should be in stores soon... whee. I liked M&M6 enough to play thru it 1.5 times, (and M&M1 about 0.75 times back on my Apple //e years ago; have M&M2 for Apple II on 5.25" disks but I ditched Apple IIs a year ago-- anyone want to buy those disks?), so M&M7 is pretty much an automatic purchase for me. Yes, it's *not* remotely in the same genre as BZ2, but that's what *I* also like playing at home. New monitor (see 6/6/99 update) hasn't arrived at home, so Win98 box is still out of commission until then.]

6/6/99: Ok, my MAG MXP17F at home is still the world's largest 17" paperweight masquerading as a monitor. Will investigate repairs later, but ordered an Optiquest V95 as a replacement.

6/3/99: N64 sold. [To someone else at Pandemic]

[And yes, our official message boards croaked out this morning and lost a bunch of stuff. Problem has been reported, and seems to be getting back to normal.]

6/2/99: Pssst. Anyone wanna buy a N64 w/ Zelda and Castlevania, 3 controllers (standard, purple transparent one, 3rd party, w/ one 3rd party rumble + memory pack)? I bought this system only a few months ago, and have racked up less than about 15 hours of play on it. Sorry, but those games just haven't attracted any of my attention (Tribes ate up most of my time soon after I bought that N64), and there's no sense in holding onto a system that I'm not using. Email bid offers to me at nathan.j.mates@gmail.com .