The Linux Blog


World of Warcraft off Shelves

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:00 am

I know this sounds terrible and all. “Did the game fail?!?” Absolutely NOT. Blizzard has decided to sell the last of the copies of World of Warcraft, which are probably gone by now, until they add more servers. Blizzard is rich. The other day, I was in a mall (me? mall? Yeah, it was with a group and we stopped to eat) and I saw a bunch of Everquest 2 boxes and no mention of World of Warcraft anywhere. It’s completely gone.

I honestly feel sorry for people who chose Everquest 2, as it was generally a failure.

World of Warcraft is expanding, I cannot wait to make level 60 and await further content. It’s a great feeling that Blizzard is selling this game so well. They make money, they have money to spend on the programmers for extra content.

This is good news for us players who are worried about too many players adding to lag. Personally, I haven’t had a bit of lag except one day when my ISP decided it would serve a large helping of packet loss on everyone’s plates for a few hours.



ATI Radeon Catalyst 5.1 Drivers (Linux) Released

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:00 pm

ATI’s official Linux drivers were released just yesterday or so. The new version is 5.1 (8.8.25 is what they call their Linux version). Enjoy.

As usual, Gentoo was fast at adding them and they are already in portage.

Also, new gentoo-dev-sources are out for us Gentoo users.

Counter-Strike: Source Bots

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:20 am

Sometime over the weekend (I was gone Friday-Monday on a ski trip), Counter-Strike: Source updated to add bot support, which were in the beta, but not released until now. Turtle Rock Studios helped VALVe with coding the bots.

It’s kind of annoying when I join a server, see bots filling the rest of the slots, and lag like crazy because the server can’t handle the number of bots. Of the 3 servers I joined today, 3 of them filled with bots. 2 of them lagged badly, cycling from a 75 ping to 300 or so, but don’t quote me on it, my ISP was being weird last night and today.

Bot skills
This is all an account of what I have witnessed, not what the official page says, which is not saying the official page is lying in the least.

To activate bots, use “bot_quota” (e.g. “bot_quota 5″ sets up 5 bots, while “bot_quota fill” fills the servers with bots, removing one per each user connected). Bots have multiple skill levels ranging from easy to expert. (in CS: S’s console, type bot_ then use the down arrow key to check out commands and pressing enter on one without anything on the end to see what it does) There are many commands to adjust how the bots behave, including limiting weapons, following other people or bots, and rushing.

In-game, I assume I was playing against “normal” bots. Playing a few rounds, I had a score of 8 and 0, but on the next map, I was 1 and 2. Bots are realistic in the senses. I once shot a bullet at a friendly bot, but missed him by a few inches on the floor. He turned around for a small amount of time, checking me out from the sound I had made in having a bullet hit an inch from his leg.

They use voice communication. It’s quite funny at the end of the round when one may shout “woohoo!” or congratulate teammates. Communication with them is not a problem, as they let you know if they are rushing, holding back (coordinated, too), or if they hear or sighted an enemy. After having died one round, I saw a bot climbing on a few boxes and another hiding almost flawlessly behind another. Bots are not scripted, they have “minds” of their own, making them compatiable with all maps as far as I know.

Sometimes they have good teamwork with other players, having a bunch grouped together, just like humans do, and sometimes, they are pitiful in the area, scattered, like humans do. I’ve gone against 5 bots at once and died after getting only a few shots off. Other times, I have gone against bot after bot after bot, maybe I died, maybe I didn’t, but they were not all packed together nor working together.

If there is a window in the way, they will shoot it out before reaching it, which is more human and saves time.

Do bots appear to be hacking?
Surprisingly, my answer is mostly a no. They do not always headshot you and watching one, you see that they might appear to be wallhacking, as they do a fair amount of following someone who is behind a wall, but not flawlessly and sometimes, movement behind walls is just randomized and not following anyone back there, but out of suspicion that there is a person behind it. (say, they hear footsteps in the general direction and are “guessing” their location)

Lag issues
I’m not sure if they create many lag issues, so just test it on your server before leaving them on all the time.

Great job on the AI, VALVe. Great job improving it from Condition Zero as well.

Check out this screenshot of today’s play (Click to enlarge):

Counter-Strike: Source Score Screenshot


Radeon X800 Arrives!

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 6:58 pm

Today, I eagerly awaited the arrival from FedEx of my new Sapphire X800 XT PE!

Upon opening the box, I saw a packing slip and a little box with the card in it (hey, it’s OEM. Check out my comment on the other post for reasons of what I do if it breaks). I checked the packing slip – just what I wanted, “XT” (Sapphire’s XT’s are XT PE’s as well as far as I can tell).

After a quick swap out with my old Radeon 9600 in my snazzy clear-blue case (note to self: Plug firewire back up (had to unplug it and forgot to plug it back up)), I was ready for boot. As expected, it detected an X800 series card. So, let’s check ATITool. All looks good here, framerates are fifteen miles above the roof. Hm… 12 pipelines. X800 PRO?!?

Weird. So, time to overclock to XT PE speeds and look up the flashing tool. Good so far, no artifacts (except the time someone messaged me… can’t do anything wile scanning for artifacts). Time to flash. I used the first Google result and came up with a nice guide on flashing an X800 PRO to an X800 XT PE. Make floppy (hah, couldn’t find a good one, had to use an old Internet Explore for Windows 95 part 1 of 2 floppy or something). Reboot. Save old BIOS. Write new BIOS. Reboot. Windows (sorry… games, you know) XP Home boots up and detects a “Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition"! YES! Checking pipes… 16!

So… I highly recommend buying an X800 PRO and flashing it to XT PE. Follow the guide correctly and you will do just fine.

After further investigation, I think that the person who had the card before me had an X800 XT PE, but flashed it to PRO for some reason.

By the way, I have World of Warcraft as well. Look for me as “Clete” (stupid thing won’t take a 2 on the end) in Khadgar.


X800 XT PE ORDERED (Sapphire)

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 6:36 pm

I just bought a STEAL! $415 USD for a normally $500 card. It’s a Sapphire X800 XT PE (says XT only, but it is PE says some reviewers). It’s refurbished and OEM, but I saved $75 by not buying a box. Wow, $75 box.

I highly recommend getting this card if you don’t want a $75 box. That said, I don’t have it yet and haven’t tested it. I am recommending by price ;).

I’ll let you know how it works later. I can order World of Warcraft with the money I saved! :D


Half-Life 2 Deathmatch – Surprise!

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 1:49 pm

I can say now that I was 100% surprised that Half-Life 2 Deathmatched was released so soon. Only hours after it was unofficially anounced, it is playable on Steam.

I had guessed incorrectly, as the picture in the latter of the two links confirmed.

Enjoy. I started up the game quickly a few hours ago and I began with a manipulator gun (hmm picking up stuff mmhmm!) ^_^. Yay.


Half-Life 2 Deathmatch?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 7:45 pm

Well, I must say that I highly doubted we would get Half-Life multiplayer (I figured they would stick to Counter-Strike), but I am apparently wrong.

There is a new Steam news bulliten.

What leads to the deathmatch conclusion is the name of the image (of course, the contents of the image too) “HL2DM.jpg”

If you can’t get to that (quite slow for me too), here’s the contents of the announcement:

Title: “Soon”


Beat Half-Life 2

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:33 am

Well, I just finished Half-Life 2. Best first person shooter – ever.

Amazing. Wow. I won’t give any spoilers, but we all know there will be a Half-Life 3. I can’t wait.

Also, VALVe will be releasing the SDK next week along with a surprise. My guess besides the patch for the stuttering, we will get some models for Counter-Strike: Source and some maps (I’m hoping for cs_assault).


NO Connection in Steam Status to Patch Release

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 4:29 pm

I’m sick and tired of the majority of people talking about the Steam server status.

Many people are talking about a ‘drop’ on the bandwidth numbers right before a patch is released. This is nonsense. There is NO connection between bandwidth and when VALVe decides to release a patch. The only way there would be is if VALVe shut the servers down before applying the patch, which they do not do.

What do you think people will do? Nobody knows when a patch will come out for a game, so what do they do? They get some kind of ’sign’ from the all-knowing Gabe Newell (founder of VALVe)? Sure, let’s believe that, so they all sign off of steam just to make the bandwidth page register a dip in the amount of bandwidth. Insane.

Thanks, no connection, move along. Rant alert. Stupid community (well, in some aspects).

Apparently, I have the John C. Dvorak disease. (he uses a lot of bold when his articles are printed in PC Magazine)

Half-Life 2 Overhyped in a Different Way?

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 12:12 pm

Previously, I posted about Halo 2 being overhyped.

Now, I’m posting the other side. Half-Life 2 was overhyped by some.

This isn’t in the same way as Halo 2, which was mainly the complaints as follow. The game engine was horribly optimized for the computer. You can’t get the graphics engine to render anything anywhere near 30fps for anything on the source engine at full details.

The way that Half-Life 2 was overhyped was simple. People expected it to be twice as good as the next best game out there (assuming it’s the best game out there, which it is to me). People saw the E3 2004 (or 2003, not as impressive, but close) videos. They followed all the rumors (wow, what a ride). They stayed up all night (3AM EST) just to play the game after wiping their hard drive clean, defragging, jumped 2 and 1/2 times, screamed a high F#, and tapping the letters “WOOT OMG OMG OMG” 3 times.

Mainly, the problem with the E3 2004 videos being released was that they are no more and no less than proof of concept videos. There are no guarantees that anything you see in them (and they weren’t meant to be publicized the way they were), not even the physics or the gun the player was using. People became disappointed when a few scenes never happened in the game.

The leak of the beta version was a fall for many, as they downloaded the workable compiled version and played it. They spoiled much of the story, thought it was supposed to be different, etc.

Many rumors were abroad about the ending, when it would be released, what guns you would have (according to the beta; from what I hear, some were added and some removed), what levels you would play (ditto), and more nonsense of the such.

People were upset that the game didn’t finish off the series (actually, not many people were, but this is yet another point). Hopefully, they won’t fool around and will get right to work on Half-Life 3, which many people are already talking about.

Basically, the more you followed Half-Life 2 and the ups and downs, the more you were disappointed. Personally, I followed it closely, but not too close. I have yet to finish the game, but it’s the best FPS (First Person Shooter) game I’ve ever played. I’m loving every minute of it.


World of Warcraft Released

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 3:30 pm

After the beta test closed for World of Warcraft closed a week or two ago, the game is now released.

You can check out my short review of WoW here or at Great Big Blog.

By the way, I hope to get WoW for Christmas, but I played the open beta (which happened to work with WINEX fairly well except for the missing cursor) and love this game.


GameCube Linux

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 9:47 pm

GameCube Linux is a pretty nice attempt at getting Linux running on your GameCube.

Since the GameCube doesn’t have a hard drive, if you want a file system, you have to use a remote one run off of a computer. Other than that, it runs pretty well. Some people have run KDE on it, but it looked quite distorted, so maybe that can be fixed somehow. You can, however, run text-based applications easily. (mpg321 works and plays sounds from your TV)

Isobel provides a method for both Windows and Linux users to run Linux on their GameCube with a filesystem. You will need Phantasy Star Online and a broadband adapter to get it all functioning, however.

It also looks like Gentoo will have some kind of way to run it’s software (namely Portage) on the GameCube.

I have run Apache with PHP/MySQL on my GameCube and played MP3s as well.


Widescreen Advantage (Source Engine)

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 8:59 pm

As this article reports, there is an unfair advantage given to widescreen users in the Source engine, which is used by VALVe’s new games. (Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life: Source, and Half-Life 2 so far) View.

As clearly shown in the screenshots, you can see more on the screen at once in all games (nevermind Half-Life: Source and Half-Life 2, it gives no advantage over other players). While this isn’t a huge problem, or not as big as the cheating problem (the Vavle Anti-Cheat system is not in place yet on CS:S), it is still a nuiscance that can needs to be taken care of. Would you like to be in a server being annihilated by people with widescreens? (ok, so I exaggerated with the word “annihilated” ;))


World of Warcraft Short Review

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 1:35 pm

It’s me again with another short look at a game. Today, we have World of Warcraft to be reviewed (short review).

World of Warcraft

Sadly, World of Warcraft Open Beta (North American) closes today (11/18/04), yet it is still online at the moment. It’s been a great beta, mostly bugless, the only complaint being lag due to so many people playing. This won’t change my opinion on the game, because it was a beta, it should have bugs, they will most likely resolve the problem by retail.

World of Warcraft is a MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roll Playing Game – I think), where you play a character of your choosing. There are many different classes (like in most MMORPGs) to choose from and many races. Races include human, dwarf, night elf, gnome, orc, undead, tauren, and troll. Classes include warrior, rogue, mage, warlock, paladin, preist, hunter, and more.

As you being your character, you meet a man hwo gives you your first quest, which is rewarded much more generously than Final Fantasy XI would reward. I won’t go off into FFXI’s problems with not rewarding enough, that’s possibly another blog post. Anyways, my character is a mage and he is currently level 11. In WoW, you gain levels just as you would in other ones. You fight. You have a health bar and another bar which varies in what it shows depending on your class. My additional bar displays mana, since I’m a mage. I can cast fireballs and missles at the enemy, both of which can be upgraded, are long range, and use different amounts of mana. There are also healing spells, which, surprisingly, the mage doesn’t obtain from what I have heard. However, the mage does have conjure food and conjure water, which do what they say. Water restores mana and food restores health (muffins to be exact). The one downfall to the two aformentioned spells is that after 15 minutes of being logged out, they disappear.

The interface is very nice in the game. Unlike FFXI, where you must go to the menu to find out how far away you are from the next level, you just need to look at the bottom of the screen, which displays shortcuts for spells, attacks, etc. which you set yourself by a drag-and-drop interface. Minor features that I depend on a lot are windowization and autorun, both of which it has.

Rating: 10/10 (note that I have not played the game but for only a few days, so I have not found many things that I dislike)

Spike TV Video Game Awards – Voting begins now

Filed under: — Clete R. Blackwell 2 @ 7:50 am

Spike TV has launched the 2004 Video Game Awards. Vote for your favorite game.

Personally, I went with Half-Life 2 on every one it was nominated for as well as best new technology (why did they have NVIDIA’s new model on best new technology but not ATI’s? Pixelshader 2.0? Maybe). Final Fantasy XI received my vote for best MMORPG. (too bad World of Warcraft wasn’t out, it would have my vote then)

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