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Tenth Highest Shelf Vittles: 1.15.99-2.13.99

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Saturday 2/13/99

  • Voodoo 3 Announced, I Make Excuses
         Whew, it's been a while since I missed two days of updating in a row. It's been even longer since I've been sick, and this cold is reminding me why I preferred to keep things that way. :P
         Though I did manage to drag myself over to Big Nose Kate's LAN party on Thursday where she and my brother Slack Jawed Pete wanted to share th' party by going online. Well what with Kate bein' rusty, Pete bein' new ta th' game an' me bein' sick we got our hats handed to us, mainly by Doses but also by his temporary confederates Badger, Fallsdown and Saxster, despite the valiant help given us by BigBart (hope I got yer name right!). Still much fun was had, in fact I think I'm goin' over there this afternoon along with Pete so ya jus' might see us postin' notices of DSL-hosted games in Kali, IRC and th' Zone. :)
         It's pretty humbling dropping about 200mHz and a generation of 3Dfx chips off of yer playin' power. For those who maintain hardware does not make a difference, I propose that if you try going from a p2 333 w/ Banshee to a p133 w/ Voodoo you will notice a profound difference in your ability to put people down.
         That being said, how does one explain the success of guys like Killercraig who whup people using lowly systems? Well it seems ta me that success on a slower system has a lot to do with adapting your playing style to your hardware. Now me playin' with Sanchez on a slow system is prob'ly th' dumbest thing ta do, 'cause Sanchez really needs high framerates to fire his pistol fast. But slower, more powerful or accurate weapons like th' shotgun or rifle will not suffer as much from a drop in framerate. Still I don't think I'll be able ta give up Sanchez, even slowed down he's still a lotta fun. I might try usin' my "LiteGuns" modification (see the other helpful files page) to regain a few precious fps though.
         Anyhow what I started out meanin' ta say was that 3Dfx has officially announced their upcoming Voodoo3 lineup, due to debut in the second quarter of this year (not too long now). Now as soon as I can I'll be pickin' up th' fastest of 'em, th' 183mHz Voodoo 3500, ta err "test" fer Outlaws compatibility. ;) Hehee...
     
  • The New Standard in Outlaws Maps
         Well while I don't mean just this new map, FlashFlood from Forktongue serves as a perfect illustration of the new standard emerging for Outlaws maps. There's just no ignoring the fact that these days our top LawMakers have gone way beyond even Lucasart's standard for multiplayer Outlaws levels. There's just a new conception, a new discovery of just what is possible with the old Outlaws engine. This hasn't come all at once and it's more than a simple combination of features, but they include things like use of ambient sounds, a perfectly realistic setting, mixture of indoor and outdoor areas, a sense of a world expanding beyond the limits of the map, new uses for old textures and inventive use of new textures and objects to create a unique, compelling location.
         Let's take a look at FlashFlood. Three perfectly rendered covered wagons WITH horses sit in a narrow canyon. You can climb on top of the wagons and even go inside them to examine their detailed interiors. The canyon itself is no mere straight slash of rock but a bending, twisting course crossed by a high natural rock bridge and opening up on one end to a view of a powerful river and on the other to a vast, endless plateau.
         Just as you can climb on, in and around the wagons, you can also crawl in and out of the canyon walls. Small pigeonhole caves hide gatling guns and other treasures. Tunnels twist through the rock, pierced by holes worn in their ceiling through which light streams to illuminate the floor below. The tunnels wind up, down and around, in no way bound to simple flat plains and 90 degree angles.
         Check out a few screenshots: shot 1 and shot 2. Recent maps like this have raised the ante folks, and that's a great thing for all of us who love this game. Guys like ForkTongue deserve to get paid for this kind of work, but mebbe they wouldn't bring this kind of inspiration and yes I say Love to work they were paid to do. I think I know a map we'll be hostin' off'a th' LAN today...!
     
  • Another 3-Button Mouse Driver
         Sleepy sent me another driver to get that third button workin' on yer mouse. I went ahead an' added it in with th' other one I have on my other useful files page because I think each has its own strengths. This one has a nice installer program and runs in its own little control panel window where you can adjust the middle button function and the mouse acceleration (titled "Mouse Speed" I think) on the fly. The third button works great in Outlaws and unlike the other driver the mouse works perfectly in Shogo (not that we really care that much about other games, right?). The drawback to this one for me is that the mouse acceleration does not work in Outlaws. Some people like acceleration, some don't, so for those who could care less about acceleration this would be the one to go with. Sleepy says that for him the mouse movement is smoother with this one.
         Sleepy also sent me a screenshot of a new level he's working on. The screenshot was named "Polar" and shows a very interesting use of textures from this new LawMaker. One to keep an eye out for.
     
  • A Tip to LawMakers to Avoid Texture Glitches
         ShotgunMC has pieced together th' reason why some folks without 3Dfx cards get texture nastiness in maps with new textures like Templar's otherwise excellent Gutter:
    I realize like usual I'm a little slow on the response time, but awhile ago you posted a problem a player was having with the map Gutter by Templar. When he was playin in non-3dfx all of the custom textures looked all stretched, basically making the map unplayable for him. You asked then if anyone knew what the problem was. I only mention it now because I ran into the same problem with custom .pcx's on a new map I'm working on.
         I figured out what the problem was when I was reading an old e-mail from Dean Wermer. All custom pcx's should be in either 64x64, 128x128 or 256x256 size for the texture to appear normal in non-3dfx mode. Otherwise, she's a mess. Don't know if ya already figured that out or not, but figured I'd pass it on anyhow. And in case Templar didn't realize what the solution was, maybe you could forward the info on to him. He might want to release a version 2.0 for those poor Outlaws who didn't get a 3d card in their stocking.
         Here's a screenshot from Gutter in DirectDraw that I took to illustrate th' problem. Icky! But while Shotgun is mostly right there's an important addition that must be made to his point: Each dimension of a texture must equal 2^X where "X" is an integer. For instance, in Gutter one of the textures, measuring 64 by 32, works fine because 64=2^6 and 32=2^5. Similarly Cutter's Mining Company, which includes a couple 256x512 textures (256=2^8, 512=2^9), does not show texture corruption in software (though how it gets around the 256 pixel limitation of 3Dfx cards, I'm not so sure!). However, Gutter also contains textures of odd sizes such as 64x80, 152x192 and 256x192. These do not work in software modes. Sorry fer th' math boys but I hope that clears things up. :)
     
  • Weenies Want to Ban Mary and Gatling Gun
         I've heard this from two people in the last week, that folks mostly in th' Zone are agitatin' ta expand th' Marshal Law play guidelines to include a ban of Mary and the gatling gun. Well people I have to say I think that's going overboard. While Mary and the gat can be powerful in a limited way they also have weaknesses that, at least for skilled opponents, balance them out. Firebrand StanJr had a piece ta say on th' subject, take a deep breath 'cause this rips right along:
    Seems some people in zone want to advance ML it started with the 3 main cheats in OL BADGE CREAM SAWED OFF then it soon went to the gat just cause some people dont know how to fight it well boohooo live with it. Now they wanna place mary on the ML list seems like some more people who cant beat her want to add it i'd have to place money sayin that they cant beat the gat either bunch of crybabies if you ask me mary is a CHAR in the game not a WEAPON or a ITEM. Lucas Arts put her in there for a reason since they couldnt start her off with a light plate for some type of game reason so they just added to her what the plate added to her next thing they will want to add Chief to that list who is only 10 lesser then mary on power shes at 95 hes at 85. Next it will be doc with his med bags because i've ran some test on a map i've been workin on with some beta players i have some damage areas mary comes out with 2 hearts james 2 hearts doc comes out with 7 cause of med bags sanchez comes out with 2 or 3 depending on how fast u do it bob 2 chief 3 well i'll be them are pretty close to together except for doc hm.... wonder why that is ohwell. LA done everything for a reason yes she is powerful yes that shotgun is one helluva killer. But i've seen doc killer her with 6 pistol shots james kills her with 2 rifle shots sanchez 6 pistols or 1 dyno stick bob can level her with that DB and the indian one stab or 6 shots and shes dead. So it seems to be the people that want to do this is just cryin cause they cant beat her shes has alot of weaknesses shes big slow and very loud if you cant here her start quackin turn up your speakers i heard her all the way across junction and ten paces. Now why would people wanna change a perfect ML rule keep the main 3 the hell with other ones that WERE AND LET ME REPEAT WERE IN THE OLD WEST. and yes so was the sawed off so i dont see why that made it in the ML thing but ohwell cant change that i guess. So people need to suck it up and move on and play mary or dont play her your choice cause i started out with doc and found mary more then easy enough to kill now i play mary doc james and sanchez and i still find weakness in all char and strengths and i dont bitch so just live with it. Play the game for fun. Seems someone always gotta gripe about something lag cheaters gat users mary players james players it dont matter what u do someones gonna complain so now its time that we just suck it up and quick being crybabies and play the game for what it was made for FUN ya who would have thought that.
         I pretty much agree with what Stan said except perhaps for the part about the sawed-off shotgun. One look at the data files will show you that the sawed-off does a completely insane amount of damage. Now people may say the same for Mary's fists, but just how many times have you been killed by Mary's fists in a normal match? The sawed-off has sufficient range for use in most close firefights and pretty much makes close fighting a foregone conclusion with its wide spread and one-shot killing power. Also, authors can simply leave the sawed-off out of a map completely, thus avoiding lenghty debates on exactly how to modify it to be fair (though I would still like to see that done in an organized way).
         Vanishing cream and badges have generally been disused (and again simply left out of new maps) because they bring an undesired element of fantasy to an Old West shootout. They also serve to unbalance a game. That being said, I kinda like playin' a map with vanishing cream now and then, nothin' I like better'n killin' some guy who thinks he doesn't hafta dodge because he's transparent. ;D
     

    * * *
Wednesday 2/10/99
  • New Sites
         Yay new sites for us to click on:
     
    Doses' Plaza
    One-pager by this ol' Outlaws player with reasons why he likes th' game and a brief but interesting history of the SyN posse. Nicely written, informative and easy to read makes it a winner in my book.
    Blood Outlaws Killers
    You can't really expect too much out of a site whose authors misspell their own posse name in the title. You'll find a list "Bloody Outlaws Killers" members accompanied with rather vague commentary and that's really about it. Still th' single page is fairly fast-loading and easy to read.
    Don Haberles Outlaws
    Unique site for the German DON gang. Mostly in German but ya kin get th' gist of a lot of it, and th' very nice pictures don't need no explanation at all. I can't read much of it, but I likes it.

         Thanks to GOOM_TheScott for th' tip on th' DON site. Also a couple updated sites: Techno let me know his Crazy Outlaws Clan got an update lately, they now have maps and stuff too. Mental tells me he's spit-shined his Mentaltown site -- I can't get through right now but chances are you will by th' time ya read this... Beig told me right b'fore she took off fer Quebec that th' original Outlaw webmaster guy, Saxster, has been seen whuppin' it up in th' Zone lately. Sax's was th' first Outlaws site I ever saw, hasn't been updated in a while but it's nice ta know even he hasn't been able ta escape Outlaws' addictive clutches. :) Oh and folks note th' spelling on his name, Saxster. I screwed that up once an' I've seen two people misspell it in th' past day or so. (*Beig*) ;)
     
  • To Modify or Not to Modify?
         Well some folks wrote me yesterday about a map they're workin' on, a modified version of Twobitt's The Dip! Well th' map is lookin' okay but th' problem is that Twobitt's readme states clearly that his map may not be used as a base for new maps by other people. I wrote Twobitt ta ask him if he'd be okay with this modification of his map but haven't gotten a reply... so if YOU know how ta get in touch with Twobitt, please ask him ta let me or some other Outlaws news type know where he stands on this.
         Now I'm going to try to get to sleep before 2 AM for once... I think it's startin' ta catch up with me. Argh. :P
     

    * * *
Tuesday 2/9/99
  • Button Up, Baby
         Over at Big Nose Kate's ongoing Outlaws LAN party last night, I started runnin' inta trouble. It's not that I'm playin' on a 133, I kin deal with that. Th' problem was the mouse, a three button Artec brand but I couldn't get that darn middle button ta work. Well longtime readers will remember a while back I had ta hold off playin' much 'cause some tendons in my left wrist started protesting prolonged stretching of my thumb down to th' space bar which I had configured to activate my med bags in Outlaws. At Kate's, stuck with only two workin' mouse buttons I hadda stick an Outlaws function down there again. An' after a couple evenings of play it didn't really hurt but I could tell it might start to.
         So finally I took some time out from gettin' shot by th' peppery Mr_Slack an' went lookin' fer drivers. I'd done this long ago without success. Well this time I found th' site, www.artecusa.com, almost immediately, downloaded th' drivers and after a bit of registry hacking had my middle button happily popping off caps from Sanchez's alt-fire.
         Then this morning, stumbling around bleary-eyed it hit me -- why couldn't those drivers work for NON-Artec mice? Artec mice, aside from th' third button, are pretty much generic as you kin get and still have a brand name. Soo... at work today and at home this evening I tried 'em with Logitech 3-button mice and they worked!
         What does this mean? Currently if you have a three button mouse but no special drivers you can't get that third button working in Windows. Tons of people out there probably have generic 3-button mice with no custom drivers, so that poor middle button sits there idle and neglected. Well, no more. Outlaws, limber up that extra mouse finger, 'cause now ya kin get that third button workin' fer ya!
         Here's what's new on th' other helpful files page:
     
    Three-button Mouse Drivers (221k) Win95/98/NT, serial and ps2
    by Artec
    Lots of people end up with a useless third button on their mouse because Windows lacks a proper driver for that middle button. If you don't have custom software from the manufacturers, your out of luck. Or you were. This file contains pretty generic third-button mouse drivers that just might work with your mouse in Outlaws. But use at your own risk, and try these instructions:
    1. Run the self-extracting executable and extract the files to a directory on your hard-drive.
    2. Make sure you're currently running generic Windows mouse drivers. If not, change to them before continuing.
    3. Now we switch your mouse drivers. Do NOT touch the Setup file extracted from the archive -- this will install a DOS mouse driver and WILL hose your system. Instead, right-click the "My Computer" icon, select "Properties" from the pop-up menu, click the "Device Manager" tab in the window that appears and find your mouse. Double-click the mouse to open its device properties window.
    4. Click around until you find a button that will let you switch drivers (exact procedures differ between versions of Win95 and 98). When you get a driver selection menu, click "Have Disk" or something until you get a file loader. Point it to the directory to which you extracted the files in step #1. You should see a "Win95" subdirectory: select it. Hit "OK." Select the correct mouse type, serial or ps2 (serial mice have trapezoidal connectors, ps2 small round ones) and hit OK again.
    5. Windows may need to reboot. After reboot, providing your mouse works :j, open up your Mouse control panel. You should see an "Artec" tab. If the "three button mouse" check-box isn't greyed out, check it. Try clicking your middle mouse button -- the middle button in the mouse diagram should turn blue. If it does, you're almost there.
    6. Load up Outlaws and go to your Mouse options. If you see a middle row of option circles, just click on the one corresponding to the function you want and you should be all set. If not you'll have to edit your registry. Don't worry, it's not that hard.
    7. Go to your Windows directory and run "Regedit.exe." Browse to hkey_local_machine/software/lucasarts entertainment company/outlaws/users/default user/MOUSE. Look at the strings in the left panel; each function has a "Sel" and "Sens" value. Find the Outlaws function you want middle mouse button to use. Double-click it. In the window that appears, set the "Value data" to read "Sel: 4 Sens: 0" and hit OK. Now check for any other strings with a "Sel" of 4. If you find one, double-click it and set "Sel" to "4294967295" which deactivates the function on the mouse.
    8. Leave Regedit open or close it if you like and run Outlaws. Load up a game and try out your middle mouse button. If it doesn't alt-fire, try going into Windows and opening your "My Computer" icon. Left-click on the desktop so that the "My Computer" window becomes de-selected -- the top window bar will change color. Now click on the "My Computer" window with your middle mouse button. If it changes back to the selected color your middle mouse button is working -- go back and fiddle with the Outlaws mouse registry settings some more. If the window bar didn't change color then Windows isn't recognizing your third button no matter what the Artec drivers say and you may be out of luck. If you ever need to uninstall the Artec drivers use the "uninstall" button beneath the Artec tab in the Mouse control panel.
I should note that while in my three attempts the Artec drivers have worked great for Outlaws, in "Shogo" they prevent the mouse from working at all though they work fine in "Half-Life Day One." Like I said I don't guarantee these won't detonate your computer so use at your own risk. I just can't live without a three-button mouse. As an added bonus the drivers support mouse acceleration which I heartily recommend you try out -- it lets you able to turn around more quickly while retaining fine aiming control. :)
 
     Hey folks I just can't live without that third mouse button, I tried honest I did! Plus mouse acceleration gives you that nice extra "springy" feeling. :) Hope this helps some folks out.
 
  • Beig Updates Site, Flees to Quebec
         Yeah, she'd BETTER run! Hehe... not only does Timestalker accuse me of "having a life" in his touchingly generous write-up of me as "WAW In-Law of the Week," Beig herself accuses me of e-mail "heckling." Shoot Beig, I'm trying to learn casual flirting and here I get accused of this... *boo-hoo!* *sniff* Okay I think I'll make it... oh this is all over at Beig's irrepressible Wit and Wisdom Web-Zine, a site you should be readin' daily ta stay up on all th' Outlaws gossip, an' ta get a goodly dose of daily sass. ;)
     
  • Paleface Defends His Lack of Life
         HOWever I must protest this UN-founded accusation of my livelihood, as it were. Folks, I spend at least 1-2 hours a night updating this here site. Any spare time I have outside of that and occasional sleep, I'm either jogging (hard) or playin' Outlaws (easy). Like th' only reason I didn't update yesterday was 'cause I was playin' Outlaws over at Kate's LAN and DSL-equipped house-o-Outlaws-luv, where we managed ta clog her dad's trash disposal with onion peels. Yay!
         Actually ya may have noticed I haven't always been updatin' or playin' th' past two weekends... well I'll only say that I've been writin' -- about 11,000 words worth. While not directly Outlaws-related, it could be... if it ever sees th' light of day. I ain't holdin' my breath but it's somethin' I hafta try. And that's all I'm going to say about that. :P
         Time also accused me of contributing a lot to the Outlaw community. Well I guess I do a bit, but all I mostly do is post stuff that OTHER folks are doing, most notably th' many tireless and ever-improving Outlaws map-makers, without whom we'd be stuck playin' Sanctuary for th' millionth time. Thank YOU, people.
     
  • KaReFree Holds His Site Hostage, Demands E-Mail Ransom
         Top webmaster KaReFree seems a bit unhappy about th' response he's received so far on his newly resurrected Outlaws Cavern. He's got a message up askin' for 150 supportive e-mails by week's end or he's gonna shut down operation. He even has a little message ya kin append yer nick to an' send to him to cheer him up.
         Well heck he deserves support, he's got a great site. I'm gonna email him an' I suggest you do as well. But... well I dunno I guess I think th' Outlaws world is a tiny one and it might be unrealistic to expect a huge number of hits after only recently rejuvenating one's site. My own experience has been that it takes a VERY long time to build up a regular following of readers and even then you can't expect people to spend time patting you on the back. I don't want people to do that. I do this because I enjoy it; what I want you to do is to send me news that I can post. You oughta send it to KaReFree too, th' more people th' better. And 150 mails in a week -- heck if I got even half of that I'd be hopelessly swamped. Well, let's swamp KaRe so he keeps workin' on his fine site. He asked for it. ;)
     

    * * *
    Sunday 2/7/99
    • Stupid Web Tricks
           The other day I ended up at www.gunfighter.com, or "The Gunfighter Zone." Who would'a thought that while we're here playin' cowboy games on our computers there are thousands of folks who actually dress up in "Old-Tyme" gear, tote around old guns or expensive Italian replicas of them and get together and talk funny? Well you can discover this whole weird world at the Gunfighter Zone. Actually it's mostly commercial stuff except for th' Discussion boards which I highly recommend. Heck in one evening I learned why quick-draw artists hang their holsters so the gun barrel points a little forward (so they don't blow their kneecaps off) and how to give an emoticon a cowboy hat (c];)). Plus ya kin get embroiled in all kinds of arguements about th' merits of various revolvers and who shot who and why in the 1800s. What fun!
           www.bignosekates.com seems something like a modern bar attempting to mimic an Old West brothel in Tombstone. Scary stuff. Anyhow amongst other rather frightening things they have a step-by-step reconstruction of th' shootout at the O-Kay corral, complete with cheesy animated diagram. Wowzers. And no, this is NOT run by my friend Big Nose Kate, okay?
           Okay so not directly Outlaws related, but babelfish.altavista.com can translate between English and five other languages. Handy for understandin' yer Outlaws buds from overseas, an' jus' plain amusin' ta stick in a slangy phrase, translate it into another language and then back again to see what comes out. ;D
           www.gamespyder.com is a good idea, a "Yahoo" of gaming sites. Th' thing that worries me izzat it's run by those fellers from planetquake.com who seem determined to corner th' market on gaming sites. And their sites are BO-ring! Well I guess I'm glad Outlaws isn't THAT popular, otherwise we'd be cursed with an planetoutlaws.com. Hmmm mebbe I outta buy that domain... anyhow my reason fer mentionin' gamespyder izzat I registered POOS with 'em an' they actually listed me, so if ya want ya kin go vote for my site an' let people know if ya like it or not. Not that I'm pimpin' myself out or nothin'. ;P
           The WAW Web-Zine has gotten a bunch of new letters in their hilarious "Dear Sanchez" advice column. Great stuff by Timestalker... well usually -- sorry boys, I'm just not that way.
           Quantum Flux has a pretty darn cool screensaver utilizing a 3D AI character with "an infinite fractal dimension random wave function generator." Plus she's a cutie in a tight jumpsuit. Anyhow she rambles around this verdant plain with a great sky overhead and day/night cycles, rolling terrain, trees... heck slap a Stetson on that woman an' you'd have th' best candidate yet fer Outlaws 2 -- not that there's much competition. I noticed a bug with blue alpha-masking on trees on my Banshee an' told them about it, so hopefully that'll be fixed soon but still a very cool thing ta have yer computer do while yer off brushin' yer teeth.
           I'm not sure if he meant me ta post this, or jus' wanted ta share, or what... Fallsdown prob'ly has a couple rivets loose in that big noggin' of his, but here's what he sent me:
      So I'm thinking the way to expand the Outlaws universe and maintain a viable player base is to offer the game on Home Shopping Channel. I can see it now......(swirling fade to view of TV with channel clicker in hand in foreground, clicking thru channels and stopping on HSC)..."we've sold over of 35,000 copies of this fine game so far tonight and we have 14 more minutes left before we see that Cubic Zirconia dog collar we promised you. What would you pay for fine 1st person shooter action like this? You've got rifles and pistols and TNT and for a limited time the next 15,000 callers with receive a free soda can cooler with Outlaws characters on it to keep thier diet pepsi cool during long hours of playing on line" "What? It's not enough you say? What if we throw in at now extra charge Blood, Mayhem and a Magic Miracle Mop?" Now how much would you pay?
           Talk about a few too many times stayin' up late an' fallin' asleep in front of th' tube with th' wrong channel playin'... well I guess if that's th' secret of his comic genius mebbe I should get a TV an' give it a try... :)
       
    • New Map from Marshall
           Yes Marshall is not one ta let a lil' map cheating scandal stop him, he keeps comin' out with new maps, or at least new versions of old maps. Thus we have Tunes 2. Still mostly a small two-story building (ahh there's a name fer that type of building but darned if I kin remember) in a large clearing, but this time it's a roundish canyon rather than a square orchard. Marshall could stand ta do some texture stitching (which I learned a bit about th' other day over at GoJo's LawMaker School) but still a pretty nice lookin' lil' map with good framerates, check the screenshot. Mebbe a few too many weapons an' only one way upstairs but some people like it that way... I guess?
       

      * * *
    Saturday 2/6/99
    • See the Sites
           Silverwire let me know he has given th' Snake Posse Hideout a bit of a makeover and has added a page about th' Snake gang's storied history so check that out if yer in a readin' mood.
           Got th' following site link from Beig's Web-Zine:
       
      The James Gang
      Lots of good levelmakers run with this gang so this's a great place ta get some of the best new maps. Also sports a gang news section. Not the easiest site to read, not the worst either.

       
    • Get Drunk and Sing Along With J-Kiddd
           Kidding folks, kiddding! I do NOT want to encourage drinking... though it seems like J-Kiddd doesn't need much encouragement anyhow as on his latest Outlaw music overdub, "That," he sounds something like a liquored-up Al Yancovik. Which isn't neccessarily a bad thing, in fact it's downright amusing if ya kin make out th' rather... mature... lyrics. Pick it up at J-Kiddd's page.
           I'm kind of wondering why there are not one but TWO forklifts dumping a truckload of lumber right next to my house. Ohh I do so love hearing that truck-backing-up sound in STEREO. ;O Aren't these construction types supposed to be out getting hammered on a Saturday night? Is the whole world turning topsy-turvy?!?
       

      * * *
    Friday 2/5/99
    • Shoot Your Friends, Scream Like Hell and Screw the Neighbors
           Yessir, an Outlaws LAN party with some good friends is a mighty fine thing. Now there were only three of us but Big Nose Kate, my brother Slack Jawed Pete and myself stayed up 'til th' wee hours gleefully blowin' each other away an' yellin' like we were fit ta be tied.
           That's really th' great thing about a LAN... it's jus' like a non-laggy game except that yer nemeses are right there across th' table smirking and yelling and cussing right back at you, and sometimes threatening to throw things... keeps ya on yer toes, lemme tell ya! An' th' best part is when yer in yer own house so ya kin yell as loud as ya damn well please. ;D
           We finished off th' night with a long game of "Kill the Fool with the Chicken" in Cutter's excellent new Mining Company map. KFC really takes on a new dimension when ya kin work together verbally with one another ta track down th' person who's hidin'. A little snippet might have sounded something like this:
       
      (Pale gets the chicken)
      Kate: Where IS he?!?
      Pete: Uhh... shoot not upstairs!
      Kate: Damnit --there he GOES! In the house, in the house!!
      Pete: Where? WHERE?!?!
      Kate: Downstairs, he went downstairs!!
      Pale: No I didn't. ;)
      Pete: He's not downstairs!
      Kate: Whaddaya mean he's not --AHH HERE HE IS!!!
      Pale: Oh crap!
      Pete: Where where??
      Pale: eeeeep!
      Kate: He's behind th-- aaagh!!
      Pale: Heheeheee
      Pete: Whereishe?!?
      Kate: Behindthehouse! Behindthehouse! KILL! KILLLLLL!!

       
      As ya kin see Kate get's a lil' excitable at times an' lemme tell ya she kin shriek her head off! Hehe... anyhow it was a lotta fun, we'll prob'ly be back at it when they get back from helpin' out at th' YMCA this weekend.
           Th' great thing about it is that a LAN doesn't really take that much ta set up aside from some old computers, some network cards and a little hub. Heck I was on a 133! In fact it occurs ta me that Outlaws' peer-to-peer networking really has an advantage in easy LAN play over all the other client-server type games.
           Imagine you have a group of eight folks who want to play on a LAN. Happily enough they have eight computers. But if they were gonna play a client-server type game they'd be short one computer, because they'd also need a fairly fast SERVER to handle th' networking computation. But since with Outlaws there's no need for a dedicated server they'd be all set an' ready ta go! Yay for Outlaws!
           Speaking of yellin' at yer friends, if ya don't have a LAN setup ya still might be able ta shout at yer buddies online, provided ya have a computer microphone. BTJustice tipped me off ta "Roger Wilco," an online voice communication program from Resounding Technology, Inc. Apparently this program is very well regarded in some Outlaws Zone circles, an' best of all it's FREE until March 15th so ya really can't go wrong... Outlaws is listed on their "compatible games" page with one little note that you'll certainly want to read before trying it, but if ya got a microphone (I don't :() give it a shot!
       
    • Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaps!
           Yes this happens whenever I miss an update or two I'm suddenly inundated with new maps. So here we go in the order I received them:
           Darlin' sent me GDO by Rebel. There's jus' one word to describe this palisaded town in a huge valley: Gi-normous! Actually it's more of a fort, all th' buildings have these funky slit windows fer shootin' through, an' bunkers guard the entrances. It's a bit on th' dark and brown side, but lots to explore and lots of strategy, should be good for BIG CTF games in particular. shot 1 shot 2 shot 3
           Whoops, wait a sec it doesn't have CTF. Hmm... pretty darn odd, seems like a big, strategic map like this screams fer it. :P Oh might be worth notin' that this big, open town can slow framerates on not-so-fast systems.
           Naughty Nighty sent in Templar's latest achievement, Outfitters. A bit of a switch from his previous cityscape maps, this one takes place in a very large warehouse with tons of big boxes arranged in a multilevel maze for you to explore. A great mix of enclosed and open spaces here, as well as a real sense of purpose and functionality, especially in the crowning touch of the working conveyor belt leading through the warehouse to the wagon-loading area, with a supervisor's loft overhead. Not as much to see in terms of variety as his previous maps, but more concentrated action and strategy. With incredibly fast framerates for such a large map this looks like another masterpiece by our man Temp. =) shot 1 shot 2
           Sleepy sent me his second map, Dynasty. A huge step over his first map, this one looks very good with high framerates. To my way of thinking he got those high fps by dividing it up a bit too much, it becomes a seemingly endless series of rather similar rooms. The central warehouse area looks very nice, makes an interesting comparison to Templar's. One other thing I have to note is his inclusion of chickens, which will lag a map. Sleepy knows that but said he couldn't resist. All in all I'd say this is a very fine exhibition of him mastering LawMaker skills, next I hope we'll see more refinement and concentration on making a cohesive structure; I'd also like to hear footstep sounds. Good work though, Sleepy! (damn sight better'n I'll ever do...) shot 1 shot 2
           Slack sent me his Mental Town 2.1. Th' slight change is th' addition of an AI character, Dynamite Dick. Now that will spice up th' map but like chickens will add to bandwidth consumption -- of course that ain't a problem on a LAN, hehe. Slack also fessed up ta bein' th' author of Wiper, one of my favorite maps, a highly original effort with a lot of strategy to it -- if you haven't tried it, you oughta. Finally Slack wanted people to take a look at his Junction 2, a rework of Shifty's classic Junction. And hey why not give it a shot, you know you got nothin' better ta do with yerself. :P Ohh yeah here's a screenshot of MTown 2.1.
           Gas seems ta be back in th' LawMakin' groove, sendin' me a new one called Play Ground. Very fun looking arena-style map, reminiscent of his fine Mudland with a lovely texturing scheme similar to that seen in The Gambler's gorgeous Pueblos as ya kin see in this screenshot.
           Laid-back Loke sent me a copy of Picante's new map Cripple Creek. An enormously attractive map, mebbe one of th' best looking ones I've ever seen, but unfortunately fer those with older systems th' looks come at th' cost of some low framerate areas. Don't think I'll be tryin' this one on th' 133... my 333 seems ta handle it okay though. :) Lots of lovely, innovative construction here, as well as an interesting anti-Mary measure: Mary's normally robust 0.8 damage multiplayer has been hobbled to a brittle 2.5, meaning she can take only 2/5 the damage of Anderson on this map. Yikes! Well that's one way ta make sure folks won't use her. A gorgeous map, will have to give it a go on a good system. Check out the screenshots: shot 1 shot 2 shot 3
       
    • New Posse Site
           Rene sent me his posse's new URL:
       
      Official CBO Home Page
      Fast-loading site with info on the "Cold Blooded Outlaws" posse as well as some good info on Outlaw posses, taunts and cheat codes. Nice to have all this stuff but the tiled, contrasing backgrounds make it a challenge to read. Also goes a bit overboard on th' MIDI, or mebbe that's jus me hehe. But did I mention it loads fast?

           As a side note I noticed that his mail address has a NetZero.net domain, so I guess there ARE Outlaws takin' advantage of that free ISP deal. Neat!
       
    • GoJo Founds Online LawMaker School
           GoJo has added a new section to his DOG House, a "LawMaker School" with step-by-step, illustrated tutorials on tricky mapmakin' stuff. Readin' through his first tutorial reminds me why I'm a map critic rather than a map maker (it's easier! :P) but even I managed ta learn a thing or two from his amazingly detailed lesson. This is gonna be a must-read site fer those learning Outlaws level editing. Here's what GoJo said:
      There is only one lesson up, but it is a biggy. My hope is that other LawMakers will contribute their expertise by sending me a lesson they have put together. I have several in mind for myself, none of which will be as big as the initial one, Stitching. The school page is set up in three columns, Title, Download (if applicable), and Author. You can go straight to the lesson by choosing the title. Once in, you may decide to use the download. Mine includes all the HTML files for viewing with a home viewer, to include the graphics files. Also included is the map that I wrote to illustrate the process. This would have to be loaded into a separate directory of LawMaker. It is not a playable map, but could be tested under LawMaker. If I were the student, I would use the download, simply because I could then work through the process much the same way the LawMaker Tutor is set up.
           I would love to have an NWX professor. As noted on the page, a prospective instructor would send me what he has and how it should be presented, to include any downloads. I would edit and return for approval. Once agreed upon, I would post the lesson and add it to the Course Catalog.
           Courses I intend to add:
           How to make a Doc level (what to avoid if ya don't want to)
           Holy water: Two Solutions (for shallow water only)
           Fun with slopes as opposed to &^%(#@ slopes.
           Fun with objects: especially making Doc players insane with inaccessible Med Bags
           Sounds like great stuff, I know I sure have seen a lot of people askin' fer a tutorial better than th' one that comes with LawMaker. I sure hope that other top LawMakers *poke poke* will join in ta expand th' school into a full-fledged, accredited institution! Heck, mebbe I'll even learn enough ta make that nice little cabin I've always wanted...
           Other stuff just to stick in at the end here. Martone of OGB has checked through Marshall's new Silva 2 map an' found it free from any potentially cheats. The Doominator dug up this page with a replica of the pistol that Anderson seems to use, a Remington Model 1875. Interestingly this version is dubbed the "Outlaw." The site has a bunch of other nice pictures of Old West gun reproductions if yer innerested in gettin' into th' fine details of real historical gunslinging. And thanks to Rick and Martone fer tellin' me about th' way up to th' rooftops in Blazing Saddles (by the building with the gat on th' roof, it's tricky!). :)
       

      * * *
    Wednesday 2/3/99
    • The Trouble With LANs...
           ...is that each computer needs to have a network card and a connection to the hub. Now on th' preconfigured mega big LAN at work that was no prob, worked on th' first try with Outlaws. However, Big Nose Kate wanted ta get in on some of this LAN action too, cooked up this scheme with my brother to set up a 3-station LAN in an ADSL equipped house she has temporarily... acquired. ;) Anyhow that would'a worked great except... in all th' hustle an' bustle of gettin' th' equipment together, they neglected to pick up a third network card before th' stores closed. Doh! So we got it as set up as we could an' I guess we'll give it another try tomorrow after Kate hits th' stores... seems like Kate wanted ta hit Kali too so mebbe we'll see ya 'round tomorrow night. 'Course two of th' computers are jus' p133 an' p166 with Voodoo1 cards but hey, sometimes ya gotta rough it.
       
    • News on the Go
           Ended up spending a lot of time waiting in my car fer Kate ta come unlock doors fer me today so we got th' quickie version of Vittle today. Got three new maps, one from Templar (thanks Nighty! GRRR!), one from Rebel (thanks Darlin'!!) an' one from Sleepy (thanks Sleepy! ;)). You'll find 'em as th' most recent in th' new maps archive, I'll try ta have a more proper introduction of 'em... umm... whenever I get a chance ta do a real update next. An' then mebbe I'll get caught up on my email too.
       

      * * *
    Tuesday 2/2/99
    • HeavyGear's Ready to Set Your Saddle Ablaze
           Hmm, that headline need's work. Anyhow th' gist of it is that HeavyGear has come out with a new map, Blazing Saddles. He put a lot of care inta this one, here's an announcement he wanted me ta print:
      Hello fellow outlaw players. My new map called blazing saddles is the first map to give you brand new NWX's, PCX's, ITM's and WAV's. The two new guns you will find are called "The Cannonball" and an Assault Rifle. Don't worry, they're not cheat guns. The cannonball is sort of like the sawed off because it scatters about 60 bullets but deals 10 times less damage. The other gun is designed to be a double barrel shotgun with good aim. It has aim better than a rifle but is also powerful like a double barrel shotgun. In the middle of th map on a wall you'll notice that there's a iron door that says FORT MCHENRY. Inside that base is going to be my next and final outlaws map, so stay tuned. Thanks for taking the time to read this and enjoy the map :)
           So there you have it. This's a very interesting map with lots of new things ta see, some of which you'll notice in these screenshots: shot 1, shot 2 and shot 3.
           Well obviously you'll see th' modified shotguns with their capacious magazines. That's kind of been overdone if ya ask me, though I'll be interested ta test out that Cannonball one fer play-balance ideas.
           As fer th' map itself you'll notice a good amount of detail indoors and smooth outdoor areas fer good framerates. Th' mebbe one thing that kind'a frustrated me was that I couldn't figger out how ta get up onto th' rooftops which obviously form an important "high road" in th' level -- there's a gat up there too. I spawned on th' hotel's back balcony once (man if you aren't a multiplayer game-knowin' person that will have sounded REAL weird 8|) but that was th' only time I could get ta rooftop level. Well mebbe somebody'll figger it out an' fill me in. All in all HeavyGear put a heckuvva lot of effort inta this one, well worth checkin' out.
       
    • Rodent Death Casts Shadow On Groundhog Day
           Bummer man. Well, th' show mus' go on... Raptor is gonna be havin' a new version of his NWX Editor program soon so you'll be able ta make new Outlaws props an' characters better'n ever. Snagged Mining Company 2.0 from Darlin' site. Looks like a few small fine-tuning things done ta this fine lookin' map by Cutter. Get it.
           May be gettin' a lil' Outlaws action goin' on th' company LAN tomorrow. I've never done Outlaws on a LAN, I played th' demo on a small LAN but that's it so if there's anything weird I need ta know, let me know b'fore I leave fer work tommorrow! :P
       

      * * *
    Monday 2/1/99
    • Monday Bloody Monday
           Ohh boy why did Monday hafta come? Who wanted it? Doesn't it know when it's not invited? Well I guess Mondays are part'a life but that don't mean I can't complain about 'em. ;P
           Gots three new maps ta start th' week with. First up would be Runaway Jim's Mesa Verde. Fresh off his excellent "Gringo" trilogy Jim has really branched out into somethin' new. This lovely lil' ranch house sits on a ridge above th' prettiest view in Outlaws land. In fact accordin' ta th' readme this's one of Anderson's favorite retreats from th' dust an' dirt of huntin' down varmits. Check out th' vista in this screenshot. Of course, should ya happen ta fall off th' edge, it's a long way down... ;) A great map, exceedingly attactive an' jus' th' right size fer small ta medium deathmatchin'. Looks like a new classic ta me!
           Speakin' of which, next we got ForkTongue's Rebunk, his own personal reworking of LEC's "Bunkers." No I kin see how some old crochety purists may grumble an' shake their canes at this one but man, this is THE most complicated, in-depth, where-th'-heck-do-I-go-NOW map I have ever seen an' I mean that in a very, very good way. Now you've played Bunkers before, certainly. So imagine Bunkers... with about two ta three times th' area of th' original, an' twisty, secret tunnels connecting everything together -- there are so many truly sneaky secrets that mastering this map will be a true challenge but will certainly pay off fer those who make th' effort. Once you know all th' secrets it's like a whole new map has opened up around, inside an' through th' old one, taking the complexity to a completely higher level. Truly mindbending.
           Well I'll jus' shut up now an' make with th' screenshots; see if ya kin see th' old Bunkers in these: shot 1, shot 2, shot 3. Finally I should note that in th' coupe de grace you kin actually go OUTSIDE those darn bunkers finally! Check out th' view from outside in this screenshot. Now try ta figger out th' two ways ta get out there... hehe...
           Finally Darlin' sent me a map by one of her GDO posse members, Magz1, called Space. Now I think it was Magzl who came out with th' Spaceship map a week or so back an' this one's pretty much in th' same style, but he's explorin' th' possibilities a bit... mainly th' possibilities havin' ta do with th' nasty effects of an unprotected spacewalk. Ow. Watch out fer airlocks or you'll find yerself on a one-way float trip ta deadsville. Also watch out fer th' windows, I got stuck jus' outside of one with no way back in. :P Here's an interior screenshot and a shot from an unscheduled spacewalk that suddenly ended rather painfully fer me. :\ Can't say this is really my cup of tea but it is certainly a change of pace.
       

      * * *
    Sunday 1/31/99
    • Less Gamma Means A More Colorful Life
           So I'm sittin' around lookin' through th' files in Cutter's recent map Mining Company, looking at all th' custom textures he threw in there (he's also got some surprises fer KFC and three of the characters) an' wonderin' why th' heck they look so much better when viewed in Microsoft Paint than in the actual game. Then it hits me -- th' darn gamma in the game is pumped up too high!
           Well then I did some more thinkin' an' came up a new page fer th' site, th' gamma and monitor calibration page 'cause it occurred ta me that some of ya may be strainin' yer eyes unnecessarily, an' gettin' some ugly Outlaws play ta boot. Well we can't have THAT, can we? So anyhow ya kin go read th' page, or if yer lazy well heck I'll just throw it in here:

       
      Gamma and Monitor Calibration

      The most expensive video card an' monitor won't do ya no good at all if ya don't use 'em right. Unfortunately most gamers don't bother ta adjust their video settings to reduce eyestrain and maximize visual quality. It's really quite simple folks, so let's give it a quick runthough.


      1: Fix Up Your Room

           Light in yer computer room will have a big effect on how yer video calibration will come out. Ideally you will want to have a dimly lit area with no light shining directly on the monitor or in your eyes, and no glare reflecting off the the screen into your eyes.
           I've found that th' best place fer yer computer is against th' outer wall, placed between windows so that sunlight coming in will not shine in yer face or on th' computer screen. If you get a lot of bright sunlight through th' windows you'll find soft blinds handy fer keeping down reflected glare.
           For interior lighting, indirect lamps work th' best. I like these tall halogen floor lamps that direct their light up to th' ceiling, and also have dimmer settings. One or two of those in th' room should provide a nice soft ambient light that'll make it easy ta read yer screen while lettin' ya also see yer desk. Position them on the sides so that the light reflected off the ceiling does not produce any glare on the monitor screen.
       

      2: Set that Gamma to 1

           Okay let's first make sure we all know what we're talkin' about; no, this gamma has nothin' ta do with th' Incredible Hulk. In computer graphic terms gamma refers to the relative brightness of the graphics displayed by the video card. If ya got anything like a decent video card yer video preferences outta have gamma sliders somewhere. Right-click on yer desktop, select Preferences from th' popup menu and look through th' tabs. Ya might hafta click some kind of advanced settings button ta find it.
           Th' default fer gamma is pretty simple: 1.0. Raising th' number will brighten mid-tones, lowering will darken them. High gamma looks washed out, low gamma looks dark and oversaturated. We're calibratin' yer system so fer starters we gotta get yer gamma set ta 1. Go through yer video prefs an' set those sliders to 1 for both yer 2D and 3D cards (3Dfx card gamma is usually labelled "Glide"). If ya have an old Voodoo card ya might hafta edit yer autoexec.bat file manually; see th' Outlaws video page fer more on that.
           Settin' yer gamma is especially important fer 3Dfx cards. See, most Voodoo card drivers set th' default Glide gamma to 1.3 or 1.4, probably ta brighten up ridiculously dark games like Quake. While this will let you see better in those games, it will result in a washed-out picture in more well-adjusted games like Outlaws.
           Click that thumbnail to th' upper right ta see a side-by-side comparison of th' difference between 1.3 and 1.0 gamma in Outlaws. See how th' left side at 1.3 gamma looks pale and washed-out next to th' more intense right side at 1.0? Much better at 1.0 if ya ask me. If ya don't see th' difference very well that's because ya still need ta calibrate yer monitor! Let's move on to the next step.
       

      3: Pump up Those Refresh Rates

           A refresh rate is how often yer monitor updates it's display. We're concerned about vertical refresh which is measured in Hz. Th' faster th' refresh, th' less flickery th' display an' th' happier yer eyes will be lookin' at it fer hours on end (which you should avoid anyhow by takin' little breaks ta rest yer eyes, but let's face it sometimes in th' heat of combat we fergit that part). You will want to set yer vertical refresh rate as high as your monitor and video card can take it.
           For Outlaws we're talking about vertical refresh rates at resolutions from 320x200 to 640x480. Most video cards and monitors will be able to do at least 85 Hz up to 640x480. I find that below 85 Hz, like say at 75, I can still distinguish flicker, but at 85 or above th' display looks pretty darn clear. Still, if you can get it above 85 that's even better. 3Dfx cards can do 120 Hz at 512x384 and 640x480, so if ya have a good enough monitor that's what ya should shoot for.
           Most 3Dfx card drivers will let you set your preferred refresh rate. Fer Banshee owners there's a great utility, Kool Smokey's 3Dfx VooDoo Banshee Control Panel, that lets ya set refresh rates for every single screen resolution.
           You may also have to twiddle with yer monitor's settings ta get it ta go to th' right resolution. If yer havin' trouble gettin' 'em ta cooperate, Entech's shareware "Powerstrip" program may be just what ya need, with lots of control over monitor settings.
           As far as monitors go, I can personally recommend Korean Data System's 17" Visual Sensations monitor. These babies are very high quality, never given me any trouble in over two years of constant use. Along with my Banshee I can run Windows at 1024x768 on smooth, clear 85 Hz screen, and Outlaws looks great at 640x480 and 120 Hz! I've seen these offered for as little as $200 at online mail order shops, pretty good deal.
       

      4: Calibrate Your Monitor

           Here's where th' magic happens. Actually it's an extremely simple process though some folks seem ta want ta make it out ta be black magic. Ya don't need any calibration meters, all ya need are yer eye an' yer monitor's controls. Here's th' process:

      1. Make sure th' light level in yer room is about what you'll have it at while using th' computer.
      2. Go into your Windows video Preferences (right-click on the desktop and select "Preferences" from the pop-up menu). Set your Windows background to flat black.
      3. Now, the following steps will work in any corner of yer screen. Fer some reason I use th' lower left corner. Let's just use that now. Drag yer Windows Start menu over to th' right side of th' screen so it's out of th' way.
      4. The lower left corner of your monitor screen should now be all black. Now use your monitor's horizontal and vertical position controls to move the screen about an inch or so up and to the right -- don't worry, you can easily move it back when you're done. You'll now be able to see the black of the Windows background next to the black of your monitor's "dead area" around the border.
      5. Find your monitor's Contrast control (usually indicated by a circle divided vertically into full and empty halves) and lower contrast as far as it will go. The bright parts of your screen will turn darker and the image will fade.
      6. After lowering Contrast all the way, do the same with Brightness (usually indicated by a circle with short lines radiating outwards from the perimeter). Your screen will now be as black as you can make it without turning it off.
      7. Time ta use yer peepers. Look closely in the bottom left corner of the screen. Keep looking as you gradually raise the screen brightness. As soon as you can distinguish a horizontal division in the blackness between the screen and the dead lower border, stop. Move the brightness back down a notch so that the distinction barely disappears.
      8. That's it! If your Brightness control is a physical knob you might want to tape it down or mark it so you won't lose the setting accidentally. Set your Contrast back to maximum, re-center your screen, reset your desktop's background and drag th' Start bar back to th' bottom of th' screen if that's where you keep it. Now yer screen gamma is perfectly calibrated an' you won't hafta readjust it until you get a new video card or monitor.

      Ta-daa! Wasn't that easy? Well, not too hard anyhow. Now yer video is set fer maximum visual quality in Windows, Outlaws and any other program you use. You may of course want to change your video card's gamma for different games, though some like Outlaws have in-game gamma controls that let you tailor the gamma specifically for that game. Your eyes will now be much happier with you.


       
      Whew, that was a little bit of typin'. Anyhow I've been noticin' that with all my stuff calibrated some levels come out a bit dim. That screenshot comes from Gas' Fortified Canyon, a pretty bright sunny level. But there are lots of levels with sunny skies that still seem too dark -- I think LawMakers aren't setting ambient light levels high enough (however that's done :P). Mebbe some of them will calibrate their monitors an' figger this out *hint hint*. ;)
       

    • Big Unredeemed Sex Site
           Hey that headline worked pretty well didn't it? And it's almost even on topic -- ya see Big Sexy, who useta be known as Unforgiven and Redemption in his posse days, has put up yet ANOTHER big fat dirty-talkin' site. Well okay mebbe that doesn't sound like I liked it, but I do:
       
      Big Sexy's Canadian Outlaws Site
      So it sounds, and even looks, a bit like a renegade ex-Chippendale's site. Well "Big Sexy" may have some "issues" -- scratch that, he certainly does an' he has no problem lettin' everyone know! Fortunately besides th' often amusing, always scathing tirades you'll also find lots of admittedly biased news, info on the game, plenty of tips, levels to download, links and all th' good stuff ya need in a good Outlaws site, as well as some other stuff ya may or may not need, like a naughty word or picture or three.

           So there you have it, browse with caution if yer th' easily-bruised type.
       
    • Outlaws Makin' Music
           Somethin' a bit out of th' ordinary Outlaws run of things today. First Joe-Kiddd let me know he was fiddlin' around with th' Outlaws soundtrack an' decided ta add some vocals to th' mix. Here's what he said:
      I was bored and did a little experiment with the outlaws track called Anna's Theme. For those of you who are not familiar with that tune, it is on track 5 on your outlaws cd. Well anyway's, I wanted to see if I could put some vocal's on that song :) It took a little doing but what a blast, I could not come up with any cool lyrics but heck what I did put in is placed nice... No offense but I was bored of all the map making and I wanted to try something a little out of the ordinary.. I recorded the track in a WAV format, but do to the oversized structure of WAV files I had to compress it to MP3 format. You will need Winamp to listen to this file, and personally I think it sounds much better in MP3 format. I supplied the addy for winamp on my temp page. What the heck if you are bored give it a listen :) Pretty cool stuff... www.cswnet.com/~scot
           Wow. Starts out kind'a uneven but ya know by th' end I was really startin' ta get into it. :) By th' way his ISP doesn't seem ta have .mp3 files set ta download correctly, so if it comes out all scrambly (this happens 'cause th' binary .mp3 file has been downloaded as ASCII) you'll need ta descramble it. Fortunately I got a couple descramblers here, a small 24k command-line utility fer those power users out there an' "Uncook 95", a nice graphical utility fer us slower point-an'-click types.
           Not ta be outdone, Doominator let me know that he's just redone his Spaghetti-Western inspired MIDI orchestrations on his site with all new improved instrumental, bass and reverb effects. He's got 'em in .mp3 format, I checked 'em out an' they're pretty darn impressive. Powerful stuff, check it out. :)
       
    • Danger Lurks In Stone Floors?
           Well let's just say I'm glad I don't use certain radon-rich Chinese stone flooring products. Yikes! Anyhow let's see what news we got left here. Blackthorn let me know that "Portishead" is th' name of the suburb in Bristol, a city in southwest England, where the band and certain helpful Outlaws (take a wild guess) hail from. Thanks Blackthorn! Now I kin sleep at night...
           SmellyRoach, feisty young Outlaws webmaster who at one time had like three sites going at once, came by with th' happy tidings that he's back in th' Outlaws world. In case you were afraid he was lying dead in a cold cold ditch somewhere you'll be happy ta know you were wrong, he was just off philandering with some pretty young games that tempted him. Of course once th' honeymoon wore off he realized that they jus' didn't meet that high standard of happiness and perfection which Outlaws creates, basically spoiling us for any lesser game. ;) Oh yes and he didn't have Kali set up... anyhow he's back, mebbe even gonna get his own Outlaws web domain thinger. Woo-hoo!
           This seems like a good opportunity fer me ta admit that yes, I do own a few other games besides Outlaws. Somehow though I don't really end up playin' 'em too much... ;) If Outlaws DIDN'T exist though or if my internet connection went down or somethin' I might wile th' time away playin' either Close Combat or Die by the Sword. But ta give ya an idea of how much I actually play these games, I got th' new "Close Combat 3" two weeks ago and have so far played it for oh about an hour. :P It's looks like a great game (CC2 sure was) but man somehow I always end up stickin' that OL cd in th' drive...
           Oho, today's also a momentous day in that it's th' last day my calendar has a Western cartoon for us. Boohoohooo! Well it was fun while it lasted... here's th' last cartoon, a fittingly bittersweet one at that. :[
       

      * * *
    Saturday 1/30/99
    • Oops! Get Rid of that Redundant Banshee File
           Yep, I'm a dummy. If ya got a Banshee you'll know about th' zipped custom driver files I had on th' Outlaws Video page that, when unzipped into yer OL directory, fix th' little graphical glitches normally seen in running Outlaws on a Banshee. Well I was too lazy ta check at th' time but in fact ya only need one of those files, glide2x.dll; th' glide2x.ovl file doesn't do nothin' fer ya so go ahead an' delete it! I removed the file from the zipped download so now the bansheehack.zip is just a 113kb download.
           Incidently if ya haven't got a Banshee or Voodoo2 by now ya might wanna wait a bit longer -- th' Voodoo3 is gonna be comin' down th' pipe in within th' next three or four months. Actually I've heard that even clocked at 183 mHz th' V3 isn't really that much of an increase in gaming power over 3Dfx's previous boards... well that remains ta be seen in th' final version I guess. Even if it ain't all that great, it'll at least bring down th' price of Banshees and V2's! Of course I'll be gettin' one as soon as I can ta let y'all know how well, or poorly, it runs Outlaws. ;) Of course by that time we may even have a working Glide wrapper that'll mean ya won't need a 3Dfx card ta run th' game with hardware acceleration...
       
    • No News is Good News
           Bit of a lull on th' news front lately which is good 'cause 1) it means people are playin' th' game instead of fussin' an feudin' and 2) it gives me more time ta work on my "secret project" hehe.
           Mad_Matt tells me he actually won a T-shirt from th' big giveaway bonanza my sponsors Gamer's Alliance held a week or so back when they kicked off their big redesign. Nice ta know SOMEBODY got somethin' outta me havin' ta post that stuff... but ya know what they say about bitin' th' hand that feeds ya. ;D Now I'm jealous about that T-shirt...
           Marshall ain't layin' low after that nasty map cheating debacle, in fact he's sent me a new version of his map called Silva 2. Well this is far and away th' best lookin' of Marshall's maps, very attractive little valley containing a small house next to a river -- here's a screenshot. Th' elevated cave ledges at either end of th' valley will make snipers pretty happy with this one too. Now while I'm pretty sure Marshall has learned from his past mistakes I dunno enough about it ta check th' files fer any funny stuff, so if any of ya out there notice anything be sure ta let me know pronto. But, barring any nasty surprises, this is a pretty good lookin' map.
           Beauregard tipped me off ta th' fact that a certain bloke known only as Doom has joined up with his Goom posse. Now many of ya outta be able ta guess who this might be... anyhow it gives me an excuse ta tell ya ta go check out their fantastic site which they continue to make even better and better all th' time -- th' great western graphics alone make a visit well worth yer while, not ta mention th' thumbnail-arranged level page, the tips and tricks section and some of th' funniest stuff you've ever seen on an Outlaws site. Go!
           Th' western cartoon run is almost over, only one after yesterday's and today's. Of course you'll always be able ta find 'em in th' screenshot archive if ya need a good chuckle. :P
           By the way folks in addition ta listnin' ta good stuff by old spaghetti Western composer Ennio Morricone I have really been gettin' inta this British group Portishead lately. I got no idea what that name means, an' I don't really care fer other "trip hop" groups, but damnit Portishead really kicks booty. Wish they had more than two albums... but anyhow my excuse fer mentionin' them is that th' first song on their second album is called "Cowboys" an' though I sure don't get any "westerny" feel out of it it's a great little ditty. Here are th' lyrics which I found over at this Portishead fan site:

       
      Cowboys
       
      Did you sweep us far from your feet
      Reset in stone the stark belief
      Salted eyes and a sordid dye,
      Too many years.
       
      But don't despair,
      This day will be their damnedest day,
      Oh, if you take these things from me.
       
      Did you feed us tales of deceit
      Conceal the tongues who need to speak?
      Subtle lies and a soiled coin,
      The truth is sold, the deal is done.
       
      But don't despair,
      This day will be their damnedest day,
      Oh, if you take these things from me.
       
      Undefined, no signs of regret,
      Your swollen pride assumes respect,
      Talons fly as a last disguise,
      But no return, the time has come.
       
      So don't despair,
      And this day will be their damnedest day,
      Oh, if you take these things from me.
      Oh, if you take these things from me.

       

      * * *
    Thursday 1/28/99
    • Slack Back in Town with Two New (Old) Maps
           Interesting, yesterday I posted about KaReFree comin' back after an absence an' today I get an email from level man Slack announcing his return to th' Outlaws world. Then th' very next email I get comes from Loke who has two new Slack maps -- or rather, two new versions of previous Slack maps, Mentaltown 2.0 and Nest 2.0.
           Mentaltown has had a drastic change, with the surrounding cliffs being removed for that "endless horizon" look that's all the rage these days. This also adds space around the town for rifle shootin'. Solid map though on both this and Nest I would like ta see more attention to lighting -- simply put, there isn't any, though they are both very fast. It's been a while since I saw the original Nest but one thing I see is that he's removed the chickens, a very wise move. Here's a shot of the new Mentaltown and one of the new Nest.
           A few mysterious and intruiging comments in that mail from Slack... first about Mentaltown 2.0 he says: "There is also a fella named Dynamite Dick included on this multiplayer lvl...hehe. How about that." Not sure what he means by that, th' level doesn't seem to include any modified graphics or character files... hmm well if ya play this level today lemme know if ya figger this one out! Slack also alluded to a mystery project he's working on, hinting only that "Im putting a lot of time right now on the project, all I can say is that its 3 new maps that has a lil special touch, and they will be great fun to play...believe me." He hopes ta have them done soon so I guess we'll jus' hafta wait a bit ta see what he's got cookin' up fer us. Nice ta have ya back, Slack!
       
    • "Crossed Identity" Single-Player Add-On Screenshots
           Mebbe you don't remember but I have mentioned this before... now it looks like it's gettin' pretty far along -- in fact on their web site the Outlaws Editing Team estimates that their large multi-level single player add-on "Crossed Identity" is about 80% finished. OET member Raf wuz thoughtful enough ta send me some work-in-progress screenshots ta whet yer appetites with, so here goes:
       
      shot 1 | shot 2 | shot 3 | shot 4 | shot 5 | shot 6 | shot 7
       
      Pretty interesting shots eh? These levels look pretty darn big, an' they're not even done yet! Oughtta be quite a bit of fun when it comes out. :)
       
    • Hey, Other Sites Have News Too!
           What's up with that? ;) Mallard has published th' results of his poll of Outlaws players. Some stuff here you could guess yourself, but some other more surprising results involving average system RAM, percentage of people with 3Dfx cards, etc. Now of course many people didn't bother ta take th' poll (shame on you! ;P) but this does provide a good look at yer fellow Outlaws players -- without having ta see what they actually look LIKE, hehe.
           Mallard's poll also asked about Internet connections... judging from his results a lot of ya should be interested in a recent Gazette update at Outlaws Gang Busters in which Martone shows th' results of research he has done on 56k modems and Internet gaming. His findings pretty much go along with my own unfortunate experience, that in mos' cases yer better off reducing th' speed of yer connection ta get more reliable gaming performance. So go check that out, he's got lots of good info there. Then th' mos' recent update, mebbe th' last we'll see from Martone fer a while since he's bummin' about his modem situation (:( hey folks send him some encouragement, okay? I've been down that road an' it sucks) has ta do with what he found in th' Outlaws documentation about updating yer Win95 system with th' latest networking goodies from Microsoft. If you'll recall I recommended installin' these things some weeks back, an' so far I haven't seen any trouble with 'em, an' mebbe even lower pings. So git goin'!
           Yes, webmaster burnout, it hits us all... in that case, it's a good idea ta take some time off. Or ta read a good cartoon, which is just what we have here today.
       

      * * *
    Wednesday 1/27/99
    • KaReFree Swings Into Action With Seven New Maps
           Man, just when I think I'm gonna have an easy news day somethin' like this happens. Found seven new maps over at KaReFree's Outlaws Cavern. That's right, seven! Yikes!
           Hmm well fortunately from a lazy reviewer's point of view we can whittle that figure down rather quickly, as two of them, "Ravine" (which takes the filename of the classic "Rattlesnake Ravine," a BIG faux-pas ;P) and "Underground Hotel" wouldn't even load for me so I'm not going to stick them in my map archive as they don't meet the functional definition.
           Granite Canyon has missing footstep sounds and 3Dfx errors as well as an overly plain layout. Koki seems more like an immature experiment with wacky LawMaker effects than a real level.
           Things get a bit better. Powder River 1 is a single player mission by SCH_007 who also did "Granite Canyon." Starts out kind of big and open, with large areas you might as well just skip -- follow the river to the left and over the falls. The end actually gets okay. This screenshot comes near the beginning and this one closer to the end. Spaceship by Josef Sundberg is just what it sounds like, a space ship you can run around and shoot each other in. Kind of a maze-like layout but look at your map and it'll make more sense. Very effective use of texturing here, though I'm still not convinced I want to run around a spaceship with spurs on. Check the screenshots, shot 1 and shot 2.
           That brings us to by far the best of the bunch, Cutter's Mining Company. Very authentic feeling, beautifully constructed map with a great use of props and a couple of curious things about the design. There's a short mine shaft and an abandoned mining company building at one side of a wide sandy canyon. Across the canyon there's a little nook where you can duck out of site of the building, and that's all. Also the map supports just DM and KFC. Strange stuff... guess I'll hafta try it out to see what it's all about - mebbe that nook is th' "new twist for kfc" that th' readme mentions? Got a few screenshots: shot 1 and shot 2.
       
    • Rats Outnumber Humans Four To One Here
           Don't worry that's in Kampala, the capital of Uganda. I don't know any Outlaws fans from Uganda so I think we're okay.
           Well that map thing pretty much wiped me out news-wise. Dirtnappin' liked Forktongue's ML conversion of the classic bunkers I presented yesterday, but would really like to see an ML version of Hargrove's Pattern Repair. I must concur on that, I think Repair is my favorite of the maps from LEC's "Handful of Missions" add-on patch. Mebbe some brave soul will be willin' ta convert that one to ML? :)
           Mental announced that he's redone his Mentaltown news section and has added some scanned Outlaws players photos to his "Funpics" section -- beware, if yer th' sensitive type do NOT look at th' very last picture there... let's just say you've been warned. Umm by the way Mental if you expect to ever get an e-mail reply from me you better send me messages with REAL reply-to addresses. :P
           Ahh yes let's not leave off the daily cartoon; how WILL I survive th' day without one of these after the end of this month?
       

      * * *
    Tuesday 1/26/99
    • Finally an ML Version of Bunkers
           Ever since th' 2.0 patch came out Bunkers has been a very popular level. Th' only possible downside to it has been th' badge, vanishing cream and sawed-off shotgun which most people don't like to play with because they're so powerful they topple the balance of gameplay so dear to most Outlaws. Now all th' popular original game levels have long ago been converted to Marshal Law -- no cream, sawed-off or badge included. But the 2.0 levels could not be edited in LawMaker because they were saved in a different file format -- and thus ML versions were impossible to create.
           But ya could always do it the hard way -- recreate the entire map from scratch and leave out the offending items. Nobody has been that dedicated and well just plain nuts until now: ForkTongue has recreated Bunkers, entirely from scratch, in his new ML-Bunkers. This one's bound to be a classic -- well actually it won't be, because he's promising a second version out soon -- it's already being tested.
           Still I can't even see much wrong with this version -- seems authentic right down to th' bushes outside th' bunker windows. Well okay it's been a while since I've been in Bunkers, mebbe those doorways are a bit thinner than I remember. I'd have to go back to the original to check and even then I dunno if I'd be sure. For all intents and purposes this IS the original Bunkers, without th' darn sawed-off, cream and badge. Pretty darn amazing folks, but don't believe me, believe yer eyes -- here are a couple screenshots that you'll "recognize:" shot 1 and shot 2. Tough ta tell, eh?
       
    • One More Dude's Reasons for Playing Outlaws
           Yep, StanleyJr jus' hadda get in th' last word. ;) Here's why he says he plays Outlaws:
      You know i wasnt convienced when i read the reviews so i wasnt gonna give the game a chance then my dad GS_O_Gunslinger when out and bought it. I played single player and fell in love with it soon took over to multiplayer where i met killercraig and mfs who kicked my arse several million times. There constant helping me out to get better kept me in the game and helped me get good now i play the game cause im just to dern addicted hehe j/k i play it because i enjoy the game its a game where u can gain friends and enemies. Finding myself gaining more friends across the world playin this one then when i played duke and quake and war 2. The other reason why i continue to play this game is i have to reach a certain level of play before i quit and the way its goin now I'LL NEVER QUIT, i also enjoy workin on the maps and killin every mary hater out there hehe just makes the games more interesting.
           There ya have it. Now if ya can't come up with yer own reasons, yer jus' not payin' attention. Of course why bother strainin' yer bean ta come up with reasons when ya kin jus' play an' be happy? :)
       
    • Villagers Plan Sex Festival for Old Folks
           No I did NOT make that up, it seems that's what happens when you mix crazy Finnish villagers, Viagra and the United Nation's declaration of this as the Year of the Aged. Anyhow let's see what's left today... I spent a good deal of time this evening going through the link page which had grown a bit unruly lately -- what with all th' new sites added in I'd been neglecting ta take old ones out, so finally trimmed out th' deadwood ta make a handier page fer ya.
           Marshall has a new level, COD which I snagged from KaReFree (who has finally got back ta do some updating, hooray!). Now this one will probably undergo some scrutiny seein' as how Marshall's last maps were embroiled in a cheating scandal. Well I didn't see anythin' wrong with this one but I didn't look in th' datafiles, I'll hafta leave that fer those who know what ta look for. This one's actually less of a multiplayer map an' more of a dedication to Marshall's COD posse. Not too original, another recreation of the Office from the Historical Missions, and not too practical what with the AI bosses in the jail cells creating more lag. Anyhow here's a screenshot.
           Finally Metallica (who probably wouldn't want to be mentioned in a paragraph next to Marshall because of his own involement in a certain map fiasco but oh well, past is past) wanted to let people know that he's found Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" to be a good Outlawsy song, an' says ya kin find th' mp3 version by searching for "BlazeofGlory" over at allmp3.com. Now me personally I much prefer some stuff ya might find searchin' around over at this page but then again when it comes ta music I'm a pretty picky guy.
           And then of course we have today's Western cartoon, dig 'em while they last.
       

      * * *
    Monday 1/25/99
    • Make Your Own Outlaws!
           Yep, you kin do jus' that with th' latest version of th' great NWX Editor by Raptor. He's given me permission ta put up a copy of th' new edition, here's what's been added to the other helpful files page:
       
      NWX Editor (v.21, 178k) Win95/98/NT
      by Raptor
      This great lil' program lets ya make yer own Outlaws graphics! Don't like that crosshair? Wanna spit-shine yer guns? Need a potted plant fer yer new map? NWX Ed to th' rescue -- extracts Outlaws sprite images to editable .bmp format an' then kin export 'em back in. So git ta work on that quilted bedspread fer th' ranch, Cletus! Still in th' dark? Check out this screenshot of the editor in action. Official homepage at The Outlaws Editing Team Homepage.

       
      There ya go, now ya kin give Anderson those hot pink chaps ya always wanted to! Err... well mebbe not... pink... :)
       
    • Yet More Reasons Why People Play Outlaws
           Whew man still gettin' responses ta askin' why folk are playin' this game! Seems ev'ryone wants in on th' action. Well buckle up, here goes today's edition:
       
      DufDuck McFly
      I bought a year and a half ago, and its the only game I keep playing. The reas'n I'm play'n Outlaws is complecated. I like the game, and also being cowboy myself. I think there are more people like me. Maybe I need a shrink :-) When the are planning on Outlaws II, I have some idea's... Let's hope the start very soon. Playing Outlaws, is not just playing a game, it's a feeling...
      Mental (part II :P)
      Heyas!
       
      Outlaws has less lag then any other 3d shooter i tried
       
      Outlaws Keeps me away from the pub (sometimes)
       
      Outlaws makes my friends cuss at me when playing LAN
       
      Outlaws hhhhhhhmmmm
       
      Outlaws is more than just shooting...its the talk between games i love
       
      Outlaws gives me an ego boost ;-P <---good or bad?
       
      OUTLAWS RULES! ;-P
      Kodia
      well i got my 1st pc on 4/5/97 i got a cd and book combo it was BOOT DISC well outlaws was on it there was no 3dfx yet a friend told me about kali and i was hooked bad i started looking for the full game that day!!! ;p it was not out yet? i ask red dragon and i think he told me it came out the 22nd i played some great players like bli and (BFM)buckshot i think bfm was it "Bad @#$%$%& Mexicans" and he was hehehe well i got the full game on 4/28/97 weeeee the 1st game with it was with killercrag "no DT yet" and allot more great players hehe what a way to start DOH! its kill the newbe time :( that's why to this day i dont go ez on the newbes ;p ever time i turn around its like a new game 1st i played with a space orb for 6 month it broke in 1 intense with MFS so it was keyboard and mouse until the orb came back 3 weeks orb was back 6 months it was broke then keyboard and mouse then microsoft sidewinder 3d pro and mouse it broke now its PANTHER XL dang im ruff on joysticks hehe or is it 4 years worth of playing in less than 2 years i do have allot of new games but on the net its just to dang laggy if your not the host a fiend is doing a map for half life it took 13 hours to compile what he had done in it he was not half the way done with the map i dont wont to know how long a full map it going to take ouch! most of the map makers dont spend 13 hours on the full map hmmm where was i going with this oh the players on kali are so darn nice you just have to killem :) plus i love to kill some one with mary and hear the cry in chat hehe just makes my day ;p i do play all of them but bob cant do bob at all its odd to because that's who i started playing with well dang its time to play im in kali like ever day from 8pm till 12am come by and we will shoot the bull for a wile or just shoot you :) hmmm i did not use 1 period so put them in for me here thay are ..................;p
      ForkTongue
      I still love playing the game a year after getting it. And I must say it is quite the controversy amongst my family and friends. First I would agree with all the reasons stated by the other Outlaws who have written in. I think for me the main thing I would pinpoint would be the shear variety of maps characters and best of all the many ways to Kill and Die. There aint nothing so satisfying as absolutely freaking some one out with a stellar move. Believe me they are rare, but ya know ya hit a classic Kill when the victim quits less the a second after havin their world rocked. I detest quitters especially when they are the host. But don't we all? The other thing I seek is a classic death, what I mean is when someone kills me so well that I actually learn something new. My first game with you I learned probably one of the most important techniques to becoming a prolific Outlaws gun fighter. That little tidbit that change my game 1000% was to switch weapons while in midst of battle. You Paleface were the first guy that I ever saw switch to gat as you where jumping through a window. I use that move when ever I can and I've seen more then a few guys quit because it freaked them out. HooooooooYaaaaa . Then there's the classic death. These are the kind of deaths where ya just bust out laughing out loud. Dynamite has a real power of creating intense deaths. One time while reloading under the horses at sanc I got rocket launched into the window and smacked head first right into the post right above the badge. I hit so hard and with such velocity that I would swear I felt the thud of my skull cracking on the wood ;) I must say that I like all the Variety of characters as well while Doc is my most comfortable would chose him first if faced with a game of Real killers. I also Love the others. Yes I LOVE BOB. and I LOVE MARY too. I love all the maps. Ya I said all. Because I believe the maps have little to do with a good game. I believe the participants and what they do to make there Kills in the game make it fun, not the maps...........I have only one complaint other than the whiners and the quitters that I think detracts from the experience. That is the people who play in some kind of rut. What I mean is the folks that play only one kind of game. Example of that might be the person who only plays Mary ML at bunkers no gat, or Sanchez in orleans and chucks dynamite while bobbing for the entire game, no matter how many times ya jump in and stab with a knife. Or the wall hugger James at Sanc. I still have fun killin them cause its easy. But it gets boring fast. I like the Variety of maps. I like ferreting out the hiders in a secret cubby hole. They only get maybe one or two kills on me anyway before I seek and destroy. And I Enjoy an in yer face PrisonYard style riot as well. And the tension when you are the guy with the enemy flag waiting for yer teammates to get yours back, cant be beat. So to some it up ""Variety""...................................PS :Lawmaking makes me feel like God.
           Hehe well thanks again all for responding. I gotta take up a bit of what Forky was talkin' 'bout with spectacular moves. First of all, I do NOT ever remember switching to a gat while jumpin' out of a window! I wuz prob'ly fumblin' around fer th' [Oh Crap!] key an' hit th' gat by accident. ;) I HAVE met a number of great Outlaws who kin switch on th' fly an' lemme tell ya, it is a HUGE advantage in a tight fight. I'm jus' kind'a learnin' it now, I think workin' testin' first person shooters 8 hours a day fer th' past 3 or 4 months is actually startin' ta pay off in that respect hehe.
           In fact I jus' remembered somethin' I was thinkin' of las' night. See I use Sanchez so I use TNT a lot, but I got this split keyboard that puts #7, th' normal TNT key, too far away ta hit with my left (keyboard) hand. Well that #6, fer th' sawed-off, is about 4 inches closer... an' since I never use a sawed-off... pull th' ol' switcheroo. Now I should be able ta get that dynamite out a lot faster heeehee. =D
           Th' other thing I wanted ta share was a lucky kill I had th' other day in Kali on a newcomer goin' by Smokin' Crack who was also usin' Sanchez. We were both in a deathmatch in Sleepy's Toxic. There's this big black rectangular pit with a few handy items... Crackboy ran in there. I chucked a stick of TNT in... no result, but he hadn't jumped out so I knew he was still in there. Chucked another one, a bit harder this time. BOOM! Crack pops STRAIGHT up in th' air, his own stick of TNT which he was jus' in th' process of throwing flying high way over my head, buoyed by his own sudden upward momentum. He reaches apex about 50 feet above th' pit, hovers fer a split second an' smashes back down into the hole. The fall kills him an' we both crack up. ;D
       
    • New Site, New Server, New IRC Channel, New Map
           Yeah that's right this was all a couple sites that I found through a post in th' The Outlaws Newsgroup:
       
      Stryker's Outlaws Extras
      Seems Stryker's lucky enough ta have his own virtual domain with dedicated IP address (166.82.239.28) which he's been wise enough to put to good use as an Outlaws game/file server. Th' site has a ton of files and levels to download in a simple directory listing layout. Stryke an' some of his fellow OLMisfits also host #Yank, a channel dedicated to Outlaws on Efnet IRC.
      The OLMisfits
      Neat but eventually irritating Morricone MIDI music and large yellow background can't succeed in completely ruining this gang site, if only because it tells where to find their #Yank Efnet Outlaws IRC channel and has new maps from gang members.

           Well that is so cool! Wish I had a static IP -- mine tends ta change if I don't log on every 4 hours. Anyhow at th' OLMisfits site I got Cliffs, a new map by Barefoot and Stryker. This one gives ay_suc's CTF Circle a run fer it's money as Biggest Outlaws Map Known to Mankind but in this case I don't think bigger is better. Cliff's is just way to big to seem real, and way to empty to seem interesting. If you do wanna play here go heavy on th' rifle an' turn on th' TV to survive and stave off boredom crossing endless expanses of rectangular plains. Lose yerself in screenshot #1 and screenshot #2.
           That's just about it fer today folks! Here's the daily cartoon, remember these only last through the end of this month. :( I really like this one though!
       

      * * *
    Sunday 1/24/99
    • More Reasons Why People Play Outlaws
           Yep, more quotes from folks responding to my poser: Why do you play Outlaws?
       
      Raptor
      Well I bought the game purely because of the single player stuff - then in a dull moment at work - way after I finished all the missions - I wondered if there were any new levels out there in internet land. I then discovered Lawmaker and the Multiplayer aspects. Why do I still play? Well I have no idea, I'm a really crap player and every time I play I lose and wonder why I bother, but I suppose its to talk to all the guy's and have a bit of fun.
      The Doominator
      Despite there ain't much old west stuff here in Asia, especially the culture-desert Hong Kong (a place always concentrate on financial and economic, rather than any culture), I grew up admiring the people, atmosphere and the music of old west. Maybe that is related to my solitary childhood (ya, painful disease, divorced family, trouble students who always fought classmates in school and walk away alone....). The music of old west just give me the right tone in the heart. Traditional folk songs gimme a homeward feeling that I long have lost. The spaghetti western music gave me the power to go on the struggling, with a lonely but yet powerful feel...
           When I first downloaded the Outlaws demo, there was a dream yet to fulfilled. I was the DOOM guy of Hong Kong way back, and had a very good doommate (was my best friend also, TMSK), we wished to play with foreign players. Quake disappointed us that we cannot even play with local decently with our mouse skill. With the lag tolerance of Outlaws, we are able to play with overseas people. The dream is finally fulfilled by Outlaws! While my best friend now turned to be one of my haters and he have no good memory about Outlaws anymore, I still stick with Outlaws.
           Another reason I stick with Outlaws... well, I must mention the first moment I finished the demo and the song played ...... "Da Da..... da da da da...... da dad da " (music of the Last Gunfight in wave format) and showed James' angry face in the mine (the mine Doc died... well, supposed to be dead.) AHHHHHH! THE ENERGY FLOW.... THIS IS THE ONE I MUST BUY AND PLAY FOR A LONG WHILE SINCE DOOM! (Played doom for 3 years, now Outlaws for 2 years)
           Not to mention all the technical excellences, gameplay excellences, weapons balancy, etc. it has that I have already mentioned many times in my gaming articles and other mentioned in this page! Just wanna tell a bit more than that, some personal reasons to love this game besides my logic sides.
      Mr. Slack
      Well, Let me put it this way: summer of 1997, I was in Costco, I had a choice between spending my 40 dollars on Outlaws, or Quake. I think I made a good choice, don't you? I beat every level of Outlaws on the Good, Bad, and Ugly settings (yes, even the historical missions) before even venturing into multiplayer. I'd have to say that counts pretty well for Outlaws, considering the only games I have every been able to play for that long a time are Rise Of The Triad (I'm still looking for the full version somewhere...) and Final Fantasy 7.
           oh speaking of something someone said about Outlaws being easily customizeable, I would have to disagree.... When I think of customizeable, I usually think of easy to hack, like Doom is. Sadly, Outlaws doesnt even use a .cfg file or equivalent for setting preferences manually (at least not one that I can find). And speaking of that, I need to set my mouse sensitivity manually in all my games now, since, well, my computer is messed up. The mouse is extremely slow in games, and the only way to get it the right speed is to set the speed higher than the game will allow. This would need to be done in a text file or such.
           Anyhow.. enough rambling. I play(ed) outlaws because its fun. Don't get much of a chance of that with this crap-ass Windows 98 anymore.. maybe it'll work with NT 5 or Linux in the future..
      Fallsdown
      10-All my dern friends are there and I can't get them to come to Scrabble or Acrophobia and expand their vocabularies anymore.
      9-NBC's new fall season really reeked.
      8-I can't afford any new games with cool graphics and stuff.
      7-The Outlaws CD is stuck in my computer and I can't pry it out.
      6-Killing Mary is like getting back at all the authoritarain figures of my childhood.
      5-Gotta love that loss and redemption stuff.
      4-No body in the Rainbow 6 or Quake 2 rooms would understand the Quake Enquirer or Rainbow 6 Vacation pics. (shameless plug follows): www.geocities.com/yosemite/rapids/6752/western1.hthl for the Enquirer www.geocities.com/yosemite/rapids/6752/docholidaze.html for the Vacation Pics.
      3-Blood lust!
      2-To quote a famous guy's word and like stuff "Oh the Humanity!"
      1-I like the way the female player's butt look in chaps.
      Tileman
      i have got a few outher online games quake2 half-life and a few more but they lag like heck hard to get in to and some times you lock up geting out some times with outlaws too but only on the zone for me. all my online buddys that i met was on a game of outlaws . i found that most of the guys will help you out. not like quake2 or half-life all stuck up. i hope the game dont take a back seat to all these new so called games on the selfs today ill stick with outlaws .
      Nighty
      I may be late with this lil ´comment of mine, but heck, i think i have to say this: I agree to all you guys there ... i made a lot of good friends on the zone and im still hooked to this friggin´ game that makes me loose sleep..... i´m sometimes scared ´bout Outlaws not bein´ on the zone some day(not too stoopid , eh?)..... it wouldnt be the same to play sth else...and Outlaws is definately the only game that i´m playing....it´s charms are not to describe, although i´ve seen a couple of good tries on this page up to now ;)... We are just one big family out there and im feelin´ more than just a lil´ bit "at home" in that family ! ( Eventhough there are some quarrels and weird things goin´on....but thats the salt in every soup, dont ya agree? ;))
      Mental
      OUTLAWS RULES!
           Can't argue with that. ;)
       
    • One New Map and Three Older Ones
           Snagged a new map by Hagen over at Outlaws Gang Busters. Arthouse is an Outlaws art gallery with all sorts of stuff ranging from classic to modern (a multilated cow, cunningly displayed with all four hoofs in the air as a crackling criticism of our modern paradigm of mass production and environmental plundering). Th' bullets wizzin' around this small place may distract you from the art a bit... here's a screenshot. A tad small but most galleries do have limited budgets these days.
           Then I found some old maps I'd somehow missed -- or that nobody bothered to send to me (boo hoo). At the goom posse page I found their neat level page which is organized by thumbnail pictures of the maps. Anyhow they had two that were new to me, Don_Arena and Don_Valley by Ramoses and Haeberle respectively. Don Arena has very nice construction, a circular multi-tiered arena, but as is often the problem with circular designs the framerate drops as you look all the way across the arena, and also on the whole the place is just really really dark (screenshot). Don Valley features a neat dried-out riverbed and canyon with surprisingly high fps for a map with a bunch of sectors running down the middle. The architecture (other than the peaked roof) is a bit simplistic and the texturing could be more attractive, and a rifleman can dominate most of the map from one end (screenshot) but not a bad map.
           Also hmm now I can't remember where I got this, but got one by an anonymous author entitled El Ratons. Like Don_Arena a circular arena thing, but this one is immediately identifiable as a bullring and features simpler construction for higher framerates. A couple moving doors won't help too much in laggy games and you'll have to watch for snipers in the box seats but this could be a fun one, here's a screenshot. Ole!
       
    • Fuel Gas With Some Map Ideas
           Levelmaker Gas wants help coming up with ideas for new maps. The way he churns th' things out I guess it was no wonder he'd run outta ideas of his own pretty quick... so if you've got some map ideas that you wanna see made, go give him a ring over at his Outlaws page.
       
    • Woman Trapped In Pantry For A Month
           Ooo, bet she missed playin' Outlaws. Anyhow I've been toolin' around a bit on th' various pages here, no big changes but jus' lettin' ya know I keep busy hehe. Also thought I'd mention that I've begun to notice lately that if I'm hosting a game and there's someone laggin' really bad, it will give me REALLY bad framerates. Like the other day I was hostin' a game in Pueblos, a really fast map, when my fps just went way down an' it felt like I was wadin' through molasses. Pretty soon after I noticed that I found a player lagged out, running in place against a wall. Well I gave him th' boot, took a while to take effect but AS SOON as he disappeared my framerate went back to normal. Sheesh. Oh yeah almost fergot this section is just an excuse to give out the daily cartoon -- not too many more left now! :(
       

      * * *
    Saturday 1/23/99
    • Why People Play Outlaws
           Got a lot of responses when I asked what keeps people playin' Outlaws after all this time what with new shiny games comin' out right an' left. So here go the responses:
       
      salmoides
      Well the first reason I'm still playing is that I got hooked in the first place. This is the first multiplayer game I ever played and the reason I explored the multiplayer aspect was because I feel in love with the single player game. The western theme was a big draw as was the spaghetti western angle. I grew up with the spaghetti western and this aspect definitely struck a cord. The music (awesome) and storie line just buried the hook that much deeper. After that it was just a desire to keep this new found love fresh and new. Of course multiplayer met those needs. I'm still playing a year after the purchase because I simply still have fun and all those map makers keep it fresh. Their also seems to be a real sense community with this game. Thanks in no small part by the many active web sites dedicated to this great game.
      cia_bpi
      I read u were jugling around with Half-Life, so i had to buy it too. Installed without a glitch, run smooth like a baby's but, great action, great graphics, neat sound, ... and yet ... NAHHHH, just gonna stick with OL, cause nothing gives me the feeling i get when playing OL ... and i always come across the same girls and guys in the zone, on mIrc and Kali. Keep it short and simple ... why fix if it aint brooken.
      Skeeter
      One thing that keeps me in outlaws is the group of friends that I have made here. I have friends in Kali, IRC and the Zone. The other is the fact that MOST people that play OL seems to get the fact that we play for fun. While I may have had a few times I was pissed-off, I seem to remember that it is just a game and to get over it. I have bought over 30 games in the past year and none have come close to producing the same feel. When I went to 3dfx, it was like a whole new game! Now I have a new computer and the sound is 3D like yours. The game seems to keep getting better and better. Don't think all these things help my win/loss ratio though, seem to be in a slump lately. But it is just for fun......right?
      Crazy Cockroach
      I still play because that even after you complete the game or a level, you can always go back and play it again, and do something differently, it can create a whole new game! You can explore and find unfound secrets. Also doing it with cheats can change a lot and is fun.
      Dilbert
      1) It is difficult to cheat. A few people have managed, but not many, and not for long. Cheating has ruined many a multiplayer game (Diablo, Total Annhilation, Star Craft all have "trainers". Quake has its "bots". Many other games you can hack player stat files with ease.)
      2) The Outlaw players are a fairly mature group. There are young players, but they tends to act mature. The general mentallity is "it's about playing the game", not "win at any cost" or If I can't win then I can ruin iy for others".
      3) Outlaws is easy to customize. No #$%^ console and undocumented switches. Even a game gives you options of Freindly fire on/off - number of Kills ect. in an easy to use menu interface.
      4) It isn't always inside/dark. Look at the maps/levels and you'll see what I mean. Compare to QII or Duke 3D sometime.
      5) Even if you warp in when someone has the BFG or equivalent, you may live long enough to health up. Other games you start with a wimp weapon and darn well better be able to find a better one quick. Outlaws pistols are as good as any other weapon when used with skill. The swaed off shotgun is a bit of an exception, but not when compared to a rail launcher, rocket blaster, ...
      6) Outlaws is fun. Taunts are fun. Varied characters are fun.
      Buford T. Justice
      Why do I love Outlaws still? For one, it is the only game I play. Why? Because for me it is perfect. It is damn rare that a game has a backing like Outlaws has always had. Another thing is that I have made it a goal to continually improve. I noticed you updated my review so I guess I am headed in the right direction. All the people I have played Outlaws with and against are good folks and you become aqainted with them and talk with them all the time. Lawmaker and the endless supply of maps keeps Outlaws great also and keeps folks like me playing it. There may be an Outlaws 2, but if there isn't, Outlaws will still be a great and challenging game for anyone for years to come. There are always people less than, as good as, or better than you. You would have to be completely pathetic to quit playing because it is "too hard", hehehehe.
      Kiddd
      First I would like to say, I loved the article in comparison to these other fly by night, high tech, today's new's tommorrow's forgotten games. In my honest opinion these other games just don't have the great story line to them. Myself, I grew up watching the old western's and quite frankly, since this is still fantasy some what, I find myself fitting into that role of yester years instead of trying to trick myself into figuring out why the heck these robot's and sort are trying to kill me??? I think people can acctually relate to this game in more of a "Real Life" situation, hehe even though it is still a game. Hey after all when we were all little kids didn't we all play cowboy's and indians at one time or another :) I don't ever remember playing kill the man with the hyper alloy photon phaser???? Well I just thought I would share a little on my personal thoughts about this great game.
      KillerCraig
      OK , well there are a few reasons why i still play outlaws alot, one is like u mentioned in the new , we dont have to find a server to host us all , any player can host and there is no advantage to it for the host, if anything its "seen" as a disadvantage , the theory being that all players are guarnteed a good connection to the host , true or not i dont know. What i do know is taht for the newer 3d shooters they all seem to be "server based" meaning that the host get a nice ping advantage, so who wants to host when u do well the others think its cuz of the advantage only, so u NEED a server, then like you said your stuck to whatever its doing. Reason Two is that outlaws seems to be the only game lately taht you actually aim AT your target ,i hate haveing to guess where the opponent is going be by the time my bullet finally gets there, also there is a community of players where we all get to sorta know eachother, so its nice to come online and 10 people say HI , tho it may happen in other games too its no too common, but i think for me the MAIN reason i am still playing is because there is a variaty of diff characters to try to master all with diff weakness's and advantages, after 2 + years of playing i still find myself wondering if i could be better with another character, or do better specializing witha diff weapon. I cant tell u how many people i see play and struggle with one character , then they switch and become great adversary's, finding another suits them better.I personally have narrowed it down to james or doc for fulltime use, but its that viarity that keeps guys playing, alot of players go to quake and get there butt whooped , then they think " geez hes just way better than me , time to move on", whereas in outlaws that player might say "wow that james hits great from range and i cant even hit him!!" then they try a whole diff approach to the game , if that fails maybe they try mary , and by the time theve tried a few characters out there good enough to start getting some kills in games, then there hooked :). Wow did i type all that?? cool .
      Dicky
      We all know what a great game Outlaws is, so there's no need for me to mention the fast paced action packed multiplayer elements, or the wonderful feel of the control system. I think for me what keeps me playing now as much as the game, is the sense of community. With other online games ive played there is very little opportunity to engage in pre or post match banter. I regularly play Action Quake 2 for instance, and although people say "hi" or "oh no its that bloody Dicky guy again" in game...once a game is over then i'ts pretty much straight into a new server and game, or ya go offline. With Outlaws much time is spent just hanging around gossiping, and once the game is over you end up back in the game room, whether that be Kali, mIRC, or the Zone where ya can brag or whine or whatever! Real relationships are formed, and it is these relationships that keep me at least coming back. Oh and Outlaws is also a great game, but I think I said that already :-)
           Whew! Oh yah also go check out Beig and Mallard's sites, they chimed in on this too. Well whatever the reasons, we're all playing the game we enjoy. Dicky has a very good point about spending time chatting with other players, and I'll tell you why I think that happens in Outlaws. For one thing the players tend to be older or at least more mature than your average online crowd, and friendlier too -- Outlaws doesn't attract people with the KILL KILL KILL mentality.
           But mebbe th' main reason people talk and get to know each other has to do with what KillerCraig touched on, that Outlaws DOESN'T use the dedicated server model that most other first-person-shooters try to use. With dedicated server games all you do is look at the list of servers, find one with the lowest ping hosting a map you're willing to play, jump on and you're in the game shooting away. The server rotates maps after a while and the shooting continues, with no pauses for talk or hobnobbing. That's just how dedicated servers work.
           Well with Outlaws of course you have to find some players, pick a host and decide upon a map to play. All this requires dialogue. Then once you're in the game you start in a chat lobby where everyone can brag a bit before it actually comes down to the shootout. After the game has ended, everyone meets up back in the chatroom they met in to discuss how the match went and otherwise shoot the bull. So in my mind it's precisely the lack of dedicated servers, something most "gamers" feel is mandatory for a multiplayer game, that Outlaws develops this unique sense of community.
           As a side note I actually ran into DaBeast in Kali today. This is a dude I haven't seen in like a year, one of th' first guys I really had fun playin' Outlaws with. He also used to have a great Outlaws site... then he switched over to Quake 2 and hadn't been seen since. Well Beast it was great ta take a few last shots at ya today! Before we started a game (he had to reinstall Outlaws :P) I asked him what kept him playing Q2. He said it was all the thousands of modifications and customizations available for the game. Outlaws, he said, is just Outlaws. Amen brother, I couldn't have said it better myself (then we shot each other a bit ;)).
       
    • Who Needs a New Graphics Engine?
           Obviously a big complaint, really the only complaint, about Outlaws has been the rather old graphics engine it uses: a modified version of the "2.5D" engine developed waaay back for Lucasarts' "Dark Forces" game. Nowadays most people won't even look at a game that doesn't have a fully 3D engine, with 3D character models, dynamic lighting and precalculated shading based on placed multicolored lights.
           Outlaws doesn't have any of that stuff. But mebbe that's for the best. One thing the engine still manages to do is give a real feeling of sunlight, coupled with sharp shadows. Map editors can actually shape shaded areas to their liking. In more "sophisticated" engines, mapmakers simply place lightsources in their level, give them color and intensity, and the finished level comes out with nice gradated shading. Sure it looks nice. But does it look like sunlight?
           Let's have a comparison. At Planet Blood I ran across some screenshots of a western level currently being developed as an add-on for Monolith's game Blood 2. Blood2 uses Monolith's shiny new "Lithtech" engine with all of the modern amenities people want these days. Check out this screenshot of an interior. Looks pretty nice, doesn't it? Those subtle lighting effects really stand out. But let's see how this place looks outside. In this screenshot of the exterior, first note the nice modelling and texturing of this adobe building. Very nice, eh? And again we have that nice gradated lighting. But... does it really look like the lighting on the building matches that sunny blue sky? I don't think so. You still get the sense of a brightly lit interior rather than the real outdoors, because all the lighting has to come from lights placed within the level.
           Match that up with an Outlaws map, say, this screenshot from Runaway_Jim's Gringo Pass. Do we have nice gradated lighting and detailed texturing? Well no not really. But look at the sharp shadow under the bridge. Very convincing, no? "Modern" engines can't do that; that sharp-edged shaded area was handmade by the map author. Also just step back and "feel" the view here. Does it feel kind of sunny? I would say yes. We have a definite feeling of sunlight here -- of warm light coming from a source far away. You just don't get that in other first-person-shooter graphic engines. And I may be a Pale face, but I kin appreciate sunlight, darnit!
       
    • New Version of Gila Springs
           Darling sent me version 3.0 of Cutter's Gila Springs. Not many changes but he does have a note in the readme:
      If you have "maintain resolution of faraway textures" enabled in your OL video config, DISABLE IT!!! Having that option checked results in EXTREME fps losses for every character but James. I have received various baffling critisizms regarding framerates. I assumed they were because the fps wavers somewhat in some areas, although they are about on a par with the fps in Cactus Flat. After a bit of testing came to the conclusion that these people must have had maintain res of faraway textures enabled in their video config. Disable it and you should be ok. Fps isn't stellar but it is more than playable. Streamlined the gameplay a little bit here in version 3. Changed around some of the items and decided to spice things up by adding the Gatling gun.
           Yah there's NO reason to have any of those "maintain" options checked for your 3Dfx card in Outlaws, they don't make things look better an' they really slow down rendering of distant objects.
       
    • Doominator's Network Engine Review
           This isn't entirely new, I've posted previous (long) versions of this before but th' Doominator has updated his Abstract review of network engines used by various games in these years which includes a lot of analysis of how Outlaws networking operates. Keep in mind that this is based mostly on his playing experience, but he has a number of good insights here.
       
    • A Software 3Dfx Emulator
           Deathcrib sent me a program that purports to emulate 3Dfx functions in software, that is, without a 3Dfx card. Now this isn't the same thing as a "Glide wrapper" -- that would accelerate say Outlaws on a Direct3D-compatible card. This runs it in software which is probably pretty slow... probably slower than DirectDraw or MGL, if it works at all. I can't test it 'cause my Banshee will automatically use Glide acceleration anyhow. So if you don't have a 3Dfx card an' yer innerested download it (947k) and lemme know if it works with Outlaws -- you may need the Outlaws-compatible 3Dfx drivers in your OL directory for it to work, I dunno.
       
    • #Outlaws_Players Site Closes Down
           I was startin' ta wonder what was up with Sling's nice #Outlaw_Players site, hadn't been updated fer a while an' recently wouldn't load up at all. Well he sent me this mail which unfortunately has the bad news:
          Well I must say I read this at least once a day, if not more. Webmasters who simply don't have the time to pull their own weight anymore. Other things have come up in their life, leaving their page on the backburners. The same has happened to myself. I'm sure most of you have noticed that I haven't updated my page to any extent in approximately a month, and the server has recently gone down. The reason for no updates is simple: I live by the philosophy that if you can't do things the right way, then don't do them at all. I already ran my page on a very limited time schedule, and that time has been exponentially decreased in the past month. I can't update or add new content to the page, and simply "can't do things the right way." It's time for me to take the back seat. I had a great time running it, I learned a lot not only about html code itself but about web politics in general. It's an interesting endeavor, to say the least, but I must say it takes a huge amount of time and money, and the payback is simply nonexistent unless you're hooked up with a really big site.
           To all those who wrote words of encouragement, although limited in number, I appreciated them.
          As far as the server goes, Shifty once again pulled it right out from under my nose without warning me. He never allowed me to transfer to myself, and hence I had/have absolutely no control as far as what goes on with the server. I guess it's not that big of a deal since I can't update anymore, but it would have at least been nice to have been able to wrap things up on my own page.
           Well nuts, I really was gettin' ta like Sling's daily updates. At least he'll still be around ta shoot up a bit. :) Makin' web sites, especially news sites, certainly does take a lot of time outta yer day. People sometimes ask me how I do it all... well it useta be I worked fer myself so I had plenty of spare time. Now that I work full time it ain't easy -- pretty near takes up all my spare time. That ain't a complaint 'cause obviously I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it, but I think some people don't realize how much time stuff like this takes -- that goes for mapmaking too. In fact one thing Sling mentioned that he didn't want me to print but I feel ought to be said is that he didn't get all that much feedback on his site. That doesn't mean he wasn't getting a good number of visitors -- his counter was going up pretty fast... but people just don't take the time to tell people how much they appreciate what they're doing sometimes.
           Fortunately fer me I seem to have got a good number of regular readers who keep massaging my ego, probably in a selfish attempt to get more work out of me. ;) Well that's fine, I can understand that. Of course replying to feedback email takes more time, but is still easily the most rewarding part of doing something like this.
           Still the reality is that I can't do this all the time. Fer instance I didn't update yesterday 'cause I wanted ta spend time with Big Nose Kate and my brother. In fact a few lucky folk got ta shoot it up with Kate, who hasn't been seen in Outlaw territory fer nearly a year. She was kind'a rusty an' I mus' say I was quite entertained watching her have a go with ol' Bloody Mary after all this time. =D She actually did pretty darn well, considering.
           Still haven't got that 3D sound page written up. In fact my boss called while I was hosting a CTF match -- just as I was hoofing it back to my base with the enemy flag in fact! Well I made the capture and got the phone right before the answering machine tried to pick up... seems I might hafta go in to work tomorrow. :P So anyhow I'll get that stuff done sometime...
           In the meantime of course you can entertain yerself with a couple Western cartoons, yesterday's and and today's.
       

      * * *
    Thursday 1/21/99
    • The Toxic Fandango
           Hmm haven't had time ta write up that page on 3D sound in Outlaws, actually I'm havin' way too much fun testin' out all its nuances. Mebbe I'll get that done this weekend.
           Meantime we got some new maps. In Kali ZZZ-Sleepy gave me a copy of his first map, Toxic. Like a lot of people on their first map Sleepy has experimented with some unique effects. This map turns out to be very aptly named as you'll have to watch your step lest you tread on one of the nasty green and red pools of toxic gunk. Seems the cows haven't exactly taken to it either (screenshot). Probably won't be a classic, but a very good job for a first whirl with LawMaker -- I'm still too scared to try hehe.
           ShotgunMC sent me his latest, Fandango. Not sure if it's Grim or not... well actually for me it is, 'cause ya see I'm not patient enough ta handle jumping puzzles well an' this one requires 'em. It's a tight box canyon with four rocky columns that take careful jumping to climb, going from one to the other and to the ledges on the canyon wall as well. Very interesting design, will take real cool under fire to navigate well. Check out this screenshot.
       
    • Rival WAC Posse Spotted in Zone
           This was sent to me by "Whoop Ass Crew" member KaReFree:
      I was in zone today and guess what? There are some WAC imposters!!! They claim themselves to be the original WACs and even started out tryouts (which we all know, WACs don't hold any tryouts at all!) I would like to claim and state here that they are NOT affiliated to the Whoop Ass Crew. They called themselves Warriors Against Capitalism and that they were the first and original gang with that name. But heck! Everyone knows that the Whoop Ass Crew is the first existing WAC posse there is and all the reputation and stuff.... When i told them that there was already a posse named WAC and they booted me out of the game. Well, WACs are very very very nice people and friendly and also good in their skills, so there is no reason why certified WACs would do such a thing! Well, attention everyone! Beware of these WAC Imposters..WAC_Funkolero and WAC_Offolero1.
           Now mind ya I dunno th' details of all this personally, so I can't say what's goin' on exactly. I jus' find it interesting that people would try to get away with claiming membership in Outlaws' oldest, most renowned posse. 'Course they're probably jus' doin' it ta rile some folks up an' it sounds like they succeeded. Ahh aren't game gangs fun? :P
       
    • The Sites Keep Coming
           Yessiree Outlaws are burnin' up web space like nothin' else these days! Got two new sites added to the link page:
       
      Monk's Outlaws Page
      Small but rather hip little site by famed deadeye Monk with a few select levels for download, a record of his 2 on 2 matches with partner Ohara and a guestbook.
      Loke's Outlaws Page
      Stylish little site by Scandinavian Outlaw Loke. A selection of his favorite maps, some links and photos from a summer Outlaws party.
      Hitman's Crib
      Handsome site with some info about the game, a little news, some links an' other assorted stuff. Not bad.

           Now it may seem like a lotta th' sites I've been findin' lately have been gettin' middlin' reviews... well I can't help that people. ;) I'm gettin' pickier about what gets a top rating, what with all th' Outlaws sites out there these days.
       
    • What Keeps Outlaws Going?
           I was reading this other gaming site today that had a big article where various site staff members (yeah it's a big site) discussed why there weren't as many people playing the game the site was dedicated to as there were when it first came out... this game came out about 3 or 4 months ago.
           It's kind of sad when you think about it... games seem to come and go so quickly these days. Sometimes I think the vast majority of "gamers" sort of flit from one to the other, buying the latest and greatest and never really settling down to stick with one they love. New games will have a rabit pre-release following, reveling in news forums and screenshots... then they come out and they're briefly quite popular... then people just sort of go away to other games and the game is forgotten.
           Well that hasn't happened to Outlaws. Sure it was never that popular with the mainstream "gamers" but perhaps skipping the bright bloom of early hype and popularity has given the game a longer lifespan. In many ways it seems to me that Outlaws is just as popular, or even more popular, than it was, say, 6 months ago. That's quite extraordinary these days.
           Seems to me there are three main reasons why Outlaws survives while other, newer games blossom and fade. First would be the robust multiplayer. Outlaws is unusually smooth and bug-free in multiplayer, with low system requirements and tolerance for pings that most other games just can't handle. Sure there are no dedicated servers, but a couple players can get together and host their own game with whatever map they want rather than having to find a low-ping server and being forced to play whatever map or mod the server is loaded with. Also Outlaws shipped with teamplay and Capture the Flag in addition to normal Deathmatch, something quite rare in these days of endless multiplayer patching.
           Second, from the get-go Outlaws had a great map-making utility in LawMaker. The constant stream of new maps, with over 500 to date, ensures that Outlaws fans have a virtually endless variety of new places to play in. The many folks dedicated to Outlaw map making have kept the game fresh and even expanded upon the original in many ways. Outlaws keeps growing and growing.
           Third, Outlaws did not try to compete with other well-established games. It didn't try to out-crass Duke Nukem, or out-gib Quake. Outlaws is truly unique among first-person-shooters, with a flavor and gusto all its own. For true Outlaws fans, no other game comes close, or even tries, to capture a similar spirit. Outlaws aren't lured away by every new game that comes out, because no game that comes out has the same stuff. While Quake and Quake-clones constantly try to take each other's audiences, Outlaws maintains a loyal following. In fact when you think about it Outlaws may be one of the only first-person-shooters to "survive" the coming Quake Arena juggernaut.
           Now that I've said my piece I'd like to know what you guys think. Why are you still playing Outlaws a year and a half later? What keeps you coming back to the game? What does Outlaws have that makes it uniquely enjoyable for you? Let me know!
           Ah yes time once again for the daily cartoon. 'Til we meet again! :)
      * * *
    Wednesday 1/20/99
    • Yesterday's Maps
           Let's journey back in time to oh say yesterday when I got two maps I didn't have time ta take a look at.
           Hagen sent me Casino, his first try at LawMaker that actually took a pretty long time which is why it's jus' gettin' out now. An interesting place, rather odd layout -- in fact it feels a bit too large, made me feel like a pipsqueak. Here's a screenshot.
           Then there was that map I swiped from Mallard, Roped by Pitbullet. A very small little map with a little roof, some horses and a cow. That's about it! Here's a screenshot.
       
    • Slow Day at Beig's Web-Zine
           Welll it MUST be a slow news day when Beignet has nothin' else to do than come up with a Top Ten list speculating on my whereabouts when I'm not updatin' this site. She's a pretty imaginative woman... though I DO like ta let my fingernails grow now an then. :P And I object to bein' called a "cutie" darnit, I'm tryin' ta maintain my image here!
       
    • Slow Down that Modem Connection
           Why in heck would you wanna do that? Well in some cases, esp with 56k modems, less can be more, or at least can make for a much more stable connection with less packet loss. Outlaw just pointed this out on his excellent DR Gang Site an' it's such a good technique that I wonder why I didn't add it to my Dialup Networking Optimization page before. Well that oversight has been corrected. I useta limit my connect back when I used my 56k modem an' it really did make for a better Outlaws playing experience with lots less "warping" an' such.
       
    • More Outlaws Discuss Control Issues
           Doses has opened up about his shocking control configuration past:
       
      Now, I was thinking about all of the latest words flying around the topic of joystick/mouse combos and such as compared with the common mouse/keys combination. Let me say just this: When I first started playing Outlaws, I used a joystick, but after a while I found it to be just TOO cumbersome. Then, after a short while, I switched to (no I'm not kiddin' here hehe) a GAMEPAD/MOUSE combo. What I did was use the Gravis Gamepad Pro in my left hand (I am right handed), taped one of the buttons down for the "run fast" option, and programmed a few handy buttons for jump, crouch, use, etc. I then used the 3 button mouse in my right hand for all the other basic functions of shooting, reloading, etc. For AGES this was my combo that I used, and it worked very well. However, since I play a few other online games that are not as easily programmable for the Gravis Gamepad like Outlaws is, I inevitably switched to mouse/keys. I find that the mouse/keys combo is consistently the best combo to use for ANY game, and until they come with a better way of doing things, this combination will always speak for itself. Hail the almighty Mouse and Keyboard! Heh heh.
           Wow. Well this may be th' time fer me ta confess my own past improprieties. When I first started off playin', in th' Zone under a name that shall not ever be disclosed hehe, I used just th' keyboard. Well pretty soon I started wonderin' how people say up on rooftops could aim down an' hit me so quick... thus I discovered th' mouse/keyboard combo. Still I didn't have it all worked out, I used th' numeric keypad instead of th' keyboard proper. Now fer some reason I don't recall I had trouble gettin' that extra key held down ta run all th' time, so I would wedge a Lego man's little plastic shovel in the gap next to the SHIFT key to hold it down so I could run. Of course that would make conversation kind'a tricky... all in all I'm glad I got rid'a that shovel pretty quick!
       
    • Killercraig Hypes Zone
           Fabulous Outlaw Killercraig, who useta play in Kali exclusively, has lately branched out into the Zone. He felt obliged to explain himself:
       
      ive played alot of games on kali and alot of games on zone,and to be honest the same rules apply , watch the latency of your opponnent make sure there all 4 green , i get a group of 5 (for DMs) that are all green and we 5 play several diff maps together, games can be extremely lag free on zone just like kali , its all in your opponents connections to u and eachother, If u cant get a good game going in zone with a certian group of guys then u wont be able to get it going good thru IP either. I was "raised" on Kali so i was very criticle of zone at first also cuz i just played with anyone. but if your just a little careful , you can play near lag free games all evening on zone even when others are crying LAG ehhe.the only diff i notice between zone and ip is that i tend to lock up after games alot more on zone ,but thats not really a big deal , usually a ctr alt del fixes the prob,there are also a TON of good players on the zone , once u find who they are good games are not far away :))
           Well look at that a double smiley from Killer, never thought I'd live ta see th' day. Sounds like he's havin' a blast what with all th' fresh faces he has ta kill in th' Zone. ;)
           Oh and here's where I tack on the daily cartoon.
       

      * * *
    Tuesday 1/19/99
    • Tourneys Banned in Zone?
           Well you've prob'ly heard it all by now, but a player tourney in th' Zone got busted up by Ops followin' th' Zone rules that say only officially endorsed tourneys kin be held there. ;P Pretty good write up by Beig on her Outlaw Web-Zine.
           Firebrand StanJr then sent me th' following call to arms (I umm censored it a bit fer my younger readers):
       
      Im gonna host a tourney this sat IN ZONE for the zoners f*ck them sys ops let them know it to if that freakin pr*ck wants to come i'll deal with him fair and square they dont want to mess with me i've hosted 6 tourneys from zone and not one word said so im gonna let them know this is a gaming palace if we cant host a tourney which no damn sysops are doin they can s*ck on my well not gonna go there players make the place maybe if zoners would smarten up and come to kali and play they would find it a helluva lot better then zone u gotta push sys ops to the max if you dont u will never get no where.
           Then I just got this followup from him:
       
      Someone heard that i was gonna try hostin a tourney this saturday in zone and told a sys ops so i get nailed by several min i log on to zone U ARE NOT ALLOWED TO HOST TOURNEYS IN ZONE WITH OUT A SYS OPS DOIN THE WORK what the hell is up with that its a damn gamin area why cant i host a tourney there for the players of outlaws aint like you guys are doin it so i get banned for 5 min oh my hurt my feelings hehe. still gonna try it though hehe.
           Damn I love it when Stan gets all righteous. Fight th' Power man! Actually one other thing that I don't like about th' Zone is their closed-door policy on links -- I mean in their "Related Links" section they have only three fan-site links... an' they're ALL out of date. I don't expect 'em ta put a link ta me 'cause they prob'ly know I'm critical of th' Zone software, but man they could at least link to Zone players' sites like OGB, Beig, KaReFree (update his link anyway), Mallard an' so forth. Kali's Outlaws server has already added Mallard ta their link list. Th' Zone jus' isn't very friendly that way but that's hardly surprisin' considerin' Microsoft's WE ARE ALL business philosophy. ;P
           Oh yeah Mad_Matt pointed out that I wasn't too clear, IRC does have channel operators (ops) who in a very loose sense are like Zone sysops but fer th' most part are jus' players who help keep th' channel runnin'.
       
    • Stadel Back in the Saddle
           Webslinger Stadel is back ta work updatin' his Outlaws site. He's givin' th' whole thing a complete overhaul an' I mus' say it's so beautiful it almost brought tears ta my eyes. Jus' check out that background! Fab new design, great ta have him back. :)
       
    • New Maps, Quickie Version
           See it's great fer me havin' all these news sites around now 'cause it makes updatin' with th' daily grind a cinch. Fer instance I pilfered a new map from Mallard's Saddlebag an' then Hagen sent me a new one too. Well I don't got time ta check 'em out myself tonight, you kin fish around fer 'em in th' new maps archive, do ya some good ta get off yer behind fer a minnit. I'll try ta have lookthroughs tomorrow.
       
    • Joysticks and Framerates and Soundcards, Oh My!
           Yes hardware is a basic fact of Outlaw life. Respected vet Hoss sent me this concerning joysticks:
       
      I use a joystick, always have.. always will, most likely. I have the MS Sidewinder3D pro (it is digital, but its not the force or other newer ones) and I'm very accustom to it. I am right handed and use my right hand for the joystick and my left hand for my two button mouse (which gives my right hand a break from using the mouse). More or less I started playing OL's this way.... so it is no problem for me to use my left hand on the mouse for aim, single fire and reload ( same as most right handers do). For me the button configurationon my Jstick is just right. The trigger I have set to "Run fast" which I use my index finger for and my thumb is right over the 2 buttons on the side of the Jstick ( kind of like holding a real handgun with yer hand on the stock.) one of the buttons I have set for "Rapid fire" which I use the most, and just above it is the other button that I have set for "Use" (med bags/open) .... with a quick move of my thumb I can hit med bags and continue shooting rapid fire while runing fast ect. For "Jump" there is a button near the top of the Jstick which is also easy to reach with my thumb.... just above that, is a "hat switch" I have set for "Crouch" which I use my thumb or Index finger for. I can "crouch" with my index finger on the "hat switch", while runing fast with my middle finger on "run fast" and "rapid fire" ( thumb) at the same time, while aiming and reloading with my mouse. I'm not the best OL's player out there, but I can give decent competition and a good game. I am less apt to play games that can't support a Jstick because I'm not very good with the keyboard.... I have Q2 but haven't got into it for this reason ( having to somehow set it up in the console, don't wanna spend the time to figure it out ;p).
           Well gee... in my feeble defence I would split hairs an' say that that's not EXACTLY th' same thing, he's usin' mouse/joystick not just joystick. Sheesh. :P
           Then formidable longtimer Killercraig sent around a screenshot showing his framerate in a corner of Hargrove's Pattern Repair at 20 fps, 512x384 3Dfx. Well that's pretty low folks, at th' same spot I get 110 fps. But could I beat Killer? Heck no! He's jus' deadly no matter how few frames he's pullin'. Oh yah I didn't post th' shot 'cause Beig beat me to it, again check out her Web-Zine she's got it there.
           And finally I wuz hopin' ta have a bit more of a write-up on this A3D soundcard I got but I haven't had much time in th' past two days. :( Played a quick game tonight an' MAN, I can tell you this thing has a DIRECT impact on my playing ability. But more than that, it just makes the game an entirely new sensory experience (no I am NOT sniffing glue :P). What's th' big deal? Well, chew on this until I get a new page written up fer it... I can hear people coming, and not just the fact that they're nearby but how near they are, what direction they're coming from, how fast they're coming and what they're walking on. No lie, it's incredible. I can sit in a store, listen to a guy jump up onto the roof, run around and then come down the stairs -- where I'm ready to meet him gun-first. Think I'm gonna nip out at th' lunchhour tomorrow to buy some better Altec Lansing speakers fer my back pair, I jus' miss that base... ;) More on this as soon as I kin write it up but man if yer wonderin' what yer next upgrade might be... I almost like this soundcard better'n my Banshee. Oh yah it's a Diamond MX300.
           Ah yes and of course we have two days worth of cartoons to dispense with, so here's yesterday's and today's. Toodles.
       

      * * *
    Sunday 1/17/99
    • Hearing Outlaws in 3D
           Where th' heck have I been fer th' past couple days? None of yer darn business. :P Actually one'a th' things I bin doin' is messin' with this new sound card I got, Diamond's "MX300." Why did I go pick this up? Well th' main reason is, if ya look in yer Outlaws Sound configuration window, you'll see an entry called "Aureal A3D Interactive." Well th' MX300 supports A3D (an' th' spiffy new A3D 2, but Outlaws doesn't so who cares).
           So what's th' big deal? How kin sound be 3D? Beats me. All I know is I popped in th' card, hooked up an old pair of speakers for the second "rear" speaker set and voila, I can kinda hear things go around me. So if a guy behind me to the left shoots, it'll sound louder comin' from th' left rear speaker. There's more to it than that, of course, it does all sorts of other things to increase the illusion of sound in 3D space with Doppler effects an' whatnot... anyhow it works, works pretty well indeed. Besides which th' sound quality is jus' a whole lot better'n it was on my old Soundblaster 32 (a rather odd board that as far as Creative seemed to be concerned didn't quite exist -- they list a "Soundblaster 16" and a "Soundblaster 32 AWE" but no "Soundblaster 32." :P) Also because it's a PCI instead of an ISA card it's faster an' even seems to have improved my framerates slightly with its onboard processing of sound that takes work off'a th' CPU.
           Haven't tried it in a real multiplayer match yet so I'll let ya know how that goes. But fer jus' $100 (if ya kin swipe an old second pair of speakers from somewhere fer free that is) you'll vastly expand yer Outlaws hearing experience with this card. I like it a whole, whole lot. :) An' of course fer newer shinier games it supports 3D soundtracing an' all kinds'a fancy schmancy stuff, not that we care about that of course. :P
           Oh yeah I also saw a spaghetti western called "My Name is Nobody" with Henry Fonda and Terence Hill, based on an idea by Sergio Leone. A rather odd film, more of a spaghetti western parody, but might bear a repeat watching for to make more sense of the fanciful yet somewhat thought-provoking story. Soundtrack was done by "Dollars" trilogy composer Ennio Morricone but... well frankly some of the tracks got on my nerves, Ennio got a bit weird in this one. Still a good film especially fer Outlaws fans, I recommend you give it a look.
       
    • Get Into Jail Free Thanks to the Warden
           Martone sent me a new map by a fella known as The Warden. Well I dunno where he found time ta learn LawMaker but he's done a darn fine job with his map Prison Yard. Very simple, very fast, very good-looking. The title pretty much says it all but here's a screenshot fer yer visual edification.
       
    • Beig and Fallsdown in Web Orgy
           Okay okay that was just to get your attention. Actually though these two HAVE been in a flurry of creativity lately, each makin' their own online Outlaws magazines. They're both fabulous reads, hope they kin maintain their printing schedule!
       
      Wit and Wisdom's Outlaw Web-Zine
      An oft-updated online Outlaws mag by Beignet (and other members of her WAW posse) full of th' latest gossip, tender life and love advice from hardened Outlaws, emotional map reviews, features on real-life Outlaws players and custom Outlaws "horror-scopes." A mighty impressive, mightily entertaining explosion of Outlaws creativity, this is one darn fine daily read!
      The Western Enquirer
      Fanciful Fallsdown's online Outlaws scandal-rag, each issue packed with more smutty Outlaws stories than you kin shake a stick of dynamite at! Falls puts his graphic design skills to good use cookin' up page after page of creative features set in the Outlaws world. You'll laugh yerself silly an' come back beggin' fer more. More!

           Wow, quite a day in the Outlaws publishing world! Fortunately ya don't hafta go to th' supermarket checkout line fer these, they're free (aside from those Geocities ads which you can get rid of by disabling Javascript, hint hint). I look forward ta readin' new "issues" of both these mags fer a good long time ta come!
           In other Outlaws web-related news, DrDeath2 has relocated his site to Xoom.com and Mallard has moved and renamed his excellent news site, now dubbed Mallard's Saddlebag. Check 'em out NOW, mister!
       
    • Get That Old Voodoo Working With Your 2D/3D Card
           salmoides had th' followin' real good tip fer all those who have a Voodoo card in their computer along with a regular 2D/3D card like a TNT or somethin':
       
      I recently upgraded to a motherboard that supported AGP. So I went out and bought myself a STB Velocity 4400 card. As I'm sure you know this does not support Glide. Well Glide worked fine with my old Monster Voodoo 1 working in the PCI port in tandem with the STB but I ran into problems with other games that supported Direct 3D. I just wasn't getting the performance I expected from the AGP card. Then I figured out the problem. The older games defaulted to the slower Voodoo 1 card while most of the newer games gave me a choice of which card to use for the Direct 3D. Since other Outlaws loving upgraders might run into this problem I just thought I would tell you about a few options. Diamonds latest drivers don't allow you to turn off Direct 3D on your Voodoo 1 which would force your system to default to your AGP card. Therefore I would suggest downloading the latest Voodoo 1 drivers from http://www.3Dfx.com (3Dfx.com offers drivers for ALL brands of 3Dfx cards) which are not Diamond certified but will allow you to switch off Direct 3D plus other options not offered by the Diamond drivers. Another option is to use a utility that installs an icon on your task bar and allows you to select which card you desire to use Direct 3D with. Goto http://www.3dfiles.com/utility/3dcontrolcenter.shtml to get the utility. I have not used it but it was recommended by STB tech support. The drivers from 3Dfx.com met my needs.
           A very handy tip indeed! Before I got my Banshee I used that "3dcontrolcenter" utility, worked like a charm. Not that I play any other 3D games, of course. A-Hem! ;) By the way if you upgrade to a Banshee you might wanna hang on to yer old Voodoo card, never know when you may hafta ditch th' Banshee fer some superfast new card that doesn't happen to support Glide.
       
    • Studies Show World Going to Hell in Very Large Handbasket
           Jus' my way of settlin' down ta some last tidbits. StanJr had the following idea for those who think they're too good at Outlaws:
       
      Well i have a true challenge for the OL players that feel that this game isnt challenging anymore and it aint a tourney. I just went out and bought a new joystick wanted to try it in OL, Its a Gravis Blackhawk digital (only go with digital) great control one minor flaw its a right handed joystick and in ol i use my right hand for the mouse so i tried switchin and found only found one prob I CANT AIM WITH THE LEFT so i find my self tryin to aim with joystick sorta works except hard to aim up and down hehe. For the ones who have mastered this i am very greatfull for you for others who havent well keep on practicing i know i will be looking for a left handed joystick for now on since i dont seem to think that this righty one will work to dern well hehe. Give the joystick a try you could amaze yourself or then again u could find it quit hard and just give up im tellin ya now im not given up im lookin for a lefty in the mornin to give it another shot.
           Well I hope I'm never desperate enough to resort to usin' a joystick, personally. Though fer an upcoming patch at work I think I'm gonna hafta be testin' with some. Ack!
           cia_bpi, my Zone correspondent of late, had this to share:
       
      Now they've hit bottom on the zone : the tounament, hosted by SWE_Loke and St_Diky got railroaded by the Sysop DerGMeister( sound German don't it ). A real sad day for OL, when initialives like this are forbidden by petty rules, without warning. Any man would have let the tournament played, with the warning that the next one would be hosted by a Zeth ... a zone master that is allowed to host tournaments. We heard about them, but never seen one, so unless some ppl are willing to become a Z, their won't be any tournament again on the Zone, and frankly, i'm not interested in it anymore. If ppl can ruin a game like that, i think i'll stick to Kali and Irc in the future, no more syssops to get into your way playing.
           Now in all fairness I should point out that the #Outlaws_players Undernet IRC channel does have sysops of its own, an' Kali has this silent but ominous "Big Thug" constantly lurking about though as far as I know he's never quashed a tourney, or said a single word fer that matter.
           Oh and of course missin' yesterday I got TWO western cartoons ta put up, it's yer lucky day I guess: yesterday's, today's.
           Now tomorrow bein' a national holiday an' all (thank you Dr. King :)) I outta be makin' it inta Kali ta host a few games either tonight or tomorrow... even if I do hafta go inta work fer a half-day: yes, they work us like beasts. Anyhoo if ya don' get inta Kali check my IP address from time ta time (you'll find it below the main menu on this page) ya jus' might get in ta stick it to me. An' speakin' of national holidays... what is up with this shortage of those darn 1 cent stamps?!? Th' postal service raises its rates suddenly an' then doesn't have th' right stamps, I got like 10 bills an' letters ta mail off! Darned if I'm gonna put two 32 cent stamps on 'em either! :P
       

      * * *
    Friday 1/15/99
    • Update Yer Win95 Networking
           Okay you remember a while back when I said it wasn't really worth it ta get th' latest Dialup Networking and Winsock patches fer Win95 'cause they didn't really speed up pings much? Well that may be true, but this Win98 "join bug" thing has me thinkin' that those updates probably make yer system more compatible with players usin' '98. The updates are Winsock 2 and Dial-Up Networking 1.3. I think you outta install Winsock first, then th' Dial-Up update -- which should detect th' Winsock an' not overwrite it. So if yer runnin' '95 get those two things, they won't hurt none an' they may make things easier fer Win98 users who want to play with you.
       
    • Go Visit The Man
           My kind host people, Gamer's Alliance have redone their whole organization with twice th' stuff an' all new designs... well go check it out or they'll blow up my site. :P Oh yeah they're also givin' away like $12,000 worth of game stuff, jus' might be yer lucky day. My site also seems a LOT faster, mebbe they finally upgraded their servers! Yay! Or mebbe nobody in their right mind is online this time on Friday night...
       
    • New Maps Previewed, New Version of Quaint
           Got a look through those three new maps I stuck in th' archive yesterday:
           The Gambler sent in two new ones, Abandoned Farm and Pueblos. Now these are th' kind'a maps that make me dismayed about ever learnin' LawMaker myself, 'cause he says they're his first maps but they look so incredible I'm tempted to say he's lyin' if only so I wouldn't feel so inadequate next to what he's done. Both of these maps have such a seemingly effortless sense of place, scale and design that I just sort'a... man. Th' Gambler's also got a unique ability to keep the construction quite simple, with high framerates, but without loss of realism.
           "Pueblo" was his first, a sunny south-of-th'-border affair with two small pueblo buildings, a waterfall, a stream an' some tunnels wrapped around 'em. Very fast, attractive an' plenty big fer a good sized team match. Ooo, th' screenshot I took doesn't do a real good job of showin' it but it's from on top of a ledge looking down into th' valley. Notice th' very smooth texturing.
           "Abandoned Farm" is a large, open, dusky, wintery affair with wide snow-draped fields separating a small ranch house and a large barn. Th' barn (screenshot) is a very impressive edifice, excellently textured with a large silo next to it. Looking out of the silo's top floor (screenshot) you kin see th' wide fields. Look close an' you'll start ta see th' top part of th' intricate series of fences, trenches an' tunnels that make gettin' from th' barn to th' farmhouse (around the valley corner to the left) a real piece of strategy. This looks like a superb Capture the Flag map! And despite the elaborate system of defences out in the fields framerates are quite high. Both of his maps seem expertly constructed and indecently excellent, can't wait ta play 'em (hopefully this weekend :)).
           Also got a new map from quad death & powder monkey called Undergro. An undergroundish map as ya might guess, quite dim an' kind'a hard on th' peepers. A bit hard ta make out in th' screenshots (shot 1, shot 2) but there's a big lower cavern an' some smaller upper tunnels. Pretty darn big map, not too shabby but I might hafta crank up my gamma to play in it for long periods.
           Ah then Hagen sent me a new version of his map Quaint that fixes a nasty lil' bug in th' previous version. Th' solution was kind'a drastic an' a bit unfortunate as he hadda move th' lil' cabin far back and replace the trees with rocky cliffs as ya kin see in this screenshot. Fixes th' bug but I dunno, I think it compromises th' design of th' map a bit. Then again this is his fifth revision of th' map, he's gotta be ready ta move on ta new designs an' I'm sure he learned a lot from all th' effort he put into this one. If you liked th' earlier version like I did but didn't like fallin' inta nasty lil' warpy parts from time to time you'll definitely appreciate this revision.
       
    • From the CIA files
           cia_bpi had a lotta news ta fill me in on (since I haven't been in Kali ta fill him full'a lead this week). Among other things I hear that Loke held a pretty successful 1 on 1 tournament in th' Zone a couple days ago, especially handy fer guys like bpi 'cause it was held at a European-friendly hour so he didn't hafta lose too much sleep. :) Oh yeah also apparently th' Zone ops are crackin' down on th' use of a certain four-letter word so watch yer mouth or ya risk bein' banned from th' entire Zone. Yikes!
       
    • How About a PREquel?
           At least that's Matt's idea an' I think there's somethin' to it. Here's his idea that I added to th' Outlaws Wish List:
       
      I was thinking that maybe a prequel to the original would be nice. It would either be while James was a marshall (since he is now retired). I'm sure during his many years on the job he came across some interesting outlaws. Or maybe, you hear about his father, and how he was so skilled, couldn't he have had more of a story than we heard about? I think that they should keep most of the technical features the same (ie, graphics, engines) and keep the same weapons and graphics to preserve the wonderful feel in outlaws. I just think it's better if the main points don't change, only the story does.
           Not a bad idea, don't think you could really go wrong there. I mean, we'd all buy it, right?!?
       
    • Old Sites Revamped an' New Ones Found
           My goodness! Mallard jus' came out with his excellent Mallard's Corner a few short weeks ago an' he's already totally revamped it. You kin tell he's been around a good many game sites, now has a very slick "professional" look about it. Fantastic stuff, makes my place look kinda shabby. ;) Be sure ta fill out his "Outlaws questionnaire" an' read up on his latest update, he goes off a bit on Kali (hehe seems kind'a barren to someone used to th' Zone... I sure wish Kali folks would leave messages up directing people to their games! argh) an' he's got a link to a fascinating interview with Outlaws lead designer Daron Stinnett that apparently took place jus' before th' game came out. Some great insights here by Stinnett, you kin tell how he was able to design such a great game.
           Not ta be left behind, Darlin' had madeover her GDO Outlaws Homepage. She's got a pretty fab Java menu that makes navigatin' her big site much easier -- mos'ly ta get to th' map section which is ALWAYS up to date with th' latest stuff.
           Not only that but I took a look through her Links page an' found a whole bunch of sites I never did see before. Geez! Git yer mouse wheel oiled up:
       
      GTO Posse homepage
      Not much here besides some fancy graphics an' a bit of info on th' gang an' its members. Quite heavy in bandwidth and processor requirements.
      BOK Posse: Bloody Outlaw Killers
      Fairly well written with a good deal of detail on this small posse plus a small collection of choice maps to download.
      The KOJ Zone
      The "Knights of Justice" site sports a rather unusual medieval theme with some attractive graphics. Not a lot here but not too bad unless yer lookin' at it in a browser which doesn't support style sheets (like me :P).
      The Bud Light Gang Homepage
      Not much in th' way of design or content here but hey ya gotta have a lil' pity on a bunch that likes such crappy beer. ;)
      GDO's Page
      Sort of a fast-browsing version of Darlin's huge site with links to her map downloads though it lacks her nice table layout.

           Whew! Man where do these things keep comin' from... oh boy I'd better get some shuteye. Here's today's cartoon ta serve as a bedtime story... I think ol' Hank had some lag goin' there. ;).
       

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