Reflections on Quake

Reflections on Quake

It’s almost like the machine sitting my desk is but for one reason, and one only. My computers at work, the all powerfull sun sparc stations, can’t even stand up to the uncanny strength of my machine running linux and its accompanied hardware accelerated X.

I know my machine has at least four or five thousand dollars that have been spent towards it. Everything I would want to do on a clerical level I could do on a 286, why should I ever need anything faster than that when the outcome is the same. There is no more or less pain going through the less intuitive interface, if I know the program, then I know the program. It leads me to believe in a single point, that almost makes me want to giggle.

“Games and entertainment are the driving force behind the computer industry”. No one cares if they can run office 2000 on their pentium 333, they want the nice crisp framerate in quake 2 so they kick some butt. That is the only reason for a computer upgrade, except maybe hard drives (but then again, that 400 meg drop for quake 2 was huge) is for games. Under any alternative OS, you can easily do all office automation, and CAD type functions, and still get on the internet and do everything that you could under our beloved windows.

I don’t want to turn this into a linux rave, but understanding that we are on top of a good hundred layers of abstraction to attain what we call a stable system is what I’m getting at. We all complain about DirectX with all it’s shortcomings, and we praise OpenGL (partly because of the great John Carmack) but I know Kevin Dallas probably did his best. What we aren’t looking at is the five miles of crap seperating us from our hardware.

And this all brings us back to quake. I play online at least a good two hours a day, every day (sheesh). And I go to lan parties (missed DCCON 4), I see people that are so damn similar to me, it scares me. Not even a cover on their case, all hung together with the utmost care, and more power than even I would dare to get.

The addiction is cashing in, but Id software is not making the bucks, the hardware manufacturers are. I remember clearly when the memory prices dropped, I bought 8 meg or so. Ok, this is my point, now we’re looking at 3d accelerators, that have an optimum level costing upwards of six hundred dollars, which I know I will spend, to know that I can get that extra frame or so to get the upper hand on my opponents. Amd will be throwing their 3d chipset out, just like intel, and we got them all screaming for support (just keep adding those layers on).

Alex St. John still doesn’t have a clue, but if you read in Boot 17, he does have a good point. At 200mhz, my computer is running with bandaids over gaping wounds. What he doesn’t understand is that one person or company can’t fix this. It’s the team effort that lets linux rule, no one agrees with each other, and they all try to make it better for the betterment of the team. Now that’s dedication, not like our code-whores at M$. <g> thanks Brian…

Ok, back to Quake, I do live for this game, I will pay any price to ensure I have a good time playing it. I thank id Software. <The Great Dextius Alphaeus smiles> John warned that trinity might be his last release on the wintel platform, and you know what, I don’t care. If it takes wrenching the entire community to an OS that doesn’t have it’s head up it’s ass than thats fine, I’ll be the first to go.

By Dextius Alphaeus

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