Quake's 15th Birthday: Fond Memories

quake_box_art_250pxQuake was a big leap forward in first person shooters. Sure it came from ID Software, the folks who basically created the genre with Doom before it, but it raised the bar in many ways. Graphically it introduced a lot of new technologies. The sound design was one of Trent Reznor's earliest semi-independent projects, so early in fact he branded the nail gun's ammunition with the Nine Inch Nails logo, and if you listen to the sound you make when you're underwater too long you'd swear he or someone he worked with was half drowned to get realistic choking sounds for the game.

Seeing the quote from John Carmack looking back on the very first Quake game (on VoodooExtreme pointing to the Bethesdsa Blog) brought back memories like this for me, but one thing still sticks in my mind as the moment I knew Quake was different.

It may have been in the demo, but there was a room where you could fall down to a floor below that was mostly covered in water. Moaning, zombie-like creatures would rise from it and pursue you very slowly. I remember circling around them gunning them down one at a time, until I started hearing heavy “splat” sounds nearby. I turned around and around to try and see what was coming, and found myself getting hit. It took a few moments until I realized that the zombies were throwing chunks of their own flesh at me. Gross!

If you were a gamer then, what do you remember about Quake?

Epic Games Forums, More Games Attacked

IBM_PC_5150_500pxOver the weekend the Epic Games Forums admitted to being hacked. My brother James got this cheerful email:

Our Epic Games web sites and forums were recently hacked. After some downtime, they're back up and running now.

The hackers may have obtained the email addresses and encrypted passwords of forum users. Plaintext passwords weren't revealed, but it's possible that those passwords could be obtained by a brute-force attack on the encrypted passwords. Therefore, we have reset all passwords. Your new password at the bottom of this message.

The Unreal Developer Network (UDN) hasn't been compromised. Thankfully, none of our web sites ask for, or store, credit card information or other financial data.

We're sorry for the inconvenience, and appreciate everyone's patience as we wrestle our servers back under control.

Tim Sweeney
Founder, Epic Games Inc

So who else has been smacked around by the LulzSec hacker group's antics over the past week? EVE Online, Minecraft, Bethesda, Nintendo, PBS, the US Senate, and Sony Pictures (GameSpot).

It's funny how the forums for EVE at least were getting comments along the lines of "Hey it was funny when you went after Sony and the government, but now you're lame and just pissing us off."

It's not like any amount of complaining on forums will get these guys to stop stomping on servers and consumer services on the internet, but they need to understand that gaming is big business. And ISP's and carriers are big business.

If the carriers bring their proposals for low caps, throttled connections, and traffic limitations for consumers to the gaming companies as a solution to consumers hammering their networks with the help of infected computers their owners don't even know are infected, this could be the beginning of the end for the relatively discrimination-free internet we all want, an internet that is one of the best things to ever happen to video gaming and computing in general.

Is that what the hackers want?

Welcome Back To The Same Crappy Store Experience

Sony may think their Network is more secure now, and their Store is ready for action, but when you have to post a FAQ to help people access and download the Welcome Back games and movies you are giving them to make them feel better about the 25 days of downtime your systems had, you have failed, and failed miserably. The Store is throwing cryptic error numbers all over the place, the litany of comments on the Blog post are complaining about people selecting titles but being unable to download them, and also includes follow-ups from Sony reps on how to get at and download their chosen titles them from various other menus and locations in the system.

To me this is just crappy programming. They had a whole month to get ready for anything -- load issues, security issues, anything, and still, STILL this pile of crap Store software throws ridiculous looking Error codes instead of doing any of the following when under heavy traffic:
* let users opt to enter a queue to access the page or start the download
* make a server-side queue of downloads just like on those PC download sites
* just say it's fricken busy and to try back later! NOT SOME ERROR 0x234987sd#$*(@ nobody is going to understand!

The PSN Welcome Back Program Is Live

The PlayStation Network Welcome Back program is now live, according to the Blog. You do have a full month to redeem your two free PS3 games and two free PSP games, but time is of the essence to use selected PlayStation Store free movie rentals this weekend only. Once again in case you missed it the first time around, the PS3 games you can get are:
* Dead Nation

E3 2011 Crystal Ball Predictions: Sony

Sony approaches E3 bruised and bloodied by its very fresh 24-day PSN outage and still-ongoing PlayStation Store downtime. Right off the bat Sony will apologize for the PSN data breach and will, of course, do some whining and blaming of evil hackers and complain that no system is completely secure. If Sony has learned anything about PR, however, they will spend a tiny bit of time on that, and move on to showing product.

The good news is that they'll be spending a good portion of the show talking about and giving the press hands-on with new hardware, which has long been Sony's strong suit. The NGP will be the star of this year's show, but expect more detail on the just-announced PSP Remasters, PlayStation Move, the Xperia Play, and maybe just maybe they'll grant my two long shot guesses below.

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