May 2001

   Monday, May 28, 2001

Squidly Knighted  22:37 PDT | [AK]Palooka
[AK]Squidly had become the newest August Knight today. May his knighthood be long and distinguished. Please welcome him in the forums!

   Saturday, May 26, 2001

tribesserverstat 1.01 Released!  3:58 PDT | [AK]Zorro
Windows users have been reporting some problems with tribesserverstat 1.0, so I've fixed those issues (and probably created a dozen more) and released 1.01.
SUMMARY

tribesserverstat is a set of Perl scripts that generates server status web pages for both Tribes and Tribes2 servers. The program offers a customizable HTML template and can run under a variety of configurations.

FEATURES

written in Perl, so it works under Windows (with minor modifications, see FAQ) and *nix
your web server does not need to be on the same machine as your game server
uses a totally customizable HTML template file so you can easily modify the look and feel
shows current server map, with picture
shows current players and scores, organized conveniently by team
shows current server settings
optionally flag your admin's name(s) in the player list display
**NEW** display player names with html tags, showing color codes for aliases, bots, and tribe tags
**NEW** natively supports Tribes 1 servers
**NEW** built in support for monitoring multiple server, T1 and T2 servers supported concurrently
**NEW** operating system detection code limiting the changes that are required for win32 support

tribesserverstat 1.01 is a maintenance release to correct some problems that Windows users were having with 1.0. The changes have been testing on Windows 2000 with ActivePerl 5.6.1.626 and IIS5, so I feel fairly confident that I’ve squashed at least those bugs. Documentation (including download link to package) can be found at http://www.augustknights.com/tribesserverst/ or in the readme.html included in the package. Hope this all makes sense; I slapped this all together at 4AM, and I’m still not sure if I missed anything... ;o)

CODE CHANGES:

fixed all the stuff I broke for Windows users (sorry...)
Check out the homepage for all the information.


   Wednesday, May 23, 2001

tribesserverstat 1.0 Released!  13:56 PDT | [AK]Zorro
It wasn't until I read my press release on PlanetTribes.com that I remembered that this was something that might be good to announce here as well... :o}
SUMMARY

tribesserverstat is a set of Perl scripts that generates server status web pages for both Tribes and Tribes2 servers. The program offers a customizable HTML template and can run under a variety of configurations.

FEATURES

written in Perl, so it works under Windows (with minor modifications, see FAQ) and *nix
your web server does not need to be on the same machine as your game server
uses a totally customizable HTML template file so you can easily modify the look and feel
shows current server map, with picture
shows current players and scores, organized conveniently by team
shows current server settings
optionally flag your admin's name(s) in the player list display
**NEW** display player names with html tags, showing color codes for aliases, bots, and tribe tags
**NEW** natively supports Tribes 1 servers
**NEW** built in support for monitoring multiple server, T1 and T2 servers supported concurrently
**NEW** operating system detection code limiting the changes that are required for win32 support

tribesserverstat 1.0 is a really new beast. The biggest changes are the support for multiple servers AND the native support for Tribes (1) servers (hence, the name change). These features can be used in tandem to allow server administrators to monitor servers of each type using the same script base. Additionally, administrators are free to monitor a single server (ala older versions of the script) due to the modularity of the package.

Documentation has been improved in this release, including a more detailed FAQ, better installation instructions, etc. This can be found in the readme.html file included in the package (which happens to be the same page as http://www.augustknights.com/tribesserverstat/). Lastly, I should point out that any version of t2serverstat/tribesserverstat after 0.5 absolutely requires the use of QStat 2.4c. 2.4b was the first version to support Tribes2, but there were some minor problems with it (and in fact there is still at least one minor problem with 2.4c that I’m aware of). Additionally, when Steve rewrote it he changed the output by a fair bit. Hence, if you use a version other than what’s recommended, you will CERTAINLY get a very blank team list.

CODE CHANGES:

added support for multiple servers
added support for Tribes 1 server queries
added support for QStat's -htmlnames option (applies to T2 server queries only)
added a bunch of silly graphics
fixed a couple of minor typos in the code and the documentation
removed a couple of bits of extraneous code
added expiration META tags to the generated HTML
changed the name due to the increased scope of the project
felt brave enough to claim this stuff is non-BETA
In any case, be sure to visit the homepage for more information.


World War II Online Goes Gold  2:09 PDT | [AK]Palooka
Cornered Rat Software has announced that their ambitious massively multiplayer online WWII game has gone gold. The following is an excerpt from the press release:
Strategy First Inc., Cornered Rat Software and Playnet.com are pleased to announce that their highly anticipated massively multiplayer online game, World War II Online™- Blitzkrieg, has gone gold.

"We couldn't be happier about World War II Online's latest milestone, " says Don McFatridge, President of Strategy First. "We have been looking forward to this for some time now and are finally getting ready to bring this extraordinary title to gamers worldwide!"

"I'm very proud of and happy for the CRS development team and the entire Playnet.com staff, " said Jim Mesteller, President and CEO of Playnet, Inc. "At the end of June it will have been just two years since we completed the design and started development on World War II Online™. In addition, our small but dedicated team have built out the infrastructure needed to support a massively multiplayer title and launched a premium games destination site in Playnet.com. The result of these efforts places the entire Playnet organization in a strong position for the future."

Scheduled for release in June 2001, World War II Online™ revisits a time and place where real heroes lived and died in one of the most momentous wars in history. To enroll in one of the most exciting games of the year, visit Playnet.com today!
I, for one, am looking forward to this game.


   Friday, May 18, 2001

Patch 22755 Released for Tribes2  11:11 PDT | [AK]Zorro
As announced in the in-game news, by QIX himself, the 22755 patch was released last night at 7:05PM PDT. Here's the list of stuff that was addressed in the patch:
- (optimization) Damage Decal toggle applies to ALL damage decals now. This improves performance on video cards with lower VRAM. Those cards should turn this feature OFF for best gameplay.
- (optimization) Dynamic lighting now fades with distance so that systems do less calculations on lights that make little or no difference anyway.
- (optimization) The following missions were edited/revised in order to achieve much higher framerates in-game. They are:
- (optimization) There is now a PARTICLE DENSITY slider on the GRAPHICS menu that allows you to turn down the number of particles used in explosions and weapon effects. Systems with low VRAM should turn this down as low as possible. The effects will still look good, but will use many less polygons and alpha translucencies.
- (optimization) The force shield effect on players and objects has been greatly simplified. The old effect was hammering the frame rates on older video cards when played. This new effect greatly speeds gameplay on all cards, and particularly on Voodoo cards.

- (memory leak) Memory leaks were located and eradicated. This most likely was the cause of the "degradation over time" that folks were experiencing on their servers.

- (bug fix) "Vote Spamming" has been prevented in-game.
- (bug fix) Moved some of the CD check from script into code, where it should be.
- (bug fix) The "sticking" mouse button problem is now fixed.
- (bug fix) Deployables are now easier to place on walls and other surfaces. There were some inconsistencies on which surfaces could be placed upon and those are now resolved.
- (bug fix) There was a bug that prevented users from deleting some Server Filters. That is resolved now.
- (bug fix) There was a Siege bug where a base item (like a turret) could be destroyed, and then repaired, but it would no longer receive power after being repaired. That is now fixed. The items will receive power correctly after being repaired.
- (bug fix) Resolved the Team Damage OFF situation where friendly troops could destroy permanent "base" objects.
- (bug fix) Removed a packet overrun in the net code that *could* have allowed hackers to bring down servers. This had not occurred to date and is now prevented.
- (bug fix) Deployable inventory stations can no longer be deployed directly next to each other. They must be at least 20 meters apart in order to be deployed properly.
- (bug fix) Ejection speed increased slightly to more easily accomodate jumping out of moving vehicles.
- (bug fix) Many team damage fixes occurred. When Team Damage is OFF the following are now true: Friendly teammates are no longer prevented from destroying deployables. The ELF will no longer drain energy from friendly players. If a friendly player blinds another friendly player with Whiteout grenades, then a message is displayed in the Chat HUD so that the blinded person knows who did it. (There are more Team Damage changes coming in the next patch.)
- (bug fix) Medium now has a standard loadout of 12 grenades in the grenade launcher instead of 10. Light: 10; Medium: 12; Heavy: 15.
- (bug fix) Deployable pulse sensors now have a range of 150m instead of 120m to make them a more attractive option to deploy.
- (bug fix) Fixed an indoor turret proximity bug introduced in the last patch.

- (improvement) Flag captures are now worth 100 points (for the team), instead of 1 point. Additionally, each time someone grabs the flag *from the enemy flag stand* they will gain 1 point (for the team), regardless of whether they actually capture it or not. You will ONLY get this single point if the flag was actually on the flagstand. You will NOT get the point by touching the flag anywhere else on the field. This change will help prevent tie situations and will reward aggressive offensive play.
NOTE: The "touch" point can only be gained once every 20 seconds...so a "scrum" around the flag base will not result in a large group of points being gained.
- (improvement) Siege: Alcatraz. The generators have been moved around a bit. There are two entrances to that base. One is the "front door" and the other is the "back door". (The back door is the one that has a team-pass-only force field blocking enemies from the switch room.) There is now an upper generator down the chute from the "front door" that powers the "back door" force field. Additionally, there is a solar panel outside that powers the base turrets and sentry turrets. None of these generators have to be destroyed to get to the switch, but their destruction makes it MUCH easier to do so. There are four generators total on this map (all are waypointed now), and the destruction of all four is necessary before the base power will go down.
- (improvement) Siege: Caldera. The generator has been moved out of the switch room and into the very big main room that has the inventory stations in it. It is no longer necessary to destroy the generators in a particular sequence. Destroying the two main generators (Primary and Secondary) will drop the force field that protects the switch. Both gens must be down in order for the switch force field to drop.
- (improvement) Added "quickbuy" keyboard shortcuts to use at vehicle station. (Default keys are the 1-6 number keys. 1 is the top vehicle on the list, 6 is the bottom vehicle on the list).
NOTE: These key bindings are not currently editable. However, since you are on the vehicle purchase pad when they are in effect, they cannot interfere with any custom keys you've created, so you should have no problems.
- (improvement) Team Damage ON/OFF can be changed by Admins/SuperAdmins as well as being voted on by players. If you are an Admin or SuperAdmin, then just go to Lobby and look up where the "Vote" options are listed. There are options there to toggle the Team Damage flag. Regular players can also Vote to Enable/Disable Team Damage in the same spot.
- (improvement) Default server prefs have been changed so that the default time limit is now 30 minutes (instead of 20) and Team Damage is OFF.
- (improvement) Fixed buddy filter. You can now use the Filter option on the JOIN screen to find games that have players in them that are listed on your buddy list. (Use the Email or Warrior Browser functions to add/remove people from your buddy list.)
NOTE: We feel that there is an issue that may be related to NAT (Network Address Translation). Sierra QA uses public IP addresses on it's internal network that are not routable on the Internet. They experience a problem that occurs when anyone inside their firewall uses the Internet for anything, their internal address is "changed" to a legal external address. In their case, they use "many to one" NAT, so everyone appears to be the same address outside our walls. This issue prevents Sierra QA from seeing "buddies" that are on systems *inside* their firewall (they can see "buddies" on external servers just fine). We are hypothesizing that it is NAT that is causing the buddy list lookup to fail internally. We are continuing to work on this.
ALSO NOTE: This feature works correctly for everyone else.
- (improvement) You can now add a player to your server admin lists (so that server admins can auto-admin players when they join a server, if desired). How this is done: If you are a SuperAdmin (owner of the server), you can go into the lobby and right-click on a player's name. You will then have the ability to add them to your Admin or SuperAdmin lists.
- (improvement) Master Server list no longer insists on keeping your current game highlighted while refreshing a query. This allows you to page up and down more easily on the list while it is refreshing.
- (improvement) Added "Team Damage ON/OFF" and "Windows/Linux" as options for creating new Server Filters.
- (improvement) Missile reticle is improved aesthetically. This is part 1 of 2 of the missile reticle changes. The second part will be in the next patch.

- (community) Made changes to Tribe Forums to make posting new topics work better with the current cache architecture.
- (community) Fixed buttons on Tribe/Warrior Browser to reflect visitors membership in tribe
- (community) Changed NEWS button on Tribe page to OPTIONS, added links to Tribe Forum, Tribe Public Chat and Tribe Private Chat.
- (community) Added "EMail" and "Add To Buddylist" options into the right click menu in the Chat Channel member list.
- (community) Changed layout of right click menu's in the Community for easier understandability.
- (community) Added Moderator functions to the T2 Community - allows post removal, ability to send warnings and execute ban's to the perp.
- (community) Added confirmation box to the News page on Submit News - explains purpose and requires yes/no.
- (community) Upgraded Forum Cache version
- (community) Added ability to Lock Topic for Moderators
- (community) Added locking for posts where Topic is already in cache.
- (community) Implemented a ban structure on the Database
- (community) Fixed DBProxy thread disconnections - removed blank error boxes.
- (community) Fixed bug in Blocking Email Senders
Unfortunately, the Linux patch was not released at the time of this writing, so the August Knights Tribes server has been brought down in the interim. I will take the opportunity to do some software upgrades, most likely, but expect it to be back up again shortly. Look for an announcement sometime this afternoon.


   Thursday, May 17, 2001

[AK]NeverRetreat Appointed AK Secretary of War  15:49 PDT | [AK]Palooka
In a surprise move, [AK]Widowmaker stepped down as August Knights Secretary of War yesterday, taking over as commander of the August Knights Air Squadron. Former August Knights Recruiter and Field Commander [AK]NeverRetreat announced his interest in the office, and was sworn in as the new Secretary of War this afternoon.

"I know of no better person to serve as the face and voice of August Knights' diplomacy than [AK]NeverRetreat, a Knight with more experience in tribal conflict than any other," said August Knights Chief of Staff [AK]Palooka. "His appointment to this office marks a turning point in AK foreign policy, and I am confident that he will define our role among the tribes."


Windows 2000 SP2 Out!  13:20 PDT | [AK]Zorro
Yes, kids, it's official. Windows 2000 SP2 is available. This FINALLY enables me to make my system Win2K instead of this ME garbage... (Did I say that out loud?) Download it if you need it...

   Tuesday, May 15, 2001

SolarWolf Knighted  20:54 PDT | [AK]Palooka
Hot on the heels of [AK]Dr. K, [AK]SolarWolf has become the newest August Knight today. May he wear the [AK] tag with pride and honor for as long as he shall live (or, at least, for awhile). Please welcome him in the forums!

August Knights vs. aYg Tomorrow!  20:08 PDT | [AK]Palooka
aYg is hosting the August Knights for a scrimmage on their server tomorrow at 6 PM PDT. Anyone who has submitted an application to join the August Knights is invited.

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault Preview  20:03 PDT | [AK]Palooka
GameSpot has published a preview of Medal of Honor, a World War II first-person shooter in development at 2015. The preview mainly discusses the D-Day beach landing demo that will be privately shown at this year's E3. Don't miss the incredible new movie, showing footage from the beach mission, among others.

Dark Age of Camelot Preview  15:12 PDT | [AK]Palooka
GameSpot has a preview of Dark Age of Camelot, one game that I am eagerly anticipating. Here's a snippet:
Dark Age of Camelot's most interesting fights won't be against computer-controlled monsters--it'll be the player-vs.-player combat among actual player characters. At release, the game will let players from different realms invade other realms to capture powerful relics and defeat enemy players for prestigious realm points. Mythic recently implemented a very early build of player-vs.-player combat into the beta, and though it's clear that this type of combat is far from being complete, it already has some very interesting strategic dynamics. And Mythic plans to include even more intriguing features into player-vs.-player, such as arrow volleys and stealth attacks, in the months ahead.
With my EQ addiction thoroughly broken (I quit cold turkey), I have the feeling that a new one is just around the corner.


PS2 Online Gaming Network  10:49 PDT | [AK]Zorro
Online multiplayer games may be just around the corner on consoles. According to a Wall Street Journal article (available at ZDNet), Sony will announce this week that they are partnering with none other than America Online to provide this functionality. According to the article, AOL and Sony will create a network for the console in North America, which will feature a browser based on AOL's Netscape, and contain AOL features like instant messaging, chat and e-mail. It also says that, "it will incorporate AOL features into software kits that developers use to create PlayStation 2 games" and that the PS2 will be online by the end of the year (and will likely allow gamers to use non-AOL ISPs). A formal announcement (which should have more concrete details) will be made today or tomorrow.

Makes me glad that computer gaming is still hanging tough... I always thought that AOL was BAD for online gaming...


   Thursday, May 10, 2001

22649 Recalled!  20:56 PDT | [AK]Zorro
When you load up Tribes2, you'll be prompted to install the lastest patch, which is actually just a downgrade back to 22460. Good news is that the server has been downgraded... It's good to know people... ;o)

Mo Patches, Mo Problems  9:31 PDT | [AK]Zorro
<Editorial>Yes, kids, the 22649 patch hit the streets last night. Because I'm feeling particularly satirical at the moment, here comes the readme (notice the lack of any fixes important to anyone that matters)...
Changes for 22649:
========================

- Fixed buddy filter. You can now use the Filter option on the JOIN screen to find games that have players in them that are listed on your buddy list. (Use the Email or Warrior Browser functions to add/remove people from your buddy list.)

- You can now add a player to your server admin lists (so that server admins can auto-admin players when they join a server, if desired). How this is done: If you are a SuperAdmin (owner of the server), you can go into the lobby and right-click on a player's name. You will then have the ability to add them to your Admin or SuperAdmin lists.

- "Vote Spamming" has been prevented in-game.

- Added "quickbuy" keyboard shortcuts to use at vehicle station. (Default keys are the 1-6 number keys. 1 is Wildcat, 6 is Havoc). (NOTE: These key bindings are not currently editable. However, since you are on the vehicle purchase pad when they are in effect, they cannot interfere with any custom keys you've created, so you should have no problems.)

- Moved some of the CD check from script into code, where it should be.

- Missile reticle is improved aesthetically. This is part 1 of 2 of the missile reticle changes. The second part will be in the next patch.

- Team Damage ON/OFF can be changed by Admins/SuperAdmins as well as being voted on by players. If you are an Admin or SuperAdmin, then just go to Lobby and look up where the "Vote" options are listed. There are options there to toggle the Team Damage flag. Regular players can also Vote to Enable/Disable Team Damage in the same spot.

- Default server prefs have been changed so that the default time limit is now 30 minutes (instead of 20) and Team Damage is OFF.

- The "sticking" mouse button problem is now fixed.

- Deployables are now easier to place on walls and other surfaces. There were some inconsistencies on which surfaces could be placed upon and those are now resolved.

- (gameplay change) Flag captures are now worth 100 points, instead of 1 point. Additionally, each time someone grabs the flag *from the enemy flag stand* they will gain 1 point, regardless of whether they actually capture it or not. You will ONLY get this single point if the flag was actually on the flagstand. You will NOT get the point by touching the flag anywhere else on the field. This change will help prevent tie situations and will reward aggressive offensive play. NOTE: The "touch" point can only be gained once every 20 seconds...so a "scrum" around the flag base will not result in a large group of points being gained.

- (gameplay change) Deployable inventory stations can no longer be deployed directly next to each other. They must be at least 20 meters apart in order to be deployed properly.

- (gameplay change) Many team damage fixes occurred. When Team Damage is OFF the following are now true: Friendly teammates are no longer prevented from destroying deployables. The ELF will no longer drain energy from friendly players. If a friendly player blinds another friendly player with Whiteout grenades, then a message is displayed in the Chat HUD so that the blinded person knows who did it. (There are more Team Damage changes coming in the next patch.)

- (gameplay change) Medium now has a standard loadout of 12 grenades in the grenade launcher instead of 10. Light: 10; Medium: 12; Heavy: 15.

- (gameplay change) Deployable pulse sensors now have a range of 150m instead of 120m to make them a more attractive option to deploy.

- (gameplay change) Ejection speed increased slightly to more easily accomodate jumping out of moving vehicles.

- (gameplay change) Siege: Alcatraz. The generators have been moved around a bit. There are two entrances to that base. One is the "front door" and the other is the "back door". (The back door is the one that has a team-pass-only force field blocking enemies from the switch room.) There is now an upper generator down the chute from the "front door" that powers the "back door" force field. Additionally, there is a solar panel outside that powers the base turrets and sentry turrets. None of these generators have to be destroyed to get to the switch, but their destruction makes it MUCH easier to do so. There are four generators total on this map (all are waypointed now), and the destruction of all four is necessary before the base power will go down.

- (gameplay change) Siege: Caldera. The generator has been moved out of the switch room and into the very big main room that has the inventory stations in it. It is no longer necessary to destroy the generators in a particular sequence. Destroying the two main generators (Primary and Secondary) will drop the force field that protects the switch. Both gens must be down in order for the switch force field to drop.
The beauty of it all is that no more than an hour after the patch was released, the DEV team informed us that there were some problems with the patch:
Two major patch issues are mysterious to us. They are:

1) Grey health bars and missing player names.

2) Redjack problems where servers have to reset.

We have NOT experienced these at Dynamix or Sierra, but we are working on them now and hope to have answers for you soon. We will get you new info as soon as humanly possible.

(Later edit...) Correction: I have experienced a redjack server now. This is duplicatable here at Dynamix.

(Further edits...by QIX) Folks...I do NOT expect you to be patient on this one. I'm angry about this also. But in the defense of the company...the Dev Team never saw these problems while making the patch, and the QA team tested it for over 48 hours without seeing this issue. Now, it's my job to go find out what the heck happened, fix it, and make sure it never happens again. I sincerely apologize that this is occuring and want you to know that we'll have it fixed as quickly as possible. -- Dave.
Isn't that nice? He's "angry about this also".

On the bright side, the AK Tribes server is showing up on Master Server lists everywhere now, so feel free to drop in and play for the few minutes that it's up in between redjack crashes... This Triber is not a happy camper...</Editorial>


   Saturday, May 5, 2001

Is There a Doctor in the House?  11:42 PDT | [AK]Palooka
Our resident optometrist, Dr. K, has today been knighted. For those of you who have been having trouble merely seeing [AK]Pixelsponge before he penetrates your braincase with his laser rifle, I'm sure [AK]Dr. K can fix you up with some custom optics. At any rate, please welcome [AK]Dr. K in the forums!

   Friday, May 4, 2001

Practice Schedule  12:54 PDT | [AK]Zorro
NR, Palooka, and I have kicked it around and decided that a standing biweekly practice schedule might be the best thing for us for the next few weeks. Practices will be open to all applicants, members, and selected special guests who will be notified via email. Practice will be held on Wednesdays and Sundays starting at 6PM PDT (9PM EDT). We may fan in some pseudo-scrimmages and such on some of the practices, so stay alert for information prior to these practices. We'd obviously like everyone to attend both practices, so do your best to get there. Thanks a ton!

   Thursday, May 3, 2001

Impromptu Practice Session  13:33 PDT | [AK]Zorro
NR has requested an informal practice session starting at 6PM PDT (9PM EDT). This would be open to all members, non-members, prospective members, and their dogs (no cats allowed, unless you intend for them to be used in target practice), but attendance is not mandatory. This would be a good opportunity to work thru some of the more mechnanics-oriented aspects of the game like flag routes, strategies, etc. Perhaps, some of you could start to find your preferred position as we begin to prepare for league play. Anyway, be there or be square, or something...

   Wednesday, May 2, 2001

[AK]Jackle Joins the Fold  23:16 PDT | [AK]Palooka
That's right, ladies and gentlemen, a long time friend of the August Knights can now call himself a knight, for Jackle has joined our ranks. Please give him a warm welcome in the forums!