|A QUICK MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR|
Welcome to Issue #10 of the online QB HELL, QB On Acid. There' a lot more stuff this time, a number of great articles and reviews, and more for you to feast your senses on. So, screw the introductions, let's just get to it.
|IN THE NEWS - CHANGE IS INEVITABLE...EXCEPT FROM VENDING MACHINES|
From what could only been seen as a case of "enough is enough", veteran coder Flexibal decided to permanently leave the qbasicnews.com community. Mixed reactions came from all sides of this community, some in favor of his departure, some who wanted him back, and some who just didn't care either way. Whether or not Flexibal will return to qbasicnews.com is not currently known. Flexibal could not be reached for comment.
QB ACCELERATOR: USEFUL QB?
SJ Zero's new publication, QB ACCELERATOR, seems to have created a stir throughout the ranks of the QB community. Together with Twisted ()ne, this mag is a break from the serious image portrayed by the few existing QB-based mags and offers interesting insight to many subjects, and of course...a bit of drunkenness. But is it useful as a QB magazine? Judge for yourself.
"But I, like you, can always use writers", says SJ Zero. "Right now the vast bulk of the magazine (ie. everything except face off, which I co-wrote) is written by me, and that's why it takes so long to get put out. The next issue is coming out soon -- really! I promise! People have been asking me forever now, but I've been busy with work and stuff. I've got most of it done, but the last few articles and previews and such need to get finished before I can release it for real. :)"
You can read the latest QB Accelerator here.
LACKING MOTIVATION? HARDLY!
The coding group Motivationless Software, headed by the visionary veteran coder Lithium, continues to grow in number and influence. A single project is the goal of this diverse coding group, being the sequel to Lithium's "XGmae". Called "YGmae", this is touted by some to be the "next best thing" for QB-based shooters. Will it live up to the hype? Time will tell.
RPG-DEV GOES LIVE!
The rpg-dev.net community, headed by Fling-master, has opened up a dedicated IRC channel on a privately-owned IRC server. Everyone from all communities is invited to log on and shares ideas, chat with other developers, or just plain hang out. Connection details are available at RPG-DEV's website.
SEPH'S FREE QB HOSTING DEAL!
The eccentric Seph has opened up his server for free accounts to QB coders. Unfortunately, his service lacks many common features and seems to be suited for very small sites only. Seph promises to add FTP support, but as of this writing, it is unknown whether he has or not. Seph was unavailable for comment.
VPLANET MISSING IN ACTION?
The game review supersite VPlanet's most distringuished figure, Vance Velez, has been missing for several months now. No one seems to know where he is, and the site's main features have been untouched ever since he disappeared. When/if he is coming back is unknown. The other members of VPlanet could not be reached for comment.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
There are no current letters to the editor. So feel free to send one.
|WHERE ARE THEY NOW?|
This is a new feature started in the last issue. There have
been many faces in this community that have come and gone. Some we'd like to
remember, others we'd rather forget. This little section is a chance to track
down these people and see what they're up to these days. So, without further
ado, here's this issue's list of WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
--- TaxDAY (FractalIS, QB Comic)
--- Dae Breaker (leader of Bizarre Creations, the Kalderan project)
Here's the results of last issue's "Where Are They Now", as reported by wildcard:
from piptol's forum
The old virtuasoft site + updates are up at http://www.chainmailsales.com/virtuasoft/ but it appears to not have updated for a while
Real name - David Zohrob
After a bit of a quick search google came up with this:
It fits his age but I'm not sure if its him.. but the evidence does fit.
Please send any information you have on these people, we will publish results in the next issue!
|COMMENTARY - VESA LIBRARIES|
For some years, some high-res VESA libs like UGL and FUTURElib
have floated around the qbasic community. These libs are pretty popular, and in
the beginning I was very excited about those VESA libs. But my excitement soon
changed into anger when I discovered that all those libs weren't very compatible
with a lot of computer systems, with UGL the least compatible of them all. I
don't blame the makers of those libs, but I want to point out the problems these
libs have with lots of systems, because a lot of people wonder why these libs
and the games created with them don't work on their computers.
Actually, there's just one major problem, which is that these libs are REALMODE VESA libs. REALMODE VESA isn't very well supported (it never was) by all the graphics card makers; however, PROTECTED MODE VESA modes are. This is why games like Warcraft 2 or SimCity2000 actually work on all PCs and UGL/FUTURE don't.
nVidia does a good job supporting REALMODE VESA, whereas ATI, 3dFX and a bunch of other graphics card brands don't. On Windows XP, somehow things get even worse; with WinXP, even nVidia cards may not work well with these VESA libraries.
Now maybe you're thinking, 'I have nVidea and UGL or Future works fine so I create a game with it'. Remember that a lot of people cannot play it, and that's no good. So you want to make High-res games? Go learn C++ VB or Delphi with DirectX or something. QB games don't have to be that fancy, actually most people can't even draw this good needing High res stuff.
You want a game in QB?? Go use 13h, and everyone around the qmunity can play your game. Look at the Frantic Journey game! Well, thats what 13h can do, the graphics of this game are a lot better than any High-res game I have seen so far.
Remember: the quality of QB games isn't only in graphics, it's also about gameplay.
by Turbo Fx
slightly edited for presentation
|GAME REVIEW - MARTIAN VENTURE|
I had tried to download this game from the developer's website
to be reviewed for QBOA #9 but the download always failed. Coincidentally, the
developer emailed me this game for review, so here it is, at long last!
Immediate points for weirdness! :) Although the storyline isn't exactly new, the gameplay isn't exactly new, and very few concepts used in this game are all that new, the way they are all presented is very unique: you're a Martian, and you have to take back your space stations from the evil Evaals by destroying these crystal poles which send energy back to the Evaals' main ship. You have a limited amount of time to complete each level, and most levels are very difficult to complete in the small amount of time you're given, thus raising the difficulty level quite a number of notches. You clear the levels by jumping around a free-range environment, blowing up the glowing crystal poles with your little gun. The graphics, although not dazzling by any means, are adequate, and the sound effects are very well-used. The control takes some getting used to but is very responsive (sometimes too responsive). But what is really fun about this game is the challenge: you seem to develop a need to conquer each level and you will keep trying until you get it right!
The game also features a level editor, with which you can create your own levels, which is something you do not see every day.
A game in this day and age to not feature a musical score is now the minority. Martian Venture contains not one single soundtrack. As noted before, the controls are a bit too responsive at times, and you can really screw up if you're not careful. All in all though, it was difficult to find a lot of things wrong with this game. If anything, the developer's total lack of English skill in writing the manual could be its biggest flaw, although that has nothing to do with the game itself, so it doesn't really count much.
Martian Venture is a pretty solid piece of gaming entertainment. Although somewhat outdated by today's standards, you could expect to see a game of this calibre on the NES being touted as "cutting edge". If you're looking for a brain-toasting soundtrack or eye-popping graphics, don't even bother downloading this. But if you're looking for a new challenge with plenty of exciting gameplay, Martian Venture should fit the bill.
You can download Martian Venture here.
|GAME REVIEW - 'GHINI RUN|
They come in all
shapes and sizes. This game claims to be the best RPG, this game claims to have
the best graphics, this game claims to beat this game's pants off with its left
hand tied behind its back, this game admits that it sucks...and really does.
Then comes the game that blows all those other games out of the water and leaves them all helplessly begging for mercy. 'Ghini Run is that game.
From the very first moments of the 'Ghini Run opening, it's a visual feast of graphics. A high-speed parallax scene races by as the opening credits roll. Everything about this game, from the menus to the game itself, is extremely high-quality. The graphics are incredible, the sound is incredible, the gameplay is challenging. The AI is very well done, as some of the opponents are very tough to beat out. This game really does take you back to the classic Outrun which, according to the developer, it was inspired by and is a tribute to. All it's missing is the vibrating steering wheel!
The concept of unlocking tracks and cars is a concept barely touched in QB games, even in genres which could greatly benefit from it (even QB fighting games rarely use this kind of concept). And the Pursuit Mode is about as original as you can get, even for a racing game...I've never seen such a concept before, except maybe in games such as Twisted Metal...
This game doesn't appear to fare very well in Windows XP, suffering some control issues (aka they don't WORK). Even under Windows 98, the controls are a bit sensitive, as it is very easy to lose control of your car. And although there are plenty of purists who would argue that it's just not QB unless it works in pure DOS (meaning with sound also), let's be real: virtually everyone has Windows these days, so why not take advantage? The decision to use DS4QB++ was an excellent choice, although again, under XP seems to suffer a bit of lag due to the disk-based nature of communication. Under 98, however, this is not the case, and the sound runs without a single flaw. The biggest flaw on the face of 'Ghini Run is the insanely slow load time. Start it up, go grab a soda, come back, sit down, drink it down, then go grab another one and it may be ready to play. If you're a gamer in a hurry, this WILL irritate you to no end.
Although not perfect, 'Ghini Run takes the standards of QB Excellence and puts its proverbial foot through them, raising them about twenty notches. If you can adjust to its loose control and slow startup time, 'Ghini Run will certainly not disappoint. Better than Outrun? You be the judge.
You can download 'Ghini Run here.
|PRODUCT REVIEW - UGL PART 1|
Touted as "The Ultimate Gaming Library", I decided to check it
out for myself. Lots of hype surrounding this work by v1ctor and Blitz, so it
was time to get the scoop first-hand. I obtained a copy of UGL .22a, so this
review and the next couple of reviews will be based on that particular version.
THE LIBRARY BUILDER
In order to use a customized library like this, one must build it. Right? Okay, no problem. UGL comes with a library builder application that allows you to select which functions you want to include into your application. Written in Visual Basic for DOS, so you would assume they'd take advantage of standard controls, such as checkboxes, listboxes, and command buttons. Nope. Everything is set from a menu. EVERYTHING. So if you want to set an option, you have to navigate sometimes four or five levels of menus. This is about as user unfriendly as it gets, not to mention a huge waste of screen real estate. In addition, I found one flaw in particular to be annoying; if you try selecting 16 bits as your only supported bitdepth, pressing Build will return this error:
How utterly irritating. It wasn't bad enough that I had to navigate three menus to get this far, now I must select ANOTHER bitdepth just to make it work. I can tell that visual design is NOT your forte, guys...80x50 just for menus? Stick to the console. But instead of just "beating it up", I offer the following suggestion in interface design for your library builder:
A picture is worth a thousand words.
The documentation isn't complete, as noted. For the most part however, the documentation is pretty easy to understand and anyone who's coded for Windows will be right at home with UGL. The concept of DC's is, as noted, straight out of Windows, which is both a blessing and a curse for coders. It frees many many issues in terms of keeping track of your data (just remember the handle and you're done with it), but it is a seperation from what traditional library-users are used to using. Anyways, back to documentation.
The biggest reason I downloaded this library was to check out its music capabilities. It has been awhile since a new sound library for QB was released, so any new addition to this sorely neglected area of DOS-based development is welcome. However, the manual is 100% devoid of ANY documentation on using modules. It does include a helpful example .BAS though, so not all is lost.
And now for the meat of this review...
THE MUSIC PLAYER
Ugh...I'm glad this is a beta because if it was a final release, I'd throw this thing away just for the total lack of quality provided by the mod player. In the preview for this library, it is noted that the mod player can handle 64 channels...hrm...the only module type that uses 64 channels is Impulse Tracker. Since the documentation for modules is devoid of existence, I figured I'd just go ahead and try a bunch of modules on the hacked-up example sourcecode. I think there is a fundamental flaw in the understanding of the coders. When one says "mod" or "module", one is referring to ALL module types (ie. .mod, .s3m, .mtm, .it, .669, .xm, etc). However, this appears to be a .MOD player only. So much for 64 channels. In addition to that, its .MOD playing ability is severely limited and doesn't support most effects (although this is mentioned in the changelog), and even .MODs using no effects aren't always played correctly (and no, it was not tested in Windows NT, it was tested in Windows 98SE). I could not get a single non-.MOD module to load with this player, and not even all .MODs themselves would load. Some played correctly, most did not. Oh well.
So far...I am anything but impressed. The graphics routines should fare far better then what I've seen so far, and they're next to be reviewed. For the moment, if UGL can mix with BWSB, that'd be a far better choice in terms of music. Since I have not yet tested the WAV functions, I can't comment on that at the moment. I can say that although what I have tested so far is not up to the hype this library has gotten, it does show promise. But you guys got a long way to go and some pretty big shoes to fill.
You can download UGL here.
|NEW PRODUCT - AUTOCODE|
"AutoCode is a utility that converts BASIC code (like QB) to
fully indented and spaced, or you can even convert it to color coded HTML code.
In the future maybe this will be expanded to support more source formats but
thats way over my head right now."
Created in a single day, this application for both DOS and Windows could easily be used for better displaying of QB code on websites, which I think was what the author, Nexinarus, was trying to accomplish.
Download the DOS version
Download the Windows version
|COMMENTARY - THE REVIEW THAT ALMOST WAS|
I was asked to review Quest For A King, an RPG which a lot of
people have bashed for one reason or another. After downloading QFAK and looking
it over, I discovered that it is not written in QB, as many people seem to
think, but instead VBDOS. Since the focus of QBOA is QB and not VBDOS, I cannot
review this game for this magazine. However, I can say that anyone who has put
down QFAK thus far is an idiot. Although it does suffer some execution problems,
it is not a release-quality demo, and it's during the beta phase of a game that
it receives the big bugfixes and gets things ironed out, which is what the
developer is doing right now and has been doing long before everyone started
cutting him down. So to all of the people who've cut down this work, I have one
thing to say: take your head out of your ass and smell something other than your
|A SITE TO SEE|
Focuses around RPG development in general, not just QB, but there seems to be a lot of QB community members here. Developer profiles, project listings, code bank, and much more.
|QUOTE OF THE MONTH|
from SJ Zero:
I got the idea after reading about the way the mainstream press were searching for "murder simulator". I thought, "Why not?"
"It's on a qb45 post where I present my idea for a true murder simulator -- the first three quarters would be like one of those Japanese dating games, where you're getting picked on and stuff, and the last quarter would be planning and executing a rampage through the school, Counterstrike style. But it would be done as a political statement -- ie. computer games don't make killers, people being inhuman towards people does."
Dr. Nek quickly refills SJ Zero's Ritalin prescription...
Well, that concludes this "proper" return to QBOA. I'm glad to see that this scene is still very much alive, and that its members haven't forgotten to keep giving it their all. So keep up the good work guys n girls :) And I'll be back in a few weeks with another issue of QBOA, so until then, this is Nekrophidius, signing out.