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Epic sluggish to respond
You can find this message on the "Unreal Technology" page:
Buckling under popular demand from the UT skinning/mod community we are releasing a public version of 'Bright', our trusty old command-line-based texture palettizer tool. Get it right here. Documentation included in the zip file. We used this throughout development of Unreal and Unreal Tournament to convert source art textures into 8-bit formats with minimal loss of quality.
This is, in my view, very indicative of Epic's attitude towards mod makers so far. Why would it take months of requests from the community for Epic to release this simple command-line tool to gamers? If Epic is truly supporting the mod making community, why wasn't this available the moment Unreal Tournament was released? Better yet, why does the "Unreal Technology" page have version 1.0 of 3ds2unr.exe when version 1.15 (released 5 months later) is available from a dead webpage that hasn't been updated for 12 months?

And yet Brandon "Green Marine" Reinhart took great offense to the suggestion that Epic hasn't provided the resources to mod makers that some other games have. Wake up, Brandon. The reason is because it's true. The offerings available from Epic feel like table scraps. The information is so sparse that it gives a tantalizing taste, but in the end seems to provide little sustenance.

Probably the most telling evidence of this is that Brandon Reinhart himself has joined the team that's porting Rocket Arena to Unreal Tournament. He must have seen the kind of sway that the RA team has when their complaint about Quake3 mod support produced immediate results from both the community and the Id team itself. It probably terrified Epic that a similar comment would be made about their support, so they immediately sent Brandon to launch a preemptive strike.

I mean, God forbid that they actually work to make mod editing easier for everyone, not just one high profile team. Like, I don't know, documenting their code, releasing some actually useful utilities, or providing instructions on the most common and obvious mod changes.

So far our UT mod has been an exercise in frustration. Even community resources have provided almost nothing beyond the info available from Epic. Finding decent information on model conversion or expanding the functionality of existing classes (and passing those changes down to existing subclasses) has been next to impossible. What little info I find is incomplete, and the utlities don't work.

Permalink   Filed under: Technology, Games

Those dangerous power tools
You might want to check out M.I.L.T. for an important social commentary.
Permalink   Filed under: Society

More UnrealScript wakiness
UnrealScript... man! What a mess. But it looks like I have found how to create new console commands (and thus new key binds) for a game type. In Engine.PlayerPawn.uc, starting at line 1138, there are series of "exec function" statements that correlate with console commands. The comment there reads "Normal gameplay execs / Type the name of the exec function at the console to execute it". I'm assuming I can simply subclass any PlayerPawn child class (like TMale1) and put a few "exec function XYZ()" blocks in to define new commands.

Of course the obvious flaw in the class hierarchy model is that if I want to make a change to PlayerPawn, I can extend it, but what about all the classes that already use PlayerPawn as their base class? They don't inherit the changes, so I have to extend each "child" class independently? Yuck! I'll ask around about this one, because it seems like too much of a weakness to be true. (But you never know.)

Permalink   Filed under: Technology, Games

Can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding
Hey, Smith & Wesson: You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding.

Faced with the public backlash from their agreement with the Clinton administration, Smith & Wesson has posted a "clarification" of their government deal. You see, their agreement stipulates that each and every Smith & Wesson distributor and dealer follow a certain code of conduct. This code of conduct, as I've described previously, lays down very specific restrictions on what the dealers can and can't do. Any dealer/distributor that does not agree to these guidelines cannot sell Smith & Wesson firearms at all.

If you read the agreement, you can see that there are stipulations on the details on guns and magazines that dealers can sell. Though these points plainly refer to ALL guns the dealer sells, Smith & Wesson has "clarified" the agreement by maintaining that these conditions apply only to S&W guns and products. Not surprisingly, this interpretation has been challenged by the White House.

I dunno, it was all pretty clear to me, and I'm not a lawyer. The way I see it, S&W just pulled an "Oh, shit, what the hell did we do?"

Permalink   Filed under: Politics, Guns
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