|A QUICK MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR|
This is a much better issue of the zine. I think the QB "community" as it were has awakened and realized that no BS will be tolerated anymore, and when it rears its ugly head, we'll be there to cut it down to size. Without more words, the latest issue.
|IN THE NEWS - THE STARS ARE OUT, BUT THE SKY IS DARK|
V Planet! has announced the nominees for the 2001 gaming Gold awards. Apparently this year was very difficult to choose nominees due to the vast quality of work done over the course of the last year. In addition to a few new categories this year, it seems there are more overall nominees than last year. Be sure to take a stroll over to V Planet! and check it out.
Are there any ends to the "QB OSes"? It seems there are two new "companies" trying to produce these monstrosities of DOS shells. Give it up, people.
Future Software has suffered some kind of problem with file downloads. We were going to download Alunia and possibly review the game, but we were unable to download it. Then Jorden posted a message on the news page at qb45.com that the servers were down. He promises that the situation will be remedied as soon as possible.
For anyone who's ever been a fan of the classic game Dark Ages: The Continents, Micheal Hoopmann has released a new 1.24 version of the game. It contains some text bugfixes but nothing else. You can download it at Dark Knight Software.
|LETTERS TO THE EDITOR|
from TenshiHanaKino@aol.com (Tenshi Animétion, Federation Crystal)
I like reading your Reviews , it helps me see what I'm up against and what I need to do to make sure my game's a success. Keep up the good work! =)
Editor's Response: Tenshi's work was featured in the Gallery of QBOA issue 6. His RPG project, Legends Of Destiny, looks very promising, and has been upgraded incredibly over the last couple of months. Be sure to follow this one...
from firstname.lastname@example.org (Blitz, dot!net studios)
I did not know, about the license. I have however updated the site. I added their link in the about section and wrote about this issue in the news section, so please take a look. Regards
Editor's Response: This letter was in response to last month's news of dot!net breaking a license imposed by Elated.com. They have remedied the problem since then.
from email@example.com (Jade Phoenix)
I've just finished reading the latest issue of QBOA, and I come away with a broad smile on my face. There are far too many people in the QB community releasing incorrect and misleading information - the focus on the truth of QBOA is therefore very refreshing. And the fact that the last 2 issues of the magazine were short is not an issue for me either - I would rather read 5 pages of accurate information than a hundred pages of bullshit.
I wish you the very best of luck with this magazine, and I hope to see it continue for a long time. If you would like me to write you some articles or tutorials, just drop an e-mail my way. I'm a fairly experienced demo coder, and I'm sure I will be able to help someone out there.
Editor's Response: Thanks for the good words! It's always good to know that there is someone out there who appreciates the truth. As far as writing articles, one of the major policies behind QBOA is giving everyone a voice. No matter who you are, how many "great deeds" you've done, or haven't done for that matter, even if you're a newbie three days onto the scene, your words are welcome here. So yes, feel free to submit anything you'd like!
QB RESOURCES ARTICLE - NON-LINEAR INTERPOLATION
This article by Zip was so large I decided to allow it to open in a new window. So, just click here to read it. It is VERY nice.
|QB GAME RESOURCES ARTICLE - BASICS OF TRACKING: PART TWO|
If you didn't read last month's article, please go back and do so. It will serve as a good foundation for the points I will stress in this month's article.
Throughout this article, I am going to be making references to what I consider to be the best of the trackers, Modplug. If you don't have this program, take a trip to Modplug Home and download it. If you don't want to use Modplug, you can easily relate the data in this tutorial to your favourite tracking program.
|Open the tracker. This is the main Modplug screen. In this particular tracker, note the presence of a MIDI library. We won't be dealing with that just yet, but note its presence.|
|Almost every tracker out there comes with one module prepackaged with it. Here, I've opened up Aryx.s3m, a nice module by Karsten Koch (a well-respected tracker from yesteryear). Note that I've turned off the Tree view (you can toggle this in the View menu, under the Toolbars option). This is the General section of the module, where you can adjust most of the non-music details of the piece. The one thing that often confuses new trackers is the difference between Speed and Tempo. Generally speaking, you can think of Speed as the overall speed that the module plays at, and Tempo almost as a fine-tuner. By default, Modplug sets a Speed of 6 and a Tempo of 125.|
|The pattern editor. This is where you will spend the most time, so get acquainted with it now. This is where the music is actually composed. Traditional tracking software, instead of using an actual musical keyboard, uses note values to create music. Modplug has the ability to use a MIDI keyboard, but that's beyond the scope of this introduction. Note the fields Instrument, Pattern Name, and the grid on the lower half of the window.|
|This is the Samples window. It's here that you'll add, remove, and tweak your samples. The type of module you use determines the options available. Note the various fields dimmed out, these are features not supported under the S3M format. If you were to convert this module to a higher format (on the General window), the options would become available. This window allows you to do minor sample editing as well, although this particular tracker does not include an actual sampler (rare is the tracker that does). Of the major four trackers, only Fast Tracker has a sampler (to my knowledge anyways). If you need an external sampler, even something as simple as Sound Recorder would work. I personally recommend Sound Forge or GoldWave as an external sampler.|
|The final window is the least important from a musical perspective, but trackers tend to see this as an important feature, the Comments section. Note that the abilities of the format affect how intricate the comments can be (only IT format supports the use of the Song Message field). The list on the bottom will contain all the samples in the module and the comment on each one, as well as other important data. In some modules, you'll also have an Instruments key (represented by the greyed keyboard, discussed shortly) which has its own set of comments.|
|Here's an option only available in XM and IT formats: the Instruments window. This is the very essence of instrument creation. You can even convert samples to instruments in this tracker, so you can gain more control over how they sound. Note the grayed fields here once again. These are options only available in the IT format (see what I meant about IT being the most powerful module format available?).|
Okay, that about covers the various sections of the tracker. Time to get down to business.Creating A New Song
|Click the white document icon in the toolbar (or optionally, choose New from the File menu). The document icon will create a new 16-channel IT module (the New menu choice allows you to choose your format).|
|Click on the Samples tab to get to the Samples window. Now you're ready to add samples. Use the Open button (the folder with the arrow atop it) to browse for a sample. This will load the chosen sample into the current sample slot. If you wish to add more slots (and you more than likely will), the first icon on this toolbar (the red document icon) will add a new sample slot, which you can use to insert another sample. You can give the sample a Name if you'd like (this will help you identify the sample in the Pattern editor) but this is not necessary.|
|This small toolbar to the right allows you to affect the physical data of the sample. From left to right: Play Sample (previews the sample), Normalize (makes the volume of the sample "normal", or "fluid"; raises or lowers the overall volume to just below the clipping level), Amplify (manually adjust the gain of the sample), Reverse (the sample's data is reversed and the sample plays backwards), and Silence (kills the sample data but retains its length).|
|This box is pretty self-descriptive. It allows you to affect how the samples sounds in its natural state (ie. unaffected by additional effects like looping and reverb). Transpose is the only one that really needs explanation; adjust Transpose to incrementally adjust Frequency. This is a more accurate way of adjusting the sample's tone, rather than trying to adjust the Frequency manually (which you can still do anyways).|
|Here's the rest of the available options. Note that some of these are IT-specific. Loop is the most obvious, allows the sample to loop on its own. Set the start and end values, and the loop method (XM and IT are the only formats to allow bidir looping, other formats only support forward looping). This might take some experimentation to sound proper. Sustain Loop is similar, but used for a different kind of effect, as well as Auto-vibrato (these are only available in IT modules). The details of how these effects work is beyond the scope of this introduction, but they will be covered later in the tutorial series.|
|Welcome to the time-consuming part. This is where you'll be spending the most time. The grid you see here is where the music editing will take place.|
|Select a sample or instrument from this dropdown box. Then, you can add notes to the pattern sheet.|
|One note is added to the sheet. Note the various data involved. You will probably not use all of this data. From left to right: Note and Octave (D 4), Instrument Number (01), Volume (v34), and Effect (DAF, in this case it means "Fine Volume Slide Up 10 places").|
|The computer keyboard is used to place notes into the pattern. If you don't know what key means what, you can always see a list of key mappings. In the View menu, there's an option called Setup (this option is run the first time Modplug is used as well). Click the Keyboard tab to see the current key mapping. Note the presence of Keyboard Preset: this particular tracker has mappings for Fast Tracker, Impulse Tracker, its own mapping, and it even allows you to define your own keyboard mapping. Now, back to the pattern editor.|
|There will come a time when you wish to add a new pattern. Just click the white document icon shown here to add a new pattern.|
|These keys affect the size of the pattern. The first key allows you to manually set the number of rows. The second and third keys increase and decrease the size of the pattern in increments. Using the manual size setting is the preferred method.|
|If you need to adjust the octave, this is the option to use. More than likely you'll be changing the octave more than once, so remember where this is. By default, Modplug starts at octave 4.|
Remember to regularly save your
work! It sucks to track for four hours without saving and then have the
power go out or some other monstrosity of modern technology (Windows
crash, brother kicking out the power cord, Windows crash, lightning
storm, Windows crash, power surge, did I mention Windows crash?).
That's All For Now
Hopefully this gives you a look into the methods behind digital music. The next tutorial will take it a little further, with more detailed looks at certain functions, and of course, we'll get into effects. Until then, good luck and happy tracking.
|THE QB STORY|
This story is a metaphor. It reflects on the online qb experience of me. In any case, we'll begin by setting a plot. The plot in this case will be a zoo. As with all zoos, you have various animals considered things you don't want to mess with and things that you would rather pet. Now, this zoo was unkept. The managers we're lazy and useless in all various cases. In most cases, children, the zookeepers left the cages filled with wastes and moreso than food. I'll now, at this point, tell you that this zoo in its current state was when pages such as qbasic.com and other things were up and considered great. The animals were nieve of a possibility of a better life. It happens. Well, one particular night kiddies, the zookeepers left. To this day they haven't yet been seen.
With that, days passed without human intervention. Even before hand, this idea that the humans would leave had been taken under consideration. A sanctuary or kingdom had been under developement. The animals would simply rule themselves. The animals doing this, of course, we're the lions. It was obvious they'd be the leaders. It started with them slowly getting out of their cages by group force and then opening the fellow animal's zoos. And so with that, the lions ruled. We'll make the lions a metaphoric representation of tek.
Rather, instead, let's make tek the leader of the lions to avoid confusion. Years passed with him ruling the zoo (which btw, is the online experience, not so much programming). This was until a three toed sloth came along. The three toed sloth was evil. At nights he would roam the zoo, causing problems, but so that no other animal would realize. He was evil, and a genius. He was the evil genius. Unlike other three toed sloths, this one was perpetually fast, but still grew moss on his back, for he had bad hygeine. His teeth were extremely unkept, so that the lies that secreted from his mouth would fit in with the stank so no one could tell his mischievous nature. He was the first to learn of alchohol and the evils that could come from it. He, in every occasion, would sneak into where man had taken breaks in the zoo and take some of their liquor. Furthermore, all women sloths excommunicated him from dating. Those who had nerve to allow themselves to be seen with this particular sloth, never did so, again.
The lion and the sloth's relationship was unbiased but not so much loyal. You see, the lion's view toward the sloth was based upon the opinions of the other members of the animal kingdom. The flamingos, endeared with their royalty, hated the sloth and cursed him. The horses and dogs, who had an affection for the humans, liked the sloth. The sloth, as later found, had an affection towards the humans and their pleasures too.
The sloth bought the zoo. He bought the abandoned zoo without the lions permission. You see, the sloth had albino children and because the sloth was evil, he sold them. That's how evil the sloth was. He trusted no one and would give away his own children if it gave him a good turn. By the way, the albino children were given to a nice rich family. They gave them shelter and plenty of food. They gave them A LOT of food. And then they ate them. It seems that albino, three-toed sloths are a delicacy. This the sloth knew and this the sloth didn't care about.
Now, the evil sloth's plans came into action. He of course, couldn't allow himself to just take over the zoo, proving him to be evil by the people. He had to somehow get the lion to partnership with him, without allowing the lion to have any control. One night, he went up to the lion and told him of his deal with the humans and ownership of the zoo. The lion, of course, asked to think about it. As with most stupid and timid lions, he asked the opinion of others and then came to the conclusion he would buy off the sloth.
The sloth refused. He demanded that the lion bow to his new master. The lion, of course, refused. The sloth thereby called the police and the lion and the flamingos escaped to the sewers below the zoo. There, the sloth, who hadn't deserved any right to do what he had done with his Real Estate business, crapped and urinated in the zoo toilets into the home of the flamingos and lions. And thus began the reign of the sloth.
The sloth's dictatorship, however, hadn't been all for bad. He created a system. He created an electrical system that gave food and various rights to all who joined. He implanted an electric system. The zoo had never before had an electrical system and in the lion's day, all updating in the zoo was done by hand. The potential of the zoo was left in hands of the animals.
The flamingos, egotistically stood within the sewers, taking the crap and urine that poured out at them with rants. Terrorist parties of pink flamingos would fly through the sewers into the daylight, forgetting what sunlight was like, and fail at an attempt of destroying the sloth's plans. When all terrorist plans occurred, the sloth would send the flamingos, along with animals he "thought" was in the raid, into the sewers, banning them forever from his zoo.
The sloth, as all evil minds, forgave them and unsealed the sewer lids to make the animals think he was all loving and forgiving. He continually made the nieve minds of the zoo believe that quite possibly, he was the one getting crapped on, rather than the animals in the sewers. Then an uprising occurred where those thought the lion and his minions were being evil as the truth should be told.
He plotted. Then he constructed a letter; a ransom note if you will. It stated that the lions had taken him hostage. It also gave a list of all of those whom which the sloth hated and would wish damnation upon. The animals who lived with sunlight pointed their attention towards the sewer dwellers and raided them. In the meantime, the sloth stood in the shadows laughing at his evil plot.
Three days later he returned. He returned with no explanation of his part nor how he returned. The animals simply accepted it while the lions and flamingos knew of his wicked plot. No rebuttals occurred, obviously because the lions and flamingos had too much class.
From that point in time, the sloth still reigns. Unfortunetly, the small updates that he made to the zoo to improve the lives of the animals have since been not enough. The sewer was filled with too much crap and urine, which thus killed the master lion who suffocated from the crap the sloth put him through (literally). There is no place to put the waste now. The food, which the sloth could once supply, is no longer in any quantity. The sloth and his minions now feed upon the weak and to those who don't resist, he makes him their henchmen and gives them the thought of pure loyalty. This is, until the sloth is hungry and eats you. The sloth has proven, presently and in the future, that animals can be indifferent from the evils and laziness of man.by Gopus
|PRODUCT PREVIEW - QBRPG|
Self-proclaimed destroyer of Alunia, this pure QB engine is making waves. Let's see how good it really is. Sit back and enjoy the show.
The animated logo at the start is a nice indication of a programmer who know's what he's doing. And make no mistake about it, this is a fine engine. Bear in mind that this is PURE QB. The rain effects are very nice, and the scrolling is actually quite smooth. It does contain a scripting engine, and the author claims it is very complex. Although temporary, the pack-in graphics are really nice and all fit together well. Additionally, this engine uses NetherGoth's DS4QB2 for the highest possible quality sound and music available for a QB project.
It was actually difficult to find much wrong with this engine. It's very standard, there are no real flaws of any particular nature to be found. I suppose if you wanted to nitpick, you could gripe about the character sometimes not facing the NPCs, the time it takes to load the first time the program is run, or the fact that it does not run under Windows NT. In fact, do NOT attempt to run this under Windows 2000, trust me on this...
Solid. Very very solid. And with potential. And a future. However, as QB games go, it does appear that this is at the edge of its power, and that the program itself is testing the very limits of QB's speed. But who knows...this kind of program is thought to be impossible...and this is the first time since Nexus-13 that anyone has tried something so bold. Nevertheless, this has real potential, and this reviewer would like to see it go places.
|CLASSIC GAME REVIEW - MINIRPG III|
This is an old RPG from 1997. Created by Change-V, it was among the most popular RPGs of its time. Now, four years later, let's see if this classic still has what it takes to stand out amongst the powerful games of today.
This has some of the most complex animation ever seen in a QB RPG, even despite its old age. Battle scenes is where it's the most impressive, with some characters having well over 10 frames of animation (most MODERN QB RPGs are lucky to have two or three frames of animation). It's all very smooth as well, considering this is a SCREEN 7 game and uses video pages effectively. This game comes as a BAS file and runs under QBasic.exe. Needless to say, you aren't going to have any problems running this game. It even performed well under Windows 2000.
The most interesting part of this is without question the storyline. I mean, how many games out there feature a blue knight named Rom chasing after a chick named Cookie? Sure, the game's short, but it's full of weird and hilarious plot twists and elements. I mean..."Taste my power, It's CAFFEINE Free!".
Like so many games of the time, this game has no music or sound. Okay fine, that's livable considering its age. But what really bugs me is the playing size. Additionally, the keyboard scrolling is choppy, and actually, the character on the map screen is somewhat poorly done. The simplistic nature of the graphics is, of course, a direct result of a 16 colour mode, and the colours do detract from the nicely drawn sprites. This game would have been killer in SCREEN 13, but this was pre-library days...
If you don't mind the tiny playing area and lack of any kind of sound, MiniRPG III is an entertaining game that certainly holds its own against the QB RPGs of today. With some minor modifications, the game would certainly surpass some of the best efforts that have come out recently. But alas, it does show its age. However, age or not, the fact remains that this is nothing but good old fashioned fun...which is the reason we play games in the first place.
|CURRENT GAME REVIEW - PONG II CORPORATE EMPIRE|
The most deranged version of Pong ever devised. While there have been countless Pong clones and variants, only this one has managed to show any signs of true uniqueness. Here's the scoop on Budfish's weird game.
At first, this almost came off as yet another cheeseball Pong clones that we've seen so many times before. But as the game progressed, it turned into more like a strategy game or a shooter rather than pong. You have to build your own "paddle" (ship, I guess) to destroy the enemy "paddle". You do this with weapons you buy and equip. Weird! You fire missles at the other paddle, and of course he fires back at you. The ball bounce mechanics are adequate (not perfect but they work) and theer are some weapons that work differently depending on how they're fired...it all boils down to less Pong and more war-like strategy, a unique twist. The graphics are very well done, too.
There's no sound! At least I didn't hear any. What's Pong without bleeps and blips? C'mon! Aside from the badly done computer AI, there is little wrong with this game. It's quite well-balanced overall. It does suffer a few gameplay quirks and could use some polishing on the scoring, though.
Pretty damn good! I do recommend this game heavily to anyone who's looking for something to kill some time with. But please...add some sound!
|THE GALLERY - XGMAE|
Rarely would a black and white game make it into a gallery, but this game by Lithium is very impressive...and to think it's only a demo of his particle engine. The ship has 5 weapons with which to destroy as many asteroids as possible. Is this the month for classic arcade clones? Check it out!
|A SITE TO SEE|
The homepage of Dragon Fire and VAK. Quite a number of original sourcecodes and programs in QB and VB, plus 3D art, tutorials, and a ton of other stuff. Go see =)
|QUOTE OF THE MONTH|
Ahh...an old favourite from the original QBOA run was the Quote Of The Month. Well, for your viewing displeasure, I've brought back this most disturbing part of the zine.
This month's quote comes from Kenneth Garin, during one of the many arguments on the Future Software webboard:
This was an argument about how much Windows requires DOS. Kenneth decided it might be a good idea to ask Microsoft. We all know know what would happen then. =)
Welp, that does it for another issue of QB On Acid. As the weeks have gone on, it's given me some time to think about how to really make this magazine effective, and I've come to the conclusion that making it appear once a month on a regular basis will be both organized and beneficial. So, from now on, QBOA will appear on the last day of every month until it disappears again. When will that be? Who knows. Why think about it now? Peace out...