Re: PC development

Michael Sattler, San Francisco (EST)
Sun, 27 Nov 1994 17:25:02 -0500


>I use a 386DX for CUSM and it is much more fun than an afternoon with Sonic
>The Hedgehog, so I've been told :-) (sorry for lowering the tone)...

I don't want to continue the Mac vs. PC issue, but that Sonic crack just
broke all my reserves :-) As a long-time DOOM player (and a short-time
DOOM II player) on 486/66s, I'm blown away by Marathon, a DOOM-like game
for the Mac. In fact, it's better than DOOM because it assumes you have
more horsepower and it does more with that horsepower. If you don't have
the extra umph! then you have to play the game in half-full mode. (Note:
my PowerBook 520c with an external monitor is about middle of the playable
range. I've heard some 68030s being used, too.) Marathon demo may be
gotten from all the usual archives by now, I'd guess or from

(2179 K) ftp.netcom.com:pub/ms/msattler/Marathon_Demo.sit

>Have they made it work at all? Are they working with a PC/Maven hook? Is
>it possible? Are they aiming for a particular product compliance such as
>Sound Blaster 1.5? Each weekend I spend a fair bit of time looking for
>PC/Windows based betas such as a MAVEN interface so that I might cludge
>together a workable session. Having a hint that the wait will be worth it
>is all I ask.

I can't speak for the CU team (actually, I could, but I'd look really silly
when they didn't take their work assignments from me :), but I believe I
recall hearing that PC audio was high on the list of things to do. Because
I don't have a PC anymore (glory be!) I didn't poke too deeply. Since
several people have asked, let me ask for you: Larry - what are the
tentative parameters for the PC-audio you're working on, if you feel
comfortable telling us. Do you need alpha testers? There seem to be
several people on this list that are sound-saavy.

>I am new to CU and could also use some advice as to the type of Internet
>connection/equipment to make for good Interneting as well as CU, SLPP, PPP
>... services. This system is still being designed and I dont want to short
>change the schools bye cuting corners now and paying alot more in the long
>run.

Suggestion: for anything but CU-SeeMe you can get away with a 14.4 dialup
to your local Internet provider. Use SLIP, because PPP has a 5 percent
overhead dedicated to handling multiple protocols, which you as a saavy
TCP/IP user won't need. To get even passable audio and video you'll need
an ISND or leased line connection. Try to get 128K on your ISDN instead of
64K. You'll notice a difference. I've heard that some providers charge
less/nothing for schools.

>I've been reading the debate, and I don't think that people realize the real
>difficulties of doing a PC version. The reason that the program doesn't
>support any PC hardware codecs is to maintain cross-platform
>compatibility-the developers had to do their own themselves. I suppose the
>same can be said for the audio codecs. This is a big job. Worse, the sheer
>number of wacky boards that a PC developer must support is scary.

This is true about PCs in general. Apple, having maintained strict control
over the operating system, has made it easier for software developers to
satisfy customers.

>If these guys could do full-motion video with sound over POTS lines using
>software alone, I assure you that within a year they would all be retired
>and living in Maui...

Well, there goes *my* retirement plan :-)

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michael Sattler <msattler@jungle.com> San Francisco, California
http://www.wco.ftp.com/~msattler/
(2179 K) ftp.netcom.com:pub/ms/msattler/Marathon_Demo.sit
LOOKING FOR WORK: technical manager, software engineer, trouble-shooter
of systems and networks everywhere, documentation writer and trainer; on
the streets after the untimely death of an entire west coast development
office. Extra points given for advanced technology and network access.