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Review: BZFlag 3D Tank Game

michael posted about 12 years ago | from the load-HEAT dept.

Games 165

GonzoJohn writes "LinuxOrbit.com reviews the 3D Tank game BZFlag. 'Have you ever been walking down the street, minding your own business, and suddenly look down to find something you hadn't expected? It might be money, it might be a decoder ring, it could be anything. But the almost universal reaction is pleasurable. 'That's a nice surprise,' you think as you stoop and pocket whatever good fortune has dropped in your path. The same thing can happen in the strangest places. For example, a recent post on our message boards inquired, 'What's your favorite flag in bzflag?'. Not being familiar with the game, I had to ask "What's bzflag?' Little did I know that such an innocent inquiry would result in an almost indecent obsession with a very cool game.'"

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165 comments

Living large (5, Funny)

shani (1674) | about 12 years ago | (#3289859)

If I looked down and saw something I hadn't expected, I think I'd close my zipper.

Re:Living large (-1, Troll)

x0n (120596) | about 12 years ago | (#3289875)

You have front-mounted protruding penile haemorroids too then? sucks, doesn't it?

Re:Living large (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289895)

shut up you wanker. Can't stand you poxy Americans.

Re:Living large (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289915)

I think you`re at the wrong site then...this is yankee-doodle-dandy land all the way!

Oh, and before you complain about words such as color, fall (not autumn) etc etc remember that these are ENGLISH words, the way they were spelt before people set off to America. They only changed to their pretentious french-style spellings because the Elizabethans decided they were cooler that way. They were wrong - coloUr is a stupid way to spell it.

Heh. Seven comments, and already she's down. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289909)

Warning: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105
Error connecting to dblonew
Program: /home/orbitftp/www/pages/mainfile2.php - Line N.: 82
Database: lonew
Error (1040) :

The webserver must have seen the first few people referenced by slashdot and fainted, knowing what was to come.

Poor, poor anthropomorphized webserver.

whee (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289864)

first post.
-a88

first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289868)

first post

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289869)

One of the obvious querks of NTFS is its use of compression. The goal of compression for filesystems is to obviously decrease filesizes while keeping read and write times as fast as possible. NTFS does a very good job of this, except that it uses a lossy algorithm which means that data is actually lossed when decompressing files.

Now usually this isn't a problem , since users can choose which files they want compressed, except that windows 2000 and windows XP automatically compresses files with this lossy algorithm when they have lots of whitespace. Can you just imagine losing parts of your assignment and having to retype it because Windows automatically compressed your work with a lossy algorithm !

NTFS also has very bad recovery. This disk check utility can only be run on the disk only so often because too frequent disk checks on NTFS leads to hard drive corruption. This is why you see windows only check NTFS drives once every 20 or so shutdowns.

And for you power users:
NTFS also performs slower than FAT32. This has been thoroughly benchmarked here .
Not to mention that linux has very poor support for NTFS. Though it may be able to read NTFS drives, writing to them is a completely seperate issue, almost surely resulting in data loss.

If I was to choose a filesystem today my first choice would have to be FAT16. It has a performance advantage over FAT32 and NTFS and doesn't have any of the drawback that NTFS has, as well as being fully compatible with linux.

what sort of a name is bzflag? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289874)

linux games need better names. bzflag sounds like a compression utility or something. i bet we'd all be playing it if it was called something like 'armoured smashing-fist 2000', not bzip2.

Re:what sort of a name is bzflag? (3, Informative)

fallacy (302261) | about 12 years ago | (#3289900)

From the site [bzflag.org]:

"At this point the game resembled bz by Chris Fouts. This is no surprise because both games are based on the old Atari arcade game BattleZone. In fact, BZFlag was called bz back then because no one in the PCG knew of the existence of Chris Fouts' bz. Yes, that's right, BZFlag was written with no knowledge of bz. The two games share no code and were designed and written independently. They owe their similarities to their BattleZone heritage"

Now, I'm not saying that it's a great name, but at least there's a reason for it being what it is...

Re:what sort of a name is bzflag? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290071)

Actually.... it is not exactly a linux games... we used to play it on SGIs almost 10 years ago... (okay, maybe a little less)

All Programs need better names. (2)

Quazion (237706) | about 12 years ago | (#3290284)

I would love that programs would be called like this '3d tank game bzflag' so we know what it is.

and something that was in the news PAN the newsreader is going to change its name, would you know its a newsreader from the name ? i wouldnt, would 'Newsgroup Reader PAN' be a better name ? you can always replace the PAN with any other fantasy name, but please lets make program names logical, so users will understand what it is..

Just MY opinion =P

Re:All Programs need better names. (5, Funny)

ameoba (173803) | about 12 years ago | (#3290437)

...and everything begins to sound like a poorly translated Anime title...

Liberating Music Player Sonique

Archaic Compiler f77
Multi-Purpose Text Mangler sed

Tireless Text Locator grep -r

Other offenders (sorry, had to do it!): (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290451)

Windows - Nope, no windows here. Just rectangles with pretty pictures in them.

X-Windows - This program was a real disappointment, and then AOL invented the internet and I was able to get my pr0n from lots of places, so I didn't need it anymore.

OSX - Same thing - EVEN LESS pr0n!

Linux - It sounds like a polish side-dish. "Mmmm, great ox-blood soup, ma... pass the linux, please!"

Everquest - We used to have to drive over the border to Indiana to buy this to make jello-shots when I was in college.

The Gimp - There's nothing funny about this, and that's all I'm going to say.

Half-Life - Talk about lowered expectations!

Don't even get me started on Java. ;P

------
A-C-Karma-Filter ENGAGED!

My program renaming utility (1)

pokeyburro (472024) | about 12 years ago | (#3290535)


% BetterNamer -R /usr/bin
% ls /usr/bin
sex001* sex023* sex045* sex067* sex089*
sex002* sex024* sex046* sex068* sex089*
sex003* sex025* sex047* sex069* sex090*
[...]

Me: Grrrrrrrr...

People say... (0, Offtopic)

carlosjordao (187667) | about 12 years ago | (#3289877)

people say that is synchronicty...
Some events in sequence that would put you
in contact with something you desire/want/would like. It would look like coincidence, but
those people belive there is no coincidences,
so, the universe just helped you ;-)

Grudes (0, Offtopic)

Dick Click (166230) | about 12 years ago | (#3289889)

When discussing the "pleasure" of such an event (as described in the original post), you can measure the pleasure in grudes. Grudes is a scale from negative values, through to positive values. I don't know if there is the equivalent of "absolute zero" for Grudes, but I can provide some examples:
a) -1000 Grudes is equal to the feeling you getin the pit of your stomach when you look in your rear-view mirror, and see that a police officer is about to pull you over for speeding.
b) 4310 Grudes is equal to the feeling you have when your home town team comes back from a deficit to win the final game in some sporting event playoff situation that you care about.

I don't know how many Grudes one might feel while playing BZFlag. Anyone have any ideas?

Website with more info (4, Informative)

KevinGale (537574) | about 12 years ago | (#3289894)

http://www.bzflag.org/

Re:Website with more info (1, Redundant)

rasjani (97395) | about 12 years ago | (#3289916)

And karmawhoring the site as a clickable link:

http://www.bzflag.org [bzflag.org]

Re:Website with more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290184)

Now see, you ruined your karma chances by making it obvious.

To do it right, you have to start a new thread (to make it less obvious that you're ripping someone off) and you can't have the word 'karma' in your post.

It works even better if you add some kind of throw-away description, like 'Try this site for more information about bzFlag'.

Re:Website with more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290245)

Gee!! Thanks, ill be much wiser next time ;)

Re:Website with more info (2, Interesting)

Ahchay (91408) | about 12 years ago | (#3289966)

From bzflag.org

BZFlag now officially runs on the Vectrex! This amazing console uses vector graphics instead of the more common pixel-based graphics, making for amazing gameplay! In fact, the Vectrex has the same type of screen used in the original Battlezone.

Whoa! Is this an April 1st thing or something...

It would be very very cool - the vectrex is one of my all time desert island systems - but I can't find any more information on site or anywhere else, and I'm pretty certain that Veccie hardware would struggle.

Can anyone confirm whether this is just a particularly inspired April oneth thang?

(Gods, I hate this time of year - can't believe anything you bloody well read)

Cheers
Chris

Re:Website with more info (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290145)

You win the prize (namely, abso-freaking-lutely nothing).

As a developer for BZFlag, I can vouch for the fact that it is, in fact, an AFJ.

-- Colin Bayer

Re:Website with more info (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290134)

Yeah, I guess that's a pretty advanced game for a Linux system!

Now excuse me, I'm going back to Freedom Force. Or maybe Dungeon Seige.

7 comments and slashdotted already? (0, Redundant)

matvei (568098) | about 12 years ago | (#3289897)

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105

Re:7 comments and slashdotted already? (1)

superpeach (110218) | about 12 years ago | (#3289991)

well, yes. You would hope that people at least tried to read the page before making comments.

Im addicted to BZFlag (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289899)

It's already hard enough to find a decent server to play on. Now that BZFlag is on Slashdot I fully expect to find an increase in lag, teammate killers, and losers with hacked clients when I start playing this morning. Doh!

The best flag is the laser by they way.

Re:Im addicted to BZFlag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290237)

Heh. reminds me of the activision Battlezone servers. lots of lusers who think its 1337 to login on someones team, and then use that to attack the guys base as the teammate flag stops automated defenses from nuking him. usually followed by "H@r H@r, r001d joo!"

Laser being best depends on the arena... (3, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | about 12 years ago | (#3290478)

On the "Decks" server, ricochet is turned on and Laser is your best friend and your worst enemy (as you can indescriminately torch off friend, foe, and yourself with a badly placed shot...)- I usually can rack up 10 or so kills if I'm on a low ping night there with the laser. If you're on an arena that doesn't have ricochet turned on and has a LOT of obstacles- Laser's mostly useless as it takes too long to recharge.

Guided missiles are my preferred one.

Wide Angle bad flag? (2, Insightful)

gerddie (173963) | about 12 years ago | (#3289901)

I wonder why the "wide angle" flag is considered bad. Yes, it might not be easy to interpret the image, but if you become used to it, the fish-eye certainly gives you an advantage.

Re:Wide Angle bad flag? (1)

banditski (163064) | about 12 years ago | (#3290238)

"the fish-eye gives you an advantage..."

dude - that's what the RADAR is for...

and i suppose colour blindness is an advantage so you don't feel guilty for killing your teammates?? 8^)

Best. Arcade. Game. Ever. (4, Interesting)

LittleGuy (267282) | about 12 years ago | (#3289902)

I'm not surprised about the addiction. It was so good for its time, even in its single-player mode, that the military took a look at it to train its troops.

Based on Atari's BattleZone [bzflag.org], it remains my favorite Video Arcade game.

the lonewolf is dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289903)

Warning: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105
Error connecting to dblonew
Program: /home/orbitftp/www/pages/mainfile2.php - Line N.: 82
Database: lonew
Error (1040) :

Spectre (3, Interesting)

pistaugh (316764) | about 12 years ago | (#3289906)

There used to ba a game exactly like this. It was for the Macintosh if I remember correctly. I think it was called Spectre.

Re:Spectre (1, Interesting)

HobbitGod42 (568144) | about 12 years ago | (#3289956)

I think it was spectre 7... well thats what it was on the PC... ah after looking at GameFaqs [gamefaqs.com] I noticed it was Spectre VR...

Re:Spectre (2)

ameoba (173803) | about 12 years ago | (#3290452)

At one time, spectre was the Big Hype game of the year, available on both PC and Mac. Something about it's graphics.. dunno.

CTF rules (0, Redundant)

EisBar (324026) | about 12 years ago | (#3289910)

Nothing like capturing your opponets flag and hear that mockering laugh after watching the explode.

No flags, no jumping, just ricochet!

Excellent game. (1)

PlazMatiC (11127) | about 12 years ago | (#3289911)

I happened upon BZFlag on freshmeat a couple of years ago now. It's been steadily improving since I first played it.

It's a lot like Point Blank, a game I played on SGI O2 machines back in 1998, but nowhere near as complex. (Point Blank had three tanks and one aircraft, gradients in the terrain, and buildings more complex than the solid blocks in BZFlag)

Still, I enjoy playing it, and there's a windows version, making it great for lan parties.

the best flag (4, Interesting)

banditski (163064) | about 12 years ago | (#3289913)

i became hooked on this game in school... a bunch (usually 8 or so) guys would stay after class to play until the kicked us out. this went on for the better part of four months.

but the best flag, imho, is stealth. guided missles are pretty good, but invariably, everyone teams up on the dude with missles. stealth allows you to act as an assasin - picking your targets on your own terms.

some would say this tactic is 'cheap' - i think cheap is getting missles and jumping onto the highest building and firing constantly. stealth isn't 'cheap', it's 'tactical'. 8^)

The Best CS distraction (4, Interesting)

Meech (166762) | about 12 years ago | (#3289954)

The CS Department at my school has a 24 hour access rule, meaning that when a good game of bzflag starts, nobody has to leave. These games start very randomly. If a bunch of people are sitting around the lab working on stuff, all there needs for a game is for one person to *cough* and say "bz." The next thing you know, there are 5 to 10 people signed in, with the first person starting the server. It is an amazing phenomenon.

As far as flags go, here are the best flags:

  • Guided Missle - This flag is the best flag for longevity. Right click and then fire, you just killed someone.
  • Laser flag - instant death from across the board.
  • Stealth - When you are not on someone's radar, they get really pissed.
  • Cloaking - It is hard for them to shoot at what they can't see.
  • Narrow - You become two dimensional in a 3D world.
  • Shock Wave - Everyone within a certain radius of you becomes no more!
There may be more flags, but those are the best on the version that we play with.

Re:The Best CS distraction (2, Insightful)

LordNimon (85072) | about 12 years ago | (#3290005)

These games start very randomly. If a bunch of people are sitting around the lab working on stuff, all there needs for a game is for one person to *cough* and say "bz."

*sigh*, I miss college. Enjoy it while you can, buddy. Once you get a "real job", you'll never again work with a bunch of people who all share your interests.

Re:The Best CS distraction (3, Interesting)

cduffy (652) | about 12 years ago | (#3290160)

Enjoy it while you can, buddy. Once you get a "real job", you'll never again work with a bunch of people who all share your interests.

Depends on where 'ya work, man.

My first year at [insert non-dead linux-centric software company... yes, you get to figure out which one -- can't be hard, we've been in /. lately], we had big bzFlag games every day around 5:00 or so. I understand that the year before it was XPilot. When the core engineering group went to lunch together, we'd all geek out 'bout the same stuff (for that matter, we still do, when I'm not telecommuting). We'd go to parties together (one employees' daughter dictated a list of who she wanted to her 4th birthday party -- and it was more than 50% coworkers, myself included), had (and have) a company band, used to have intercompany Nerf fights (now replaced by frequent Birkball games)...

Yes, really cool workplaces still exist. Thing is, they're rare -- I was damn lucky to find this one. To address your claim directly: I'm still studying computer science (that's why I'm telecommuting some of the time) -- and I'd say my coworkers share my interests far more than my classmates, and my coworkers are most certainly better coders and teachers than my professors (I learn far more from talking to and working with them than sitting in class). So don't be so doom-and-gloom... just because you don't have a really cool job doesn't mean they don't exist. (or, to put it differently... "Neener neener neener!")

Re:The Best CS distraction (2)

garcia (6573) | about 12 years ago | (#3290239)

that's not a "real" job. That's fun. If work was fun it would be called vacation. You are one of those imposters! ;)

Re:The Best CS distraction (1)

cduffy (652) | about 12 years ago | (#3290393)

that's not a "real" job. That's fun. If work was fun it would be called vacation. You are one of those imposters! ;)

Heh. Ohh... now I get it. So some of us get real jobs (poor slobs!) and some of us get paid vacations.

Hmm... I think I prefer the latter. :)

Re:The Best CS distraction (2)

room101 (236520) | about 12 years ago | (#3290324)

We used to do the same thing with x-tank. Damn I miss that game.

Ah, the good 'ole days.

CMU used to be the place for C&C or Starcraft (1)

CrazyJim0 (324487) | about 12 years ago | (#3290461)

Then they switched over to NT because the gamers angered people.

Its a computer cluster not a library. People are just mad to see people having worlds of fun, while they're stuck writing a paper. Little do these paper writing people know thats the only fun CS people have :)

And a community too, I really miss that little time I had playing computer games around the cluster.

Re:the best flag (3, Interesting)

Bostik (92589) | about 12 years ago | (#3290472)

some would say this tactic is 'cheap' - i think cheap is getting missles and jumping onto the highest building and firing constantly.

Yes, that is definetely cheap. Which is the reason that when I ran a bzflag server, jumping wasn't allowed, unless you got the Jump flag. We wanted to keep the guided missiles in the game, but without the munchkin factor that they, combined with free jumping, give.

Yep, basically just getting the missiles and hopping on top of the highest building allowed you to snipe every single player that came in your field of vision. I tried it once and it's dead boring.

Now I'm feeling the urge to reinstall a bzflag server and get in touch with the game again. As if it wasn't difficult enought to let go the last time :)

Re:the best flag (1)

corey_lawson (562933) | about 12 years ago | (#3290561)

When I was at college, the big fun was NetTrek. Similar things. We would "convene" at the ACS of the Univ. of Washington, which had a "public" X terminal area. Tons of fun.

BZflag's Cool (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about 12 years ago | (#3289924)

The undernet linux channel went through a brief period of bzflag addiction two or three years ago. Great game. Took a bit of fiddling to get it to work correctly with my 3DFX card at the time. Hmm... I should reinstall it...

A Great little game... Could do with more config (3, Interesting)

Manic Miner (81246) | about 12 years ago | (#3289930)

I LOVE this game, I came across it a month or two ago while looking for 3d games that me and my house mates could play, even on low spec / linux machines. I wasn't convinced when I first loaded it up and had a tank which could jump and very simple graphics, but then we started playing.... I have to say this thing rocks, multi platform, network play, LOTs of players on line a once, serious good fun.

I do have one gripe though, some of the flags are REALLY anoying if playing with only a few people, homming missle being one of them. All the person needs to do is get on top of a high platform, and thats it, everyone is dead and stay that way until he decides to drop the flag.

Having said that a lot of the flags are great fun, narrow and wide still make me laugh :). I would like to see the ability to choose which flags are included in the game.. a nice options menu where you can change what's allowed - like the one worms had to allow you to customise the numbers of each type of weapon.

I was refreshed to find this came.. it has one major thing going for it - good gameplay, it just goes to show that you can still have fun without needed in GeForce 4 graphics card :)

Re:A Great little game... Could do with more confi (3, Informative)

jdaily (35368) | about 12 years ago | (#3290192)

It's not an options menu, but you can configure the available flags when starting the server. Check the man page.

On casual inspection, the following appears to remove phantom zone and guided missiles:

bzfs -f PZ -f GM

Re:A Great little game... Could do with more confi (1)

Colin Bayer (313849) | about 12 years ago | (#3290218)

This can be done if the server admin puts a sufficient amount of effort into building the daemon's command line. Read the bzfs man page for details.

-- Colin Bayer <vogon_jeltz@users.sourceforge.net>, Part-time (BZFlag) Developer

Slashdotted (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | about 12 years ago | (#3289936)

The site is slashdotted. For those curious (as I was) about this game, have a look at the homepage [bzflag.org]. It has reviews and screenshots. Anyone got a cached copy of the article?

Can anyone say Tanx 'n' Stuff? (1)

DarklordJonnyDigital (522978) | about 12 years ago | (#3289938)

Sounds a lot like the old shareware Amiga game, Tanx 'n' Stuff [emuunlim.com] (Assassins Games Pack, #184 [emuunlim.com]).

Used to be that Galaxians, Pacman and Worm were getting a reworking on the Amiga in the form of Deluxe Galaga [monroeworld.com], Deluxe Pacman and Megaworm... now it's the Amiga shareware [aminet.org]'s turn for the remix. Hooray!

We've even seen Populous get a rebirth with Lionhead's Black & White, and Quake [planetquake.com] with Half-Life [planethalflife.com]'s Deathmatch Classic. I wouldn't be surprised in five years time to see a reworking of GTA or Baldur's Gate 2. (Takers, anyone?) :D

Mod parent up! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289944)

this guy uses links and italics
quick mod him up!

I did find something (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289939)

Unfortunately failed MySQL Connections aren't that pleasurable.

What I'd love.... (1)

NeoTron (6020) | about 12 years ago | (#3289943)

Is a fully immersed version of the game...
i.e. put on my VR helmet and gloves...

Looking around with my head moves the turret, hands do sterring/jumping/shooting...

I can only dream :)

If you ever see "Resistance Is Futile" in a game of bzflag, that'll be me ;)

IRIX Version (3, Interesting)

cporter (61382) | about 12 years ago | (#3289946)

Oh, man the IRIX version was great. When I worked for SGI '98 - '00 it was played nearly every day in our office. Nothing like an 8-CPU 16GB RAM SGI Onyx2 3-Pipe InfiniteReality system for playing bzFlag at 1920x1200 on a 24" Sony Superwide monitor.

It ran Quake pretty well, too...

Re:IRIX Version (3, Funny)

pmsr (560617) | about 12 years ago | (#3290060)

You worked at SGI in that period and were playing bzFlag every day in office? And even had an available 8 cpu 16GB SGI Onyx 2 machine to play it on? Jeeez, now i know why i have to pay so much for my SGI machines. ;-)

/Pedro

Re:IRIX Version (2)

cporter (61382) | about 12 years ago | (#3290345)

It was fun :-) But we only had that system for like 3 days, just being prepped for a customer. It was actually very rare for us to have Onyx2s sitting around - I think that one is at the Rose Center Planetarium in NYC's Natural History Museum. I had an Indigo2 and an O2 at my desk, once in a while we would have an Origin2000 4 or 8 CPU system. Of course, when they were in the office, the first thing to do was fire up Quake or bzFlag or something equally insane.

Re:IRIX Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290512)


Which office were you at?

Re:IRIX Version (2)

irix (22687) | about 12 years ago | (#3290367)

I was surprised to see this article too. I have played this on SGIs going back for years - it was one of the demo games that they shipped with the systems.

We were playing on Indys and Indigo2s, but it was still a lot of fun.

Screenshots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3289962)

I looked at the screenshots and all I can say is you have to be kidding me.

This looks like a Windows Direct 3D game... from maybe 5 years ago.

The lack of polygon count is absurd, there is no realtime lighting that I can see, no use of pixel or vertex shaders.

Is this the best you can do? I thought tux racer was bad... this is just embarassing. You dirty GNU hippies need to learn about asthetic appeal. You also need to take showers.

BZFlag rocks (5, Interesting)

ditz (118228) | about 12 years ago | (#3289964)

BZFlag is an excellent example of a game which places gameplay above graphics. THe graphics are certainly not like Q3A, but instead made mostly of simple polygons. There are some interesting effects (such as the smoke from the Guided Missile) but clearly the focus is on gameplay.

The gameplay is simply excellent! It is amazing how such a single game can produce such varied gameplay. For example, several friends and I have been playing BZFlag with max 1 shot delay and good flags only. Of course, each of us developed our own strategy and all was fine until we decided to increase the max shots to 5. Interestingly, all the strategies we used went to waste since they actively took advantage of the 1 shot reload delay. With 5 max shots delay, different flags became more important (ie SuperBullet is vastly more useful in 5 max shot delay).

All in all, this game is very addictive. Highly recommended :)

Re:BZFlag rocks (4, Informative)

miracle69 (34841) | about 12 years ago | (#3290094)

Another game that still has a small following, but is perhaps the oldest game played on the net over TCP-IP is Netrek [netrek.org]. The bronco version (which is closest to the original version and the only version still played daily) is a very subtle game focused on strategy and teamwork. It's easy to learn, but hard to master.

Unfortunately, netrek has suffered a serious decline due to old graphics, and the expiration of the paradise client for windows. Newbies tend to like the paradise version of the game because it's a little more fun, a little less complex, and the clue on bronco servers can be quite abusive.

Anyone else here remember playing Netrek? I know I spent a year of college tuition back in '93-'94 playing the game...

If you're lucky, there are nights when you can play the hockey version of the game. Long Live the SC!

To this day, when I hear the word "Ogg", I don't think about the music encoding format. Ogg is a verb, not a noun.

Re:BZFlag rocks (1)

blueskyred (104505) | about 12 years ago | (#3290528)

I played Netrek Hockey back when I was attending USC. While I regret my 18 months at that college, I do not regret a single minute spent on that game.

That game convinced me that I needed more than Windows and Mac. Nothing on the PC convinced me to stay up playing for 20 hours straight.

Old graphics for sure -- but in '93 and '94 it really was way ahead of the game as far as multiplayer online games were concerned...

slashdotted (3, Informative)

Niksie3 (222515) | about 12 years ago | (#3289971)

Damn, here is the first page, thats all I got:

BZFlag: 3D Tank Shoot 'Em Up That Deserves Attention Part 1

Published by LinuxOrbit.com: April 4, 2002
by John Gowin, LinuxOrbit Editor-in-chief

Have you ever been walking down the street, minding your own business, and suddenly look down to find something you hadn't expected? It might be money, it might be a decoder ring, it could be anything. But the almost universal reaction is pleasurable.

"That's a nice surprise" you think as you stoop and pocket whatever good fortune has dropped in your path.

The same thing can happen in the strangest places. For example, a recent post on our message boards inquired

"What's your favorite flag in bzflag?".

Not being familiar with the game, I had to ask "What's bzflag?"

Little did I know that such an innocent inquiry would result in an almost indecent obsession with a very cool game.

What is BZFlag?

BZFlag is a 3D multi-player tank battle game. You can fight other tanks by yourself as a Rogue (some game servers don't support Rogues) or join a team based on your tank color (Red, Green, Blue, Purple). The object of course is to kill other tank opponents by shooting them, a fairly straightforward scenario for a first-person shoot 'em up type of game.

The "flag" in the title of BZFlag refers to the white flags found scattered across the battlefield in the game. To pick up a flag, you merely have to run over it with your tank. Each flag grants the owner of the flag special abilities within the game. That's where some of the strategy of game comes in. Certain flags bestow powerful gifts to the bearer while other flags are designed to specifically combat the bearer of another flag. Not all flags grant a bonus either. Some of the flags hamper a player for a fixed amount of time before they automatically are released. Because the flags are indistinguishable to all players, it is chance that determines whether you pick up a flag that will make you powerful or shackle you with a burden.

In order to excel at the game, it pays to know your flags. Here's a quick rundown of the flags available in the game, with a description of what they do, what they're best used for and what they're helpful against.

First the "good" flags:

High Speed
Boosts your speed by 50%. Good for overall use. Can escape Guided Missiles if used to drive perpendicular to the missile path.

Quick Turn
Boosts turn rate by 50%. Good for close combat but no major advantage for combating other flags.

Oscillation Overthruster
Enables tank to go through buildings. You cannot back up in or into a building, nor can you shoot while sealed inside a building. You must be completely inside a building to be protected from normal shots. Vulnerable to Shockwave, Super Bullet and Steamroller in close quarters. Good for ambush attacks, but your tank always returns to ground level since you sink through any obstacle or building you jump on.

Rapid Fire
Increases shot speed and decreases range and reload delay. Good flag for overall combat, no major bonus against other flags.

Machine Gun
Increases shot speed and dramatically decreases range and reload delay. Good only for close combat. Real close.

Guided Missile
Arguably the most coveted flag in the game, Guided Missile enables shots to guide themselves when locked on an opponent by right-clicking your mouse on an opponent in your view window. The missile can be re-targeted at any time during its flight (with the right mouse button). This allows the player some control over the missile's steering. Vulnerable to the Stealth flag since missiles can't be locked on.

Laser
Gives your tank a laser cannon, with effectively infinite speed and range. Just point and shoot. Laser reload time is doubled from normal weapon. One downside is that you have a decent chance of killing yourself from extended reflections of the laser due to its infinite range. Great for long distance kills, but likely you will eventually become your own victim. Used carefully, very powerful. Good against Guided Missile thanks to its extended range.

Ricochet
Causes shots to reflect off walls. Many servers have ricochet enable for the entire battlefield, so this flag does nothing on these types of servers. On non-ricochet servers, you can practice your billiards skills by shooting around corners off border walls.

Super Bullet
Enables shots to go through buildings. Kills Oscillation Overthruster carriers inside of buildings as well as "zoned" Phantom Zone users. Great for unsuspecting opponents on the other side of a building or wall.

Stealth
Tank becomes invisible on radar but is still visible out-the-window. Prevents Guided Missile from locking on the carrier of the flag. Great overall use, especially against opponents not facing you.

Cloaking
Tank becomes invisible out-the-window but is still visible on radar. Good for hectic battle due to invisibility, but Guided Missile can still lock on you. Jumping while using this flag is more effective.

Invisible Bullet
Radar of opponents can't see your shots, so it's an excellent flag for all around battle and for those not facing you.

Tiny
Your tank becomes much smaller and harder to hit. Good for head to head battle due to reduced size.

Narrow
With this flag, your tank becomes paper thin. It's very hard (but not impossible) to hit a "Narrow" tank from the front or back. However, the tank is as long as usual so hitting it from the side has normal difficulty. Good for head to head battle, but try not to jump while turning.

Shield
Allows the bearer to absorb on hit from an opponent, but the hit ejects the flag immediately. Since the flag may not disappear when it ejects, you may want to wait around for it to fall to the ground so you can grab it again, but the shield flag flies for an extra long time (longer than the normal reload time).

Steamroller
Possibly the least desirable of flags (other than Ricochet and Jump when server settings make them useless) this flag enables your to kill other tanks by driving over them. The downside is you rarely get close enough in normal game play.

Shock Wave
Makes your tank shoot a shock wave in all directions rather than shells. Any tank caught in the wave is destroyed (including tanks on or in buildings). This is a good tactical flag against Guided Missile an Oscillation Overthruster users. The downside is the shock wave has a short range, so even an opponent without a flag has an advantage. Try not to jump with this flag either.

Phantom Zone
Driving through a teleporter send the bearer of this flag to the Phantom Zone. A "zoned" tank cannot shoot, but can drive through buildings and cannot be destroyed except by a Super Bullet or a Shock Wave. Also fun to use to taunt or distract unseasoned opponents who might waste time firing at a "zoned" tank.

Genocide
This is a dreaded flag in team play. When the bearer of Genocide kills any tank on another team, all members of that team are destroyed as well. A good way to rack up the points or kill a Guided Missile user by killing off the weakest member of his team. No battle advantage in head to head or Rogue competition.

Jumping
This allows your tank to jump, but is useless on "jump" servers. Great for servers without jump enabled for all since high-ground can't be reached without jumping. Identify
Displays the identity of the closest flag in the vicinity. This flag is good for finding a flag you want, but don't get too distracted "flag shopping". This flag offers no battle advantage.

Then there are the "bad" flags:

Colorblindness
This makes all tanks appear black, both on radar and in your view screen. Be careful you don't shoot your teammates.

Obesity
This flag causes your tank to become very large and easy to hit. Makes teleporters unusable due to enlargement.

Left Turn Only
This prevents your tank from turning right. Only thing to do is drive in straight line or circle left until the flag times out.

Right Turn Only
Same as left turn except the opposite direction.

Momentum
This flag gives your tank a lot of inertia. Stopping and turning become exercises in physics. The overall effect is less response for all movements.

Blindness
This blanks the main view screen, but your radar still works. It is effectively impossible to detect any tank with Stealth, but shooting a Stealth with Blindness is the stuff legends are made of.

Jamming
Disables the radar but you can still see out your main view screen.

Wide Angle
Ever wonder how a goldfish perceives its owner? This flag gives you some idea. The bearer sees the battlefield through a distorted fish eye lens in the main window.

Go to Part 2, Strategy and more!

Interesting Question! (3, Funny)

Captain Large Face (559804) | about 12 years ago | (#3289973)

Have you ever been walking down the street, minding your own business, and suddenly look down to find something you hadn't expected?

Yes, an open manhole cover. But I'm feeling much better now.

Re:Interesting Question! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290211)

Manhole cover? You mean my pants?

For you OS X folks... (5, Informative)

RobL3 (126711) | about 12 years ago | (#3289976)

The official BZFlag website dosen't ist the OS X version, but you can find the port Here (3.2MB) [hzsystems.com]

Re:For you OS X folks... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290087)

Do you know who ported this to MacOS X?

BZFlag is released under the GPL, but the source for the MacOS X port doesn't seem to be available.

Domain Name: HZSYSTEMS.COM

Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Billing Contact:
Avila, Kevin (ZTNXCJGPSI) kevin@hzsystems.com

The guy hosting it probably knows...

Re:For you OS X folks... (2, Informative)

RobL3 (126711) | about 12 years ago | (#3290272)

The source is available on his site, I just posted the link to the binary.

Re:For you OS X folks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290342)

Well, the problem is that when I go to www.hzsystems.com, the following page is returned:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/lo ose.dtd">
<html>
<head>
<title>HZ SYSTEMS</title>
<meta name="generator" content="BBEdit 6.5">
</head>
<body>

</body>
</html>

Re:For you OS X folks... (1)

zaren (204877) | about 12 years ago | (#3290173)

Informative, indeed... here I was worrying about trying to build my own version :) But, is there audio for this version? Is there audio at all, for that matter? It's dead silent on my iBook...

I thought it was cool at first.... (3, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | about 12 years ago | (#3289980)

There are too many cheat clients for this game. Just showing up in an arena is like asking to be bungholed.

Re:I thought it was cool at first.... (2, Informative)

fire-eyes (522894) | about 12 years ago | (#3290108)

Yeah no doubt. The CLIENT is left to tell the server when the player has died or not. A trivial code mod and you never die.

It reminds me of CS. But there is a major difference: bzflag developers are creating a fix, and this won't be a problem in 1.8.

Re:I thought it was cool at first.... (1)

Colin Bayer (313849) | about 12 years ago | (#3290182)

However, some of the major "production" servers running the late 1.7's (e4/e5) have an administration patch installed that allows competent admins to boot problem players. 1.8 will fix this entirely, but keep in mind that "1.8 Released!" is a sort of running joke amongst the developers. ;)

-- Colin Bayer , Part-time BZFlag Developer.

Bolo (2, Informative)

GangstaLean (102189) | about 12 years ago | (#3289981)

I haven't played this game, but it reminds me of the insanity that came out of Bolo [lgm.com] freshman year. hordes of people descending on the Mac lab to team up and beat the crap out of each other in little tanks.

wow that was fun.

Re:Bolo (1)

dar (15755) | about 12 years ago | (#3290550)

I loved Bolo. We played it a lot at Aldus in the early nineties. I miss it since I don't work on Macs any more. It would make a great Linux game. I wonder if the source is available.

BattleZone! (1)

craw (6958) | about 12 years ago | (#3289995)

I got to play the arcade version of BattleZone (great game for its time), and the SGI version. When bzflag came out, we used to do "network testing" with it. Dog and Arena were also good for "network testing."

There was another relatively obscure version of BZ. It ran under Apollo DomainOS. I believe that the program was written by a few geophysics graduate students at MIT back in the mid 80's.

Hey, my sig is somewhat pertinent to this post!

Re:BattleZone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 12 years ago | (#3290150)

The Apollo version was actually written in
fortran! There was also a vector-graphics StarTrek game,
also written in fortran. If my memory serves me correctly, both were written
by Justin Revenaugh (not sure of the spelling)
of the Earth and Atmospheric physics department.

Both games were later converted to c and X-windows, using a library of routines to convert
from the Apollo GPR graphics into X-windows calls.

I remember when we got an Apollo DN3500 (25MHz
68030) we had to increase the "time wasting" loop
in the games because the ran too quickly :)

Brings back fond memories of Apollos and Domain-OS.

Paul.

I enjoy the game, but dial up == me quit (1, Interesting)

fire-eyes (522894) | about 12 years ago | (#3290085)

I used to enjoy this game, but then a few servers started making the latency requirred to be so low that only broadband can play. The servers just boot dial up users after a while..

There goes something else down the tubes for dial up, thanks to those certain server admins..

And the rest of the servers stink anyway... The games networking either way needs some serious work, but I don't have much faith since dial ups are just ignored today anway.

Which is a shame for millions like myself, where there isn't a reasonable alternative (sattelite != reasonable).

Yet more proof (2, Informative)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | about 12 years ago | (#3290097)

Yet more proof that it's not the OS, it's the admins.
Warning: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105 Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Too many connections in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105

Error connecting to dblonew
Program: /home/orbitftp/www/pages/mainfile2.php - Line N.: 82
Database: lonew
Error (1040) :

Re:Yet more proof (4, Insightful)

rtaylor (70602) | about 12 years ago | (#3290353)

Actually, more proof that generating the same thing 10000 times isn't the brightest thing to do.

Make it once, save the resulting HTML. If the story changes, remake the static HTML.

More people don't notice 1million downloads of a static page (server wise, bandwidth is another story) -- but you certainly notice a couple million queries with php instances behind them.

Tuornaments (2)

CodeMonky (10675) | about 12 years ago | (#3290137)

We used to have BZFlag tournaments in the CS dept at Stetson. Order a couple of pizza nad then go in rounds of 6-8 for 20 minutes. Then take the winners and play a final. Winner usually got like 20 bucks or a free pizza.

SHARON II - Fencing Arafat (-1, Offtopic)

thomasj (36355) | about 12 years ago | (#3290148)

SHARON II - Fencing Arafat

After "Sharon - Massacra in Libanon" the new Sharon game is here with more
blood and more action. You are a warlord in the Middle East and you control
a holy territory called Israel, or at least almost. A small ethnic grouping
called Palestinians are still resisting dominance.

Your task is to control the Palestinians. You must keep their leader Arafat
trapped while occupying the remaining landzones of Palestinian residence.
There are though several challenges to overcome:

* The more Palestinians you kill, the more suicide bombers will explode
in your civil areas. This is bad if you loose the grip on the
local and international medias.

* International observers will try to gain access to Arafat and will
damage the control of the international medias.

* Local human rights groups will try to pursuade the local media to
give bad press.

The game is over if Arafat breaks loose, if local media makes you loose the
next election or if international press makes US and Europe invade
Israel.

This game is a tactical game but with a lot of war action and scary scenery.
If you like shoot'm'all games without too much political complexity, this
is the game for you. If you want more political game play, change the game
settings and you will have additional peace talks and UN hearings. This is
though not nessessary for simple gaming.

Don't miss Sharon II. Available from all major outlets.

Re:SHARON II - Fencing Arafat (1, Offtopic)

nagora (177841) | about 12 years ago | (#3290169)

if international press makes US and Europe invade Israel.

They're more likely to just stop signing the cheques that pay for all that high-tech military equipment.

TWW

UDP (4, Interesting)

NotoriousQ (457789) | about 12 years ago | (#3290207)

If you play this game make sure to set UDP instead of TCP in preferences. TCP is just to slow, and the lag will make the game intolerable.

You love this game... (3, Funny)

Bnonn (553709) | about 12 years ago | (#3290290)

...yet you post both a link to a review and to its homepage on Slashdot? One thing's for sure; having now had their servers crushed beneath the onslaught of half a million battle-tank-desperate nerds, the guys associated with this game sure don't love you.

Sheesh. Can't they figure out how to not have ... (-1, Offtopic)

hal9000(jr) (316943) | about 12 years ago | (#3290361)

PHP error messages crop up?

Warning: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' (111) in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105

Warning: MySQL Connection Failed: Can't connect to local MySQL server through socket '/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock' (111) in /home/orbitftp/www/pages/pnadodb/adodb-mysql.in c.php on line 105
Error connecting to dblonew
Program: /home/orbitftp/www/pages/mainfile2.php - Line N.: 82
Database: lonew
Error (2002) :

Yeah, I know, off topic. Bite me.

We held an "official" BZFlag tournament last year (4, Interesting)

Xouba (456926) | about 12 years ago | (#3290378)

It was an "official" event in the Linux section of Xuventude Galicia.net [xuventudegalicia.net] (only spanish and galician, sorry!), a LAN party born about 3 years ago here in Galicia (Spain). And there was another "almost official" tournament in the Arroutada Party [arroutada.org] (the mother of the galician LAN parties). I even partaked in this one (I was only a spectator on the Xuventude's one), and though I was quite The Ultimate Killing Machine in the "training games" (being first almost all the time), I only was the 3rd on the oficcial game. Man, do I suck :-/ ;-)

Anyway, everyone had a fun time, as I've been told :-) The game is very network-friendly, and very addictive. Some game balance problems that people tell happen because they allowed too many "special options", IMHO. We just played with flags, and no other option (i.e.: no jumping, only 1 shot each time, and so on). That way, game is quite balanced, though if you get the Guided Missile flag, the Stealth flag or the Laser flag, you can be the ruler of the game for a long time :-)

The Laser flag is my favourite, and specially fun when you play with shots being all ricochet. Well, at least it's fun until you kill yourself for firing straight against a wall. Ouch :-)

Stealth flag is fun, yes, but Real Men (tm) play guided by their radars, and not their eyes (Or was Stealth the flag that didn't show you on the Radar? I don't remember now :-m) Use of The Force and any other special powers is also encouraged, or course :-)

Anyway, speedwise it sucks in my P2-366 Compaq Armada 3500 :-/ I think it's because of the graphic card, but haven't looked at it deeply. Well, it absolutely rocks in my Athlon 800 with GF2MX, at least ;-)

Use the right Server Options!!! (5, Interesting)

Isldeur (125133) | about 12 years ago | (#3290493)

This is really a gem of a game but I urge people setting up servers not to do the easy thing and hike up the shots to 10 or something and allow jumping.

The game is *much much* more fun without jumping, though it doesn't immediately seem so. You start to learn how to drive correctly and defensively and it is a much richer experience.

Games with and without these options can be described as follows:

With jumping and lots of bullets: You spend most of your time jumping up in the air dodging other people's sprays of bullts, spinning around and landing in directions you just don't want to land in.

Without jumping and lots of bullets: You actually can play cat and mouse. When your opponent's 2 shots are gone and you've dodged them, you can release at will. Much more interesting game. The other is just silly, but that's how people tend to start and they never learn better.
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