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The Idiots Build The Perfect Gaming Beast: Upgrading A Beige G3 Minitower
August 24th

Gary: Evil hunchback assistant, get me a new spleen for my creation.

Randy: Are you talkin' to me?

Gary: I must rebuild my beast into the perfect creation! I am turning my beige 266 G3 into the ultimate gaming machine!

Randy: Hunchback?…Evil?…Assistant!? Kiss my ass, Dr. FrankenBerry. I however, would be glad to let you assist me as I bring your venerable beige 266 G3 box into the next generation of technology. After all we can't send a would-be-breakfast-cereal-count-gone-mad-scientist to do an Idiot’s job, can we?

Gary: Oh, I don't know. I'll give it a shot anyway. Hand me the hacksaw.

Randy: Go to, doctor! What's on the slab for today? Oh, and no, you can not use my computer tomorrow to check your email.

Gary: Why would I want to use your machine? Mine works great right now.

Randy: Remember when you said that while you were trying to attach a spleen to your DVD-RAM drive?

Gary: But I have collected the greatest components available to replace the inputs, video chipset and processor of my Mac. From Sweden I have brought the imaging system from the world's largest electron microscope to replace my video sub-system.

Randy: Actually the shipping company couldn't get that thing through the cave door. It is almost a block long. May I suggest your try an ATI 32 MB Rage Nexus card. While you may not be able to see as small as a single atom, I hear the Nexus won't require you to add a silo to the side of your house. And it supposedly pushes some serious frames in Quake III.

Gary: Good point. The Rage Nexus it is.

Randy: (You see why I'm here, folks.)

Gary: From IBM, I have brought the heart of the super computer that was used to induce Gary Kasperov's mother into labor. I shall use Big Blue's brain to replace my processor.

Randy: Uh, doctor? Again we have a size problem there. But more importantly I don't think you can buy Big Blue for the paltry two grand left on your Sears card. May I suggest you set your sights on an upgrade that dosen't cost twice the national budget. Maybe the PowerLogix G3 466 ZIF upgrade for just $699.00. It is a copper-based chip from IBM.

Gary: Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? After IBM repos Big Blue I shall replace my 266 processor with this 466 ZIF processor upgrade.

Randy: Good plan Doc. (Just humor him and try not to let him hurt himself.)

Gary: And finally, my beast must understand the world around it. For my input solution I have chosen…every connector Radio Shack has ever carried! With my 250 in 1 Projects kit and over 200 connectors, my machine will be able to receive data from anything. From a toaster to an 8-track tape.

Randy: Wow, that's great there doc. How about Firewire and USB? You got those too.

Gary: Damn! I knew I was forgetting something.

Randy: Don't freak there, FrankenBerry. Why don't you add an Orange Micro HotLink PCI card to get the supreme data transfer rates Firewire offers. And to jump into the wide world of USB devices just add a USB PCI card. You can get them from a number of vendors for about thirty bucks. Then you really will be able to input from just about any peripheral on the market. Except maybe 8-tracks.

Gary: Yes, I see it all now. The Orange Micro HotLink card, the ATI Rage Nexus 32 MB card, the USB card and the XLR8 466 ZIF processor upgrade. These components shall make my perfect Mac!

Randy: (There, see how easy that was, folks. He just needs gentle guidance when he gets like this.)

Gary: But wait!

Randy: Oh, no.

Gary: I must have peripherals for my new found USB connectivity. Get me my 8-track!

Randy: Sorry, the uh, Molly Hatchet tape is still stuck in it. But how about a tasty three button USB scrolling mouse from ContourDesign. You can even choose your favorite color.

Gary: Oooh, I like colors.

Randy: Then you should really like the Epson 740i USB printer. Besides having beautiful color and black and white output it comes with changeable faceplates so you can have your favorite color there too!

Gary: Yes that's it. I must have those too! Then my MacinBeast will be truly complete.

Randy: Here ya go Doc. All the parts are here.

Gary: Then scrub me up and let's begin.

Randy: Umm, let's just begin.

Gary: Even better! The first thing I shall do is install my Orange Micro HotLink PCI Firewire card. After struggling with capture issues as we tried to produce our daily videos at Macworld Expo, I decided this was a necessity, although not really game-related. Aha, the machine is open and ready for my modifications. Hahahahaha!!!!!!

Randy: You are just putting PCI cards in a Mac. Chill out.

Gary: Next, I will pop in the USB card where we can attach all kinds of awesome game devices.

Randy: The third slot is already filled by your VooDoo 2 card. What's your plan there, doc?

Gary: I shall remove it, and replace it with the Nexus 128. I will test the Rage card and compare it to the VooDoo card. Only the best will survive. Now, I will replace the CPU with the Powerlogix model, and for good measure I will overclock it to 500 MHz!

Randy: So. let's slap this thing together and see how it works.

Gary: Slap?! I do not slap, I create.


Gary: All done!

Randy: Now it is time to test the creation! Hahahahahah!!!!!

Gary: Dude, this week I'm the crazy doctor. Remember?

Randy: Oh, yeah. Sorry.

Gary: In fact, let's just lose that bit if you don't mind.

Randy: Thank God.

Gary: The first thing I want to test is the Firewire card. See, it controls my digital camcorder perfectly. Final Cut Pro really makes working with DV cameras easy Now I don't have to worry about filling up my hard drive with source material. I can take it directly from the tape. Pretty cool, huh?

Randy: Now, let's get to the gaming stuff. How does the USB card work?

Gary: Well, I have my Epson 740i running through the serial port now. Let's try to swap it right now.

Randy: Wow, on the fly. No power downs or anything. Let's go to the Chooser and sure enough, now there is a third choice in the port selectionwindow.

Gary: I'll pick USB Port, and print a test page. Bingo! It worked perfectly. Now the fun stuff. We'll try our ContourDesign three-button UniMouse, even though I am a purist, and like Apple's mouse.

Randy: Aren't you supposed to power down before you unplug the ADB mouse?

Gary: Screw it. Yoink!

Randy: And the USB mouse works perfectly. By default, it is set to control-click with the right mouse button, and the middle button is set to auto-scroll. That means when you hold the middle button down and move the mouse up or down, the window you are in will scroll, if it can scroll. Sweet!

Gary: Now, the test I have been waiting for. I am going to fire up Unreal, and configure the mouse to fire, change weapons, and control-fire from left to right.

Randy: Cool! Now when you go to configure your mouse in Unreal, the USB Game Sprocket takes over and provides you with all of the configuration options for a three-button mouse. How does it know that?

Gary: Actually, it's a function of the -

Randy: You have no idea, do you?

Gary: No.

Randy: Back to Unreal. Well, all three buttons work, but they all fire, and there is no movement controls. We're dead in the water! We're frozen in place.

The Idiots: Aaaaauuuugggghhhh!!!!!!

Gary: Let's quit and check the UniMouse control panel for a solution. Aha, it is set to scroll at a custom speed. Let's choose System so that the Mouse control panel will control it. Ugh, I don't like how slow it is, but maybe this will solve the problem in Unreal.

Randy: Okay, now you can look with the mouse, but all three buttons just fire.

Gary: Back to the UniMouse control panel.

Randy: Let's turn off the UniMouse Overdrive checkbox. I bet that let's Apple's own USB Overdrive library run the mouse.

Gary: Yeah, but then I lose the customizable features of the mouse, like the auto-scrolling, and custom speeds.

Randy: Well, we will make a new set of controls with the UniMouse Overdrive off, choose our application, in this case Unreal, and then the control panel will configure itself every time we launch Unreal.

Gary: And it works perfectly. Wow, this really adds a new dimension to the game. I am going to use this three-button mouse after all.

Randy: Don't get into that game yet, dude. We still have to talk about the Nexus 128 and the Powerlogix upgrade.

Gary: Next week. Prepare to die, my one-button mouse wielding weenie of a friend.

Randy: Oh, yeah? Next week it is. It will take more than three buttons to conquer the master.

Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.

The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.

You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .

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