Friends of Terror

It is still hard to believe there is a group of dedicated individuals who have the desire and make the effort to keep Urban Terror alive. The fact we still have a very strong and dedicated community is a contributing factor to the longevity and success of the game.

I have been fortunate over those years to meet (yes, face to face) with many individuals on different levels as it relates to Urban Terror, from the invite to Quakecon in 2000 and 2001, to LAN parties in NoCal, SoCal and Colorado Springs and an appearance on TechTV (when it was around). There have been closed door, sit down meetings with Activision and id Software, which was more of a “wow factor” for me at the time since we did not know where we wanted to take Urban Terror.

If I knew then, what I know now, Frozen Sand (at the time, Silicon Ice Development) could be mentioned being on par with Splash Damage. Those guys had their shit together! They also had an amazing group of talented individuals. Not saying our development team hasn’t, because we have had over the years many contribute to the game.

Meeting gamers, executives, sponsors and personalities alike have been some of the best memories I have had. I mention this because I was able to meet Lt1 (aka Rob Bergman) last night, as he flew into NoCal for some training. Now, it’s not often that an opportunity arises, which will have gamers come in contact with each other, let alone team members. Remember, outside of meeting INVIS, BladeKiller and RabidCow I have not met the other talent on our team. But we have all worked together for nearly 4 years (if memory serves me correct).

It’s always interesting to put an alias to face, face to a voice and a voice to the online persona. I flashback to Quakecon 2001 when I was employed by TsN and our station was covering the event. I wanted to meet WarWitch, who at the time covered RtCW and was just an amazing announcer, complete with an entire online persona. With his voice, I expected something other than I got. Here stands a short, maybe 5′-5″ guy with a dark ponytail. Really blew my mental image of him, but nonetheless a great person and top class shoutcaster!

LAN parties are always interesting, especially when they were Urban Terror specific. Now I attended a weekly LAN in SoCal and Urban Terror was still rather new, but when our group made the transition to Quake III Arena, we played it every weekend. I did attend the .223 LAN in NoCal in 2003, which was also the first time I met Hottlipz face to face (little did I know we would marry a year later), along with many gamers from .223 and some other local Urban Terror players.

A few larger LANs featured Urban Terror and I was fortunate enough to attend those as well. Once in Los Angeles, where I was on hand to award the winner a custom Urban Terror case that was specially designed and constructed in Australia. I was also fortunate enough to attend EverLAN in Colorado Springs a few years, once when they did use an older version of Urban Terror.

Again, it is the people who make the game. I could sit here and rattle off a list of people who I have met and known over the years. I would love to have the time to go on a world tour just for Urban Terror. I know it sounds silly (Oh, remind me to talk about my East Coast trip!), but I think it would be a great time! I am sure there are enough gamers worldwide, I could shack up with, drink beer with and game with that could easily fill one month of travel.

The itinerary would include a trip south to Los Angeles and a stop by the GGL offices, where Epileptic Gaming transmits from, because djWheat is still Inside the Game. From there it would be on to Phoenix, Arizona to hook with Blankz, also of iTG. You can blame him for getting me involved in shoutcasting, thus the reason I can’t say Euro names correctly. I would fly to Colorado and check in with Spellbinder, because he has been a long time friend. This would be a coordinated trip to stop in Mesquite, Texas for Quakecon and countless people I know at that event including: Evil John, Tapper, Precious Death, the guys at id Software, especially Robert and of course, just to keep the list short Splash Damage.

The East Coast swing would include a stop to visit with Ghozt, AGBD and Fragging Newby. Hopefully we could find MFDoom, yes the now married Doomy and Capt. Porno. I went shooting with these guys and hung out with them years ago and it was one of the most memorable trips. Especially when you don’t know dick about some guy who goes by ‘A Giant Black Dude.’ Maybe a quick stop over in Florida to kick the shit out of BasiLisK.

The European tour would start with a stop in Portugal, why? Because I still feel they are the best community of gamers going for Urban Terror (yeah flame me, then fuck off, it’s my website and my opinion). From there it would be on to England to see Dick Dastardly and his flatmate, Qster and lord know who else we would find in and around the UK.

A trip would not be complete with traversing he frozen tundra of Sweden, Denmark and Finland (sorry Norway!). Definitely stop by House Valhalla! Many in the Danes and Swedes on the list who have been supporters for many years. A tour of the Rhine, well, Germany to meet Warbird (aka Wolfseye), since he has become a good friend.

An intersting stop would be Slovania, because of SLOfaca, Blaz especially and many of his countrymen have been wonderful to cover and talk to over the years. The Netherlands would mark one of the final stops, to meet “Whoa Keeley” or woekele. I need to forgive my lack of knowledge, but I would want to hook up with J0E and Preat of Then again I would hope J0E is not nekked getting into the shower.

I could go on and on about the names, faces and places. But it would be an endless cycle. It has been many years and gamers come and go, but it is interesting to note how many names return to Urban Terror saying something like, “this is the only game I come back to play.” Hopefully this sort of comment is typical through out the community. It has been one helluva ride over the years and hopefully there is more in store for our community and us, as a development team.

Parting shot, I must apologize for not mentioning dokta8, Sam Hinton, one of the original coders. He was a big influence on me, a great friend and the one who got me involved.

Behind the Microphone

Wednesday will make another return to the microphone. I say return because I have not been on air at Inside the Game since March as I pull “dad duty” during the week while my wife goes to work. If there were a few more hours in the day, then it would be easier to cover matches, probably on a daily basis. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours during the day and most of those are taken.

Being a big Medal of Honor: Allied Assault fan I took it upon myself to get involved with the Clanbase community who play MOHAA. Even after 4 years the game is still hugely popular in Europe and at Clanbase. Personally, I think it still ranks as one of the best games played during EuroCup [this is season XIII]. After calling the playoffs for EuroCup XII, I sort of went on hiatus, because I had no free time in which to cast. Playing dad takes a lot of effort and time and those were two things I was not able to provide to casting.

Spurred by a quick talking to by Marcus [aka djWheat] of iTG, I am going to give casting a shot. I make no guarantees that it will be my best work because my co-caster, my son will be sitting [or bouncing] next to me as I attempt to call the match. Hopefully things go well enough that I gain of confidence in being able to cast while my son hangs out with me, watching and learning…hahah.

The MOHAA Community has been asking, almost on a daily basis as to when I would be covering another match. My answer was usually the same, “I don’t know.” I would go into the reason why and could not say with any certainty when I would return. So it’s babysteps starting tomorrow. If all goes well we could see some more MOHAA coverage [I don’t believe I will return to Urban Terror, since there is little interest and even less support] and possibly the 80’s revival show, Just Push Play.

Inside MOHAA with GGLTV

If there is one thing I enjoy doing during my free time (which is rare these days) is providing commentary for online gaming. Would you believe some people I tell this to can still not fathom the idea. I need to break it down to them, “we are like the ESPN of online gaming” I tell them. But today I introduce a new technology to the Clanbase Medal of Honor Community.

Today I start using stream media (aka video) in order to go “inside the game” when I provide commentary for Clanbase matches. Now, streaming video is nothing new, but for a community that has been starving for some sort of “tv program” like GTV or HLTV for MOHAA, this is a major announcement. The community is ecstatic with anticipation as we provide coverage today of Team SWEDEN vs. Team FRANCE at 1030 PST (1930 CET) on Inside The Game. In all honesty, it was not difficult at all to set up. Thankfully I had some of the necessary requirements, such as a fast upload speed to the Internet, two computers and a video capture card. Without those, you won’t get far. Better go back to your GTV (just kidding Joe & Preat). One nice feature of stream media is you do not need to own the game in order to watch the match. Can’t say that for GTV or HLTV, so in some respect this is revolutionary!

Through out much of the week in 2-hour blocks Marcus “djWheat” Graham and I worked on getting the media stream up and running using the Global Gaming League TV servers. The video was quite simple to install and configure. The audio was another story. If you have followed my shoutcasting, then you know I have ALWAYS had a helluva time with my audio (right Spellbinder?). Even now, I have an input jack that is coated with super glue because it is broken.

So, it finally happened today, we were able to get two individual streams going, the media stream (WMP) and the audio (listen.pls) stream with game sounds, music and voice being heard on both. I am sure there will still be a few “niggles” we need to tweak and fix, but I am looking very forward to providing this service to the MOHAA community at Clanbase.

Clanbase Newsie?

As if I don’t have enough to do already with what little “free time” I have, I sent in an application to Clanbase after they posted looking for members to join their news team. I have an interview set up this morning (08PST/17CET) when I get home from work. In the past I have written for Planetquake back in 2000 and 2001 reviewing Quake II levels. Prior to that I was the “Head Monkey” in charge of the Action Quake Map Depot, where I was hired on after the reviews I wrote for The 6th Floor, when the site was devoted to Action Quake 2.

Since that time, I have tried to keep sharp when it comes to putting fingers to keyboard by posting news at Inside The Game as well as providing news and development notes for Urban Terror since 2000! I feel I am qualified to hold a position as a member of the news team with my previous experience and background.

I thought this would be a great opportunity since Inside The Game and Clanbase are both owned by the Global Gaming League. I have nothing but praise for Clanbase, for the way they conduct business and run their league. Hopefully the GGL will see similar success in the future, as they try to emulate the success that Clanbase has in Europe, over here in North America.To be honest, I am rather devoid of good, quality news topics. I was scanning the news wires last night, but there was nothing earth shattering to discuss. So, we will see what becomes of this interview. I do know I have many supporters at Clanbase, from Urban Terror, current and past to Medal of Honor, which I have just started supporting at Inside The Game.

Also, somewhat off topic, but thanks to djWheat I am now video capable at Inside The Game. What does that mean? It means I can provide streaming media for Urban Radio, Just Push Play and any game that I cover. For example, let’s use MOHAA, there is no TV program, like GTV. So using this technology you could actually watch the match live, as I provide commentary. I am more interested in using it for Urban Radio. Just what the community wants, to see my ugly mug on their WMP for 2 hours. Hahaha. Anyway, I think this is great news for anyone who is a gamer, as I take the next step in casting.

I am in the final stages of testing and configuring the audio. Figures that the audio would be giving me issues. The video is golden, was using it earlier in the week, streaming to the Internet and watching my stream on my wife’s machine. Hopefully by the weekend we will be ready to broadcast our first event.

Oswald has the floor…

Ah…I must give props to Brian Hill (aka MidgetKiller) who spent the past few weeks working on my theme for The 6th Floor. Keeping in line with one of the original designs (by Per Nyhaug) he whipped this gem up and now I am back online and ready to give it to you point blank!

Unlike years past where my commentary has focused primarily on gaming and level design, I am breaking out of the mold and giving it more of a personal touch. Hell, everyone these days has a blog or space in which they post whatever they want.

Along with a moderate dose of gaming related issues (usually my bitching and complaining) I will show off my newborn son, Zachary Stephen, possibly my wife (Hottlipz), who can still kick my ass in online gaming, along with the many other topics and hobbies of mine that are open for discussion. I am never lost for words.

It may take a few days to get everything up, running and configured to how I intend, but rest assured with this “leave” I am on from work, I have nothing but time. I know my wife is asking for more pictures of Zachary to be posted, as soon as my registration is confirmed I will get the gallery online and then wonder how he got to be so cute. Here he is a few minutes (if I remember correctly) after birth.

Anyways, I look forward to getting back into the swing of things and being able to post about whatever I damn well feel like it. By the way, I need to pimp Blankz and djWheat, both of Inside The Game. Why? Because they are both new fathers and because I have them linked to my site.