December, 1999. That was the year I became a member of the development team working on an unknown Quake III Arena modification called Urban Terror. After 8 years there are a dedicated few who still turn the gears that drive continued development of the mod. Based on the figures, the number of players today are just as strong, almost better than years back, when v1.27-v2.0 were at their high points. That is a testament to the support of the development team that the product is still a quality product, even if the engine is outdated. It is also a testament to the gaming community, not only those who make the core but also the new gamer who is welcomed into the community.
I have the utmost respect for the folks I have known for years who founded FrozenSand, LLC. They are a highly talented group, who given the resources could really take the Urban Terror concept and go retail with it. Unfortunately, game development is not that simple. Venture capitalists are not found on every street corner ready to thrown out millions in development costs for an unknown potential in return.
Unfortunately my current position on the team has faded. I’ll be the first to admit I never played a big role in actual development, I make that no secret. I never learned to code anything past Basic and Integer on my old Apple computer. I have no skill to create models or turning a blank model into a highly detailed character. I did give level design a shot after loading up Radiant. Unfortunately, time is one thing you need as a level designer in order to create a quality level. Time was something I did not have much of, but I did learn quite a bit. I never considered myself an expert, but I could tell a good level from a piece of shit.
So what did I do? Initially I took over running the public relations side of development. This I was good at, still am, but nearly 9 years later the game sells itself. It does not need much promotion (regardless of what some individuals think). Of course when a new version is released, the information will make the rounds on some game related web sites.
Gamers in the Urban Terror community are treated considerably different than in other community. Of course you would think some have never played an FPS game and don’t feel they need to take the time to read some basic instructions on how to set up your keys for the game. Somehow that responsibility ends up falling on the development team. Why, I still don’t know. Overall the gamers make the game an enjoyable experience and go out of their way at times to assist new gamers in the Urban Terror experience.
So after all these years what does the game need? Why do we continue to see “request for new features” those days are long since gone. There are very few features that need to be added to improve the game. I do think the best thing would be to put this version of the game to rest by finishing development (which has ALWAYS been a goal of ours), take a break and work on a new project. Gamers out there always ask, “but what happens to Urban Terror?” As the saying goes, “all good things must come to an end.” But at this point it is the community that keeps the game alive, not the development.
Many of those involved for years have received no pay and have put up with lots of bullshit, to put it bluntly. We continue to believe we have a great game that will continue to taste success, but for the health of the development team we must move on, especially if we want to take our talents to retail.
As I have written before, what does the future hold for FrozenSand? I don’t know. We have some different ideas kicking around. Sure there were ideas to port Urban Terror to Enemy Territory, followed by working on a concept demo (MX was the working title) in order to showcase our talents. While neither of those panned out we still have other ideas that could not only benefit the development team by those in the community we have created.
We continue to hear and read different rumors as to what we doing. While I won’t confirm or deny what our next move is, I will say we look forward to working on projects in the future. As for Urban Terror, hopefully we see it on an updated game engine with improved graphics and the same style/speed of game play.