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 FROServers.com. 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.

Criss-Crossing

Why does it seem I start every news bite the same way? “Damn, has it been a month since I updated?” Well, yes Oswald, it has. Again not much on my part to dedicate to keep up on what’s going on in the Urban Terror Community. I am not out of the loop, just behind. I don’t think much needs to be said when it comes to the development of the “next” release of Urban Terror. Look for an update on the web site in the coming days!

As for level design, I still cannot map…hahah. Too time consuming, like many of you I have some great ideas, but I am nowhere the accomplished level designer, along the lines of INVIS, SweetnutZ, Dragonne (yes I included you!), laerth and others. I will continue to do what I do best, bring you up to date on levels, with that said, let’s start off with someone who has some kick ass talent, along with a previous rocking CTF level. That level designer being MasHeeN. His level, ut_eagle is one of the most widely played community levels to date.

MasHeeN’s latest project is titled, ut_crossing and we have displayed some previous information on it, but now it is available for all to play test and improve. Based around SID’s “post Cold War” theme, here is how the level is touted. “It is 1980. On a cold evening in the USSR, an industrial area holds more secrets than it wishes to disclose, but someone has been searching. Vital documents are missing that prove the existence of this, much denied, processing system. The foreign agents must be found and stopped at all costs!

While I have not played ut_crossing on a test server yet, I have taken a tour of the facility and while I cannot comment on playability, the other “design areas” that make a successful level are there. I am quite impressed with the overall layout, combining both interior and exterior areas for games to frag in. I think one of the most notable features gamers will comment on is the moving train. The sounds are outstanding! The rumble of the train moving through the facility really add to the overall level, same goes for the ambient noises. Being this is a “beta” version of the level, there are still some minor issues that need to be cleared up. I did note some z-fighting (that I am sure will be corrected), minor lighting issues that wash out the texturing and some older textures I would personally change, just because they are old, in terms of when they were released. There are definitely better textures out there that could replace them.

Again, texturing for many gamers is a minor issue, but in my book it is just as important as the five other “design criteria.” It also goes to show you are an accomplish level designer if you can combine all of this criteria together. If you would like to download ut_crossing, I recommend it, but in order to improve on what MasHeeN has done, please comment in this thread on the Urban Terror Forums. I also made a roadie this past week to the East Coast, you can read about my trip in the latest, Oswald’s Rant. Had a great time and I want to thank all those who made it possible: MFDoom, CaptPorno, AGBD, FSKGhozt, Fragging_Newby, Dragonne, QueenBee and those who made the trek to the {TRIAD} LAN Party.