Soggy Saturday

Three days later I return to The 6th Floor. Aside from the rigors of the real world job, Urban Terror is really making headway. Not only did UrSilicon Ice Development finish build_7, we also pounded out 8, 9, 9b and 9c. Of course this did not come without trial and error. But the mod continues. There has been considerable amount of testing the last week, with new bugs being found daily. Just think, one less the community will have to deal with.

We are seeing more and more gamers working on levels for Urban Terror. Once SID releases Beta 2, all the new mapping files will be available for download. These include information on the new spawn point, entities which will be necessary for the new game modes, along with a few other “things” that will increase the ambiance of an Urban Terror level.

Straight from the rumor mill comes this, “I noticed that the id TA servers are running versions 1.27l or 1.27m. I hope this is a sign that we will be seeing a point release in the next couple of weeks. it is about damn time,” which was posted on The Quake3World Forums. You can also check out, this thread in anticipation for a new point release from id Software. No comments on either thread from the “id kids.”

Recently I posted information from the Architectural Designs for 3D Gaming web site on how to create Arcades. The latest tutorial shows you how to create and develop, buttresses. What is a buttress? “A structure, usually brick or stone, built against a wall for support or reinforcement.” So check out the tutorial and look at including in a future level you decide to create.

Checking out The CLQ I see Ricochet by WetWired still is the top level among the Urban Terror Community. You can check out the compete list. Personally I don’t think a level like ut-downtown can compare to some of the other, better playing, aesthetically pleasing levels. But I guess the gamers like it for some reason. Hopefully the SID created levels will be far and above the community work. Which is not a bad thing. Hear me out. SID mappers are trying to raise the overall quality of their Urban Terror levels. In turn, this will make the community level designers look at their maps and work that much harder to create a level which is as good, if not better than what SID created. I know many do not want to spend time reworking their levels. Once we show off the new levels, you will see what we are driving at.

QuakeCon rocks my world!

This is why I think QuakeCon kicks ass…they announced their $50,000 tournament for this year to be held at Mesquite, Texas, August 9-12. For more details check out their web site. This is where Urban Terror was first seen. No word if we will be attending yet. Although I have reserved a room at the Hampton Inn already and have the days off for this event. CPL who?

Thanks to BattleCow who gave me a tour of the newly retextured/designed Urban Terror level, Docks. This level has consistently been in the top five Urban Terror levels as rated by The CLQ. While there are not real major areas which have been redesigned, some areas have been tweaked to provide better game play. BattleCow has spoke of completely redesigning Docks, for a post Beta2 release of Urban Terror. Here are three screen shots from the new and improved Docks by BattleCow:

*thinking out loud* Is it becoming more difficult for mod teams to produce successful mods? Are professional developers really taking all the glory? Well, based on the success of Counter-Strike, no I don’t think so. It is being more common to see the comment, “Wait until Tribes 2 comes out.” Why? What are we waiting for? Another decent gaming engine, which will out perform the Quake III engine in terms of rendering. Guess I was never one for Tribes, so I am not awed and fascinated with Tribes 2. Do I think it will take gamers away from Urban Terror? Sure, to some degree. Do I think it will completely ruin the mod. No, not at all. Not even some of the big named vaporware could deter fans from Urban Terror. I don’t think Urban Terror is indestructible, but we have formed our niche in the Quake III Community and are looking at moving up with the release of Beta 2.

Website of the Day: I think this site was reported on ShackNews. Oh well, I guess it really doesn’t matter where is came from. Check out Bridge Builder, this little program puts you in charge of constructing a structurally sound bridge over a body of water before allowing a train to put it to the true test. I have spent hours playing this. So, do the download.

Oswald Rant: The URBAN Legend

Most all of the players who consider themselves, “old timers,” have seen Action grow from a rough, incomplete beta version to a highly successful Quake 2 mod. From the early beginning, players have come to associate a single map with Action Quake 2. That map being, Urban by John “Gerbil!” Parish. This is “the” city map which started the frenzy of city layouts. I give credit where credit is due and Gerbil! deserves his fair share for creating a highly successful, but over hyped, map series. A series so blown out of proportion, it is legendary. A map series which I have dubbed, “The Urban Legend.”

While the early versions of code for Action Quake was still being written, players took their ideas for maps, an editor and basic Quake textures and began a sort of new revolution in FPS gaming. These pioneers began creating maps for a mod they enjoy playing. Gerbil! was hot on the scene and created a map called Urban. This map has seemingly been the cornerstone of Action since the early beginnings.

Urban is a straight forward, no-hold barred, city layout based on a square city block, filled with high rise buildings. By todays mapping standards and quality, Urban is consider average by most. There is nothing special, which sets this map apart from the pack. But for those who are still die-hard Action players, they still demand Urban! The demand has recently sky-rocketed based on The CLQ rankings, that Urban is played over 1.2 million minutes in a two week!

With the sort of success that Urban drew, one would think that creating a map which could rival Urban would be difficult. Gerbil! though, made it look easy. His city design seemed to pick up where it left off. Urban2 was his next attempt, which proved to be a smashing success. I consider this to be the best map out of the four map series. While there are many players who vehemently deny this map is due credit, there is a completely different ambience created when you spawn. The darkened rooftops and sparsely light streets make this map a challenge, even for the accomplished player.

This map seems to have lost a bit of its mystic with the creation of IRVISION, making the auto-monkeys a bit more dangerous with their “spray and prey” tactics, but snipers will always dominate this map. In my expert opinion, Urban2 was a vast improvement on the original Urban, in many areas. Thus, the “legend” grows. But how does one improve on a so-called “legend?” How about by creating a sequel to the sequel. Urban3 is born.

The Urban series took a turn for the worse with the release of Urban3 and subsequently, Urban4. The quality and unique styling seen in Urban2 seemed to be lacking in Urban3 and Urban4. These success of these map rest solely on namesake alone, not the quality or game play, which made the series a success. The “legend” seems to be growing stronger for some damned reason. Urban2 and Urban3 are consistently ranked in the Top 5 maps, based on The CLQ rankings.

What spawned this rant you ask? The fact that maps such as Riot2 by Ellusion, which is probably the best overall map created (although Ell won’t agree with me) and Beer by WetWired are ranked much further down the rankings then Urban4. Yet Urban4, which was released mid December is getting ready to crack the Top 10. I guess this all goes to show that maps are based more on popularity, then actual design and creativity. This is unfortunate, since the many maps and authors will not get their due credit. Leaving us begging, “Will any map ever dethrone Urban?”

A New Map at the LAN

Although the map riot2 by Ellusion is still currently in its beta2 stage, the map is very impressive, both from a aesthetics standpoint and game play. I was permitted to beta test it this last weekend at the Netzwerk Terror LAN, with the help of 17 of my closest friends. When was the last time you play Action with 18 total players? It was great fun and full of non-stop fragging.

Riot2 is the follow up to one of the most successful unofficial maps I have ever played. This map, as I am sure some of you are aware, is not available here, at AQMD, because it was never submitted. It was available The Mapzone, but it seems the file is listed, but the map is not on the server. I had a chance to play his follow-up map, currently called Riot2b2 (b2 as in beta2). There were a few minor changes from the beta1 version, which fixed a few visual inaccuracies and a few spots which made for prime sniper spots.

This new map he has created is not nearly the size of his original release, but that does not affect the game play. We started out with 9v9, all weapons represented (that was a first)! The play depicts a city layout similar to the initial release. The streets twist and wind through back alleys and buildings. There are even a few elevated areas scattered through a few buildings, none of which really give a sniper much of advantage, due to the lack of objects to hide behind.

There are many “landmarks” in which to learn the city, such an bar, fast food restaurant, import & export warehouse, recording studio, weapons shop, post office (closed due to robbery), newsstand and a subway (looks great and includes a moving subway car).

In my opinion, this map ranks, more then his first release, Riot in the upper echelon of maps released. Hopefully, it will make it to the Test Matrix after a bit more beta testing. Keep an eye out for this one! I’ll keep you posted as to the status of it. If you are curious where Riot falls in according to The CLQ, it comes in 21st, with 64,190 minutes played and 18,299 frags.

Lotsa Good Stuff

Okay, so it goes to show just how much I know about “good” maps. I mention four maps, which are good, and none of them get released over the weekend. Oh well, As most all have seen, Storehouse by JamesClonk and the follow up map to the little know Village map, called Village2 by Zotud was released. This map, does contain a few interesting features, such as the windmill, which is impressive and the background is completely new. The only thing is, I feel like a midget in a giant’s land, because the objects are quite large. But to take nothing away from Zotud, it is a great looking map. Storehouse is set in a large, multi-level brick building. Looks to be an interesting setting, which should provide a fast moving map. I cannot wait to play it. You may also notice that the maps I have under “Test” on this site and the test Matrix on AQMD differs. Seems Death Magnet has removed a few maps. Maybe it is “back to the drawingboard” for some of these. I have not spoke with him, so I am not completely sure. But if they are still on the Telefragged server, you can get them from my two test pages.In other news, over at AQMD, here is a message which was posted by Scuzzy, who authored the map, Tokyo:

I’m am so happy, (and back from the dead) I cant believe tokyo is played so much, 41,000+ frags a week, I have just purchased a new computer so I can make some more levels, Tokyo was made on a p100 24megs of ram (ewww, crap). I have a Celeron 400 64ram so i can now compile them as well 🙂 Hopefully over the next few weeks I will start on a new map or finish one I was working on, hell, i might even join “terror quake” and give them a hand, Oh and if you ever needed to contact me, my new email is scuzzy@powerup.com.aucya round peoples.

And yes, his map Tokyo, has been seeing quite a bit of playing, based on the figures seen over at The CLQ. There was quite a bit of movement with regards to the Top 10 AQ2 TP maps, teamjungle and urban3 switched spots, so did city and actcity3. The only real change was Shaymon’s deepcanyon fell out of the tenth spot, being replaced by Monestary by KongFoo. Scuzzy’s Tokyo is knocking on the door and could replace Monestary in a few days.