Out of curiosity, I just had to blow $8.79 on the August ’99 issue of PCAccelerator to find out what all was included on this ‘Total Conversions’ CD, “the best add-ons for Starcraft, Tribes, Quake I and II. Of course, I rip open the plastic cover and shove Disk 2 into my CD-Rom and head directly to Quake 2. There I find the ‘Action Quake II Mega-Pak.’ They are not fooling when PCAccelerator (PCXL) calls it a “mega pack.” Four minutes and 4,194 files later I am finished downloading Action Quake 2 onto my system from the CD…again.
Why did I do this? I wanted to see just how complete of a TC mod this was. By the looks of it, this is a fairly complete program, with everything you need to start playing almost immediately. The zip file comes complete with AQ2 version 1.51.exe, available from the Action Quake 2 website, Model Pak I, which is supplied by Actor’s Guild and 94 maps which can be downloaded at Action Quake Map Depot (AQMD). Like the Extremities before it, there is a bit of controversy surrounding the release of Action Quake 2 to PCXL. The same controversy which plagued the previous release, were the authors who created mods and maps given due credit and did they give the authority to release their material, knowing they would not see any revenue which would be generated from the release of Extremities?
There was talk day after day at how the product would or would not sell, especially when you could download any of these popular mods off the internet. Bundled in this game pack along with the latest Quake 2 patch and GameSpy were Rocket Arena 2, Action Quake 2, CHAOS Deathmatch and Jailbreak, along with six other mods. Months after this release comes the current disk distributed by PCXL which include mods such as, Action Quake 2, PainKeep, Jailbreak, QPong, AirQuake II along with Nighthunter, Wanted! The Quake II Western Pack and Dawn of Darkness. Of course we are really only concerned with Action Quake 2. As reported by Shagg earlier this morning, Suislide, a member of the A-Team had given permission for PCXL to bundle and distribute AQ2 and this applicable support files.
In a few discussions with numerous figures in the community, it seems that only a handful of map authors are given direct credit and authorization to release their maps. There is a ‘Read Me’ file titled, “extras” which gives credit to mappers, such as CryptR, Holy Goat, Skill N. Bones, t1mm and Shmitz (along with others) to use and distribute their work. There is a “catch all” phrase at the end of this read me which states,
“This list is incomplete and should not be considered otherwise. All contributors that could be contacted have been listed.”
So, does this mean that the other eighty some odd mappers who spent time and effort creating maps were not available at the time Suislide, or another member of the A-team was trying to contact these authors?
Another minor problem deals with Gerbil! and his Action Quake 2 original map, Urban. By now we all know there is an illegal texture which is included in that map. This happens to be the Coca-Cola billboard which is posted on top of a brick building. I am sure Coca-Cola was not contacted and asked if they could use the name and logo on that billboard. In the strict sense, this could cause copyright infringement and problems down line. Look what happen to the mod Generations, based on Doom, Wolfenstein, Quake and Quake 2?
So, what happens from here? I was told there is a a section at AQMD which releases the rights of the map, not only to AQMD, but to the A-Team. Here is the only thing I could find at AQMD which comes close: ”
“All maps received must have a readme file (mapname.txt)The reason for the readme.txt file is to provide pertinent information that may be of interest to the public – what you used to make the map, what the official name of the map is, your email addy in case there’s any problems with your map, etc. Check out the readme.txt files from some other maps if you’re unsure of what to put in it. Remember to give credit where it’s due. ”
Like the Extremities release before this CD, it may only apply to a small portion of the Quake community. I for one, have all the maps and skins which were included in on this CD. But like Extremities, this saves precious download time, especially if you are on a 56k modem. Could this CD have repercussions? Sure it could. Most likely it will not and we in the Action community will go on playing Action Quake 2 and forget about this CD when the September issue is released. If you have any thoughts, would like to respond or feel there are inaccuracies, feel free to email me.