Oswald Rant: From Beta 1 to Beta 2

With the Beta 2 release of Urban Terror by Silicon Ice Development [SID], the development team looks to forge ahead and give their community a mod that far exceeds the expectations of any gamer. Created using one of the most powerful gaming engines available, the Quake III engine by id Software, Silicon Ice looks to have a very successful realism based mod to rival any in the gaming community.

Beta 1 was released August 5, 2000, while members of the Silicon Ice Development team were attending QuakeCon 2000 in Mesquite, Texas. On an invitation from id Software, the team shared a booth with Quake 3 Fortress, as each took time preview and demonstrate their projects. SID and Urban Terror were still relative unknowns at the time and were following in the footsteps of some very popular mods with cult-like followings, in Action Quake 2 and the highly publicized and successful, Counter-Strike.

Since many of the team members were strangers to “modding” it was a challenge to know what sort of reception Urban Terror Beta 1 would receive upon its initial release. Those of us attending QuakeCon were quite pleased to see gamers swarming to the booth, waiting in droves and a chance to play the mod. Looking back on the release, there were some fundamental mistakes that could have been resolved, providing for a stronger initial release giving us a better reputation. Looking back on our Beta 1 release, we agreed not to make the same mistake in future development.

For those in the community who were around less than one year ago when Beta 1 was released, I am sure you have not only see, but experienced the difference while waiting in anticipation for Beta 2. Silicon Ice Development takes great pride in their community and the mod they have come to support. To us, it’s the gamers that make the community great. We have continued to ask for input, in the form of suggestions, features and changes that could make the mod more enjoyable. We also released the mod to a group of internal beta testers, who provided valuable feedback and quality assurance. This to supplement the countless hours of team based testing in order to work out many issues and problems.

Silicon Ice Development is the driving force behind the creation of Urban Terror, but the community measures just how successful it is. While SID had an idea, gamers never failed to voice their opinions. As a development team, we took an active interest and listened to what they were saying. We continued to interact with the community, on our forums, in IRC, on ICQ and even on public servers. We were continually answering questions and providing feedback over the last ten months, which culminated in the release of Beta 2. Of course the most common question on the community’s mind, “When is Beta 2 being released?”

There was one minor incident that sparked some controversy during our development. That was the unfortunate leak of an internal build to the community. Looking back, that event was probably a blessing in disguise, as gamers not chosen by SID had an opportunity to experience our work and get a hands on demonstration of what was in store for Beta 2. We did everything in our power not to recognize those who were experiencing the build, as it was an early version, not meant for the gaming public. Through the period of the leak, there were rarely any negative comments that were received by SID. This was foreshadowing of things to come with the release of Beta 2.

A major component of any release is an official release date, something SID was hesitant to recognize. We had delays during previous beta development that had us overshoot our target date. We were bound by blood not to make the same mistake twice, as it weakens the credibility and report we have with our community. We continued to give a developer’s answer, “The mod is ready when we are done.”

We offered an internal build to Caryn “Hellchick” Law of GameSpy Industries and 3D ActionPlanet and Robert Duffy, programmer for id Software. Caryn had provided us with the female voices in Beta 1 and provides great insight into the community with her work. SID offered her the opportunity to play test the mod with a few of the team members in order to get her opinion and to provide us with feedback, which she gracefully did. She has been a support, since her initial preview of Beta 1 over a year ago.

Robert Duffy has been our main point of contact at id Software. We have play tested numerous times and received positive feedback on our development. Beta 1 provided Silicon Ice a platform from which to build, they must have seen potential in our development, as we were invited to QuakeCon. They have provided valuable support and answers to our team as we look to keep a strong working relationship with them through development.

June 1, 2001 was a day in which our expectations were not only met, but also exceeded when we released Urban Terror Beta 2. We were taken back by the over 500 gamers awaiting the release in #urbanterror on Enter The Game. The mod was officially released at 5pm and gamers flocked to FTPs in an attempt to download this much-anticipated beta. Now, a week later, the total number of downloads has exceeded 50,000! Based on GameSpy Stats, Urban Terror has jumped from #8 to #3 in terms of popularity with between 500-800 gamers online playing since the release.

Support like this from a community starved for a mod to take advantage of the power of the Quake III engine has arrived. Urban Terror Beta 2 has received overwhelming support and praise though out our community forums. A tough group to crack, the Shackers had many positive comments over at Shacknews. We feel very fortunate to be in the position we are since our release. We are already drawing up plans for our post Beta 2 development, which will include a multitude of bug fixes and additional maps in the coming weeks.

Silicon Ice Development would like to say thank you to everyone in our community for the patience and support for Urban Terror Beta 2. Be proud to know that you have had a hand in creating one of the best Quake III mods around.

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  1. Pingback: Oswald: MIA? - T H E 6 T H F L O O R

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