He’s Back!

After a glorious trip to the South Pacific, Hawai’i to be exact, I am back in SoCal and not a moment to soon I see. Had to jump on that Anaheim Angels bandwagon, seeing as they were able to punk those fools from NoCal. Start crying Barry. The time away from the Internet did me well…I think.

I did have local dial up access and was able to keep tabs on a few things going on, but for the most part, it was sun, fun, hula babes and Long Island Iced Teas. Oh yeah…and golf!

Getting back into the swing of things here, as I unpack and try to get out of slacker mode being “stranded on a desert isle” for the past week or so. I did happen to check a newly released level out called ut_rumble. Not your conventional Urban Terror level.

It’s a URBAN TERROR FUN MAP (maybe TEH first)! its a maze, made of glass, it contains some booby traps, that can be activated my other players. Its the ultimate battle between blue team and red team,” says [=TM=] Duf ]{n!3n aka IVR. You can download the final version, here or check out more screen shots of this level and others from Team Mapness.

MAD-HORSE is reworking his level, ut_stoneville for good CTF play. “This is a big map, rich of details and it’s very different from the first “unplayable” version :-(… now the r_speeds value is about 7/9 kb and only in some points it’s about 13/14 kb,” says MAD.

As for progress on ut_streets, it has not made much progress, obviously because of my absence. But I am coming up with an error when I try to run the level, “ERROR: SV_SetBrushModel: NULL.” Now I have read the Q3A Error Messages and I don’t recall having any one unit thick brushes, nor are there any func_rotating to func_areaportals yet. So until I figure this out…

 

Aloha means ‘goodbye…’

I got my floral print, Aloha shirt on, my shades on my forehead and my fruity drink in the other and I am off to paradise (The word paradise, not to be confused with ut_paradise by eXKalibuR). I am taking a mini-vacation (and for the inquiring minds, yes I just got off vacation 4 days ago) to the South Pacific. Honolulu here I come! Hula girls and grass skirts and not a worry in the world (‘cept Beta 2.6). So if you do not see anything new or updated, as if that is not a shock sometimes, then you know where I will be. Of course I will try to check out the haps on the forums and maybe answer an e-mail or two.

With a five and a half hour flight, I might have some time to get a review done that I have begun, but I think this is time I really need off, for numerous reasons. Vacation was, well, not really vacation. But this…this is a tropical, freaking paradise. So until I get back (undisclosed period of time), “Aloha means goodbye…”

One Cool Cat

INVIS have been keeping very busy over at Section 8 Studios. His recent work can be seen in a few upcoming levels, one from SweetnutZ (you know it as the snow map) and from Servinal of 4Saken, in his level, ut_scottbase. The new model is a Thiokal Spryte 2 passenger snow cat. Check out these shots of the snow cat.


Some might have heard that cloudscapes has put aside his ut_canyon level in favor of a new design and level. “I’ve had an unwelcome surprise on how q3a seems to be handling polygons while my work on ut_canyon,” says cloudscapes. For more information on this “abandoned level, check this link. His new level is tentatively titled, ut_nightoperation. He describes the level as, “night time nature map with about 1024 units viewing distance before everything becomes completely black. Except for the many lights on the structures and in strategic positions on the map…One base is a scientific lab. The other is a chopper/parachute drop off.”

Work on ut_streets continues…slowly. As I mentioned, it will not be included in Beta 2.6. Actually, I don’t have much time right now, as we prepare for a release of the “next” beta. I will also enroll the talents of Dragonne and RabidCow to kick in their talents and knowledge when it comes to working within GtkRadiant.

I had plans of kicking out a few reviews, while I have been on vacation the past ten days. No, I was not lazy at all, but my efforts are directed in other directions at the moment (Beta 2.6) and have not had much time to update at all. But fear not, we have a few good reviews forthcoming.

I also want to say thanks to those who responded by e-mail on my latest rant, Busted Punk! Many seemed to get a kick out of it and agreed with what I had to say. Bottom line, CHEATING SUCKS! So, if you have not read it, check it out.

Oswald Rant: Busted Punk

At long last Quake 3 gets a serious shot in the arm from the gang over at Even Balance. Punk what you say? Well going back to my Doom and Duke days, before the advent of Quake II, cheating was not really much of an online issue. I’ll admit it, I was not a big online gamer when I truly found out what this PC gaming was all about. Two of the three aforementioned games, I played on a Macintosh, before I knew terms like DSL, ‘n00b’ or ‘gg’ meant.

Quake II changed all that, as I was introduced to LAN parties and graphics cards. The Macintosh suddenly turned into a monitor stand, as PC gaming took over. Cheating was not far to follow, from the M4 script in Action Quake 2, to the bright skins in Quake 2, it was there. A living, breathing entity.

In 2000 some “gaming enthusiasts” got together, concerned about the state of gaming with an increase of cheating online. About a year later that group formed what you know today as Even Balance, Inc. Their software system, “is designed to hold all participants accountable by scanning the game computers looking for known cheats, game hacks, and exploits similar to the way Anti-Virus software would scan a computer looking for a virus. PunkBuster does not modify any files or settings on your computer even if it detects some type of violation, it reports what it finds and, in some cases, will remove offending players from the current game.”

While I did not play much Quake III online, I did get into the mod scene and to be completely honest, Silicon Ice Development has been very lucky, until recently, when it comes to the amount of cheating that took place. Of course there were typical wallhacks, which was probably one of the first and most notable hacks. While this did garnish some attention, it really should be the responsibility of id Software, whom at that time had already released the “final” 1.31 point release, to defeat hacks like this. Gamers also got very creative with some of the “developer” commands. I must admit, some gamers were quite ingenious when it came to hacks.

Suddenly, one day that all changed with the release of the OGC bot, by some worthless hack. You got it, a bot that sent every gamer running for a demo script in order to record and accuse their fellow gamers. Some of which I am sure were falsely charged. Regardless, it was here, but we did not want to “officially” address it and bring more attention to some worthless hack, who cannot find a better way to spend his time, than to ruin our mod.

Once id Software announced the release of a “new” point release with PunkBuster integration, the Quake III Community was all a buzz. While cheating would probably not be completely obliterated, there would be some groundbreaking changes to online gaming.

I actually heard about PunkBuster from the Half Life Counter-Strike Community. Of course I really had no idea how it all worked. Most of what I heard was negative, that it was not well supported and that cheaters would prosper. I guess he with the most cheats, wins in Counter-Strike. Sorry, I don’t find that enjoyable.

Regardless of skill level, cheating seems to ruin what many gamers find fun. Regardless if you can spot a cheat or not, it usually stirs controversy on and off a server. So to say the Urban Terror was anticipating the new point release is an understatement. Many of the comparisons were drawn with Counter-Strike, being a mod, rather than Return to Castle Wolfenstein, which made a better comparison. Why? Same engines and similar code. I had talked to a few people in the industry and visited PunkBuster’s site previously, so I had a good idea on what to expect.

As with all point releases, there are always issues. The release of 1.32 was no different. Questions rolled in by the minute, on the forums, in IRC and via e-mail. Of course many overlooked the readme.txt file that was included that said, “To enable PunkBuster so that you can join PunkBuster enabled servers, click ‘Multiplayer’ from the main menu. Find the clickable item in the upper right portion of the in-game server browser screen that says PunkBuster: Disabled and click it.” Many opted for the easy way out by asking rather than being resourceful. Guess that means I get to keep my job as answer man on the forums. Hahaha.

Now, three days in and all the buzz is how many problems gamers are having with PunkBuster. These problems range from an invalid (you warez monkey!) CD key, to CLIENT_UNKNOWN_TO_AUTH, to being kicked from a server due to ‘ogc_’ cvars in their config or do not know how to enable PunkBuster. As I said, it takes time for things to work themselves out. Another stumbling block was that of the PunkBuster server config file. This would now give admins the authority to loosen to tighten restrictions on what gamers could and could not use on their server.

Many of these issues and ones like it are slowly beginning to lessen. Yeah, there are still gamers who continue to knock the point release and PunkBuster for “causing problems.” In the end, this is a “win win” situation, for both the gamers who enjoy Urban Terror and people like myself, a mod developer. This is something that will allow SID to concentrate at what matters most. The mod, not the cheats. And to the worthless hack who continues to fight PunkBuster, I got three words. “Bring it on!”

nocheats

Feast or famine here on The 6th Floor…but after however many years I have had this site up, I am sure many come to expect that. It is not that there is no news out there. One can ALWAYS find news! Actually today, I come bearing, well, nothing at all. From the land that we, the level designer make, things are sort of in a lull. There are projects that are being worked on, as I continue to scan the Level Design Forums. Rest assured when SID releases the new .def files with some updated features, level design will take off again.

I have seen some screen shots recently of SweetnutZ [remember him?] and his latest project. You might remember hearing it as “the snow map.” We featured it here on the floor a few months back. Well, let’s just say, that this is “Raven quality” work he has done on this, now-titled-but-will-remain-untitled level. Some excellent work.

I have also completed my first full layout. Yes, I know only three years into this damn project and I finally am on my way to releasing…err…re-releasing a level. I have spent the past two days rebuilding NRGizeR’s level, ut_streets from the ground up. It has taken some time and after looking at the original .map file. Oh my god, what a nightmare! Although it was not nearly as bad as Trainyard was. At least NRGizeR knew to add hint, clip and trigger brushes. Screen shots? Uh, yeah, right. Not yet, as I have one small portion of the level actually textured, that allowed me a single “teaser” that I shared in #urbanterror yesterday. Maybe you saw it, maybe not.

Finally, the best news has been saved for the last. The new point release has brought PunkBuster to the Quake III and Urban Terror Communities. The long wait it finally over. My only suggestion. OPEN THE README132.TXT file and follow the instructions before asking a stupid question. Oh wait, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people…or something like that which brings us to our last bit of news.

The OGC bot is no more. Boo hoo hoo. I am just heartbroken for this hack. As post on the hack’s web site, “There has been a licensing problem with releasing modified quake3 SDK files. Apparently, mods can only be released in binary form, and not source form. This means I will need to rewrite alot of the Q3 SDK code OGC uses. However, once this is done, all the source will be 100% owned by me, except for the GNU crypto stuff which is also under the GPL, so can be included.” That is a no no…hahah PUNK BUSTED, BITCH! I’m out…

PS – Damn, forgot to mention, the entire reason I did this news bite. There is a new rant posted titled, Busted Punk! that talks about PunkBuster, Urban Terror and cheating. Check it out!