With the release of id Software’s Quake 3, and the creation of Urban Terror by Silicon Ice, gamers are taking to realism mods faster than ever these days. Here at The 6th Floor, we would like to give some background information on some of those people who have chosen to work on this project.
One of the most highly talented figures on Silicon Ice Development is that of Mark Klem. Better know throughout the Action Quake 2 and Urban Terror community as Bar-B-Q [a shout out to The Pit!]. Along with being an accomplished level designer, Mark has released three albums over on MP3.com featuring his music. He also lent his musical talent to create the current Urban Terror theme song. Recently I sat down with BBQ to discuss an array of topics. Check out what makes Mark tick. He really does love cats.
Oswald: Let’s jump right in with both feet. Your first map for Urban Terror is called Rommel and is based on the final scene from Saving Private Ryan. How’s the development coming along?
Bar-B-Q: First of all, I want to set the record straight. The map is really not called Rommel, that was just a code word for the map until I figured out exactly what the hell the real name of the town was. To be historically correct, the map will be named something along the lines of ‘Boulogne’ as that is the actual name of the town. My cat bit me today and I punched it in the face real hard.
Oswald: How do you see the maps for Urban Terror progressing? Are there areas which level designers should concentrate on more than others. And what roll does the community play in create fresh new levels for Urban Terror?
Bar-B-Q: The maps are progressing extremely well, which scares the hell out of me, simply because by the time I actually get my map finished we will have too many high-quality standards buzzing around. I won’t mention any names, but the maps that I am seeing for beta 2 are…..extremely exceptional. My cat bit me again just now. I did a combination of high punch and drop-kick on him.
Oswald: Since the buzz word in the realism community seems to be Counter-Strike, give me an impression of their levels? Do you find yourself saying, “Damn, I wish Urban Terror level designers did that?”
Bar-B-Q: The CS maps were really well done, I guess. I haven’t even played it but a few times and that was for reasons unknown. I still don’t know why I played it, but this cat is about to die.
Oswald: What does the community favor more: team created levels or community created? Why?
Bar-B-Q: That’s a tough question. Some things are best left unsaid. This would probably be one of them. But I would say that if I were the average player with a dead cat, I would lean more towards good quality, community-created maps. Why? Because there are many dedicated players out there that just want to have their voices heard and one sure way to do that is to make a map. I can think of about 500 really good community map-makers for Urban Terror and would graciously name them one by one, however I’m about to emboss my foot in this cat’s ass.
Oswald: I am going to throw some words at you [DUCK!] associate them to whatever comes to mind. No I am not a shrink, I just play one on The 6th Floor.
Navy Seals: Seems like a really dedicated team, can’t wait to see what they have there.
id Software: Yeah, that’s not even remotely funny.
dokta8: That’s remotely funny. Actually, great guy, awesome coder, great guy.
quality maps: Very real, very now.
Beta 1: Sucked
Silicon Sanctuary: mmm…music is good, like hot wangs!
Oswald: Before I really knew you, I heard your music and was hooked. What got you started? Do you have any plans to include your music in upcoming Urban Terror levels?
Bar-B-Q: Good music got me started. Then I tried to make my own music and make it as original as I could, which is very hard to do today, as noted by present musicians. I did a game soundtrack for a game made by a prominent force at the time and had this strange notion that I could make it in music one day dedicating my time and work into game-type music. That didn’t happen at all and I am regretting spending the time on it now. But then I reworked a lot of my material and put it on an mp3.com site and with the encouragement of thousands of fans, I didn’t even know I had, I am very proud to share those works and tons of new material with them as I get the time to work on it. I greatly appreciate all the support of tens of millions of people that sent me all those emails. If you’re curious, that address would be www.mp3.com/markklem. At this time there are no plans whatsoever to make music for Urban Terror maps.
Oswald: You also created the Urban Terror theme song. Tell us about? Do we foresee any other musical features for Urban Terror in the near future? And how does this song compare to your previously released albums?
Bar-B-Q: The Urban Terror theme song is probably what got me on the team in the first place. I worked long and hard on it, trying different things, trying new things, new to me any ways, and when it was all done, I even made a vocal version of it. I was very happy with the end-results and it remains one of my very favorites even now. I would do another piece for Urban Terror at the drop of a hat if needed. I was working on a remix a few months ago, but my time has been taken away by work and my map and sounds. But I plan to finish it and release it ASAP anyway. All this cat has to do is bite me one more time.
Oswald: You worked with Jim Dose, now of id Software while at Apogee? Do you keep in touch with him? Has he offered any ideas or comments on Urban Terror?
Bar-B-Q: I hold Jim in the highest of regards. He is an outstanding and very ‘down to Earth’ person. When we were at QuakeCon2000 he took me riding around in his cooly BMW Z3. Very nice car. We talked about stuff, joked about things, had a really good time. The last time I talked to him was on the phone from his New York office back in the early 1990’s. This was the first time I had met him in person and it was a total rush. He gave me a fully autographed copy of Quake3 and FAKK2. We talk to each other with e-mail now about twice a month. If I need some advice or some information, he never hesitates to respond. Jim is good people 🙂 The cat is not.
Oswald: What does Silicon Ice Development need to focus on to take Urban Terror to the next level? Do you see it as having the potential to rival Counter-Strike in terms of volume or quality?
Bar-B-Q: Rivaling Counter-Strike. Man, that’s gotta be hard to do. They now have funding and all, and sometimes I wonder how long they have had funding before ‘one point oh’. We might can come close one day, it all just depends. There are a lot of factors involved. The Half-Life engine is 50 years old and one that I don’t want to play, personally. They have a good animation system, and that’s what has really kept them alive. We will see what the future holds.
Oswald: This last one is for you, anything you would like to share, comment on or p1mp. The floor is yours.
Bar-B-Q: Actually I would like to say to all our players, Thanks so much for your support and dedication and all of your feedback on the mod. No cats were harmed in this interview…much 🙂