What’s the deal?

Okay, so it has been almost 3 years I have had The 6th Floor up and running and I continue to screw up my updates. Show you that I am still, only human. It seems the buzz over Urban Terror Beta 1.27 has plateaued, which is fine. The excitement and anticipation continues to grow for the Beta 2 release. Sorry, I cannot give any additional information as to the release date. I can tell you SID is continuing to improve the current features

I have seen some new shots of WetWired‘s upcoming level for Urban Terror and it will completely redefine what Urban Terror levels are about and raise the standard of quality. The only screen shot off ut_revolution was seen on Rubber Ducky. Click here to see it and don’t forget to turn off that annoying music!

More ridiculous accusations that games kill kids, as id Software was named in another suit, “Columbine Victims File $5B Suit, the AP story on the lawsuit reported on here last week (story), offers more information on the companies named in the $5 Billion lawsuit stemming from the Columbine school shooting, saying “Companies named in the lawsuit include Nintendo of America, Sega of America, Sony Computer Entertainment and Time Warner Inc., which is now AOL Time Warner, and ID Software Inc. and GT Interactive Software Corp., creators and publishers of the game ‘Doom.’” Todd Hollenshead, CEO of id Software responded, “As with the Kentucky litigation, their claims are utterly without merit and we will vigorously defend ourselves.” Check out whizperz of ITG and his editorial on how games continue to kill. My only comment, “It’s just too damn bad, people cannot distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy. Games, while contributing to this growing dilemma are NOT the main problem. Unfortunately, the media will continue to blow stories and comments like the id Lawsuit out of proportions and parents of kids will continue to listen and follow as if being led by a cult figure. Parents, its up to YOU to raise your kids!

Time permitting, I am going to get new reviews up for all the Beta 2 Urban Terror levels. Currently I am dividing my time between, rewriting the manual and FAQ, along with my daily moderating of the Urban Terror Forums. I will also go through and update the older reviews, such as Docks by BattleCow which has taken on a completely new look, thanks in part to the improved texturing.

There is a new site which has debuted on PlanetQuake and it belongs to Hellchick. Her site is Voxfeminae, which “adds the female element to the gaming community.” Caryn on her site, “In a nutshell, vox feminae is my own little repository of female vocal files to serve the map, mod, and model community. Because there are far fewer female gamers in this community, it’s harder to find female sounds for models and other projects. Since I’ve done a lot of those kinds of projects, I thought I’d set up shop to help do it.” Hellchick is the main female voice SID recruited to do the voices for Urban Terror. She has also been involved, vocally with numerous projects. So check out her site, voxfeminae.

More later, time to p1mp Urban Terror some more and give a few guided tours ingame. Later…

Oswald Rant: Video Games Do Not Kill Kids

What prompted this week’s rant? It was the unfortunate school shooting incident in Santee, California and a post in the Urban Terror Forums asking Silicon Ice Development to include a “some kind of drug-dealer’s gamemode.” I know this subject is still at the forefront of much controversy thanks to the media, who continues to blown this “problem” out of proportion.

While that prompted this rant, it was actually a female co-worker who set me off by accusing me that, I am contributing to the violence in teenagers today by creating a “violent and mindless killing simulator.” I could not believe what I was hearing, I am sure she wanted to slap me silly, as I had a wicked smile on my face. Of course her opinion seems to fall in line with the general consensus who are not up to speed on true gaming communities, like Urban Terror.

While this outburst did not really bother me, she did not have the slightest idea as to what the Urban Terror, let along the gaming community in general is all about. But once again, it’s the media who continues to feed the fire, speaking with psychology experts, and continuing to fill the daily news with misinformation about incidents like this one. Do we really think that Doom had something to do with Columbine? Or Quake in the James Case?

Of course there will continue to by research by leading universities, like Stanford who conclude, “that aggressive behavior can be reversed by cutting the time children spend playing video games.” Of course closed studies like this can give the public a false perception of reality. But what about the environment is raised in? Of course this should stand to reason as an obvious answer to a seemingly increasing problem.

What really is sad and somewhat unfortunate are those children who can not disassociate reality from fiction. Some may feel in order to escape their personal horrors of reality they enter their fantasy world where they reign supreme, wielding supernatural powers or a Colt M4 assault rifle. What is enjoyable and entertaining in a game can have serious repercussions if acted upon in the real world. This inhere is where the problem lies, on which goes beyond the game.

Being a member of Silicon Ice Development I do not feel that I contribute to these random school shootings which end up being a “breaking story” on the evening news. Quake III developer, id Software was found not responsible for school killings by a judge. “The judge ruled that games companies could not predict what players would do after playing titles likes Quake.” Strangely enough, retail stores and governments alike continue to place bans on games of a violent nature.

As long as I continue to game and development entertainment, like Urban Terror, I will continue to debunk whatever the media or my co-workers say. While violent games may have an adverse effect on children, I don’t believe it is the major factor in these school shooting incidents. Maybe if I have kids of my own my opinion will change. Even then, I will continue to purchase, play and support the gaming industry.

Oswald Rant: Realism in Mods/Games – An Oswald Rebuttal

This is in rebuttal to the Planetquake Staff Writer, Spyke, who’s absurd comments and lack of knowledge have once again come to the forefront to draw incomplete conclusions about realism in mods. To understand completely where both sides are on the issue, check out the article at, The Gauntlet on Planetquake, in which Spyke and Lee’mon battle over “realism in mods and games.”

As many of you already know, Action Quake 2 is based upon “realism” and the motto, “All the speed of your favorite action film, without the cost of a ticket.” This mod seems to have started the “action” craze which has recently exploded with many mod developers battling it out for street dominance. The A-Team originally had unique idea, which they “breathed life into” by giving us, the players a chance to act as our favorite action hero. Unfortunately, Spyke leads us down that other road of realism called “life” and believes mods such as Action Quake hold no basis when it comes to gaming.

I was actually okay with most of his arguments against Lee’mon until it came to the map in question. The map is titled, Teacher [When I Killed the Teacher] which was masterfully created by Mats “Ruskprick” Holm, who hails from Sweden. For those who play Action Quake 2 on a regular basis and are around the community, we all know of his work and attention to detail when it comes to mapping and texturing. He definitely is one of the best!

While I can agree with the thoughts most share when Columbine is mentioned, I definitely take offense to his thoughts regarding the author and his map, Teacher. Spyke was turned onto the map through a friend who stated “It was, supposedly, a fairly close replica of Columbine High School.” Honestly, I do not see how your friend can determine this. We can surely write this ridiculous statement off as being merely a rumor which hold no weight at all in this argument.

Spyke thought, “Oh, sure, BS”. Then we played it. It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in my life, and not in a good way. Some sick f*ck took it upon himself to construct this map, complete with broken school furniture and disturbing messages scrawled in blood on the walls. We ran through the map for about 5 minutes and decided it would be impossible to play in, as well as just plain wrong. This is where realism completely crosses the line. Introducing realistic situations into games that are clearly non-realistic will only lead to trouble.

Where shall I begin?? How about with some dates to back up fact from fiction. Ruskprick completed the map, Teacher, in October, 1998 and was subsequently released in March, 1999. The Columbine Tragedy in Colorado took place April 20, 1999. Unless Ruskprick is Nostradamus and can predict events before they happen, I feel the two events have nothing in common, except what people like yourself want to read into it, just to force the issue.

You then consider Ruskprick, “Some sick f*ck,” which seems not only to degrade him as a person, but all the effort and work he has put into this outstanding looking map. This strikes me as being very unprofessional and is doing the author a terrible injustice, for a site such as Planetquake, who reigns supreme upon mention of anything Quake related.

Thanks to the powers that be in the Action Quake 2 Community, I was given the opportunity and authority [or lack thereof] to be put in charge of The Action Quake Map Depot which supplies all the “officially released” maps for the mod. Teacher was released before I took charge, but that still does not mean it was wrong to release this or any other map of this fashion. Case in point, we released the map, JDCS [Fraggin in the CJD] by [FA]Joka from Germany, in February, 2000.

While it drew some mixed comments on the AQMD forum and through personal e-mails to me and the staff, many players accepted the map and supported the release of the map. There were still some who thought we, of the AQMD Staff, were wrong in releasing this map, based on the the Columbine incident. After all the hype had subsided, we considered our options and decided to stick to our decision and the map still remains available for download.

What does all of this mean to us as people who play “the game of life everyday” or who play Action Quake [or any other real life action based mod] as a way to “escape reality?” Nothing at all. Thankfully, most people are able to distinguish between what is real, such as life, from what is computer generated and provided to us as a form of entertainment. Action Quake 2 is based on the premise of “real life” environments as opposed to a distance planet in a far off galaxy, where the players tote akimbo pistols or an assault rifles instead of a plasma rifle or railgun, killing people as opposed to the Strogg. If we cannot have our escape from reality in one form or another, what can we have?

Look at the growing popularity in “real life” shooters coming to the forefront of the gaming industry. Games and such as SWAT3, Delta Force 2, Soldier of Fortune, Team Fortress 2, give the player something real they can relate to. Mods like Action Quake 2, Action Half-Life and the upcoming Action Unreal Tournament and Urban Terror will provide the same opportunity to many more fans, who want to experience something different. Even if “Realism, as a whole, is done very poorly in ACTION GAMES,” as Spyke claims, it still feeds the adrenaline rush that players like myself get when played. It’s the thrill of the chase, the team play and tactics used, to dispose of your enemy before you take a bullet between the eyes. Give us our “reality,” there are many out there who are attracted to what it has to offer.