More Mapping

Was a bit hectic this weekend. But many good things really came out of out on a positive note. Finally got the Netzwerk Terror LAN to install and play Urban Terror with only a little bit of whining and complaining from the CS crowd. They got theirs in the end, we played that other realism mod. Unfortunately NT will not be helping to testing the initial offering of Beta 2. Sorry guys.

Let’s see…I have received a few new maps which are either new or updated. The first is from KAZ and Devlin called Japanese Gardens. Hands down, this is the finest looking third party map in the Urban Terror community! This level has just begun beta testing and you should be seeing sometime in the future. The level is a few Japanese house connected together with a few small gardens and towering statures. Quite a bit of detail include, some of which come from the excellent textures! Check out some of these screen shots:

[Shot #1] | [Shot #2] | [Shot #3] | [Shot #4] | [Shot #5]
[Shot #6] | [Shot #7] | [Shot #8] | [Shot #9 | [Shot #10]
The other level is an updated version of Fortress by Off by One, which many gamers seem to like. This new version looks better than this original. Probably still a bit too large and I feel that some of the buildings still need a bit of work in terms of overall scale. Based on the size of the chairs and tables, the player model feels a bit small. Still it looks pretty good. Check out the updated screen shots:

[Shot #1] | [Shot #2] | [Shot #3] | [Shot #4] | [Shot #5] | [Shot #6] | [Shot #7] | [Shot #8]
There seems to be some misconceptions out there which some just don’t understand. For example, Steve over on the Reaction Quake 3 forums decided to chime in on The 6th Floor. “I don’t like it when Planetquake acts like Oswald is getting all these scoops at his “6th Floor” web site when he’s on the friggin team.” Hey Steve, no problems buddy, Pappy-R, Ash and previous PQ Monkey, Hellchick all know I am on the Silicon Ice Development Team. I never said I had “exclusive” information or even “scoops” on what’s going on. This is a place where I can more freely voice my opinion as it pertains to gaming. Of course I watch other mods like Reaction Quake 3, Navy-Seals and news on Counter-Strike. Lord knows we can never run out of topics to rant about when it comes to that mod. Even with all its success. Oh, and one more thing. If there is “breaking” Urban Terror news, I will post it on the SID web site, since we are hosted at PlanetQuake as well. By the way the new damage system is NOTHING like Counter-Strike. Our mod is nothing like Counter-Strike as well.

An interesting thread was started over at the Quake3World Forums which asked, “Why don’t people make realistic levels?” So in defense of realism mods everywhere and especially Urban Terror, I decided to introduce them to WetWired. Check out the thread.

Thinking about using those old textures from a now defunct game developer? You may wanna think twice. Here is Paul Jaquays take on using textures from fallen companies.

“I’ll start with a bold position statement: Abandonware is a myth created by people who want to rationalize the redistribution of copyrighted material. In truth, somebody still owns those games or the rights to the images in them.

Copyrights exist at least 50 years past the “death” of their creator these days (that may be the figure, I think). Other than any source material (old books or photos, etc.) used to create them, any textures created for computer games are not going to be in the public domain … except where the original creators have released them for redistribution.

I believe Crack.Com may have done this with their Golgotha art … but you would need to do some research into that.

What prompted this? Yet another person inquiring over at the Quake3World Forums. Check it out, who knows, maybe you will find that bit of information relevant. It really goes further than Just textures, but worth the read considering Paul’s opinions.

Are you ready? Revolution is coming.

PCXL Mag & Mods

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.