Oswald Rant: East Coast Roadie

Unlike previous rants, you really cannot disagree with what I am about to say. Sorry, maybe next time. This past week I had the opportunity to make a roadie to the East Coast to visit some of the gamers in the Urban Terror Community. MFDoom basically gave me an open invitation to make the trip months ago, but due to my work schedule and the daily routine I was unable to make it. But this past Wednesday, the 21st I boarding a jet bound for Philadelphia.

After a four and a half hour flight, stuck in a economy class, with a middle seat, I was more than happy to get my ass off that plane and start in on my “vacation.” As I walked past security upon arrival I see a motley looking bunch holding a sign reading, “[SID]Oswald” followed by the question, “Okay do you know who we all are?” At the airport to meet me were MFDoom, CaptPorno and Fragging_Newby. Of course the weather was crap, overcast and raining. At least I did get hit with the “smell” of the East Coast…oh yeah, wait that is Jersey that stinks.

The real reason for the visit, aside from hanging out was to go shooting with these guys, as AGBD (agiantblackdude) has a complete arsenal that could arm an entire army. You name it, he seems to have it! But before shooting, as promised CHEESESTEAKS!!! We returned to AGBD’s, where I was going to stay. You know he is on house arrest, right? After changing and hanging out at AGBD’s, FSKGhozt arrived. I got to partake in a REAL cheesesteak. While it was not Pat’s it was still damn good. Beats anything I have had out in SoCal, then again we are not known for our cheesesteaks.

There was a lot of drinking, just ask CaptPorno about his $44 bar bill. No, not for the entire group, but for him. Dude was getting “funky” with some chick as she was playing darts, with her boyfriend next to her side. It was hysterical! You had to be there, but Porno DEFINATELY living up to his name. We shot pool and drank for the next 4 hours or so.

The following day was meant for shooting! The weather decided to cooperate and did not rain. While it was windy and overcast most of the day, it did make for a comfortable shooting day. We hit the Ommelanden Range in Delaware for some skeet and sporting clay shooting. Before this day, I had never handled a double barreled shotgun before. For my first time shooting something larger than a BB gun I think I did rather well, even have the bruise on my right shoulder to prove it. Of course, Doom, Porno, Fragging_Newby and AGBD were right on the mark nearly every time, as Ghozt sat back, listening to these old f*cks call me a “newby” because I rented a shotgun that had a bright orange handle. I believe there was a Viagra reference thrown their way by AGBD, as these old lard asses waddled onto the range. Ghozt then headed off to the indoor range to tear it up with his AR-15 (pictured here).

While skeet shooting was cool (think ut_skeet), the sporting clays was where it was at. Multiple targets being launch in numerous directions, both airborne and on the ground. Out of 24 rounds (some with more than two shots) I score 19 hits. Again, I was new to this and quite surprised at how well I felt I did. I am sure Urban Terror and other FPS games are to thank for this “skill.” AGBD rocked, as did Porno and MFDoom, along with Fragging_Newby and his pump action shotty! With fun like this I could even be convinced to purchase a shotty and a handgun. Check out the “gun nuts” after a day of shooting. Speaking of handguns, I was all to excited to hold a 9mm Luger. While quite rare, this was a high point in my trip (no offense to my hosts), but this weapon is so beautiful. Unfortunately, with a shortened stay I was unable to have the chance to try my accuracy on a range. Next time!

The other reason for the trip was the invite to the {TRIAD} LAN Party in Jersey. Yeah, “smelly” New Jersey. Of course I am from SoCal, so what the hell do I know. MFDoom and I drove about an hour and a half to Dragonne and QueenBee’s house. Upon arrival we played a bit of Urban Terror and stormed the house…lol. They were all in the basement playing the mod. Surprise, right?

It was quite a scene as we walked in on the LAN. Introductions were made: Dragonne, QueenBee, our hosts, Spellbinder, NoLeafClover, Limey, 625, Omita and Lloyd. MFDoom and I took our places and got into the fragging action. While UTZ-Vampyress was not physically at the LAN see completely sw0ned me. Every corner I turned, she was there to greet me an SR-8 shot in the head or ass. Needless to say, I spent quite a bit of time watching the round rather than playing.

It was a blast to meet some of these dedicated gamers who continue to play and support the community, taking an active interest to better the community. Unfortunately, I had not planned on staying the weekend at the {TRIAD} LAN, as we had to head back to Delaware about 6 hours later. Regardless, I do want to thank all those at the LAN, especially Dragonne and QueenBee for the invite.

I also had to cut the trip short due to unforeseen “issues” back in SoCal. So, instead of staying a few more days and drinking, eating and shooting I caught a flight Saturday afternoon back to SoCal. I did not get to hook up with my sister in Virginia or with a group of shoutcasters from TsN. Maybe next time. Lastly, I want to give a shout out to MFDoom for the invite and AGBD for the accommodations. Thanks for a great trip!

Criss-Crossing

Why does it seem I start every news bite the same way? “Damn, has it been a month since I updated?” Well, yes Oswald, it has. Again not much on my part to dedicate to keep up on what’s going on in the Urban Terror Community. I am not out of the loop, just behind. I don’t think much needs to be said when it comes to the development of the “next” release of Urban Terror. Look for an update on the web site in the coming days!

As for level design, I still cannot map…hahah. Too time consuming, like many of you I have some great ideas, but I am nowhere the accomplished level designer, along the lines of INVIS, SweetnutZ, Dragonne (yes I included you!), laerth and others. I will continue to do what I do best, bring you up to date on levels, with that said, let’s start off with someone who has some kick ass talent, along with a previous rocking CTF level. That level designer being MasHeeN. His level, ut_eagle is one of the most widely played community levels to date.

MasHeeN’s latest project is titled, ut_crossing and we have displayed some previous information on it, but now it is available for all to play test and improve. Based around SID’s “post Cold War” theme, here is how the level is touted. “It is 1980. On a cold evening in the USSR, an industrial area holds more secrets than it wishes to disclose, but someone has been searching. Vital documents are missing that prove the existence of this, much denied, processing system. The foreign agents must be found and stopped at all costs!

While I have not played ut_crossing on a test server yet, I have taken a tour of the facility and while I cannot comment on playability, the other “design areas” that make a successful level are there. I am quite impressed with the overall layout, combining both interior and exterior areas for games to frag in. I think one of the most notable features gamers will comment on is the moving train. The sounds are outstanding! The rumble of the train moving through the facility really add to the overall level, same goes for the ambient noises. Being this is a “beta” version of the level, there are still some minor issues that need to be cleared up. I did note some z-fighting (that I am sure will be corrected), minor lighting issues that wash out the texturing and some older textures I would personally change, just because they are old, in terms of when they were released. There are definitely better textures out there that could replace them.

Again, texturing for many gamers is a minor issue, but in my book it is just as important as the five other “design criteria.” It also goes to show you are an accomplish level designer if you can combine all of this criteria together. If you would like to download ut_crossing, I recommend it, but in order to improve on what MasHeeN has done, please comment in this thread on the Urban Terror Forums. I also made a roadie this past week to the East Coast, you can read about my trip in the latest, Oswald’s Rant. Had a great time and I want to thank all those who made it possible: MFDoom, CaptPorno, AGBD, FSKGhozt, Fragging_Newby, Dragonne, QueenBee and those who made the trek to the {TRIAD} LAN Party.

Beta this Bitch!

This past Friday during Urban Radio, with thanks going to illogical from Clan PIT, the listeners were treated to an unknown level on the Urban Radio Server. The level is one I featured on The 6th Floor last week, that was still in beta, but it was a playable level titled, ut_workb1 by slinko. Again, check out the screen shots below to see what you missed. While I could spend the time actually playing it, I was able to gather some feedback during the two plus hours we played on it.

Overall, the vertical design and layout worked rather well. I think most were surprised at how simple it was to navigate the entire level. There were some extreme long ladders to climb in order to get directly to some of the levels, those are being looked at, as I understand it. Some of the other issues that were brought up, easy spawn camping for the red team and some r_speed issues. Aside from that, we will watch the progress of this level, as I think it would really make a good map for CTF servers and leagues.

Team Mapness, thanks to Duf Kni3n aka IVR has released the level, ut_toxic. This was another level we featured last weekend. Honestly, I have not had a chance to check it out. But from what I hear it is a very good all around level. I do know there are public servers, such as FSK405 and Aardvark running this level in their rotations. Be sure to download it and check it out!

Another level that was released, that some how I missed, but Dragonne, from SID was able to remind me during our phone interview last week was ut_commune by QueenBee. It has a feel somewhere between Abbey and Sanctuary. This is solely her level, with only moral support from Dragonne. So check it out and grab the download from this site. Props to QB on the new level!

It’s Out! Finally!

I think things are slowly returning to normal. This past weekend has been outstanding. As many know Silicon Ice Development released Urban Terror Beta 2.6 yesterday. It was a very long and tiring day for those on the development team who took part in the release party festivities. Mad props go out to all of SID, especially Density who was a real trooper the last few days when it came to the code base.

If you missed Friday and Saturday, we held back to back, Urban Radio programs. Saturday’s program, the Urban Radio Pre-Release Party was out of control. You can download and listen to the shows from the Radio tab. Thanks to the guys at TsN Central we had enough bandwidth to accommodate nearly 600 listeners! Now that is support! It was an excellent time for all, as we discussed the upcoming release, new features, weapons and support features for the mod. Things such as the kick ass Urban Terror Manual. Course I am pimping it, cuz I spent a few months working on it. My contribution to Beta 2.6…hahah.

As for the mod itself, the Beta 2.6 release was very successful! The servers are increasing in numbers, gamers are at an all time high and everything…well most everything is going well. There are bugs and we are aware of many of the common issues that the community is bringing out attention. Of course they are catching things we had fixed, yet something seems to causing problems. So, SID is working on it.

As for the level designers, thanks to Dragonne has updated the def file for Urban Terror. This def file has new keys for the doors: gamemode_open and gamemode_shut. You put the game types that you want the doors locked open or locked closed in those keys I mentioned. If you are not sure what we are talking about, then load up ut_rommel in Team Survivor and CTF and you will notice the tunnel system is locked out and you cannot access it in TS. But in CTF they are open. Nice, huh?

Many mixed responses on the new levels SID released with Beta 2.6. One person will bad mouth ut_uptown and then the next person will praise the changes. It is like that for many of the updated SID levels. The same can be said of ut_riyadh, seeing as those two levels have stirred some controversy in the mod. Guess some gamers do not like change.

As for new levels, the community has responded very to the new levels. Mines by Bar-B-Q is a very popular level, many enjoy the ambiance of the level. Yet a few have had a hunkmeg issue with it. Others seem to like WU’s offer called Turnpike, as it offers fast game play and some excellent texturing.

I think by far, the most popular level was RabidCow’s Twin Lakes, version two, that SID decided to include in the distribution. RabidCow has spent months working, tweaking and improving the original level. All his hard work definitely paid off as Twin Lakes is just visually amazing. You should check out the sky box. WOW! The big trees are well, just freaking huge! The texturing is the highest quality, along with many great features. Check it out!

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.