Oswald Rant: A Look Ahead

It has been some time since I have put pen to paper…err…fingers to keyboard and get some things off my chest that fall under that category I so lovingly refer to as Oswald’s Rant. Over the past year, it was not only things that got under my skin, but reviews of LANs and just happenings centered around gaming. But to start 2004, I thought I would try and look into the future as it relates to Urban Terror and SID.

While I do not promote The 6th Floor as a SID sponsored site, this is my web site and has been since I registered the6thfloor.com back in 1999. Since that time, I have made a transition from Action Quake 2 to Urban Terror. So I thought I would take a few minutes look at potential happenings in the community. Of course all of this is pure speculation, until it is made official on their the Urban Terror or SID web sites. Then again, I do have some inside information.

Let’s go back to 2003, August 9 was the 3.1 release of Urban Terror, as usually it drew some criticism, as any release ever does. But it did beg the question as to “what’s next?” We finished out the year playing 3.1 and to be honest, the community was probably shrinking in size. The development team had continually stated, “we are not giving up on Urban Terror.” They have stood behind every release, even as community members continued their insults and complaints. Those seems to linger more than the positive comments and support for the mod and team. But those negative comments are the ones that we build off of.

To open 2004, the community was probably surprised at such a non-event release as Urban Terror 3.2. The patch was released Friday, January 16, with an excellent turn out in both #urbanterror channels on ETG and Quakenet. Not the biggest release, but one of the best in probably the past 12 months. Again, this is from MY eyes, not that of the development team.

With eleven months left in the year, what is left for Urban Terror to accomplish? The development team started as a virtual no name group of avid gamers wanting to give something back and create a mod. Since that time, the mod has grown and expanded and we have brought many hours of enjoyment to those Quakers who enjoy playing a realism based shooter. So what is left? Many gamers continue to ask for the source code, in order to make “their” version of Urban Terror. I recall The A-Team made their source code for Action Quake 2 available after they abandoned the community and the project. As for SID, don’t plan on getting your grubby little hands on our code. Sorry to burst your bubble.

I don’t think it’s much of a secret that SID has been talking to id Software since 2000 and our first roadie to Mesquite, Texas for Quakecon. But recently, the lines of communication were brought back to life and discussions about a project were reintroduced. Many gamers want to see the legacy (we do have a legacy, don’t we?) to live on with Urban Terror and not die when Quake 3 dies. And no, I don’t think Quake 3 is dead, still many gamers playing the game. The increasing problem is finding a retail copy of the game, which makes the fan base a bit stagnate. Are their solutions? There sure are.

Splashdamage, began their amateur career as a group of avid gamers, playing Quake 3 and wanting to do more. This group created Quake 3 Fortress and was invited to Quakecon 2000 in Mesquite, Texas. At that time, their vision was much further along than that of SID. They were already in the planning and proposal stages when they met with Robert Duffy and a few other members of id Software. Since their Q3F days, they have gone on to release Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, which is one of the most highly successful stand alone releases to date. While I don’t know all the details behind the evolution of ET, it was released free to the any gamer. Nothing to buy, so their fan base is relatively unlimited. How many gamers can pass up a free game, with no strings attached?

Now why do I bring up Enemy Territory? I do so only because there has been talk last year that SID could possible port the game to ET, which would further Urban Terror and gain an entirely new fan base, while still supporting their current gamers. When you look at the upcoming game releases, like Quake IV and DOOM 3, two of the more notable games that have been mentioned to us, you see these are still slated for a late 2004 release (pending any delays). Not to mention, if SID went commercial, we would not have to put together capital in order to purchase the new engine. Have you ever heard rumors of how much these game engines run? Let’s just say you would need to win the lotto to help pay for it.

I do believe Urban Terror will continue to provide hours of entertainment through 2004. Many gamers cannot stay on the “leading edge” of hardware technology, as it is continually changing and improving. But finding a retail copy of Quake 3 will start to cause more issues as the years continue to add up since its original release. The mod is still supported throughout the world by leagues such as Clanbase in Europe and the Team Warfare League in North America. The development team is still in full support of the mod, which reflects on the support from the community. Lastly, I continue to hear many comments from gamers saying it is still the most fun they have had playing online. Even as new games enter the retail sector, especially the WW2 or realism based shooters. Many say they continue to return to Urban Terror.

So, the future does look bright for Silicon Ice Development and Urban Terror. Now that 2004 is here and we have a very good release in Urban Terror 3.2, we can look forward to a 3.3 release. After that, there are many doors open for the development team.