Friends of Terror

It is still hard to believe there is a group of dedicated individuals who have the desire and make the effort to keep Urban Terror alive. The fact we still have a very strong and dedicated community is a contributing factor to the longevity and success of the game.

I have been fortunate over those years to meet (yes, face to face) with many individuals on different levels as it relates to Urban Terror, from the invite to Quakecon in 2000 and 2001, to LAN parties in NoCal, SoCal and Colorado Springs and an appearance on TechTV (when it was around). There have been closed door, sit down meetings with Activision and id Software, which was more of a “wow factor” for me at the time since we did not know where we wanted to take Urban Terror.

If I knew then, what I know now, Frozen Sand (at the time, Silicon Ice Development) could be mentioned being on par with Splash Damage. Those guys had their shit together! They also had an amazing group of talented individuals. Not saying our development team hasn’t, because we have had over the years many contribute to the game.

Meeting gamers, executives, sponsors and personalities alike have been some of the best memories I have had. I mention this because I was able to meet Lt1 (aka Rob Bergman) last night, as he flew into NoCal for some training. Now, it’s not often that an opportunity arises, which will have gamers come in contact with each other, let alone team members. Remember, outside of meeting INVIS, BladeKiller and RabidCow I have not met the other talent on our team. But we have all worked together for nearly 4 years (if memory serves me correct).

It’s always interesting to put an alias to face, face to a voice and a voice to the online persona. I flashback to Quakecon 2001 when I was employed by TsN and our station was covering the event. I wanted to meet WarWitch, who at the time covered RtCW and was just an amazing announcer, complete with an entire online persona. With his voice, I expected something other than I got. Here stands a short, maybe 5′-5″ guy with a dark ponytail. Really blew my mental image of him, but nonetheless a great person and top class shoutcaster!

LAN parties are always interesting, especially when they were Urban Terror specific. Now I attended a weekly LAN in SoCal and Urban Terror was still rather new, but when our group made the transition to Quake III Arena, we played it every weekend. I did attend the .223 LAN in NoCal in 2003, which was also the first time I met Hottlipz face to face (little did I know we would marry a year later), along with many gamers from .223 and some other local Urban Terror players.

A few larger LANs featured Urban Terror and I was fortunate enough to attend those as well. Once in Los Angeles, where I was on hand to award the winner a custom Urban Terror case that was specially designed and constructed in Australia. I was also fortunate enough to attend EverLAN in Colorado Springs a few years, once when they did use an older version of Urban Terror.

Again, it is the people who make the game. I could sit here and rattle off a list of people who I have met and known over the years. I would love to have the time to go on a world tour just for Urban Terror. I know it sounds silly (Oh, remind me to talk about my East Coast trip!), but I think it would be a great time! I am sure there are enough gamers worldwide, I could shack up with, drink beer with and game with that could easily fill one month of travel.

The itinerary would include a trip south to Los Angeles and a stop by the GGL offices, where Epileptic Gaming transmits from, because djWheat is still Inside the Game. From there it would be on to Phoenix, Arizona to hook with Blankz, also of iTG. You can blame him for getting me involved in shoutcasting, thus the reason I can’t say Euro names correctly. I would fly to Colorado and check in with Spellbinder, because he has been a long time friend. This would be a coordinated trip to stop in Mesquite, Texas for Quakecon and countless people I know at that event including: Evil John, Tapper, Precious Death, the guys at id Software, especially Robert and of course, just to keep the list short Splash Damage.

The East Coast swing would include a stop to visit with Ghozt, AGBD and Fragging Newby. Hopefully we could find MFDoom, yes the now married Doomy and Capt. Porno. I went shooting with these guys and hung out with them years ago and it was one of the most memorable trips. Especially when you don’t know dick about some guy who goes by ‘A Giant Black Dude.’ Maybe a quick stop over in Florida to kick the shit out of BasiLisK.

The European tour would start with a stop in Portugal, why? Because I still feel they are the best community of gamers going for Urban Terror (yeah flame me, then fuck off, it’s my website and my opinion). From there it would be on to England to see Dick Dastardly and his flatmate, Qster and lord know who else we would find in and around the UK.

A trip would not be complete with traversing he frozen tundra of Sweden, Denmark and Finland (sorry Norway!). Definitely stop by House Valhalla! Many in the Danes and Swedes on the list who have been supporters for many years. A tour of the Rhine, well, Germany to meet Warbird (aka Wolfseye), since he has become a good friend.

An intersting stop would be Slovania, because of SLOfaca, Blaz especially and many of his countrymen have been wonderful to cover and talk to over the years. The Netherlands would mark one of the final stops, to meet “Whoa Keeley” or woekele. I need to forgive my lack of knowledge, but I would want to hook up with J0E and Preat of FROServers.com. Then again I would hope J0E is not nekked getting into the shower.

I could go on and on about the names, faces and places. But it would be an endless cycle. It has been many years and gamers come and go, but it is interesting to note how many names return to Urban Terror saying something like, “this is the only game I come back to play.” Hopefully this sort of comment is typical through out the community. It has been one helluva ride over the years and hopefully there is more in store for our community and us, as a development team.

Parting shot, I must apologize for not mentioning dokta8, Sam Hinton, one of the original coders. He was a big influence on me, a great friend and the one who got me involved.

Oswald Rant: EverLAN Summer 2003

Another weekend has ended, another LAN has come to a close. Those full pallets of caffeinated drinks are now empty and strewn in disarray. Garbage thrown across the floor of the hall, as the stench of body odor and pizza is still hanging heavy, tired eyes continue to stare, bloodshot at the monitor, with the same intensity of he first day.

This is the second time I have been invited to attend EverLAN, a local event in Colorado Springs, Colorado (that’s in the US, Euros). In an event that continues to grow in popularity, EverLAN was sponsored by ATI, Ubi Soft, AMD, Plantronics, Belkin, GeekwearZ, Geeks on Call, High Plains Internet and Mountain Dew Live Wire. Unlike the last event I attended, there would be no 2 v 2 Urban Terror to watch. Not to worry though, there was some great LAN action spread across eight games including, Half-Life’s Counter-Strike, Quake 3 Rocket Arena, Rainbow Six: Raven Shield, Battlefield 1942, Starcraft, and Unreal Tournament 2003.

GBC Sports was on hand to provide their services to emcee the event and shout cast some of the action from Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament 2003 and others. While Gunslinger was usually the GBC caster we heard, Kessler, Hogan, Ghozr and stickgod we keeping the action real with some great shout cast coverage in support of EverLAN. Some of these casters were not new to EverLAN, as they had participated in the Winter 2002 event on behalf of Cyberkast Radio.

My presence there was somewhat two-fold. First, I was there in support of Urban Terror, which was played during the Winter 2002 event, but also to help out Tommy of Geekwearz. For those who do not know, Geekwearz is the vendor who prints and presses a multitude of shirts, sweatshirts, stickers and other Urban Terror swag for the geeks who support the community. His product is second to none when it comes to quality! So during the event, Sard (another Urban Terror faithful) and I would man the table for Tommy, as he had a few other events to attend to during the weekend. We sold quite a bit of merchandise, as Tommy does not want any gamer to go home empty handed.

Andrew, also known as Everman is the organizer and host of the event. Along with his dedicated staff, they bust their asses to make this a great, fun filled event for everyone in attendance. I had arrived Friday, a day before the LAN began, so I was able to reacquaint myself with some of the people I met last year, as I tried to lend my assistance in setup.

With many big money prizes on the line, such as a collect of ATI Radeon 9800s, tournaments were a top priority, as each staff member was in charge of a specific game. From what I followed of the tournaments, the EverLAN staff was right on schedule. As expected, the top drawing tournament was Counter-Strike, under the watchful eye of Baker, from the CAL League. Cheers of jubilation could be heard as another individual beat down his opponent to take home a new 9800.

There were some “odd” contests lined up, such as the peppercini eating contest, the ATI body tattoo contest and the Mountain Dew Line Wire Guzzlefest. Not really sure how else to describe it. Last year’s champion, Mt Dew was back. Now, Mt Dew is not a small fellow, but the dude can pound soda. The qualifying round pitted about 20 contestants of varying drinking skills to chug two bottles of Live Wire, with the top five moving into the finals. You have heard of two fisting it, right? Well those with mouths large enough to support two bottles attempted to pour all the Live Wire in at once. Some ended up wearing it, as opposed to chugging it. Back to the returning champion, Mt Dew. It only took this boy, 10.4 seconds to down two, 12 ounce bottles of Live Wire to retain his title.

Saturday began early, as gamers started showing up very early for registration and to get that prime LAN spot, whatever that is. There were assorted servers up and running, as gamers played CS, Unreal Tournament 2003, Starcraft and of course Urban Terror. A quick side story, there was a group of gamers from Clan {AD}, Warlord Aetyr, Evil and a few others set up right in front of Geekwearz. So they set up a few local servers and we “got our frag on.” More on that later.

As for me, I was one of the judges for the modded case competition. With the exception of one returning case from the Winter 2002 event, all those who participated did a fine job modding their cases to varying degrees. The winning mod was a computer inside a small remote control car created by Dementia, quite unique!

Everman had approached me on Friday about holding a mod roundtable to talk about Urban Terror and modding in general. Seeing as I cut out early at the Winter 2002 event, and was not able to fulfill my roundtable duties, I looked forward to sharing some of the details and experiences of modding. The roundtable was hosted by Gunslinger and Ghozr of GBC Sports (and I can’t say enough good things about these guys!). The show aired live on the Internet, with the discussion being recorded on video. I had made a news post on the Urban Terror web site, which filtered to a few other game related sites, along with spamming the headliner for the event in IRC. TO be honest, I am not sure of the turn out, but rest assured there were some who did tune in and get something out of the discussion.

Events like EverLAN are not always about what happens on the gaming floor, but the enjoyment when the day has wound down (figuratively speaking) and you can sit down, relax and shoot the shit with some of the staffers. We took advantage of this on Saturday night (feeling the effects of Saturday night on Sunday morning), as a group of staffers, GBC Sports, Tommy, myself and a few others made our way to Maxi’s, the overpriced, hotel lounge. With music blaring, we decided to take our adult beverages out to the “Quiet Bar” located just outside in the reception area of the hotel. For the next few hours, we drank, laughed, shared stories and basically just had a great time in each others company. We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Hornet and Wycked, who drove in from Denver to hang out.

Speaking of Wycked…guys, let me just say that all the pictures you see of her are REALLY her. She also put the smack down on the {AD} guys on Saturday night. Cannot say much for her partner (don’t look at me) who was two sheets to the wind and could not seem to keep a positive score. Hahaha. We played some 2 v 2 and free for all throughout the night. Speaking of good Urban Terror gamers, Sard, a roommate of Tommy’s who was also working the Geekwearz booth really tore it up in both FFA and 2v2. Nice gaming, Sard! As for me, well I’m in for the fun and enjoyment, that is what I had, but I did hold my own for some time on a few of the FFA rounds.

Sunday morning, as I said above you feel like your head is still in Saturday. The drunk ass I was, I stumbled back to my room about 2:30am and instead of setting my alarm, I moved the time ahead one hour, then set the alarm and passed out. Needless to say, I was up way too early on Sunday morning, as I find Sard still manning the Geekwearz booth, downloading files from the network and watching movies. I did not last, as I went back to the room and showererd, trying to wake up.

And that my friends, was EverLAN Summer 2003. I feel very fortunate to have been invited by Andrew. Let me just say, you guys put on a great event and I am proud to be a small part of it. I enjoy hanging out with Tommy and helping sell swag to the geeks…er…gamers at the event. The things people do for free stuff still amazes me. I am already looking forward to the Winter 2003 event in November. Thanks to the entire staff at EverLAN for another successful event!

For more information check out, EverLAN.net for upcoming events and dates.

BIG&IMPORTANT NEWS!!!

It has finally happened. Oswald’s 6th Floor is now hosted!!! That’s right, I am in the process of moving all my HTML code over to the new server. Today should be the last day of this URL for The 6th Floor. I am hoping that everything goes well in the next 2 or 3 hours and I will be able to give you a new web address to find me at. Just think, no more clicking that damned Yoda pop-up ad. Kinda cool, huh? The group I went with is led by Ellusion who says,

“I would consider myself somewhat of an old timer on the map-review scene, where I began taking an interest in custom maps when quake had it’s golden age. Reviewing maps at Planetquake alongside sites like Matt Sefton’s Single Player Quake Heaven,The Ramshackle, Lt Dan, Warren Marshall’s MultiplayerQuake and so, back in the good “ole days” some 3-4 years back 🙂 Reviewing what we felt were the best maps to bring out the quality, and at the same time helping shed some light on these authors wich eventually led to most of them landing a job in the gaming industry. The core being that we were just “pimps” for those who really produced the work. Without the great mappers, our sites would have been nothing.”

I have been corrosponding with him for the past month or so, in which that time I had a few different options I could have gone to become hosted. I would like to thank Shagg over at The Mapzone for getting authorization from Merlin and the gang at AQ2Zone to have me hosted on Shagg’s site. I will still be doing much work with Shagg, when it comes to releases of new maps and updates. Ellusion and I went on to discuss many areas as they related to the Action Quake community, basically revolving around a few BIG sites. Namely Action Quake 2 and AQMD, who seem to dominate, but at times seem to lack that “team effort”, for lack of a better description. I will not go into details, as I think both those sites are well set up and somewhat maintained. Consider the 6th Floor, it is run by myself. I have very little outside help and the help I do get is from friends I have met over different forums, ICQ at the LAN I attend, who help me out with HTML questions and graphics. I guess what I am saying is, I never really thought this site would gain as much momentum as it has. I think it is great, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy updating you, the reader on what’s going on around the community, while trying to bring a new feel to a website. I am here for you, any opinions, comments or complaints you have can be directed right to me. I read and respond to every email I get. So, with that, please be patient over the course of the next few days, as I make this transistion as smooth as possible.

Just Stuff Today

Had another great LAN gathering, which was almost all Action in my case. I introduced the newly released Actdam into the rotation, along with a few older, but nonetheless outstanding maps, Riot: GangBang, Ctown2 and Police. I will have four new map reviews up as the we roll into the new week. All of these maps have preliminary screenshots over on the Map Review page. There are more changes on the way for The 6th Floor. How long have I been saying that? I know. But the pieces are a falling into place, and I should have major news by the end of the week!

LAN, Reviews and More Hosted News

Had a great weekend at the LAN last night. Finally, I got to introduce four new maps into our rotation. Without a doubt, the most popular one was Murder by FiReWaLKeR[TDm], but Deep Canyon by Shaymon was a close second. We played enough, that I had enough data for four new reviews, they should be up by the middle of the week. The big surprise came when we started up Cheyenne by Wendingo. Even as small as the map was, many were impressed with it. Been spending some time over at the Action Quake 2 Forums and getting some good information. I also downloaded and ran through some of the new test maps over at AQMD. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with much outside of Murder and Mesto. The hosted site is still on, I am just trying to finish up some of the work before I decide to really do it. I actually have space set aside over at The MapZone, which is run by Shagg. I was hoping to get it up this weekend, but we just had too much Action Quake going on and just ran out of time. And speaking of running out, I am running out of energy. It’s been a long 36 hours and I have had 2 hours of sleep. Reviews are coming, stay tuned!