Streets of Terror

While it was actually my dream to do a level for Urban Terror. Unfortunately my priorities have been rearranged and I do not think I will have the time or effort to put into one right now. But don’t worry, all is not lost. As I mentioned on the Urban Terror Forums, INVIS offered to out on a level that I rebuilt. The level was originally done by NRGizeR for the Beta 1 release of Urban Terror. It was updated, for Beta 2.0 and now for an upcoming version of Urban Terror will be updated once again.

Unlike the versions before it, this will be an all new version of Streets called ut_streets2. It will be playable for Team Survivor and CTF. As for future game modes, we will have to wait and see. By future, I mean the new game modes that are under development by Silicon Ice Development.

INVIS was nice enough to get a few shots for those of you yearning for all the “digital crack” you can handle. These two shots show off some of that “new car smell” of the upcoming release of ut_streets2. I have not had a chance to test the level yet, but from these shots and the layout of the minimap, along with some of the comments from INVIS, this is going to be another favorite for the mod. Check out that crane. Can you say, mad, crazy strafe jumps. uNF! Hit me!

nocheats

Feast or famine here on The 6th Floor…but after however many years I have had this site up, I am sure many come to expect that. It is not that there is no news out there. One can ALWAYS find news! Actually today, I come bearing, well, nothing at all. From the land that we, the level designer make, things are sort of in a lull. There are projects that are being worked on, as I continue to scan the Level Design Forums. Rest assured when SID releases the new .def files with some updated features, level design will take off again.

I have seen some screen shots recently of SweetnutZ [remember him?] and his latest project. You might remember hearing it as “the snow map.” We featured it here on the floor a few months back. Well, let’s just say, that this is “Raven quality” work he has done on this, now-titled-but-will-remain-untitled level. Some excellent work.

I have also completed my first full layout. Yes, I know only three years into this damn project and I finally am on my way to releasing…err…re-releasing a level. I have spent the past two days rebuilding NRGizeR’s level, ut_streets from the ground up. It has taken some time and after looking at the original .map file. Oh my god, what a nightmare! Although it was not nearly as bad as Trainyard was. At least NRGizeR knew to add hint, clip and trigger brushes. Screen shots? Uh, yeah, right. Not yet, as I have one small portion of the level actually textured, that allowed me a single “teaser” that I shared in #urbanterror yesterday. Maybe you saw it, maybe not.

Finally, the best news has been saved for the last. The new point release has brought PunkBuster to the Quake III and Urban Terror Communities. The long wait it finally over. My only suggestion. OPEN THE README132.TXT file and follow the instructions before asking a stupid question. Oh wait, there are no stupid questions, only stupid people…or something like that which brings us to our last bit of news.

The OGC bot is no more. Boo hoo hoo. I am just heartbroken for this hack. As post on the hack’s web site, “There has been a licensing problem with releasing modified quake3 SDK files. Apparently, mods can only be released in binary form, and not source form. This means I will need to rewrite alot of the Q3 SDK code OGC uses. However, once this is done, all the source will be 100% owned by me, except for the GNU crypto stuff which is also under the GPL, so can be included.” That is a no no…hahah PUNK BUSTED, BITCH! I’m out…

PS – Damn, forgot to mention, the entire reason I did this news bite. There is a new rant posted titled, Busted Punk! that talks about PunkBuster, Urban Terror and cheating. Check it out!

I’m Back!!!

I’m back!!! It has been sometime since I have provided a worthwhile update on The 6th Floor. Now that QuakeCon 2001 is over and the Urban Terror 2.3 Beta is released, I will be able to focus a bit more attention on providing the quality reviews the community is looking for. The site is currently under some development, as I move from HTML/CSS to ASP and better way to present the information that has gathered here since 1999, when I opened the doors to The 6th Floor.

The most recent news was the announcement by Silicon Ice Development releasing their highly anticipated map pack, which has become known as Beta 2.3. While there are only minor code changes in this version, it does introduce 8 new levels to terrorize, along with 3 updated levels from NRGizeR. I feel this map pack will provide hours, hoping months of action for the Urban Terror community, as SID begins development on the next beta version. No speculation on its completion date. New levels include SweetnutZ and his first Urban Terror map, ut_casa. I stick by my guns, texturing makes the map, this is no more evident than in this level. The newcomer to SID, dotEXE seems to have created a much needed mirrored CTF level titled, ut_riyadh. I really do think the CTF players will quickly find this to be a favorite. Same fors for the snipers, better keep your head down.

Bar-B-Q finished up ut_rommel, which seems to be getting mixed reviews on the forums. It is not your typical Urban Terror level, but does play quite well. BattleCow was able to get his level, ut_uptown finished, and GottaBeKD was able to complete work on the elevator, that this AQ2 style level finally was released. ut_pressurezone is the latest creation from Gerbil!, who had considerable success for Action Quake 2, but has been suffering a bit of design block in his levels. Pressure Zone is quite an impressive looking underwater base, but from the preliminary comments I hear, there are more issues with spawn points. Something SID has been working on to remedy. Let me also say, these usually effect the TDM game.

Tub is back with a map and a half. His latest work is called, ut_austria and continues the European type village genre. Also pay attention to the impressive model of Michelangelo’s David, created by Meaty and skinned by BladeKiller. The level, ut_village also reappears for the first time in Beta 2.3. There are some issues with this level still. While Legomanser did some of the updated work on it, NRGizeR provided some insight into reducing the FPS.

Finally comes ut_alleys from Bot Killer, which was a map we had seen months ago, before he played Houdini and disappeared. But, he is back with a map that should play a bit like ut_pressurezone as many of the areas are tight. But this map does play on a few different levels. It is also quite large.

You can check out all the sexiness of QuakeCon 2001 over at theUrban Terror web site, as I provided a running diary of this year’s event and what Silicon Ice Development did while in attendance. Check it out!

The review for ut_casa should be ready in a few days. I am trying to get adjusted to the daily routine. Unfortunately being away at QuakeCon, I have been unable to keep up with all the happening on the Level Deesign Forums, but I can guarantee you, one of the other guys like LORDofDOOM or Mungo Zen are on top of it.

Urban Terror Review: Sands by NRGizeR

Sands by Carl-Magnus “NRGizeR” Björkell
| Carl-Magnus “NRGizeR” Björkell | Score: 3.8 | By Oswald |

A big desert terrain map based on the movie “Three Kings”. The most prominent feature in this map is the moving UH-60 Blackhawk chopper that can easily transport you across the map. This map was mainly made for CTF, so therefore there are two bases in the map, along with two oasis, two tunnel systems, and two bunkers. This is also Silicon Ice’s finial attempt at a terrain generated level for Urban Terror.

Texturing [4.0]
Much of the level consists of a large, vast desert wasteland in some unknown Middle Eastern country, all of which is textured in a light tan, rocky texture. To offset the this non-descript landscape, each base is designed around large, sandstone walls, that fly their respective territorial flags. The bases are similar in appearance, a mix of old, rundown structures, circling a miniture covered water well in the middle of the base. Much of the texturing in sands looks and combines with the minimal use of non-descript colors, such as brown, tan and dull reds to create a very subtle environment. There is a considerable amount of brick and sandstone used in most all of the buildings.

Ambiance: [3.5]
Sands does not really engage the senses in my “tours” of the level. The lighting effects are limited to the deserted mine shafts that connect each base to the middle of the level. Bright lights, dangling on a rotting wire run the length of the shaft to provide gamers a sense of direction. The standout feature, which gives the ambiance a kick in the ass, is the sounds of the UH-60 Blackhawk. When you arrive at the helicopter, it is sitting idling, as Commander BladeKiller [her voice was used to simulate the pilot], waits for gamers to load up and be transported to their destination. Sounds emanate from the Blachhawk as its blades begin to whirl as is slowly goes airborne.

Creative Spark: [4.0]
While many level designers try to recreate another mod’s levels, NRGizeR took the other route and decided to use a movie as his inspiration. The movie, Three Kings helped to inspire this level. With the aid of 40+ screen shots from the movie, NRGizeR set out to create a level that would feature a few desert bases, along with a multitude of structures. The only drawback from this level, is its overall size. The map is HUGE, especially when it comes to games that feature Team Survivor. No fun trying to chase down the final opponent when he is camping on the far side of the level. A bit smaller size with some more variety in terms of layout could provide for a faster game flow. As it is now, the level works, but there are some issues that could be dealt with to improve upon it.

Construction: [4.0]
The level is based on the movie, Three Kings and features two unique bases at opposite ends of the level. Both bases have four routes in, including a flight from the UH-60 Blackhawk, positioned in the middle of level to begin each round. Each base is proportional to the other and includes a mountain pass [to the middle of the level], a deserted and crumbling mine shift and the front entrance, both of which are constructed of heavy, thick sandstone and feature the regions two warring factions’ logos. Much of the level is extreme, flat and barren, which should cater to snipers, sometimes a bit too much. Near the middle of the level, there are two bunkers that are quite dark and provide some good cover when under fire from the mountain pass. Currently, there are memory and FPS issues facing Sands, while this is not solely attributed to the design of the level by NRGizeR. The coding team is looking into the high memory usage and drop in FPS.

Playability: [3.5]
The first thing you notice about Sands is the extremely LARGE scale in which the level is designed. Unlike many of the other Urban Terror levels, Sands will keep both teams quite busy. The map is laid out very well for team oriented game modes, like CTF. Unfortunately without 8 to 10 gamers per side, games can be very long and drawn out, with very infrequent scoring. Deathmatch modes seems to run be “non-team” oriented, as gamers disperse in many different directions. Decrease the size of the level and the flow and playability would increase.

6th Sense: [4.5]
This level is quite well known for its controllable UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, which is positioned in the middle of the level to begin each round. To control the helicopter, press the ‘USE’ key and you are presented with a list of destinations that you can fly to. Unfortunately, at this writing, there are still some minor issues being sorted out with the movement of the helicopter, which becomes very noticeable when turning. With that side, it is still a very unique addition to Sands. If it were not for memory issues, the level could feature even more “sexiness” near the middle of the level.

Final Score: [3.8]
[Oswald] Thanks to the Team Arena release from id Software, NRGizeR was able to experiment with the use of terrain in Urban Terror. While this is still somewhat new to the mappers, you can see some possible advantages to creating more non-urban settings. Given the fact that Sands is extremely large might detract from the overall enjoyment of the level. Steps were taken to improve the game play, with the addition of the empty mine shafts and the UH-60 Blackhawk. Even with those unique play characteristics, the map does not seem to sustain the interest of the community. It is a great looking map, considering the time and effort to create it, but it comes up just a bit short, especially when the teams are small.

Urban Terror Review: Swim by NRGizeR

ut_swim by Carl-Magnus “NRGizeR” Björkell
| Carl-Magnus “NRGizeR” Björkell | Score: 4.2 | By Oswald |

Loosely based on a recreation center in a small Finnish town, Swim – The Bath is the most civilian map in Urban Terror. NRGizeR designed this map to provide rich sniping and intense close range combat. If you take that sniper rifle, be sure you keep your sidearm close at hand when moving through the hallways. If you take a swim in the Olympic sized diving pool or the recreation pool with the inflatable toy, be sure to dry off well before you go outside as Swim – The Bath takes advantage of Urban Terror’s environmental effects depositing volumetric snow outside. Though you might feel clean coming out of the showers, stay sharp or you might end up taking a dirt nap.

Texturing [3.5]
Being one of the most consistent level designers of SID, Swim is one of the original levels, in terms of release date, Carl-Magnus has his second successful map with, The Bath. The textures in no way reflect with his first map, Streets2 had. All new texturing, most provided by Freak Storm has made The Bath a very popular map with the Urban Terrorists. With a multitude of unique signs, including, “Have you bathed in the last three days” and “The 6th Floor” along with a cute, green pool toy, The Bath is brought to life, thanks in part to the realistic feel of the textures. The buildings are fashioned with snow laden bricks, along with ice covered roofs. The trampled down, muddy dirty trails show evidence of high traffic areas. The interiors carry quite a variety of color, style and their own characteristics. There are warm earthen tones in the locker room, while the shower is fashioned in a two-tone blue, turquoise and white motif. The office building is done with wooden floors, white textured walls and a collection of colored wall coverings.

Ambiance: [3.5]
Much like his previous map, Streets2, the sky is an overcast gray, but it is accentuated by the steady snow fall. This alone, gives you the sensation of actually standing outside in the cold winter months, trying to catch a snowflake on your tongue. Excellent work to create a unique environment. Many of the interior rooms and hallways are well lit, offset by the dark and metal walkway high above the surface of the pool. The cafeteria uses a combination of spot lighting, from hanging lamps and the undefined lighting to create a warm and friendly ambiance. There are also numerous florescent lights, which give off a ghastly, white glow in some areas.

Creative Spark: [5.0]
Being from the United States, we sometimes overlook the uniqueness of a simple idea. The Bath is just that a simple idea, taken to the next level. What makes this map stand out above the rest is the attention to detail. I have already mentioned the shader which generates falling snow. Very creative and quite original. Located high above the pool is a clock. What makes this item creative is the hands actually move. A small touch, but works quite well. One of the saunas actually uses the fog to simulate steam. Located in the kiddie pool and in the showers are two green, rubber pool toys. Sorry, they don’t pop if you shoot them. All in all, many minor features which together, help bring The Bath to life.

Construction: [4.0]
The bath itself contains a cafeteria with a small, cubicle of a room where you buy your tickets, along with many chairs and tables in a small recessed area, and a small pantry area where food is stored behind an L-shaped counter. From this room you have access to two areas of the bath, including access outdoors into the falling show. There is a staircase leading down to the changing rooms, saunas, showers, and ultimately to the pool area. On the far side of the cafeteria there is a door leading to the bleachers [also in the pool area] which viewing the pool area is permitted from allowing access to the pool storage room. You can walk through the storage room [which is authorized personnel only, get out of there!] to get to the emergency exit. Once outside, you are able to take cover behind pine trees or make a dash to the two story office building. From this building, you can access the roof, to gain a tactical advantage and watch for snipers climbing onto the roof of the swimming hall.

Playability: [4.0]
The Bath can be separated into three distinct section. The first and most popular place for the action to take place is in the building where the pool is located. These areas give a new meaning to the term, “blood bath.” The serenity of the calm, warm waters can turn into a flurry of gunfire in an instant. The dark, metal rafters and the multi-level diving platform give snipers a decided advantage, as they are able to see the entire pool area below. The second area would be outside, in a the calm of the falling snow. Those who stop to watch the snow fall usually end up in a pool of blood. The final area of the map is the building adjacent to the pool. This two story building also allows players a single route of access onto the roof and provides excellent cover when under fire. Overall, The Bath should be considered a very fast playing map. There are many long hallways and corridors, with ample cover for all types of players.

6th Sense: [5.0]
The will most likely be one of the mo=re uniquely designed maps for Urban Terror. Carl-Magnus has provided the Urban Terror gamers with an excellent looking and well playing map. As was mentioned, most of the attention is focused around the pool area. I believe this has something to do with the rubber, green pool toy which was masterfully skinned by Meaty. The snow adds another dimension to a map that was never seen before. Previously, a shader was created to simulate falling snow. Now, the snow is controlled by the code. Just an outstanding effort on the part of Carl-Magnus, I am sure we all look forward to his next map.

Final Score: [4.2]
[Oswald] This is definitely one of my favorite levels to play. The level seems to have something for everyone. I feel quite comfortable with a G36 and a SPAS12, as I run through the hallways and into the large pool area. This must be one of the prettiest maps to date. Carl-Magnus has done a great job on the design and layout of his map, The Bath. While there may be a few predominate areas which cater to camping, I don’t think anyone will be discouraged by the flow or speed of the game play. The map looks and feels quite authentic. With the introduction of the falling snow and you have the making of an instant classic.