Can You Feel It?

It is growing in anticipation…every day moving one step closer to QuakeCon 2001. I’ve had the chance to chat it up with Evil John and Tapper, seems they are pimpin’ Urban Terror too! That is what we like to hear. This was posted a few days ago by Paul Jaquays in his .plan:


SEMINAR: TRASH MY MAP

One of the seminars I’m hosting at QuakeCon is going to be an off the cuff, shoot from the hip, no-holds barred (leave your sensitive egos at home), on the spot map review of maps made be convention attendees. It takes place Saturday August 10th at 10:30 AM in the seminar ballrooms.

I’ve twisted the arms of a couple Q3A engine level designers from other companies who are going to be at the show and convinced them to sit in on this with me (and I expect to hear from a couple more after this). We’ve got barely and hour and we’ll run through (not play) as many maps as we can in that time frame (no more than 5 to 10 minutes per map). One of us will drive and we’ll run through the map on the big screen making comments, criticisms and hopefully useful suggestions for fixing up maps in production.

This is something I am looking forward too! Hopefully, Paul and crew will have enough time to move into the realism genre and take a few shots at an Urban Terror map. I can think of one or two, I’d be curious to hear their “professional” opinion.

I have added a new piece of information to The 6th Floor. It was compiled by Tub, with help from some of the level designers and coders from Silicon Ice Development. The file is called, beta2_mappers_info.txt This file is not really a tutorial, but some basic information pertaining to mapping for Urban Terror Beta 2. The contents: spawn information, locations, game types, surface types, rotating doors, misaligned textures, breakable surfaces, ladders and rain & snow. This used in conjunction with the tutorials from NRGizeR should give most mappers a foundation on which they can build a successful map. Check it out!

Slow and Easy

Beta 2 development has gotten the best of me recently. Thus, no time for updates. With regular testing which happens daily, Silicon Ice Development is trying to get the mod completed sooner than later. Obvious statement, yeah I know. SID was able to update the Urban Terror Screenshots section with all new Beta 2 shots of the levels and the new models/skins which will debut in Beta 2.

eXKalibuR is back with some outstanding screenshots of his latest mapping attempt titled Museum. He was nice enough to send me the pk3 file to test it and provide him feedback as to where to changes and address problems spots. Overall, the level is large! Probably the largest level I have play tested to date, except for the ut_desert level by my 6th Floor crony, NRGizeR. The level would make for some interesting game mode variations, like Capture & Hold and Infiltrate. While this is just an early version look for the full release sometime after Beta 2. Here are a few shots from the Urban Terror Forums:

[SHOT #1] | [SHOT #2] | [SHOT #3] | [SHOT #4]
Many level designers keep inquiring about the new features for their Urban Terror levels. Features such as surface parameters, volumetric snow and rain, visible breathing, entities and spawn points. There are just a few which will be made available on Urban Terror, The 6th Floor and AMP web sites. Stay up to date on Urban Terror level design by visiting, The Level Design Forum on the Urban Terror Forums.

I know this thread was mentioned before, but if you are into mapping and I mean REALLY into mapping, then bookmark all the sites. This thread was started by AstroCreep over on the Quake3World Forums and lists many excellent reference sites for Quake III level design. So check it out!

One word of caution to those desiring to use Urban Terror or id Software related material on their non-id games,

 To The Freeman and any other “converters” who may be reading this thread. id Software does not permit content from the games it makes to be converted for or included in content made for other games. This means ALL content and ALL games. That means no models, meshes, skins, animations, textures, level designs, or code from our games is to appear in other games. If we wanted to have any other policy, we would say so.

If you have converted an id model or used an id texture on a model (or map), you have violated our copyright and the contract terms under which we license our game content to users. When we discover violations of our copyrights and trademarks, we will ask that any and all web sites displaying such content to remove them immediately … not just from visible web pages, but completely from the server. Giving credit to id for conversions to other game types is NOT acceptable to us. The converted content must come off the Internet and not be distributed in any manner.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact me directly.”

As Paul Jaquays was quoted, “That’s me, id’s big meanie, depriving poor gamers from using id content in their non-id games.” Rock on Paul! And yes, Urban Terror does fall under that copyright since we have signed the EULA with id Software.

Maybe you saw this, but there was someone at FilePlanet who posted this Urban Terror link, mistakenly reporting this as the “latest” version. The link actually shows a Beta 2 screenshot of the H&K G36 being fired. Oh well, not bad, 14,000+ downloads in three days. Hopefully this is a bit of foreshadowing as to what Beta 2 will do once released.

yadda…yadda…yadda

To start off with, there is a new rant which has been posted about Community Mappers. While I am not taking a cheap shot at them, I do feel they need to step up their quality of work. Then again, maybe I am a complete a hole and don’t know wtf I am talking about. You decide.

Based on that same thought for a moment, check out this comment by Paul Jaquays of id Software as it relates to the recently release map pack for Quake 3 Arena.

Quantity is already out there. Anyone, regardless of skill can crank out quantity. Quantity doesn’t need approval by id. I like to think that our standards for what makes a good map are higher than simply, “it plays.” Part of the process towards finding maps that met with the id stamp of approval was sorting through quantity to find quality and then take the maps … and the designers who made them up through the process of professional level development. In the end, players benefit, because that designer can take his next map, and the map after that (and so on) up to a higher level of playability and physical quality.

The ability of developers to become as involved in their communities as laerth suggests depends on many factors … but ultimately, it boils to manpower resources. What I did with these four mappers and what I am doing with the other mappers on the next pack takes a LOT of time … at work and on my own time. id is a small team and most of our time has to be focussed on product under development. Time spent fixing bugs found in our previous product is necessary, but despite what appears to be positive PR value, the time spent making new content, adding new functionality, or training a mod community is a luxury that we often can ill afford because it impacts our production schedule on the next project.

Just some random thoughts on my part in return.

Not sure if I mentioned this earlier in the week, but ut_reactor might still make an appearance in Urban Terror. This was my third attempt at creating a level for the mod and I gave up on it after running into a few design problems and deciding to move onto a new project. Devlin & KAZ, who created Kriegerhorn and the upcoming level, Japanese Garden, now hold the map. Hopefully I will have some screen shots to share in the coming week.

Speaking of these two level designers. They are working on yet, another new level for Urban Terror called, ‘The Slums of Chicago.’ Did I ever mention I hated living in Chicago? Screw that, too damn cold for my thin SoCal blood. Here are a few shots as a teaser:

[Shot #1] | [Shot #2] | [Shot #3] | [Shot #4]
The Link of the Day comes from a mate of mine in the UK, Colio, whom I have known from the PlanetQuake Forums for about 3 years now. This link gives a new meaning to the words, “phone sex.” Enjoy.

Revolution is coming. Are you ready?

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.

Paul has the floor

As I usually do, in search of useful information, I have been hanging out at the Level Editing Forum hosted on Quake3World. When Paul Jaquays speaks, level designers usually listen, unless you are one of the select few who think you know more. First off, the question has been asked, “Can you use Team Arena content on a Quake III map [this goes for mods as well]?” Paul’s response, “No. Once you choose to use Team Arena content, you choose to make it a Team Arena only map….TA content is considered by id to be separate from Q3A content. It is not to be distributed for use by players who have not purchased Q3:TA.

Paul continues on to clarify models and terrain in Quake III Arena. “I apologize for some things regarding the confusion about terrain use in Q3A. I asked for and got permission from the id partners to distribute and allow the use in Q3A maps of a limited number of terrain support content found in Team Arena. Forum member Sir_Fubar put together a nice package containing this content, along with his own insights and clarifications. This content can be found as a zip file at QERadiant. The TA terrain content that may be used with id’s approval for Q3A is as follows:

The tree models and their shaders and textures.
The four textures that were used to create the mpterra2 terrain surface.
The terrain textures were distributed to give mappers a place to start in making terrain. We hope and fully expect talented mappers and texture makers to create new and visually exciting terrain surfaces. id only scratched the surface of what can be done with these tools.”

As for the QER error I encountered last night, I used the advice that NRGizeR offered. I initially opened the .map file in QER and was unsuccessful in selecting the bad brush. I attempted to open and select the same brush in GTK. Again, it crashed. That left no choice but to open the .map file in a text editor, locate the brush and delete. After a bit of trial and error, I found the correct brush, deleted and went back to mapping, like nothing had happened.

As for my current attempt at level designing…it is titled ut_reactor and is approximately 1400 brushes at the moment. The level is laid out in a horizontal fashion, with many alternative routes to get from one side of the level to the other. I have a few new screen shots, but keep in mind I have not added any sort of lighting or sky box to these shots yet. I am hoping once I have the layout complete, I can hand the map over to the 2D guys who can then touch it up using different texturing. Now, onto the screen shots:

Had the opportunity to get first glance at Tub’s next map, which is slated to be released with Urban Terror Beta 2. The map is called village_docks and is the third in the Village Series [the others being ut-village and ut-abbey]. Unfortunately, at Tub’s request I must hold off showing any new pictures of his map. But if you have seen his previous attempts, then you have an idea at the style in which it will be modeled. The map is quite different from Docks by BattleCow. Currently Tub only has one section mapped out and has much work to do before the map is complete. I would suspect you will catch a glimpse of it in the coming week.

Today’s Link of the Day comes from Dog, a guy I LAN with at Netzwerk Terror. Nursery Photos, relive your childhood or infancy!