Blood. Sweat. Cheers.

This is always an exciting time for the development team, as the hours tick down and we close in on release day. I wish I was scheduled different hours these past few weeks to offer up my services to BladeKiller because she has been the “heart and soul” of this development cycle. Without her strength, the mod would not be where it is right now, on the verge of release. I am quite sure she is a ball of stress and she works feverishly to get everything completed and packaged for the April 1 release.

Woekele has been a welcomed addition to the team. He works very well with TwentySeven and BladeKiller as the team continues to push forward. The same can be said for QA, many of the testers, for example [T]Stone seems to be around all the time and willing to lend his services to testing as a moment’s notice.

My stress level is starting to build as we get closer to Sunday. I am still working on coordinating the release and will maintain the files and provide those individuals with access in order to host the files. The release party on Urban Radio will get the festivities started. And if previous shows are any indication, I am sure many will be calling for the files even before the show begins. Patience my little minions, you will have to wait until the show is over.

The effort of the development team might go unnoticed once you finally drop into a server and play the new version of Urban Terror. Many countless hours of blood, sweat and more blood make it all worth it when the files are released and gamers are populating servers at a rising rate. Hopefully the decisions Frozen Sand has made over the course of this development cycle will help equate to a success and popular release of Urban Terror.

Many gamers ask me, or tell me, “Urban Terror is dead.” I beg to differ on many levels. Our core community is strong and I am sure they would follow us regardless of what game we were working on and offer up their services to help test. There are still leagues that support Urban Terror, so the competitive side of Urban Terror still lives, although it has been dwindling at a good rate, this release will give it a shot in the arm and I think we will see more clans participate. The functionality of the stand-alone files and the impending support of BattlEye means that ANYONE without Quake III Arena will be able to play the game.

These are just a few factors that lead me to believe the game will continue to see success in the community, on public servers and in leagues. Hopefully this will mean a larger community that continues to play and support Urban Terror for a few more years. The development team continues to support a game they love and I am sure the same will hold true for those in the community.

QA: The Circle of Trust

While my web site is not directly related to the continuing development or support of Urban Terror I do bring up some related items from time to to. Over the years our development team, formerly known as Silicon Ice Development has learned quite a lot as is relates to development. One area we originally did not put too much thought into prior to version, Beta 2.0 was that of quality assurance testing. The development team was the testing team, so needless to say those first few releases were spotty at best with many bugs. Just look at the readme from any version prior to 1.27.

I can still recall lining up gamers, both in Europe and North America to act as testers for the upcoming Beta 2.0 release. It was an exciting time, as we were about to provide an upcoming release to a closed group of gamer in order to get their feedback and input. We must not have put too much thought into this testing because we had numerous problems that arose from the formation of this group.

The first problem was that of the files being freely distributed by a few gamers, who were supposedly trustworthy individuals. Chalk that problem up to a learning experience and something that was not address until a few years later during development. It was a simple fix too, but we missed it early on in development. I recall connection to a Beta 2.0 server before we officially released it being played by gamers who had “obtained” a copy of the beta. While their comments were not all positive, it really did not play into the overall success or failure of the eventual release.

More recently, with team members who have now been together upwards of 3 years we have a more stable ground on which we develop and communicate. Sure the development cycles have gotten longer, such as 3.7 to the upcoming version, as we failed [or didn’t plan] to release a version during 2005. During this time we have had a more dedicated group of gamers from the community anchoring our Quality Assurance Team.

This group, while not grossly huge plays an important role in the overall development of Urban Terror. Along with play testing and bug hunting, it is the QA Team who provides changes to current features, for example the weapon damage values. The development team has become more “open” in changes brought to them by the QA Team. It is this sort of working relationship that will help bring about another successful release.

We do not try to please all the gamers, be it in the community or on the QA Team. We would die trying and still not achieve the goal. We do have a solid cross-section of gamers who participate, from the hard core, “pro” gamer to those who, well play like me. Sucky! Nothing wrong with this sort of spectrum of gamer, as each will look at the game a bit different.

There have been gamers in the past who would not be pleased regardless of what was said or done. It’s unfortunate those individuals must go a different direction and not be taken serious. Most will go looking for their “5 minutes of fame” by mouthing off and playing down a release. We have seen it before during development of those “gamers” trying to grab the attention. As if they think it will get them noticed or get anything changed, it won’t

Regardless of those outside the “circle” the development team has been upfront with all the impending changes that will be implemented in the new version of the game. This is what The 27 Days of Terror was all about. I have done a good job [so I think] on not sugar coating bullshit and presenting it to the community. Last week’s Urban Radio show was a no frills Q&A show that answered those questions from the community. Outside of not directly answering the standalone question and breaking down each change to the weapons, the community was very supportive on the upcoming version of the game.

Since that show and our announcement of releasing a standalone client the future looks great for Urban Terror and the community. How long will this success last is anyone’s guess. One year? Two years? Regardless of the level of success the release will bring new blood to an old, but supportive community. Thankfully with those gamers within our circle of trust [QA] and the best gamers in the community Urban Terror will continue to live on and thrive.

Rant and Roll

Today is a quick and dirty update, as I have a bit of work to do before hosting Urban Radio beginning at 1:00 pm PST. Join #urbanterror for all the fun and frolic today as we look back at the week in the Urban Terror Community. We will have an Urban Radio Server up and running, as well as some free swag, IF we get the participation we are looking for.

Today being Friday, I drop a new rant on the site titled, I Can Beta Test. I’m sure it will rub some gamers wrong, or they will continue to tell me to go to hell. Then it wouldn’t be a rant would it? Hahaha…it deals with a group close to the development team knows as the Quality Assurance Team. Feel free to send me your feedback if you think I am wrong.

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I get word, Subway2 is close to release, so says laerth. Did some more testing on that level last night with a few SID members…again. Overall, it is a great improvement over the first one. The original Subway is an excellent map, probably in the top five for me. But this new version will add a whole other dimension to gaming, especially when it comes to CTF. As you can see in the screen shots provided.