Netzwerk Terror LAN: A Look Back

Holy shit, I must be coming down with an illness as I post back-to-back Gaming pieces on T6F. I happened upon our old LAN web site by mistake. I can’t even remember what I was looking for or how I stumbled upon it. But using the “way back machine” I was able to find much of our old LAN news from Netzwerk Terror.

This WAS a time when gaming was enjoyable and the games were still worth a shit, unlike now. Quakeworld, Quake and Quake 2, as well as some wonderful mods for Quake 2 including CTF, Rocket Arena, Action Quake and Chaos-Mod, just to name a few. Who can forget the hours of pre-LAN racing using the latest and greatest pirated software courtesy of dEucE or Dr. Frag.

I see my first LAN event was dated “11.21.98” and took a fourth place finish the next week in the 2nd (monthly) NT Quake II Tournament. Good friends. Good gaming. And good grog! Of course as things go, the LAN eventually moved out of the one bedroom apartment, where we crammed 24 games into the bedroom, living room and kitchen to Tony’s PC Parlor that could hold at least twice as many gamers and a $10 fee was introduced to help offset renting the room for the weekend. Although Mimi and dEucE would always accept donations on a weekly basis.

Things started to go downhill at this point. The gaming had moved on post-Quake 2 and Quake III: Arena was not all it was cracked up to bed. The game mods were not as enjoyable as their predecessors in Quake 2. Not sure why. Maybe it was just bound to change as newer technology and pretty graphics replaced solid game play. Sorry, but the game play for Quake III was shit. Q2 had much better playability.

Why dwell on the past? Oh yeah, that was when games had game play and were not just a fancy box with a hefty price tag and pretty graphics. Guess it was better I moved on and decided to retire from any sort of online gaming. Too many changes. I guess some things are better left unchanged.

Urban Fools Day

Okay, so I am a few days late actually announcing the release of Urban Terror on my site. I figure many of you who visit already are aware of the date (time TBA) and are looking forward to the release.

As a gamer I am excited for this release. Sure there are other “prettier” games out there to play, but I still feel that Urban Terror has solid game play and that is what keeps many coming back for more. I don’t game as much as I once did, attending a LAN party on a weekly basis for 2 years, but I still enjoy sitting down and playing a game that will entertain and keep my attention. Hard to do, but it can be accomplished.

Aside from Urban Terror there have been some retail games that have made their way onto my HDDs and survived for an extended period of time. Going back “old school”, Quake II and Action Quake 2 were probably the first that kept me coming back for more over the course of a few years. It was Quake II that got me interested in PCs (as I was a Mac guy) followed by AQ2 and CTF that we played faithfully at our LAN.

More recently my attention has been focused on the console world. I bought the Xbox a few years back and had it modded, so I did not have to buy games, but rented and burned them to the 100+GB HDD I installed. For sports games, consoles are where it’s at, I never did like playing sports games on the PC. More recently it was my poor decision to buy an Xbox 360, which has been a real letdown overall. The games have not been impressive from a game play point of view. Either the controls suck or the game play just lags. Maddedn 07 is a prime example.

So while I love my PC and gaming, it’s much quicker to plop on the couch and kick out a few quick games of soccer or football than search for a server to play, say BF2 on. But I think Urban Terror will help renew that interest in PC gaming. While the mod was never the biggest, best or most popular it is something special. As a development team member for 7 years, the only original one remaining it holds a special place in my heart.

The longevity of games these days are really short lived. Developers and publishers are out to make a buck more than a good game. Ask INVIS about his experience working on Medal of Honor expansion pack. Da horror! If asked, “Would you like to be profiting from Urban Terror?” I think we would all emphatically say “YES!” But the reality of the situation is we don’t, haven’t and probably won’t unless we happen to score a development deal to create Urban Terror as a retail project.

So April 1 will be an exciting day for all. The development team members (God bless BladeKiller, woekele and 27) and community are all looking very forward to the release. It has been a very LONG time for everyone which culminates in a great professional package. No longer is Quake III Arena required. The possibility of BattlEye providing anti-cheat support could spur an entire new influx of gamers. So the prospect are looking very good for the game and community.

Behind the Microphone

At one time, years ago…well not that long ago, maybe 1998 I was like a sponge. I was soaking as much information as possible when it came to PC games. id Software‘s hit, Quake II had me mesmerized. From that point on, the snowball effect took control.Now, maybe it’s my age or my [lack of] attention span, or life priorities, but I am not much of a gamer now (maybe I will blame the crappy games out there). Damn skippy though, back in the day at the Netzwerk Terror LAN I would attend, I was as competitive as the next in the 1 v 1 tourney. Never did win, but I did take a third place. Once.

Since my “humble” beginnings I experienced many things, such as QuakeCon (a MUST for any gamer), software development with Urban Terror and on air commentary, previously with Team Sportscast Network and more recently with Inside The Game. To be honest, I get more pleasure talking to the gaming community, be it covering a game like Urban Terror, Medal of Honor or a plethora of other games. FIFA kicks some serious ass!I also produce two radio shows called Just Push Play, where we flashback to the 1980’s and check out movies, television, music, coin-op video games and nostalgia from a decade past. Also in support of Urban Terror I started Urban Radio, which focuses on news and notes from the community, along with some gaming action on a server provided by the community…basically it is my chance to give the community something other than a web site update.

I have all the previous Just Push Play shows now available on the site, linked to FileCloud. Currently I am putting the finishing touches on this week’s show, JPP #009 – Oswald Strikes back. The show debuts on Wednesday, January 4 at 12PST/20GMT on Inside The Game.

More recently I have agreed with start covering Medal of Honor: Allied Assault over on Clanbase with EuroCup (Obj Realism) and Nations Cup (Obj & Obj Realism). I do believe my enjoyment of casting shines in a game like MOHAA, mainly because of the what you can do with the game. The production value is extremely high and the game itself is full of atmosphere.

If you want an example of the production value of Medal of Honor, you can download this cast featuring Art of War versus [ =N3S=] I covered as a “test cast” last week. Just listen past he minor technical issues I had during the coverage that I failed to catch.

Go Out and Play!

While eating dinner last night with my wife and my parents, the discussion turned to raising children and the amount of computer of console time children should have as opposed to going outside and play. I cannot tell you how many times I heard that from my mother growing up. But when I in my early childhood (born in 1969), it was the mid 1970’s moving quickly into the 1980’s and the computer revolution.

I was blessed to have a father who was into electronic gadgets. He was an amateur radio operator and it was not long after the introduction of Pong in 1975, our family owned a system of our own. Shortly after the introduction of the Apple][ + from a local computer store. Compared to today’s computer, the Apple was nothing, when compared to systems like the TRS-80 or the Commadore-64. The Apple was touted as a “learning computer.”

When it came to education, I was not the best student, like many others I played too much and sometimes did not take studying serious. But one advantage I had was our Apple. Teachers loved the machine, because at this time there were very few computers being used by schools. All my reports were typed using a new idea called a word processor. Needless to say, teachers were impressed with the formatting and the easy reading, which probably gave me a bit of an advantage when it come to the actual content.

While my priorities were still that of a child, play, computer and school, I did remain active. I was able to manage my time (maybe that was my parents managing it for me) growing up, never being allowed to sit in front of the Atari or Apple for ungodly periods of time. Although, Lemonade Stand was damned addicting to play!High school saw the introduction of a new player into my life, girls (no, not women yet…but close). My studies continued to slip, as sports took priority (a three sport letter man in high school) especially baseball. I continued to use the computer as much as possible, learning how to program (all hail BASIC), while writing a few games and actually using the computer more for school…ooh yeah and also to manage my football pool.

By my high school years (1983-1987) computers were here to stay. While the Apple was still a learning machine, the PC is where the computer game craze began. I would wander the aisles of stores looking for games and finding Apple had a very limited selection, it really wasn’t until the Macintosh came along that more (still very few by comparison) game were made available. I would wish that my computer would play that game.

Fast forward to 1998, this is where I got my first taste of PC gaming, introduced by a roommate playing Quake 2. I was take in, hook, line and sinker. Much of my life (age 29 now) was centered on my relationship, flying and my career. But that all changed with Quake 2. I spent many hours, including sleepless nights learning the game, tactics and more information that I could comprehend. It only worsened when I returned to Los Angeles and got hooked up with a weekly group at something called a “LAN party.”

The rest, as they say is history. I learned most of my computer knowledge at these parties, from gaming to hardware and software to drinking good Tequila! I enrolled in A+ Certification and received my MCSE and Novell certificate in order to start a new career (that never materialized). I started building my own PCs and helping others repair theirs. I got so involved in gaming, I wrote articles for web sites such as Planetquake, was in charge of the Action Quake Map Depot and even started my own web site called Oswald’s 6th Floor (probably the first known link out there).

What am I getting at here aside from a bit of history? Basically there is a difference of opinion, between myself and wife when it comes to allowing our child to play console and computer games. Unlike 30 years ago, where kids were relatively safe playing outside, acting out war scenes or sci-fi movies, playing in the dirt and with make believe guns, time have changed and parents are not so trusting to let their kids go play unsupervised.

I am sure my wife will agree that our son, Zachary will be introduction to computer games at an early age. I think we will also agree that consoles and computers will not rule his life and that hopefully with our guidance he will be active taking an interest in sports or something outside of computer gaming.

do think that the future is going to become more and more technical, which means computers are going to play a larger part in his growing up than they did mine. Learning, actually learning is something that will take place on a computer. I’m not talking about shooting people or killing monsters, but learning that will help him grow.

Hey, I didn’t turn out bad? And my nasty computer habit has been curtailed quite a bit over recent years, since I found out love was a powerful thing when I met and courted my wife. Hopefully our son will have a chance to be active and grow, with friends he can go out and play with, while learning and yes, playing games over the Internet with other gamers.

Icepick by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons

Fear not young Quaker, the Quake 2 Level of the Week has returned with another installment. Since I cannot remember what happened last night, no since in trying to remember why there has not been review since April 16th. I think the Strogg had something to do with it. This week’s we return with a map that was nearly selected a few months back, but was still in a beta stage and not quite ready. The level I am talking about is, Icepick by John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons. While it may take some extra time getting acclimated to this dark and chilly layout, no better place than the present to keep the frags ice cold.

The basis of Icepick start and end with the quality texturing which were seen in Metlslime’s previous level, Derelict. “All textures were made by me, originally for the defunct Oblivion mission pack. Icepick was originally available on the PCGamer UK release of the Oblivion mission pack in 1998. Revamped and tweaked for release as a vanilla Q2 level, Icepick now has three times the brushcount, and a somewhat larger capacity for carnage,” says John.

The texture usage has an entirely different feel and really sets the tone for the entire level. Add to the different shades of blue lighting which are cast throughout Icepick. The soft, blue glow helps to create a cold and ominous ambience as you traverse the darkened metal corridors. The cold blue lighting helps to make the less significant texturing seem to leap out. The interior of the doorways have been highlighted with bright orange lights that contrast the blue hues. There are also dimly lit white floodlights that shine down on the floors of the corridors.

Metlslime describes the layout as a, “two layer figure eight.” This is a level in which you cannot pin down a “central” location. Many Quake 2 levels feature vaulted rooms and rising atriums, none of those are featured in Icepick. Probably one of the most telling features, is the ice cold river of water which flows through certain sections of the level. It is quite and intricate level to play, as much of the level is quite non descript, but the texturing still remains very impressive. The entire level is essentially made up of numerous small chambers, connected by a corridor system. Some of these chambers allow multi-floor access and overlook a portion of the level.

The weapons and power seem to be sparse when you are running around with nothing but a blaster in your hand. You will find all the weapons, with the exception of the BFG. Who needs that in a level this tight? Two areas of note, the rocket launcher is sitting on a ledge, below a spawn point, which makes for quick kills, if you are able to get it. Directly in front of that on the level before, the body armor, ready for the taking. Nearly on the opposite side of Icepick is a second chamber filled with gib-o-matic goodies. The rocket launcher rest high on ledge and the chamber below contains a super shotgun and the all powerful Quad Damage. Directly through one of the two doors, a combat suit. The Mega-Health is contained in a small locked chamber that is only accessible though the river system. Find your way in and be rewarded.

After about an hour of testing, I realized one thing, I still suck at Quake 2. But that has absolutely no bearing on this level review. I felt like the “all powerful one” as I quickly armed myself with a rocket launcher and the body armor and went in search of fragile gamers to dominate. While there is an abundance of ammunition strewn through the chambers I quickly exhausted my rockets and was left with a blaster to defend myself. The server consisted of two other gamers and 3 bots, for a total of six in the level. Weapons and ammo came at a premium, as they do in most level which teeter on the maximum number of players. The level played very fast, and it was not soon after you enter a few chambers, you were a bit disoriented in where you came from and where you are headed. Thankfully the river, was there to act as a midpoint to the level.

Icepick is definitely going to chill you to the bone. It has all the important aspects of a quality map. Check it out and add it your next LAN. What holds this level together, is not so much the layout, but the strength and quality of the texturing combined with the ambient lighting. Another “must see map” called Icepick. Why don’t you pick it up today

– Download: icepickzip
– Author: John “Metlslime” Fitzgibbons
– Website: Celephais

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.