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.

The Floor in 2004

Good morning, afternoon or evening, depending on where you are. It’s only taken me 18 days into 2004 to FINALLY get off my ass and update The 6th Floor. Now before you all jump my shit asking, “Oz, why no updates or map reviews? Where are the rants? What’s the deal dude?” One thing those in the Urban Terror community don’t want are excuses. Hell, don’t you give enough of those to your parents, teachers, spouse or boss? Heheh…I know I do. Well, not the girlfriend, she’ll gimme the proverbial “knuckle sandwich” and right now I am not too hungry.

What can you expect this year from The 6th Floor? While not really considering many changes, I would like to get some more concise reviews out of more of the quality maps in the community. I admit, I am not one to jump on many community levels, because honestly many of them are not that good. Some will cite SID as the problem, because they (or shall I say we) do not promote them. Then again, why should the development have to promote something that looks like it was created for Quake 2 or worse, Half-Life? I also might not be a creditable source, because I myself have never completed any of the levels I have started. Believe me when I say, not only is it time consuming, but does take some planning and execution on the part of the level designer. I also do not consider myself an “expert” when it comes to mapping. Much of the information I present is thanks in part to an active community.

In conjunction with the upcoming release of the NEW Urban Terror Forums, I would like to run a month long poll to draw results from the community as to what the most played community levels are. Community, not SID created levels. These are already included in the distribution files, so there is no reason to include these. I’ll be honest, I like eye candy, I am sure most do. But many gamers don’t give a damn about how a many looks, but how it plays. Why do you think there are still so many playing Counter-Strike? So I would like to put together a list of 10-15 maps that are played throughout the community and see if we can pull these together into a distribution.

I think I sorta got off track here, as to why no updates since November. Over the course of the last 6 months there have been many changes in my life, outside of Urban Terror and the Internet. I have shifted my priorities somewhat and am not spending 12-16 hours a day in front of my computers, supporting Urban Terror or shoutcasting on TsN. More on that in a bit. Since the last news post, I have moved out of SoCal and up to NoCal, but still have to commute to SoCal for work. So I am spending many hours a day traveling and the time I have to spend in front of my computer has dramatically decreased. This should change around February 1, 2004. Hopefully I update before that time.

As for TsN, the Team Sportscast Network, I have resigned my position as Public Relations Director/Shoutcaster. It was a difficult decision, since I had been part of this organization for close to 2 years. But with changes in my life and scheduling of priorities, I could no longer commit the time or energy to casting. It always bothered me in the past of casters who idled in the staff IRC channel, but never casted. Being a member of the management staff, I felt I had an expectation placed on me to be a leader and set an example. I felt I had to make a decision, so I did and respectfully stepped down. TsN is still a leader in online coverage and I wish them the best. As for Urban Radio and any further Urban Terror coverage, I will be using any number of “other” shoutcasting streams, in the coming months. Normally I would turn to Spellbinder, who has gracefully offered up his server at times, along with a few others in the community.

The only other real change on The 6th Floor recently, as I mentioned a few months back, has been the addition of Oswald’s 6th Floor Urban Terror server. The admins are .223|Hottlipz and myself. We also have a few good friends who have admin or referee abilities. So far, I have been very pleased with the success of the server, sponsored by Play Dedicated. We are currently playing Urban Terror 3.2, CTF with the following map cycle: ut_pg2-27, ut_precinct, ut_oz, ut_rommel, ut_docks, ut_turnpike, ut_golgotha, ut_sliema, ut_druglord2-urt3 and ut_abbey2. Each map is specifically set with a caplimit and/or timelimit.

Beyond that, I make no guarantees as to what happens the remainder of 2004. Like previous years, I will continue to roll with the punches and see what sort of free time I have to continue updating The 6th Floor. One thing that has made the web site successful has been the input from you, the community. If you have something to say or contribute send it to oswald [at] planetquake.com. You can also find me on IRC in #urbanterror on Enter The Game or Quakenet.

Beta this Bitch!

This past Friday during Urban Radio, with thanks going to illogical from Clan PIT, the listeners were treated to an unknown level on the Urban Radio Server. The level is one I featured on The 6th Floor last week, that was still in beta, but it was a playable level titled, ut_workb1 by slinko. Again, check out the screen shots below to see what you missed. While I could spend the time actually playing it, I was able to gather some feedback during the two plus hours we played on it.

Overall, the vertical design and layout worked rather well. I think most were surprised at how simple it was to navigate the entire level. There were some extreme long ladders to climb in order to get directly to some of the levels, those are being looked at, as I understand it. Some of the other issues that were brought up, easy spawn camping for the red team and some r_speed issues. Aside from that, we will watch the progress of this level, as I think it would really make a good map for CTF servers and leagues.

Team Mapness, thanks to Duf Kni3n aka IVR has released the level, ut_toxic. This was another level we featured last weekend. Honestly, I have not had a chance to check it out. But from what I hear it is a very good all around level. I do know there are public servers, such as FSK405 and Aardvark running this level in their rotations. Be sure to download it and check it out!

Another level that was released, that some how I missed, but Dragonne, from SID was able to remind me during our phone interview last week was ut_commune by QueenBee. It has a feel somewhere between Abbey and Sanctuary. This is solely her level, with only moral support from Dragonne. So check it out and grab the download from this site. Props to QB on the new level!

2003 Resolutions

Now that Festivus is over and the new year is here, it is time it straighten up and get my ass back into gear. The last few months have been…well, long and tiring. I think I peaked with the release of Urban Terror Beta 2.6. Of course, many supportive fans praised our work, while others continued to bitch. What else is new, huh? So much of November and nearly all of December I have not done a damn thing. For me, there is more than Urban Terror. I know many out there think SID we spend every waking moment at your beckon call. Fact is, we don’t. We each have priorities to attend to. Currently mine is trying to keep my job at the airlines, seeing as our company has gone into bankruptcy. So, I have not been my cheery, friendly self as I have in the past.

*sigh* But that is more less in the past, we can wipe the slate clear (sorta) and start fresh in January to try and provide some insight into Urban Terror, while bringing you reviews, rants and interviews. Unless you have run a web site, or two, or three, then you do not know how tiring and time consuming it can be. We all want to see fresh and new information posted every day, but sometimes (maybe that is often) it will not happen. Not sure what will happen in 2003 with this site. I know the focus will continue to be on Urban Terror. I am not closing the doors or ignoring the fact that for last few months of November there was not much added to the site. Hopefully we can see some new tutorials from the UT Community and a few reviews of the outstanding levels in the community.

I am not going to make any promises as to what I will bring each week. You have seen it before, I go fast and hard for a month or two and then hit a brick wall and nothing comes out. So I will try to keep things consistent. Who knows, maybe an assistant to help out is needed. It’s not like I do THAT much traffic a day, but being able to bring you 365 new things a year would be cool. We’ll see. I would like to spend time on the site, doing what I do best. Who knows, maybe I will FINALLY be discovered and offered a PR job at one of these gaming companies (Activision, Blizzard, Bungie, Raven, I am talking to you!!!). Until then, I will hold onto my little corner here on Planetquake.

That is really all I have right now. Just wanted to drop my first post of 2003 out here and hopefully those in the Urban Terror Community will continue to support the mod, as the development team looks to have another great year ahead of them. To all who visit this site, thank you for all your support.

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!