New Review

I have just finished the map review for Squirrel’s map, Loveboat. It is a very good looking and well laid out map. If you get a chance check the review and download the map. I know it is an older map, but Asylum by Holy Goat will be posted later today, as I will hopefully get an interview with him later on. For those who frequent the AQMD Forum, Swoosh is no longer the Monkey Wrangler of the forum. His tenure came to a close last week. His replacement is Deltree, who is going to attempt to keep all the monkeys in order and answer all your map related questions. I am also still collecting votes for maps you want to see in a new map pack, while Death Magnet works on a poll, so ICQ me or email with your favorites. Be sure to check out the Test Maps, as there have been some new screen shots posted, and while you are at it, fill out the questionnaire, which can be found at the Test Matrix at AQMD.

Back on Track

It may not look like it, but I am getting back on track here at The 6th Floor. There has been a bit of news floating around, most of which I am sure you have seen on sites such as Action World and Action Quake Forever, so I see no reason to repeat it. There were two new maps released yesterday at AQMD. The first was Loveboat by Squirrel, which is set on a cruise ship, or for those of us still living in the 1970s, the TV series. And no Issac will not be able to mix you a drink. The second is Motel by bobbins, which is set in a rundown and old hotel. There is also a new Map Resource d00d in place at AQMD, that being FiReWaLKeR[TDm], who created Murder. He is there for all your resouces and mapping needs. Holy Goat has decided to concentrate more on Action Half-Life. Also, Swoosh the infamous “Monkey Wrangler” of the forum will be wrangling no more at the AQMD. Not sure if he will still be involved in testing or not. I have yet to hear.

A Plethora of Information this Morning

William has some updated information as it relates to the CGF, including a download page for missions written by you, the CGF users. He says he likes to see all the enthusiasm and excitement surround the CGF, but wants to make sure that webmasters running CGF mission sites check the missions for errors before releasing them. There are currently two missions available at the links page.For those of you who have still not download the CGF for Action Quake 2, here is a short review by Lightning Mirror, a regular at the Planetquake Forums:

CGF 0.77: Teamplay bots for AQ2As the Action Quake II fans among you are probably aware, version 0.77 of the CGF (Computer Generated Forces) teamplay bots for AQ2 was released yesterday, 8 July 1999. I downloaded and installed it last night, and played it for a couple of hours last night and this morning (9 July). The following are my impressions and opinion of CGF.First, the good news. The CGF bots are pretty smart for a beta. They move together, cover each others’ advance, coordinate their fire, and generally do a respectable job of making life difficult for the player. I look forward to great things in v1.0. For the hackers and mod freaks, mission scripts are plain text files, readable (and modifiable) in Notepad. If you know anything at all about scripting, you’ll find the syntax and command vocabulary pretty self-explanatory, and the readme contains a brief but helpful section on it as well. The download includes a very helpful syntax-checking utility, cgfparser.exe, to catch bugs and typos *before* you try to play your mission (and possibly crash Q2).Second, the bad news. The missions that are included with the download are harder than hell. Your team is outnumbered and outgunned, so brush up on your small-unit tactics if you don’t want your ass handed to you (though it probably will be anyway). The intelligence that I praised in the good news is quite impressive from a purely intellectual standpoint, but once you actually get out there amidst the blood and fire, it’s a royal pain in the ass. New players should expect to lose. A lot.One thing that some will find objectionable is the lack of deathmatch support. See the CGF FAQ for the reasons for this. Personally, I prefer teamplay over free-for-all anyway, but if you’re a DM junkie, CGF may not be for you.Finally, the miscellany. This beta, 0.77, is limited to a single map, Gerbil!’s urban.bsp. Other maps will be supported in future releases, and in other scripts, but for now it’s urban or nothing. Also, it doesn’t seem to like hacked scripts very well. I’ve got two scripts that I modified from missions that came with the download, and the crash rate is appalling. It shouldn’t cripple your system, but don’t be surprised if you find Q2 crashing left and right if you try to run a modified script.Overall, I’m quite pleased. My main gripe is with the difficulty level of the missions; I’m getting thrashed, quite frankly, though I’ve had more success with my own scripts (hint: the bots are much easier to beat when they don’t have Kevlar vests). I expect that once v1.0 rolls around, we’ll see at least some player-produced scripts floating around.The bottom line is that CGF is good stuff, especially considering that it’s still in beta. I look forward to the next release.”

There is also a new discussion, or shall we say disagreement at the Action Quake 2 Forums which has caught fire recently surrounding the M4 script. Which, once executed does not allow the weapon to kick back, raising the barrel of the gun as you discharge the weapon. Most all consider this cheating. Personally, I don’t use it was just recently I stumbled across it. Be heard and voice your opinion.There should be some changes in the midst over at AQMD soon. How do I know this? Because I have been talking with Death Magnet, current Head Webmaster over there. Seems he was looking for someone to help out, or take over the daily duties of AQMD. Actually, all this began when Swoosh and Negative Creep posted messages in defense of AQMD and basically told those who were complaining to get involved. So I emailed Death Magnet and got a very positive response. Although, as I told him, I would be way in over my head if I were to attempt to fill his shoes. But I will be contributing to AQMD now on a semi-regular basis. Hopefully we can get this turned around and get AQMD releasing maps on a regular basis. But for this to happen, it is going to have to take you, the Action community to use the formats for test maps and reviews to help get the ball rolling again. Details are still being worked out with Death Magnet. I’ll keep you posted. And yes, I will continue to maintain this site. I have no desire to close up shop.

…this thread continues

Recently, there was a thread opened over at the Action Quake Forums called, “WTF!!?!?! Is mapdepot down??,” which has draw some attention surrounding the current status of the Action Quake Map Depot (AQMD). Many individuals have expressed their opinions as to how AQMD should be run or how maps should be tested and released. Swoosh gave of his take on the situation,

“The “Swoosh” testing was the result of a session of brainstorming between me and Neg and mayb ea couple others one day. Our desire was to find some common ground to make everyone’s map experience easier. I think it worked for awhile, personally, but times have changed.I am fully in agreement with those that suggest that maps could be better. Its not true that we pass everything that comes our way. In fact, I absolve myself of any responsibility because I am not a tester. But what we have here is a clash of ideals. Half the posters to this thread think the AQMD should post every map. The other half thinks we should post only the tip top. We are somewhere in the middle, apparently pleasing nobody.I don’t know how to break it to you guys, but there is nothing I am willing to do about it. I came onto the staff during a time of crisis and have stuck around as Message Board Monkey Wrangler. If you guys want to see your ideas come to pass, either get to know those who will implement them, such as Death Magnet, whereever he is these days, or join the staff yourselves.I wish you guys wouldn’t all talk so much shit about the AQMD. Especially you Oswald, you never have a good thing to say about us, I admit, I’m slightly offended by that. I don’t expect any thanks necessarily, but a bit of appreciation or at least lack of disparagement would be nice.Again, I stand behind the AQMD. We aren’t perfect, but we aren’t some creative tutors here on this planet to mold every map into a work of art. That is the mappers job. All we can do is smooth out the rough spots that the mappers possibly overlook.For the record, I hate high r_speed maps. When I was a tester, I always scored those maps very low, like it ever did me any good.Anyway, I’m sort of rushed right now. Talk to Magnet or join the staff yourself! Quit bitching and start itching! Errr, yeah!————-Swoosh, Map Depot Message Board Monkey WranglerJunior Member at heart (:”

None of us, as Swoosh puts it take on the daily challenges which face those who run AQMD. We do have the the right to complain, but must remember that those involved at AQMD do this voluntarily and usually receive little in praise. This comment by Swoosh was followed up by Negative Creep, former head man in charge of AQMD. He had some interesting comments, in defense of AQMD, which seemed pertinent,

“Having been away from AQMD, I won’t comment on current ops over there. That said, I feel compelled to respond on their behalf…Webmastering AQMD is a bitch – too many people to satisfy can burn a dude (or dudette) out pretty damn fast. I hung on the bucking, kicking and squeeling bronco as long as I could. Now I know why Cliffe was so eager to pass the reins over to me…hehe.The problem with AQMD is that it supports a game that has gone through some extreme amount of growth. Everybody has access to the tools and tutorials and is an “expert” mapper. There are literally thousands of opinions on what is and is not a great map. As the esteemed Swoosh, McDizzo, and myself have said in the past, some want only the tip-top quality and speedy maps to be released, others want everything irregardless of r_speeds, lagging, etc. We tried desperately to satisfy the majority while keeping the minoritys’ opinion’s in the backs of our heads. If AQMD rockets a map through and it hits the street and lags everybody to death or looks like crap, the AQ2 community (and AQMD) suffers the consequences. If they hold things close and test in secrecy, then the flaming arrows and spears begin hitting the message boards because the public thinks that AQMD is just playing the maps and not letting them go out the door or that their taking too long. The challenge is to find a happy balance. I couldn’t figure out a sane way of doing it.My email box was full of 50 more 60 emails a day. Testing bogged down due to Clans being too busy or players were burning out. I finally couldn’t stand it any more – the stress on my marriage and my intercranial pressure was rising algorythmically – the 6 or 8 hours a night I was spending keeping atop AQMD was never enough.Folks need to keep in mind that AQMD, like the rest of the AQ2-related stuff is totally voluntary – nobody at AQMD profits from the late hours and sweat that is expended in the attempt to keep this mod support going. Reality is finally catching up with the entire AQ2 Mod – it has outgrown its britches.Another comment…seriousness versus having fun. I took the responsibility for AQMD very serious because I, as was the case with the entire AQMD staff at that time (and I am sure the current staff as well) felt that the players, mappers, and serverops deserved the best we could give them. I can say that going back to playing the game has done much to reinvigorate my AQ2 hunger. I love nothing better (game-wise) than putting a high velocity slug or shot into a victims skull…hehehe.Like Swoosh said…if you think you got the time, the dedication, the tools, the experience, and the “balls”, give up playing AQ2 for a spell and jump in the AQMD saddle.Cut your BS whining and do something to make it better. Join AQMD – don’t bash them.I can hear it now…well MapZone doesn’t have these problems…well, they aren’t under the “OFFICIAL” AQ2 umbrella and who gives a shit if they don’t post a map – you still have AQMD to fall back on for the “real deal”. It saddens me to MapZone operating, but this is a democracy. If you want to play just ANY map…keep going to MapZone.Until next time…keep up the good work AQMD – I feel your pain.‘Nuff said……now where’s my HC and slippers?——————Negative Creep—————“Never argue with an idiot…bystanders may not be able to tell the difference”“Have you fragged a llama today?”