Updating Old School Levels

Sometimes I wish I could put myself in your shoes, as a gamer on the outside looking in at the development team and Urban Terror. I can only use my limited experience playing Action Quake 2 and visiting the forums, as a gamer to compare with the gamers involved in the Urban Terror Community. Like many who play Urban Terror, I didn’t spend hours a days (even when I was playing games a lot) on the forums. I had no reason to, I wanted to play not bullshit with gamers in the community.

Urban Terror might be considered unique because of the longevity of the mod (which is free to play using the iourbanterror.exe) since its first release in 2000. Eight years and the game now seems to be pulling better numbers then we did 5 years ago! That is truly a testament to YOU in the community.

What many don’t understand is our rational for dropping “old school” levels or updating old levels in a way that they no longer give gamers that “old school” feeling. For example, Streets of Terror (ut_streets) was included in the v1.0 release of Urban Terror. It was a highly popular level because of its fast game play and simplistic layout. It was decided to update this level and include it in a later release. While the original .map file did exist, opening in QERadiant was a level designer’s nightmare.

I spent the better part of a month working on updating the level, fixing the brushwork trying to optimize the level for improved FPS. I did not intend to completely rebuild the level, but after discussion with INVIS and a few others more knowledgeable in level design, the more rational fix was to rebuild it. This is just what INVIS did.

Unfortunately, like many of Joe’s levels, Streets 2 was not well received. The original concept behind Streets was preserved, a simple block of a city, but Joe being Joe, truly went above and beyond, as he does with his levels and created a stunning looking level. Many believed the game play suffered because there level was much larger now, due to some underground passages and other alternate routing that was added.

When future development rolled around the team decided to drop support for many of the original levels: Streets, Docks, Trainyard, Mbase, Pressure Zone, Ricochet, Revolution, Hotel and Swim, just to name a few.

The “why” is never really understood though. Citing “developmental reasons” does not satisfy or sit well with some in the community. The Streets example should tell the story as to why there have not been more of the old school levels revived. In most cases (WetWired’s work aside possibly) each of these levels required a complete rebuild for one reason or another. Even now Swim does not support more then 6v6 or any true game modes by TS and TDM. Why, because there needs to be some major work done to the level in order to present it as we want it. That level did come back, maybe not as good as it could have been, but gamers seem satisfied by it.

Some gamers on the Urban Terror Forums continue to push the issue. Do they have a valid argument? Looking in, as many gamers do, sure they probably do. But once we have said our peace or a community member has stated valid response (not STFU!), then I think the issue should fall by the wayside.

To sum it up, here is how it works. If you want an old school level revived you have a few options:

1. Get authorization from the level designer who originally created the level. If you cannot get them to respond, then you cannot update their level.
2. Get authorization from the development team. We have provided some community level designers with the .map and have tested their changes before reintroducing the level back into Urban Terror.
3. Use the exact layout of a particular level you favor and create your OWN level based on a previous level (2Fort is a prime example in TF2).
4. If none of these answers are satisfactory, then consider the issue dead and the level to remain in the Urban Terror archive.

If none of the above reasons are to your satisfaction then sorry we cannot help you. We ask all gamers to respect our work and not update/modify/port our levels without consent. Of course some asshats disregard anything we say and do what they want. Hopefully you are not one of them.