It’s Out! Finally!

I think things are slowly returning to normal. This past weekend has been outstanding. As many know Silicon Ice Development released Urban Terror Beta 2.6 yesterday. It was a very long and tiring day for those on the development team who took part in the release party festivities. Mad props go out to all of SID, especially Density who was a real trooper the last few days when it came to the code base.

If you missed Friday and Saturday, we held back to back, Urban Radio programs. Saturday’s program, the Urban Radio Pre-Release Party was out of control. You can download and listen to the shows from the Radio tab. Thanks to the guys at TsN Central we had enough bandwidth to accommodate nearly 600 listeners! Now that is support! It was an excellent time for all, as we discussed the upcoming release, new features, weapons and support features for the mod. Things such as the kick ass Urban Terror Manual. Course I am pimping it, cuz I spent a few months working on it. My contribution to Beta 2.6…hahah.

As for the mod itself, the Beta 2.6 release was very successful! The servers are increasing in numbers, gamers are at an all time high and everything…well most everything is going well. There are bugs and we are aware of many of the common issues that the community is bringing out attention. Of course they are catching things we had fixed, yet something seems to causing problems. So, SID is working on it.

As for the level designers, thanks to Dragonne has updated the def file for Urban Terror. This def file has new keys for the doors: gamemode_open and gamemode_shut. You put the game types that you want the doors locked open or locked closed in those keys I mentioned. If you are not sure what we are talking about, then load up ut_rommel in Team Survivor and CTF and you will notice the tunnel system is locked out and you cannot access it in TS. But in CTF they are open. Nice, huh?

Many mixed responses on the new levels SID released with Beta 2.6. One person will bad mouth ut_uptown and then the next person will praise the changes. It is like that for many of the updated SID levels. The same can be said of ut_riyadh, seeing as those two levels have stirred some controversy in the mod. Guess some gamers do not like change.

As for new levels, the community has responded very to the new levels. Mines by Bar-B-Q is a very popular level, many enjoy the ambiance of the level. Yet a few have had a hunkmeg issue with it. Others seem to like WU’s offer called Turnpike, as it offers fast game play and some excellent texturing.

I think by far, the most popular level was RabidCow’s Twin Lakes, version two, that SID decided to include in the distribution. RabidCow has spent months working, tweaking and improving the original level. All his hard work definitely paid off as Twin Lakes is just visually amazing. You should check out the sky box. WOW! The big trees are well, just freaking huge! The texturing is the highest quality, along with many great features. Check it out!

“She pwned me!”

“Girls! Girls! Girls! Long legs and burgundy lips!” Yet these girls are not dancing down the Sunset Strip. They are avid gamers, who have taken an interest in computer gaming. Our series rolls on today, as we check in with “the land down under.” Today’s interview comes from rustyTNT, who I had not actually planned in my Fem Fatale Series. But I received an e-mail from her, after she read Bladekiller’s interview. “I am part of an all female clan…we call ourselves Dark Angels tag, |d’angels|…it’s great to hear of other female gamers, particularly one who is involved in the development of the game itself,” says rustyTNT. I decided to offer her the questions and get her spin on gaming. You can read about rustyTNT in today’s rant.

We also bring back a favorite, at least from what many have said about the screen shots. That being from one time level designer, dotEXE. He was the author behind the level, ut_riyadh, that has made an impact on the community. Known as a “sniper’s paradise” this level is best experienced in a match playing CTF. His newest creation, is actually a remake of an earlier 1.27 level called ut_101. Except, he has changed the look, layout and the name of the level. Here is where Iceland 101 comes into play, spell ‘Rej-a-vik?’ Hahaha…the new level is now called ut_reykjavik, I can see admins going, uh, I can’t spell it, guess it won’t go into the rotation. Just kidding…

Seeing as I cannot find them online, I am going to make the Defcon.5 tree map model available. This map model is nothing new and I am sure you have seen it in levels such as Revolution, Abbey and Casa. This map model includes two sets of four models, a small model (89 polys) and a large model (105 polys). So stop using those nasty looking brushes in GtKRadiant to represent trees. You can get the file, from the Files Section.

Urban Terror Review: Riyadh by dotEXE

ut_riyadh by Áskell “dotEXE” Löve
| Áskell “dotEXE” Löve | Score: 4.7 | By Oswald |

dotEXE is the newest addition to an already talented group of Silicon Ice’s mapping team. All too easy is it to become overwhelmed in the atmosphere of his latest map Riyadh. You can almost feel the hot dusk breeze of the desert blowing through your hair as you watch the sun set in the red sky and darkness begin to overcome the map. But don’t be distracted by the thought of warm sand between your toes too long or you may find your innards have become your “outtards.”

Texturing [4.5]
While Riyadh is not full of colorful, eye popping texturing, the featured textures complement the map and its setting very well. There is a very simplistic look and feel to all the textures used on the buildings and walls. Many of the textures recreate a sandstone look, which dominates both bases. A middle eastern decor borders the many of the structures located in Riyadh. Many of the colors are a very neural, off white color or light tan. Each base is identified by the red and blue striped awnings. The crumbling buildings and lookout posts located outside of the bases have that wind blown and worn look to them.

Ambiance: [5.0]
The most unique feature is the bright, setting sun slowly drifting below the horizon, as day turns to night. The fiery ball gives off a brilliant red glow, which is reflected on the faces of the structures facing the West. To complement the warm glow of the sun, the sound of howling wind blows over the desert hills and through the narrow valleys. Each base has the sound of beating Middle Eastern drums as you enter the plaza.

Creative Spark: [4.5]
The Arabian desert functions as a majestic backdrop and metaphysical land for the second terrain level designed for Urban Terror, this level conjures thoughts of Sands initially, but one run though the level and you will see noticeable difference. The levels are quite similar, but Riyadh does offer a different style of play, due to the accessible hills and clear lines of sight. The level is anchored by two large bases, constructed in opposing corners, like Lawrence of Arabia preparing to do battle against the Turks.

Construction: [4.5]
As previously mentioned, Riyadh makes use of the Quake III terrain generator, which really lays the foundation for a very balanced layout. Located in opposing corners are towering, fortified bases. Separating the bases are a numerous hills and winding valleys, all of which provide many options when moving through the level. The middle mountain range basically separates the map into two distinct sides, making Riyadh a very successful CTF level. Intermediate structures located at vital points on the maps, make this level challenging to negotiate where you are not out in the open. Technically, the map is void of flaws, yet the r_speeds do skyrocket up to 17,000+ when you are viewing the entire level from each base. On average r_speeds run 11,000 through most of the level.

Playability: [5.0]
This level is all about layout. The Quake III generated terrain and accompanying texturing is well implemented. Three valleys are separated by small hills, which are climbable in most areas, making the game play unpredictable, as gamers will take the quickest route between two points. A straight line! For those who decide to move more stealthy, there are intermediate points, such as the towers and crumbling buildings located through the level at two of the main intersections of the level. Even when controlling these two choke points, you do not control the level. The level is still dominated by the sniper, from nearly every point in this arid, desert environment. Although gamers who favor the assault rifles and machine guns do play an important role in controlling some of the tighter points, like the intersections, where the buildings are. Also, having a healthy weapon like an M4 or UMP45 is really more advisable when rushing the base.

6th Sense: [5.0]
What makes this map stand out from the rest? I think this is the sort of map gamers have been calling for. The level is similar to Sands, but much smaller in size, which helps to influence more fluid game play. That is a good thing. CTF just rocks on Riyadh and a real thrill to play. Be wary of the snipers, who seem to dominate the map, not only on CTF but the other game modes. The terrain works well to provide ample cover when moving between bases. But don’t get caught with your drawers down in the open, as you will end up, “as dead as friend chicken, baby!”

Final Score: [4.7]
[Oswald] While dotEXE became with his first level, 101, Riyadh got his recognized by Silicon Ice Development and a position on the development team. His talent and professionalism is unmatched. Riyadh, is just another example of how a level designer can design a high quality level, using not one the complex terrain generator, but simple texturing. Riyadh is already a community favorite amongst the CTF servers. If you have any doubt about it, hop on a CTF and make a dash for the flag. We look forward to seeing Riyadh played more, along with his next project!

Givin’ it to ya hard

Let’s start Monday off with something I like doing, that being ranting. This week’s rant is directed at development teams, mainly those working on mods, who do not feel it is necessary to interact with communicate with their community. We have all seen it at one time or another, where a development team thinks they are “high and mighty” and virtually above the mod they created. Damn, I am already starting my rant, so with that introduction, check out Interaction Not Reaction.

I have also completed another level review for Urban Terror. This time we turn our attention to that small island in the North Atlantic. Yes, that’s right, Iceland, home to Áskell “dotEXE” Löve, the creative talent behind the highly successful terrain map featured in Beta 2.3, ut_riyadh. “All too easy is it to become overwhelmed in the atmosphere of his latest map Riyadh. You can almost feel the hot dusk breeze of the desert blowing through your hair as you watch the sun set in the red sky and darkness begin to overcome the map.” Check out the review of ut_riyadh. Rumor has it he is reworking his Beta 1.27 level, 101. Look for those coming soon.