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!

New Levels from SID

Ooooh, where should we start? How about with a “confirmed” rumor that the new point release for Quake 3, 1.32 will be out next week, as reported by RogeR over on Planetquake3. Of course I have been mum on the entire cloud surrounding the point release, since I did sign an NDA with id Software and was not going to compromise anything that I knew. So, the community has been digging that news, as is SID.

As promised, we are going to show off some of the work that the level designers of Silicon Ice has been up to. Some might know the name, WU. He is a level designer, who has been around the dev team from the beginning. Actually a long time member, but his only level he really did, that still remains is called Beachhouse. Maybe some of you heard or have seen screen shots of it. It was never released, due to missing textures. WU has been hard at work on a new level we featured in our ‘Latest Action Shot’ a few days ago. The level is called ut_turnpike and is a industrial/urban type area that features an overpass. Currently it only supports TS and TDM, as he told us, but he is going to look at adding CTF spawns and flags.

We will keep tabs on the progress of this level. No decisions as to when we will see this level released for Urban Terror. Also, if you check out the action shot today, Bar-B-Q [coned] has been busy, as usually. When he is not out with the [PIT] crew coning gamers, he is actually mapping. His new level is called ut_mines and features and semi-abandoned series of mines. Interesting level, some nice work, perhaps his best to date. Yeah, I know its tough to beat Rommel…we will be feature more shots of this level soon.

Ever wanna see BIG…I am talking BIG trees? Soon you will, thanks to ydnar and RabidCow. No further information on that…yet. But the screen shots I have seen are highly impressive. RabidCow, again on the cutting edge of level design and development. Props man, Twin Lakes is going to be amazing! We will present some screenies on that level soon as well.

Now, I don’t even know why I am going here, but I have been at it again, dabbling in GtkRadiant. I am going to blame Kostas this time around. I saw his level and got the bug to go back in and see if I was “skilled.” Hahaha…let’s put it this way, I have a full layout. If this work gets past the initial stages, it will make it’s way into a CTF level. Way too early for any sort of screen shots. Of course, we have seen me do this in the past. So, right now, don’t hold your breath.

Coming tomorrow, meet rustyTNT from |d’angels|, down in Australia. We will tell you about how her interview came about for the continuing Fem Fatale Series, right here on The 6th Floor.

House Cleaning!

Thanks to the popularity of Urban Terror, the time I have to work on The 6th Floor falls into the “weekly” category. Not to fret, I come bearing gifts this week. To start off the week, check out the newest 6th Floor Poll which begs the question, “Strafe Jumping or Sprinting?” You make the call, then make the vote!

Also I got around to finishing a new Oswald Rant. This time we get to “think different.” No, not as in queer, but as in Macintosh and the valuable support they lend the mod community. That is when a development team decides to create their mod so it is able to run on a Mac. So check out, Think Different: Urban Terror.

As I mentioned last week, unless you were under a rock, Silicon Ice released their Beta 2.3 version of Urban Terror. This was mainly a map pack, but did include a few changes. The community seems to enjoy the new levels. They also continue to find more errors and inconsistencies in some of the levels. One of the most notable would be ut_rommel by Bar-B-Q. Interesting that Rommel has probably been the most discussed level in the Urban Terror Forums. There are some performance issues that have arisen since its release. Bar-B-Q is quite aware of that, along with the numerous errors. He is currently working on a revision for an update. Many seem to enjoy Rommel.

I was able to test the latest build of Rommel last like at the Netzwerk Terror LAN, here in SoCal. With teams at 8 v 8, the map was terribly crowded. We were set up to play CTF, which was probably a mistake with 16 gamers, due to the narrowness of some of the areas. In order to break up the this corner, there was a new opening added this area. There are a few routes to take to get to this area, which is somewhat of an intermediate area. A considerable amount of killing and carnage takes place in here.

If your team is successful in getting to this point, you proceed to the ladders and the death defying sprint across this tightrope which leads to the other side of the river.

In nearly 2 hours of game play the blue flag, at the base of the bombed out church was grabbed once, while the blue team made it across the bridge once. No caps! It became TDM with set spawn points. This is not the final version, as Bar-B-Q is looking to work on the layout to provide the community a more solid Rommel.

For those who want more information on creating and naming your own textures, check out this bit of information from some guy I know.

– Q3A doesn’t accept all JPEGs and TARGAs, only a subset.
– Textures can be any size, but will appear blurry unless their dimensiona are a power of 2.
– You do not have to write a shader for your textures unless you are making use of special effects.

I wrote something about this in this forum some time ago, but I’m too lazy to look for it, so I’ll just repeat it:

Here are some general guidelines for making/using your own textures with Q3A (or Q3A:TA, etc.):

 

  • Always make your texture dimensions a power of 2.
    If you don’t, the Q3A engine scales them to a power of 2 when it loads them, and that can blur detailed textures.

 

  • Always save the “master” copy of your texture in a “lossless” format.
    Each image manipulation program usually has its own proprietary format that preserves layers, etc., and that’s usually the best to use.
    In particular, do not save your master texture as a JPEG (.jpg), or each time you load and save it, you will lose more and more detail.
    (This is because JPEGs are a “lousy” format.)
  • If you don’t need to use alpha channels (texture transparency), save the game texture (not your master texture!) as a JPEG.
    Use the highest compression you can that will allow the texture to still look good.
    Don’t sacrifice quality for the sake of compression, but compress it as much as you can while maintaining the quality you want.
    Remember that JPEGs are expanded when they are read in, so compressing a JPEG does not save any texture memory; it only makes your texture file (and the .pk3 file) smaller.
    Do not use “progressive encoding” when saving as a JPEG, or some versions of the editor will crash when trying to load them.
  • If you need to use texture transparency, save the game texture (not your master texture!) in a TARGA (.tga) file with alpha channels.
    Note that if you want to make the entire texture have the same transparency, you should save as a JPEG and use a shader to implement transparency.
    Save as a TARGA only if you need parts of the texture to be more transparent than others (e.g., a grate, chain-link fence, etc.).
  • IMPORTANT! Never never never place textures in the “standard” texture directories.
    The best place to put them is in a directory that has the same name as your map.
    For example, if your map is named “bloodbath.bsp“, place the textures in a directory named “textures/blood_bath“.
    So, if your texture is named “wall3.jpg“, place it in “textures/blood_bath/wall3.jpg“.
    (Note: Do not use spaces in your texture or directory names.
    In fact, to be on the safe side, use only lower-case unaccented letters (a-z), digits (0-9), and the underscore (_) in your names.
    Also, do not use directory names over 8 characters long unless the parts are separated by an underscore (e.g., use “textures/blood_bath/wall3.jpg” instead of “textures/bloodbath/wall3.jpg“).
    (It seems to be OK for the texture names themselves to be over 8 characters long without underscores (e.g., “textures/blood_bath/myverylongnamedbloodywalltexturenumber3.jpg“).
    Also, note that the 8-character-long problem doesn’t happen to everybody.)Make sure you preserve the directory structure when making your .pk3 file (i.e., if you list the contents of your .pk3 file, the texture should show up as “textures/blood_bath/wall3.jpg“).

Quote of the day comes from SwedeXX on the Urban Terror Forums: “I may be ‘dead as fried chicken, baby’ tonight, but you’re ugly. Tomorrow morning, I’ll wake up in perfect health, but you’ll still be ugly.” Enough said. Thanks Swede!!!