News(Old news is elsewhere.)
- Hola! ahnuld and I just got interviewed by PQ for a sort of retro-edition of their server admin spotlight. So I guess that means we may have a new visitor or two come by here. The web site is a bit musty (no news for months! broken links galore!), so here's a summary of our current situation for ya: I believe that the Bavarian has pulled the plug on our Quake servers, but he's fooling with two Q3Atest servers on ports 27690 and 27691. When Q3A is "really" released and we get a Plan together on our Q3A server setups, he or I will make a more detailed post about it. For now just have fun messing around on the test servers.
- Whoops... the link for Hyperalgesie (gendm2) below was b0rked, but it's all better now.
- Yeee-hah! I casually checked the Great Green Heron custom-maps QuakeWorld server this evening, expecting it to be a ghost town as it always has been for me, but there were actually players there! (The fact that GGH is still using QW 2.21 -- out of deference to Mac users I guess -- probably doesn't help its attendance any these days. :-( Hopefully that will change soon when id signs off on Mac QW 2.30.) One of the players I recognized from posts on a Web board, and two of the others were map makers (danimal and Retinal) that played for part of the rotation, so that was a neat little extra factor.
Anyway, that was a load of fun. The fact that I won every map through a whole rotation probably helped the entertainment value a bit. >:D (Brag mode, deactivate.) If I can find a good crowd like that more often I may actually start doing the 200-ping QuakeWorld thang from home. It was choppy at times when the maps got extra full, but nothing to really gripe about. At least, nobody did gripe, even though half had worse pings than me. A complete absence of whining is a rare and wonderful thing to experience through a whole map rotation. Players at the Great Green Heron, I salute y'all. I'll come back soon so you can kick my butt when the Bitch Goddess of Luck has turned her back on me once again.
GGH is running with some of the maps I've mentioned before, plus a few new ones: One Man Army (strafin3) by Peej, Biohazard (efmd7) by Mr. Fribbles, Hyperalgesie (gendm2) by GeN, and Cruel Comfort (cruel) by Kevin Shanahan. Cruel Comfort seems quite a bit bigger than most other good custom maps; it might be interesting to see it really filled up, or played with teams. I haven't really learned that one yet though, so I'm not sure.
I'll see if there's anything view-worthy in my demo (and see if I can split it apart into level-by-level chunks). If nothing else, maybe those of you who cursed my sub-50 ping in the old days would be amused to see me staggering around with 200+ and packet loss.
- Big thanks to Drama-DY for pointing out Go!Zilla, which is the same kinda thing as GetRight, except without the errors and lockups and bluescreens. And it's free. Been using it for a while now, and it's a rock (in all the good senses of rockness). I have to say, it came with about the most annoying sound set I've ever experienced, but fortunately the sounds are easy to disable or change. I'm back to being a happy downloader.
- Good news, bad news. Bad news first. GetRight, mentioned below, has been kicked off my computer. Since installing it I had experienced all sorts of problems when "power surfing" (opening lots of windows, clicking on links and scrolling around in half-loaded pages, etc.). Problems ranging from cryptically titled error dialogs with non-functional buttons -- which could only be gotten rid of by quitting out of Netscape and then using the Task Manager to kill a process -- all the way to the Blue Screen of Death. Since uninstalling GetRight: no problems whatsoever. A shame, really, because that was a useful little program.
The good news is two cool demos released lately, with camerawork and a soundtrack added. The first is for Quake CTF; it's the edited last half of an excellent tiebreaker CTFL game between EGO and CCCP (12.1 MB), following around two of the EGO players who engineered a huge comeback. Highly recommended for CTF-lovers. Although I'm pretty tired of that Third Eye Blind tune. :-) The classical music during slo-mo "rocket ballet" was nicely done though.
The other one is a Quake 2 1-on-1 match (10.6 MB), played on the Aerowalk map (converted for Quake 2), with outstanding camera work and a techno soundtrack. (This game also features a comeback near the end.) Quake 2 in general, and this map in particular, really lend themselves well to this sort of thing. Looks and sounds extraordinarily slick, although it seems to end a little prematurely with less than a minute left when I watch it. Dunno if it's supposed to do that or not, but anyway watch this if you've got Quake 2 and can spare a little download time. BTW, the download package includes the map.
- Time for an update that's sort of tangentially Quake-related. If you do a lot of Web downloading, and you're using Win95/98 or WinNT, you need to take a look at GetRight, a shareware accessory for your surfing. This thing rocks. Its control panel suffers from a bit of OverButtonization, and you should read the help to find out all the stuff it can do, but once you get it figured out it's very handy. Here are some highlights:
- If you click on a download link, the download is taken over by GetRight. If your Web browser crashes later, no problem; the download continues.
- GetRight can also monitor things copied to the clipboard to see if they look like downloadable URLs. So if a Web page or an email or something has a URL you want to download, but they didn't make a link out of it, just select it with your mouse and copy it to the clipboard. GetRight will ask if you want to download it.
- I knew that most FTP servers these days supported resumable downloads, but I didn't know that most modern HTTP servers do too. Cool. And GetRight takes advantage of this. If you lose your connection while downloading, you can re-connect and pick up where you left off. Or you can intentionally "pause" downloads if you want to use the bandwidth for something else.
- You can limit the number of simultaneous downloads, and the rest will queue up and wait their turn. This is great if you're surfing around selecting lots of things to download (like Quake demos). You can also limit how much bandwidth can be used by downloads, so you can download "in the background" while still keeping your surfing fairly zippy.
There's other "advanced" stuff too that I haven't messed with yet. Nice program.
Speaking of handy programs, all demo watchers should have DemoPlay. When you have this installed, you can have Quake, QuakeWorld, Quake 2, Sin, Hexen, and HexenWorld demo files lying around anywhere on your disk, and you can just double-click on them and watch them (assuming you have the game in question also installed). DemoPlay also auto-detects the version of QuakeWorld to use (2.1, 2.2, or 2.3) which is a real hassle-remover, and binds some keys for you to use during the demo.
Speaking of demo controls, here's an unhappy progression. In Quake you can bring up a scoreboard and speed up or slow down the demo. In QuakeWorld you have no speed control. In Quake 2 there's no speed control, and you can't bring up a scoreboard either. And you can't use the console during a demo. Humm. Hope Quake Arena doesn't find some other piece of useful functionality to remove. I do really miss the ability to fast-forward a QuakeWorld demo when there's 10 pre-match minutes of people hopping around playing with their shotguns (so to speak).
Thus endeth the software commercial. I'll probably have another update within the next few days listing a lot of sites where I've been snagging demos. Oh yeah, and I own ahnuld on fribdev1. :-)
- More new Quake maps linked here for ease of consumption. JackieBrown (jvoxdm2) by JVOX, Here comes da pain (odd2) by Odd, Knight Takes Queen (rapture2) by Danimal, and Gunmetal (efdm6) by Mr. Fribbles.
Note to ahnuld: compare these against your "MO", my fine feathered friend. :-P
- Here's that promised update about maps, for the two of you out there who were awaiting it with bated breath. :-) Oil up yer modems, kiddies, Unca Lemurboy has a big mess o' links comin' yer way!
I've recently gotten back into Quake a little more, especially playing some DM vs. Omicron bots in my spare time every now and again. In the process I've discovered how many amazingly good Quake deathmatch maps are still being churned out. If you swing by Ramshackle periodically (if you don't, you should) a lot of these names will look familiar, but there's also a few nifty maps I've picked up not mentioned at The Ram'.
Leading the pack (in no particular order) are Vomitorium (ztndm6) by ztn, Contaminate (contamin) and Spine v2 (spinev2) by headshot, Vortex (efdm5) by Mr. Fribbles, Aerowalk (aerowalk) by Preacher, and Naked Cows On Stage (naked3) and My Parents Don't Like You (naked4) by Gandhi.
Also a barrel of laughs are The Temple of the Sun (jndm6) by paradies, The Eye of the Tiger (harmdm1) by Harmageddon, Cunning Plan (strafin1) by Peej, Hammer Down (gomdm2) by Gom Jabbar, and Powder Keg (fribdev1) by Mr. Fribbles.
In the category of "durn simple but strangely appealing" I put HS Hell (stedm1) by Steve Dixon (what, no cool nickname?). "Cramped but strangely appealing" goes out to Gotcha! (gotcha) by Frag'Onizer. Both of these maps also have a great look, although you'll probably need a 3D graphics card (or really high resolution, maybe) to appreciate Gotcha!, otherwise it'll look like a mess.
Lots of these authors have their own Web sites these days, where they can ramble about their past and future projects; you might want to check out the abodes of ztn, headshot, Mr. Fribbles, Peej, Gandhi, and Preacher. BTW Gandhi's site has some truly spectactular QuakeWorld demos of random acts of senseless violence on naked3, which would get me on to the topic of demos (another recently resurrected interest), but I'll save that for another update. :-)
I just finished downloading Freestyle Gibbage (strafin2) from Peej, so I need to go check it out...
- Some server news. Your primary contact about our servers should now be ahnuld, with JoeBoo as an alternate contact. JoeBoo is also experimenting with some Quake 2 stuff on kitty1 and he is the man to talk to about anything related to that. Mail sent to me (lemurboy) about our servers will be lucky if it is not immediately deleted.
We have now upgraded to the latest version of QHost (not freeware anymore, alas) to manage our servers. We did this so that we could switch to using WinQuake instead of WinDed; although WinDed always served us well, recently too many people have been exploiting WinDed security holes to crash the servers. I want to express my appreciation to these gomers for costing us $30 for the new QHost, and for ruining many games of Quake. You guys rock. Really.
I may be back for another post soon talking about some cool Quake deathmatch maps...
- So, has this become one of those Quake pages that Never Gets Updated Anymore? It's hard to argue with the evidence. We are still running a FFA server and a competition server on the venerable kitty1, but many of us have graduated (or are trying to) and/or have just moved on to other games a little. ahnuld and JoeBoo are probably the most active C9ers currently both in playing and in keeping the servers alive and administered, although some of the others have received nifty fast PCs in their offices and for all I know may still be playing off and on.
Part of this migration is just because we've clocked a whole lot of hours in Quake. Part of it is because of the gradual death of our special QuakeLab in the basement of our building. I've moved to gameplaying at home rather than at school/work, which makes lag-tolerant games a whole lot more attractive. I do some QuakeWorld and Quake II every now and then from home, and Quake very rarely from work, but most of my gaming time is taken up with Myth, which besides being an excellent game and a relatively newer one, is also a game where 300 ping is not a big deal at all.
I've had a lot of fun with Quake and it has a semi-permanent place on my hard drive at home. (Speaking of which, the last time I fired it up was to view Scourge done Slick from the Quake done Quick team, which I absolutely unconditionally recommend to anyone who owns and has played the Scourge of Armagon mission pack.) Thanks to everyone, C9 or otherwise, who helped make it a fun obsession for a while. Big raspberries to all of the punks who made it a trial to provide our public Quake servers.
Future plans? I can't speak for all of C9, but I guess our Quake servers will stay in operation as long as we have the kitty1 hardware. The Quake II server may come back if I find a way to run it that I personally like. I tried long and hard to "give Quake II a chance" in multiplayer -- we're talking months here -- but it still seems to lack a "certain something". Maybe it's that 10 Hz server rate that people have been chatting about recently. Maybe I need to give the Pro-Rocket mod a spin, or try Loki's Minions CTF. Who knows.
Servers for other games? Well, while Unreal is a nifty single-player game (although one that didn't mess with the standard shooter gameplay nearly enough IMO), I don't see us putting up an Unreal server any time soon. Maybe after the net play is really and truly fixed. But I kinda doubt it. Most of C9 doesn't play Unreal, single-player or otherwise, so it doesn't make much sense for us to put effort into providing a server for it. Same for other upcoming shooters. The most likely candidate is Half-Life, because I'm jazzed about TF2, but that's still an outside shot at best.
If things change, well, things change. This is just serving notice that we're not going to provide servers for new games just for the hell of it, or from some misguided notion of "keeping up to date". We'll do it if we wanna. So there.
Further news will be posted if and when there is any. :-)
- Here's a little "press release" thingy that I should repeat here, in case you haven't seen it elsewhere:
Quake II playing volunteers needed! As part of a project in game interface design, we are asking Quake II players to fill out a short Web form. Besides answering some of the eternal burning questions for us, you can also sign up for a few games of playtesting (to be done at kitty1.stanford.edu later this month). The testing will involve playing a few games of Quake II Capture the Flag. Any Quake II player is welcome; you don't have to be experienced at CTF, just willing to play as part of a team.
Yes, we know that a few Quake II games is a horrible thing to inflict on anyone, but we're sure that there are some brave souls out there who can handle it. To help out, we're offering a prize to one randomly-selected playtester. Go check out the Web page to learn more!
- Our server hardware has undergone some CPU-reduction surgery; it is now a two-processor box instead of four. So we've turned off the Quake Rally and Malice servers, and we may need to ditch another server or two in the near future; we'll see. Probably not, though.
- The news just keeps coming! The Deathmatch Classics map pak for Quake II is now ready. For those of you who haven't been following along (tsk, tsk): this is a set of conversions of Quake maps (and even a DooM map!) for use in Quake II. The bad news is, it's a little over 3 MB, but I encourage you to take the time to download it. This is good stuff. I'm still waffling on whether or not to use this in some way on our Quake II server, because past experience with a server running a custom map pak has made me a little wary. Hopefully this time, with the mighty Planet Quake pushing this pak (you will, won't you guys?), things will be different. If you have any thoughts or suggestions about our Quake II server using this map pak in some way, please send them to me.
- To counteract a little of the bile in that previous post, lemme point out a few good things in the World of the Lemur. Today's topic: mice. Anyone who was (like me) bemoaning the discontinuation of the old Logitech 3-button MouseMan should definitely give the Logitech First Mouse+ a look. I was kinda happy with the Logitech Cordless for a while, but it was a little heavy, the ball is a little too far forward, and the grip is a little awkward. (Plus the apparent best "gamer's grip" made the thumb button hard to use.) Yeah, it had the bonus of being cordless, but...
The First Mouse+ is excellent though. Good weight, shaped right for the thumb-and-pinky grip, and the ball is right between your grip fingers. And it has one of those wheel doohickeys for the middle button, which might come in handy (although I haven't found the "killer app" for it yet as far as Quake goes). The only possible downside is that the middle button is a little harder to push; I'll have to try some CTF and see how my grappling goes. :-) Anyway, don't be put off by the dorky name, the First Mouse+ is the true heir to the 3-button MouseMan IMO.
And speaking of mice, the mouse movement fixes in version 3.14 of Quake II, whatever they were, have tweaked things just enough so that the Quake II mouse control in multiplayer no longer makes me ill. It now feels similar to the (excellent) Quake mouse control, at least with m_filter set to 1. Woo hoo!
- I'd like to bring up a pet peeve of mine: when I frag someone in deathmatch and their response is "lame" or "gay". I killed you. That's the point of the game. Deal with it. (The whole "gay" thing could also lead me into wondering about another topic that so many Quakers seem to be preoccupied with... but I'll refrain. Besides, they're probably just going through an "experimental" stage.) Yes, we all realize that the only way your Godly butt could have been popped off would be for some lesser, weaker player to use some tactic that is beneath you. (Like, oh, shooting you, for example.) No need to keep reminding us; your leetness is apparent to all.
On the other hand, maybe it's just that these players have some weird modern-age Tourette's syndrome. Guess I shouldn't leap to conclusions.
Hey... speaking of peeves, maybe I should give ahnuld some space on the news page to remark about his favorite player names. (Look! It's "Late, NewMouse" leading the map 37 to 3 to 2 to -6! Boy, imagine how good he would be if he wasn't so sadly handicapped!) Maybe I better check to make sure I have enough free disk space here first...
- Rockin' the vote bay-bee! The Deathmatch Classics vote results are in, and almost all the maps we were pulling for were the top vote-getters. The only differences were the DM3 conversion (dm3_q2, which beat out q2dm3 and our recommendation q2dm3p 25.8% to 23.3% to 18.7%) and the DM7 conversion (q2dm7, which beat our recommendation dm7q2 50.2% to 49.7%). We can live with those maps; they're good ones, in the categories that were the closest ones to call. Nice to see that folks share our tastes. :-) When this map pak comes out I'll think about featuring it in the rotation somehow, like giving it one slot where one of the maps in the pak is picked at random. Or something. I really hope that PQ promotes the daylights out of this pak.
- ...and here it is.
- By the way... we have a new member, JoeBoo, the real-life brother of SesameChkn. Actually he's been an honorary C9er for quite some time now, but I hadn't gotten the gumption together to make a "personnel" page for him. Partly because he is a bit more Quake-active than the rest of us and has found another clan that he can play team games and do other clannish stuff with. But he's still welcome to sport the C9 tag whenever he wants, so I thought I'd better acknowledge him here so people don't think he's an imposter. :-) I'll get that page up soon...
- OK, the rotation of the Quake server has changed (including the new map), check it out on the Mothership page. The Quake II server has also been upgraded to 3.14, and I've hacked in the ability to specify a map rotation. Currently I'm just running the Q2DM maps backwards (because I can).
- Our Quake FFA server on port 26000 will soon be expanding its map rotation to include ZTNDM2 Show No Mercy, so we recommend you download this map now if you are a regular Mothership patron. Gotta try something new every now and then! At a measly 197 kB, this file takes less than a minute to download with a 56k modem (I should know). Get it and put the contents in your id1\maps folder.
- Little bit o' vindication: the winner of my VDM tourney pool eventually won the whole tournament. (Well, actually, the player that won our pool had to withdraw from the tourney, so the player he beat in the tiebreaker game took his place for the remaining rounds.) And... and... (horrors!) she's a gurl! Way to kick Y-chromosome butt, Sorcha.
- Played my Myth Valentine's Day Massacre tournament round. I was in a five-person pool, with one no-show. After our games, two of the players had 12 points, but I (and the other player) had 9, so I didn't advance. I did OK, considering the other players were very experienced, but I still have a couple of things nagging me. In the first game I could have done a thing or two to place higher rather than just concentrating on winning outright... in the second game, if I had made my last move about a minute earlier... ah, oh well. The guys that beat me are better players, so I don't feel too bad. If you're a Myth player, bop over to my little personal Myth page for the films.
- Well, well, well. We had the final match of the FOC9IDEOOOQTE yesterday afternoon, a rock-em sock-em doozy between lovable underdog lemurboy (me) and our local Quake Juggernaut xris. Pregame ceremonies featured much creative smack talk by yours truly, but when the gibs settled, the imaginary FOC9IDEOOOQTE trophy was bestowed in a nonexistent ceremony on the triumphant Yellow Bastard. I'm currently consoling myself with the fact that I covered the spread. :-) Hop over to the demos page to get the demos from both of our viewpoints.
Speaking of tournaments, I (in my alter-alter-ego as Johnny Law) am one of the players that have been selected (at random) to participate in the Valentine's Day Massacre Myth tournament. Wish me luck... I have the strange feeling that I'm not going to get nearly as far in that tourney as I did in FOC9IDEOOOQTE...
- The Deathmatch Classics voting is supposed to begin today, although it hasn't as of around noon. Here's how we're going to vote. If you agree with the criteria in the previous news update, you should have a look at these maps.
It was fun looking through these maps. While there were a great number of maps that would be good Quake II deathmatch maps, the picks according to our criteria were pretty obvious.
DM1: q1dm1.zip "The Place of Two Deaths" by Goldeneye Pretty much an exact replica of DM1. This map should rock in Quake II even more than in Quake. Too bad this guy didn't get his DM2 conversion finished in time. But... DM2: q2dm2_c.zip "Claustrophobopol-ish" by VerMoorD A good approximation of the layout and look of the original. And you gotta give him props for the name. Don't confuse this with q2dm2c.zip, which is an entirely different entry. DM3: q2dm3p.zip "The Reclaimed Base" by Jon Sprake There were several solid DM3 conversions, but this one had the best look. (Except for that annoying "QPD" logo on the wall.) Note that the map file itself is just named q2dm3.bsp; don't confuse it with the map file of the same name from q2dm3.zip. DM4: q1dm4.zip "The Bad Place" by DaTa.SwS This is The Bad Place. Outstandingly true to the original. DM5: q1dm5.zip "The Cistern" by Goldeneye Another very authentic map. "q1dm" must be the magic prefix. DM6: q1dm6.zip "The Dark Zone" by DaTa.SwS Are these two guys having their own private little contest? E1M7: q2e1m7.zip "E1M7 for Quake 2" by Kam3l3on Good map, and the others hurt my eyes. D2MAP07: deadsimp.zip "deadsimp" by Mark Pflug This map never looked better. :-) No button-pushing needed to lower plats or open walls, which I think is a valid improvement. Everything is set up and ready to go. DM7: dm7q2.zip "Acrophobia II" by Andy Duplain Solid conversion of the "lost DM map." HIPDM1: hipdm1_q2.zip "Hipdm1 for Quake 2" by Michael Roska Pretty true to the original; it will be good to see this map get more playtime if this pak works out. Note that the map file is just named hipdm1.bsp.
If the winning authors, whomever they might be, are allowed to tweak their maps a little before putting them in the pak, I would have these three pleas:
- If a door, plat, or whatever made noise in the original map, it should make noise in your conversion -- sounds are key in deathmatch! Examples: the door to the megahealth in DM1, the trapdoor in DM6.
- If your map features transparent water, please consider making it opaque instead. When these maps were originally designed, water was not transparent, and so it was intended to provide cover while going from one place to another. If you make it transparent, it's now just a deathtrap, since players in the water are moving slowly. It can really change the play of of a map -- for the worse. Examples: the water in DM3 and DM7 (in DM5 it's not as big a deal).
- Take a look at the "little ramp jumps"... they seem to work differently in Q2. Examples: the DM4 conversions don't let you jump out of the lava in the megahealth room.
I'm also going to mention the maps that might make a good "Facelifted Classics" pak. Note that these are not what we are going to vote for, since we want the classics to look like the classics. However, if you are wanting to vote for a new look instead -- or if you just want to take a look at some cool texture and detail changes for your old favorites -- I would recommend q2dm1.zip, dm2_asx.zip, space1.zip, q2dm4_1.zip, dm5q21.zip, dm6_q2y.zip, dm6v2.zip, e1m7_q2.zip, ds2_q2.zip, q2dm7.zip, and q2hipdm1.zip.
That is all. Get out there and vote!
- Deathmatch Classics is going to be having a vote soon (starting Friday) to select a pak of Quake II levels that are conversions of Quake levels. We're interested in perhaps using this pak on our Quake II server if it turns out well; a "classic" map selected at random and thrown into the rotation every now and then could be pretty cool.
These are my (lemurboy's) thoughts about what I am looking for -- not for a Quake II DM map in general, but specifically for a "Deathmatch Classic":
- I want a map with the same layout as the original. Maps "based on" an original, or combining two originals, or whatever, may be cool but they are not "classic".
- I also want a map that looks good and looks like the original. Ones that use the old Quake textures have a definite edge on the competition. Misaligned textures or colored-lighting overdose are out. I realize that some folks might prefer a new texture set, so when I list C9's picks later, I'll include some alternates that dress up the old maps in new textures. But our main picks will be those maps that look very familiar... assuming my clanmates agree with me on that. :-)
- Finally, I prefer the item layout to be as close as possible to the original. Maybe that's not the best possible layout for Q2, but dammit, when I'm playing DM3 the rocket launcher had better be in the One True Location for the rocket launcher.
We're looking over our final "candidates" and I'll post our favorites some time within the next few days, if we come to some sort of consensus. So if you're looking at the same criteria that we are, test out the maps we recommend and then go vote!
- Got a couple of updates on the Mothership and QSmack news pages.
- Not about Quake: I mentioned Myth a while back as a game that I thought was cool; I finally started doing a little bit of multiplayer Myth and had my first somewhat interesting victory a couple of nights ago. I analyzed the game in a little writeup with screenshots & diagrams; non-Myth players could have a look there to see what an MP Myth game is like, and other newbie Myth players might learn something from my mistakes (and my strokes of genius as well, of course).
- The First Official C9 Invitational Double-Elimination One-On-One Quake Tournament Extravaganza (FOC9IDEOOOQTE), perhaps the longest lasting tournament ever played with such a small number of participants, will hopefully be coming to a close soon. The complete active ranks of C9 (no "associate members"), plus a couple of other local Quakers, have been whittled down to lemurboy and xris, who will compete for the championship. (In a strong showing for the old guard, ahnuld placed third.)
I'm emerging from the losers' bracket, so I have to defeat the Yellow Bastard twice to claim the prize... wish me luck. Actually, of course there is no prize. Or, as we like to think of it, the winner of the losers' bracket gets the prize of being pummeled by xris.
Bring it, girly-man! Fear the Lemur!
- Well lookee there, part 2. Our fantabulous clan skin came in 12th out of 81 skins receiving votes -- probably just the difference between 2 votes and 1, :-P but still neat. (BTW, our skin's artist, Dan Bickell, got the most votes in his category.) Of course, you can't put much stock in a poll that doesn't list this as one of the best clan Web sites! Some other "interesting" nominations from the poll, as long as I'm poking around in it: "rocket arena" for best single player level, "Canopus Pure 3D" for best graphic artist, and "Dave Kelvin" for most famous clan. Hmm.
- Well lookee there. Our Quake server came in third in the "Best Server of 1997" category at QWF's year in review poll, and we didn't even rig the vote... in fact I'm pretty sure I'm the only C9er that voted in the poll. (I'm not implying that the ones ahead of us did rig the vote; the results in the Best Server category look plausible to me. In some of the other categories, though... :-) ) Anyway, in the immortal words of Sally Field: "You like us! You really like us!" Thanks folks.
In other news: our Quake II server will be going to version 3.10 tonight.
- Trying to get caught up on all sorts of stuff now. I'm reminded again (during this time of massive downloading) how cool NcFTP is (for Windows 95 and NT, and also available at your favorite repository of UNIX software). Among several nifty features is the ability to resume an interrupted download where it left off. Kudos to eeevil for tipping me off to this one a while back.
It looks questionable whether or not allow_download will make it into Quake II any time soon. In their buglist, responding to the submission by yours truly (probably among others), they say "More than likely in a future release?" Cause for hope I guess...
- Yep, the servers are back up. All hail xris, mighty rebooter! I'll be back in town tomorrow, hoping to get rid of Quake withdrawal symptoms: my mouse hand has stopped twitching, my ears have unfolded from their headphones-compressed shape, and my eyes are hardly bloodshot at all, so clearly I need to get back in the game before these changes become irreversible.
Before I took off, it seemed like people were starting to get a little more used to the maps and weapons of Quake II, which IMO were two of the things that needed to change to make Quake II DM more fun. But this is making it more obvious that (at least) 90% of the single-player Q2 levels are just not good for DM. Hope id gets that DM pack out soon. I also hope that map-downloading gets fixed for Q2 (like in QW), so that we can slip a third-party map or two into the rotation. Anyway, QuakeII@kitty1 will be riding the latest patch releases, so keep up-to-date if you want to play Q2 here. Once they release the source for 3.09 (our current version), I'll work the MOTD and level rotation code back into it, and maybe other stuff as well.
If you have opinions about which of the current single-player maps work best for DM, let me know. Speaking of email: I've been very lax on keeping up with it over the break, especially recreational stuff like Quake, but I'll try to catch up soon.
- Happy New Year!
- Our server hardware seems to be down. I have attempted to psychically resurrect it from across the miles with my unearthly mental powers, but, umm, no dice. Which means no Quake servers until one of my clanmates boots it up again, or until I return from my Fortress of Solitude.
- I'll be heading out-of-state for almost a couple of weeks tomorrow morning, so the (notoriously temperamental) Quake II server may go down for longer stretches of time. Not much I can do about that; most of the clan will be taking off for a short break at some point (and they have better things to do this time of year than babysit the servers). Anyway, hopefully id will ring in the New Year with the deathmatch map pack and/or CTF; when those updates are available, QuakeII@kitty1 will be moving to use one or both of them, so be prepared to do a little downloading.
- Actually had a chance to play Q2 for a while last night. The single-player game, so far, is the best shooter I've played. It's hard to compare to DooM because that was the first one I really got into (didn't do much Wolf 3D), the technologies are pretty different, and that was a while back. But I'll go so far as to say that it's not clear to me that DooM still has the "king of solo gameplay" crown anymore. Q2 is a fantastic game. Maybe you don't like pure shooters, or you don't like the theme they chose for Q2 (although I would recommend you give it a chance). But it seems to me that if you like "this sort of thing", you would have to be insane to not thoroughly enjoy Q2 single-player. BTW, seeing how much can be achieved with the Quake technology makes me really anxious to see what Epic will have in the bag for Unreal, a tech that will have been in production for about the same amount of time (maybe even longer, I'm not sure). I expect the various Quake-engine games will be cool, but a game from a completely different "ancestry" will be a Good Thing if done right.
In Q2 DM my experiences were a lot more limited, partly because of lack of time, and partly because I don't want to see a lot of the maps before I get to them in solo play. So I really don't have a firm opinion about it yet, especially compared to Quake, a game that I've been playing, and that has been evolving, for a long time. It was quite fun once I got the hang of the maps and weapons a little. One note: I don't know what people are smoking when they say you can't RJ in Q2 DM. I can get well over the height of three stacked crates on an RJ. Make sure you give yourself some room, because you'll have more forward momentum than you're used to in Quake. And try "center-handed" weapons so you don't get a side vector. (Probably a good idea in general for DM anyway.) BFG-jumping is also a kick (literally), although that takes more timing.
I will admit that the better your computer system, the more you will appreciate Q2. On a fast system with a big monitor and a 3DFX card -- e.g. my home system, ha ho! -- it is bee-yoo-tee-ful. And in DM the player skins are somewhat distinct even without the large blocks of bright solid colors a la Quake. On a lower-end system you won't get all the goodies, sad but true. Of course that was the case for Quake and DooM as well.
Seems like our Q2 server is down for the moment. I'm doing my best to get it set up so that it restarts itself after crashes, but clearly I have more work to do. I'll try to have it up again by this evening... in the meantime, of course, there is still our wide selection of Quake servers for you to choose from. :-)
- Allllllrighty, your favorite Early Morning (ugh) Lemur has got the first incarnation of a kitty1.stanford.edu Quake II server up and running, I think. After a long night of earning my paycheck by debugging surly custom hardware, I still had the urge to do the server install. I haven't played on it yet, but I think I have it somewhat reasonably configured for exploring the maps without undue frustration. Give it a whirl. I hope I will soon be able to as well. :-)
- Got Quake II, but The Man is keeping me down. I may be at work until the wee hours, so QuakeII@kitty1 might be delayed until tomorrow. We'll see.
- Played around with the Omicron Bots a little over the past couple of days. More "human-like" in many ways than Reapers, including better navigation and (intentionally) reduced accuracy, especially with instant-delivery weapons. It takes several skill 3 Obots to put up a fight against a good player, but they are significantly more entertaining than Reapers, and probably better for "training" less-skilled players as well.
A nice touch is that the bot instantiations all wear different skins. My favorite so far is the Tigger bot. Really trippy to fight it out with this dude. I tried to take some pics of fight sequences between me and Tig but they just didn't show the full glory of the one and only Tigger leaping about the map hurling rockets your way. The shot below is pretty good tho. What's he so happy about? (Probably because he has a rocket launcher and I just have a shotgun.)
- Very soon now, we'll be taking down the port 26001 secondary deathmatch server to free up bandwidth for a Quake II server which we hope is just around the corner. If some of you have gotten used to playing on our T3 Tournament server, be advised that we will be taking that down as well, since it is very unlikely that it will be used for the final match in T3. (And if it is, we can just put it up for that match only.)
- With the release of Quake II imminent, we might as well make a sort-of formal statement that, if possible, the C9 Mothership will start a Quake II deathmatch server as soon as one of us actually gets our hands on a copy of the game. We will continue to run some Quake servers probably in the form of one FFA deathmatch server, one CTF server, and one teamplay server. Maybe Malice and/or Ultimate Rally as well if those get some support... but not too much support, because poor ol' kitty1 has its limits.
In non-Quake news, here is a game review that you should read and believe. For more info about this awesome game I recommend you check out this Web site and this one too. (You know that any game that inspires raging Usenet debates about Camping must really rock.)
- Is there an echo in here? Well, this isn't exactly the same news as 11-02-97: CRCTF 2.5 server admins need to go check out the QSmack news page.
- Updated the modified T3 demos a little. Also added to the C9 demos page.
- Threewave server admins need to go check out the QSmack news page again...
Other pieces of random news: if you like the combat style in Trilogy Multiplayer, have a look at Simonyi's Head, another map from the Expert Quake team, "inspired" by Trilogy. It is a lot less open than Trilogy, but it has the familiar ramp-jumps and quickstairs. And continue to keep an eye on the Web site for Da Pak; these guys have released another map, DAPAK9 The Gun, that absolutely thunders in 1-on-1 play. Plus a couple of Monster Map Merges made by sticking together pairs of maps from Da Pak, if you're into the gigantic map thing.
- If you run a ClanRing, ClanRing CTF, or Threewave CTF (or variant) server, you need to go read the latest on the QSmack news page for a patch to fix a security hole. Even if you do not use QSmack, please go read this. It is not a bug in the QSmack modifications; it is a bug that exists in the original server code.
- Been following the ClanRing tournament? You might be interested in some changes I've made to the recent tournament demos. Or you might not. Give it a look.
- Da Pak looks very good. Plays well with Reapers, although I haven't had a chance yet to tackle human opponents on those maps.
Another piece of Quake Goodness is the single-player (*gasp*!) Zerstörer conversion. (Yes it has deathmatch mode too.) I could say many many good things about this project; in fact I already have... rather than repeat myself I'll point you at a post I made to the Zerstörer message board (don't read the questions I ask at the end, `cause they'll spoil some stuff for ya). You should check this out; it demonstrates that true-3D "shooter" games really can have a fun single-player mode. If all four Quake episodes had been this strong, single-player Quake would be remembered as one of the classic video games. It is a little uneven in quality, but it is very original, and it includes two of the best single-player Quake maps you are ever likely to see (as well as a close runner-up).
P.S. If you visited the T3 message board (in connection with my grumbling below) and wondered what the hell I was talking about... well, the board niced up quite a bit after it was erased and shut down for a while.
- No, we're not dead here at C9 Headquarters. Just kind of zipping along with not much newsworthy stuff happening. We're playing our usual amount of FFA on the Mothership servers, so you can stop by and say hello to us there. If you haven't downloaded the Trilogy Multiplayer map yet, which is part of our map rotation on both server ports, better hop to it before we send ahnuld to pay you a little visit. Come on, it's just a couple of hundred kbytes. You downloaded a hundred times that much last week in demos of mediocre video games and pictures of supermodels. There will probably be more third-party maps in the rotations sooner or later, and probably these maps will have been featured at Ramshackle. FYI. Oh, while I'm pushing Web sites, have a look at Da Pak. I'm not saying that we're going to dump this map pack into the Mothership rotation -- in fact we will certainly not be doing anything drastic like that -- but the map authors involved have done some outstanding work in the past, so deathmatch aficionados should give it a look-see. It should be available some time tomorrow.
xris, ahnuld, and lemurboy have discovered the joys of Rocket Arena. (Here's a super-secret clue about Rocket Arena: port 26005.) Also, lemurboy (that's me, but sometimes one has the urge to refer to oneself in third person when one is "doing the news") still plays a good bit of TeamFortress, to the puzzlement of his clanmates.
Let's see, what else... we're having a sort-of-informal double-elimination one-on-one deathmatch tournament amongst ourselves and a couple of other local Quakers. The eventual winner and runners-up will be mentioned on this page (since they ain't getting any other sort of prize).
Joining the ranks of Web Pages That Spontaneously Say Cool Things About C9 is the "Links" section of blackhole's Web site. (Other winners of this coveted award have been the pages of the now-disbanded clan The Breakfast Club, the QuakeLab, and Dakota's Frontline News.) Kind of makes me consider having a Links section to this Web site. Hrmmm. But there are so many other things that need fixing first...
Anyway, we're still here, still having fun with Quake. Even though the number of mean-spirited, immature, and small-minded bozos in the so-called "Quake Community" is amazingly large (just check out the Quake newsgroups in Usenet, or the T3 Message Board, or the behavior at almost any randomly selected Quake server), there are still enough first-class people out there -- like the owners of the above Web pages, and, of course, all of us here at C9 -- to keep us plugging away at an over-a-year-old video game.
(Of course, some of us are nevertheless starting to looking forward to Quake II a teensy bit...)
- With the addition of the ClanRing graphics, our front page was becoming especially download-unfriendly, so null broke out his Incredible Shrinking Ray and reduced the file size of our poster image quite a bit. We do try our best to be accomodating toward your primitive Earthling communication technologies.
- Just a little FYI note. If you haven't discovered this yet, the news on the Mothership page is often updated even when this news page is not. Server news only shows up here when it is relatively "momentous". If you're a regular on the Mothership, check the Mothership page for news occasionally, or (while you're there) register with the URL-minder to get automatically emailed when updates occur.
- All sorts of rotation changes at the Mothership. As is our new policy, there's a few third-party maps involved, and you can find out where to get them at the Mothership page.
- The Borg-like absorption of our Quake-playing fellow workers continues. The latest terror of TCP/IP to go forth under the C9 banner: SesameChkn. Look out, he's spicy hot!
- We've been told that the new GLQuake spews a lot of annoying "illegal skin #19" messages when C9 players are in the game. That is because we are wearing our own special C9 outfits. Other Quake clients didn't use to worry about that. Sorry about those messages, but we like our skins and will continue to wear them. However, if you download our C9 skin pack, and use it as directed when playing on the Mothership, you will get rid of those error messages and have the added bonus of seeing us in our happenin' threads.
A small problem fixed: used to be, if you entered the Mothership during play on a custom map, you didn't get the message that told you where to download it from. Oops. All better now.
- The Iceman is now smilin' and stylin', maxin' and relaxin' on his own page. Word.
- Check the Mothership for the new rotation and word of future custom maps in the rotation.
- QSmack 2.00 is here, along with (and this is the good part) the QSmack Frontend. Go peruse the QSmack Frontend link for details, since they are too wonderful and varied to squeeze in here (but if you like you can peek at a screenshot). If you're a current QSmack user, you don't really need 2.00 if you're not going to use the frontend... but you really should use the frontend. And if you're a server admin who's been waffling about whether or not to use QSmack, the frontend may change your mind. (I will also point out that the number of pre-modified server code packages available for QSmack is at six and climbing.)
- Two newsbits. First, we have a new member. Betrayed by The Man into showbiz obscurity, the newest C9er now busts a move into our invasion forces to betray his fellow Earthlings. Give up tha phat beats for VanillaIce...C9! Second, ahnuld is working hard on a cool toy for you QSmack users. This is not surprising, because ahnuld is basically just a big teddy bear that wants to make everyone happy.
- I (lemurboy) have been playing a little Team Fortress in QuakeWorld recently. OK, actually a lot of Team Fortress in QuakeWorld. I'm basically still learning the ropes, but I've clocked a lot of time as an Engineer, some as a Combat Medic, Soldier, or Demolitions Man, and a short stint as a Heavy Weapons guy. (Have yet to try out Scout, Sniper, Pyro, and Spy.) Tons o' fun. It may seem odd that I have the most fun playing the same thing in the game that I am in "real life" (i.e. the Engineer), but in real life I don't get to make automatic sentries that gun people down. So there you go.
Below is a little screenshot, brightened up and enlarged for clarity. Killed this Damn Spy (I think that's the official name of the class) escaping with our flag. He was running kind of slowly, and once I shot him it was obvious why: apparently a strange new technique for flag carrying (see picture). I dunno... looks uncomfortable, but I guess it leave your hands free.
Yes, we're not above a little crude humor here at C9. But moving on... I've been pleasantly surprised by the new versions of QuakeWorld, QuakeSpy, and Team Fortress. QW still loses to Quake on some gameplay issues, but it comes out a winner overall in higher-latency conditions. The occasional gameplay randomness might bother me more in situations where I was more concerned with my own personal frag count, but for team games it works good enough. And it lets me have playable games on servers where my ping is high enough that people don't bitch at me (plus I like the new HUD). I would definitely use QW in almost all situations if I were a modem player. And all this from an avowed QuakeWorld Unbeliever.
I mentioned that QuakeSpy is getting better only because I've ragged on them in the past, so it's only fair I suppose. 5.3 was a great little application, stable enough that I could recommend it over QView for general server browsing. Of course, the "bugfix version" 5.31 gives me bogus registration error messages (I'm not registered at all), occasionally locks up my computer, and randomly erases server lists. Sigh. Maybe the soon-coming 5.32 will fix that without introducing new badness.
To complete my little lovefest: Team Fortress is the bee's knees. I hadn't looked at it since version 0.1.stoneage.whatever, so v2.6 was a big improvement. It's often a slower-paced game, especially if the server wanders onto one of those 32-player map monstrosities, but that's OK with me. Anyone interested in teamplay should give it a look. The two things that make it a significantly different game from CTF: there are classes, and your goal is not always to capture a flag (goals are map-dependent). You may have to wade through a little confusion figuring out the best configuration to use in general, and per-class, but not too much. I'm currently playing TF disguised as an Earthling named "Johnny Law", so if you see me give me a wave. Or a grenade.
- Well this is interesting. The most recently distributed QW skin pack has a "Clan9" skin in it, clearly marked as the "Clan 9 From Outer Space clanskin", but it is not the same as the one we submitted. (Two small differences: ours has glowing yellow eyes, and the "NASA" is a lighter shade on our logo.) I assume our skin artist, Dan Bickell, submitted it, since it looks like one of the final skin versions he made up for us. Interesting. I guess I'll try to get our real skin submitted again, but any C9ers venturing into QW will probably don this approximation in the meantime.
- Is it time for Bonehead Quote of the Month again? Sure seems that way. I considered giving it to the QuakeSpy team again, for their banner ad proclaiming that LPBs are the "Forces of Evil", but we should let someone else have a shot at it. We're still lookin'.
Speaking of boneheads, we've had a couple of interesting episodes involving QSmack that I'm going to share with y'all. First, if you're curious about this sort of thing, you can read about our attempts to get QSmack announcements posted on the Quake news pages; it didn't quite work as we had expected. Second, as server op I get a reasonable amount of mail from people complaining about the behavior of others on our server. In a remarkably brazen move, someone recently sent in a complaint about someone in C9. Could it be true? Is one of our little alien cadre putting the "B" in "LPB"? Therein lies a tale...
- I bet $25 that our own carnivore can beat John Romero at Windows Minesweeper. Beat him bad.
OK, ha ha. If you don't get the reference, you should actually be proud of yourself.
- I'm back! A big thank-you to ahnuld for installing the server fix and minding the Web site.
- lemurboy here, checking in briefly from deepest darkest Oklahoma. I see that the main Mothership server port has gone a little spastic and is running qcon1 in its map rotation, something that I had intended to only occur on the alternate port. Oops. That's what I get for leaving the state. I've fixed the server code (I think) and it awaits being copied over to our server machine by some other (in-state) C9 member. So if qcon1 is still in the main port rotation right now, it's not my fault anymore. Well, OK, a little my fault.
- Some new features and fixes have been made to QSmack. It is now up to version 1.25! When will ahnuld return to working on his Ph.D.? (If his advisor is reading this, uh, we're just kidding.)
- Gonna be out of town, although not completely out of touch, for a week or so. The other aliens will just have to pick up the slack!
- QSmack 1.10 is available (new executables). Existing QSmack users are strongly encouraged to pick this up. It eliminates (as far as we can tell) or at least reallly reduces the occasions when QSmack is too conservative about being able to kick a banned player. Also, drop by the Mothership for minor and major news about the servers on ports 26000, 26001, and 26002.
- Can you imagine how incomprehensible the 7/26 news (for example) would be to a non-Quake-player?
- QSmack version 1.0 is declared. Check the page for details, and get the new server code (or recreate the changes/fixes in your existing code) if you are a current QSmack user. We think the last bug may be nailed; cross your fingers.
- Linux and Solaris versions of QSmack are now available. ahnuld is a machine!
- I just have to laugh.
When I'm winding down a Quake session, I usually want to finish by coming back to the Mothership for a nice smooth game. If it happens to be full of modem players, sometimes I'll stay anyway -- changing my name to "Axes R Us" or "Axe-O-Matic" -- and work on my backhand stroke a little. Axe-only attacks, although of course one is allowed to rocket-jump. :-) So, late this evening, I entered the Haunted Halls fairly early in the game (at the time, the eventual winner had 7 frags). This was the result:
And mind you, this wasn't even a particularly bright lumberjack at work. I was chasing Quad guys and hacking glowing pentagram players to hear the boing-boing sound. Since the lowest pings other than mine were 250-ish, this says something about the role of ping in Quake. But, realistically, most of these guys also had to be fairly inexperienced, because there are modem players that can hang with me in FFA when I'm using all the weapons. No shame in being a newbie, of course, and most of us were having fun with it.
Except... one player (intimidatingly named "Savage"), sporting a 250 ping, who near the end of the match started yammering about how unfair my (50-ish) ping was. And complaining about my tactics, although it was less clear exactly how my choice of weapons was placing him at a disadvantage. You will note that he does not appear in the screenshot, since he quit in protest. I guess this is an example of how far gone a lot of Quake players are in the whole victim mentality; I'm surprised he didn't call me a camper while he was at it. Savage, my man, if you have a 250 ping and can't deal with the Axe-O-Matic, ping is the least of the problems with your game.
Well... enough ramblings from the lemur. For now.
Intraclan match records
One-on-one match records in table below; row = winner, column = loser.
xris lemurboy ahnuld havoc getalife eeevil null VanillaIce SesameChkn JoeBoo TheSheriff carnivore xris 2 3 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 lemurboy 0 8 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 ahnuld 0 4 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 havoc 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 getalife 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 eeevil 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 null 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 VanillaIce 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 SesameChkn 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 JoeBoo 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 TheSheriff 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 carnivore 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team match records: