Quake Advent Calendar 2013 - Part 3

Welcome to a Quake-themed Advent Calendar. On 24 days 24 people will showcase something about Quake. Something old, something new, something obscure, something you should check out. Monitor the list on the frontpage to see new posts every day. This is part 3 for the 13th to 18th December. See quake_advent_calendar_2013 for the previous posts.

18th December - Supa

The silver age, 1999 to roughly 2004, was truly a unique time for Quake mods. Spurred by the release of the engine source, the modding community was sent into a momentum that we haven't seen since. While you may have heard of FrikaC's Starwars: Dogfighter or Tei's surreal Kanada invades USA, I'd like to talk about my favorite mod from this time - LTH's Fiend Hunted.

Playing something like a strange game of AVP meets Quake, players can frag as either fiends or marines. There are no classes to fiddle with, no objectives to poke at, it just has what makes a Quake mod a Quake mod - a pure concept to put a new twist on the game. Fiends will tear apart anything they get into contact with, Marines can riddle anything caught out in the open with a hail of rifle rounds or buckshot shells, grenades are constantly going off and nowhere is safe, ever.

Like a lot of silver age mods, there are a few issues. Some of them are actually nice - there's a hidden round based team elimination mode that can be played by setting deathmatch 3 + teamplay 1/2 before loading a map. Others, not so much - the mod doesn't behave so well in modern ports. Fortunately, the supplied winquake-based engine still works. You'll just need to change the video mode twice if you want to play it fullscreen without palette corruption on Win7. Hey, sometimes you gotta put some effort in if you want to have fun with some Quake community history. :)

To play FHD, you'll need to:

  1. Get FHD and extract it to a FHD directory in your Quake folder
  2. Grab the FHD update and dump that into your FHD folder, overwriting anything old
  3. Get the FHD engines and dump those in your Quake folder:
  4. And optionally get a frikbot waypoint pack and/or map pack to go with that
  5. Stop right there and read fhd.txt within your FHD folder. Like we had to do, when we rocket jumped to school, both ways, across BOILING LAVA.

17th December - Mushi

My name is Mushi, I started playing Quake online in 1997 and I was fortunate enough to be invited to lans near my house where I met lots of Quakers and played netquake CTF for 20 hours straight. Since then, i've been active in the Quakeworld community. Which btw is the best way for playing Quake online. Take a look at my blog to read about some of the secrets of competitive online QuakeWorld in 2013 :) Activity has dropped a bit in the last 5 years, but still there's alot going on in QuakeWorld. I want to talk to you about one of most exciting and new things going on right now.

When i was younger, I played alot :) I remember dreaming about being able to to watch demos with my clanmates (already possible with QuakeTV) and show demos to my friends on my Nokia phone. Well, recently Spike has improved his FTEDroid client for Android. While it's still buggy, it enables a very much wanted feature: it can stream QTVs! Here's how it works:

  • visit http://qtv.atrophied.co.uk/ with the phone's browser;
  • click on a ‘watch' link;
  • FTEDroid is launched, and automatically connects to the QTV stream!

Suddendly I'm watching someone play in some internet server, like I would on my pc! Anyone with an Android tablet or phone can watch demos and live streams on his device! Perfect to spectating a game during meals, at the bus/train, at the bathroom… :) I love this! AND it's bandwidth-friendly!

Installation instructions

Download this to your phone (the .apk is updated regularly). Install it, connect your phone to your pc and copy pak0.pak and pak1.pak to the phone memory in /fte/id1/ folder. It's done!

Don't expect using the menus though, they're too tiny. You can increase the text size typing vid_conautoscale 4 in the console.

More info:

Have fun and merry xmas!

16th December - efess

This project was started back in 2009, I thought I could make a better 'qstat' program. I created a frontend website to show some stats from this query tool back in 2010, but it was pretty clunky and hard to use. The code was a mess and it was very difficult to modify. A few months ago, I wanted to learn some of the new popular javascript tools, so I decided to scrap the front end that's been up since 2010, and redesign it from the ground up. Today, it continually queries servers, like any other server browser, but it will store this information in a database in order to extrapolate useful information to the Multiplayer community.

I've kept the query tool open source here: https://code.google.com/p/quake-server-browser/

The homepage now contains a continually updated snapshot of the current live servers, an updated list of recent matches (games played until map and/or score changes), and a chat lobby so players on the site can coax each other to join a server.

Some of the stats include:

  • Player Information and last matches
  • Player Alias lookup (for servers that expose player IP)
  • Player's typical online time
  • Server last matches
  • Server ranking (based on FPM)
  • Server popular maps
  • Server's hourly popularity
  • Server's top 5 players who spend the most time
  • Player lookup by name

To view the site, you'll need to have javascript enabled, and be running a browser that supports HTML5's canvas, which include IE9/10/11, FireFox, Chrome

Visit http://servers.quakeone.com/

15th December - scar3crow

There are few things as pure as a Quake free-for-all deathmatch, and that is no truer than on Monster's own server which is built to emphasize variety, balance, and ferocity. With 168 custom maps in the rotation as well as the original id levels, and FrikbotX implementation there is always a new place to fight and someone to frag. Being a DarkPlaces server the gibs stay around to fester and shell cases litter the floor as Gyro Physics let them pile up, get blasted around by explosions, and bob in the rancid waters of Quake. Heads are kickable, quads lost in the heat of battle drop for the eager scavenger, and numerous minor additions polish the whole server up. Weapons are balanced, not to weaken the rocket launcher, but to beef up the rest. Shotguns and axes can rip and tear as well. Connect to newdm.spidflisk.com (hosted in New Jersey) with DarkPlaces for new deathmatch with the original attitude, but always someone who is up to game. You can find DarkPlaces here. Note that you will need to retain the curl.dll included with DarkPlaces Pull down the console with ` (or ^ on some keyboard layouts) and type: connect newdm.spidflisk.com

I hope to frag you there!

14th December - negke

Of the huge number of available Quake mods, there are several impressive total conversions that shift Quake from a first-person shooter to an entirely different genre. One that for certain reasons stands out for me as a good example is Lunkin's Journey, released in 2005 by ajay.

Lunkin's Journey is a third-person platformer with 16 small levels. The player controls Lunkin, a feisty little goblin who is shunned by the other goblins in the village. One day, he decides to leave his old home behind to search for a new place to live which ultimately leads to the adventure of his lifetime. For the most part, the gameplay consists of finding one's way through hazardous environments and jumping over death pits while fighting enemies with a small variety of attacks (e.g. farts, lightning bolts and frog bombs) that increase in power the more experience points are acquired. Occasionally, the player also has to explore areas for special items, and there even is a racing challenge. It is fairly difficult initially, but it becomes easier as the attack powers level up.

The reason Lunkin's Journey stuck with me is not because of technical merits. In fact, it is not a very polished experience on the surface - the code and gameplay can be dodgy, even buggy in parts, the levels are very crude, and there are compatibility issues with several engine ports. Neither is it one of the great releases of the early years, nor one that showcases the fullest extent of possibilites concerning the overhaul of every single core mechanic and content of the original game. Yet, this mod has a quirky charm and it feels to me like an ideal, one could say an archetypal example of the potential for creative work and what can be done in Quake. Possibly no game before (and few after) offered such an easily-accessible, yet powerful modding environment that enables people to create their own little custom games, even or especially as one-man projects with no professional background. In this sense, it is not so much about perfection, but dedication and the joy of creating something new. This is what LJ is about for me.

For anyone who has not heard of Lunkin's Journey before, I recommend giving it a try. Perhaps it can be considered as an entry point for exploring the world of Quake mods in general, and total conversions in particular.

PS. Incidentally, there is a Christmas-themed Lunkin mini mod as well!

13th December - CocoT

Believe it or not, when I first stumbled upon Coffee's AI Cafe, I was actually looking for information on bot coding in the hope to develop my own Hexen2 bot. At the time, bots were the rage and, as Hexen2 coding tutorials were few and far between, it made sense to use Quake tutorials to get a sense of QuakeC/HexenC's workings. Long story short, I never wrote a single line of Hexen2 bot code and got sucked in, thanks to Coffee's AI Cafe and the wonderful community I found there, into the world of Quake modding.

In the world of Quake bots, Coffee's bot holds a special place in my heart because of its extreme user-friendliness and because of the way, week after week, Coffee learned, together with his readers, about how to make it better and he shared his discoveries in the form of tutorials, which you can still read here. In all likelihood, there will never be a new coding tutorial written by Coffee for Quake. However, more than a decade later, I still believe these tutorials are a great way to start coding for Quake. They are humorous and highly informative. They teach you the basics (and then some), without ever sounding condescending or too complicated. I would advise, however, not to burn through them too quickly, but enjoy them one by one, slowly. Experiment with them in creative ways before moving on to the next – they are the chocolate and wine (or fancy bratwurst and beer, if you prefer) of a beginner's Quake modding life.

Coffee's Bot is a worthy Quake opponent, and its plugability – at a time when Frikbot was in the making – meant it appeared in several Quake mods (including some of my own). It was also a direct influence on FrikaC's famous FrikBot, which of course says a lot about it. Coffee released, next to his bot, numerous mods. The most striking to me was released at the end of his Quake modding career, when, and after a long absence, Coffee surprised us all by releasing for QExpo 2003 the fantastic Team Fortress Bots (read all about it here). It remains, to this day, the best, most stable and enjoyable teamplay modification for this father of all Quake mods.