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Quake III Arena IRC Chat with Disruptor, Zoid, and Brian Hook (bwh)
Posted December 15, 1998
(thanks Mark David Owens)

<bwh> Hud: not sure if I can comment on weapons at this point.
<bwh> Weapons that are definitely in the game are machinegun, GL, RL, plasma gun, railgun, a new type of "ultimate weapon", shotgun,
<bwh> Hud: we're still considering a lightning gun, but if we do it it will be better than the one in Q1.

<Jokey> I have read that the railgun may have splash damage to it...has this been decided yet? Or still up in the air?
<bwh> Jokey: the railgun has some splash damage as a concession to lagged internet play. Basically, if you're lagged the railgun is nearly useless, so by adding splash you can still make distance shots with a hope of getting in SOME damage.

<bwh> Turmoil: yes, we have character classes at this time, in a basic light/medium/heavy form
<Latinum> what differs from class to class besides player movement speeds and damage capacity?
<bwh> Latinum: the only differences are player movement speeds and damage capacity. Damage capacity has a direct effect on knockback, which means light/fast characters get knocked around a lot and can rocket jump a LOT.

<Hud> ok Adrianna want to know if the netcode will be like q2's or like QW's?
<bwh> Netcode is all new and improved. Better than Q2 or QW by a long shot. Very stable, runs great with even very poor ping.

<Fain> I just have one major question, what happens when one character class starts dominating over the other classes (ie, starcraft)
<bwh> Fain: that's one of the reasons that variable character classes aren't necessarily a great idea. Balancing them can become very VERY difficult.
<bwh> That's also the reason that we're differentiating only on speed/damage and not going with a more character class oriented system like TF or Mortal Kombat or something like that.

<c00g> are you planning to include any maps designed for non-ctf teamplay in the initial release?
<bwh> c00g: I don't think our final set of maps/game variations has been settled

<Hud> Izo wants to know: will the rockets have a fast velocity like in q1? or slower like in q2?
<bwh> Hud: rockets will probably be somewhere between Q1 and Q2 in terms of speed and damage

<Jokey> <wuddup> can you please ask if that added splash damage(to the rg) would add to the advantage the low ping people already have when using the railgun?
<bwh> wuddup: the added splash damage probably won't help LPBs, since they'll be hitting their targets more often than not.
<bwh> Basically, in Q2 the railgun was only good for lpbs and bot users. Now the railgun will hopefully be usable for everyone.
<Zoid_> Just to enforce bwh's point, the splash on the rail is not your major goal with it. You still want to nail them direct with it.

<Adrianna> How about general speed of the game? for example running around? is the 'light' guy as quick relative to quake1????
<bwh> Adrianna: we intend to make the general speed of the game completely configurable.
<bwh> This means allowing the server ops to control run speeds, knock back factors, and things of that nature. That way if you want DOOM speed, you can just run a server with those settings. It'll suck for lagged players, but it could be real fun for LAN play. We'd like to see Q3A become the ultimate deathmatch game, configurable enough so that everyone can configure their servers just the way they like.
<bwh> The downside of configurability is that it's hard to have standardized rules, and you get a lot of people arguing over what rules are "legit".
<bwh> Other things that should be configurable include footsteps, knockback, air control, and things like that.

<Jokey> When do you expect the next batch of screenshots to be released?
<bwh> Jokey: unknown when next screen shots will be released.

<Molotov> will there be NQ or QW netcode (ie, will it have prediction). Also, will there be a netcode version for lan (ie, w/o prediction)?
<bwh> k3nny: there will be prediction. Prediction is absolutely necessary for net play.
<Zoid_> Prediction would be irrelevant in LAN play, since you'd be getting packets as fast as you can predict them.

<c00g> have you considered including maps specifically designed for team dm play in the first release?
<bwh> c00g: I don't think the specific set of maps has been decided at this point.

<k3nny> <Molotov> will prediction be able to be turned off?
<bwh> Molotov: I don't know if prediction will be optional. I doubt it however. That's something that John would have to answer.

<Latinum> Do we have a timeframe on the release of q3test? Is that even going to happen?
<bwh> Latinum: there is no timeframe for Q3TEST or final release yet

<k3nny> <Plague`> how about using the same skin w/ different colors like quake1? (i think having 13723 different skins is kind of stupid.)
<bwh> Plague: different skins give people more freedom. People prefer that over colors, especially for clan play.

<Latinum> *cameljcky* my question is will the maps with curved surfaces have a great affect on framerate, making them unplayable for deathmatch?
<Disruptor> no
<Disruptor> Curves aren't that expensive believe it or not. The front face of a 128x128x128 bevel is only like 16 triangles or something
<bwh> cameljcky: performance is VERY important to us, which is why we took out some stuff like bump mapping, so maps with curved surfaces are going to be fast. But instead of approximating curves with brushes a la Q2, the designers can just spec curves and users will be able to control the amount of tessellation. And given that the whole game is oriented around deathmatch, we'd better not have anything unplayable for deathmatch

<Serfer> Disruptor: i hear you're even more of a pimp then James Bond. Is that true?
<Disruptor> Serfer: haha. uhh... no

<|Scythe|> will there be dedicated server ports for q3a, and if so, when will those be released relative to the game? <Zoid_> That's my dept. We're hoping to have everything ready on the "when it's done" day.
<Zoid_> Scythe: So, ya, there will be dedicated server ports ready.

<Jokey> Will there be any "modifications" of existing quake1 and quake2 id maps that will find their way into q3?
<Disruptor> Jokey: Not planned. We're working on original material.

<Hud> Are weapons going to be totally balanced in effectiveness, or or some going to designed to be more powerful then others?
<bwh> Hud: we have at least one weapon in the game that is definitely WAY more powerful than the others. It's currently replacing the BFG, but its final name has not been decided upon.

<k3nny> <Plague`> Will the weapons take 12 hours to switch like Quake2? or will it be nice again like Quake?
<bwh> Plague: weapon switch times are far faster, and we also have a better weapon cycle interface so that going from weapon 2 to weapon 8 via cycle doesn't take a million years.

<Mud_Shark> Is q3arena going to be geared to upper-end machines or middle-of-the-road?
<bwh> Mud_Shark: depends on who you talk to. We're targeting a P200 w/ 32MB as our baseline machine (w/ Voodoo1), but obviously it's not going to haul ass. You'll have to run at 512x384 and probably turn off some features to do so.

<opiate> will the different death scenes played to to the CL predict make a difference when its a gib? Also are the nice juicy chunky gibs back?
<bwh> opiate: we plan on having really nice gibs
<Disruptor> opiate: Paul Steed is working on anatomically correct gibs, so they should look better than the Q1 and Q2 gibs.

<Molotov> can you ask him what recommended hardware requirements will be, and what framerate the recommended hardware should achieve?
<bwh> Molotov: recommended hardware will be the fastest machine you can find. Duh. :-) However we expect a V2 or a TnT will run the game just fine. Intel i740 should run well, and so will the Savage3D. Banshee will squeak by, but that depends entirely on their driver quality.

<Kingrat> will q3a use ARB_multitexture or SGIS_multitexture?
<bwh> Kingrat: ARB_multitexture

<Latinum> bwh: Quake2's 10hz sampling... will that be an issue in quake3? Are you still intending to use the 60hz that
<bwh> Latinum: don't know how our sampling situation is right now

<QUAZ> First let me say, I think I speak for everyone when I say we are very excited appreciative about the work you guys are undertaking... What can we expect in the recent developments in 3d sound, or is that a later facet of the development cycle? <bwh> QuaZ: personally, I'd like to see us use 3D sound so that you can hear someone approach from behind on four speaker systems.
<bwh> But I don't know if we're going to have that in the game. A lot depends on how good/bad DSound3D is.

<Dethstlkr> what are the physics going to be like...like q1, q2, something new, more like real life, or something of a mix?
<bwh> Dethstlkr: Physics will be somewhat like Q1, but mostly configurable through server side cvars to control knockback amount, etc.

<Molotov> can you ask if there are any plans to build a "ps2rate" type configurability into q3a?
<bwh> Molotov: there are no plans to incorporate a ps2rate type thing in q3a right now

*Rix``* Hey, ask 'em if the deathmatch is geared towards the Quake1 style, Quake2, a mix, or something totally new?
<Disruptor> Rix``: Sorta a mix
<bwh> Rix: deathmatch is going to be geared towards however the server op wants. Speeds can be reduced to make it real slow paced, or cranked up to DOOM pace (or faster!). We're seriously trying to make this so damn configurable that NO ONE can bitch about anything. If they don't like something, they can just change it.

<jednet> how does the difference in tesselation detail work? what if in low detail some guy's head is in the wall while it looks fine in high detail?
<bwh> jednet: the clipping hulls will likely be tesselated at a fixed subdivision, so some anomalies MIGHT show up when doing higher subdivision levels, but right now I'm not sure we're considering that a serious problem or not. The physics collision tesselation won't be that far off from the visual one.

<BBC-Skew> will q3:a use the bsp for a PAS (potentially audible set) as well as the normal use of PVS (potentially visible set)?
<bwh> BBC-Skew: as far as I know, Q3A will have both a PHS and PVS a la earlier Quake games

<Hud> IMO the greatest way of playing q1 and q2 is 4on4 teamplay (ie clan vs clan), are maps being specifically designed for clan play? What option or settings will be included to enhance teamplay?
<bwh> Hud: we haven't nailed all the different team play formats. Obviously, CTF is one we'd like to have out of the box, and same goes for other type variations (Tag, Powerball, etc.), but we haven't decided that.

<Allanon> ask them if they'll have hybrid network connections, like modem and TCP/IP and IPX at the same time
<Disruptor> No modem direct stuff just TCP/IP through dialup to your ISP. Not sure if IPX is in at the moment.

<DLister> are there plans for a q3atest, and if so, will it be just multiplayer or will there be a single player level or 2?
<Disruptor> DLister: There are plans to release a Q3ATest (eventually), but the content has not been decided upon yet. It will more than likely be released to test out the network code.
<bwh> DLister: we have NO comment on q3test at this time

<opiate> Is the feature that automatically switches back to quake2 graphics still being included, will this be something that can be done in mid game?
<bwh> Opiate: there is no "switch back to Q2 graphics" option

<bwh> Dethstlkr: that's one thing that makes customization a bitch. We will have several (3-4) sets of standardized settings/rules so that people can simply agree to those values. Probably a Quake1, Quake2, Q3A, and "HyperViolent" or something like that.
<bwh> That way there is still some commonality, but people can always run different numbers like in the Q1 days with different gravity values, etc.

Rix`` asks what measures are being taken to prevent against client side cheats, such as the wicked3d "see-through" drivers, hacked maps, and bots
<bwh> Rix: we can't do much against people that REALLY want to cheat, but we'll do what we can. We're working on various things to address this.

[PD]FueL> ask - Well q3arena have special 3d surround options for good sound blasters, e.g echoes??
<bwh> PDFuel: it has not been decided what types of sound support we will have.

<SamNmaX> Is id planning on allowing extra large servers or sets servers for games with upwards of 500 players (something similar to UO)?
<Disruptor> 500 players?
<Disruptor> yeesh
<bwh> SamnMax: we probably won't have hundred + player servers, since it's FAR more compute and response intensive than UO. Generally assume that you can get 1 player per 8MHz. So a Katmai at 500MHz should support a 60 or so players. Also, you'd need the superlarge levels, and we won't be shipping with levels that can support that many players.
<bwh> there is no hardcoded upper limit to maxclients that I'm aware of, basically up to what your CPU can handle
<bwh> benchmarks were on an OPTIMIZATION leve at 640x480. 65K visible triangles. That means the TNT was doing nearly 1M triangles/second. That is NOT what require for the game. A "real" level will have 1/6th that number of triangles, and so you should see several fold improvement in overall performance.

<Molotov> can you ask him what id's focus is? Is it gameplay or eyecandy? how does this differ from their focus in the past?
<Disruptor> Molotov: Both. Q3A is damned fun at the moment, and it's only going to get better as we continue to work on it.
<bwh> Molotov: we focus primarily on gameplay. We spend our days and nights tweaking the atmosphere (graphics, textures, etc.) and the gameplay (weapon balance, speed, features, physics, etc.).
<bwh> Games like Quake and Q2 don't have the longevity they've acquired just by looking good. You can look at other games that look really good but don't have the gameplay, and they just sort of fade from the scene.

<overk> my question is will q3a have area-specific damage, and also what are they planning on for the standard weapon.. the blaster in q2 wasnt that great of a weapon imo
<Disruptor> overk: That's stuff that hasn't been completely decided upon yet.
<bwh> overk: we will likely not have location-specific damage, since it ends up being lame in most people's opinion for game play. The starting weapon has not been decided upon, however the blaster is definitely gone, so it won't be that.

<Nima> Is Q3A gonna be SMATE?
<Disruptor> Nima: Yes.

<Belhade> will there be a 27-step pirate/hax0r protection, akin to cd keys, killing your next of kin and selling your soul to John?
<bwh> Belhade: piracy is of great concern to us, since this will be geared heavily towards the online community. But of course, no one HERE warez shit does they?

<RedDog> How does the size and volume of packets transferred to/from the server/client compare to previous id releases?
<RedDog> In other words, is there more, less, or about the same amount of network traffic? <bwh> RedDog: I'm unsure what the network traffic looks like right now vs. Q2

<jinxster> How hard is it going to be for users to create new levels? any special hardeware other then a 3D accelerator?
<bwh> jinxster: creating levels should be about the same as Q2, other than the obvious learning curve for creating curved surfaces and possibly the additional hassle of learning how to code up shader descriptions of surfaces that need them (no, I won't go into more detail, don't have the time :-) )

<c00g> Since nobody else seems to have asked, I'm curious as to what type of connection the network code is based on. Are you aiming at 28.8 users, or 56k+ connects?
<bwh> c00g: we're not aiming at specific modem speeds, we think of things in term of ping, etc. Obviously we'd like to support 28.8K as much as possible.

<K9-Slam> Will drowning hurt armour in Q3A ?
<bwh> K9-slam: not sure if drowning will hurt armor or not.

<BBC-Skew> pass this along --- Will a sector based portals system be implemented to complement the bsp system to form a bsp / portal hybrid system much like that of rebel boat rockers RBR1 engine?
<bwh> BBC-Skew: we had a hybrid system in Q2 that used portals (area portals) and regular BSP PVS. Works great, and we will be using that in Q3A also (to my knowledge).

<Turmoil> Does id have any plans to allow actual semi/professional gamers to playtest and make suggestions?
<bwh> Turmoil: we had Thresh in here to help playtest Q2, unfortunately the feedback he gave us still didn't make the game to his liking (from his comments I've seen on the net), so I'm not sure how valuable that type of input is. A lot of people just end up complaining that it's not like the game they want to play. The best beta testers are the online community for stuff like this, and we know we'll get good feedback from the community when Q3TEST is released

<Rasta`> will ID Software be involved in organizing any online competitions for Q3A?
<bwh> Rasta: I don't know to what extent we'll be organizing/supporting online competitions.

<Nima> Is Q3A going to have something like WON is to Half-Life?
<bwh> Nima: I don't know

<jednet> I read that a designer has more control over what is and is not rendered the level from different places, how is this done? is it similar to q2 hinting or something new?
<bwh> jednet: I don't know

<jinxster> Are they going to bring back the center hold weapon? Not like the left/right/not there....
<bwh> jinxster: the weapon will be right handed only, and much closer to the centerline than it was in Q2. The option to turn off the gun will be available for slightly better performance, however your weapon will give you important visual clues (quad, invis status, how much in shadow you are, etc.)

<c00g> how many of the weapons will be projectile in nature, and how many will be linescan?
<bwh> c00g: Unknown.

<k3nny> bwh: Will it affect rocket jumps?
<bwh> k3nny: will what affect rocket jumps?
<k3nny> Placement of weapon in relation to player's body
<bwh> bwh: not as much as it did in Q2. Things feel a lot better in Q3A for rocket jumping. Actually, rocket jumping is a little out of control right now, with the light guy you can bounce of the sky at will practically. :-)

<Camshaft_> Will Q3A use multitexture to decrease the number of rendering passes or to improve some graphic effects instead?
<bwh> Camshaft: mutlitexture will be used to improve performance

<YQB> Brian anything you can say about the network aspects? I don't understand why there wasn't more tweekable variables present in q2. Given the nature of most network protocols.
<bwh> YQB: Q2 didn't have a lot of things tweakable since they were hardcoded into the executable. Since Q3A will have a client side binary (either DLL or interpreted code) the server can change variables and they will still be predicted correctly.

*nitelite* i wanna know how the map/player scale will relate to the earlier releases
<bwh> nitelite: level scale is about the same, but you'll feel "taller". Steps will be shorter, and your view height is raised a bit, so you don't quite feel like a midget all the time.

<bwh> okay, gotta bolt, thanks for the questions. And PLEASE, no e-mails about the plan file update!!! (the original reason I came in here :-)