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Thanks for the Good Times   33 comments
TIME TO HAND OVER THE REINS. It's been a while since I updated CHWD, having been content to leave it as a sort of "TV Guide" to recent articles across the Challenge Network. I didn't even touch the "Smackdown2" link even though we’re up to "Smackdown5" now (and nobody emailed me about it either).

But there is hope - dK has stepped up to the mark. He's keen to take on the remaining Challenge Network sites and see what he can do with them, and that would be a good thing. dK has already shown what he can do with CHTV, along with AgenT and a bunch of other talented people in the "Challenge Family".

modified from dK collection

So I am officially retiring from managing CHWD and the rest of the country sites - and you might expect to see some big changes around the place in the coming months. I’ll remain in the background, and maybe update a column here or there or undertake some silly project, but the Network needs restructuring and I believe that dK is the right man for the job. Good luck sir!

I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER WHEN CHWD KICKED OFF but it was probably a couple of years after the Network was born with CHAU (1998). Challenge.AU was “the first true 'scene site' and the one that inspired alot of other people to start their own” (so said Izn0,

In it's 'heyday', CHWD was the lead site in a Network that was truly global, with active country Challenge sites around the world, including (in addition to those you can see now) CHBR (Brazil), CHFR (France), CHDE (Germany), CHIE (Ireland), CHIT (Italy), CHPT (Portugal), CHRU (Russia), CHSG (Singapore), CHSK (Scandinavia), and CHZA (South Africa).

Negotiations were under-way at one time or another to add such sites as CHCA (Canada), CHCH (Switzerland), CHCN (China), CHKR (Korea), CHYU (Yugoslavia), CHPL (Poland), CHIS (Iceland) and even CHMED (Mediterranean).

Many of the sites we once had are gone now, and of those that remain there is altogether too much not happening these days. So it’s past time for a shake-up, and before I go I would like to say "thanks" to a bunch of people who made things fun around here for a few years. I hope I don't forget anybody but I probably will – sorry in advance (email me).


First up, dear GreySeer, who is still #1 in the 1,000+ list of writers we have in the Challenge Network and always will be. Most of you will know that Grey died last year after a battle with cancer, which was just awful and certainly for me the Challenge Network has never been the same since. However, in a way GreySeer’s legacy ‘lives on’ through the back-office he created for the Challenge Network. Everyone who writes something logs onto “GreySeer’s News Updater Thingy” and that’s a nice thing – I hope that continues forever.


Second, dethkultur who "retired" only recently. Most everything funky and clever that you see around the place was done by dethkultur, and if you want to see just one example of what he contributed to this Network go take a look at the ‘Pro Player Index’ on CHTV. It’s a shame that the Challenge Network didn’t take off as we had hoped, because I always enjoyed working with dethkultur. We had so many ideas and so much that we planned to do, but at the end of the day there is a limit to the time you can spend on your hobby before ‘real life’ intrudes. Piece of useless trivia: when GreySeer and I did the ‘CHAU 16 Player Invitational’ in 1998 we offered the CD of demos (Reload won) for sale and I had one buyer, from Alabama, USA. I thought to myself: “man that guy must be really keen” and discovered later that he was indeed the real deal.


Third, Griff, who was the CHEU manager and my co-partner before being picked up by CPL-Europe. I first had contact with Griff through Challenge.AU where I covered the exploits of his younger brother Kane and then I met Griff in Sweden at the TrueGamers Invitational. He was always a true FPS gaming professional, and he was at the right place at the right time (and the right age too) to get in on the breaking wave that was ‘eSports’. For a while there it looked to us that we could really take the Challenge Network somewhere interesting – gaming looked like it was going to explode into the mainstream. I hope he’s still enjoying the ride.


Fourth, Kulprit who was the first CHUS manager and also a co-partner at the same time as Griff. To be honest, Kulprit was probably too much of a hard-nosed capitalist for my tastes but he was also immensely likeable and I thought we needed somebody with his business sense to prevent us being walked over in biz dealings. As it turned out, there wasn’t much business to deal with so Kulprit headed off to a real job that paid real money. Before he left though he made an indelible impression on everyone he met, as you would know if you ever read one of his ‘blahs’ on the subject of his mother-in-law.

Next up, and more in the "modern" area, though we all go back a few years now: dK, Jjonez and AgenT - these guys are all part of the 'family' and they still do stuff with the Challenge Network, using it for various hobbies and projects, which we all benefit from. Without them, the Challenge Network would not be standing here today; and thanks to them, sites like CHTV and CHSD have grown into something really valuable. Also arQon and the ProMode team have made Challenge ProMode Arena into one of the most popular Q3A mods out there, and it continues to develop and grow producing many great competitions and demos which we can all enjoy.

Last but not least Methos, who (waaay back in the days before Griff and Kulprit) worked with me on a deal that might have seen the Network gobbled up by none other than Thresh’s (one of a number of unlikely and sometimes bizarre deals that the Challenge Network has explored with various parties, all of which came to nothing). Methos and I go back a long way, right to the beginnings of Challenge.AU, and it is great to see him still doing the stuff that he loves and giving so much to the Quake scene.

After those guys, there is a huge list of 'country managers' and ‘writers’, ‘programmers’ and ‘artists’- people who managed the country sites, wrote stuff and helped provide the Network with code and art work or web designs, along the way helping to get us to where we are today. I'm sure I'll miss someone out, but particular thanks goes to:

For CHAU: first, going way back - paranoid, who inspired me to follow the dream and provided much support thereafter; Hankin who wrote the first backoffice and got us up and running; and Malby, who gave us our first ever home on GreySeer, of course, for everything we did together - the LANs and events, 'discovering NZ', the international competitions, and for being such a fantastic person to do all that stuff with. Then there was a bunch of talented people who kept CHAU running after I moved to CHWD: sinister, Jem, Mota, Raven and Porto. Sometimes they copped shit for trying, as seemed to be the way in AU at that time, but their efforts really improved the site. IchoR and Jaz provided two of the most popular hosted sites in the Network – IchoR’s Demos and Challenge-Spooties. Other sub-sites such as TF@CHAU have a life of their own and in fact continue to provide much of the activity there. Special thx to Napalm for the site design and to Catnap for the original Challenge-AU logo.

For CHBR: Stealth, rorshack, redNuht, Judge Dredd and neto666 gave it a good go, though the language issues made it very hard to have a BR site which met the needs of both Brazilians and a predominantly English-speaking audience, a problem faced by more than a few Challenge country sites. Still, it was worth it just to get a glimpse of the fascinating Brazilian scene, which as you might expect was always lively and exciting.

For CHDE: siro turned the site into a powerhouse of competitive gaming coverage - really one of the best Challenge sites, and I hope that he is still 'living the dream' as he hoped to ‘make it’ as a gaming journalist when he left and there were opportunities at that time. engel took over after him, and continued the fine tradition, until finally CHDE began to lose momentum and drift away. While it was there, and pumping, things were always really interesting around the Challenge family. The site was supported by a bunch of good writers, including Apollyon who went on to do lots more good stuff with CHSD.

For CHEU: it never really recovered from the loss of Griff, though Insanity and meth put in a great effort (meth going on to do a stint at, and guys like darff, ph33rl3ss, HangTime, sai, and lately swelt have kept something happening off and on. At one time CHEU was one of the key Challenge sites, with Griff providing loads of content, but most people today would probably not remember. We always wanted to give CHEU a decent site design, but it still looks the same as it did years ago and still has much of the old content lying around if you know where to look.

For CHFR: Marie gave it life and it was hard, mainly for language reasons again, to motivate the French writers to get involved, when their primary activities were focused on local French sites. LooZtrA, Stereo, and zarkof also helped out and there were a fair few French gamers who were very active within the Challenge Network, among them DlooB.

For CHIE: DeVore was the man, at the time the main mover-and-shaker in the IE Quake scene. I met him in Sweden at Truegamers and we were very similar in our interests. Subsequently El Presidente took over as a very good country manager and CHIE became quite an active and interesting Challenge site. Guys like earthworm_jim and Mindphuck kept CHIE entertaining - the Irish Quake players have always had some of the best discussions (on any subject) I have ever seen. I still remember in 1998 when they fell in love with Bitchy.

For CHIT: Kay]B[ and cic created an incredible-looking green Challenge site that even had an Italian-language section, and for a while it looked like it might do great things but I think due to language issues it failed to take off in the local Italian scene which was a shame. We never got to find out much about what was going on in Italy. It still looked incredible, though.

For CHLA: edmz, Flame and later slk brought Latin America to the Challenge Network and again the language issue posed a problem, but that was taken care of in a novel way through a deal whereby became a sort of sister site sharing the URL. It was nice to be connected, even if indirectly.

For CHMY: Nael and KeiL turned CHMY into one of the most active sites on the entire Network, with 100+ comments threads regularly busting the top spot on CHWD (they still do). Providing a window literally into another world of Quake, CHMY also developed into one of the sharpest-looking sites in the Challenge Network. Some of the articles have been of a very high standard.

For CHNET: dethkultur provided the poll code and ki11ingtime has been an enormous help with maintaining the CH Forums. Thx also to Erisian for the poll site design.

For CHNZ: Cinclant and later, DaFlash, made it a really interesting and active site. Cinclant was one of NZ's best gamers, especially in TDM, and added a really valuable perspective, while DaFlash was highly creative and energetic. There were a whole bunch of Kiwis who got involved with the Challenge Network (perhaps not surprisingly as I'm a Kiwi myself) such as Death, who did the web design for and CHNZ, Greenknight, who created an enormous CFG resource on CHWD (Interfaced) but then was spirited away somewhere by the promise of better things, and Ard Righ, who had high hopes for the CPL in that part of the world. Special thanks goes to balor who contributed most of the original country site banners.

For CHPT: crow and ZtrANgeR, along with JP_teq made CHPT one of the best examples of a Challenge site. These guys never made as big a splash as the larger sites such as CHUS but they pretty much used the Challenge Network exactly as it was designed and intended to be used – they created their own scene site, used the resources that were made available to them, and helped to raise the profile of the Portuguese Quake community into the bargain.

For CHRU: Zombie was the guy who set it up with me. One of Russia's most talented players at that time, he had the contacts and the vision but we struggled again with the language barrier, never sure whether to create a Russian-language section or how to make the site more appealing for the Russian players. I think despite the Challenge Network being "global" it has always been focused on the English-speaking world and that is just the reality. Other guys such as Sun, swat, Flash and voo tried to get CHRU up and running but in the end it never worked out. We probably didn't need to go for the bright red colour scheme, but it was fun.

For CHSG: neo and taopok turned CHSG into a bustling hub of South East Asian gaming, and made the Challenge Network a richer and more international place for it. We learnt a lot about the burgeoning LAN café scene through news coverage in sites like CHSG, and also were reminded that the gaming scene was active all over the world.

For CHSK: Xipe was going to do great things with CHSK, the Scandinavian Challenge site. A professional web developer, he also wanted to build a 'communication tool' for all the Challenge country managers, who used either email or IRC to discuss things. Unfortunately, real life kept Xipe too busy and the communication tool never saw the light of day and CHSK never took off. A number of Scandinavians, including Uncas and otur, had a go with the site, but no-one was sure if it was a QW or a Q3A site. It has always been difficult for the two to co-exist (the same issue was a recurring problem for CHAU and CHUS).

For CHTV: GreySeer and dethkultur did the base code, and guys like dK and AgenT have built it into the site it is today: a leading community and demos resource, particularly for games like CPMA and QW . Needless to say, dK’s two “Challenges” CPMA tournaments have put CPMA on the map, and helped introduce CPMA to legions of new gamers. Special thx goes to AgenT and putty (more recently) for lots of extra SQL and PHP stuff. Thx also goes to cL-mephit for the latest site design, and to dK for the HTML. cleansweep did the cool redesign for the ‘Pro Player Index’.

For CHUK: Rain, Dappa, Rude, and Requiem were the first to bring a dormant Challenge site which had waited in the wings for ages to life. Later, two different teams got interested at about the same time, one led by NightStrike and the other by the indefatigable duo of Sky and ranger. As we all know, CHUK became "Challenge-Neo" and turned into one of the most active and interesting sites of the "latter period" of Challenge. It was also one of the few Challenge sites that could actually mix Q3A and CPMA news successfully.

For CHUS: Kulprit was the first CHUS country manager, and alongside Griff and myself one of the three co-owners in the early phase of the Network. With a vast network of contacts in the US ‘pro’ scene and an irreverent and earthy wit, matched by powerful ambitions to turn Challenge into a global business empire, he made CHUS into one of the most entertaining sites ever in the Network. Following Kulprit was a hard act, but CHUS has spawned a huge line-up of talented country managers including bustanut, Muiy, revelation, DiamondX, Exodus, and more lately, guys like Syn and zzjohnzz. Many of them cut their teeth on CHUS before moving to or Cached to entertain the locals there. CHUS did have problems reconciling the '3 families' within Challenge: Q3A, CPMA, and QW, and in this respect it was a microcosm of the larger problem affecting the Network. Despite that, it was successful probably for the longest time of any of the country sites in the Network.

For CHWD: everybody :P.

For CHZA: Chenome was the guy I worked with to start things up, he was one of South Africa's top players at that time, and CHZA developed into a very active Challenge site. When Chenome left I wondered what would happen but then dekko took over and she was a professional journalist and made CHZA easily one of the best sites ever in the Network. When she left, it really was difficult to keep up the momentum though a bunch of talented writers had a go, including Shadowlord, and greywolve. Special thanks go to Fuse, who was one of the many talented artists who have contributed to Challenge over the years, and to sPlatcAt who was one of the most original content contributors.

AND THAT IS MOST EVERYBODY FROM THE COUNTRY SITES. There are more than 1,000 writers on the Challenge Network database and thanks goes out to everyone who contributed over the years for supporting us. I hope you got something out of it and found the community fun to be a part of.

Of course, there were other sites and projects that became part of the Challenge family, not the least of which were the Challenge ProMode project and the Challenge Smackdown global QW league. Both are still going as I write and in the case of CPM with the addition of arQon the mod has really taken off (CPMA) and become an established gaming alternative for serious competitors looking for a challenge.

The list of people to thank for ProMode is too damned long by now (check out the credits page on, but the main thing is that Quake players showed that we could build our own competition game – as gamers we don’t have to rely on developers who are understandably motivated more by market realities and tend to head off in commercial directions.

ProMode remains a gigantic living experiment in game design, and continues to evolve and grow to this day. Along the way it gave birth to the Challenge-World Mapping Project, which Barratus and I kicked off on CHWD and which has grown into a fruitful collaboration (see the CHNET CPMA Forums) between mappers and gamers, producing many fine maps which have been used around the world.

Challenge-Smackdown has been a huge success thanks to the efforts of a dedicated QW team including Jjonez, Apollyon, Wart, and zzJohnzz, with help from andy, ego, Tekai, Judge Dredd, JP-Teq and porto. CykloP worked on the cool CHSD website design, while Gacel coded the backoffice extensions. And thanks again to everybody who bought the Challenge-Smackdown Season 2 CD which Jjonez laboured to produce.

Without CHSD, who knows what might have happened to QW over the past several years? I’m sure it would have remained active, but there can be little doubt that CHSD and the support of a global demo resource such as CHTV has kept QW high in profile and encouraged gamers to continue playing one of the best FPS games ever.

Other sites which continue to this day include CHHL and CHCS, which dethkultur set up originally. For them I would like to thank guys like ChiNX, and Sliver (for CHHL) and Phong and mode6nine (for CHCS), though I don’t know much about the operation of those sites. However, they remain very active and contribute a large amount to the total reach of the Network.

It’s that “reach” which continues to deliver to our sponsors SPEAKEASY.NET and the OGL a legitimate business justification for the estimated US$500 per month it costs to host the Network, so we need to maintain that reach going into the future. SUPPORT SPEAKEASY.NET and QUAKECON/the OGL – it’s as simple as that. If you are a QW or CPMA player and/or you use CHTV a lot, or if you have a Challenge site, remember: together we stand, divided we fall.

SO, IT’S TIME TO HANG UP THE ROCKET LAUNCHER AND SAY GOOD-BYE. Cheers and thanks for stopping by over the years. Wish the Challenge Network luck in the future and keep on fragging!

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