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#Challenge on ETG.
#Challenge on Quakenet.
Friday, 10 December 1999 - Hoony
In this sense, firing up the computer and jumping into a game is a bit like grabbing a tennis racquet and running out onto the court. To the gamers who play these games frequently, the player model, the style of the level, the textures, the motifs, are all nothing more than interesting decorations.
All that matters are that you get some decent FPS (frames per second), the map is good, your opponent(s), and winning the battle.
Q3A (and UT, though I haven't taken a close look at it yet) both work very hard at providing the "coolest" environment for death-match imaginable. We see this in the "cool" maps - particularly the "special effects" and all the "gothic/ space" imagery.
And we see this in the prodigious output of Paul Steed and Kenneth Scott - the most amazing collection of player models ever produced.
In both cases I would argue that the design became dominated by the goal of producing content for this "fantasy tournament idea", and not for the actual multiplayer gaming experience of real-life gamers who will primarily use this game.
Multiplayer gamers don't care that much about how cool the map looks. Id Software has created a game with very few maps that actually appeal to multiplayer gamers - supposedly it's target audience. The logic of the game design is that the "arena masters" have picked a series of fantastic arenas for you to do battle with your foes. This leads towards ever more diabolical map designs, although id Software seem to have restrained themselves more than they would have done in a purely single-player game. But you still get a lot of maps that are just too weird or confusing to be good for either team play or tournament. Even the tournament maps, which by nature have to be smaller, tend to get ruined by the "arena master" treatment. Instead of being designed primarily for "real gaming", they are designed to "knock your socks off". Most of the time, this doesn't work. It is because there is a contradiction between the "fantasy tournament idea" and the needs of real-life multiplayer gaming.
I LOVE the Q3A models - they are brilliant. But once again the "fantasy tournament idea" gets in your face. Here, the idea is that you can meet a series of fantastic personalities. When you choose to play as one of them yourself, it shapes your online personality - most notably in the sounds you make when you jump, and are hurt. All of this is cool for the single-player game, but it gets in the way of the multiplayer game. In real-life multiplayer gaming, the players you met are not Bikers they are more likely to be members of another clan or "pro gamers". Half the models are hard to see - granted this could be fixed by simple agreement on use of models in matchplay. But still, when Quake players meet in the virtual battlefields, what they really want is a player model that is simple, functional, looks good, and most importantly, can be seen clearly by the opponent against a range of textures and at some distance. Once again, there is a contradiction between the "fantasy tournament idea" and the needs of real-life multiplayer gaming.
So, if the "fantasy tournament idea" creates problems, how could id Software have done it differently?
Doing it Differently - Next page please