Posts Tagged ‘enemy-territory’

Splash Damage’s Brink: This Is How It Is

Earlier this week, I saw Brink, a game whose substance no-one had hitherto seemed terribly clear about. Pray allow me to try to correct this…

You can tell this is a Splash Damage game because it’s about two teams of players fighting an eternal, bloody war against each other in objective-based maps. It’s not nominally an Enemy Territory game (as have been SD’s two titles to date, Wolfenstein: ET and Quake Wars), but for all the Kent-based developers’ claims that Brink is something of a new beginning, it’s very much a natural extension of what they’ve done previously.

You can’t tell this is a Splash Damage game because, well, everything.
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RPS Interview: Splash Damage

Sat around a table on the mezzanine of a poncey San Francisco hotel were Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s international agent, Jim Rossignol; PC Gamer’s poseable action editor, Tim Edwards; and droopy-fringed Official Xbox 360 Magazine editor and frequent PC Gamer contributor, Jon Hicks. Joining them for man-to-man chat were three members of the UK-based Enemy Territory: Quake Wars development studio, Splash Damage: Owner and lead designer, Paul Wedgwood; business development director, Steve Gaffney; and Splash Damage’s newly promoted art director, Richard Jolly. They all had a nice chat about running a game community, the tribulations of game development, the PC, and how the game that follows ETQW could be “deeper yet more accessible”.

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Enemy Territory: More Of This Sort Of Thing

Bearded ETQW development boss Paul Wedgwood has just mailed to remind y’all that the 1.2 update for ETQW is imminent. It will include a bunch of balancing changes, UI tweaks, bot-bolstering, and lovely in-game voice-comms stuff.

And being a forgetful type, I’ve only just remembered that my Enemy Territory: Quake Wars review has gone online over at PC Gamer UK. In it I discuss how the game isn’t just Battlefield with Strogg, and how I feel it lacks some of the nail-biting this-way-that-way tension of games which have symmetrical objectives. I don’t talk about the totally awesome Slipgate level, however. So I might do that now.

Read on for thoughts and stuff.
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Enemy Territory: Another Trailer

Here’s a new video with Splash Damage’s Paul Wedgwood and Id Software’s Kevin Cloud talking about teamplay in Enemy Territory. Yeah, it’s a mere marketing-speak exercise, but the video itself gives some idea of the things you get up to in ETQW. The acrobatics with the Strogg buggy, for example, as well as some of the more impressive objectives such as the mining laser.

Thanks, Game Trailers. Thanks.

If only it looked this good on my PC. I think it might be upgrade-o-clock.

ETQW Released, Dated For Steam

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars went on sale in Europe on Friday and on Monday and the US. Clearly RPS has been a little distracted with Team Fortress 2, but there’s every reason why we, and you lot too, should be playing ETQW. It’s ludicrously good.

Fortunately, should you (like me) be intent on remaining posted at your keyboard 24/7, you’ll be able to download the beast on October 5th in Europe and October 9th in the US: Steam is taking pre-orders for ETQW now. Why does it come out in Europe first? I have no idea.

In some ways it’s a shame that ETQW’s demo level was that particular map. It’s one of the more underwhelming designs that Splash Damage have come up with. Just in terms of the palette used, it’s rather middle-ground and didn’t really sell the game. The mission itself might have been representative of the game mechanics (and therefore good for beta testing) but part of ETQW’s appeal is the sheer beauty of its wartorn terrains, and some of the other maps simply have far more intense objectives built into them. The island (pictured) and the beach assault are particularly solid, while the Slipgate map… well, I’m going to post in detail on a couple of my favourites next week.

As fun as I’ve found Team Fortress 2, I think I’m going to be finding a more satisfying long-term gaming outlet in ETQW. With vehicles, larger maps, and absurdly varied selection of classes, it simply caters for a wider range of possible actions and experiences. It’s a harder, bigger, brasher game in all kinds of ways, and yet still pretty accessible, I think. Anyway, perhaps we’ll sort out some RPS Steam community games later in October. I’ll also be arranging an interview with Splash Damage to chat a bit about the community end of things, and what they’ve learned from clan gaming in the past.

Interview: The Splash Damage Story

This feature on the origins of the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars team, Splash Damage, was originally published in February this year by the world’s cleverest games development website, Gamasutra. The piece is based around an interview with Splash Damage owner and founder, Paul Wedgwood. I’ve updated it slightly, to reflect the fact that we’re now rather close to the release of the game. That meeting with Wedgwood went on to provide material for my book about gaming, which I’ll pimp to death on here once it’s approaching publication. Anyway, read on for the story of the little mod team that ended up making one of the games of 2007. If you want to make it big in games, this is a pretty good way to go about it.

This interview was an odd kind of reunion. I had been acquainted with Paul Wedgwood for many years, long before we met in person. Back when I was an obsessed Quake player he was one of the people organising the communities, writing columns, administrating games, and commentating for an Internet TV show for which my Quake clan played numerous exhibition matches.

Now that his life has taken quite a different path – into the highest echelons of game development – you might expect him to have left his fan community roots behind, but quite the opposite it true. It is the first-person gaming community, and its focused, implacable gamers, that have made Wedgwood and his company what they are today. These guys are fans, and utterly in love with living a geek dream. You can tell this because of Wedgwood’s enormous collection of sci-fi miniatures in the boardroom… But there’s much more than that to this particular group’s development credentials.

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Shoot You, Sir

It’s been a while since an online first-person shooter has consumed all of my attention. That’s probably going to change. There are two reasons for this. One is called Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and the other is called Unreal Tournament 3.

Quake Wars will be the first of these we’ll be getting stuck into later this year. No confirmed release date, but the ongoing private beta suggests it can’t be too far away. It’s also the only one of the two (so far) that I’ve been fortunate enough to see first hand. There’s all kinds of reasons to be excited about this game, not least because the team that are making it are the epitome of excited, obsessed gamers. Splash Damage has hired from the modding community, and was originally born of the modding community, but they’ve also had Id Software as their technical support and Activision as their sugar-daddy. It’s not a recipe to be sniffed at.

As for the game itself, well, the asymmetric factions fighting on asymmetric maps makes for a unusual yet somehow entirely familiar experience. While people talk about how it’s like Battlefield in its overall vision and execution, the level of polish and design-insight makes Battlefield look quite clumsy. This is a game made by people who know what they want to see on an FPS screen. The HUD is perfect, and the vehicle controls can flipped instantly between realistic physics and vital newbie-friendly softness. This is a game of options and solidity.

The feature that excites me most is the way in which contextual missions are generated for every character, depending on his or her class. You might have no real idea about the tactics of any given game, but the HUD nevertheless offers you a couple of possible missions that will, ultimately, help the overall team. It might be to rescue a fallen comrade, or to build a turret. The missions are generated by the actions of your comrades (e.g. dying) as well as what the game detects you might need (e.g. more turrets.) You’ll get unlocks for these missions too, so even the most selfish of solo players won’t be able to help but help their teams.

Quake Wars will, thanks to this system, be an online FPS that is genuinely accessible. Of course you’re going to have to have some mouse-and-keyboard control skills to get along at all, but beyond that you can just do what the game tells you and definitely feel like you’re a part of the raging battle. It’s beautiful, and I expect it will mean that beginners have a much better time a year down the line, when we’re all Quake Wars veterans.

The Quake Wars community website has recently gone up (as if to counter the publisher’s content-free Flash-crap sites) and it contains all kinds of deeply obsessive analyses of the ways in which fighting will occur in the game.

Meanwhile Unreal Tournament will be offer very different, very special reasons to be excited. Look at this:

If that preview image is even a fraction of what you can actually do in the assault missions I’ll be a happy rocketeer. I really don’t expect this to be a great leap on from the recent UT2003/2004 games, but then they were so perfectly engineered, so solid and slick, and so utterly drenched in features, that I can’t see taking it further really being all that necessary.

Nevertheless the UT3 preview events (none of which I’ve been able to go to, sadly) are revealing more martial delights, like this from Eurogamer:

Unreal Tournament 3’s most eye-catching new feature is a two-metre-square block of pink gelatinous wibble that Epic is currently calling the “slow bubble”. Once deployed, it slows the pace of anything that passes through it to a crawl. You can fire a rocket into one end and then run round the side and watch it slowly carve through the centre, before resuming its breakneck pace as it exits. More usefully, you can also dump it in a corridor that chokes your enemy’s progress and use it like a flytrap, snaring the opposition and then blasting them at will. And, brilliantly, anybody stuck inside also gets to watch your bullets seep towards them at the same gradual pace that prevents them getting out of the way.

The Unreal Tournament series has become Epic’s playground for experimentation and clever shooter design. You’d never have guessed that this would be the winner when Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament arrived within in just a few months of each other, but I don’t think we can doubt that UT3 is going to seize the crown. Whatever Id’s other as-yet-unannounced new project is, I doubt it’ll be competing with Epic’s bloated baby. I suppose it’s just a stroke of luck that Id now have a young, dynamic British studio doing the multiplayer work for them.

The nature of both Enemy Territory and UT3 suggest the minimal, arena-based, pure deathmatch multiplayer of the era prior to and contemporary with Quake 3 is dead. I suspect there’s still a market for that kind of play, but the majority are going to be get carried away with the ludicrous weapons, the absurd environments, the thundering vehicles, and the preposterous sci-fi possibility of it all. And, ultimately, I can’t say that I blame them.