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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | Bring on the Bots!
   

The Q3A Bus Hits La Mesa
Tearing down the highway, leaving a trail of gibs in its wake, the Q3A bus pulled into La Mesa to wreak incredible damage to an unprepared CompUSA store. The sheer trauma of the event left me no choice but to go out with Paul, Anna, Hellchick, and the CompUSA guys and drink heavily.
  — by
Lowtax

Here is an exclusive shot from the newest Q3A test. I'm spacing them out among the pages of this article in the hopes that you'll read the entire thing and generate more ad revenue for our network from our ad banners. HA!

On the Road Again...

When Anna Kang first informed me that she and Paul Steed of id Software would be hanging out at the Q3A bus stop in La Mesa, California, I was determined to get out of the office and cover it. Despite my bosses pleas of "But Lowtax, you're required to be in the office 16 hours a day" and "Couldn't we send any better writers than him?", I bolted from of the Gamespy offices in a drunken rage, pausing only to delete all the porn from my shared drive (gotta have priorities). As I jumped into my bitching Camaro, Hellchick busted into the passenger side, exclaiming, "If you're going to cover the Q3A bus, at least take me with you. I'll try to stop you from getting drunk and making too big an ass of yourself." Now that's love, folks.

The 90-minute drive to the San Diego / La Mesa area stretched into what was easily an 18 hour excursion, as California traffic laws dictate that on any given weekend there has to be 15,000 sports-utility vehicles crammed into each one-mile section of highway. However, being stuck in gridlock for hours in sweltering heat while surrounded by SUVs the size of convenience stores didn't depress me, for I was on a one-track mission; I was going to see the Q3A bus. Nothing would stop me, not even the border patrol that was waving frantically and drawing their weapons!

Get Onto the Bus!

After arriving in sunny La Mesa, I was immediately greeted by the sleek, black Q3A bus. Like a scorched bullet basking in the glow of the sun, the bus had already gathered quite a large group of interested gamers. Lining up across the parking lot, the impressive crowd of people were anxiously awaiting their 20 minutes of fragging fame aboard the high tech, mobile, LAN party of doom. Anna Kang came out of the bus, cool and rejuvenated after beating some poor fool into a coma after he accidentally captured her image on film. After confiscating my camera and forcing me to swear on my mother's grave to never even think about possibly conceiving an idea to take a picture of it, Anna showed me a small folder containing the 20 or so planned model designs for the final version of Q3A. She then explained that Paul was running a bit late, but his plane had landed and he was supposedly on his way. After brainstorming reasons why Paul had not arrived, we were unable to come up with a plausible explanation (we were fairly sure there weren't any strip clubs on the way to the CompUSA).

The front of the bus. There were some hoodlums in the tent to the right. They harrassed me. They had cups too.

Paul eventually showed up and was immediately surrounded by reporters and cameramen wanting his opinion of Unreal Tournament and Half Life. Like a trained assassin, Anna deftly swept in and pushed all those people into oncoming traffic, leaving me free to conduct my interview with the man himself.

Lowtax: "Skeletal animation. That's the big thing right now, and everybody's talking about it. Back during QuakeCon, you told me how you wanted it, but John didn't want to implement it. Now that it's in, how have things changed?"

Steed: "The problem is, I wanted it, but he didn't want to do it, because it's a lot of work. Now he has to do it because if he doesn't, you can't run the game. He has to get the memory down. The skeletal system has been put in place purely to save memory now. I'm not going to be able to take advantage of any of the power of the skeletal animation system; it's basically as is. It just takes up 1/3 of the storage space. Next game I'll be able to plan from day one with the animation system and really use it. Instead of having 300 frames of animation, I'll have like 3,000."

Lowtax: "How are you and id Software concentrating on making the models customizable? Q3A really seems to be a game aimed at the mod programming community, how is it going to cater to the modeling community?"

Steed: "I'm going to do tutorials, I'm thinking about doing a book in December because I write these magazine articles for game developers. I've written about 13 articles, 3,000 words each, I might as well keep rolling through that. I want to write a book on low poly animation modeling."

Next page: Paul's erotic dreams, having sex in Everquest, more cool screenshots


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