PQ Chats with Robert Duffy
Robert Duffy, creator of Q3Tools and Q3Radiant, took some
time out to chat with PQ during map week.
With the release of Q3Radiant, the Q3A mapping utility, there's
been a big surge of map releases for the game. With this being
map week, we asked Robert Duffy, id programmer and creator
of Q3Radiant, if he would sit down and answer some questions
for mappers and the general PQ public. If you couldn't participate
in the chat, held in the irc.gamesnet.net 6667 #PlanetQuake
channel, then you're in luck -- we have the chat right here!
So grab a soda, your copy of Q3Radiant, and set a spell.
[21:01] (Hellchick-PQ) Tonight, he's been nice enough to sit down with us and the community
and talk about Q3Radiant and mapping in Q3A by taking your questions
[21:02] (Hellchick-PQ) Hypni|s|: Q: Duffy you have helped make QER/Q3R what it is today and
helped ID in the process. What is your position going to be on ID's next project? Will you
continue to make an Editor/tools for them or are you going to be moving on?
[21:03] (raduffy) I will be responsible for the tools, primarily the editor as well as working
on other elements of the technology, I've currently been busy working ( mostly with Cash ) on
the point release and related things.
[21:04] (Pappy-R) (WarZone-finally) my question: will the next Q3 patch affect Q3 mod
developement as drastically as the 3.14 path for Q2 did (in a bad way)?
[21:05] (raduffy) The next release should be great for mod makers. It has auto-downloading, mod
support ( via the menu system ), better cheat protecting, fs_game works as intended and we fixed
a few bugs.
[21:05] (LadyICE) Will QERadiant see any more development, beyond v1.47?
[21:06] (raduffy) Probably not by me. The source is going to be released along with the rest of
the tool source ( Q3Radiant, Q3Map, Q3Data, etc.. ) so it might be continued by someone else.
[21:07] (spyke) (Inflict) Robert: Why has the "clipping" colour indicator been reversed in the
q3 tools? Before what went yellow was going away, and now whats yellow stays :)
[21:07] (raduffy) Probably just a bug :-) Send me an e-mail.
[21:07] (Hellchick-PQ) (Deathstalker) Will Robert be modifying Q3R so that models are recognized
and displayed without having to edit the entity listing and reloading the map?
[21:07] (raduffy) Yes, that is a bug, should be fixed in the next rev.
[21:08] (Pappy-R) (BalleSkalle|AFK) Q: How long have Radiant ben in development,and "why" did
you start working it ?
[21:10] (raduffy) I started QERadiant in Dec 98, basically I was frustrated with the current
editor offerings and figured I'd use what Id used. So I downloaded QE4 and ran it.. and
thought.. WOW.. they made maps with this? It was very functional and productive when learned
but needed a facelift from a usability standpoint ( more )
[21:10] (Hellchick-PQ) (Drakaza) Questions get put here? : here goes: "What features of
QRadiant (that are not present other editors) are you proud to have been the first to
[21:10] (raduffy) As I had been doing commercial development for 12 or so years I decided to
try and make it usable by normal people.
[21:10] (Lady_ICE) *Mad* What kind of quality assurance did u guys use; such as how long was
your timeline and how many people did u use?
[21:10] (raduffy) er.. normal machines :-)
[21:11] (raduffy) Ok.. I'll answer those two in order
[21:11] (raduffy) Well the main feature I am proud of in Q3Radiant is that Id uses it. That is
definately a unique feature :-)
[21:11] (Hellchick-PQ) lol
[21:13] (raduffy) As far as QA goes, I was not involved during the QA for Q3A. I know that
Activision does a lot along those lines. Since I have joined Id full time, one of my
responsibilities has become being responsible for point releases and so on.. ( MORE )
[21:14] (raduffy) And at this time, we have a QA doc that goes over testing the entire product,
a specific doc based on things per point release and we test that internally. Eric spends a lot
of time on that. At the same time Activision tests using their methods.
[21:14] (spyke) (Equim) Robert, about a month ago you said in a plan update that the source
for the Q3 tools would be released 'next week' ... so what happened there? Is the source going
to be coming out any time soon?
[21:16] (raduffy) That is my fault for putting a specific time frame on it. Basically I planned
on that, then got busy when things like fs_game was broken, then started adding things like
hiearchial group support for the editor and so on. It still should be out "soon"
[21:16] (Hellchick-PQ) (Qwertys) Question for the duffster: How do they decide on what the
editor and engine can do? i have noticed that you can't have 1 entitie have multiple
properties, which leaves out a lot of things you could do.
[21:17] (raduffy) That is probably a better question for John. But in general, the engine
( and editor ) are capable of doing what Id produces as a "game" along with what seems to
be necessary for good mod development. That is a fairly simplistic answer but there is only
so much that can be done in a given time frame
[21:19] (Pappy-R) (Qwertys) will future games or versions of Q radiant support multiple
properties applied to 1 entity?
[21:20] (raduffy) It depends on what you mean by multiple properties... An entity can have
any number of key/val pairs associated with it and many entities have many properties
associated with them.
[21:21] (Lady_ICE) *Hypno|S|* Q: When designing Q3R what was the most difficult thing that
you ran into?
[21:21] (raduffy) Retaining some of the exact "it feels like this" features that were
present in QE4 that many of the professional designers used to QE4 required.
[21:22] (spyke) ([apathy]da5id) Why isn't there a version of Q3R for Linux?
[21:23] (raduffy) The primary reason is that the code is very Win32 and MFC based. And the
development at Id ( and the other companies that use Radiant ) is Win32 based from a tools
point of view. It is hard enough targeting multiple platforms for the game much less all the
[21:24] (Hellchick-PQ) (Grom) Can Robert provide an alternate method of displaying selected
brushes? The dashed red outline seems to kill update speed in the 2d window
[21:24] (raduffy) The new version has a "solid selections" preference. That is primarily an
issue with nVidia based drivers.
[21:26] (Pappy-R) (WarZone-finally) question #2: are you guys (aimed at id) even considering
my offer of adding enhanced weapon switching to Q3?
[21:27] (raduffy) That depends on which offer that is. If it was something you sent as in
source code we do not take outside source submissions. And we are quite happy with the
weapon switching as it is.
[21:28] (Lady_ICE) *RedEagle* Big bobby, now that you say your done with q3r, what is your
"offical title" at ID? What do you work on? how about the grappling hook, it could use some
[21:29] (raduffy) Actually I said I was done with QERadiant ( the Q2 version ), not Q3Radiant
( the Q3 version ). My official title is Programmer and I work on a variety of things, um..
mainly programming :-)
[21:29] (spyke) Robert, is there any way to line up 2 water brushes, without getting a missing
texture where they touch? or is that just an unavoidable engine bug?
[21:29] (spyke) from screwme, btw. :)
[21:30] (raduffy) I believe there is a way to do that, but offhand I could not recite it.
I think the soon to be released ( I just ran through the almost finished 150+ page version
last night ) manual.
[21:31] (raduffy) Actually I hope you and all mod makers push and prod the engine and tools
in ways we never thought of. That is what makes the mod community so cool, the fact that
we see mods and think, how the fuck did they do that ?
[21:31] (raduffy) Excuse my french :-)
[21:34] (Hellchick-PQ) (ann0yanc3) Question: Will the curved surfaces (i.e. Cylinders) ever
be able to be subtracted from? For instance, can I make a cylinder, then a square brush,
and then subtract the square brush from the cylinder to create an opening for a hallway?
[21:34] (raduffy) no
[21:35] (Hellchick-PQ) hehe, next question ;)
[21:35] (childsplay) nice and simple just how we like em :)
[21:35] (Pappy-R) (Coin-Op) Have you thought much about the future of level design? Do
the current level designers at id have more ambitious plans for world creation than what
has been done for q3? Do you think the ways of level design at id are currently tied to
the style of gameplay(quake). Do you see a different future for level design, and the
tools used to create them?
[21:36] (raduffy) The short answer is yes. The long answer is it needs to be easier to
create more detail, easy to add functionality to the tools ( plugins ) and it would be
great to manage large world creation from within a single tool ( MORE )
[21:38] (raduffy) There have been some pretty nice plugins done for Q3Radiant that will
start seeing the light of day once this new release is out. Timothee ( TTimo ) has done
a lot of work rounding out the plugin functionality and there is some really cool stuff
on the way.
[21:38] (LadyICE) *Small_Fry* What does the future hold for ID, SUch as games. Are
they going to continue the Dooms?
[21:39] (raduffy) The future holds a lot of very nice things for Id. If I say more they
will make me sweep floors instead of work on technology. :-)
[21:39] (spyke) (NiGHTMaRE|Q3FReAK) Lord Duffy: Where do u think all of map making will
be headed in the future? Will any be headed towards macs or just pc/windows based
[21:40] (raduffy) I hope to start getting the tools more multi-os friendly. But I would not
look for anything in the near future.
[21:40] (Hellchick-PQ) (NiGHTMaRE|Q3FReAK) Can i ask how he got into map making?
[21:42] (raduffy) I was working on a mod called Xile with my two brothers when I decided
that we needed a good editor. I am one of those people that think I can make maps, but
in reality I suck at it so I write code instead.
[21:42] (dolomite) thanks for answering that robert... We're looking at some really rad
changes with WireTap ( official: http://www.planetquake.com/wiretap & design site:
http://wiretap.gamedesign.net ) ... Mod devs should push the engine, yet do you believe
in simplicity of gamedeisgn over glitz? ... or must the dev go beyond constantly to get
attention or attract users?
[21:44] (raduffy) I think that simplicity as far as understanding how to play is good. Push
the envelope as far as wow features ( imo )
[21:45] (Pappy-R) (Dekard[admincentral]) is there going to be a fix to the q3dm9 map
hole in the wall? and there is rumored to be a "edge" recreated map for the edge still
in Id's possession will that ever be released, as the conversions leave alot to be desired...
[21:45] (raduffy) Q3DM9 is being re-released in the soon to be out point release.
[21:45] (LadyICE) *TTimo* what do you think of Id's comitment to release free editing
tools vs using professional / much more powerfull tools (like 3ds maya etc.)
[21:47] (raduffy) I think it makes it easier for the mod community to thrive. I know for
a fact that Id could definately do level design without their own tool but have
consistently chosen to keep the editor up to date with the engine tech so the community
has a quality tool to work with.
[21:47] (spyke) ([WaR]Lee) my question is what did u get stuck on whilst making q3??
[21:48] (raduffy) I personally did not get stuck on anything, although I was glued to a
few episodes of the Simpsons.
[21:48] (raduffy) The curves were a large chunk of code in the editor ( if that is what
you meant ;-)
[21:50] (Pappy-R) (Inflict) What mod are you most looking forward too? What do you
think about Rocket Arena 3 for example
[21:51] (raduffy) I am looking forward to quite a few mods, RA3 is one of many. I played
the beta of Head Hunters last night and it was a blast. I am personally looking forward to
some of the single player offerings.
[21:52] (spyke) (bop_at_pq) How tight of control does Carmack keep over the source code?
Does he write the framework then let the other coders enhance it?
[21:54] (raduffy) So far he has been working on research so apart from a few things I
have asked him about, he is pretty much hands off during the point releases ( MORE ).
[21:55] (raduffy) In general if something needs conceptual verification ( like poking
holes in the new anti-cheat code ) he is pretty active but I think one of his goals at
this point in time is to focus on research.
[21:55] (Hellchick-PQ) (DevilM) Has ID thought about having grens be usuable at the same
time as other weapons e.g. like in TF?
[21:58] (raduffy) I do not think so for Q3. Everyone at id is really happy with the weapon
[21:59] (Pappy-R) (ProdigyXL) Question - Why when useing curves, the editor flips the
texture, is there away to fix this?
[22:00] (raduffy) There is a keystroke to flip which side of the curve gets textured.
Since curves can be textured on one of two sides it is not always apparent which side is
the right one. I could flip a coin or something.. or you could just use the keystroke
[22:00] (spyke) (Comp625) Can you asks the guys this question: Are there any plans of
making a Quake 3 Add On either through ID Software or through a subsidary company such
[22:01] (raduffy) Official add-ons are not my department. If you have valid questions in
this area, ask Todd.
[22:01] (Hellchick-PQ) (Gussboy) Robert: Will the curve selection slowdown on nvidia
based cards (Geforce in particular) be addressed in the next rev of Q3R?
[22:02] (raduffy) The curve slow down on nVidia cards is a driver issue when drawing
stippled lines. The next release allows you to draw solid selections. This is also
something nVidia is looking into.
[22:04] (Pappy-R) (Neodemon) Is idSoftware planning to release a second SDK to fix the
multiple DLL issue?
[22:05] (raduffy) If by multiple DLL issue you mean loading DLL's from game directories
then yes, the next release allows that with a dialog warning. DLL's are evil in most cases.
QVM's are not totally secure but they are far more secure than DLL's. The message box can
be overriden with a CVAR and it is not presented for dedicated servers. If your doing a
mod that has client side code, do everyone a favor and produce it as qvm's.
[22:06] (spyke) "ID software has a history of making 'level-crawling' games with a weak
storyline. Progression being marked by episodes and bosses. This is slightly modified in
Q3A, however, the concept still overshadows the gameplay. My question is: does ID plan to
implement more of a storyline into their games, or remain with the straight action-packed
[22:06] (spyke) from Reavus
[22:06] (raduffy) See my answer above about the next game.
[22:06] (Hellchick-PQ) (g1zm0) how much interaction do you have with the level designers,
do you try to implement tools in the editor for them if its something they all think is a
good idea ?
[22:07] (raduffy) I work with them quite a bit. Features are kind of ad-hod at the moment..
But in general if everyone likes it, it goes in.
[22:08] (Pappy-R) (WarZone) are you (id again) considering adding trap_Alloc()/trap_Free()
-- dynamic memory -- functionality to the Q3 source?
[22:08] (raduffy) no
[22:09] (spyke) (Demonic_S) This question is probably geared more towards John, but, you
might know something - Are there any plans to incorporate 3DNOW! into the engine code? The
Quake2 patch was excellent and there are many K6-2/3 users whom I'm sure would like to see
this. And if the answer is yes, would yall' do it or give AMD the code to work with?
[22:09] (raduffy) I am not sure on that one. You might ask John.
[22:10] (Hellchick-PQ) (WARHAWK) What games (outside of idgames) released or currently in
development have impressed you the most in recent months?
[22:12] (raduffy) I used to be an EQ TimeSuck addict. Thankfully I am over that hell episode
of my life :-). Lately, my 5 year old and I have been playing a lot of Crazi Taxi and NFL2K
on the Dreamcast. I also just got the Sims, still deciding on that. I also have been playing
a lot of Q3A and UT.
[22:12] (Pappy-R) Hypno|S|) Q: Q3R is a great editor and is really easy to use. What are
some of the major issues that needs to be fixed or you plan to fix in the current build of
[22:14] (raduffy) The next release has full multilevel undo/redo ( thanks MrElusive ) ,
much better plugin support ( thanks Timo ) and hiearchial grouping ( thanks Robert ) , and
other stuff. Ritual handed off some code to me the other day that does real time lighting
so you do not have to vis and light your maps to see what they will look like. I hope to get
that integrated as well.
[22:14] (Hellchick-PQ) (Deathstalker) Ok - if you can't (and won't be able to) manipulate
curves like brushes, ie. CSG - do you know if the next engine will allow curves to act like
[22:14] (TTimo) shaders handling has some bugs and needs a bug cleanup as well
[22:14] (raduffy) Um. Curves act like solids in this game.
[22:16] (spyke) (Kiltron) Are there any future plans for a plug-in designed for Q3Radiant
enabling simple or even complex model creation?
[22:17] (TTimo) robert: how long do you think you'll be working on the Q3Radiant public
version before moving onto stuff for the next game?
[22:17] (raduffy) Hmmm.. someone could definately do it. Not me. I think that model creation
is better suited for modeling softare ( MilkShape ).
[22:17] (raduffy) I hope to work on it for a bit longer. We will probably be using a
Q3Radiant derivitive for the next game.
[22:18] (spyke) ([3DSA]Borax) Does ID have any plans to add functionailty to Q3Rad to import
data from other formats such as DXF?
[22:18] (raduffy) no
[22:18] (crt) what new features are going to be available for q3r plugin developers in the
[22:18] (raduffy) that is exactly what plugins should do ( the import )
[22:18] (TTimo) spyke: third party might do that
[22:18] (TTimo) ahem
[22:19] (raduffy) yes.. that is best addressed by asking timmo or me via e-mail
[22:19] (TTimo) and since q3radiant source code will eventually be out there's no real
restriction about features in Radiant
[22:19] (childsplay) Mr Duffy, Can you give us any type of hint or any type of teaser as to
what the next game of id software will be?
[22:20] (Zoid) Will the source be released under the GPL?
[22:20] (raduffy) Yes I can.
[22:20] (raduffy) But I won't.
[22:20] (spyke) fine, we'll get it out of zoid!
[22:20] (raduffy) The source will be released under a similar license as the tools.
[22:21] (childsplay) Did you antisipate the effect releasing the Q1 source code would
have on the community and would you have done it differently if you could. Or was it
designed to make people \move on to quake3?
[22:22] (raduffy) actually i think the Q1 release was a great thing. It was not designed
to make anyone move on, it was designed to put some great technology in the publics hands.
There are methods to cure cheating. It was an amazing gift to the community, I am surprised
The chat room floodgates open! (The unmoderated part of the