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    PlanetQuake | Articles | Interviews | Big Fuzzy Focus: Alternate Fire
   

Big Fuzzy Focus: Alternate Fire
New ways to live..and die.
— by Pappy-R


 - click for full size image
Lots of alternatives!

Introduction

Alternate Fire is just what the name implies, but it's not just about new ways to shoot.

Although, out of the box, it sounds like a "shotgun shoots faster" weapon tweak mod, Alternate Fire brings a lot more to the table without an overflow of useless changes. Each weapon is as you know and love, but they also have a secondary fire mode that is in most cases, very original. From the "Chaff" that seconds your machinegun fire to confuse homing missles to the "Lightning Web" that can protect and booby trap areas of access, there's only one "gun shoots faster" mode and it changes the shotgun to a single barrel but faster firing weapon.

Of course there's a full list of what each weapon does in secondary fire mode, but I'll leave it up to the following pics and the Alternate Fire site to provide a detailed list. Another little twist that came out in a recent version of the mod is exploding ammo, and baby is that a fun bit of sugar. Ammo boxes all explode if shot, and the resulting damage is a direct result of just what kind of ammo it was. Explosive ammo like Rockets, Grenades and Cells explode, but other types like Rail, Bullets and Shells fire off projectiles like they would in reality. Oh, the joy of popping a foe because he was too close to that box of shells is awesome, although your target isn't going to like it.

More little gameplay enhancing features include the flag returning in CTF. You have to take your flag back to base, it doesn't pop back and this adds a new area of concern to the game. If you really want to mess people up, don't tell them about the "Missle Teleporting" option. That's right, just fire your rockets (homing are fun here!) at a teleporter, and they go through like the player did and will appear on the destination end just full of attitude. This mod is fun, it's a "more power" mod that really takes gameplay into consideration with some sparkling new features.

Interview

Pappy: Tell us a bit about the project.

haste: It's a Quake III Arena mod that gives you new ways to frag people. The main one is called a "secondary attack," which every gun has. You don't have to do anything special to use these attacks except bind a key in the "Control" menus. They range from completely protective (like the liquid metal protection) to completely strategic (like the Lightning Web) to completely destructive (like the sabotaged BFG).

The other way to frag people now is to blow up an ammo box that they are unfortunate (or stupid) enough to be standing next to.

Pappy: Have you been encouraged by the Betas you've released or Alphas you've tested under a closed atmosphere?

haste: Both, definitely. At first, it was just me on my own workstation coding up cool and cool-looking stuff, and I suppose you could say that I was encouraged by how fun it was to rail three bots at the same time without hitting one of them. (That's the radius rail, by the way - very nasty, slow and hard to get the hang of, but extremely useful.)

In the alpha stage at home, I was pretty much motivated by fun. Then I got the idea that other people might like it, so I started thinking about playability. That's when I added things like chaff, which makes the game still playable even though it's got some pretty accurate homing missiles.

After that, the PlanetQuake folks gave me some web space, and I released the first beta. PlanetQuake had a site launch, and I had well over 1000 people visit the site and around 500 downloads of the beta on that one day. I got some really good feedback, some bug reports, and a lot of praise. Apparently, I had made something pretty fun.

Though it's still great fun to code on this project, now I'm mostly motivated by the possibility of other people enjoying themselves. Just yesterday I saw a comment posted on a Quake discussion that was signed "an altfire fan." That was cool.

Pappy: How long has the project been in development, and using this as a guide, how long do you expect it to take before it's a completed work you can sit back from and smile?

haste: I've been working on it for two months now. I figure in another two or three months I'll have put out 2.0 with bot support, alternate powerups and fun stuff like that. I'll sit back and smile for a bit, and then probably code up something else...it never ends for a hobbyist programmer, really.

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