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    PlanetQuake | Articles | Interviews | Big Fuzzy Focus: FreakBall Arena
   

Big Fuzzy Focus: FreakBall Arena
One ball, two teams..lots of guns!
— by Pappy-R


 - click for full size image
Details like the new Menu System show dedication!

Introduction

In a widely popular theme that's hits the Quake III scene harder than any other previous Quake, the "ball/sport" mods have faithful and talented crews that supply the action, and FreakBall Arena is one of the biggest. Also one of the first to hit public release with their first beta that offered the basic fun they promised without the "fine touches" they hoped for, the team behind the mod has continued to give till it hurt, until finally reaching the big v1.0 release just yesterday.

This isn't the final build you'll see from the FreakBall Arena team as they strive to tweak this beast into something that could be easily mistaken for a retail product, and this goal becomes clear and unavoidable with this latest offering. The bar has been raised for mod and conversion teams to offer all the goodies possible in a seamless and easy to use format, and it's teams like this that make it harder for others to gain the same respect. Already sporting a League of their own, the FreakBall Arena mod is well on it's way to cult classic standing at the very least.

I've played every version that's been released, and one of the early PQ Challenges on GameSpy Arcade used this fast downright fun mod to show just how lame the PQ Team was. We got killed, crushed and humiliated by a community that was already learning the finer points of getting the ball into the goal. But we laughed all the way to the e-mails where we had to hand out booty to the victors. Now that you know the fun has always been in the FreakBall Arena package, let's take a closer look at this non-beta release.

I'll simply list some of the new goodies fixes and tweaks here in a sec, since it would waste your time and mine to try and verbalize things that are this simple and hard hitting, but you should know that as soon as you crank this beast up and start going through the new ROQ powered menus, you know you've got a mod that the team cared an awful lot about. The small touches, professional quality graphics and user friendly options will shine through to anyone that loads it up. Now as I promised, here's some of the new features you'll see in v1.0, and then we'll get to the Q&A portion with Thomas "WolfHead" Schirlitzki from the dev team.

  • MP3 Player
  • CD Audio Player (deactivated in this version)
  • 3 Sample Tracks by Dayta of the Soundtrack
  • enhanced Freakgate functions
  • new HUD
  • new Mainmenu
  • new Ingamemenu
  • RPG System
  • 9 maps
  • Level ROQs
  • Soundtrack
  • TA Style Voting System
  • Killerball
  • Fixed "Ball-Hanging-in-Wall"-Bug
  • Fixed some Ball-Catching-Bugs
  • added FreakBall Server Filter
  • many new textures used made by HFX
  • limited winamp m3u playlist support (you need to save -NOT COPY- your playlist in the freakball/music dir)
  • Playerbrowser only shows blue team skins
  • Game will only start when there is at least one player in each team
  • cd key dialog removed
  • Credits Screen
  • fixed problems with the rpg system
  • rewrote "Multiplayer" menu
  • Interview

    Pappy: Tell us a bit about the project.

    WolfHead: FBA is a MOD for Quake III Arena. It's a kind of future sport, similar to the Amiga Classic Speedball. Your main objective is running for goals. To prevent someone from scoring a goal, you are allowed to use your weapons. The Player who got the ball can't use any weapons, so his teammates will have to protect him from enemy players. Goals and Touchdowns count much more then frags, to make sure people won't just run for frags. You can also jump through freakgates, which you can find in some maps, to make even more points with a goal or touchdown.

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

    WolfHead: Yeah sure! The very first alpha test took place during a LAN party with 20 people. We nearly only got positive feedback, so we decided to enlarge the team to make the mod bigger. When we tested FBA first at this LAN we were only 3 people, two mappers and one programmer. Afterwards I searched modelers and another programmer and so we were 7 people when we finally released beta 1 to the public.

    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?

    WolfHead: Well it really took us damn long time for this v1.0 release. This was because the team lost Lucholaf, our coder, to university and Admin, our second coder left the team. Some more members got inactive and so we were only in fact 2 people left in the team. Then we finally found a new Coder, Drinkfist. He rewrote nearly the whole mod to Q3A v1.29 in just one week and also new features were added. We also intensified our work on maps and scripting the new menu, and so finally after more then one year we got from beta 1 to v1.0.

    I'm sure it won't take us again one year for the next release. We are already working on more maps and we also want to enhance the RPG system. Afterwards we maybe will replace the standard Q3A weapons. We will also try to get bots working, but we need some more research on this. So there's still much work to do... let's wait and see how long it will take us this time =)

    Next: More to freak about


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