Just tell me who messed up this room!
Welcome to the new, standardized Big Fuzzy Focus! I've made this feature into a tool where we can check out projects in development with an "across the board" set of criterea. A sheet of ten questions will be answered by the dev teams, the same ten for each team. Boring, nope...it's like a quiz where the readers get to see how the different crews react and let loose with the info under the same conditions. I'll get a chance to play the latest build, whether Alpha or public Beta, to give you some info on what really playing it is like. Then we'll hand out the candy, ten to twelve screenshots taken during the play testing. That being said, lets jump on the first victim for the new format, TeamTerminator's True Combat for Quake III.
True Combat is about to release beta045 to the public (at the time of this piece) and that's the version I got to play. The project is considered a TC or Total Conversion (TC) because there's really nothing from standard Quake III left when it's all said and done. The team is using the realism theme to get the job done, and I've gotta tell ya, I've never been the biggest "realism mod" player. I see them, test them and play them, but not much as compared to Dm or CTF. before ya start ranting chanting and carrying on, lemme say I can always appreciate the work put into these babies, it's just not how I spend my Quake'in time...until now. The beta045 version of True Combat got more of my time in the past week than anything else, and I don't see this trend breaking very soon. It's beautiful! How's that for an impartial comment? it is though, and the effects the team has added to the game on their trip to real world are so engrossing I just can't walk away. The textures, map locales and all around feel is as close to real as I've seen anywhere in a computer game. The Quake III engine does this project justice, but the small and large additions the team has made have created a world that mirrors this one well.
The sights and sounds will draw you in and hold you like your grip on your weapon, tight and sweaty. You'll be edging around corners in what you could swear is a real harbour, factory or indusrtial complex captured on film. The weapons look great but have a very real feel that took me by surpise with the physics and sound effects the team has created. Limping along after taking a leg shot, listening for footfalls behind you, you'll appreciate the bandage command, if only to slow the crimson flow that's spurting from your area specific damage skin. The features are many in this new version and from big to small, they gel into a very solid and captivating experience. Those players that already spend most of their time on realism mods and TC's will be thrilled that this new contender hit the scene, and this new release will make some marks out there.
That's my take on the version I got to play, now let's see how the team handled the questions
Pappy: Tell us a bit about the project.
Tier: TrueCombat started as a side project, The Q3Terminator mod. One day w added some very cool weapon effects and found them not to fit the Terminator theme. After that we decided to start a new mod called TrueCombat. Today, TrueCombat is a tactical, team-based realism shooter.
Kyle: Anyone familiar with realistic mods will be at home with True Combat. Basically we are using the quake3 engine to deliver real world locations and real world weapons, but we managed to achieve a very unique style of play not found in many other mods.
Pappy: Have you been encouraged by the Betas you've released or Alphas you've tested under a closed atmosphere?
Tier: Hell yeah... Ok, sometimes it is a bit boring to sit home alone and hunt bugs in the code, but every time we play-tested TrueCombat at our internal test session, we had a great time. Thanks to the early released betas we had feedback from the players, this helped us a lot to refine TrueCombat and make it what it is today.
Coroner: Frankly spoken, we had some very rough times during the development. In the beginning it was Tier and me alone, forming the whole team and struggling around with coding, modeling, mapping, public relations and web design (if at all). We got extremely positive feedback from many sides after our first beta release, however, people talked about great potential and afterwards TrueCombat was often more regarded and treated as an alphademo, and unfortunately sometimes mentioned in connection with even unreleased mods.
I sometimes had the impression it was just a stupid idea to count our betas from zero, as people tend to think of an unplayable alpha unless the zero disappeared from the version number. 45 should convince the community.
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?
Tier: We released the first beta of TrueCombat around September 2000, roughly one year ago. Beta 045, which will be released this Friday, works as a base for us now. All the basic stuff is in there now and we can now concentrate on the things, that were pushed down on the ToDo list. I don't want to go into any details about what will be in the next version after 045, but we have a very long wish list. And, hand on heart, I sometimes lean back, watch the bots play and smile...
Kyle: Just today I was playing 027 for old times sake and then I jumped to 045 and it was clear just how much of a evolution jump that was. Perfection... we won't be able to achieve that but if everyone sticks with us True Combats development and subsequent improvement will be steady and solid.
Next: The Quiz Continues...