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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | January 4, 2002

PQ Mailbag

Back from hiatus!

The time after Christmas is a time for quiet reflection, a time to spend with friends and family, a time to think on the true meaning of the holidays. Not a time for writing mailbags and stressing about deadlines. Well, that and you inconsiderate jerks didn't write enough to fill one page last week. Fortunately, armed with a full two weeks' worth of mail I'm ready to tackle the tough issues again in the first mailbag of 2002. So gather 'round, kids, and let's get this mailbag started!

Feedback and/or Quake 4

From: saar_k
Subject: Mailbag so far

Wow, I can't remember when was the last time I sent a comment on the mailbag. I think it was way back when Spyke and Hellchick still did the mailbag. Or was it during the Lee'Mon and L33t'Mon era? So anyway...

What have we seen so far? A few people brought back the Quake4 issue, which is rather understandable, considering that just as Pappy asked for it the mailbag went down, and happy mailers began recieving "mail undeliverable" from one of gamespy's servers, I myself included(and I had such a wonderful thought out e-mail). If there's anything I'd want in Quake4, it's simply non-linear story. Just give me multiple endings, nothing like getting to play the game more than once and still getting a chance to see things you haven't seen before. Really enhances replayability.

Next, you had a mailbag about controller configs. I myself have a very unique config, having that I'm probably the only one not using WASD, even though I'm a mouser. Instead I use the keypad, but the left and right keys still turn. "So how do you strafe?" you ask? With the keys above the left and right keys, namely home and pgup. That way I can circle strafe using something similar to a knight's move in chess, or to an L shaped tetris block, and we all know how powerful the L shaped tetris block is.

Last but not least, your spam section. I find it to be rather lacking, it's incredibly short. All your predecesors had their own "3rd page of dread", which dedicated a whole page to insulting e-mails that deserve it. And ofcourse, if you're already posting more than one, then you just have to name the #1 most horrible e-mail, as Spyke did with his weekly STFU, and L33t'Mon with the famed BttH(Boot to the Head). You should increase the volume of your 3rd page, and award the most deserving spam mail with some sort of spam reward(Maybe the "BFC-Big F-ing Censored", feel free to use it).

Well, all in all you're doing a pretty good job(Even though you're missing a partner, maybe you can use Pappy?), keep up the good work! Good to see the mailbag back, and in capable hands! (Much better than incapable hands. Get it? In capable-incapable? Come on, you gotta admit that was funny! Yeah, well I won't laugh from your jokes either!)


Hmm. So far so good, it would seem. I haven't gotten any death threats due to my work on the mailbag yet, and beautiful women keep sending me links to webpages with naked pictures of themselves and their friends. Of course, those websites usually want a credit card number, and the email they send never actually mentions the mailbag, or even PlanetQuake, but you can't have everything. So at any rate, I must be doing something right here.

But back to the letter - the number pad was actually the setup I used for years upon years, going back to the days of Doom. These days I have one 'o them wacky Nostromo speedpads, though, so I can bind whatever the hell I want and just remap the configuration. Still, home/pgup for strafing and end/pgdn for previous/next weapon is a powerful combination...

My spam 'o the week section has been a bit lackluster, perhaps, but I can only use what I get. Additionally, blasting people on a "third page of doom" merely for displaying their awe-inspiring stupidity just seems kind of passe. Repetitive, even - these people do a good enough job making fools of themselves without me to help, right? I might give it a whirl and see what happens, but no promises. Teaming up with Pappy for the mailbag, on the other hand, is a wonderful idea. Less work for me means more time for drinking!

And finally, nonlinear gameplay is an interesting idea for Q4 and this is actually the first time I've heard it suggested. Implementation might be a bit of a pain, though - the only way I could see to do it would be having multiple (possibly conflicting) goals the player could choose to acomplish or not as they saw fit, and multiple paths through the game that would leave a lot of levels unused during each run through. So, I think I've got an even better idea. How about skill trees, so you could advance your character down different paths and configure them to your style of gameplay? Oh, and rare drops on the enemies - that always helps. I hear the kids really dig the "phat lewtz" nowadays. "Gladiator's +3 Railgun of Storms"... I like the sound of it already.

From: "Enforcer Quake"
Subject: Ai and Animation

This is for the Doom3 and Quake 4 mailbag:


I think that each Character model should have its own Animation. I notice that in RTCW, Q2, Q3, and Doom1, and 2, the animation are similar in a way that isnt really cool, and i think that each bot and character should have it own animation. Attacks would definetly be different.

Also.. Character should have there own abilities.
Like one who's FAT (no offense to anyone) should be slow and not be a good jumper. And one who's perfect athough i dont think anyone is. Should be able to do every thing. And so on, this is seen in Q3F some what.

As a teen and wanting to get into the gaming Buisness (Id Software) i notice that alot of devolopers depend more on what the game will be about, and what people will think about it. And then they put the game and thats when things get messed up because they set a date to release and they have to work fast to get it done. But i think Devolopers could do better.

Now for the AI part, i hate most games for there AI.
If im not mistaken when u first bought Quake 3 on the back it said that the bots have a Fast learning AI (something to that effect) but i didnt see any diffrence, i play it on all levels all skill and they were the same each time and i think when they start the AI and Animation they should think about what the gaming community will think and what they want in a game.

I prefer a character that is just like a human and knows when to run and when to stay. (Multiplayer like)

And that's what i have to say.

Ohh yeah TO: ID Software as hopefully a future employee please make maps with great detail and good speed in all areas.
(I notice that RTCW has very low fps in most maps.)


As I'm too lazy to actually save a large number of these and make a "Doom 3 and Quake 4 mailbag," I'm officially declaring any week I get an email about either of these topics a "Doom 3 and/or Quake 4 mailbag." Now that that's settled, I'd have to say that the first thing that really caught my eye in this letter was the "please make maps with great detail and good speed in all areas." Now, I really have nothing against ambition but it's generally accepted that you can have any two from the following list: good framerate, detailed architecture, and a variety of high resolution textures. So upgrade or be silent, because there's not much middle ground here.

To jump back up to the top, I wouldn't mind seeing different animations for the different characters either. But again, there is a certain range of motions required for the character and anything you do is going to need to fall within the bounds of shooting, running, ducking, jumping, etc. The system doesn't generally leave that much room for creativity outside of the initial character design. Allowing fat, skinny, healthy, or asthmatic models is different, but it seems that having a variety of playable characters with different characteristics would invariably lead to everyone picking from one of the short list of "best" characters.

Oh, and I'm still not sure what's wrong with developers considering what the public will think and what they want in a game before they make it. OTOH, I agree with most of the comments about the AI in Q3.

From: Steve Restless
Subject: Quake 4 Suggestion


1) Bring back the Quake2 style BFG! the Quake 3 Arena BFG was dissapointing to me, and my friends.

2)optional Bots for in Multiplayer, theyre nice for rounding out teams when you have an odd # of people, or for fighting when you dont want to frag your friends.

3) If you Have the lightning gun, which i think you should, bring back the Water-Discharge effect from Quake 1 (When you fired the Thunderbolt into the water in Quake 1, it drained all your ammo, and electrocuted everyone in the water. in Quake 3 Arena, it doesnt do that.)

4)Try and Involve the more Dark Gothic Quake 1 storyline.

5) Weapons. The more the merrier. I think it'd be damn cool if the game had most, if not all the weapons featured in the quake series in the game somewhere. (even if just as easter eggs. or for multiplayer)

6) Co-Op Campaign Multiplayer. Its more fun Blasting your way through the game, with a friend along.

Thats all for now.

Suggestions for Quake 4 are always welcome, as they give me more filler for the mailbag and allow me to expose the uneducated gaming public to my highly opinionated and always correct thoughts on game design. And itemized lists are really easy to respond to.

  • 1) Q2? Bah, that BFG was for pansies. The BFG9000 is where it's at.
  • 2) Sounds good, though I can't imagine why you could possibly note want to frag your friends. Well, up to the point where they get all teary-eyed and start to whimper when you suggest a few rounds, anyway. That's when you play some co-op with them with friendly fire "accidentally" left on.
  • 3) Lightning discharge was a llama tactic, but fun all the same.
  • 4) Can't recall that the Quake 1 storyline had anything at all to do with the Quake 2 story, but I liked it better so what the heck. After all, maybe the Strogg were working with Shub all along. If nothing else, cyborg fiends and Shamblers with power screens and railguns should be enough to make any gamer wet their pants in fear.
  • 5) Weapons are good. Thus, more weapons are better. But I'm going to be pissed off if they steal my idea for a deadly "bubble gun" before I finish the mod it's featured in.
  • 6) See previous comment about co-op. Bit easy, but always good for a laugh.


Subject: Quake Question

Is there a release date on quake 4 yet? I keep hearing about it and I'm looking for some info about it! Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

Shane Mihalko

Hmm. The "from" line claims the name is "ANTHONY LANG," and the signature said Shane Mihalko. At least he's not suffering from the apparent gender confusion of our friend Bob/Lisa from last time. However, I double-checked and Raven hasn't given a release date on Q4 in the past two weeks. Sorry, bud, just wait and see.

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