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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | Dec 24, 1999

PQ Mailbag
Week of: 12/24/99

Ain't It Swank?

Well well well! The new era is finally here, people, as we find ourselves surrounded this week, and forever more, by the PlanetQuake redesign. Judging from all the e-mail I got (and subsequently am not going to print, cause there's no point), most people like it, and find it easier to find things around the big fuzzy. Perhaps I'll whip up a little PQ tutorial later for those who can't find their way around. Anyways, on to the mailbag. It's kind of a mixed mailbag this week, as we didn't have an editorial, we had some spill over, and most of our time was taken up with the redesign. Also, for the first time in the Spyke era, we are caught without our co-conspirator Hellchick, who's up in Seattle for Christmas. Oh yeah, it's the Christmas Eve edition! Grab onto the sleigh, and just use Rudolph's nose as a laser sight.

Q3A Stuff

The majority of our mail this week was regarding the redesign. Alas, it's pointless to print that, so here's some miscellaneous messages on Quake 3 Arena!

From: (address deleted)
Subject: quick question

i just downloaded the q3 tools, but this is really the first time in my life i've had a decent computer to try and attempt making maps.

just curious if you could point me to a "mapmaking for dummies" page or something.

i'd like to try and get this down, and at some point contribute some decent maps for q3. is there a site that has a walkthrough or anything?

thanks in advance.


Funny you should ask that, Dave. See, I was thinking the same thing. The closest thing I can think of, as far as tutorials, would be Q3Radiant's official page at However, I myself am a relative newbie to map construction, having made a few stupid little things for Quake 2; I will be messing around with Q3Radiant, though, and eventually writing up a tutorial for newbies on beginner's map-making!

From: Igor Puzanov
Subject: comments

Hello, I have gotten quake 3 arena but I am wondering if their will be multi player support available. Please e-mail me as soon as posible. I am a game addict.

Um.. hello? Multiplayer support is built into the freaking game.. The entire premise of the game is based on multiplayer gaming, be it online against other humans, or against bots on your own computer.. As for you being a game addict, I can't do anything about that. I'm not going to break all your games in half and flush them down the toilet.. My toilet can't handle that anyways.

From: shifty96
Subject: Oh no, you couldnt posibly post a message dissing q3

I recently sent in a e-mail regarding my thoughts of how q3a turned out and was quite surprised in how it wasnt even included. It had to be said. But no Plantetquake couldnt come to the fact that q3a doesnt live up to its expectations,

i wont say any more because i am tired of typing.

by the way, I bought q3a. UT kicks its ass

Wasn't included? You mean in this here mailbag? Well first off, it's most likely because you write like an incontinent badger. Second, we'll print any e-mail if it's on topic and well-written. How can you say that we won't print any e-mail dissing Quake in any form? We've done so countless times in the past. As for Q3A living up to its expectations, that's your opinion, pal. If you think UT kicks Q3A's ass, that's great. I personally own Q3A and love it, while I've only played the UT demo, and found it fairly entertaining as well. But hey, I'm not saying that you won't find some bias here. We are PlanetQuake, and it should be known that yeah, we like Quake. The people who run PlanetUnreal will like Unreal, PHL likes Half-Life, and so on. If you want something that encompasses everything, why not visit GameSpy.Com, where Unreal Tournament was their Game of the Year? Foo.

From: George Battye
Subject: What's the problem

Hi, It's taken a while for Q3 to get to the stores here so I've been spending a lot of time reading the reviews and comments and stuff. Finally got the game, so I now feel qualified to make a comment. Here goes.

The biggest gripe I've seen about Q3 is the unrealistic nature of the bots. I don't care! Playing most maps with 3-4 bots on hardcore gives me a fully excellent game. Sometimes they win, sometimes I do, it's just the way it goes. Sure, give them a railgun and they'll quickly rack-up the frags. So? Just makes playing interesting since you've got a mission to win AND to keep them the hell away from the rail-respawn.

On the other hand, playing UT with bots just didn't grab me at all. The bots may or may not have played more like real people but it just wasn't any fun. If that's the way that real players do it then I can only hope that our local ISP doesn't get fast enough to allow me to play on-line.

The other major gripe was on the game-types. Personally the only really cool thing in UT was the game mutators. The other game-types are cool, but it's a matter of weeks before Q3 gets them so... until then I guess I will just have be content with the boring FFA and CTF games. Oh well.

Other than that, Q3 owned me, UT didn't even rent. The architecture in Q3 is cool and UT has better weapons but after a while all these things fade into the background as you settle for your favourite weapons and the maps with the best playability. This really just leaves the opponents and the indefinable 'gameplay'. If you're going to play against humans, Q3 has way better models so... Q3 wins. In terms of gameplay I found the action in UT to be a little slow (you shoot some bastard for ever before he goes down, plus, and this is a BIG plus, it's hard to tell when you're taking damage. In Q3, you've got screams and yells and grunts all around you and blood in the air! Much better playability... but I'm rambling).

Got to go 'coz I'm good to go another round.


Wow, I suppose we've got the opposite side of the previous letter right here. See, the thing is, the way I see it, with Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament, no matter what anyone says, you have two similar games. They both involve deathmatch and playing against bots as part of their single player game. Thus, because they are similar (and yes, I know, they are different), it's down to a matter of personal opinion. Like the bots better in UT because they play more like humans? Fine. Like the architecture and flow of Q3A's maps? Fine. Play which one you want, people! I must also add that I found Q3A's bots to be fine. There's a few flaws, but that can be found in anything. So what I'm trying to say is to each their own.

From: David Murphy
Subject: Game Patches: or why Quake 3 is the final straw.

I bought a CD album recently, a couple of the tracks were missing, one of the tracks only had half the vocals, another sounded like it had been recorded off a 4 track tape straight onto CD.

Hold on.. that didn't happen, because the band FINISHED THE PRODUCT BEFORE RELEASING IT.

I think it's become an absolute disgrace that games companies will release unfinished products just to patch them later, didn't you spend long enough in test? Didn't you plan properly? Spend too long playing around with non-work related stuff to get it finished on time?

If you spent your hard-earned cash on a car and it only had 3 wheels and no seats would you mind? I mean it'll be alright because you can get the wheel and seats in a couple of weeks. Admittedly, when they are out, there will be such a long queue of people getting them that it will take ages, or you may have no way to get them at all and have to rely on friends to get them for you. Oh, there are scant instructions on how to put the seats in properly, and you already know how to change a wheel right?

This is the same as the patch culture, you release an unfinished product safe in the knowledge that us shmucks will lap it up 'cos it's new and pretty. Everyone has a net connection nowadays right? Well no they don't. Everyone knows how to install new drivers and update patches right? Well no they don't.

You think you would/will have sold less units had you released after Christmas? I doubt it. The Games Industry is no longer a seasonal market, thanks in part to Sony and their 20-something marketing push. People that buy games now have jobs, families and social lives, they will not put up with being sold second rate products and having to wait to have them in a playable state.

I already know people that have abandoned PC Gaming, in favour of console gaming, as it is too time consuming, no one wants to spend their evening TRYING to get a game working properly.

So you wanted a new, bigger market, you got it. Now YOU have responsibilities to us to supply games that work 100% (or at least 99%) straight out of the box.

Why is Quake3 the final straw? After waiting for its release, I install it, play it for 2 days, and now it wont even get to the title video. I thought "thats okay its a bug it'll be fixed in the first patch" .. and then I thought "THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH". ..

Something to think about,

Have a nice Christmas.


Good point. Although I can't relate to your Quake 3 Arena experience, as the game has performed flawlessly on my system, I have had similar experiences with other games. SiN, anyone? The problem with PC games as opposed to console games, or even CDs, is the fact that the developers can put out a patch. You can't patch a console game; if you wanted to, you'd have to get everyone to trade in their cartridges. Also, a console is a fixed system, so developers don't have to worry if games are compatible with everyone's system, because they know they are already. While the ability to release patches may make some developers lazier, in a sense, it can help. Developers try to put a positive spin on patches nowadays, not only fixing problems but adding things in, like new levels or features. While I agree with your statement that not everyone has a fast net connection and can download these mammoth patches, such is the way of life. If PC games had to work perfectly on everyone's systems before they were released, they'd never be done. Hey, think that's what they're doing with Daikata... never mind. :)

From: Nick Szwarc
Subject: force feedback?

is quake 3 force feedback. please say yes, i spent 130 hard earned dollars to play a 3d shooter with ff, and i wuz looking forward to half-life but their punk asses didn't put it on either, anyway, e mail me soon please. thx.


Ouch.. I don't know how to break this to you, Nick, but no. See, it kinda doesn't make sense to have force feedback built into a 3D shooter. It would ruin it. Imagine if, every time you got shot at with a rocket launcher, your mouse would go zooming off in every which way. Not fun, my friend. The game would be unplayable. Force feedback is fine for flight sims and racing games, but in 3D shooters it would be hell.

From: (address deleted)
Subject: Q3:A, FOV

Since I started playing QuakeWorld (1st to allow it) ive played with my FOV @ 125 and all the way up to Quake 2 (still playing it). I get Quake 3 and I can't change my FOV. I thought it was the fact that perhaps I didn't use the right command. Is this right? Or is there no FOV support (other than zoom)?


Robert T. Baty Jr.

Hell yes there's FOV support! I shudder to think how many gamers id would have pounding its doors down if there weren't. The command to enter FOV has changed; it's now /cg_fov number, number being where you would enter a number. Thank you, come again!

From: David Skinner
Subject: I Be a Q3A Deathmatch Newbie

Hello hello.

I am extremely new to internet play and, frankly, I get my butt kicked everytime I go to any server out there. Sure, it builds character (I guess), but in the meantime I don't have too much fun. Are there any Q3A servers out there that cater to newbies? Or at least to those who are working their way up to Hurt Me Plenty? Thanks.

P.S. Nice site, by the way.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any multiplayer servers that cater to newbies.. but hey, that's what the single player game is for! Just think of it as training. You must fight many times by yourself before you are ready. It's like sparring in boxing. Eventually, you'll be so good, it won't even be funny. Then you can jump online and kick some ass, baby!

On Page 2: Stuff relating to the Big Fuzzy (PQ)

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