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    PlanetQuake | Features | Rants N' Raves | Tweaks

Should Quake 3 be played without any of the eye candy?
  — by Pappy-R and the PQ Elves

This week's Rant is a keeper. I really think it'll inspire some heat from both sides of the readers and the PQ staff. I think I should tell you all a little something about how I write this column, just so you know how it all comes down.

I select a Rant/Rave from the reader mail that comes in and send a copy to the staff for their comments. To the best of my knowledge, they don't talk about it to each other at all. I collect the replies and begin the column. I don't read their replies before I begin the piece. Which is to say, at this moment, I don't know what they have to say. I copy them into this text and read it before moving to the next. It truly is fresh to me as I go through. Now that we have that all straight we can jump into this week's rant from Mystiq on video settings in the game of Quake III. The boy sounds a wee bit cheesed off if you ask me.

After having read yet another Quake 3 tweak guide that tells you to use fugly mode, I nearly blew my top. Here's this guy that has won tourneys and he's showing everyone his settings. He's got vertex lighting, no detail on any of the objects and practically is using full bright lighting. What is wrong with this picture? These settings weren't in Quake 1 or Doom. How did players in those games win matches? Did they hack their executables? Call it a hot topic but personally I think tweaking the game's visuals to this extent removes the line of who is a good player and who can tweak the game enough so that their skill, or lack of, is made up by ruining strategy.

The biggest point I think I need to make is people that use insane numbers for overbright bits and vertex lighting remove shadows completely. Those of you who played Quake 1 Team Fortress ought to know that on 2fortX you could hide pipe bombs in a dark corner on the spiral down to your flag and the poor unsuspecting fellow becomes kibble. Some players could even hide them behind the flag and it's just as funny. Try the same thing in Q3F and the guy sees them because he's using vertex lighting and his overbright bits is set to some insane number. Granted you can raise your monitor's brightness and I'm not saying manufacturers should remove that feature, in a completely dark corner you still can't see those pipe bombs because it's pure black. What's the problem with this, some people are going to say, if it's in the game to change. Back to Quake 1 for another example, back when it was new, you could hide in a dark spot on a DM map and pick off someone with a shotgun when they get too close. Again, try the same thing in Quake 3 and you are almost assured they see you before you even realize it. Someone else is going to say "well what if map makers just don't put any shadows in their maps?" Then the map doesn't concern this issue then because there was no intention. I can think of one counter point however. Those campers among us know dark corners were one of the many sweet spots. Removing shadows from the map exposes the dirty sinner. But camping is as controversial as abortion and we just won't go there.

Quick little point is on field of vision. In reality, we can see something like 160 without much/any eye strain. 180 is our full line of sight and as everyone knows in Quake the default has always been 90. Obviously, one can see the advantage of lowering your fov so you can zoom in on someone. Call it high powered binoculars, everyone has done this at some time or another. Raising your fov to something like 120 or 160 naturally lets you see more around you obviously including players. This is where my argument comes. Yes id Software kept the fov command in only because zealots would be knocking down their doors with mice and keyboards trying to strangle them. It greatly distorts the view (as anyone has seen, a fov of 160 is truly something to annoy you). I for one could never learn to play in a fov other than 90 only because I've been playing that way since Wolf 3D. I'm sure there are many other players that feel the same way, but what about the people that use a different fov every time they play? Doesn't this put them at a high advantage able to see players sometimes behind them? I'll leave the rest of the argument up to readers.

For the record, I play loads of Quake 3 and play it happily with my lightmaps and fov 90.

  — Mystiq

Thanks for telling it straight from the heart there Mystiq. You may have a point, or you may not, it's too early to tell. Let's hand it off to Love2Play for an opinion. We're going to post the staff replies in the order they sent them to me this time. Let's here it oh "wizard of the Win32".

As the Queen of Quake Tweaks, you're hittin me where I live. While you made some valid points maybe about dark places, tweaking is necessary because no 2 computers are alike. And the guy running a P166 and no 3D graphics card on cable has no need for tweaks in Quake 1, but the guy on a PIII 800 and a GeForce 2 on 56k does. He can't stuff all that machine down a 56k line. The guy on the P166 is already running in software mode anyways. That is an unintentional tweak. All his textures are non-existent.

In Quake 3 so goes the same. You can't stuff the graphics quality Quake 3 produces down 56k let alone a crappy cable connection. You have to turn it down not to phone jack or have video card stutter. It's all good for a LAN party, but not online. Shadows and fancy skins as well as high textures can bog down a system and create graphics lag. That's what I call it when your system can't keep up with what the game wants you to see. However the lighting thing brings up a point. I personally use it on the older Quakes because of campers. I turn my lighting up so you can't hide in a dark corner and take a cheap shot. But there are bigger ways of people adjusting their game than that. How about the guy who sets all skins to be bright orange by removing all skins from his baseq2\players folder except Bauul? Then no one with a dark skin can hide either. All his opponents glow orange.

The fov setting I think you take too seriously. For one thing, the higher you set it the more it lags you. It slows your fps down. I use a setting of 110. That is what is comfortable to me. I used 90, it was too small. And I tried 120 and it's too distorted. 110 is what is good for me. I also still use 800x600 resolution, I get less lag than 1024x768. Are you going to tell is that low resolution is not fair also?! To each his own on visual quality. If you think that these tweaks give anyone an advantage, you really have played much. Most players I know that play a lot and are reeeeeeeeeeeally good have a piece of shit comp and a lousy connection. The challenge of overcoming those is what makes them good. It's all skillz.

  — Love2Play

Now there's a nice fresh angle our reader didn't take into account. Well said L2P! Now let's see who was next on the hit's Lee'Mon and his very faded patience. Sometimes I think I feed these things to Lee just to watch him get closer to the inevitable meltdown.

(looks over shoulder) Hey, can we get some serious complaints in here, please? I'm not joking here..


You know, after the last several Rants, I'm noticing a trend: we are a bunch of whiny little gamers. We got back and forth and back and forth on nitpicky little things that no one outside of our community would ever understand. I'm not saying that's entirely a bad thing, but we do need to step back and take a new perspective once in awhile.

I've played Kornelia face-to-face. She turned everything down and off; I kept it all on. (I'm an eyecandy sucker.) I got a frag (neener neener), but she stomped me. Did my graphics setting have ANYTHING to do with it? Of course not.

"L33t" players used to turn their graphics way the hell down for a reason: If they could achieve 125Hz, they could literally out-perform the competition: run faster, jump higher, etc. Now, with that little bug removed, they do it to reduce shadows, light up opponents, and make movement painfully obvious. Personally, I find the whole thing a crock of Klesk dung, but I'm never going to do any more than shake my head at it. Screw with Q3A however you want (within the engine boundaries) to make your experience happy. However, if the two of us sit down at equal machines with the default settings, and I trounce you, don't complain because I didn't stand out like a sore thumb the way I do on your machine. MY way is the way Quake's SUPPOSED to look.

  — Lee'Mon

Next up, more PQ opinions, including Pappy himself...

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