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    PlanetQuake | Features | Tech Tips | 12-11-99
   

 

Tech Tips - MailBag for Quake 2 Tweaks from 12/04/99

by Love2Play


12/11/99: TechWatch

 

The mailbag is a short one this time so we can bring you some goodies.

We have a very special guest this week. Someone to start out our work on Quake 2 configs. This man proves that joysticks are not just for console gamers anymore, that there is more to using your ball and stick than meets the eye. I met BigDaddie through the Planetquake Forums and he and I frag regularly on Friday night (and most weekend nights) in Lithium and WoD. I was lucky enough to get to try out his stick (no, his JOYstick, silly!) and it was incredible. We want you all to have all the options available to you to improve your game, so without further ado...

 

Quake 2 and the PantherXL

By: BigDaddie

So, what is this PantherXL thing and why do I love it so? It's a joystick, trackball, and 17 strategically placed buttons all rolled into a single package specifically designed for kicking butt in FPS games. It's an excellent alternative to the keyboard/mouse favored by many people for gaming with. I chose it because I type 8 hours a day at work, and using the keyboard while playing was killing my joints. Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm an old Quaker (39, for those people that feel the need to know)? Certainly not the oldest Quaker I know by a long shot, but older than many.

What I like about this device is that it isn't just a joystick, and it isn't just a trackball. It's an integrated unit that was designed to provide you with the same killing power as the master keyboard/mouse user. It was designed to give you intuitive 3-dimensional movement in a 3-dimensional game. I was never the best with moving in a specific direction using the keyboard (beyond the basic 8 compass points), but with the PantherXL, I just point the stick in the direction I want to go and I'm there.

For some hype on the PantherXL, some pics, and sample game configuration files stop by the PantherXL website When you want to use this device to play games other than Quake 2, stop by the website and pick up the sample configuration file you'll find there if the PantherXL is supported by that game.

For those that want a more personal look, here's a shot of mine at rest.

My apologies in advance to the lady Quakers. Being your typical male, I'm going to be saying "he", "him", "his", and Quakeguy a lot in what follows. Some of the best Quakers I play with are ladies, so I certainly don't mean to imply that only guys play. It'd be a very boring pastime if that were true. So, when you read Quakeguy, please just replace it with Quakegirl.


Configuring (or Calibrating) the PantherXL for Windows

I assume at this point you have at least taken your PantherXL out of the box, assembled it and have "attempted" to play Quake 2 with it. Heheheh, you ain't seen nothin yet.

Get away from that Quake 2 icon on your desktop, we still have a lot of work to do. Yes, I know the mouse was just plug and go, but like a fine lady, the PXL needs more attention. Trust me, just like a fine lady, it will be worth the extra effort in the long run. First step is to configure (or calibrate) the PXL for Windows applications. Basically we're going to introduce it to Windows so that when you move the stick, spin the trackball, or press a button, Windows will know what the heck you are talking about, and translate your desires into commands for the Windows application that you are running, namely Quake 2.

Tip: Before you rush madly through this step so you can start gaming as quickly as possible, consider the following. You are showing Windows the difference between when you are using your PXL, and when you are not. Do this step right and your Quakeguy will stand perfectly still when your hand isn't on the stick. Do this step wrong and your Quakeguy will develop an affinity for the closest wall whenever you let go of the stick. So unless you want your Quakeguy wandering off into a wall, down some stairs, off a cliff, or into that lovely pool of lava when you take your hand off the stick; take your time getting through this step.

Let's get started. Click Start, then Settings > Control Panel > Game Controllers. Click Add and scroll through the list of controllers until you get to "Mad Catz Panther XL" (you did remember to install the drivers off the CD, right?). Select it and click OK. Click the controller you just added and click Properties, then Calibrate. Look well upon the screen that pops up, because you may be visiting it a lot in the next few hours. Then again, you might do this right the first time and can then promptly forget all about the nastiness of joystick configuration. Did I mention that doing this right the first time is preferable to rushing through it and then doing it over and over and over again?

Note the text just below "Calibration information". These are your instructions as you move through the steps to calibrate the PXL. I'm not going to cover them in detail, but will point out some key things you may want to pay attention to.

Tip: When the instructions say make complete circles with the joystick, push the stick all the way forward, then press against it as you move it through a few complete circles. If you don't do this, you will limit the range of motion of the joystick and that will affect your gaming - not positively, I might add.

Tip: Take a look at the paw-shaped bump that surrounds the trackball. There is a reason for this shape. You'll notice that if you put your hand over it, your hand naturally rests at an angle. When it comes time to calibrate the axis of the trackball (umm, spinning the pretty red ball left, right, up, and down), you want your hand positioned at this angle (in other words, resting comfortably on the paw). That way when you are playing and execute a picture perfect 180 spin to frag that person trying to sneak up on you from behind, you won't end up getting a wonderful view of the ceiling as he frags your butt.

When you get done, click Finish, then OK. Whatever you do, don't click Cancel after the Finish, unless you really mean to discard all the work you just did doing the calibration. Then finally, click OK to dismiss the Game Controllers dialog.


Binds and Settings

Okay, all set to play Quake 2, right? Nope, sorry, still got some more work to do.

Next step is to tell Quake 2 how sensitive the trackball should be (do you really want to spin it 3 complete revolutions just so you can turn and face to the left?), how much you can wiggle the joystick without your Quakeguy moving, and what all the buttons should do.

Since we're going to be creating a new custom config, you're going to want to review TechTips Quake 2 Tweaks if you don't know how to create a custom a config file and create an autoexec.cfg. Now open up My Computer and head over to the quake2\baseq2 folder. Double click the config.cfg file to open it in Notepad. Click File >New to display a brand new empty notepad window. Copy and paste my config (click to download) into the empty Notepad window. Click File >Save As. Navigate to the quake2\baseq2 folder and enter a file name of "pxlq2.cfg" (without the quotation marks). Click Save, then click File >Exit.

Check the quake2\baseq2 folder. Do you have an autoexec.cfg file listed there? If no, make one; otherwise double click to open it and enter the following line at the very end of the file: exec pxlq2.cfg

Click File >Save, then File >Exit.

If you have other mods, just copy your baseq2 autoexec.cfg config into those mods that don't have one, or add the "exec pxlq2.cfg" line to the bottom of existing autoexec.cfg files.




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