All of our .plan files should now be fixed. Thanks for your patience during our switchover. As John said "It's really nice when computers actually work". This switchover from our OSF/1 box to our NT box went rather smoothly.That's the scoop :).
/me goes back to work
We're in the process of a system overhaul here, and our fingers are broken right now. I'll be working on a fix tommorow afternoon, and hopefully things should be back to normal sometime late tommorow afternoon. Thanks for your patience.Thanks to Bastich, WU-GFK, and Snoopy from Undernet #quake2 for letting me know. Right now all the fingers are still messed up.
I would like to let everyone that signed up for the last quake2 mailing list know that when the new one was started, that NONE of the email addresses / subscribers were held over to the new list. We (the q2 mailing list maintainers) thought it would be best to do it this way in order to keep from getting complaints about not wanting to be on the list anymore among other things. So if you signed up for the last one, and still want on it, go to The Nebula or The Sentinel and please resign up for it. Thank you, and thanks to all the people who have already signed up for it, your support is much appreciated.That's the official word from the horse's mouth.
We're so proud of the huge Quake II cover story in our October issue (on sale Sept.16), we've decided to leak a little of it early. Every day until our Quake II story hits the stands, we'll give you a new screen shot you won't see anywhere else. And even past that date, we'll keep delivering a new pic every day, until the game itself is finally done.I don't believe the whole "new shot every day" thing. If it is for real, I'll be driven batty with the upkeep of our screenshots area. I don't think what PC Gamer is doing is consistent with id's mostly quiet advertising on the game. Also, I really don't think we should tread the old wounded dirt of the id and Romero connection AGAIN.
So don't be a stranger, and remember: these shots are just appetizers. Grab the October issue, and you'll see many, many more, along with exclusive interviews with John Carmack and the rest of the Quake II crew -- plus the inside story behind John Romero's departure, straight from id Software and Romero themselves. Accept no substitutes.
8/14/97Ok, that stated, here is the Paul Steed FAQ (very lengthy):
Alright parents. It's been pointed out to me that it was irresponsible to have given America's youth seemingly bad advice when it comes to school. Let me expound upon my statement(s).
First I am referring to Higher Education when I talk about not attending school. Second, GET YOUR HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. Never drop out of high school. Even the John Carmacks out there finished high school. Also make sure you can read when you graduate and counting to a million would be nice as well.
There are very few colleges out there who can teach you enough to walk into a gaming company and get a job. However, I have received several good recommendations for schools to check out at the very least:
- Art Institute of Dallas
- University of Advancing Computer Technology (former CAD Institute ( http://www.uact.edu/news897.htm#cca)
- Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, CA
The bottom line here is this. I took a bunch of courses at military bases while in Europe through the University of Maryland and was Supremely disappointed with the experience. I maintained a 4.0 GPA and felt it was very easy. I ain't a genius and granted it wasn't Yale, but it did leave me the lasting impression that school is what you make of it. Motivation in any form will compel you to learn. Personally I'm an experience junkie and have been a busboy at Bob Evans in Mars, PA on up to a USO tour guide in Keflavik, Iceland.
Life is a journey and not a destination, friends. If you want to find out for yourself that getting a four-year degree at any college will get you nowhere in this industry but the sycophantic world of marketing and sales; or at best the restrictive world of desktop publishing and technical writing then by all means spend the money, spend the time. While you're at it, get ready to experience the disappointment of realizing that the field you want to get into has progressed several light years beyond your expensive education. Then again, you will get a cool piece of paper to frame and hang up or maybe a big heavy ring. I mean what the fuck do I know? With all my experience and hard work the only job I could land was here at id. Geesh.
WARNING! THIS POST IS ALMOST AS LONG AS ONE OF BRIAN HOOK'S (SO GO GRAB A BEER AND A SNACK)
Okay. Thinking about it I guess the following is a sort of Psteed FAQ. Feel free to include any of this in a Q2 FAQ. The questions and answers have been culled from my inbox and I've left out any names to protect the innocent. But if I do in some way offend someone it was completely intentional. Forgive any redundancy whether it's in this post itself or in a previous post by our illustrious info wranglers such as Redwood or Blue. Oh and BTW, DOESN'T OUR LITTLE GAME WE'RE WORKING ON KICK SOME MAJOR AND TOTAL ASS?!?!? Oh yeah. Thought you'd say that.
Q: What does a id business card look like and what is your title?
A: It's pretty plain. Black and white with a rust colored id logo and simple text. My title reads "Artist". Curious question.
Q: I am currently a student in high school, and I'm very interested in getting into the PC gaming industry later on. The design/modeling and artistic side fascinate appeal to me the most. Is it still necessary for me to take every single computer science course available and learn the main programming languages? What path should I take?
A: To be honest, if you're interested in computer graphics don't waste your time in school. Use the school money for a computer that will handle 3dsmax or lightwave and teach yourself. All my peers and I have no formal computer training and are completely self-taught through tutorials and manuals. This may surprise you, but the only time formal schooling helps is if you're taking traditional art courses. Explain this to your parents and tell them there is no school that will teach what you need to know that you can't learn yourself. All it takes is dedication and perseverance. Regardless, good luck!
Q: I am at the point in my college career (CompSci. Engineering major) where I will need to make some choices, and was wondering what sorts of experiences (academic and otherwise) and traits are important for success, for both the computer industry in general and the computer entertainment industry in particular.
A: Everything I know about computers and computer art was self taught. I got my foot in the door at a company back in 1992 and voraciously sought out every book and manual I could find about computer art and hammered away on any computer I could find. Eventually I got my own machine and just never looked back.
The thing to remember in the gaming industry is that most of these guys in charge are really young (21 - 28) and have little or no skill when it comes to dealing with people. Therefore if you are a free thinker and self-starter and have the least amount of DISCIPLINE you can go far. The problem is of course getting your foot in the door. Unfortunately internships are hard to come by and when they are available they pay anything from nothing to very little. My best advice to anyone wanting to get started in this field is to buy a computer IMMEDIATELY. Do whatever it takes to get at least a P90 (or even an older 486/66) with 16MB RAM and a video card that will support 3DS4 (Millenium Matrox is a good one). If you can afford it, naturally get a higher powered system that will run 3DSMAX, but if money is an issue, the first setup will at least allow you to produce models and animations that will get an art directors attention.
If you want to become a programmer, all I can say is again get a computer and learn C++. C and C++ are the back bone of computer gaming with Assembly being the more advanced and specialized area. But I'm an artist who couldn't code an inventory program so what do I know.
Attitude is the key no matter which way you go. You show any savvy manager a will and ability to learn, an innate ability to do art or code or design, and the desire to be a team-player willing to put in 12-hour days tirelessly and you'll make an impression. If your intelligent, learn quickly, are creative, love sci-fi & fantasy, can stay focused and work hard, then you've got what it takes to do well in this industry. Go for it.
Q: Taking notice of the current competitive interactions between game companies, I feel a tad confused. Being greatly impressed by today's '1st person games' advanced technology, I can hardly await to see ever more 'newcomers' enter the scenery. Of course, the resourceful company to set standards here is id! But somehow I am left with the notion of being an outsider regarding my imagination of what the industry around computer games should look like today.
A: I completely understand your confusion and admire your enthusiasm when it comes to our little slice of the computer game market. I (and id) harbor no animosity towards anyone in our industry and wish only the best for our competitors. My .plans are purely for the purpose of light-hearted entertainment. I vent. I joke. And I talk smack. There is no bloody, vicious war going on in our branch of gaming. We all vie for the same market share. The only difference is that nearly all of our 'competitors' use OUR technology to try and beat us. Pretty strange if you think about it.
Q: When you made that 10,000 poly model of that female how did you model it? Because I get all messed up when I want to make detailed organic models because of the seams, do you use Metaballs or something? And if you do use Metaballs how do you animate it?
A: I modeled her just by hand (vertex by vertex) without metaballs. I heard that mb is great, though.
Q: I was wondering if you can suggest any good books on modeling or character animation.
A: 'Inside 3D Studio' and '3D Studio Special Effects' are both great places to start if that is the program you use.
Q: I'm a high school student who is going into grade 12 this year and I want to get into the computer game industry. What is the best education I could get. Should I go to a university and get a Computer Science degree or should I take something more specialized. I have already applied to a small college that offers a 2 year Computer Game Design and Programming course. Would this be a good course to take?
A: As far as education goes. I'm completely self-taught and everything I've learned has come from tutorials, manuals or video tapes. My best advice to you is to get a computer that will run a graphics program or modify your system so it will run 3ds4, 3dsMax, or Lightwave. If you want to be a computer artist, you will always be better off teaching yourself because any classes out there will more than likely be out of date. Don't neglect your traditional art training either. Drawing is the most important skill you'll need when doing computer art for a gaming company whether its story boards, concept art or showing an idea to a producer.
Q: How did you get hired by Id? Did they go to you or did you go to them? What do you figure the chances of getting hired by them are?
A: First off id approached me through a "head hunter" or "recruiter". These people are kind of like talent scouts who are constantly looking to place professionals within the industry since they get paid up to 20% of a person's salary by the hiring company. I left another company at the time I was hired by id and have been making computer games since Jan, 1992. Id likes to stay small so we're pretty much filled to max capacity at the moment.
Q: What are the monster's frame rates in Q2?
A: 10 fps, but interpolation fills in for anything faster
Q: Though you didn't work at id at the time, did they make models for the Doom / Doom 2 monsters, and then record BMPs?
A: Maquettes (small, detailed statues) were made for the characters and all the sprites were generated from those models by hand in Dpaint by the insanely talented Kevin Cloud and Adrian 'Viper Man' Carmack.
Q: My partner and I decided to begin our total conversion. With so little known about quake 2, we assumed that the only format which would remain the same was the current *.mdl files. Looking at the new models and hearing about how the movements will now be interpolated regarding your frame rate etc, I was wondering a few things. Will the maximum face count still be around 500 faces for smooth play? Can animations be started on, considering the interpolation, etc?
A: Quake2 will feature quite a few differences in performance. However, be aware that we are requiring a minimum p100 w/16MB RAM to run the game. Our models run from 400 to 700 with the bosses around 2000 faces. Of course the golden rule of "less is best" still applies and if you can make the models look good at 300 faces, then by all means do it. I treat 600 faces as my benchmark for models and if it goes over that, then the monster won't be too prolific. Start your tc with Q2 in mind. Here's some basic little constraints I currently work with:
- models <600 faces
- view model weapons <400 faces
- world model weapons <200 faces
- animation rate 10 fps (you can go to 15 or 20 fps but the next rule of thumb tends to get blown. We rely heavily on the linear interpolation to compensate for higher frames per second animation, and it doesn't look bad at all.)
- total animation frames <256
Q: I was just wondering...the opening cinematic in Quake II....did you guys use the Quake II engine to make it or was it another animation program.
A: I'm using 3ds4, 3dsMax, Photoshop and animatorPro for the cinematics in Q2. We will probably have some scripted animations using the quake engine ala the Rangers stuff.
Q: After the enemy you just killed is down on the floor, wouldn't it be nice to see it convulsing for a short period of time before he really dies?
A: Not only do some of them convulse, but some actually struggle to get back up before they croak. Pretty cool.
Q: I would like to know if id will be releasing the tools they used for Quake2 with the game i.e. level editor, model editor, etc?
A: I'm sure some version of our level editor will be put out there eventually. As far as art goes we can't really make Alias, 3DS4, 3dsMAX, Dpaint, Photoshop and AnimatorPro available because those programs were made by and are owned by others.
Q: What kind of a role does that big image/insignia with the rotating skull play that we have seen on several walls in the screen shots released by id? Is it the symbol of the alien race or the aliens leader etc.? Just curious since it has been used a few times in different levels...
A: That design is indeed the general symbol of the alien race that Adrian came up with. The outer design is consistent throughout the games with the inner part changing to represent different aspects or areas of discipline. For example in the power station, the center is a lightning bolt to represent power or electricity. I just created a real quick 3d version so Xian could spruce up our site.
Q: While wandering down the halls of Quake and observing the (admittedly) blocky monsters, a thought came to mind; I fancy myself an artist, and I like large renderings with lots of detail. While looking over the Quake monsters, I realized that a lot of the artistic work you do must be scaled down the meet the limits of the Quake engine. As an artist, you must have a little voice inside of you screaming at you to make huge, mind-bendingly complex images (I may be wrong on that one...). I would be _very_ interested to see any work you (or any other id artist) have done outside artwork produced specifically for games. (such as the work that got you hired at id in the first place ;) Perhaps a collection of images...?
A: That sounds really cool. Unfortunately something like this will have to wait until the project's over since I'd want to do it right. What I'll do is collect stuff from Adrian, Kevin and I and post it onto an "id Gallery" type of format.
Q: Can you tell me what this weapon is/does? There's a screenshot at http://www.quake2.com/pics/screenshots/quake08.jpg that shows a picture of it. It looks like a cross between the M41a Pulse Rifle from Aliens and a Thompson Submachine Gun. Whatever it is, it looks damn cool.
A: Its the assault shotgun. The color problem exists in GL only due to the texture map interpolation. Not much we can do about it. Software is much nicer to our textures but doesn't give us colored lighting.
Q: Why not replace the F11 zoom of Quake by a pair of infrared goggles? This could be a very powerful feature. When you press F11 (or whatever), you get a green display which flickers every now and then from which you can control the zoom. It would be VERY useful for wide open area. Because the sky model of Quake 2 should enable much larger outdoor level, infrared goggles could work quite effectively.
A: We currently have plans for IR goggles and a scope which zooms in on a target.
Q: Basically, I'm a beginner that doesn't know a thing about modeling and stuff like that. I'm just looking for a shareware program or something that I can download and make models or do some computer animation. Something where I could teach myself.
A: Try Truespace from Caligari, 3DS4 or 3dsmax from Autodesk, or Lightwave from Newtek? I'm not sure about who makes the last one.
Q: At what age would you consider hiring an artist/level designer?
A: Unfortunately there's no plans to hire additional artists right now. As far as age goes, it really depends on your experience and ability. How young you are isn't really a factor.
Q: I'm looking to go into a career in 3D computer modeling and want to know if there are any colleges or books that you'd recommend. I'm not trying to jump into this career with no experience, mind you: art has been one of my strongest points all my life. I'm particularly interested in a college. I know that mostly everyone at id didn't complete or even start college.
A: If you're serious about getting into our industry then college would be an expensive waste of your time. Use the money to buy a kick ass computer, a copy of 3DS4, 3DSMAX or Lightwave and teach yourself through the tutorials and/or manuals. 3DS4 currently has the largest number of 'how to' books. But the other two I mentioned are quickly getting stuff printed up about them. Btw I have 60 sh towards a BA in management so I'm just telling you how I feel higher education will really help you in a career making computer games.
Q: This might seem a little crazy, but I was wondering if you have some kind of photo of some (all?) of you id guys?
A: Kevin and Adrian believe that if you haven't been to a place then it doesn't exist, elevators take gravity away from the planet and more importantly photographs steal small pieces of your soul. I'll be posting a pic soon of myself in some evening wear that might be of interest, however.
Q: Hi, I've been looking at the screen shots, particularly those with weapons shown, and I've noticed that the weapons are slightly off to the right. I like this idea, but have you considered left-handed players? Perhaps in user setup, you could make it an option for a left-handed preference- have the weapon on the left side instead of the right. I haven't seen any other games use this, or anyone even talking about it. I think it would add more of that great customizable feel to the game that players like me love, and though I'm not a programmer, I can't imagine that it would be very difficult to implement.
A: Unfortunately I've optimized the shit out of all the view models so they wouldn't hold up if seen from the other side. Originally we had planned on making the option to be left handed in the game, but as of now we're pretty strapped on player character data space so you'll always be right handed. Sorry if this is a turn-off.
Q: Does your middle name happen to start with a "M"?
A: My middle name is Howard.
Q: I read in some article that in Q2, "players/enemies" will have separate models for their appendages. Is this true (stupid question huh?), and if so, what is the practicality of this? I've heard that they are separate, but it seems as though it is a single whole model (like a single bounding box or some shit). BTW... the extension for Q2 will still be .mdl right?
A: Keep in mind that just because they are in separate pieces, it doesn't change the fact they're just considered a collection of vertices. The bounding box doesn't recognize individual limbs or objects yet within any particular character.
As far as the.mdl extension goes, I'm not too sure.
Q: Why have I sat here and read all this stuff?
A: Because you have no life and you just happen to dig news about the coolest company on the planet. Quake on my brothers and sisters.
The quake2 mailing list is being restarted by me(Jonathan Ruff), Baron (my partner at The Nebula) and Prestige from The Quake2 Sentinel. We will all do our best to make sure this time around the mailing list is around for a while and proves to be a great source of Quake2 news. To sign up to the mailing list, simply drop by The Nebula or The Quake2 Sentinel.And there's the scoop ;).
The weekly letter will usually be sent out every Sunday and will cover all the important news from the past week. If something important comes up, then a mid-week letter may be sent out. There will also be suprise features each week among other cool things. So what are you all waiting for?, go sign up already!! :)
These are the jobs we are currently looking to fill...About redesign
Screenshot hunters. These people will keep track of all the new screenshots released for all the games we cover. Only requirements are the ability to copy and paste screenshot locations into an email message, and have the time to look for them. The easiest job at our site.
New game adders. These people will have to know HTML quite well, and copy and paste skills. Only one game per week is expected from a single person.
Screenshot adders. Good knowledge of HTML. Editors will not be allowed. Windows 95 OS, 16 MB RAM (some images can be HUGE.) Good copy and paste skills. Plenty of available time.
Screensaver archive updater. This may actually be easier than finding screenshots, tough draw really. Basically little HTML knowledge is needed, just don't use an editor, and know how to copy and paste fine. Be able to view your work before uplaoding, to make sure it is right.
Movie archive updaters. Find movies for games we cover, either upload them, if you have the resoures, or just be able to copy and paste locations into an email. We will break the rules and allow frontpage on this, only if we can't find anymore qualified hand HTMLers. This page is a bit confusuing by source, because of all the tables, so either 2 hand HTMLers, or 1 frontpage person, if we can't find 2 qualified hand HTMLers.
For more information, please direct people to
Also, for those people who have been wondering why our site has not been updated, there are a few reasons. 1) We all have been sidetracked with other business, 2) we are short of needed help, 3) we are working on internal changes and problems at the moment. No site revamping or anything.
8/13/97We eagerly await seeing the crackwhore :).
It's taking me longer than I thought to put together that Quake2 Q&A so look for it hopefully tomorrow or Friday at the latest. Also you'll simply not believe what Adrian's done to the Borg-ified Crackwhore. She looks amazing. Thanks to all of you who pointed out that Tommy Flanagan was the Braveheart guy. 'Preciate it.
One thing I been missing is a color-indicator for the msgs...when I go onto a CTF-server I can't possibly know the names for all members in my team (I usually go from server to server), so whenever somebody msg "get our flag back" or "back to base", I don't know if it's my team or not...a little color indicator right next to the msg would help a lot there.I guess I'll mail Zoid this suggestion :).