Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
First Ideas: Wedgwood:
"I remember we flew the whole company out to E3 2003 in Los Angeles to celebrate Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory's completion, and arrived to find there was a significant server crash bug in the release code. So what was meant to be a vacation ended up being seven days in the basement of Activision, trying to find a solution for this bug. Because we were tied up in the basement, Kevin Cloud at id and I were able to send this high concept for the next game back and forth. Up until that point there hadn't really been much in the way of standalone multiplayer combat games - it had just been a component of a single-player game. We'd already been thinking about how it would be cool to have RTS elements, such as antipersonnel turrets or radar, on the battlefield and it just developed from there and became the basis for Quake Wars."
"In Quake WARs, because we had these larger maps, we thought it would be fun if both teams could fight each other directly with the objective of destroying each other's base. We stuck really rigidly to this for about six months trying to make it work, but what happened was that everyone wanted to be on the assault, so all the players would just run past each other to get to an empty base that was completely undefended! We also designed a combat role called the Gravitech which was all about the manipulation of game world physics and stuff." Jolly: "We went really overboard with the design of the bases - we had a factory in there producing the vehicles, and a lot of artwork that we ended up having to throw away. We built a complete command centre where you could re-equip and it ejected you out through doors..."
Wedgwood: "I think that's where having the mentoring of id Software helped, because we only made big mistakes like that once. The guys at id were saying, 'We don't think base vs base is going to work. Why don't you concentrate on the objective stuff 'cos we know that works really well?' So we returned to moving frontline gameplay. Because none of our founders came from the games industry, we've always been prepared to cut stuff that doesn't work."
Strogg Style: Jolly:
"We came from a Quake III engine background with Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, then made the jump to Doom 3. It was a whole new technology with so much to learn - how normal maps worked, lighting and stuff - so it took a good year until we got to the point where we had decent-looking art. I remember for the Strogg characters we were working on with Kevin Cloud (id Software's lead artist and co-owner), we went through 45 different revisions to nail down the look - it was crazy the amount of work that went into it. The premise of Quake Wars is that it's a prequel to Quake II, so we ended up with a more retro Strogg look. We looked at the Strogg and thought, 'What would his father have looked like?'
"We took a lot of things from Quake II as well, such as the breather masks, and were able to take a bit of license with the other characters, so with the Oppressor class we had an open mouth which you'd never really seen in a Quake game before. Also, the brown armour from Quake I was very much the inspiration for the GDF."
Sandbox Gameplay: Wedgwood:
"Sandboxes are fun - but they're more about the introduction of rules to gameplay, otherwise it's just a kick about in the park rather than a proper football match. But with Quake Wars we realised that you can't be too constraining with your toolset, and have to make it intuitive or people won't find it fun.
"We had a massive advantage because of the progression of objectives through ET:QWs maps. What that meant was that you had this naturally shifting frontline, and people understood when an objective was completed.
"As an attacker, you get this feeling of progress with stuff being built and so on, while the defending team get this feeling of having lost territory and being pushed backwards. However, both teams still know where the frontline is, so that as a player you can choose to head straight there but have a shorter life span, or you can skirt around the frontline to outflank the enemy, and get into fighting with vehicles."
RPG Elements: Wedgwood:
"I think Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory was the first multiplayer shooter that when you played online you got promotions according to your rank, and you could unlock attribute modifiers to your character.
"From the very beginning in ET:QW we really wanted to make your status persistent, and so in the original game design, we kept the idea of gameplay rewards through a campaign, but they would then reset after that so you'd get a level playing field. You didn't go online and find that because someone had been playing for months they had a rocket launcher or something and the game was completely unbalanced. Instead we reset the gameplay rewards, but your status as a player was reflected persistently. I think that's worked out really well, going by the number of people that play on the ranked servers compared to the unranked servers."
Balance Of Power: Wedgwood:
"We had four approaches for feedback which worked well for Quake Wars. At the really hardcore end of it, we hired eight production testers from ex-professional gaining teams and high-level clans, who focused on really hardcore specifics, such as 'Is this window sill one pixel too high?' Then we'd have less hardcore, more analytical matches between us, id and Activision, plus our QA team at Activision would work 24 hours a day tracking down bugs. Finally, we had the community, with about 2,000 people initially in a closed beta, opening up to 60,000 for a public beta to capture things like crash reports from different hardware setups.
"There was a real balancing challenge with two asymmetric teams in the game - there s no easy way to directly correlate a GDF medic's ability to revive someone on the battlefield versus a Strogg technician's ability to create a spawn host for a teammate to spawn into. So we just argued a lot really..."
MMM... Megatextures: Jolly:
"The rnegatexture was the brainchild of John Carmack. The story goes that Kevin Cloud showed the game to Carmack and he came up with using a unique texture for every terrain. Kevin came back and told us, and we were like, 'That's crazy, it'll never work!'. But John gave us some code and our tech director booted it up and amazingly we had prototypes up quickly. However, we didn't have any tools, so myself and another artist had to hand paint everything.
"The main textures were 32,000 by 32,000 pixels and the files were so big we couldn't edit them in Photoshop. So we split them up into 16 different tiles, and each took about a day to produce. We dreaded changes because it would take half-an-hour just to open up the files. Luckily we got the tools soon after that."
Working With ID: Wedgwood:
"We've always had a great relationship with id Software and have always communicated by ICQ, even when we were a mod team when we first started out chatting to Robert Duffy (lead programmer at id), who back then was just a tools programmer, helping with the development kits for Quake III. We were pestering him all the time - 'give us beta, give us a beta!' - and that way of communicating continued through QW:ET. We tend to work long hours in the office anyway to make it possible for us to talk to them in US time zones."
Jolly: "Often we ended up working longer hours than id! One time, it was very late on a Friday night and the phone rang. I answered it and heard, 'Hi, it's Tim Willits (id's co-owner and lead designer) who's this?'
We hadn't had any dealings with Tim at that point so I was like, 'Oh my God! Why is he ringing us?. Tim asked in a stern voice, 'Who else is there? and I started reeling out the names of people who were in the office - Tinused to be in the army and is a spary guy.
"Then I sutraenly hear lots of laughter and he said, 'Oh man, you guys need to stop working so hard - I just lost $50!' Him and Robert Duffy were drunk in a bar, and Robert, who knows us well, had a bet with Tim that we'd still be in the office at midnight..."
Processor: PC compatible,
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode