Snap to Grid: Retake of the Andes & Wheels of War 0.2

July 1, 2008

Snap to Grid is back and this time it’s personal! This week, ETQW Mapping‘s fearless captain Terry ‘Salteh’ Seidler takes a look at the alpha release of Donnovan’s Retake of the Andes map for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars and checks out the latest alpha release of the highly anticipated Wheels of War mod. To top it all off, the saltiest of Terrys even throws out a challenge to all the aspiring zombie crushers / destruction derby participants out there in the form of Wheels of War’s freshly added global lap times leaderboard.

On to the words:

Retake of the Andes

Contrary to most maps, Retake of the Andes is a map where the Strogg attack. GDF troops are desperately trying to defend their base while the Strogg team attempt to remove all GDF from the area. The map contains three primary objectives and plenty of secondary objectives, including the famous ‘Zelda Boulder’. There’s a healthy mix of indoor/outdoor objectives, so you will spend about the same amount of time fighting inside as you will outside.

The Strogg start off in a large canyon-like area and have to make their way to the GDF base. To get to the base they have to destroy at least one of the barriers that are blocking their advance. Once inside the GDF base, two devices have to be destroyed using the Aggressor’s plasma charges. One of the devices, the GDF Energy Diamond, is located underneath the GDF main base. The other, the Lab Ventilation device, is outside, on a raised platform in the GDF front yard. This objective is very open – it’s easy to get to, but everyone can see you… and shoot you. Strogg Oppressors will have to use their shields to protect their teammates. This dual objective approach presents an interesting challenge to the GDF team. Will they try and defend both objectives, splitting their forces up, or will they decide to focus on just one of the objectives? Only time will tell what tactics players come up with here.

After both of the devices have been destroyed, it’s time to explore the extensive underground network of tunnels. The tunnels provide cover, easier access to certain areas, and also host the GDF main computer system. The Strogg will have to hack the Mainframe Computer in order to gain access to the final objective: a Scientist’s Desktop, which they then have to take to the transmit point, where the Strogg must transmit the valuable data to win the map.

Wheels of War Alpha 2

The initial alpha release of the Wheels of War modification for Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars contained a couple of cool new vehicles and a nice race/Deathmatch mode. Three of the stock maps were updated to contain checkpoints so that players could follow a track and race each other. Of course you could also ignore the track and crash into each other – Destruction Derby style! Driving around on the stock maps was great fun, despite some bugs and control issues. Vehicles were quite hard to steer, zombie NPCs weren’t in yet and bumping into other cars wasn’t that much fun on your own, on an empty server. Furthermore, when the ETQW 1.5 game update was released, the mod, incompatible with 1.5, stopped working.

Until now… Wheels of War Alpha 0.2 is finally here and features many small bug fixes, three new vehicles, new maps and a real racing mode, complete with ranked server best-laps tracking! The vehicles Wee-evil, Waroeels and Optimus Crime Skulls have joined the line-up. Both Wee-evil and Waroeels were designed by community members for the ‘design a vehicle and get it in-game’ contest – the WoWar team managed to turn the designs into pretty cool vehicles, once again proving they really listen to the players.

Unfortunately, there are still no zombies, stunts or in-game upgrades in this version of the mod. Since these new features are taking quite a while to develop, the team decided to focus on a pure racing mode called Championship Racing. This new game mode lets you race versus other players… even if there is no one else on the server. Try your best to set great lap times and you’ll appear on the global leaderboards. In this mode player vehicles do not collide with each other, so you don’t have to worry about being bumped off the track. Of course, the other game mode is still available as well – just in case you feel like destroying your friends’ cars. All of this should be much easier than before; vehicles handle so much better than in version 0.1. The controls are definitely not perfect yet and will have to be tweaked more in future versions, but being able to control the direction your car is facing in is a welcome improvement!

The next version of the mod should bring improved vehicle control, more tracks and hopefully the long-awaited zombies/pedestrians along with a Carmageddon type game mode. For now though, the time attack race mode should keep you occupied until the next release. Think you can make it to the top of the scoreboard, on all maps? Go on, show us your skills!

Terry “Salteh” Seidler serves as Splash Damage’s Mascot and regularly feeds the tapirs over at ETQW Mapping.