Splash Damage Blog

ETQW 1.4 Status Update

We know you're all waiting eagerly for the 1.4 update to be released and I've got a brief status update for you. Quality Assurance testing has turned up a few issues with 1.4 that need to be addressed before it can go out the public. One of them is specific to ATI cards, so we're working closely with the guys over at AMD / ATi to get this resolved as quickly as possible, while also making sure that the rest of the update is as solid as can be. We don't expect this to be resolved before the new year, so we're now aiming to release 1.4 in early January 2008.

Despite the update not being out in time, we here at Splash Damage and id Software would like to wish all of you fantastic holidays and we hope you have a great 2008!

ETQW 1.4 Status; Updated Demo, Final SDK On The Way

So, where's 1.4? This has been a pretty hectic week in the Land of Updates. Our planned roll-out had to be stopped because internal testing turned up issues with the installers that could affect some players. The folks at Activision are trying to get these worked out as quickly as they can - they will let us know as soon as they have a solid estimate for getting the fixes in and tested. We'll pass that information on to you right away when we get it.

On a brighter note, we've also been hard at work on an updated version of the Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars demo. This new demo incorporates all the improvements we've made to ETQW in the three months since its release, including the new training mode we’re introducing in 1.4. The training mode is a great introduction to the unique gameplay concepts and mechanics featured in Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars, so this is a fantastic way for those still on the fence to experience the latest and greatest version of the game.

But that's not all!

A Quick Update on Remaining ETQW 1.4 Issues

Now that 1.4 has been released, let me bring you up to speed on the issues we've found so far and what we're doing to address them.

Perhaps the most rampant problem was server crashing just a few minutes after going up. What happened there? Well, it turns out that the newly added Hot Servers feature is indirectly to blame: when more than 256 players queried the same server at the same time, it became unresponsive and disconnected everyone playing on it. The good news is that we've since isolated and fixed the underlying cause - a problem with server info requests - and have deployed a hotfix to our GSP partners. So far things are looking extremely good on that front and barring any further problems, the fix will very soon be released to the community at large.

We're also aware that ranks are not being displayed and are currently testing a fix for this. Both that as well as any other necessary fixes will make it into a smaller update that we're hoping to release in the coming weeks. We'll continue to monitor the forums closely, so if you come across any other issues, please let us know there.

Official Competition Mod Beta This Week

With 1.4 out of the way, we are currently working on the next game update, and breaking with all known naming and moral conventions, we were thinking of code-naming it "1.5". This is going to be a smaller release and fix the remaining issues that cropped up in 1.4, such as ranks not being displayed correctly and Personal Bests being tracked on a per-campaign basis rather than globally (those two issues are actually related).

More immediately - and perhaps a bit more exciting - we are also wrapping up work on our competition mod. If you're not familiar with it, the main purpose of the mod is allow tournament organizers to easily implement and enforce specific rulesets. To that extent, we've stuffed quite a lot of cvar customization options in there and creating a new ruleset is as simple as putting the values you'd like to adjust in a config file on your server.

Barring any major international incidents, the beta will be released to the community at large within the coming days. We are hoping to squash any remaining stability issues and major bugs you might come across, so that the final version of the competition mod is in as a good a shape as it can be. To help out mod makers, we are also releasing the full competition mod source code at the same time as the beta – that way you can use bits and pieces of it in your own project, or add your own features to it.

With the technicalities out of the way, let's take a look at the major features of the mod:

ETQW Competition Mod Slightly Delayed by Legalities

We've been testing the ETQW Competition Mod Beta all week and the thing is in pretty good shape, though there are a few last minute issues that we're having to resolve before it can go out. Bizarrely enough, the main hold-up at the moment is that we're still waiting to get the correct license files for it – legal experts from around the globe are telling us that it can't go out without them, so there's unfortunately very little we can do there.

We do expect to get them within the next few working days, so hopefully it won't be too much longer until we're able to release the Competition Mod Beta.

Next Game Stuff - And It's Mostly Correct!

videogaming247 managed to corner our landing party out at GDC in San Francisco and got a few bits of information out of them regarding our next game. A few interesting bits and pieces in there, including the fact that it's a completely original IP coming to PC and consoles.

There's one passage that's worth clarifying, just so there's no misunderstanding. Nerve Software are currently handling the Xbox 360 version of Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars (and they're doing a fine job). However for our next title we're handling PC and console development here at the upside down Splash Damage space station.

While we're talking about GDC, don't forget that Paul's GDC talk is tomorrow - he'll be covering Splash Damage's first 5 years from a business standpoint and share the lessons we've learned so far. We'll keep an eye out for coverage of that and plug it here on the site.

ETQW Beta Bonanza: Comp Mod and 1.5 BETAs Rolling Your Way

Good news: There's light at the end of the license tunnel! We've at last received the proper license files for both the Competition Mod and the 1.5 game update. With that in mind, we're now prepping them for release and hope to get them out as soon as possible (for real!).

Since we want to make sure that both releases are as solid as can be, we've decided to run public beta phases for them - this will allow us to iron out any remaining stability issues and also make sure that the backend infrastructure is working properly. Both of these are the most difficult things to test for and since we've had a few issues crop up in 1.4 that didn't surface during our testing, we feel that a public beta phase is in the best interest of the game and the players.

Read on for more information on the two upcoming Beta releases and for the preliminary 1.5 changelog.

ETQW Shackbattle - The Aftermath

As some of you may be aware, Saturday 1st March 2008 was a very special date. Not only was it the anniversary of Communist spy Klaus Fuchs being jailed in 1950, and murderer Fred West being charged in 1994, but it was also the date that two goliaths went head-to-head (and later arm-in-arm) in an epic Shackbattle - Team Splash Damage versus Team Shacknews.

At 20:00GMT, battle commenced in the African campaign, with Team SD defending and Team Shacknews attacking. With a Dallas server giving us an average ping of up to 200ms (compared to Team Shacknews' 50ms) and maps lasting 30 minutes instead of the default 20, the odds didn't look good.

Success was not guaranteed. If anything, it should have been a bloodbath.

What the Flash?! (And Other Assorted Web Dev Stuff)

We just added a couple more cool bits to the front page of this here site. Most immediately, you'll probably notice that there's a fancy Flash version of the big ETQW header piece now, and those of you that have the Flash player installed should be getting that. There's also a static fallback for those who prefer to live in the non-animated dark ages, though if you want to be cool, hip, etc, you might want to consider Flashing it up - it's fun, we promise. That said, we're still in the early stages of experimenting with Flash content here on the site (Flash Damage lol ugh), so if you've got any feedback there, please let us know in the comments.

In less glitzy news, it seems that blog entries were feeling a bit neglected compared to the in-your-face Latest News list on the main page. To rectify this, this list has been replaced with another glorious set of tabs which allow you to easily switch between latest news and latest blog updates without having to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. Again, feedback on this change is welcome.

And finally (and completely unrelated), Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 has been released and seems to have issues with every website ever made, which, of course, is a very entertaining affair for those who just got done optimizing their site for IE7. Long story short, we know that IE8 Beta 1 has a few issues with the Splash Damage site at the moment, but we're taking a wait and see approach before tackling them - who knows, they might unbreak the rendering engine a little before the end. In the meantime, we recommend sticking to its handy IE7 emulation mode which allows you to continue browsing the web in relative safety.

Force Feedback Vest Promises to Tickle Your Kidneys With Pain

This is a bit of a bizarre item that Locki stumbled across the other day. Gadget company Firebox is now offering a sort of Force Feedback vest for FPS games. Called the 3rd Space FPS Vest, it plugs into a USB port and promises to relay in-game bullet hits, explosions, and other unfriendly events into actual pain physical feedback via a concoction of eight pneumatic thingies spread throughout the device. We're not quite sure how strong said feedback is, but apparently the result looks something like the gentleman on the right.

Better yet, it comes in two dashing colors and works with Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars. We've not yet managed to get our hands (or torsos, for that matter) on one of these, but if we do, we'll be sure to report back.