Blog Archives

If it’s Quake 3, you might as well jump

If, like me, you’re still bathed in the warm (rocket-fueled) glow of nostalgia from yesterday’s Quake 3 love-in, then you’ll probably enjoy this video as much as I did. It’s always fun to watch just how far dedicated players can push a game’s boundaries, and stuff like this is a large part of why Quake 3’s still going strong 14 years after release.

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Quake 3 Arena – still excellent after all these years

Excellent!

The beauty of Quake 3, and the reason it still enjoys a fanatical following today, lies in its simplicity. No matter how elite the opposition, you always felt like you had a chance; that you were only ever a respawn away from having things just click into place for you, like long-range rockets on Q3DM17.

And then you got railed/humiliated/gibbed.

Still, that glorious simplicity meant that hope sprang eternal, and you just had to keep coming back for more. Considering some of the luminaries I played with, I was usually little more than a free frag (think guppy in a pond of piranhas) but the temptation of hearing those wonderful words – YOU HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD – was irresistible.

Over on GamesRadar, David Houghton calls Quake 3 ‘one of the greatest games ever made‘; and, I have to say, the man’s got a point. Check it out!

Wolfenstein 3D is 20 today; doesn’t that just make you feel old

Achtung, baby.

Here’s to the rather-unfortunately-nicknamed William “B.J” Blazkowicz, the granddaddy of bad-ass protagonists. He was shooting Nazis (in a first-person perspective, too!) before it was cool.

Before I get all teary-eyed here, let me just say that Wolfenstein 3D turns 20 today; and how better to celebrate than by making it available for everybody to play through their browser? That’s right, the shooter that started it all for so many of us is now just a couple of clicks away; the first of which can be found right here. Now, I’m just going to huddle in a corner and contemplate my incipient mortality, but you should click on past the break to see a developer’s commentary video of Wolf 3D narrated by John Carmack himself; as well as Wolfenstein’s original DOS box art in all its glory.

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Behind the Scenes at Valve

I always found their bald-guy-logo rather disturbing

This is a bit of a departure from Friendly Fire’s usual fare, but I urge you to check out this blog post:

Valve: How I Got Here, What It’s Like, and What I’m Doing

It was written by Michael Abrash. I’m prepared to admit that that name didn’t mean anything to me when I started reading the article; and I’ll also admit that, when I was done, I was rather ashamed of myself.

Monsieur Abrash worked at id Software, where he and John Carmack double-handedly (technically, I suppose, that could be construed as quad-handage) programmed Quake. Then, Mike Harrington and Gabe Newell asked him on their way out of Microsoft if he wanted to be the third founder of this company they were putting together, tentatively titled ‘Valve’. He said ‘nah, not really’ and went back to walking on water or whatever he was doing; along the way, though, he managed to contribute to what would eventually become Half-Life. Eventually, he gave in to Valve’s persistent wooing and joined them sometime last year.This post talks about part of the journey that landed him at Valve, but mostly about Valve itself. It’s pretty fascinating to be given this peek behind the curtains of one of the biggest companies in the gaming industry.

Thanks for the opportunity, Mr. Abrash. I’d wish you all the best for your new career at Valve; but, based on the above paragraph, I don’t think you really need it.

PS : You had me at ‘Snow Crash’. Why, oh why haven’t more people read Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk masterpiece?