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Why 2006 rocked for Quake; Now is Age of the Toaster

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  • Why 2006 rocked for Quake; Now is Age of the Toaster

    Warning: Not short, sweet or to the point. Long, unwieldy. But might be a good read ... or not. :d Or is :d It's been a while since I've posted something deep sooooo ....

    I like to solve puzzles backwards and forwards figuratively speaking because, to be quite honest, life is like Lex Luthor's quote in the first Superman movie how someone "can read the back of a bubble gum wrapper and unlock the mysteries of the universe".

    Observing what happens in Quake is interesting because you can see how people to react to things, each other, etc. because it gives insight to human behavior.

    Bonus: Getting insight from, say, online human behavior is nice and without consequence compared to, say, direct observation of stuff that actually can affect your life. Watching events unfold or something mature online is something that doesn't really have an impact, versus say events unfolding with, say, friends or at work or somewhere where the result affects you. Virtual experience!

    Quake a microcosm

    Quake has a life-cycle like any game. Games have life-cycles like any product, any website, any company, any organization or even a group of friends.

    It has a beginning, a rise, a decline, a long period of stability and a tailing off.

    Most things don't have a finite end. Quake won't either.
    What was going on before 2006...

    I think Quake as a game had a very abnormal premature decline back in the early 2000s when cheats became widespread for Quake with the source being open.

    Combined with some other things like GLQuake not working in any form on a wide array cross-section of computers (the notorious Intel displays), Quake took a major hit plus it was ugly compared to, say, Quake 3 and of course people want to play the next great thing.

    Add in the quake.exe (DOSQuake) won't work on Windows XP, Quake suffered the perfect storm of

    - "it doesn't work on my computer"
    - "the ugliness doesn't impress my friends"
    - "it's not cool"
    - and of course, "cheaters" ... both real and *imagined* (imagined = worse)
    2006...

    2006 was a weird year where there was ...

    - a lot of interest in Quake as it was the 10th year anniversary
    - a lot of people who felt they had been prematurely deprived of playing multiplayer Quake (large player pool of those who wanted to play)
    - a lot of curiosity and mystery about newer engines
    - a lot of curiosity about custom maps and mods and other possibilities
    Furthermore, there was a large bulk of enthusiastic and flexible moderates who weren't so dogmatic about their preferences and were "more live and let live" types around.

    For example, in early 2007, there were always 40-60 people on servers in the evening. And in the forums, there was a great deal of interest in custom maps, single player stuff, engines and so forth.

    Enough of them, in fact, to displace crustier people and in fact make the crustier people feel really out of place.

    Mid/Late 2007 - Slow return to new normal

    Once Quake experienced a resurgence, more people played and eventually more people were satiated (sufficiently re-experienced what they liked) or the natural scheme of player depletion took place (real life, etc.) or had their curiosity sufficiently satisfied and it was "new" anymore.

    Really, probably every Quake community experienced a renewal of some sort in 2006 of returning interest from veteran returners and/or curious newcomers.

    Quake had had a premature decline earlier in the decade so it was well positioned to get a small boom a couple of years ago.

    Nowish

    Quake to me seems like it has resumed to where it should naturally be for a game this old.

    A good chunk of the remaining players know what they like to play and are more or less set in their ways.

    This also means less interest in new things, and so less demand or interest in new things and no doubt few new things will be made.

    Certain "non-new" low-risk development activity will continue to occur. For example, new single player maps following the "tried and true" formula will continue to be made. Low-risk client/engine development will continue.

    But what we probably won't see much of ..

    1) New high-risk/high-effort mods (aka the unconventional ones)
    2) New high-risk/high-effort clients (the Vengeance R2s, Tremors, Tenebraes)
    3) New High-risk/high-effort server mods (RQuake and such)
    4) Independent high-effort stuff like Rygel's texture pack
    I think Quake will probably remain a place of general inertia catering to established norms.

    Quake is a great game and has had and will continue to have an abnormally long lifespan for a game.

    But I am wondering if Quake hasn't hit that figurative "history is dead" point.

    The Age of the Toaster

    The expression "History is dead" means history is dead not because a future doesn't exist, but because the future will contain no more new history and any new history will be unremarkable.

    An example is the toaster!

    Toasters were invented in 1930s and apparently in the last 70-80 years they haven't changed.

    Disclaimer follows!

    None of the above doesn't mean Quake isn't important, just that my theory is that Quake's future will a lot of sameness.

    It could be a long steady sameness or even one with some growth, but sameness is the antithesis of excitement and barring something extraordinarily unpredictable and extraordinarily unusual (and where would this come from?) it seems unlikely that there could be a boom or even a significant growth spurt.

    Mature communities get set in their ways, inflexibility sets in .. and with that comes sameness.

    Inflexibility and sameness are a form of stability, but it's like electrons orbiting in the lowest energy electron shell. It's what you have when something is cold and lacks energy.

    And I'm not referring to this community when I was thinking about this, although it applies here too of course. I've seen a lot of disinterest in new things and like the reception of mods etc pretty much universally.

    3 or 4 very diverse people have actually brought this subject up in the last 5-6 months (you'd never be able to guess any of them, which is funny to me).

    /Sue me for the chemistry reference, I didn't feel like dumbing my post down.
    Last edited by Baker; 06-15-2008, 01:49 AM.
    Quakeone.com - Being exactly one-half good and one-half evil has advantages. When a portal opens to the antimatter universe, my opposite is just me with a goatee.

    So while you guys all have to fight your anti-matter counterparts, me and my evil twin will be drinking a beer laughing at you guys ...

  • #2
    There are many external factors contributing to the demise of Quake.

    Clients and mods may certainly affect it, but I feel it boils down to a human being's competitive nature and desire to achieve and be greater than others in a particular setting.

    When you see the same players on the same map, you feel unchallenged. There are no leagues, no matches, no clans, and this certainly deters people from the quality of gameplay. New graphics and succeeding engines in other games also contribute to this factor, as they make the competitive environment more challenging.

    Inevitably, all video games face the decline phase; Quake has had a minimally longer leash.

    Comment


    • #3
      A quick comment for now: Can you go into more depth about what you would call "high-risk" development?
      16:03:04 <gb> when I put in a sng, I think I might need nails
      16:03:30 <gb> the fact that only playtesting tells me that probably means that my mind is a sieve

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Lardarse View Post
        A quick comment for now: Can you go into more depth about what you would call "high-risk" development?
        High-risk is making something that doesn't follow the "safe" formula and tries to break some or a lot of new ground.

        One example would be Quoth. Another example would be FTEQW.

        The opposite of high-risk ... low-risk ... would be, say, a complicated single player base map using id1 textures or an incremental bug-fix engine.

        Low-risk plays to established norms and the odds of it being widely liked or accepted are high because it sticks to the formula. Low risk can be quality work but never invokes excitement.

        High risk tries to alter one or more of the established norms to produce something that is some ways new. Successful high-risk works can spur a great deal of excitement or interest (like when DarkPlaces came out, or Nexuiz or when people were discovering JoeQuake, for instance).
        Quakeone.com - Being exactly one-half good and one-half evil has advantages. When a portal opens to the antimatter universe, my opposite is just me with a goatee.

        So while you guys all have to fight your anti-matter counterparts, me and my evil twin will be drinking a beer laughing at you guys ...

        Comment


        • #5
          I love your post Baker - love how in depth you go. I want to write a response to it, but I'm tired and just woke up so I'm smoking a bong and don't want to sound fucking retarded.

          All I have to say for now is, Quake rocks, and I think we'll eventually realize we've hit the 20 year mark and we're still playing.
          uakene.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Frenzy View Post
            I love your post Baker - love how in depth you go. I want to write a response to it, but I'm tired and just woke up so I'm smoking a bong and don't want to sound fucking retarded.

            All I have to say for now is, Quake rocks, and I think we'll eventually realize we've hit the 20 year mark and we're still playing.
            give this man a beer.
            Want to get into playing Quake again? Click here for the Multiplayer-Startup kit! laissez bon temps rouler!

            Comment


            • #7
              My two cent's:
              1) The reason no one has made any serious changes to the toaster in all this time is that there isn't really a better way to do it.
              2) Can I have a toaster with one of Rygel's textures on it please?
              Qoetia B4 == 1.93Mb

              Expo Booth '08
              !AXATAXA! == 355.24 Kb Want to take on Quake with only your axe?
              Hunting shamblers since 1996.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Senban View Post
                My two cent's:
                1) The reason no one has made any serious changes to the toaster in all this time is that there isn't really a better way to do it.
                2) Can I have a toaster with one of Rygel's textures on it please?
                Q10Y *cough* people said I was wrong.

                Quake needs something uniquely new. Not just new textures, new levels and new CA versions.

                A Quake 1 re-visit would be awesome! with an actual upgrade to the game, not just the engine, obviously coming as close to Quake 1 as possible while maintaining a unique feel. It sounds next to impossible to me, since theres so many "dead-enders" in Quake now that introducing anything new is only really accepted by Quake 1 mod enthusiasts or players who are high on Quake SP.

                I don't have to say it, you all know what happen'd to Quake.
                QuakeOne.com
                Quake One Resurrection

                QuakeOne.com/qrack
                Great Quake engine

                Qrack 1.60.1 Ubuntu Guide
                Get Qrack 1.60.1 running in Ubuntu!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yeah, Quake got better with age, that's what happened JW
                  uakene.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Senban View Post
                    My two cent's:
                    1) The reason no one has made any serious changes to the toaster in all this time is that there isn't really a better way to do it.
                    2) Can I have a toaster with one of Rygel's textures on it please?
                    My reference to the toaster was more illustrative of the particular dynamics that Quake faces (inertia).

                    For example, most breakthrough type of changes throughout the years have come from people with very high levels of expertise, often with others helping in some shape or form or leveraging existing works.

                    In the "old days", a surprising work could come from nowhere just because the bloated size of the larger Quake community.

                    Those type of new things are much less likely to happen now.

                    One reason is there isn't a "market" for newbie developer types, so there won't be many more expert Quake 1 developer types. Someone new might make something but there isn't an interested audience, which serves as a deterent (vs. being enthusiastically received = encouraged).

                    Most new mods or new concept are often greeted at best with disinterest or at worst some form of rejection. If not, the interest usually is limited a small handful of individuals.

                    The problem might not be irreversible (there is no such thing), but things can become exceedingly unlikely to change. Community shrinkage causes hardcore or "set in their ways" type of people to grow as a proportion, which can alter the perception.

                    I'm not talking here specifically, I'm talking in very broad terms. Some of these problems are actually less likely to happen here (most forums have 1 or 2 protected forum trolls vs. what happened to our forum trolls :d ).
                    Quakeone.com - Being exactly one-half good and one-half evil has advantages. When a portal opens to the antimatter universe, my opposite is just me with a goatee.

                    So while you guys all have to fight your anti-matter counterparts, me and my evil twin will be drinking a beer laughing at you guys ...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      To be honest I'm quite blown away that there is still such an active community at all. Some things that might be good to stimulate interest that occur to me pretty much at random are:

                      BitTorrent/P2P: Put together a package with a nice set up of DarkPlaces (with textures and rtlights setup), Qrack (with textures) plus ProQuake and BJP's WinQuake an nice readme and a URL pointing here. As long as you don't include the .PAK files that's perfectly legal and they can get that stuff as legally as they want through EBay, Steam, BitTorrent or RapidShare (etc).

                      Other platforms: I saw some stuff about people porting Quake on to their PSP's, getting mods running on it etc, if we could get talking to that crowd we could probably get them on to the servers for a few games, and some of them them might stick around. As an even more ambitious project I wonder what the possibilities for an XBox 360 port are, if you can run linux on those thing's you should be able to get Quake up no problem and there might even be a way to hook that lot up to the same servers as us (???) and if they have USB mice they might even get some frags...

                      To me the big skill gap in getting anything exciting out with what we have available to us just now is modellers. Skinners, mappers and modders are ten a penny, and we have lot's of great work being done in engine coding but there has always been a comparative lack of people designing new weapons and monsters which creates a bit of a rut in terms of game-play. Even without doing anything new a redux of the existing monsters in md3 would be a big leap forward for the engines that support them in visual terms.
                      Qoetia B4 == 1.93Mb

                      Expo Booth '08
                      !AXATAXA! == 355.24 Kb Want to take on Quake with only your axe?
                      Hunting shamblers since 1996.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another thing that just occurred to me that might help keep the servers more active would be a little windows task-bar doohicky that could be set to monitor a given server list and pop up if one of the servers had more than a certain number of players or if a certain player joined and you could double click the tray icon and blammo, you're there.
                        Qoetia B4 == 1.93Mb

                        Expo Booth '08
                        !AXATAXA! == 355.24 Kb Want to take on Quake with only your axe?
                        Hunting shamblers since 1996.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          i only bothered to read Baker's initial post. I wholey agree with him. 2006 was the biggest year in Quake 1 that I had seen since the earlier days of Trinicom. 2006 saw the release of this website, which aided greatly in the gathering-together of many of Quake 1's loyalist players. 2006 held a lot of fun items for our Quake 1 family, like Quake Radio and to a lesser extent, Quad-Cast. There was a great amount of unity in the Quake 1 community. For the first time in years, it was actually a functional community. 2007 saw the rise of the Wii and PS3, and quite a few goldies for 360. World of Warcraft's expansion was released at the very beginning of 2007. Even the PSP and DS had some goldies release in 2007. All these factors led to a steady decline in interest. However loyal one may be to something, new and exciting will always prevail over old and familier. But that doesnt mean that something cool wont come along in the future for Quake, too. As for the present, all is not lost. For myself and many others, the following holds true; when life has you down, one of the best pick-me-ups is a good game of Quake.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are no leagues, no matches, no clans, and this certainly deters people from the quality of gameplay. New graphics and succeeding engines in other games also contribute to this factor, as they make the competitive environment more challenging.
                            There is Quake World. I think QW and EZQuake/FTE/Nquake plus the modelling/skinning/HUDding/retexturing/QWTVing etc they have going on is pretty attractive. Seem to be really nice people, too, reading qw.nu. Positive, optimistic, welcoming type of people.

                            The reasons I'm not joining QW:

                            1) can't compete skill wise (getting raped isn't fun)
                            2) *relatively* slow internet (relatively...)
                            3) No desire to practise TDM 5 times a week (have a life)
                            4) unbalanced weapons/gameplay (look at Q2/Q3 for comparison plz)

                            Best QW ping I get is about 60, to Danmark and Holland, so rather acceptable, but comparatively bad...

                            Why I'm not joining NQ:

                            1) gigantic ping disadvantage, no prediction
                            2) not interested in major mods
                            3) flaming/trolling

                            plus the above.

                            I would play friendly CTF or coop perhaps. I'm not the overly competitive type. However, no one seems to play those, at least not around here.

                            Quake 2 is looking pretty attractive lately, because you can always get a few frags and "small victories" even if you're not a) on top of the scoreboard (/have no desire to) and b) having the RL or RG. It's more even. Plus, some good playerbase in N.Europe like QW.

                            Anyway I think you're probably overly negative. Toaster is fine, thanks, as long as it runs my maps and mods even so though, Q1 is mainly attractive to me as a SP mapping platform, because of the monster set and the fast gameplay. I'm starting to think that I would really like easier colored lighting, light emitting textures, radiosity and similar mapping side improvements. Quoth 2 of course is a major incentive to make Q1 maps, but even that leaves a few things to be desired (engines would have to be changed I guess.)

                            So basically I want nice, balanced, friendly/casual type gameplay, low system requirements, good monster set, and really good cross platform mapping/modding possibilities for MP and SP (ie Quake 3 is out). Engines and tools must support this, which is a bit of a weak point in Q1 surprisingly, f. ex. the lighting stuff I mentioned, transparency/glass, standard transparent water in SW _and_ GL... you would think Quake 2 features would have been "backported" by now, but no...

                            instead you get dropkicked for requesting such things. You hear stuff like "I don't like colored lighting", "Quake2/Quake3/Tombraider/other game X sucks dude!", "I'm doing it just for myself and _I_ don't need this", "we don't want to challenge players' expectations" and "no one owes you anything so fuck off."

                            Which is fine and dandy of course, I'll go somewhere else then or code my own mod.

                            /shrug
                            Scout's Journey
                            Rune of Earth Magic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by golden_boy View Post
                              I'm starting to think that I would really like easier colored lighting, light emitting textures, radiosity and similar mapping side improvements.
                              My point was that things like the above are a lot less likely to happen.

                              In the past, neat engines would pop up out of seemingly nowhere like Tremor, AMFQuake, VengeanceR2.

                              That isn't going to happen any more. Neat things aren't going to surprise people out of the blue due to talent emigration.

                              Gradual refinement/porting projects will happen occasionally.

                              Quoth 2 of course is a major incentive to make Q1 maps, but even that leaves a few things to be desired (engines would have to be changed I guess.)
                              Quoth was only lukewarmly received at first, but then some nice and solid maps really using Quoth content appeared.

                              I have to say Quoth has really added some extra dimension and probably breathed some new life into creative stuff happening. I'm a little leery of the those new enforcers in Quoth2, but maybe a map will happen that uses them well.

                              Multiplayer could use a Quoth type expansion project, really.

                              So basically I want nice, balanced, friendly/casual type gameplay, low system requirements, good monster set, and really good cross platform mapping/modding possibilities for MP and SP (ie Quake 3 is out). Engines and tools must support this, which is a bit of a weak point in Q1 surprisingly, f. ex. the lighting stuff I mentioned, transparency/glass, standard transparent water in SW _and_ GL... you would think Quake 2 features would have been "backported" by now, but no...
                              Well, you disagreed with me and then you said exactly my point indirectly.

                              I didn't say people wouldn't play Quake or Quakeworld or anything, I just said that sameness is going to be the new norm.

                              /And sameness is boring.
                              Quakeone.com - Being exactly one-half good and one-half evil has advantages. When a portal opens to the antimatter universe, my opposite is just me with a goatee.

                              So while you guys all have to fight your anti-matter counterparts, me and my evil twin will be drinking a beer laughing at you guys ...

                              Comment

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