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OhJay's Profile

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Dev team
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17 (0.04 per day)
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Map Competitions (8 posts)
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User is offline Jan 19 2020 12:06 PM
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Topics I've Started

  1. Alpha survey now closed

    08 January 2020 - 05:51 AM

    Alpha survey now closed


    Thank you to everyone that filled out the survey and showed interest in joining our group of alpha testers! The survey is now closed.

    It's now time for us to start the process of evaluating the survey results, and with nearly 500 responses hopefully all our testing needs will be met.

    From here we will work out who best suits the positions, and then contact people accordingly. There is only a certain number of people needed so we do apologize if you didn't make it - please remember it isn't personal.

    As we go through the results the people chosen will be contacted and gradually added as we need them; the people that unfortunately didn't make it will also be notified as a courtesy.

    If you want to know more about the development process and you missed OJ's blog explaining a bit about it, click here.

    We really appreciate all the people who submitted the survey and are willing to help us test Urban Terror 5. Keep the artwork coming for Battle of the Artists and we'll keep you updated on the alpha.

    Keep your eyes peeled for our next new news!


    link to original News #535
  2. A Battle of the Artists addition

    04 January 2020 - 04:53 AM

    A Battle of the Artists addition


    Just a little update to our Battle of the Artists competition

    Hopefully you guys are hard at work on some artwork we can put into our maps - keep them coming we love all the entries! We have a little addition for you though, and this comes in the form of soda cans! INVIS has stretched his imagination to the limit and has come up a little short to fill his vending machines so he thought you guys might like to help.

    In case you are a little lost, we have vending machine throughout the maps and those vending machines are filled with products...as they usually are. However we can't use legitimate products from every day life of course. Feel like you have the can to make Invis' vending machines shine? This is your chance!

    We are adding this to the existing competition so it all comes under the same banner - everything is the same as far as the rules and regulations are concerned. Except for this you will also need to include all fonts you use and they have to be your own. These fonts can be the free fonts that come with windows, or any other fonts that are CC0 Licensed. You can also find some fonts on DaFont but make sure they are listed as 100% free (as shown in the pic) - we aren't down for copyright infringement so any hint of that and entries will be disqualified.

    I have added an example file from the man himself in the form of an INKSCAPE template which has some instructions and comments in there to help you along. To download the template file click on the link that takes you to our forums down the bottom and attached is the file. You will also need to download Inkscape for free and learn to use it. It's relatively easy - Youtube is your friend.

    Also something we forgot to mention last time we are using the hashtag #battleoftheurtartists, so if you want to upload your entries to social media we can find them if you use that tag.

    Invis has added some really useful tips in our mapping channel on discord if you'd like to check them out too here

    A copy of the guidelines and copyright licence can be found here

    Good luck!



    link to original News #534
  3. Private Alpha Explained

    31 December 2019 - 03:27 PM

    Private Alpha explained


    Hallo everyone!

    I know you haven't heard from me in a little while, and I'm terribly sorry about that, but i've had my hands full supervising these guys recently... making sure everything is done right you know... I turned my back on them for a second the other day and before I knew it they'd turned FrozenSand HQ into an inpenetrable fortress and were hurling water balloons via catapult from the roof at our unsuspecting neighbours...

    Undoubtedly there are some of you out there that know bucket loads about developement, and all the power to you, but also some that know very little about development - so I'm going to start from the top and try to cover all the main bits as briefly and simply as I can. There is a link down the bottom that takes you to our forums if you want to chat about anything I have or haven't covered here.

    The typical software release life cycle consists of several stages that describe the current state of the software at that time. They are pre-alpha, alpha, beta, and release. Variations of this general layout are possible, ie two betas.

    The pre-alpha stage is where the core of the game is being developed. This involves lots of planning and design decisions, and the most basic features are added to the game. Testing during this stage is performed by the development team itself and other automated tests. After this is all done we move onto the next phase - the alpha.

    During the alpha stage a game might be playable and contain many of the planned features, but there will almost certainly be plenty of incomplete features and bugs - some potentially even game-breaking. This is where a separate team of testers gets included to find problems and bugs as well as provide feedback for the developers. Generally, alpha software is not released to the public and is completed in-house, and would usuallly end with what is called a 'feature freeze'. This means that no more features will be added to the software after that point and is said to be 'feature complete'.

    The next phase is the beta and usually begins when the software is feature complete, but might still contain some bugs. This is the point when it's potentially released for the first time and is available outside of the organization that developed it. A big part of this phase is focused on compatibility and performance on different systems, and is where you may see game development companies offering beta invites in some circumstances.

    After all these stages are said and done the software can finally be released with (hopefully) no bugs and to the satisfaction of the users. This doesn't mean there won't be any future updates and it's forgotten about though, especially in this day and age and the existance of game platforms like Steam - it just means the software is stable enough to be enjoyed by the general public. Further updates can improve the existing features, add new content or even completely new features. All these updates still get tested by the developers and QA team before going live of course.

    Now we know about the stages of developement I guess you could say we are kind of in the middle of the alpha and beta - utilizing some things that would be expected slightly later in development, such as the private alpha test groups - because we just don't have the people or resources to be able to work on development and bug fixing and proper quality assurance at the same time in-house. This is good though, because it will both help to speed things up, and also allows the community to have more input into the development process.

    Hopefully this has gotten everyone on the same page and understand a bit more about where we are at.

    We have selected our first group of testers to try out the game, and over the next few months we'll be adding more groups incrementally. QA needs to follow a strict procedure and the testers need to know exactly what they are doing - which takes setting up and training. So rather than having a thousand people pour in and just make a huge mess and send poor Slis crazy we'll instead add smaller groups incrementally, making sure they are trained and know what they are doing before moving onto the next group. We'll try to get a healthy number of people with different skill sets, gaming background, hardware setup and URT experience.

    It's all very exciting isn't it! What are you waiting for? You can find the survey on the bottom of our news post, or click here.


    link to original Blogs #63
  4. Battle of the Artists!

    15 November 2019 - 01:07 PM

    Battle of the Artists!


    Calling all artists and creative types out there!

    How would you like to be a part of history in the making and add your own special mark to Urban Terror 5? If so now is the time to put those skills to the test in our FrozenSand 'Battle of the Artists'!

    Here's the deal. We're in need of a bunch of artwork to help us decorate the maps with and we'd like you guys to help us make it. So we've decided to hold a competition!

    If you want to help out of course... you know, we would never force anyone... and we would definitely never make special shirts for all those that didn't join in saying "Kick me" or "Not a team player" and make your character wear them for eternity... :P

    So we'd do this ourselves however last time the bosses came down from level 72 to check up on our progress with the game they caught us drawing pictures and we were forced to swap job roles with Steve down in 'plumbing obstructions'. So we try to stick to the more important stuff these days. We think it's probably best for everyone.

    Anyway, what we are after are 'painting' type artworks that we can 'hang' on the walls. Like one would normally do with paintings and such arty things. It could be anything though! Posters, advertising, business signs... even graffiti!

    Don't get me wrong our walls look great and the FrozenSand 'wall builders' have gone above and beyond the call of duty... but let's see if we can't pretty them up a bit hey.

    As for conditions or criteria for entry - there aren't any. We're not going to give you any real guidelines apart from just use your common sense and have some fun with it. On a slightly serious note though - you do need to know when you submit your artwork you are forfeiting all rights to it and it becomes ours. We just have to say that to protect us down the track from anything untowards if you know what I mean. For example, when we are millionaires with our own private islands because we've made the best game in the world ever we can't have some disgruntled artist wanting one of our islands because their artwork was in one of our maps somewhere. If you want to read the actual t&c's or guidelines of entry click here.

    Some hints to help - you know Urban Terror, and you know at least 3 maps we have mentioned that will definitely be in Urt5, and you have seen the artwork that populates the walls in the current version so you kinda know what may suit and what may not. ;)

    Finally, winners will not be announced. We're not going to tell you that your artwork has been chosen and make a big thing of it like, "Yay Steve! Your painting has been chosen to be nailed to the pillars in Turnpike"...nope. That would ruin the surprise! When the time comes you will just have to play it and thouroughly inspect each map and see what surprises you can find!

    As far as submitting your works, you can post it publicly in reply to this on the forums (see the link down the very bottom), or you can send it to us privately, totally up to you. It would be super cool to post it on the forums so everyone can see, admire, and have a chat about it, but again totally up to you. :)

    Oh and we found a spot for that coffee mug from JohnnyEnglish... ;)

    Good luck and may the force be with you!


    link to original News #531
  5. The Story Of UrT HD

    07 October 2019 - 09:14 PM

    The Story Of Urban Terror HD


    Where did 'HD' come from?

    Ah...back in the the days.....back around the time all those High Definition products were being released... so shiny... so new... we thought we would jump on the bandwagon and bring out a High Definition game.

    One second... I've just had word...

    My bad, I've made a serious mistake here... you see here at FS HQ we have 3 departments to seek answers from. They would be Answers, Answers with Thought, and Correct Answers... I confess I only spoke to the 'Answers' guys cause I get a set of free steak knives with every result. I won't be going to them again... they really just make fun of me for not knowing whatever it is, and then send you on your way with some answer out of a hat.

    Remind me to fire them at some point... maybe after I get my steak knives.

    So after contacting the 'Correct Answers' department I have it on good authority that 'High Definition' has absolutely nothing to do with 'Urban Terror HD' at all. Wow ok... the High Def thing seemed so legit didn't it...

    It actually stands for 'HEAVY DUTY'! Righto! We learn something new everyday, and today is no exception! I will pass this onto the Answers Department also... :P

    Some history before we begin

    So you remember DOOM? Well, id Software made that - they're a game developent company who have been around for since the 90's and have made fantastic developments in video game technologies for the PC, and in particular their work in 3D computer graphics technology and game engines has been very important. Their engine idTech3, popularly called the Quake3 engine has been used for a number of games including their own Quake 3 and of course Urban Terror (people also tend to call the engine by the version of the game it came out with, so to use this as an example, we were after the Quake 3 1.32b engine, so confusing isn't it!). Just for ease we will call it idTech3 from here on in.

    So back when Quake 3 was released they allowed teams of modders to mod the game, but only by using the QVM. The QVM in essence is like this little wart on top of the big engine. You can do some things with it, and it links to the engine, but you are never really touching the engine itself. So anyway, you could play with the QVM, and make mods of the game itself but you had to comply with the licensing conditions. That's how we began! As a team of modders in 1999-2000 who used that mod license to create a quake 3 mod, which was running on Quake 3.

    Urban Terror as you know it today

    On August 19 2005, id Software released the idTech3 source code - under the GNU General Public License. If you wanted to modify the engine however, and keep the modifications closed source (private), you had to pay for it. And it was pricey!
    Shortly after that a team of developers decided to take on the idTech3 engine and make it better. So after idTech3 was made open source the 'ioquake3' project was also started. Since then the ioquake3 team (and FrozenSand - you can see all our files here) have added a lot of features and improvements to the open-source engine. Urban Terror 4 runs on any of the Quake 3 compatible engines including Quake 3 itself, of course.

    Around that time (2007 - 2009) cheaters started becoming prevalent and the community wanted something done about it. Which meant an anti-cheat system. That combined with the fact we could use things like md5 animations (as opposed to the stock md3 ones) led us to wanting to purchase the engine off id Software so we could modify it and do what we liked. The engine we were interested in was the one quake 3 was released on (idTech3). We would need to start from scratch on it, as none of the things that had been applied to the open-source ioquake3 project could then be applied to our engine which would be closed source. Buying the engine was the only way we could implement the anti-cheat and auth properly, as working in the QVM is very limited, as mentioned before.

    Just as a quick explanation of what md5 is, I will quote our master of animations, FrankieV, "MD5 is a skeletal based animation system first introduced in idTech4 and expanded in Doom3. The format was use along with layering so a handful of takes can be used to create a much larger number of stats that can be accomplished using MD3. Meaning that instead of storing an entire mesh for each frame of animation, there is only one mesh file. This single mesh file is deformed using a vertex shader. Because there is only one mesh, only one VBO (vertex buffer object) needs to be created for each MD5 model. 50% of the animations in MD3 format are controlled by the player compared with MD5 where the player can only make moves that we will allow. Turtling for example is a non-issue with skeletal based animation (see 'turtling' here) "

    BlakeKiller (modeller extraordinaire) continues, "..another disadvantage with MD3 is you have to split the player models up into legs, torso, and head and then rejoin them later. Which tends to cause weird lighting and popping with the animations."

    haha! I laugh everytime I see that video!

    The engine saga

    So we contacted id Software to let them know our intentions to buy their engine. They gave us permission to start work immediately whilst they drew up the contract - and so our engine FSTECH1 was born. We were in negotiations with them for months and hadn't received a proposed contract by the time the FSTECH1 was ready for benchmarking on UrtHD so they gave us permission to release an alpha test.

    We released the alpha of Urban Terror HD - and it wasn't received well at all. Unfortunately we didn't really advertise the purpose of the release properly, what you could expect from it, and what we were expecting from it. Everyone had been waiting for years and were expecting a complete game and when it wasn't they felt let down. And understandable. In reality, however, we had only been working on the engine itself for a very short time (about 5 months) before this. TwentySeven had just implemented the MD5 format two months prior, and FrankieV had quickly done up some MD5 animations to test them. We had a lot of content done for it, and we needed to performance test and benchmark the engine, and the only real way we had at our disposal was to release it to the community. So it went down like a water logged sheep. Shout out to our New Zealand friends... ;)

    Now we have a dedicated QA team to get UrT5 up to the standard you would expect when you come to play it! :D

    By June 2009 Zenimax Media had bought id Software and the company underwent a big overhaul with many original devs leaving; including the guy we were working with. After everything settled down we finally received the contract, but it had completely changed, so we had to decline the deal. Which was quite annoying to say the least.

    We even tried building an engine from scratch we called Iceberg, but by about 2013 we realized it was going to take a decade for a small team like us to make, so we tossed that idea... also tried out a couple of other engines too, one called Ogre3D which was ok but wasn't really what we wanted. We Found the UDK (Unreal Development Kit) and started some primary art tests using FS based assets to see if if it could create the "feel" of the original and not long after that UE4 appeared, we voted to move to that. The Unreal Engine is amazing in what it can do and we are confident it will take us all into the future - if you are interested in that kind of thing, youtube is your friend.

    Changing to the Unreal 4 engine meant a lot of work we did for HD (like player models, animations, maps, weapon models, game types, etc) which was made for FSTECH1 were going to be useless. Rather than having everything go to waste we decided to work on a 4.2 version of UrT, utilizing as much content as we could from HD on the current ioquake3 engine. We figured out a way to add a lot of new skins to UrT 4 to help keep things interesting and also implemented the anti-cheat and auth system (but only in the QVM which is not what we wanted obviously, but had to make do). So for quite a while we actually had two projects going on, Urt4 and 5. So in a nutshell what you are playing right now is a lot of fine tuning and bug-fixes from the ioquake3 project, plus content and features from HD. Only around 2016 we actually stopped working on the UrT4 project and focussed soley on UrT5.

    As you know lots of hard work goes into a project like this. It's something we love doing and will continue to do - and of course we want to give the community the best possible game to enjoy. You have all been super patient and we know it's been a difficult situation left not knowing what's going on and we appreciate that more than you know. It's amazing to see the community (small but) still thriving after this time and in fact it's growing everyday. We are having old people come back, the PUG's (where they play organised games through discord) are more popular than ever and played for hours on end everyday! For a list of discord servers click here, join them all! Especially the top one ;).

    Just to give you an understanding of the size of something like UrT5; to make up the game of 15GB like we have on steam it takes almost 1TB of content. That's how big our whole repo/project is. That's 1000 gigabytes of content! :O

    Rest assured we are working as fast as we possibly can to get this alpha released by the end of the year - so keep doing what you're doing and before you know it UrT5 will be on your doorstep. Your perseverance will not go unrewarded! If you see the FS guys around be sure to tell them how much you appreciate the work they are putting in (and have put in). If you want a list of who does what, click here! If they feel appreciated by a supportive, friendly community it makes doing the work and putting the time in so much easier and more fulfulling. You want UrT5 out quicker? That's how to do it. Get under their skin and make them feel all warm and fuzzy!

    Oh I almost forgot. It is our monthly donation drive time... *cough* give us your *cough* money *cough*. Click here to get verified donor status on our discord, website and forums. *cough*

    Maybe I should give up smoking those huge big Cuban cigars. Cause that's how we roll down in Australia. Riding kangaroos and smoking cigars.

    So this time there is a link down the bottom that will take you to the same post, but on our forums so you can have a chat about it if you'd like. Any questions? Comments? We'd love to hear them.

    Until next time we at FrozenSand, bid you adieu.


    link to original News #530

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