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AQ2 LTKTBM Edition
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LTKTBM Interview with Gun Radio - Transcript - Part 1
Evil Santa: Anyone there?


Evil Santa: Alright, we have a response from someone, Is anyone else there??


The_Gimp: Hey ya..

Evil Santa: Alright we’ve got both of the here, Gimp and Mr. Sparks. Whats going on guys, how you guys doing.

The_Gimp: Pretty good..

mSparks:Yeah, pretty good.

Evil Santa: Hows the lag there sparks, decent lag, to much; to little?

mSparks: A bit, but its do-able.

Evil Santa: Ok, let me introduce you real quick; mSparks is the current developer of the AQ2:LTKTBM standalone client, I gave you a little bit of a run down earlier about what Action Quake 2 is, why don’t you go ahead and give us a run down about what makes LTKTBM different from the regular Quake 2 engine, and the AQ2 mod for it.

mSparks: Well the main difference is probably going to be the graphics is the first thing you notice. Quake 2 is getting on for quite a few years old now, and this takes a lot of the new graphics and improvements that have been made since quake 2 has been released, so we’ve got a lot of new visual stuff in there.

Evil Santa: Ok, I definitely noticed that when I was testing out the client. The graphics..are you know, I wouldn’t say they’re quite like doom 3, but they’re definitely as smooth, but you still have the quake 2 blockyness, is there anything in the future, you know, to possibly get rid of that, or is that just something you cant touch.

mSparks: Well I’ve been working on some new water technology [see the demo video here] which I don’t believe is available anywhere else, its lets you, when you shoot into the water, makes the water deform and gives you waves. There’s another engine called Quake 2 Evolved, Which is moving into the per-pixel-lighting effects, which as that reaches completion should bring us up to the Doom 3 standard.

Evil Santa: So, wow, so basically what its seems like you guys and the current quake 2 developers are trying to update Quake 2 to the point where it can actually compete with the newer games like unreal tournament, Counterstrike source, Doom 3 etc?

mSparks: Definitely, We’ve not got the financial backing of these large companies, but it doesn’t mean that we cant put the same amount of effort in, and there is a lot of great people out there, who do this stuff for fun.

Evil Santa: well yeah, I know damn well if I had the knowledge you guys had as far as coding, programming, developing, GUI etc, I’d be down to help build the Q2 community back up. Quick question for you. The quake 2 community itself, there is definitely some old loyal players and everything. But do you think that with the release of these new clients and everything that its going to be able to bring a new breath into it. Or is it kind of, well what’s your opinion on that?

mSparks: I’m still not sure to be honest, We’ve had some good visits to the site, and there seems to be a lot of people interested in it. But the main problem you have with any of this stuff is getting the word out, and getting people to actually see that its there.

Evil Santa: Another question, one of the things that I noticed, I haven’t had the pleasure yet to play on a pure LTKTBM server, we tried to get one going last night, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get it going. Is there any difference between the actual server client for LTKTBM, and the standard AQ2 server. Is there any difference in game play?

mSparks: well I’ve tried to be as true to the original AQ2. It’s loved by a lot of players, so you don’t want to interfere with that to much, Ive added a couple of new weapons, there’s now a sword, which seemed to fit well with original Action Quake 2 theme, one of the latest to be added is an M16, which seems to have gone down quite well.

Evil Santa: OK, I know that one of the things I used to play was the espionage pack for AQ2, is there anything like more mission style of gaming.

mSparks: One of the things that I put some time into earlier is a game type called team mission play, basically, it’s a script which allows the AI to take over certain players in the game, so you can have things like hostages, leaders guards etc, hopefully after the next release we’ll be moving towards integrating the TNG server mod and all the work that’s gone into that. Theres so much work that people have done for the AQ2 community but its so dispersed that its difficult to use, install and generally enjoy. Another key aspect that I’ve tried to keep in mind is to bring much of this work into one package, or at least leave support for it.

Evil Santa: OK, sounds like a winner. I just had a very important question from one of the leading members of the AQ2 community n the US side, Detox from the clan D&R. Do you, with the Quake 2 source released and all the cheaters that come with it showing up, have any sort of protection against them?

mSparks: There is some work going into this aspect, an engine release named r1ch has done some work in detecting some of the harder to spot cheaters [which don’t utilise directly the Quake 2 source code]. We have a development called Secure Client Identification [SCI]. This is a ‘secret’ code embedded in the client and server, which allows the server to verify the clients are using an unmodified engine build. However, as some cheats don’t require a modified engine build (such as opengl wall hacks) this will not on its own prevent clients from using these cheats, There are methods of preventing this as well however, and there are plans to incorporate these into future releases. Just so much todo, and so little time todo it.

Evil Santa: I completely understand, entirely to much to do, and not enough time. I just guess its one of those big things. I know a lot of old skool players who just aren’t playing anymore because they are fed up with the cheating that goes on in action quake, and the other quake 2 mods themselves. A lot of the ladders that I play on the US side have even started to have referees and judges viewing the matches to ensure nothing illegitimate is happening.

mSparks: You bring up a good point there, and realistically, ultimately that’s the only way to ensure matches are cheat free. Its always been, and always will be a kind of chicken and egg situation, you try and bring something in to prevent cheating, and the cheaters then work on bringing out cheats to find a way around it, unless you plug every hole and detect every possible entry point then the new cheats just destroy all the work you’ve done. Then you have the problem of actually finding out whether these cheats have actually defeated the code you have in place, then working back to find how they’ve done it.

Evil Santa: Another thing that was just brought to my attention that I think is probably completely wicked. The quake 2 engine itself has the built in demo option, but you guys have taken that one step further and actually designed the ltktbm stand alone client so it actually records AVI’s in the divx format? – expand on that a little bit more.

mSparks: Much of the AVI recording code was done by somebody else for the Quake 2 engine, I incorporated it into the engine and fixed some of the remaining bugs that were present todo with the sound. It works quite simply, two commands, one to start recording and one to stop, key bindings for which can be configured under the miscellaneous controls option in the menu. I tend to use the Quake 2 demo format to save scripted scenes since these are easier to work with.

Evil Santa: OK, I know that I used to try and record my jumps on AQ2, Ive got some pretty mean jumps that I’ve recorded in the Q2 demo format, and that’s awesome that I can get these straight to AVI’s and no more messing around trying to get captures off my desktop and all that other crap.

mSparks: yeah, again we come back to that ‘prime directive’ make this stuff more accessible, one of the main problems that still plagues AQ2 is that theres so many things to go through, instructions and rules, that it makes it quite difficult to get started. For example, The AQ2 keys can now be set from the game menu, rather than by through hugs lists of commands.

Evil Santa: OK, what about the radio commands, and stuff like that, I know a lot of the older players set up binds, to say like “I have 58 health left” and “I’m looking at this enemy” Is there anything you’ve done to make those easier to set up?

mSparks: Exactly, it depends how far you want to take it, the radio commands, movement, bandage commands etc are now in the control menu. There are still advancements that can be made, and other programs exist to allow you to configure some of the more advanced control options. One of the benefits of scripting systems is that you can take it as far as you want. Ive tried to keep it as simple and easy to use as possible, along with removing some of the barriers that make it to difficult to get started.

Evil Santa: Another quick question, I noticed that some of the command line commands were missing, such as some of the video settings.

mSparks: That may have been due to the Secure Client setting. That locks in some of the aspects of the video. Some of this comes back to the cheating aspect, and some to the ‘usability’ features, some of the commands previously used for improving performance now configure themselves. Also for example, the gl_modulate command, which can be used to highlight players in dark areas has been set to limit the effect this can have on gameplay.

Evil Santa: Ok, well let me tell these guys where they can get a hold of you guys, If your on IRC network -> #ltktbm, is the official channel. You guys are taking beta testers right now, is that correct?

mSparks: Yes.

Evil Santa: Public Beta, or is it invitation only, how’s that working?

mSparks: Currently public beta, we are however becoming slightly more strict in this respect. Mostly because some of the earlier releases had some problems and were putting people off. All you have todo at the moment is sign on the forums and request to test, much of the control in this respect is now managed through the site.

Evil Santa: OK, I downloaded from your guys topic in the channel, and I haven’t had any problems thus far, I’ve actually been able to connect up to must of the American servers without being kicked off of anything. That’s a definite bonus. I know that about 2 months ago when I downloaded the client it kept saying that I was hacking and cheating, and that really aggravated me.

mSparks: Heh, yeah, this is one of the other problems which I’ve come across, A lot of the other people who’ve been doing engine development work have had similar experiences with the anti-cheat systems that are in place already.

Evil Santa: So are you guys looking at putting together a coalition of action quake 2 developers to combine all of the work that’s been done into one stand alone client that is universal for all the servers. That would probably be something that would really help out, so theres not 10 things that don’t co-operate with each other, and everything works together.

mSparks: That’s definitely a goal to aim for, of course saying it is a lot easier than actually getting it to happen.

Evil Santa: Ok sounds good, I’m going to go ahead and through on some music real quickly, then we’ll be back in just a moment with some more interviewing from mSparks, and.. Gimps here he’s just being extremely quite, hehehe, this is Evil Santa from bringing you news from the LTKTBM mod. Coming up at you next. Hey Sparks, what do you want hear?

mSparks: eerrryhhh, bit of Killers maybee, if you’ve got them?

Evil Santa: Oh dude, you just read my god damn mind man, how’d you do that?

mSparks: :D its all in the matrix

Evil Santa: MUH-HA-HA-HA


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