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Old 27th May 2005, 02:51 PM   #1
Selerox
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Exclamation PCZone UK - *new* UT2007 details + images

The new edition of UK magazine PCZone has a 10 page feature on UT2007, including some new information and screen captures. Scanned from PCZ by moi this afternoon. This could be old stuff, but posted here in case it isn't.

Some very interesting new bits of info. One of the Necris vehicle may well be some form of walker (but not Mech-style). DM and CTF are the gametypes Epic are focusing on the most. Confirmed that a couple of DM maps may contain physics-related features -such as being able to smash doorways in to block routes- but it will only be on maybe a couple of maps as a bit of fun (which is fair enough). The Hoverboard is ONS only. Map-loading gaps online will go, as the map content will stream, so players will be free to in-game chat while the map is load-streaming (term (C) Selerox 2005 ). Overall, it's looking sweet

All shots are 1600x1200 .jpg

Page spread 1
Page spread 2
Page spread 3
Page Spread 4
Page Spread 5

New weapon model, not sure what it is. Looks badass.
Text close-up.
The new Raptor. Far more "solid" looking than the old one.
Text close-up. Box about what happened to Unreal Warfare.
Text close-up.
Further info on the new Scorpion.
Text close-up. Feigning death is back!
Expansion about the new streaming media technology.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:39 PM   #2
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I'd guess that's the Sniper Rifle, based on the look and overall feel of the weapon.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:40 PM   #3
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wow, this game is going to be ****ing awesome.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:42 PM   #4
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wow, this game is going to be ****ing awesome.
I agree to that.

Thanks Sel.
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Old 27th May 2005, 03:56 PM   #5
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good work sel. Can't wait to get hold of a demo!
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Old 27th May 2005, 04:11 PM   #6
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Damn that sideways picture to hell!

The level streaming sounds a lot more interesting now that they've talked about it in a manner that has nothing to do with Conquest.

Hopefully if you feign death in the wrong places you'll fall off the ledge and actually die.
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Old 27th May 2005, 04:11 PM   #7
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Allow me to introduce you to my little friend! news@beyondunreal.com
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Old 27th May 2005, 04:21 PM   #8
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Transcript, PLEASE!!!!!
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Old 27th May 2005, 05:02 PM   #9
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Thanks, Sel.

Damn that new weapon model looks awesome. Kinda looks like a motorcycle doesn't it?
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Old 27th May 2005, 05:03 PM   #10
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Nice one Sel.

The more I hear about this game, the more I'm convinced Epic are going to get it spot on.
Conquest sounds like an awesome gametype, loading the levels through streaming also sounds like a fantastic idea.
Interestingly it seems as though there's going to be some form of official VCTF, as he claims some CTF levels will have vehicles. Now I hate VCTF on UT2k4, but am willing to accept that maybe, with decent mappers and decent maps, that it might have potential.

Also interesting "We're calling it UT2007, but that might change, we might not even go with numbers"

Please, for the love of God, don't call it UT2007!!!
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Old 27th May 2005, 05:15 PM   #11
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I'm 99% sure that "weapon" is actually the hoverbike. The whole box that it is in deals with it, other than the last bit that refers to a "jelly shield".
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Old 27th May 2005, 05:57 PM   #12
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Exclamation Yes, I type slowly...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir_Brizz
Transcript, PLEASE!!!!!
Working on it. Hand typing 10 pages of stuff takes time y'know

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal
I'm 99% sure that "weapon" is actually the hoverbike. The whole box that it is in deals with it, other than the last bit that refers to a "jelly shield".
PCZone sometimes have a habit of ramming in fairly random game shots into boxes like that if there's no specific pic to go with it. So it could be anything I was leaning maybe toward's a sniper rifle as well, due to what looks like a scope on the top.
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:06 PM   #13
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Could be the impact hammer? jelly sheild looks like a plausible secondary for it.


(Someones been watching FF Spirits Within)
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:13 PM   #14
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Wow a worth while thread/post from selerox, way to go.
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:39 PM   #15
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Exclamation Hand typed. 4,119 words. Arg.

Full transcript of the article:

Full Article

World exclusive! Anthony Holden travels to North Carolina to check out the new UT and see first hand how Epic plans to take over the world...

When we arrive in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Epic Games team is out celebrating the release of it's latest title, Unreal Championship 2 on Xbox. It's the seventh game in the Unreal canon, not counting add-ons and special editions, and there's and satisfaction and some relief that it's finally out the door.
“We finished this son of a bitch,” bawls one ponytailed developer, raising a bottle in shaky salute.
“They're all sons of bitches by the time you've done with them,” explains Mark Rein, Epic's preposterously enthusiastic vice-president and chief evangelist.
To host the festivities, Epic has booked out a modish local bar and filled the place with ponytails, designer sandals and goatee berads – gang colours of the games developer. Two huge 10ft-tall porject the new game from the far corner of the bar, casting a bluish glow across the revelling crowd.
The team is currentlu in high spirits; but you get the feeling it's not just because they've shipped a game, nor indeed the illadvised slugs of Jagermeister sunk earlier in the night. Beyond all this, there's simply a pervading sense of excitement here – perhaps tinged with disbelief – at their incredible good fortune.

My Evil Plan Worked!
You see, Epic Games is taking over the world. From being just one player in the engine licensing business a couple of years ago, Unreal Engine 3 all of a sudden appears to stand uncontested as the slear choice for next-gen games development. Doom3 and Source have made few inroads, LithTech has all but Vanished andf the only other real contender, RenderWare, has fallen into the jealous hands of EA.
“We're really excited about showing off the Unreal Engine 3 stuff at E3 this year,” says producer Jeff Morris matter-of-factly. “We've got the best technology, the best graphics, the best tools. It's very cool to be working on.”
Like few other developers, Epic has the luxury of making games under it's own terms and with almost no external pressures – unless you count a legion of baying, diehard fans. The next project for the veteran outfit is a new Unreal Tournament. It's the first PC game to harness the dazzling power of the third Unreal Engine, and if it's in any way reflective of the company's fortunes right now, we're going to have to pinch ourselves to believe it's real.

Early Days
A combination of sore heads and jetlag means a late start the next day. “That's pretty much a typical Monday night for us,” laughs Steve Polge, lead designer and lead programmer of UT2007.
We sit in the boardroom of the Epic offices, a typical American office-block in a leafy Raleigh suburb.
“The game's still pretty early. We''ve only been working on it full-time for three months. We figure it'll be out some time in 2006m so at the moment we're calling it UT2007, but that could change. We might not do numbers.”
“Our first aim was to get all the UT2004 stuff up and running in Unreal Engine 3, which we've pretty much done,” continues Morris. “Right now, we've got Deathmatch, CTF, Onslaught and Survival, which is sort of a 1-on-1 Deathmatch. It's pretty amazing that we've got every gametype from UT2004 running in such a short time.”
Polge boots up the projector and brings up the new “Malcolm” character model seen on these pages. We've seen it before, but the effect is still stunning. “We're already starting to have some beautiful assets come online. It's starting to come together and show what the game's going to look like.”

Simply Stunning
You can see for yourself what that means. We could quote poly counts and tech specs all day, but the simple fact is is looks amazing. In two years time such mind-boggling imagery may well be the norm, but right now every UE3 game we see – Gears of War, UT2007 – we get a nosebleed just thinking about what's to come. Like Morris saysm right now no-one else can come close. As for gameplay of coursem this is UT, and it seems Epic very much wants to continue where it left off.
“We're focusing a lot of our development on what we call the classic game types and really trying to refine those,” says Steve Polge. “We're spending a lot of time tewaking the tiniest details. We have these esoteric arguments about wether or not the jump height should be four units higher and things like that. We're tweaking movement, weapons, just making sure everything feels solid for DM and CTF. They'll be the modes we focus on, new kinds of supporting features too, like automatic matchmaking based on skill rating – similar to Battle.net.”
This emphasis on proven game types may sound pedestrian, but the philosophy very much seems to start with established ideas and rely on the power of the new engine to transform them. With CTF for example, there will now be maps with vehicles, using streaming level technology to make environments ten times bigger than previously possible. With Deathmatch, there will be levels littered with physics objects, where it will become more about knocking things over on a player's head than shooting him with a rocket launcher.
“We're only planning on doing that in a couple of maps, just to see if it's fun,” says Jeff Morris. “When you start to give the player the ability to block doorways and change pathways it becomes a completely different game. But we like to have a real variety of gameplay in our maps in UT, so we'll definitley try that.

The New Assault
“Of course we're bringing Onslaught back as well,” picks up Polge. “And again we're making refinment's to that. Probably the biggest new addition is the second vehicle team. On top of the nine vehicles that shipped between UT2004 and the bonus pack, we'll have anothre set of nine vehicles that are kind of analogous but different in functionality.”
What shape these will take is still very much up in the air, but Steve Polge makes some vague noises about a robitic walker, “not so much in the mech tradition but more insectoid”. The vision is perhaps to create a more alien couterpoint to the very earthy designs of the existing set.
“The biggest thing however,” he continues, “the thing we're most excited about in terms of cool new stuff is the new game type. Internally, we've been calling it 'Conquest'. I'd say it's the successor to Assault, but it's kind of Assault-meets-Onslaught. The idea is to have a big battlefield, with shifting front lines and zones of control – we want to channel the action into certain areas so you don't have people spread out all over the place. We'll have all the vehicles from Onslaught, and in addition to that we're adding some RTS concepts like resources to give it a little more depth.”

We've Got the Power
For veterans of games like Savage, this will come as no revelation. However, Epic is being very careful to avoid the frankly dull aspects of that game, making sure to retain the 'instant action' feel that very much defines UT – you spawn and straight away you're shooting people, not tottering off to mine resources. Instead, you'll simply capture some sort of station that, once powered up, automatically deploys little harvesting robots.
“We have just one resource – tarydium,” says Polge. “The idea is that it powrs your bunkers. The rate at which vehicles rebuild is based on the ammount of tarydium divided by the number of bunkers – so the more bunkers you control, the more resources you need.”
We want it so you don't have to play with resources, but a team that does play the resource game will have certain advantages,” says Jeff Morris. “Either way, it introduces two new verbs into the game, which are 'protect my resource gatherers' and 'attack the enemy's resource gatherers'.”
On top of that, Conquest will also have objectives, again mimicking the old Assault blueprint. As you push forward and take control of certain bunkers, missions will pop up both for your team and your opponents. “They're sort of mirrored,” says Morris, “so it might be 'defend this bridge' for one team and 'attack it' for the other. The missions will focus the battle on these hot-spots, though if you want to try and capture bunkers and push your front line, you can do that too.”
Another part of the strategy involves the introduction of deployable items, such as spy robots and auromated turrets. The idea is to give you a greater range of roles to play, like spy, commando and engineer, without going as far as creating specific character classes.

Total Domination
“Another aspect is the commander role,” contines Morris, “which any sort of RTS-meets-FPS game flirts with. It's not as elaborate as Savage, where you have to have a commander, a research tree and all that. We want a sort of mid-level commander role, who has some overview of the battle and who's able to facilitate collaboration.”
Interestingly, the aim is not to pull the commander out of the world and give him a top-down view as in BF2, but to keep him very much within the game. It would be a role you could step into and out of as easliy as, say, picking up a scoped rifle and deciding to be a sniper.
“We're still figuring out exactly how we'll do it,” admits Steve Polge, “but maybe there's some bunkers, where there are screens dsiplaying various information about the battle. Being a commander just means you choose to go there and monitor those screens, then convey the information to your team.”
Like the other game modes, conquest will take advantage of the power of UE3 to produce some unprecidented effects. Not only will the battlefield be vast, with streaming levels and no loading times, but the appearance of the terrain will alter as the battle rages back and forth. For example, as territory moves from human control into the hands of the Necris (alien baddie replacements for the Skaarj), the ground will blacken, grass will wither and trees will corrupt out of shape. “Hopefully it will be a stunning transformation,” says Morris, “but it also means that you'll be able to eyeball the map to see who controls what. It's an elegant and visually interesting way of doing that.”

Grey Power
At this point we're very much ready to see the game in action, so without further chat, lead level designer Jim Brown fire up one of the new maps. Sitting back, I grip the sides of my chair and prepare to be blown away. Unfortunately, there's not a lot to see. The level is uniformly grey and boxlike, with no textures, minimal detail and not an enemy in sight.
“Remember, the programming is significatly ahead of the art,” laughs producer Jeff Morris. “It's not pretty right now – we do this first to get the gameplay right. We've always had a basic rule with UT – it has to be playable every day, and when it's just basic cubes and basic shapes like this, it's really easy to change on-the-fly and then test again.”
“This map is a good example,” adds Brown. “This is Dek16, a map that's appeared in every iteration of UT. It's a very familiar space and it helps us gauge how the game actually feels.”
This dedication to playtesting is clearly a sound policy, and one that pays huge dividends in the final product; but I'm nonetheless relieved when Brown loads up a slightly more advanced map. Still a work in progress, it does at least display some of the detail and intricacy we expect from a new UT. “Once we're happy with the gameplay, we start building up detail in a map and working with the art team to create a theme. Just as an example of how things are going, this hallway has... Well... Considerably more polygons than an entire map used to. I'd venture to say two to three times more than an entire map in UT2004.”
Brown hands over the controls and I run around for a while, admiring elaborate architecture and cycling through weapons to see what's changed. Already, most of the original weapons are in place, but meticulously remodelled to match the complexity of their curroundings. Nothing wholeheartedly new just yet though.
“We haven't spent a lot of time thinking about what we're going to do for new weapons yet,” confesses Brown, “but we'll definitly have a lot of new stuff. Right now the question is whether it's going to be in the form of new weapons or things like deployables.”
One thing that has been done to expand the weapon repertoire is enhancing the functionality of the target painter, originally used to bring down an ion cannon blast. Now, thanks to the new Kismet scripting system, Epic is encouraging its level designers to create a range of level-specific 'super-weapon' effects for the target painter. In one level, for instance, you'll be able to set off an earthquake, sending hundreds of boulders crashing down from the hills around you. In another, it may cause a roof to collapse, a dam to break or the earth to split asunder. All of which are better than a rocket launcher any day.

Rise of the Machines
“The other big thing we're focusing on is really enhancing the AI,” contines Polge, dropping a couple of generic bots into the level as he does so. “Our bots are already smarter and play better than in UT2004, but we're going to take them much further, both from the point of making them better players, but also giving them more personality.”
“The main reason for this is that we want a much richer and more interesting single-player,” adds Morris. “It's a big focus for us, because although everyone thinks of UT as a multiplayer game, there's a huge percentage of people who buy our games who never go online. It's suprising, but a lot of people are buying the game just to play against bots.”
This is cleary a tricky dilema for the designers. They want to make the single-player game better for people playing offline, but at the same time they want to encourage a many people as possible to play online, where the real action is. Commendably, their answer seems to be to make both experiences as atrractive as possible. Even in UT2004, the solo game was perhaps the best facsimilie of the online experience availible, and it's only going to get better in UT2007.

Clever Clogs
“We've spent a lot of time on very good, competitive, human-seeming AI,” boats Morris. “You look at most multiplayer games, their AI is atrocious. You look at recent FPS games, they cloak their bad AI in zombies. Basically, nobody seems to be taking AI seriously for offline.”
The way Epic proposes to improve things is to endow its bots with personalities and characters that you learn over time. The aim is to make the interaction with bots much more like you're playing with a bunch of guys in the same room. As Morris explains: “Instead of just throwing out random tanuts, they'll be telling you 'there's a sniper on the tower' and some other bot will say 'OK, I'll take him out'. They'll talk to each other and give each other info that you can pick up on. Or you can yell out orders yourself. We'll have a voice menu like always, but we''l also make really heavy use of voice command.”
Voice control was of course supported in UT2004, but it was a slightly tacked-on element and not particlularly well documented. Morries insists this is about to change. “We think voice control is the coolest feature for controlling AI to come around in a long time. And what we're hoping to do is take that technology and add an almost text-adventure-style conversational structure, where you can really talk to your bot and have your bot talk back to you. You're not going to be able to use a full sentence and have it understand it, but we're going to take it to the point where you'll have some sort of conversational vibe with it.”
It may sound far-fetched, but this remarkable innovation is apparently not a technical challenge at all. Most of the info required to negotiate a simple conversation is already being processed by the AI, and it's just a matter of presenting it better in an interface where you can take advantage of it. The thought of being able to converse with bots, even in a limited capacity, is pretty amazing, and could have serious implications for the way we play games.

World of Tomorrow
Unfortunately, like a lot of the game, it's too early to see it in action. Playing Unreal Tournament 2007 at the moment is more tantalising than anything – it feels very much like the old UT, and only occasionally looks like the graphical tour de force it's set to become.
Needless to say, we're not in the least bit concerned. With the best technology, the best graphics and one of the best track records in the industry, it would be a spectacular upset if the next [i]UT[i] was anything other than great. The basic concept may be the same as ever (as one Epic staffer jokes, “it's just people jumping around and shooting each other”), but even the few small enhancements we've seen in Raleigh are enough to convince us that Epic is leading the way into some incredibly exciting territory for PC gaming.

”Box” Text

Faking It – Feigned death makes a welcome return in UT2007
If you remember the original UT, you'll no doubt recall one of it's more quirky features – the ability to feign death. It was a nice idea, though it often ended up being more comical than practical, owing to the fact that the animation was exactly the same every time. You;d throw you're hands up and collapse in an insincere heap, all too aware that an experienced player could see right through your performance in an instand.
In UT2007, however, it will be a different story. The new Novodex physics engine enables bodies to switch to and from a ragdoll state at will, meaning your faiting fits will look exactly like any other genuine ragdoll death.
“Ideally,” says lead designer and lead programmer Steve Polge, “you'll want to time it right. So when a guy hits you with a rocket and almost kills you, you quickly feign death, then wait till he turns around and walks away to jump up again.” The sneaky swine. We like his style...

Sting in the Tail – The Scorpion gets a retrofit
All the vehicles from UT2004 are set to return in UT2007, and while most will simply be more detailed versions of their original incarnations, one or two are receiving a bit more attention.
So far, the vehicle with the most significant improvements is the Scorpion, the little buggy with the spring-loaded death blades. “What we've added is rocket boosters,” says lead designer and lead programmer Steve Polge. “You can use them if you're charging somebody down, for example, as well as for doing jump – and you can get a whole lot of air off these things. The other thing that's cool is that if you leave the vehicle while the rocket boosters are on, it engages a self-destruct and blows up seconds later later. You can use this for making a run at enemy powrcores and it gives the Scorpion a chance against a tank.” Not to mention a great way of turning up at a party.

Warfare Art Thou? - Whatever happened to Unreal Warfare?
Unless you're new to PC gaming or have the memory capacity of a Commodore 64, you'll recognise the name Unreal Warfare as one of the unsolved mysteries of PC gaming. A 'secret project' that never materialised, the title was meant to be Epic's next big evolution of the Unreal franchise, but talk of iy faded with the release of UT2003 and UT2004, and most eventually dismissed it as vapourware.
So what was this mysterious game? Same have speculated that it never exsisted; others claim Epic programmer Tim Sweeney binned the game in a jealous rage after he got his first look at Doom 3. Clearly there's more to the story, and having snuck the subject into the conversation over a few beers with Epic employees, we think we can put the matter to rest.
First, the definitly existed at one time. It's no longer in development, but there is some continuity, in both concept and technology, between Unreal Warfare and the new Epic games. The Xbox 360 title Gears of War owes some debt to the project, howevere small, but the clearest legatees of the original Warfare vision are the UT2004 bonus pack and the Conquest mode planned for UT2007, which apparently takes a lot of it's ideas from the abandoned project. So know you know

Creative Juices – Some of Epic's more outlandish ideas for the next UT...
UT2007 is still in a state of design flux – there are a lot of ideas being tossed around and not all of them are going to make it into the mix – but we thought we'd let you in on a couple anyway. One of our favourites if the notion of a personal hoverboard for Onslaught mode. Carried as a default item, it would be a nimble. Back to the Future-esque affair, enabling you to zoom around far quicker than walking.
The disadvantage is that you can't shoot while in motion, though a related idea is to combine the hoverboard with a grappling device for hooking onto passing vehicles (or people). If you've read Snow Crash you'l recognise the inspiration.
Another idea is to use the new materials system to create a jelly-like deployable shield. If you've seen the UE3 demo vidoes from the GDC you might have seen this stuff – it's a physical gel that enables objects to move through it, but only slowly and with a lot of squelching. Used as a deployable, it could be used to set traps and block doorways.
It's some crazy stuff, which makes us all the more upset that Epic didn't like our idea for a jelly wrestling mini-game. Next time...

The Wait is Over – No more loading, no more disconnects
Seamless streaming of levels – it's a term we hear a lot these days, but one that's going to bring the most tangible benefits yet in UT2007. Not only does the streaming function of Unreal Engine 3 allow for much (much!) bigger and more detailed worlds, it's going to make a real difference to the way we play online games.
Lead designer and lead programmer Steve Polge explains: “Right now, when you finish a game of CTF, everyone disconnects and spends a minute looking at the loading screen. That's a real loss of an opportunity to chat about the last match, talk about what you want to do for the next match and so on. Plus, when you get back into the game, you might not be on the same team as the people you were playing with, so there's a real loss of continuity there too. With streaming levels, what we're able to do is seamlessly load the new level while you're still hanging out in the old level discussing scores and tactics. And then when everyone's ready you just hiy go, and everyone jumps into the next level.”
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Old 27th May 2005, 07:39 PM   #16
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Interestingly it seems as though there's going to be some form of official VCTF, as he claims some CTF levels will have vehicles. Now I hate VCTF on UT2k4, but am willing to accept that maybe, with decent mappers and decent maps, that it might have potential.
Personally, I think it's dumb to have a SEPERATE gametype for VCTF. The maps should just be designed with vehicles in mind and have them included.
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Old 27th May 2005, 08:13 PM   #17
FireCrack
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CTF-v

is better than

vCTF
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Old 27th May 2005, 09:23 PM   #18
Bang Yr Head
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okay.... after reading that I am convinced that this game is going to be really, REALLY ****ing awesome.
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Old 27th May 2005, 09:40 PM   #19
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^Thank you captian obvious



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Old 27th May 2005, 09:42 PM   #20
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i bet feigning death will be funny in the beginning rofl

oh and that weapon i think it could be ion painter or target painter o.O

and the map preffered super weapons people will yust run around maps to find em it will be cool giving some maps something unique

Last edited by Unreality; 27th May 2005 at 09:43 PM.
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