severity

Severity
 

Not too long ago, when KerLeone—who introduced me to Quake III Arena (Q3A), but meanwhile shamefully has defected to Battlefield 2, the traitor—asked me what people actually are playing nowadays when they are out for the deathmatch experience, I answered: ” “Painkiller” (PK), I guess.” My guess was based on two observations. Firstly the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) had chosen “Painkiller” for the CPL World Tour 2005, and secondly the game indeed emulates gameplay, feel, and ambience of the classical first-person shooter (FPS) games. But emulation is not the original, accordingly in 2006 the CPL fell back on Q3A for the world tour’s one-on-one challenge. Although people call it a dinosaur, and although it quite naturally can not stand up to contemporary games graphics-wise, the core of Q3A is the perfect game for one vs. one competition, just as Counter-Strike is for team vs. team competition.
 

Wolfenstein 3D (1992) and Doom (1993) were grand milestones on the path of creating interactive threedimensional space beyond the screen’s flat surface. Then came Quake (1996) and shook the world of game development in a way so severe, that it would never be the same as before. Full 720° view (360° around each of two axis’), and free movement into every direction—true space! Two evolutionary steps (Kent 2004: 168, Kushner 2004 [2003]: 237) led to Quake II (1997), and finally to Q3A (1999), to perfection. Just a couple of days before the release, John Carmack wrote: “I am very happy with how Q3 turned out. Probably more than any game we have done before, it’s final form was very close to its initial envisioning. […] I’m looking forward to what comes out of the
community with Q3.”
Even after the publication of Doom 3 (2004), he voiced that of all of his games it is Q3A he is most content with. (Kent 2004: 169) And so is the industry. A quick glance on the Quake engine family tree shows, that almost every time you play a shooter, some bit of Quake-code makes the innards of your computer revolve. The rationale behind the CPL’s announced game Severity seems to fall into place with all this. At the moment FiringSquad knows most on CPL’s plans for Severity, as they phoned Tom Mustaine, the head of development and elicitated quite something from him:
 

[Mustaine] also told us that the game will use id Software’s Quake 3 Arena’s networking system as its basis and a mix of id Software based Quake 3 graphical rendering along with refinements and improvements on their own. Mustaine said that Severity will be able to run on older PCs yet still support high end graphical features for people who have higher performance PCs. The game will also be coming to consoles and Mustaine told us he is interested in talking to Microsoft to have Severity support Live Anywhere with the idea of having PC and Xbox 360 Severity gamers play each other.
 

Mustaine isn’t revealing much about the game itself at this stage but he did tell us that the game will be a mix of modern day and futuristic themes in terms of weapons and level settings. While the game will not have a lenghty single player experience except maybe for tutorial levels, he did say they did plan for AI [artificial intelligence] bot play for people to practice offline. […]
 

Of course, creating a game for pro[fessional] gaming tournaments means adding more features that will make the game better not just for the players but also for the spectators. In addition to support for tournament ladders and detailed stat[istic]s for players, Mustaine told us that Severity has plans to expand its options for spectators, including in-game cameras that can be controlled by commentators and finding ways to display important stats to the spectators in order to get them more fully involved in the matches.

Well, back in ye olde days I had Max Payne and Q3A, for ultimate single- and multiplayer experience respectively. Now I am looking forward to Alan Wake and “Severity”.

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