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The final version of the 1.2 Update for the Linux version of Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars is now available for mirroring. It adds voice-over-IP functionality as well as a threaded renderer among many other things.
We couldn't have hoped for better reviews for our first ever retail game - over 30 publications and counting have scored the game at 90% or over, while we've achieved thirteen more awards from those same reviewers which brings ETQW's award and nomination count to over 50! On the retail front ETQW debuted in the US and the UK and immediately snatched the number 1 slot in the PC game charts of both countries. We're delighted, but don't have much time to hoot about it - the entire Splash Damage development team is still completely occupied with ongoing support of ETQW for the PC. It is less than a month since the game's retail release and we're almost ready with the next feature-packed update. Here's an overview:
Full Voice Communications Support
The ETQW 1.2 Update features full voice communications (VoIP) support, allowing rapid and easy coordination with your team-mates. You can select the input and output devices independently of your speakers which allows you to use dedicated headsets and microphones, communicate on three separate channels, mute all VoIP, specific channels, or just specific players (which incidentally also cuts all bandwidth usage), set the volume and test your devices in-game. There's full hardware refresh support for connecting and using USB headsets while the game is running too.
Better Game Balancing
Aside from playing a lot with all of you on the public servers, we also continually analyze data from statistics, read and research your forum feedback, and continue to conduct extensive internal play-testing. This has resulted in a number of improvements in game balance: Various weapons have undergone subtle changes to make them fairer, including tweaks in damage fall-off (increases and reductions to damage over distance), weapon spread, firing rates, and accuracy. Highlights include the Pistol and Blaster being more accurate, increased firing rates for the Shotgun and Nailgun, and tracers appearing over all distances for the Sniper Rifle and the Railgun.
Experience points have been improved in many areas too, with level four rewards easier to achieve across all categories in the course of a campaign. There are also increases in experience points for certain classes such as the Medic and Technician when reviving and dropping health packs, and fixes to the Statistics and Achievements site. On the vehicles front, we've discovered and solved a number of bugs, but most noticeably the Anansi and Tormentor will take longer to repair.
Refined Fireteams and StopWatch Mode
Another thing that a lot of you wanted is for Fireteams to stay together across maps instead of being disbanded at the end of a round. This is in the game now, so once you create a Fireteam on a server, it won't disappear unless you tell it to or switch teams, and this maintains your voice communications channel too. StopWatch mode now features a bit of added logic code to better deal with ties. If neither team wins the map outright, the team that progressed further through the objectives gets the win. While this is the only StopWatch improvement in this update, we have a separate push to add lots more features to tournament support overall. More on that in another Blog.
User Interface Improvements
We've also made several improvements to the user interface. Your number one request to be able to save your password has been added, while we've also improved the Instant Messaging functionality such that a log of recent conversations is maintained (so you'll know what you were last talking about), and you can keep the window open while talking.
The server browser has more features too – it will only poll your favorites if you wish (rather than requesting the entire list), while filtering is handled locally (also removing the need for a new list each time you change a filter). We've also made the server protocol more efficient so it uses less bandwidth – this should help players who were previously unable to get a full server list. Clicking a friend (in the friends or clans list) and selecting Find Server, now works correctly too.
There are many more improvements to the user interface here and there, including more obvious recognition that a Deployable or Vehicle has been disabled via new particle effects, a unique hit sound for when you get a head-shot, and the ability to disable the complaint pop-up when you're team killed (in case you're the automatically forgiving type).
Bot Fixes and Improvements
In the 1.2 Update the bots continue to become more devious and enjoyable to play with. Among some of the fixes and features recently added are improved vehicle handling and usage, bots better adapting to and dealing with enemy snipers and campers, bots being much more focussed on obeying player commands (especially in “Play Computer” matches), improved attacking of enemy Anti-Vehicle Turrets, and better usage of the Oppressor's Tactical Shield as cover while in combat.
Miscellaneous Features and Bug Fixes
There are hundreds of other features implemented, and bugs that have been fixed, too, from the big stuff like the addition of a threaded renderer (yielding even greater performance from quad core processors), to native support for Quadrophonic and 7.1 speaker systems. We've resolved several odd crashes in certain hardware set-ups, improved mouse input with RAW API support, enhanced the shadow code, and fixed numerous visual, collision, physics, and bot issues across the maps. For those of you with your own Ranked Server, you can now add four private slots reserved by password, so that you can join it even if it's full.
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The Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars 1.2 Update is currently with Activision's Quality Assurance Team, and undergoing exactly the same testing as if it were a full retail game. It takes a couple of weeks for this process to be completed, but it won't be long before we have the update in your hands.
We've already begun work on the 1.3 Update, which will feature even more improvements. In addition to that, we're currently putting polish to the Software Developers Kit, and, as I mentioned above, we're continuing work on comprehensive tournament support. More on all of that in future Blog updates!
See you on the servers!