Tech Quake and Mplayer News
News by Al Giovetti
System requirements to play on Mplayer include: a Pentium PC with a CD-ROM drive. Microsoft Windows 95x, a recommended 16 MB of RAM, a 14.4 Kpbs or faster modem and an Internet connection. Optional equipment includes a sound card, speakers, a microphone, and a joystick.
Company line: Paul Matteucci, president and CEO of Mpath Interactive, the creators of Mplayer, believes that Seismic Nation is a demonstration of the kinds of experiences that are making interactive entertainment so popular on the `Net. "On Mplayer, gamers can speak to each other, form enduring teams, plan strategies and gauge their progess," said Matteucci. "Our Quake beta testers tell us that Mplayer's communications features and gamer community make it the best place to play this groundbreaking game." Fans Flock To Mplayer's Seismic Nation.
Starting the week of October 9, 1996, Quake fans can enter Mplayer's Seismic Nation and participate in Quake "deathmatches," Quake Clans, a Quake All-Nighter, and Quake "ladder" tournaments. Mplayer's Seismic Nation, an online community designed for Quake diehards and dabblers alike, even features a program for gamers new to the hit game called Mplayer Mentors. Mplayer (www.mplayer.com) hosts a dynamic community of game fans who interact by using cutting-edge communications technologies and thrive by challenging each other to the hottest multiplayer computer games. Quake enthusiasts use Mplayer's text chat, voice communications, private rooms and virtual whiteboards to round up Quake teams, define game rules, map out strategies, and get to know one another. The high tech machinery resembles primitive video conferencing without the applications and video.
The Clans of Seismic Nation will be Mplayer’s location for Quake clans to organize Quake matches. The clans are Quake fanatics that spend every waking hour playing the game over company sytems, from their homes, and from interactive kiosks. You need at least six players to form a clan. Mplayer will have a Seismic Nation Ladder elimination game that will allow competition for the highest honor, to beat everyone else. Mplayer will give clans their own Web page that includes the Clan logo, and links to its deathmatch results, ladder ranking, and personal pages. Registration for Seismic Nation Clans begins October 11, 1996.
The Seismic Nation All-Nighter, to be held from 6:00 pm til 6:00 am PST on October 25 is designed to reward ability and endurance. Experts from Seismic Nation will drop in Game Rooms and games in progess to hand out undisclosed prizes.
On October 30, Mplayer will kick off the event with a Seismic Nation Devil's Night and Clan Ladder where clans will vie for initial ladder ranks. Ranks will be posted on November 1and whichever Clan ranks supreme on December 20 will win an undisclosed amount of holiday cash.
The Mplayer Mentors will help newcomers get started in a multi-player game without help and training. What would make new players squeamish in a game where humiliation is the order of the day? Other features that will help new players will include chat rooms for industry gurus, provide insider tips and strategies, and foster a community of Quake enthusiasts on Mplayer.
Gamers on the Mplayer service can currently test their skills against thousands of live opponents on the Internet for free. Players can also check out Mplayer's text-based interactive chat, interactive speech (voice) features, and ScribbleTalk, a feature that lets gamers draw pictures or diagram game strategies on a shared whiteboard screen. Soon, Mplayer will stop offering services for free and fans will have to pay the $2.00 an hour subscriber fees to play. Special undisclosed pricing packages for die-hard gamers who rack up tons of hours mastering their skills on Mplayer also will be available. New subscribers will receive a free trial to be used within 30 days after sign-up. The 30 day limit is not based on hours just time, so some will get more for free than others.
Quake game enabling software and Mplayer client software can be downloaded directly from the Mplayer site at www.mplayer.com. Gamers can also get the Mplayer client software by requesting the Mplayer Start-up Kit. To get the Mplayer Start-up Kit -- a CD-ROM with Mplayer's client software, featured games including a shareware version of Quake, and Internet software -- players can also surf to the Mplayer Web site at www.mplayer.com, send an e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-888-MPLAYER.
"Quake marks the next generational advancement of game play technology and design," according to its creators, John Carmack and Michael Abrash. Quake uses a totally new engine, different from Doom, which increases the speed of game play and also allows the true 3D technology that Doom just did not have. Designed with multiplayer gaming in mind, Quake uses client/server technology to maximize modem and network play. Quake is a true 3D game, allowing players to expore, stalk and battle within the six degrees of freedom. Look and move up, down, in addition to left, right, forward and back.
"Quake features id's trademark in-your-face lightning-fast action game play, intense weapons and monsters, amazing sound effects and mesmerizing environments for the most extreme battling experience possible on a computer. Quake was developed by Mesquite, Texas-based id Software, creators of sensational titles like Wolfenstein 3-D, Doom, its sequel Doom II, Heretic, and Hexen." We agree.
Quake’s weakness is the total lack of a story or even story relevance. The game plot is kill everything that moves, pick up anything that you can, open doors and move onto the next area, and start the cycle all over. The lack of a story was what John Romero cited as his reason for leaving id Software last month. Not only were industry experts stunned by Doom and Quake’s success, but the longevity of the success of the plot-less game still has them baffled.
Mpath Interactive is a company dedicated to providing interactive entertainment that encourages social interaction on the Internet. The first service to exploit Mpath's capabilities is the Mplayer multiplayer gaming service. Founded in early 1995, Mpath has combined technical and management talent from a variety of industry disciplines, including UNIX system software design, multimedia, personal computer I/O, networking, online services and game development. Mpath is located in Cupertino, California; its major investors include Institutional Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, and SegaSoft, Inc.
Mpath is located on the Internet at http://www.mpath.com. Developers
can e-mail Mpath at email@example.com. Mplayer is located on the
Internet at http://www.mplayer.com.