Just a quick message to everyone in our community and beyond.
We sincerely hope all of you are keeping safe and healthy as possible during this period of uncertainty and crisis that we are facing.
Now more than ever we need to be more conscious of those around us that are struggling and in need of our support or a kind word. Quite often just showing a little bit of compassion can make all the difference.
"Are you OK?"
It doesn't cost you anything to say these three little words but it could mean the world to someone that thinks no one cares.
There is so much loss and loneliness and despair in the world right now if ever there was a time to set aside our differences and work together to help and support each other in any way we can, it is now.
Many people are now stuck at home by themselves without an income - and the future full of worry. During this time many will turn to games like Urban Terror to help lighten their day and relieve their loneliness as much as they can.
As they say, 'a burden shared is a burden halved'. By being amongst like-minded people who are all in the same situation together and supporting each can make a huge difference to someone's outlook on life in general.
So please take this time to be extra nice and respectful to new people (and old of course), and if possible put that socialite hat on and get to know people a little - make sure they are doing ok. This will bring the community closer together and help keep the environment fun and welcoming for all.
If we do this, maybe, just maybe, during games played or conversations held, we might be able to help people forget the situation they are in. Even just for a second or two.
Stay tuned for some cool events coming up.
Stay safe and close to those you care about. Tell the people you love that you love them as much as possible because one day they won't be there anymore.
A once in a hundred-year event they say...whatever it is we'll get through it together.
It’s been a fairly intense start of the year with the imminent start of the alpha testing for Urban Terror 5 and one of the most highly skilled Urban Zone cup in years!
It’s been only a few months since the last NationsCup took place. It seems as though it was just yesterday that France managed to defeat Argentina on Cambridge by six rounds.
Elevating to the outstanding number of 7 NationsCup gold cups, France is now again ahead of Portugal in the ALL-TIME RANKINGS.
We will be going through the captain designation process in the UZ forums in the next weeks. Note that players are still in time and free to apply to become the captain of their country, but competition experience is, of course, expected (find more info on the UZ). The NC staff is also looking for people ready to help them in the organization (GTV cameraman, streamers, newswriter, demo reviewing, etc). So please step up if you want to help!
Urban Terror's most awaited competition will be running after the following schedule:
•March 04 - Captain applications launched •March 11 - Start of the captain's vote stage •March 18 - End of voting stage, Captains announcement •March 22 - Groups published •March 30 - Start of the first match week
Many hands make light work as they say and with such a huge project we are always on the lookout for talented individuals that would complement our team and help us move forward just a little bit quicker.
Today must be our lucky day!
We have found one of these talented individuals that wouldn't mind coming aboard and donating some of his time - and he was the only person to have ever completed the gruelling 6 week long FS boot-camp that is mandatory for all new members - so we kinda have to recruit him now. Anyway, without further ado please welcome the newest member of FrozenSand, Isopropanol!
Iso's work will primarily be in the area of coding, which tells the computer what to do for the game to be played. He has the important task of working with HappyDay, Barbatos, and Arasseo making the game run as it should and fixing the bugs the alpha testers report.
On a personal level, this useful gentleman has been part of our community since 2013 and is both an avid player and server admin. His main professional focus has been developing for business for the past two decades - in his spare time dabbling in a few Android games here and there. This is his first foray into PC game development, but that won't stop him moving forward with full force!
A regular in the support channel on our official discord, Iso is often one of the first people to come to the rescue when things go wrong - as they tend to do when we mess about with our computers, right?
If you see him around be sure to say hello and wish him well with his journey into Urban Terror 5.
Stay tuned for our next new news!
Honourable mention to Krasus who is here too but never got his own welcome post.
Thank you to everyone that filled out the survey and showed interest in joining our group of alpha testers! The survey is now closed.
It's now time for us to start the process of evaluating the survey results, and with nearly 500 responses hopefully all our testing needs will be met.
From here we will work out who best suits the positions, and then contact people accordingly. There is only a certain number of people needed so we do apologize if you didn't make it - please remember it isn't personal.
As we go through the results the people chosen will be contacted and gradually added as we need them; the people that unfortunately didn't make it will also be notified as a courtesy.
If you want to know more about the development process and you missed OJ's blog explaining a bit about it, click here.
We really appreciate all the people who submitted the survey and are willing to help us test Urban Terror 5. Keep the artwork coming for Battle of the Artists and we'll keep you updated on the alpha.
Urban Zone's next tournament is almost upon us with another season of the Winter Cup about to begin!
This year however we are starting the year with 2 competitions - 2020 Winter Cup and Rogue Cup #1.
As always the Winter Cup is a 5v5 BM/CTF/TS competition that already has 16 registered teams with 8 spots remaining. Rogue Cup is a new addition, dedicated to a community member 'Rogue' that passed away recently - it's a 2v2 TS competition which currently sits at 23 registered teams and counting.
Our condolences to Rogue's family and friends.
Registrations close Jan 15th so slightly late notice (but better late than never), so get over to the Urban Zone page to sign up!
To register your team and see what teams are already registered, click here.
Hopefully you guys are hard at work on some artwork we can put into our maps - keep them coming we love all the entries! We have a little addition for you though, and this comes in the form of soda cans! INVIS has stretched his imagination to the limit and has come up a little short to fill his vending machines so he thought you guys might like to help.
In case you are a little lost, we have vending machine throughout the maps and those vending machines are filled with products...as they usually are. However we can't use legitimate products from every day life of course. Feel like you have the can to make Invis' vending machines shine? This is your chance!
We are adding this to the existing competition so it all comes under the same banner - everything is the same as far as the rules and regulations are concerned. Except for this you will also need to include all fonts you use and they have to be your own. These fonts can be the free fonts that come with windows, or any other fonts that are CC0 Licensed. You can also find some fonts on DaFont but make sure they are listed as 100% free (as shown in the pic) - we aren't down for copyright infringement so any hint of that and entries will be disqualified.
I have added an example file from the man himself in the form of an INKSCAPE template which has some instructions and comments in there to help you along. To download the template file click here, its attached to the forum post down the bottom but that doesn't seem to work for everyone, OR it's pinned to the mapping channel in discord. You will also need to download Inkscape for free and learn to use it. It's relatively easy - Youtube is your friend.
Also something we forgot to mention last time we are using the hashtag #battleoftheurtartists, so if you want to upload your entries to social media we can find them if you use that tag. As some social media sites won't allow .svg files just post a jpeg with the hashtag and a download link to the file/s.
Invis has added some really useful tips in our mapping channel on discord if you'd like to check them out too here
A copy of the guidelines and copyright licence can be found here
We are happy to announce the private alpha stage of Urban Terror 5 has begun! The doors are being opened to our first group of testers as we speak!
As you know for the past 5 years we have been working on updating UrT to run on the shiny new Unreal Engine 4. This means working on the core of the game and making sure all the building blocks are solid and have it feeling like the UrT we all know and love.
We're now at a point where we feel it's time to reach out and get some more people on board to help us test the game. We rarely have time ourselves amidst development and there just isn't enough of us to test the game thouroughly anyway. Hopefully with the start of the private alpha we won't have to worry about that anymore as there are teams that will do that for us - headed by our super guru QA master extraordinaire Slis of course!
Awesome right? Want to get involved?
We have devised a little survey for everyone to fill out. It tells us about the specs of the system you are running and a little bit of your background and motivations for wanting to be involved with this project. We'll go through the submissions and gradually add people to our test groups over the next few weeks and months. You can access the survey here:
After a few weeks of intense competition and matches we finally have the last two remaining nations, France against Argentina in the final!
These two are going to play against each other next Sunday (December 8th 22:00 CET) for the NationsCup XXII title. (Bare in mind the date and time could change but you will find information about that in the Community Discord) This match is going to be decided by the majority winner of best of 5 maps.
Both teams have shown amazing teamwork and strength over the past little while so it's set to be one of those matches you don't want to miss out on! While France have played a lot of Capture The Flag, they've proved their dominance in that game-mode over and over again. Argentina have shown very high skill in Team Survivor and have won 9 out of the 10 last played maps...it looks like whoever is better at their weaker game-mode will take the trophy.
We have a couple of matches being played in the meantime starring the unlucky runners up to France and Argentina. These teams still have their pride on the line and aren't going to go down without a fight! They will be battling it out for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th spots on the ladder.
Belgium vs Columbia for the 3rd and 4th spot.
North America vs The winner of ( Australia vs Germany) For the 5th and 6th spot.
As always, all matches will be streamed on twitch.tv/urbanzone/ so be sure to follow the channel and watch the matches live with the rest of the community. The match for the 3rd spot will be streamed and broadcasted live by SevenofNine tonight.
How would you like to be a part of history in the making and add your own special mark to Urban Terror 5? If so now is the time to put those skills to the test in our FrozenSand 'Battle of the Artists'!
Here's the deal. We're in need of a bunch of artwork to help us decorate the maps with and we'd like you guys to help us make it. So we've decided to hold a competition!
If you want to help out of course... you know, we would never force anyone... and we would definitely never make special shirts for all those that didn't join in saying "Kick me" or "Not a team player" and make your character wear them for eternity... :P
So we'd do this ourselves however last time the bosses came down from level 72 to check up on our progress with the game they caught us drawing pictures and we were forced to swap job roles with Steve down in 'plumbing obstructions'. So we try to stick to the more important stuff these days. We think it's probably best for everyone.
Anyway, what we are after are 'painting' type artworks that we can 'hang' on the walls. Like one would normally do with paintings and such arty things. It could be anything though! Posters, advertising, business signs... even graffiti!
Don't get me wrong our walls look great and the FrozenSand 'wall builders' have gone above and beyond the call of duty... but let's see if we can't pretty them up a bit hey.
As for conditions or criteria for entry - there aren't any. We're not going to give you any real guidelines apart from just use your common sense and have some fun with it. On a slightly serious note though - you do need to know when you submit your artwork you are forfeiting all rights to it and it becomes ours. We just have to say that to protect us down the track from anything untowards if you know what I mean. For example, when we are millionaires with our own private islands because we've made the best game in the world ever we can't have some disgruntled artist wanting one of our islands because their artwork was in one of our maps somewhere. If you want to read the actual t&c's or guidelines of entry click here.
Some hints to help - you know Urban Terror, and you know at least 3 maps we have mentioned that will definitely be in Urt5, and you have seen the artwork that populates the walls in the current version so you kinda know what may suit and what may not. ;)
Finally, winners will not be announced. We're not going to tell you that your artwork has been chosen and make a big thing of it like, "Yay Steve! Your painting has been chosen to be nailed to the pillars in Turnpike"...nope. That would ruin the surprise! When the time comes you will just have to play it and thouroughly inspect each map and see what surprises you can find! There will be a credit for the artwork in some form that is to be decided.
As far as submitting your works, you can post it publicly in reply to this on the forums (see the link down the very bottom), or you can send it to us privately, totally up to you. It would be super cool to post it on the forums so everyone can see, admire, and have a chat about it, but again totally up to you. :)
Oh and we found a spot for that coffee mug from JohnnyEnglish... ;)
Good luck and may the force be with you!
Edit: Use the hashtag #battleoftheurtartists for all social media uploads!
Ah...back in the days.....back around the time all those High Definition products were being released... so shiny... so new... we thought we would jump on the bandwagon and bring out a High Definition game.
One second... I've just had word...
My bad, I've made a serious mistake here... you see here at FS HQ we have 3 departments to seek answers from. They would be Answers, Answers with Thought, and Correct Answers... I confess I only spoke to the 'Answers' guys cause I get a set of free steak knives with every result. I won't be going to them again... they really just make fun of me for not knowing whatever it is, and then send me on my way with some answer out of a hat.
Remind me to fire them at some point... maybe after I get my steak knives.
So after contacting the 'Correct Answers' department I have it on good authority that 'High Definition' has absolutely nothing to do with 'Urban Terror HD' at all. Wow ok... the High Def thing seemed so legit didn't it...
It actually stands for 'HEAVY DUTY'! Righto! We learn something new everyday, and today is no exception! I will pass this onto the Answers Department also... :P
Some history before we begin
So you remember DOOM? Well, id Software made that - they're a game development company who have been around since the 90's and have made fantastic developments in video game technologies for the PC, and in particular their work in 3D computer graphics technology and game engines has been very important. Their engine idTech3, popularly called the Quake3 engine has been used for a number of games including their own Quake 3 and of course Urban Terror (people also tend to call the engine by the version of the game it came out with, so to use this as an example, we were after the Quake 3 1.32b engine, so confusing isn't it!). Just for ease we will call it idTech3 from here on in.
So back when Quake 3 was released they allowed teams of modders to mod the game, but only by using the QVM. The QVM in essence is like this little wart on top of the big engine. You can do some things with it, and it links to the engine, but you are never really touching the engine itself. So anyway, you could play with the QVM, and make mods of the game itself but you had to comply with the licensing conditions. That's how we began! As a team of modders in 1999-2000 who used that mod license to create a quake 3 mod, which was running on Quake 3.
Urban Terror as you know it today
On August 19 2005, id Software released the idTech3 source code - under the GNU General Public License. If you wanted to modify the engine however, and keep the modifications closed source (private), you had to pay for it. And it was pricey! Shortly after that a team of developers decided to take on the idTech3 engine and make it better. So after idTech3 was made open source the 'ioquake3' project was also started. Since then the ioquake3 team (and FrozenSand - you can see all our files here) have added a lot of features and improvements to the open-source engine. Urban Terror 4 runs on any of the Quake 3 compatible engines including Quake 3 itself, of course.
Around that time (2007 - 2009) cheaters started becoming prevalent and the community wanted something done about it. Which meant an anti-cheat system. That combined with the fact we could use things like md5 animations (as opposed to the stock md3 ones) led us to wanting to purchase the engine off id Software so we could modify it and do what we liked. The engine we were interested in was the one quake 3 was released on (idTech3). We would need to start from scratch on it, as none of the things that had been applied to the open-source ioquake3 project could then be applied to our engine which would be closed source. Buying the engine was the only way we could implement the anti-cheat and auth properly, as working in the QVM is very limited, as mentioned before.
Just as a quick explanation of what md5 is, I will quote our master of animations, FrankieV, "MD5 is a skeletal based animation system first introduced in idTech4 and expanded in Doom3. The format was used along with layering so a handful of takes can be used to create a much larger number of stats than what can be accomplished using MD3 by itself. Meaning that instead of storing an entire mesh for each frame of animation, there is only one mesh file. This single mesh file is deformed using a vertex shader. Because there is only one mesh, only one VBO (vertex buffer object) needs to be created for each MD5 model. 50% of the animations in MD3 format are controlled by the player compared with MD5 where the player can only make moves that we will allow. Turtling for example is a non-issue with skeletal based animation (see 'turtling' here) "
BlakeKiller (modeller extraordinaire) continues, "..another disadvantage with MD3 is you have to split the player models up into legs, torso, and head and then rejoin them later. Which tends to cause weird lighting and popping with the animations."
haha! I laugh everytime I see that video!
The engine saga
So we contacted id Software to let them know our intentions to buy their engine. They gave us permission to start work immediately whilst they drew up the contract - and so our engine FSTECH1 was born. We were in negotiations with them for months and hadn't received a proposed contract by the time the FSTECH1 was ready for benchmarking on UrtHD so they gave us permission to release an alpha test.
We released the alpha of Urban Terror HD - and it wasn't received well at all. Unfortunately we didn't really advertise the purpose of the release properly, what you could expect from it, and what we were expecting from it. Everyone had been waiting for years and were expecting a complete game and when it wasn't they felt let down. Understandably. In reality, however, we had only been working on the engine itself for a very short time (about 5 months) before this. TwentySeven had just implemented the MD5 format two months prior, and FrankieV had quickly done up some MD5 animations to test them. We had a lot of content done for it, but we needed to performance test and benchmark the engine, and the only real way we had at our disposal was to release it to the community. So, as you know it went down like a water logged sheep. Shout out to our New Zealand friends... ;)
Now we have a dedicated QA team to get UrT5 up to the standard you would expect when you come to play it! :D
By June 2009 Zenimax Media had bought id Software and the company underwent a big overhaul with many original devs leaving; including the guy we were working with. After everything settled down we finally received the contract, but it had completely changed, so we had to decline the deal. Which was quite annoying to say the least.
We even tried building an engine from scratch we called Iceberg, but by about 2013 we realized it was going to take a decade for a small team like us to make, so we tossed that idea... also tried out a couple of other engines too, one called Ogre3D which was ok but wasn't really what we wanted. We Found the UDK (Unreal Development Kit) and started some primary art tests using FS based assets to see if if it could create the "feel" of the original and not long after that UE4 appeared, we voted to move to that. The Unreal Engine is amazing in what it can do and we are confident it will take us all into the future - if you are interested in that kind of thing, youtube is your friend.
Changing to the Unreal 4 engine meant a lot of work we did for HD (like player models, animations, maps, weapon models, game types, etc) which was made for FSTECH1 were going to be useless. Rather than having everything go to waste we decided to work on a 4.2 version of UrT, utilizing as much content as we could from HD on the current ioquake3 engine. We figured out a way to add a lot of new skins to UrT 4 to help keep things interesting and also implemented the anti-cheat and auth system (but only in the QVM which is not what we wanted obviously, but had to make do). So for quite a while we actually had two projects going on, Urt4 and 5. So in a nutshell what you are playing right now is a lot of fine tuning and bug-fixes, plus content and features from HD. One of the features from HD is jump mode! We all know that one. Only around 2016 we actually stopped working on the UrT4 project and focussed soley on UrT5.
As you know lots of hard work goes into a project like this. It's something we love doing and will continue to do - and of course we want to give the community the best possible game to enjoy. You have all been super patient and we know it's been a difficult situation left not knowing what's going on and we appreciate that more than you know. It's amazing to see the community (small but) still thriving after this time and in fact it's growing everyday. We are having old people come back, the PUG's (where they play organised games through discord) are more popular than ever and played for hours on end everyday! For a list of discord servers click here, join them all! Especially the top one ;).
Just to give you an understanding of the size of something like UrT5; to make up the game of 15GB like we have on steam it takes almost 1TB of content. That's how big our whole repo/project is. That's 1000 gigabytes of content! :O
Rest assured we are working as fast as we possibly can to get this alpha released by the end of the year - so keep doing what you're doing and before you know it UrT5 will be on your doorstep. Your perseverance will not go unrewarded! If you see the FS guys around be sure to tell them how much you appreciate the work they are putting in (and have put in). If you want a list of who does what, click here! If they feel appreciated by a supportive, friendly community it makes doing the work and putting the time in so much easier and more fulfulling. You want UrT5 out quicker? That's how to do it. Get under their skin and make them feel all warm and fuzzy!
Oh I almost forgot. It is our monthly donation drive time... *cough* give us your *cough* money *cough*. Click here to get verified donor status on our discord, website and forums. *cough*
Maybe I should give up smoking those huge big Cuban cigars. Cause that's how we roll down in Australia. Riding kangaroos and smoking cigars.
So this time there is a link down the bottom that will take you to the same post, but on our forums so you can have a chat about it if you'd like. Any questions? Comments? We'd love to hear them.
It's finally that time of the year again so the Urban Zone crew is proud to announce that the 22nd NationsCup will be starting soon!
Last year Portugal won the competition and secured their 7th gold medal by beating USA in the Grand Final, while Belgium beat United Kingdom for the 3rd place. Will there be a new nation winning the title this year, or will Portugal make the gap with victories even bigger? Tell your friends and prepare for an autumn filled with epic matches! The competition will follow this schedule and will be played throughout October and November:
• September 24 - Captain applications start & Voting process for Captains
• October 3 - End of Captain applications
• October 6 - End of Voting, Captain announcement
• October 7 - Start of the first match week & Groups published
Captain application and voting process
If you would like to apply for the captain role of your country, send your application to: email@example.com before the deadline. In your application it's important to write your: Auth name, UZ name, Country, Age, and then an additional supporting comment.
If you think you have what it takes to represent your country join up!
You can read more information about the coming NationsCup on the Urban Zone website so keep your eyes open for more news!
After a long selection process we have finally found the perfect fit for our QA Manager position. His name is 'Slis' and we are happy to welcome him into the team!
Slis and his quality assurance team will be tasked with thouroughly testing the game to make sure it's ready for the next stage of development. To do that they follow a strict set of guidelines to systematically find bugs and make sure they can be replicated. They then document and submit them to the developers for a fix. It's up to him to make sure that these guidelines are adhered to and the final product meets the highest standards.
To give you a little background on Slis; he is an Electrical Engineer by trade and has a lot of experience in the quality assurance industry heading his own teams for the likes of IBM amongst others. Currently in his day job he works with computer automation and electronics. He doesn't have a huge amount of experience with Urban Terror like some of us, but for this position that's not really a bad thing at all, and will actually work in his favour.
So if you get a chance to speak with him you will quickly realize that he is very switched on and doesn't miss a beat whilst having a great eye for detail and making sure things are done the right way the first time. We think he is going to be a great addition to the team and someone we can trust to make sure the game we all love will be perfect when it comes to release.
When you see him around the place please give him a big welcome and a pre-emptive 'thankyou' for making sure this game is set to knock our socks off!