JohnNy_cz  /  31 Oct 2008, 12:42
Interview with qqshka
I've decided to interview qqshka wiki - the most significant and active developer of QuakeWorld today, the author of lots of the crucial stuff which keeps QuakeWorld still alive and makes it quite modern game after so many years.

Read on to find out why KTX was a "huge mistake" and was planned to be "aim practice mod" in the first place, about special qqshka(c)Quake "distro", why Q3 is better than QW and other interesting views.
"The Russian Coder", that's how most of the scene knows you. But now let's introduce yourself a bit more - name, age, location, what do you do for living, since when do you play QuakeWorld and so on?
I have soooo rare Russian (actually, it's Hebrew) name - Ivan. I was born in 1981 in Yaroslavl on the Volga river , so I'm 27 years old now. At the moment I'm working as a programmer and I "live" in Moscow for about one and a half year. Sometimes I meet my sister, mother and friends at Yaroslavl, but not each weekend as in the first six or eight months living in Moscow. Well, enough of boring personal info for this interview, you are not my employer. (JohnNy_cz notes: Really, what about ezQuake?! Hehe.)

What was the reason for you to start doing programming in general and what did you code before QuakeWorld stuff?
Well, according to my diploma I'm a programmer. I played DooM and Quake at school (ten years ago? on friend's PC), so no wonder that I was interested in Quake sources at the university. But when I opened it I almost immediatelly closed it. It was too hard for me, because I was first year student. We played sh*tload of Quake at the university (8-10 hours per day, I think, guess how much time I spent studying, damned mistake), FFA NQ on various custom maps (maybe dm6 and e1m7 was an exception, perhaps some more too), 486DX 120HZ or something similar, soft, nosound, +mlook (we were PROs) .

There were some troubles with keeping quake media data at school, about 52 damned megabytes in two pak files! Way too much for a 512(?) megabytes HDDs, so I even made my own stripped version of Quake. After I stripped single player media, all the sounds and all the maps except of a few deathmatch ones it occupied less than one FDD disk (1.44 MB) in compressed form. This "distro" was top hit at the university for a few years :E.

At some point (second year of school?) I got interested in modding, so I made one mod. It was crap, but we played it for a few years . Almost nothing was changed, just sh*tload of flesh, plus there was knockback added to NG and SNG, so you could fly with it. Was fun with quad... Switching SNG/RL you could fire Quad rockets from the sky...

Then WOW got me for a few years... err MUD got me, that's a text multiplayer RPG. I have looked into MUD sources - Merc ROMs, Anatolia, perhaps it tells something to someone, but I doubt it. It was a huge project, I've learned coding from it, I think.

Then I was back to Quake. Let's skip how we switched to QW from NQ, but the reason was that some new geneartion dude came to the university and owned me :E. He promoted QW, told us about bunnyhopping and such. It was 2003 or something, I can't really recall... Lets skip next years of my life.

You are the most multi-project QuakeWorld developer. You are the head of KTX and QTV development, you also contribute greatly to MVDSV and ezQuake. What made you join all these projects and do changes to all of them? Some secret world domination plan, huh? :-)
As you know, I started KTX by coincidence, I blame disconnect wiki . Basically I wanted to make some mod for personal usage, for RL aim practicing, but I wasn't satisfied with the standard Quake C (QC) programming language. However I heard that SD-Angel made it possibile to write mods in pure C for MVDSV (this is called QVM technology). So I asked disconnect (since he knew Angel) about it.

I do not exactly recall why (OH WHY?), but disconnect mentioned that it would be cool to write an open source mod for QW as a replacement for KTPro, since KTPro was closed source for a long time and rxr rejected to open source it (by the way, KTPro sources are now available, rxr finally gave them to us, thanks for that). I hesitated to tell disconnect that I just wanted to write that damned aim practice mod and so I replied to him "Yes, it would be cool to write KTPro replacement".
It was a huge mistake, I spent a couple of years on it.

That's how I got involved in QW coding. KTX required some changes in MVDSV and also in the client (ezQuake). That's how I got involved in other projects. QW architecture is not perfect for modding, the modder is limited compared to the Quake3 engine.

QTV is a different story, involving Spike - FTE head programmer, pretty talented, knows much much more about coding and Quake coding than me. It's Spike's fault that I got involved in QTV . As a player I missed game observing features. There was FTEQTV, yet again writen by Spike, cool shit, had great possibilities, but it did not work and was unusable .

JohnNy_cz (oh it's you), and some other dudes have tried to somehow motivate Spike to fix it and somehow push the project, I've tried too. I've even sent few bug-fixes to Spike, but it was applied slowly and without enthusiasm. I do not really blame Spike, QW coding is a hobby, not a job, so he is free to do what he wants. I guess he got fed up with coding at that time or he was busy with different things. Who are we to blame him?

After some point I gave up and decided to try to fix it by myself, so I made fork from FTEQTV, stripped away features which I didn't really need, so the code became small and I understood each bit of it. I rewrote some parts of it, did some fixes, added some features, tested and made some fixes again. But still major part is done by Spike.
Actually it's Renzo who tested it in real life environment and was giving me feedback. First few months QTV was showing us .|... for this or that reason, but Renzo "bothered" me hard, so we got it stable now. Also there were some bugs in MVDSV too, it was a task to make QTV and MVDSV friends.

So I think Spike was just missing such people who would "bother" him and pushed the project. For example, I started KTX, got it somehow working, but I was too lazy to write configs distros and promote it. I am coder, not manager. But there was gLAd (Russian player and admin of most of the Russian servers in the past) who pushed me, gave me some ideas and requests, after some time it was Empezar (who promoted KTX in the Europe), then it was, and still is Renzo.
Without those guys nothing would happen. Renzo's role for QTV as "pusher" is unique . So it's all about coincidences and meeting a few right guys in the right time.

About ezQuake, well, my best achievement as a coder is the annoying powerup "rain" in the console. I wonder why there aren't many people who ask how to turn it off.

Which project do you like coding the most and which feature are you proud of the most?
Question should be like "which project annoys you the least". I don't know, for me it's all one project - QuakeWorld.
Well, it's an interesting feeling when you see that your project (KTX) is being set up on the servers on each continent of the planet. You start feeling that you mean something, or maybe I feel like I am on each continent . Also it's fun when I see chat balloons, that has been done by me . Also I did some hidden change to KTX, some loong time ago, sometimes I see it, but people did not realize it yet, got fun from that too.

What is your attitude to "gameplay changes" in KTX? Your code commits stricly avoid this area - speed, movement, damage, rules, weapons or other gameplay stuff. Do you think that QuakeWorld is perfect and there is no reason to change anything? Do you think there is some change that the vast majority of the community would agree on?
To be honest, I am not allowed to (or cannot) do such changes for various reasons. Not going to explain.
However I would be glad to change QW in some aspects, some "minimal" movement changes, so that it would be even more fast, but I am not allowed to...
I doubt there exist any gameplay change which would be accepted by majority.

Lots of developers say that QuakeWorld as it is now is very limited and makes coding of major new stuff difficult. If someone gave you time and of course money, which big part in QuakeWorld code would you rewrite? Which new features would it bring to the players?
As I've mentioned above, modding is difficult in QW. To add a nice feature you need to change the server, the client and the mod. In other modern engines (hehe, q3 is not modern, but good in this) most of the time just the mod changes.

Every year there arise talks about users' authentication - players having their registered username, rank, results. From the current news about QuakeLive we can already say that guys in Id Software did a lot of work on it, they've simply based the whole concept of the game on it. Do you think something like this could be done in QuakeWorld too? Would it be any good? Why hasn't it been done yet?
I think it may be possibile, may bring less faking, however it requires will, time and knowledge. I lack at least two of this.

What are your plans? What are you going to code for QuakeWorld in following weeks and months?
Not sure, really busy nowdays with job and "adjusting to reality".

You contributed lots of your time to QuakeWorld. Unlike most of the forum spammers, you have big moral right to criticise what other people do to QuakeWorld. What in QuakeWorld could be done better by the community? Which areas could be improved to give QuakeWorld a better image?
Maybe more people should contribute to the existing projects and areas? You can count "active" contributors on the fingers of one hand. But I never think about it too much, can't suggest anything good now.

Quick off-topic questions:
What do you like the most about QuakeWorld?
Movement, weapons' simplicity (rl/lg/gl), absence of rail-like weapon, which kills +forward in my opinion.

The day when QuakeWorld died. Which year will be on the calendar in that day?
No comments.

What other game(s) besides QuakeWorld do you like?
None... Well, maybe Q3 CPMA.

Favourite TV series?
Not used to it, perhaps IT Crowd.

Which free-time activities not related to computer do you enjoy the most?
Nothing special, yet. Perhaps, booze in good company. I should join some sport, some day :E ...
2008-10-31, 13:17
To be perfectly honest, this might sound a bit harsh to some people (or even the majority), but let's still spit it out loud:

qqshka wrote:

To be honest, I am not allowed to (or cannot) do such changes for various reasons. Not going to explain.
However I would be glad to change QW in some aspects, some "minimal" movement changes, so that it would be even more fast, but I am not allowed to...
I doubt there exist any gameplay change which would be accepted by majority.

As a mod author you have every right and permission to do anything you want to do with YOUR mod. Noone can stop you doing that and why would you even care in the end? Also, as a server admin I have every right to use the mods what I think are the best, because it's me who runs that shit in the end. If players are not interested using such software or servers, they surely can go play somewhere else.

Putting that aside and thinking QW in general, it's been like it's been for the last 11 or so years now, there have been some changes during that time but nothing has drastically changed the gameplay since bunnies. So if we want to "support" QW as it is then we shouldn't allow changes that change the game too much, so that it remains faithful. This is also someting I want from my QW experience.

The thing I want personally from all the things I do for QW-related stuff like servers, QTV and clients is that every player should have the best possible experience when playing QW. That includes working servers/mod, qtv, client and whatever there is. The question is, what do you want from the stuff you are doing for QW? The rest is just implementating all that stuff you see around you or think about yourself and then coding it to your software to the best of your abilities.

QW-coders should really be compensated somehow from wasting many hours of their days coding stuff for QW.
2008-10-31, 13:26
I was actually wondering....
How do you disable that powerup rain ? :/
2008-10-31, 13:32
con_particles_images 0
2008-10-31, 14:05
major kuddos (c) to the interviewed, the interviewer and everyone mentioned in the interview.
2008-10-31, 15:27
Hot stuff, peace and love to Qqshka and everyone else! <3
2008-10-31, 15:39
Very much enjoyed reading this! Would be interesting to know who the "new generation QW dude" was that owned him in ~2003 though. Great interview!
Спасибо джонни и кукушка
2008-10-31, 17:02
where can i find the floppy quake distro?
2008-10-31, 20:39
i also made such distro for school

Removed pentagram from mdl's cos we only played dm4 and dm2 i think. Or perhaps only dm4... Realised a few years later that the map is shit
2008-10-31, 22:15
this interview is the bomb!!

offtopic: qhlan should have workshops
2008-10-31, 23:35
Great interview!
2008-11-01, 01:27
loved reading... someday I might face Quake's code too

btw, what was the "hidden change" to KTX?
2008-11-01, 08:10
Nice interview, lol @ the "distro"
2008-11-01, 22:11
2008-11-02, 15:23
Rally nice read! Keep up the good work!
2008-11-03, 12:20
kudos to qqshka and all other good developers, like Renzo <3
2008-11-03, 17:36
Nice interview lads. Interesting read. We used to have a small distro like that as well in College which went nicely on a floppy. Would be a good way to get more players playing by flooding College Games Societies with the distro. Students wouldn't need to spend half hour loading a game on the college lan to play a game. They Just load up the 2MB file and off they go. Even if it was a 10MB file with some extra maps. Might be an idea....
2008-11-04, 18:33
Wouldn't making a big distro that fits nicely on a cd be better then? having all maps etc so people can get on ffa servers in 5sec
2008-11-04, 18:36
I guess the demand of such a "one floppy distro" is just for historic reasons. Welcome to the 21st century and use nQuake.
2008-11-04, 18:43
zappater wrote:

Wouldn't making a big distro that fits nicely on a cd be better then? having all maps etc so people can get on ffa servers in 5sec

Or perhaps configure your FFA server so that it uses chunked downloads and sends the maps at 340kB/s instead of something else.
2008-11-04, 19:20
tell the guy who runs xs4all, not me please
2008-11-04, 19:25
The reason for the Small Distro and why it could be of use is that when in college alot of universities dont like games being put on their machines. So with a 2MB file you have it on in seconds and you are playing almost immediately. Thats what we used to do and the smaller the size the better. It was so little hassle and you were playing almost immediately. Having a CD with 500 MB with graphics would work of course too. But the 2MB was so easy to distribute and so quick that you could have 4 or 5 lads in a Lab up and running very quickly and with little hassle

Edited by pleuraXeraphim on 04 Nov 08 @ 20:26CET
2008-11-04, 20:40
well considering that floppy as stopped being used a cd distro would be more likely used in the future
2008-11-05, 13:12
Don't forget that there is an offline cdgenerator for nQuake. Great for handling out *cough* cd's without pak1.pak integrated and letting people getting it themself.
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