Many players in the scene might be completely unaware of the fact that a replacement to the old nasty Qizmo
cams is being worked on. It's called ezTV and the lead developer is Qqshka
. With this article we can hopefully shed some light on what ezTV is, what benefits it would bring, what its current state is and how you can help out.
ezTV - the Quakeworld equivalent to Quake 3 Arena's and Quake 4's GTV
If you have played any of the recent games in the Quake series - Quake 3 Arena or Quake 4 - then you might be familiar with the word GTV, which is short for Game TV. GTV fulfills the same purpose as the Qizmo cams in Quakeworld, only that several hundreds of spectators can connect at once and view any player they wish. This ezTV software is the Quakeworld equivalent to GTV. In Quakeworld the principle is basically to stream the MVD
data to the spectators, which makes for a smooth experience.
This piece of software is currently developed by
Qqshka with good help from
Renzo in the bug hunting department. The foundation for ezTV is made out of another "TV" program you might have heard of - QTV
- and that one is made by
Spike. QTV, however, doesn't seem to be updated as frequently anymore.Why use ezTV then when we already have Qizmo?
There are a few benefits we gain from migrating to ezTV spectating instead of the regular horrible Qizmo cams. In the end we will all have a solid spectator experience compared to what we have now. Consider the list below and i think all of you will agree with me.*
It can take heaps more spectators than Qizmo cams currently can.*
Less bandwidth required.*
Smoother experience as it's streamed MVD data from the server. You can download 1,5Gb of DDE3 and spectate at the same time - it will still be smooth when you watch the EQL finals.*
You can spectate all players as it's streamed MVD data.*
Again, it's MVD data, which means all MVD features will work. Consider the weapon status of the teams, radar and all the other kind of features you have when you watch an MVD demo.*
If a server runs ezTV then there will always be a spectator spot open for you. The situation when there is a big game coming up, all spectator spots filled and no cams available won't come up again.*
It's easy to connect. There are status pages
on the web that shows the action that is going on at all servers that have ezTV installed. If you have ezQuake 1.8 then you can just click the link and you will automatically fire up ezQuake and start spectating without having to bother with any menus whatsoever.
As you can see, there are quite a few benefits by using ezTV. In the future some more of the Qizmo features would be implemented (like the use of re-routing for example) which would render Qizmo quite useless. Those might be some scary words for someone who likes Qizmo, as it has been with us for quite a while now, but when you consider that it hasn't been updated for about 8-9 years you realize that we need to substitute it and get some fresh players on the pitch. There aren't even any sources for Qizmo, so even if we wanted to, we wouldn't be able to modify it and add features. Anyway, with all the new features listed above, it would be like a dream come true for the hardcore spectators out there and we could all fit onto the same ezTV as one, big, happy family!We need to test this thing - the developers need feedback and bug reports!
While you might have been a bit hyped up now, i must say that this thing isn't quite ready yet. You might have seen announcements every now and then about games being broadcasted on ezTV. Maybe you even have enjoyed a game through it, but there is still some work to do on it, especially until it gets really user friendly. For now the intention is to get the software to a stable version and then add interesting features afterwards. A critical feature that ezTV is currently lacking is a chat function. This may sound simplistic, but it's because of the different technique used compared to when spectating through Qizmo. Spectator chat is of course coming in future versions though and it's probably the most significant feature you will miss at the moment. The software just needs to get more reliable before implementing such features.
The problem is, however, that it is hard for a two man team to discover all bugs by themselves and that is why we all need to get together on this path to the holy grail of Quakeworld broadcasting. Therefore i suggest that you all check it out and use it as frequently as possible when you're spectating games.
For now the only servers that are possible to spectate games on through ezTV are Jollen, Suomicom and Troopers.fi. The nifty things are the previously mentioned status websites though which makes it easy to check if there are any interesting games going on at the moment. Just click the link to the server and the next second ezQuake has been fired up, joined the stream and you're spectating someone in action! You can go right ahead now and check the action on Jollen, Suomicom and Troopers.fi
if you want to.
If you feel like helping out with this then there is an easy way to report the bugs. Just go to the ezTV thread in the server talk forum
and add the necessary information for the developers to squash the bug. In order for it to qualify as a bug, the failing event should be possible to reproduce. Before you report it you should pinpoint the exact steps you took for the bug to appear and include them in your bug report. This doesn't mean it has to be rocket science, but you should not just report "It doesn't work" but rather a chain of steps. This could be certain keys pressed in a particular order and what not. The base for all bug testing should be a stable release of ezQuake 1.8 and if you would happen to lay your hands on some later version of the ezQuake client, then the build name of the client should be included in your bug report.
You don't have to be a hardcore tester to help out with this, just try it out and if anything fishy happens, then go to the thread and report it. All information is useful information and the more people that are using it, the more information about anomalies we can get. If we all help out in fixing the bugs in ezTV we can look forward to a spectator experience that is yet to be seen in any game to this day.