Back in the days when I was fairly heavily into PC games I used to play a lot of Quake 3, and when I say a lot, I mean a LOT. It was mostly confined to the Rocket Arena 3 mod (which now lives on in a mode known as Clan Arena), and I regularly played in a team in several leagues. In fact at one point we won our division in a European league which, despite sounding like a very lame boast, was a proud moment. Anyway, the point of all this dithering and waffling is that the game has been reborn, and yours truly has gotten in on the beta test.
Quake Live (formerly known as Quake Zero) is essentially Quake 3 again, the game itself hasn’t really changed in any way, shape or form. The major change is in the way the game is delivered. Rather than a massive install and a dedicated executable with everything that goes along with it, the game is now played in a web browser. Yup, that’s right, a normal web browser. It’s an impressive technical feat if you ask me, I remember struggling to meet technical requirements just to run the game in the past, let alone just opening Firefox (Chrome isn’t supported yet) and visiting a website.
The first time you sign up and log in you need to install a plugin, which I suppose is where most of the magic comes from, and once you get to the site proper you can see that it’s downloading an updating files in the background. It’s very clever, using a Skill setting match against a bot to hide the downloads in the background. Once past that formality it’s on to the game proper, and it’s very impressive. The game window acts as a server/match browser offering up all the game modes you’d expect such as FFA, TDM, CTF and CA, a click later and you’re into a game. It works brilliantly, the maps load really quickly, the pings are good (all American servers so far by the looks of mine @ 150ms) and it plays surprisingly well. I need to play with the options a bit more to see what’s available, but as far as free games which run from your browser go, there’s nothing even close. It’s a closed beta for the time being, so unfortunately if you like the sound of it you’re going to have to wait a little while first. The only problem I can see is my addiction starting up again. A chance would be a fine thing though, my computer is constantly threatening to die for good. At first it was just choosing not to boot whenever it felt like it, now I think the CMOS battery is dead. Every time I power it up I have to set the bios up, I have to wait for hardware detection, it’s just a mess. Maybe once the house is done I can look at saving and getting a replacement.
It was gorgeous out yesterday so we took the dog to the beach for an hour. I can’t believe how much like Spring it was, the sunshine was really warm, there were loads of people out kicking footballs and running about, and there were dogs as far as the eye can see. Murphy loves it when we go to the beach now, he’s in his element down there. The first few times he didn’t know what to make of it, but he knows Portreath beach like the back of his hand paw now. As soon as he’s off the lead he has an uncontrollable urge to go to a particular pile of rocks and make a little pile of his own. After a couple of lengths of the beach we head over to the rock pools for a paddle. I have a bit of a predisposition which for some reason makes me want to get my dog in the water whenever I can. Whether it’s because I want him to be a strong swimmer, or just that I find him funny to look at when he goes all wet and straggly, I don’t really know, but a trip to the beach isn’t complete unless I have a damp spaniel for the rest of the day.
He’s still going to agility, and on the whole is doing very well. His only downfall is his lack of attention when other small dogs are about. There’s a little spaniel in his usual class who he’s utterly besotted with, but she doesn’t even know he exists. It’s quite hard to work a good combination of jumps, tunnels and turns when your dog buggers off after the first jump and starts sniffing. This week I took him to an earlier group and he did a lot better. He’s perfectly capable of doing a combination of 8+ obstacles when his brain is in the right place, but he’s a bit too free-spirited (not badly trained, honest) at times. Bless him though, he enjoys it, especially all the cheese he gets as bribes and treats.
Murph’s two years old soon, it’s gone very quickly.