GDawgg mooseD - A Gamer
1992 - Wolf 3D - The Beginning
What a wild and crazy ride it's been. This gaming thing. Never dreamed I'd become this immersed in gaming, however, It all began the day I discovered Wolf 3D on a company computer where I was employed in 1992. Not sure which one of my colleagues installed it. We had just migrated from a Unix-based company wide system to desk-tops. Graphics were a new phenomenon on a computer monitor for us back then so 3D graphics were mind-blowing, to put it mildy. It was very difficult to stop playing Wolf 3D, next to impossible. In the interest of saving my job, I figured I'd better load it on my home pc which was a thick, heavy Toshiba laptop (386 processor) with a 10 inch display. I purchased the game by mail-order. It arrived at my home on a diskette. Now killing bad guys would invade my home life as well. Killing level bosses was kinda cool but what really got me was the pushwalls.
John Carmack, John Romero, Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack founded id Software in 1991. These guys created Wolf 3D, officially known as Wolfenstein 3D. They put pushwalls all through-out the game. One had to guess where they were unless there was a cheat guide handy (we didn't have one). There were always plenty of goodies (health, ammo, treasure) behind the pushwalls. Sometimes there would be whole levels behind them.
Right around the time I discovered the depth of my addiction to Wolf 3D, Carmack, Romero and guys at id Software released Doom (more pushwalls). I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole would go.
From id to Ooblik
The rabbit hole, the world of FPS pc gaming, has no bottom. The possibilities are endless if one has a mind to learn, persevere, explore and adapt. Adaptability is critical, given the changes in FPS pc games since Wolf 3D in 1992. There have been several dispensations between then and now. Like seasons except they last years. Doom and Quake and their sequels were great in the 1990's. In my opinion, Quake 3 Arena was the best of that era. No, I didn't forget Duke Nukem and all it's effects. Simply put, the game-play wasn't on a par with Doom and Quake. Again, my opinion, Duke Nukem was "cheesy". However, it's effects marked a departure from what id Software was churning out.
Everything changed when Valve released Half-Life on November 19, 1998. The single-player mode of Half-Life incorporated tasks, adventure and a greater sense of purpose/mission than any FPS that preceded it. Remarkable game. Extraordinary. Those accolades are for the single player alone.
Multiplayer for FPS pc gamers began with Quake to my recollection. I played it a few times, on LANs and the internet. It was a beginning. That's my way of being polite. The players' bodies would move as they navigated a map but not their arms, legs, hands, feet or head. Playing Quake online in 1996 was like shooting at cardboard cut-out's. As i said, it was a beginning. For the record, Doom also had a LAN-based co-op with 2 to 4 players.
Half-Life and Quake 3 Arena took the FPS multiplayer to a whole new level. A large part of this newness was map editing and creation. Ben Morris (apparently a programmer/designer) created a map editor called Worldcraft. He developed it for Quake. Worldcraft version 1.0 went on sale for $34.95 via mail-order on December 3,1996. Buyers received the program on CD. Valve hired Morris and acquired Worldcraft in July of 1997 with the intent to use it for the development of Half-Life and later release it with Half-Life. The result was version 1.2. Eight versions and 21 months later (version 2.1 -- April 1999) Worldcraft was released as free software but it only worked with Half-Life. Previous versions supported Quake, Quake 2 and Hexen 2. By this time Ben Morris had left Valve. Subsequently, version 3.4 was released and the name was changed to Hammer World Editor.
Why is this important? Think about it for a moment. Hammer and subsequent SDK's (Source Development Kits) released by Valve as free downloads enabled and encouraged mapping, modding and skin creation by the pc gamers themselves. Imagination and creation went wild. It was a wonderful time to be a gamer. New user-created custom content popped all over the place in the multiplayer world of Half-Life. We had never seen anything like this before. The players were creating their own pc gaming venues and player skins. Amazing!
The gravity of all this may be lost on some of you. That's understandable. You kinda had to be there. I was and I'm real glad I was. There's a story told by a gamer named KinetiK who received a Quake 2 custom map called "killingbox2.bsp" from his friend, Drexoll. KinetiK then asked another friend, Ooblik of FrogFree Clan, to recreate this map for Half-Life. On April 5, 1999, Ooblik made the map and named it "Killbox". I didn't get wind of this story until many years after stumbling into a killbox server for the first time. To say I was blown away would be grossly understating. Prior to seeing killbox my favorite Half-Life map was Datacore, a rather constricting map with a few semi-open areas. In killbox the whole map was an open area! It produced much carnage. Many players hated killbox. Calling it a "frames per second nightmare" or noting that no skill went into the making of it. Some suspect the real reason killbox had so many detractors was because so many players got "owned" in this map due to the lack of hiding places. Be that as it may, for every one killbox detractor there were 25 killbox addicts. I smile.
Thank you Ooblik! Thank you too KinetiK and Drexoll!
The first game server I ever ran was in Half-Life. It was 1999. This was prior to discovering killbox. I was running my fave map, Datacore on a dial-up Listen Server. Yes, it was awful. Lag-City. Players would join and frag but as soon as the 3rd or 4th person showed up the listen server would go into hyper-lag. I knew then I had to get DSL. Doh... After getting DSL, I got a router so I could run dedicated servers off my various machines. Then I discovered killbox and devoted all my server space to running killbox servers over the next two and a half years.
I usually ran 3 or 4 Half-Life servers at a time. I began to notice certain regular badasses would play on my GDawgg Killbox servers. One was Spam I Am the other was Sarge. These two guys would mop the floor with the rest of the players in my servers, me included. They were awesome players but they never bragged or taunted the rest of us. They just kicked our butts regularly.
When the time came for me to form my own clan in the fall of 2002 I knew I had to approach Spam I Am and Sarge about joining. I was new to clan stuff. I got help from another regular on my servers. It was time for GDawgg Clan to be born.
First though, I forgot something.
Yes, Half-Life changed FPS pc gaming forever.
Fantastic game, no doubt, but I can't leave out Quake 3 Arena.
It was released on December 2, 1999, almost 13 months after Half-Life. Over the next three years, I'm sure I logged at least 1500 hours of game-play time on each of these games. I was hooked.
Q3A was/is one helluva kickass game. No plot, no tasks, no missions. Just kill the other guy early and often, arena style.
This game is crazy, off the charts awesome. I've had a truckload of fun playing it. Q3A is still very popular today. There's more than 600 Q3A servers running this very moment. What's kept it alive all these years are the multitude of mods available for it. Most of these mods involve the rocket launcher, the rail-gun or the shotty. Take it from me, playing modded Q3A is still some of the best gaming around.
Don't believe me? Spend $2.00 or less on this game and join one of the 64-player modded Q3A madhouses. Great Gaming!
The Birth of GDawgg Clan
Removing the cobwebs from my memory to recollect what gaming was like in the fall of 2002 is no easy feat but honestly, I remember it well. I had three Half-Life killbox servers running. Named: GDawgg Killbox 1, GDawgg Killbox 2 and GDawgg Killbox Low-G. With the passage of time the Low-G (as in low gravity) server would become the most popular. We didn't know that yet. Seemingly the same people played in my servers on a daily basis and I liked to keep track of who the badasses were. I was a fair player back then. Not great but not a complete suck-ass either. I created a "Top 75" list of the players who played in my servers regularly. Here is a version of that list on the left hand-side of GDawgg.io from January of 2001: https://GDawgg.io/pgds/egd1a.jpg
I made mention of two awesome players in the previous post, Sarge and Spam I Am. As you see, they're listed at #1 and #4 respectively. The guy at #5 was no slouch either, my good friend GULL. Before I took on the player name of mooseD I went by the name of Putrid. There I was at #9. Two other good friends are listed at #20 and #49, Whole Lotta Holes and W/O Remorse aka Slash. All five of these guys would later become GDawgg Clan members.
First though, I must tell you about the very first player I recruited to join my brand new clan. It was October 21, 2002. It was morning. I was in my GDawgg Killbox 1 server talking to a guy who I'd met in my servers and became friends with. IP_Sitting_Down was his name. IP was a funny guy and very exuberant. He was chock-full of ideas. He presented his ideas with passion, always. As I said, he was a very funny guy. I never asked him about his name, I mean, did IP really sit down to pee? If he did I didn't want to know and I sure didn't want to know why. I simply assumed that he was morbidly obese and peeing sitting down was the less messy of the two options. Or, that he was a punster making a play on the term "IP", internet protocol. I asked him once if he was a guy. He said he was. In retrospect, he might have been lying. What I did know was he enjoyed playing Half-Life killbox as much or more than I did and he was a lot of fun. Also, IP was Canadian. Whether he was lying or not, it really didn't matter. Whoever this person was on the other end of his internet connection was a damn good Half-Life player and he had a ton of imagination. We chatted on numerous occasions about all kinds of things. This guy had more ideas than there is sand in the desert.
Now you've met IP_Sitting_Down. Yeah, he was kind of weird but most gamers were back then. Eleven years ago there weren't millions of gamers like now. Most of us pc gamers were quirky in some way or another. Back to the morning of October 21, 2002, in GDawgg Killbox 1, I say, "hey IP, you wanna join my clan?" "What clan?", he said. As if offended because he'd never heard of it, I said, "GDawgg Clan, what are you thinking?!?!" We both typed "lol" or "lmao" in chat and IP said, "sure! I'd be honored!"
For that day, at least, we were a two-man clan. That didn't last long. My motivation for forming the clan was to have killbox clan-wars with other clans. The idea was to kick some butt. To never lose and for GDawgg Clan to be feared throughout all of Half-Life. You know, typical "guy" stuff. In order to pull this off I needed Sarge and Spam I Am in my clan. Before approaching either of them I told IP about my plans. His response surprised me. He said, "you're just recruiting 'ringers', that's no good, we should build this clan with regular players like me and you..." Yada, yada. IP threatened to quit the clan over this issue. He tried to make me see that my motives were somehow foul or mis-placed. Ok, so they were. That didn't make them bad ideas. I had world domination on my mind. Or, at least, domination of the world of Half-Life. No way was I going to be side-tracked by my Canadian friend and his crisis of conscience. I couldn't afford to lose him as a clan-member either. That would make me a "clan of one". No good. We easily resolved the issue, agreeing in the end that winning clan-matches wouldn't be such a bad thing after all. Then we both began recruiting and initiating new Dawggs.
Plainly put, IP and I went on a recruiting binge. He would bring me the names of prospective clan members aka "Dawggs" and I had final say as to who would get in and who wouldn't. I wasn't too overly selective, we had a clan to build. I'd never done this before and there were no manuals on "clan-building" lying around. My pressing concern was to get Spam I Am and Sarge in the clan. They were each hesitant initially but both agreed to join us. I was thrilled. Now my new clan could take on anyone in a clan match and win. Awesome!
These are the names of the early Dawggs of GDawgg Clan: IP_Sitting_Down, GULL THE VIOLATOR, doc (later changed his name to WRATH), gorgon, Mad Hatter (gorgon's hockey-playing son), Spam I Am, Sarge, slash aka W/O Remorse, godwhisky, Kill Sport, Whole Lotta Holes (Holes for short), sil3ntninja, Big Mac Attack, Romello, Tarwn, FIREFOX71, FalconX, PuShAmAn=ud1*, deadami, X a Qshuner, TOI YA BAS (Scotland), Swiz, (Northern England), Enhanced, Desert Eagle, MaiM, Austin Powers, Rancid and Sidewinder.
The stories I could tell. Whew! We had a blast together. There was only one game worth playing back then as far as we knew and that game was Half-Life. Killbox was the only map we ever played. Endlessly. I set the time limit on all GDawgg Killbox servers to "0". For the uninitiated, that means there was no time limit. The map never rotated - lol. Players would regularly spend four or five hours at a time fragging in our servers, racking up scores well above 1000 kills for a given session.
The Dawggs of the GDawgg Clan were very close and we had some real characters in our midst. Most notably GULL. What a guy, what a guy. GULL was a crazy-awesome killbox player, very talented, extremely passionate about our clan and loyal like there's no tomorrow. He was pretty funny too. FIREFOX, aka Foxy was quite the character as well. However, I had a nemesis in my own clan. A guy who I targeted whenever we were in "the box" at the same time: doc. He and I must've spent thousands of hours fragging, blowing each other's brains out repeatedly then laughing about it. It didn't matter who else was playing, I was always trying to kill him first and foremost. Why? You might ask. We were both intensely competitive and somehow we both tried to prove it by killing each other more, most, early and often. He was simply the guy I had to kill, no matter what. The cool thing about it is we became very good friends. There was never any ill will between us, just great competition. I think the reason he called himself doc was because one of the stock Half-Life player models was Dr. Kleiner, a nuclear physicist. doc always used that model. Dr. Kleiner had a bald head and a lab-coat. Go figure. In September of 2003 doc changed his name to WRATH. I'm proud to say he's still a member of GDawgg Clan to this very day. He's seen the thick and the thin of it in our clan and he's never left. For that I'm truly grateful.
For every guy who has ever been in our clan I could tell four or five stories. Of course, there are some stories I simply cannot tell.
At the moment, there's just not enough time to recount all the events of our newly-formed clan that occurred between 2002 and 2004. But some of the names from the list above stand out: Tarwn: stone-cold .357 killer and the guy who re-coded our website for me in 2003. Tarwn is a skilled programmer. Kill Sport: killbox RPG camper. He was unapologetic about it too. We didn't mind though, he was one of us. sil3ntninja: graphic artist. Extremely talented and deadly in killbox. Ninja made numerous banners, logos, and flash images for our website. He made major design changes to GDawgg.io. Whole Lotta Holes: great guy, great player, great clan-mate. Holes is an experienced Unreal Tournament series mapper. Desert Eagle: deadly. Almost impossible to beat. Austin Powers: funny funny guy. Big Mac Attack: perhaps the most deadly Dawgg ever in Half-Life. Skill out of this world! He's no longer in our clan, yet he's still our friend and he still plays Half-Life killbox.
For my next post I'll talk about two very good friends who've been on this path with me since 2003: Swiz and MaiM...
I realize many current HL2DM players never played Half-life. The result for those players has been to praise HL2DM as this magnificent game with this magnificent "gravity-gun", awesome physics and awesome graphics. Many of those players, the ones who never played Half-Life, still think and some will even say that Half-Life 2 is one of the best games ever made.
Those of us who played Half-Life and loved the game do not agree.
In 2003 and 2004 our entire clan of 30 plus members was anxiously anticipating the release of HL2. We just knew it was going to be awesome. The entire pc gaming world was on the edge of it's collective seat, waiting for the release of HL2. This was going to be big. Real big. In May of 2003 I flew out to E3 in Los Angeles to meet with and interview Gabe Newell, the Managing Director of Valve Corporation, about this great new game that he and his company were set to release. I recorded my interview with Gabe and it can still be seen on GDawgg.io today: https://GDawgg.io/gnv2.mpg.mpeg. Valve was so engrossed with their new physics engine and facial movements of the game's characters that maintaining weapon continuity from Half-Life and fluidity of player-movement were simply not on their radar. When HL2 was finally released in November of 2004, I and my clan-mates were completely disgusted with the game. So much so, that nearly half of our clan lost interest in playing and left the clan. To put it plainly, we were pissed. We felt betrayed by Valve.
Here are a few reasons why.
1. Half-Life is "always run", not the pathetic "fatigue-able sprint" that encumbers HL2DM.
2. In addition to being always run, there is also a server variable in Half-Life that allows admins to adjust the player run speed. This variable was disabled in HL2DM.
3. The "jump-pack" from Half-Life was also removed from HL2DM. This item allows players in Half-Life to jump high, long and fast.
4. Running/movement in HL2DM is like running in a vat of molasses. I was one of the first, if not the first, HL2DM server admin in November of 2004 to adjust the gravity on all my servers to "105" simply to make player movement more fluid.
5. The .357 Magnum in Half-Life is zoomable. This also was disabled in HL2DM.
6. The crossbow in Half-Life had no delay. ZERO DELAY. Not so in HL2DM. What does that mean, no delay? It means that if you target a player with the crossbow in Half-Life and click the mouse, the player is hit and is dead immediately, unless they've picked up some armor. In HL2, you have to lead the player and anticipate the player's next move to get crossbow kills.
7. The most egregious change/omission made by Valve was the replacement of the tau-cannon with the gravity-gun. The tau-cannon is easily the most multi-dimensional weapon I've ever used in any game I've played since 1992. The alternate-fire feature on the tau-cannon (right-mouse) allows the player to charge the weapon and upon release of the right-mouse the burst from the tau-cannon can propel the player high and far in an instant. Additionally, this same alt-fire burst can kill enemies through any surface in the game (walls, floors, ceilings, etc). In killbox the tau-cannon is lethal because the position of every player in the map is visible and this weapon is used to easily kill players on any catwalk or platform in the map with a simple charge and burst. The gravity-gun, in comparison, is not even worth mentioning. Many would argue this point. I would answer those arguments by saying the gravity-gun has zero bearing on player movement, unlike the tau-cannon. The instantaneous propulsion of the player by the tau-cannon is a game-changer. No other weapon in any game has this capability. Also, the gravity-gun cannot kill an enemy by itself, unlike the tau-cannon. Finally, the gravity-gun cannot kill an enemy in another room or building from the outside of that room or building. The tau-cannon can and does. This single omission/change, removing the tau-cannon, by Valve in their release of HL2 was the one that pissed us off the most. To the Dawggs of GDawgg Clan it was inexcusable. Valve and Steam became synonymous with failure to us. That sentiment still exists in our midst today. However, for anyone who never played Half-Life Killbox, you don't understand our perspective and you have no frame of reference so it's impossible for you to ever understand.
In the wake of this disaster, HL2DM, my clan was in a state of unrest and anger. Some guys just disappeared never to be seen again. Other guys said their good-byes and went to play BF1942. Either way, those of us who remained were left to keep the clan together in spite of HL2DM.
Along with WRATH and Spam I AM, two of my most trusted clan-mates to this day who stuck it out with me during those early HL2DM years are Swiz and MaiM. We've all gotten to know each other very well over these years and their loyalty to our clan is unquestionable. These four guys and myself are all that remain from the pre-2004 GDawgg Clan. There are not sufficient words to express my gratitude to WRATH, Spam, Swiz and MaiM for what they've meant to this clan over the course of what will soon be a decade.
Guys, thank you, thank you, thank you.
To be continued...