ClanBase Column: tp 2 vs. tp 4 by Godsmurf

ClanBase Column: tp 2 vs. tp 4 by Godsmurf

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Leuven, BELGIUMYou may have read that ClanBase is considering the tp 2 setting for the new season of the ClanBase Q2DM Cup for Benelux clans. This announcement has stirred quite a debate between supporters and opponents.
Both the Dutch and Belgian Quake 2 scenes have always used tp 4 in their wars, so none of the participating clans are used to tp 2. Why change to tp 2 now? How would it affect gameplay during wars? How to get used to it? That will be the topic for this column. My clan is used to tp 4 but has played a lot of wars in countries where tp 2 is the standard, so I may be the right guy to compare tp 2 to tp 4. Disclaimer: we quit Q2 so I have no personal interest in this matter in case you should think so :)First let me explain what tp 2 is for those who shouldn’t know. ‘tp’ (short for ‘teamplay’) is a variable used by war mods like Battleground. It determines whether you can hurt yourself and your teammates. The possible values are:

  • tp 1: you can’t hurt yourself, nor your teammates. Fire at will! This setting is quite fun as you can rocket jump around without suffering damage.
  • tp 2: you can hurt yourself and your teammates. This is obviously the reality setting; a bullet doesn’t think about who it’s hitting, it kills.
  • tp 3: you can hurt yourself, and you can destroy your teammates’ armour. You can not decrease their health though, and consequently can’t kill them. If they have 1 health and 90 armour, you can completely destroy their armour with one direct rocket hit, but you can rest assured that their 1 health will remain and keep them alive :) tp 3 is a compromise between tp 2 and tp 4. It is an invention of mod authors; you can’t have this setting with Q2 by itself and some mods (e.g. OSP Tourney) don’t have it.
  • tp 4: you can hurt yourself, but you can’t hurt your teammates or damage their armour. This is the setting all Q2 clans in the Benelux are used to.

Here’s a little overview of what setting is used in which countries (I only mention countries that I know it of):

  • tp 1: I don’t know any Quake scene that uses tp 1 in its wars, and I don’t think any exist.
  • tp 2: USA, Canada, Middle America (believe it or not: we actually played a war against a a Mexican clan once, on a Puerto Rican server, so I can know :) ), Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, … .
  • tp 3: Only the UK uses this. The UKCCL (UK clan league) decided to use it and I think that’s how it got introduced there. Many UK clans play with tp 4 though.
  • tp 4: Scandinavia, the Benelux, and sometimes the UK.

So simply put, the north-west of Europe (Scandinavia, Benelux, UK) uses tp 4, and the rest of the world uses tp 2.Belgium could have been part of the tp 2 part of the world though :) I actually remember the discussion that decided on our tp setting. Fragland had just put up the first battleground server. All other Belgian Q2 servers were Lithium FFA servers then. Anyway, this battleground server was always empty because noone knew how it worked. One night SemperFy, Cronus, FragSpecter and me were trying it out though, discovered the tp setting, and discussed what it should be. I remember FragSpecter wanted tp 2 coz he was a Q1 player and therefore used to tp 2. The other three present wanted tp 4 though (I think because Lithium doesn’t have team damage either), and as the four of us were then the entire Belgian DM scene, that’s how it remained :) Will you believe this discussion was in January 1999, only 1 year ago? Yes Belgium is a backwards Quake country, but! – we’re catching up. Proof: not a single Lithium server is left today :)

Anyway as I mentioned Q1 players are used to tp 2, even in the countries whose Q2 scenes use tp 4. As far as I know, in the Q1 scene the tp setting is much less a matter of what country you’re in than of what map you’re in. In big maps like q1dm3 and e1m2, tp 2 is always used, while in a small hectic map like q1dm6, many clans (regardless of where they are from) prefer to play with tp 4. But in almost all serious competitions only dm3 and e1m2 are played, so tp 2 is the de facto standard in Quake 1.

What are the consequences of playing a war with tp 2? Well they’re pretty obvious if you think about it:

  • When you see a team mate fighting an enemy in the distance, you can’t just send a few rockets over there hoping they will hit the enemy. You’ll either need to use the rail or chain and be precise, or close in and see what you can do. But…
  • You can’t just jump in to help a team mate who is in a close fight. This is probably the most common mistake: you’re used to focusing 100% on the enemy so you forget what your teammate is doing and walk in his line of fire, catching a rocket that was intended for the enemy if you’re unlucky. Likewise when a teammate comes to help you, you tend to not notice him and keep circling around your enemy, making it impossible for year team mate to help. In tp 2, a combined attack of 2 vs. 1 really requires you to coordinate your moves with your teammate; e.g. you’ll both want to keep some more distance from your prey, and attack him from a different angle – ideally 90 degrees – to stay out of each other’s line of fire. This is actually pretty cool coz it’s realistic and makes you feel like you’re in a real fight.
  • This also works the other way around; in a fight of 1 vs. 2, you can defend yourself just by trying to stay between your two enemies, or behind the one with the weaker weapon, so they’re afraid to shoot, or hurt each other if they do! With tp 2 it’s often better to run at your attackers rather than running away from them, especially if you know you’re gonna die anyway – better to go out in style and help them hurt each other first. This can be especially gratifying when dealing with an enemy quad runner, with some skill and luck you can get him to frag a teammate with the same shot that kills you :)
  • You have to control your reflexes. If you shoot at anything that moves before recognising it, you’ll kill a lot of team mates. Avoiding this while still reacting quickly will require a good deal more concentration. Trigger-happy fraggers will find this difficult.
  • You have to think before you pull the pin out of a hand grenade. Will you be able to throw it away safely? If you’re camping in a small place with a teammate who’s moving around, or running around your corner where you don’t know what to find, this can be a problem and by the third tick you’ll be panicing and either hurt your teammate or let the grenade explode in your hand. This really happens :)

Does all this make Quake 2 more fun? Well that depends on your idea of fun of-course. I’d say it makes gameplay fun in a different way. In general the teamplay experience is different from the FFA experience because it requires more thought and introduces the need to coordinate your actions with your teammates. This is more true for teamplay with tp 2 because it requires even more thought and coordination, for the reasons explained above. In that sense tp 2 can be considered to be the purer form of teamplay. Which is why its supporters call tp 4 a ‘newbie setting’: tp 4 makes teamplay somewhat more like FFA. Of-course the association of ffa-like gameplay with newbiehood is false, but it’s an efficient way to tickle other players’ sensitivities, as some forum posts have demonstrated :)

 

If deeper teamplay doesn’t mean much to you, are there any other reasons why you should switch to tp 2? Well, I can think of one: tp 2 will very probably be the worldwide standard in Quake 3. The Quake 1 scene has switched to Quake 3 massively since the first test version, while the Quake 2 scene is only switching now and to a lesser extent. Therefore the Q1 scene can and will impose its standard, tp 2, even in the countries where tp 4 was standard in Q2. I haven’t found a single Q3 teamplay server with tp 4 yet, so this seems to have happened already. Now while some diehard Q2ers may vow to never play Quake 3, most Q2ers will switch eventually, so now’s a good time to get used to tp 2. Also, a lot of people will be playing Q2 and Q3 simultaneously for the next few months; they have an interest in playing both games with the same setting.

Still not convinced? No problemo :) In any case I’ll end with some advice for clans and players who’ve never played wars with tp 2 before and may have to do so soon, if not in the ClanBase Q2 DM Cup, then in Quake 3:

  • It’s hard to quickly recognise what team someone with quad belongs to, as the skin is obscured by the blue glow. Therefore make sure your clan has a “friendly quad” bind, so you don’t accidentally shoot your own quad runner :) In Quake 3 you can also check the team overlay; the quad runner has a little quad icon next to his name.
  • Don’t panic if you kill a teammate! And don’t curse on your teammate when he kills you! Half the time it’s the fault of the person who gets killed anyway, and it happens to the best players in the best clans, just check some demos from German or American clans to see for yourself. The best thing to do is to stay concentrated and play on like nothing happened – you can always say sorry after the match :) Ironically, some of the nicest frags you’ll make will be team kills, because that typically happens in a reflex move; you see something moving in the corner of your eye, a quick turn with an immediate shot, and then … you see a teammate dieing :)
  • It can be smart to shoot at an enemy and a teammate in a fight, despite the risk of hurting your teammate. This is especially true if you see one of your team being attacked by an enemy with quad. Your mate is a goner anyway, so you might as well shoot that rocket and hope it hurts the quad runner.
  • A good way to practice tp 2 in general and the 1 vs. 2 situations described above in particular is to play 2-2s with your clan and stick together with your partner.

Well, that’s it for this first issue of Godsmurf’s Gossip Corner. Cya next time!

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