Randy: Hey, Gary. What's more fun than playing games on your Macintosh?
Gary: I plead the fifth. I didn't even know it was illegal when I did it!
Randy: No, no. What's legal and more fun than gaming on your Mac?
Gary: Well if I was anybody except Bill Clinton, Henry Hide, or pretty much any politician, I'd have to say making games on the Macintosh. (In spite of what John Carmack says.)
Randy: Bingo! And that's just what I want to talk about this week.
Gary: Whoa, there, campernutrino. That's a little above most of our readers' heads. You have to learn all kinds of hard stuff to program a game, like C++, assembly language, or at least Lingo. And you need lots of expensive software like 3D programs and authoring software.
Randy: Nonsense, my boy. We live in modern times where games like Marathon, Myth and Quake have these cool little things called level editors. In future articles we'll cover Marathon's editor Forge and Myth's HexEditors, but for today's little keyboard-side chat we'll talk about an editor for Quake. And it's called Quiver. Anyone who has a copy of Quake and a piece of graph paper can design their own fantastic custom-built levels with the superbly easy Quiver.
Gary: Ah, yes...Quiver. Something you do so often when you play Quake.
Randy: Well, yes. I'm editing my own killer levels of a little place I like to call IdiotWorld.
Gary: In spite of his opinion of the Mac OS, John Carmack of id Software fame created a wonderfully easy to modify game engine when he created Quake. And with Scott Kevill's easy to use editor Quiver, just about anybody can start creating their own first person shooters in minutes. And best of all you can walk through your levels as you build them. How cool is that?!
Randy: Here's the scoop. First go to the Quiver website and download the demo version. The full single user version is only $20 for a one-year license, so you might find yourself scoring the full version almost as soon as you get into creating your first masterpiece level. The package comes with the editor and enough tutorials to get you up and running. Note: You must have the full version of Quake installed on your machine to build with Quiver.
Gary: The interface is very Mac-like, so most users will feel right at home, especially if you have ever used a CAD program before.
Randy: But even if you haven't used CAD software before, first timers will get into it right away. You start off basically looking at a blank grid. Then you simply add squares, called brushes, for rooms and hallways. Quiver has simple commands that allow you to hollow out these rooms and halls and join them together. We suggest mapping out your level ideas on graph paper first. It will save you headaches later.
Gary: Next, you can start applying textures to your rooms. Quiver taps into all the textures used in Quake and allows you to use them for your own creations. And believe me, there are tons of textures to choose from.
Randy: Boy, you sure got that right. Water, stone, metal, earth, wind and fire. And Philip Bailey, too! (Get it? He was in Earth, Wind & Fire...)
Gary: Yeah. Real good, man. Nice silver lamé space suit, Randy.
Randy: "Shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be!"
Gary: Enough with the Earth, Wind & Fire bit.
Randy: Hey, it's better than your germane/German joke last week.
Gary: Hey, that was funny! And I seem to remember a joke you told about bated breath and hot dogs in our first column that almost caused rioting in the streets.
But, as I was saying, about a year ago, what if you want to go beyond the textures included with Quake?
Randy: That's right, just like there is a cool level editor for Quake, Wadtool, by Phaedrus, is the killer companion program for creating custom textures for your custom Quake levels.
Gary: Okay, now that we cleared that up, let me add that Wadtool, like Quiver, is totally Mac-like in its interface. With virtually no experience, first timers will be up and running, creating cool textures in minutes.
Randy: And Wadtool supports lots of cool features like conversion of PICT, GIF and JPEG files into textures in a single step, automatic pallette conversions, transparencies for sky textures, previews of moving textures (i.e. liquid and multi-frame animations), and the ability to open existing Quake textures and rearrange them into totally new textures.
Gary: It has a lot of other neato features too numerous to mention here. But let's just say it's a must have for serious level creation. It's shareware and it's only $10 US! For all the work that went into this program, it's a steal.
Randy: But let's get back to Quiver. After you have created all the cool textures your heart could desire, you can apply them to your walls or floors or ceilings, or wherever. Quiver lets you make water and fire just like in Quake and it automatically handles the logic of gravity and solids. Without one ounce of programming, your character can swim through slimy lakes and jump through fiery walls.
Gary: Wow, just like living in New York!
Randy: Quiver also automatically handles damage to the character based on the obstacles you set up.
Gary: We found the real trick to a good level is finding a nice balance between damaging obstacle courses and leaving just enough life packs around to keep the player hanging on.
Randy: Yeah, it is all too easy to slam a level full of enemies and traps and not enough life packs. If they just had beer packs too. Mmmmm, beer
Gary: Which leads us to the next cool thing in creating a level in Quiver. Entities. Pretty much anything from a wall torch or door to a screaming zombie with a bazooka in hand is called an entity in Quiver. And the program comes with a pallette full of them.
Randy: But at this point we'll talk about the entities known as lights. These are important since at the beginning, your level is completely dark. Quiver comes with plenty of varied lights that produce different effects. From sparking florescent lights, flaming torches, to magically pulsing orbs, Quiver lets you create some cool moods for your levels-o-doom.
Gary: Being big fans of ray traced art we were pleased at the decent ability Quake has at imitating light behavior. It's no Infini-D, but we got some pretty spooky effects going in our levels.
Randy: So take you time with the lights, they can really make your level come to life. Gary made a Quake disco!
Gary: You're not considering trying that lame Earth, Wind and Fire joke again?
Randy: I, uh no. Of course not. (Got to get you into my life )
Gary: Next we come to the interactive entities. Things like doors and triggers, weapons and ammo and those tasty life packs are all entities. This is where the real puzzle building comes in. Have no fear, Quiver includes plenty of pre-built entities for you to place around your level. We had our most fun creating lots of little scenarios for the player to figure out, and we always use a nice treat of life packs, ammo or killer weapons as a payoff.
Randy: And finally, we come to the monsters. What would a Quake level be without lots of ugly, well-armed monsters to play catch with all your ammo?
Gary: Again, just like New York!
Randy: There is a bounty of beasts to choose from. And of course, Quiver handles all the logic for you. You just drop them in place and watch 'em go.
Gary: If you are feeling really adventurous, you can even create custom skins for your monsters and modify their behavior to create even more original enemies and worlds. In fact, that's how expansion packs like The X-Men: The Ravages of Apocalypse are made. Who knows, you might get so carried away with the fun, you wind up creating a whole new game using the Quake engine as your basis. And you thought you weren't a programmer.
If you really get into level building be sure you check out Quakeintosh for lots of links and info on in-depth level building.
And best of all look out for Quiver II, coming soon. This second generation editor will let you edit not just Quake levels, but also Quake 2, and Heretic 2 levels as well. Hoooooo, boy!
Randy: So to sum up, Quiver kicks ass. It's only $20 and you need a full version of Quake to run it. Build unlimited levels for you and your friends to play.
Gary: Wadtool is the perfect companion for Quiver. Only $10 and you can create original texture surfaces for your levels. And Quake and New York, both scary!
Randy: And finally, after you have created a little project and you wonder if it's any good. Send it to the Developer's Cave here at the Mac Observer where Mac gamers everywhere can play in the worlds you created! It's free to submit and it let's you brag about how boss you are as a game designer. (Even though you don't know Pascal from pinto beans!)
Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.
The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.
You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .