Most Rice World regulars already know about the Quake 3 Arena tour bus. I have been spewing about it on the front page since late August, but it was not until just last Friday the 23rd was I able to experience it first-hand. For those in-frequent visitors that are not quite sure what in the world I am babbling about, this is a quick overview of the Q3A tour bus. If you want to skip down, I have compiled a list of individual experiences w/ the people that I went to the bus with, including mine. The list is sure to grow as I continue to receive submissions. Anyways...
Quake 3 Arena is the title of a video game in the 1st person shooter perspective. The point of the game is beyond simple: point your crosshair at an opponent and kill him/her/it with your array of weapons. The tour bus is the work of the marketing department of id software, the company that is developing Quake 3 Arena. Much like how a concert tour works, the bus travels across the states and stops at various stations to promote the game to the general public. If that were it, then there's not much I can talk about. However, within the bus are EIGHT high powered AMD Athlon 550 MHz computers with 3dfx Voodoo3 3000 video cards running Quake 3 Arena! Yes! The purpose of the tour bus is to allow people to hop aboard 8 at a time and kill (frag, the official online term for killing) the living daylights out of each other!
The bus was split into two sections. One was the gaming section, and the other the briefing room. At the gaming section, there were no chairs, so you had to stand! The briefing section had a small sofa where all 8 squeezed together to receive instructions before they moved into the gaming room. Basically everybody had 10 minutes to configure the keys to their preference and jump into a practice level to get warmed up. If you were a newbie or never played before, there was a special newbie warm up level. However, after the 10 minutes, everyone jumped into the tourney level, newbies and experienced people alike. Whoever got 20 frags first was the winner! 1st place receives his/her choice of a Q3A T-shirt or a hat. 2nd place gets a choice between an AMD button shirt or a Q3A mousepad, and 3rd gets a white AMD Athlon T-shirt. If you were 4th or below, you get a pat on the back and get back in line for another chance to win!
So with the basic premise of the Q3A bus explained, let's get on with the killing!
I'd love to ramble for about a thousand words on my experience with the Q3 Bus, but Rice wants me to keep it brief. Anyway, let's just say that it was good enough that I went twice! I never really got into the game from day one, with an obsolete P200 and a generic 33.6 modem, playing the game on a competitive level was out of the question for me. I also realized that the maps that were released with the Q3Test suck!--in my opinion anyway. These problems were remedied with Athlon 550s (with Voodoo 3000s and Vortex 2s, I might add) linked together in a 100 Base-T network, equipped with two new maps that cannot be found on the World Wide Web.
In short, I had a blast! The first map had me running around, spamming with the newly added grenade launcher, and constantly trying to acquire the invisibility rune and Quad damage. Even though I've been a religious player of Q2, I hardly used the rail; I wasn't too confident about my aiming, and the goal was to get as many frags as possible. The second map was also just as much fun, though I prefer the larger and more colorful design of the first. It took me about two tries before I realized that one should not be so greedy for the Quad, which happens to be situated in the center of the map, where basically EVERYONE has access to you--and the fact that you're glowing blue with the power to get quick frags doesn't make you very inconspicuous either. I would see a Quaded player battling two others, then proceed to frag the player for the Quad. Not 2 seconds would pass as I'd get fragged for my newfound treasure, and it's just a vicious cycle that you can get sucked into if you're not careful. My favorite weapons to use were the shotgun and rocket launcher, both extremely effective with the Quad.
Anyway, I love the prizes and they were great incentive to keep going back for more! My first try on the bus landed me with 4th (drats..), followed by 3 second place holdings, and then a third place. The second day, I won 2 seconds, a third, and first (at last!). My booty are as follow: 2 Q3 Mousepads, 2 white AMD T-shirts, 1 black Henley-style AMD T-shirt, 1 Q3 Hat. In addition, Rice was feeling bad that I kept getting 2nd rather than the grander 1st, so he kindly gave me one of his 1st place Q3 Shirts. Oh yea, I also won a 3M Mousing Surface with the Gamespy logo on it... all from knowing what Clan PMS stands for (Psycho Men Slayers)!
I'm improving in the game, and although I'm far from being on top, it's very enjoyable. The game did grow a bit stale on the second day due to the fact that the players against whom we competed weren't all too overwhelming. We spent most of our energies in fighting against each other. ^_^ Anyway, enough babble. Quake 3: Arena is going to be loads of fun... now all I need is the system and connection. -.-;
The first experience I had with the Quake 3 bus was actually a negative one, believe it or not. I had heard that it was at the Santa Anita fashion park, and so on that day, I paid 3 dollars for parking, and 5 more to enter the gates of the race track. After finding the KROQ event but not spotting the Q3A bus in sight, I was about to blow my top. However, I did spot Leo in the crowd, and after a bit of planning, he mentioned that he saw someone wearing the Q3A T-shirt! Then out of nowhere, speaking of the devil, he brushes by us. We follow him through a pedestrian tunnel, to the parking lot on the other side, and voila! The bus! Sitting there in its full grandeur.
After lining up behind a sizeable crowd, I saw Wisdom and others walking out of the bus. Apparently they had made it earlier than we did! I saw dejected looks on the faces of Wisdom and Cruise, but flung around John's shoulder was the grand prize... a black Q3A T-shirt, signifying an impressive first place finish. Entering the bus, I was hit by what I thought was a blizzard. Damn it was cold in there! They claim it is to keep the systems cool, but I thought it was a bit extreme. Flaming weather outside, freezing inside. Anyways, my first game I ended up in 3rd place, after taking 1st in the practice and holding it in the tourney until the end when I lost it. Oh shucks. My second game was similar, and while waiting in line for my 3rd attempt, I had two 3rd place T-shirts slung around my back.
Before my 3rd attempt, I meditated on what I was doing wrong. I decided that it was because I didn't know where the rocket launcher was, and machinegunning people just wasn't going to cut it. During the briefing section, there was a short trivia contest, and from that I won a Madcatz Panther XL T-shirt. Great. Three T-shirts and none of them the Q3A grand prize! However, that was soon to change, because after the 3rd round, I walked away victorious, finally! Loot so far, 4 T-shirts... I can wear nothing but Q3A clothing every week. Heh heh.
So I get back in line, and in the 4th round, I started to talk trash because I was whupping them in the practice round. Well, that turned out to be my worst round. I ended up in 4th place, and empty handed leaving the bus. Ahh, well. =) Oh yea, during the briefing period before the 4th round, I scored another trivia win, winning a full version game of Quake 2 and all its mission packs. By then I was starting to feel a little better because now my 8 dollars was starting to be worth it.
Looking at my watch, 5 o'clock was slowly but surely creeping upon us, and that signified the end of a fun day. However, one last round was called for, which happened to be the toughest of all. There were a total of 3 first place'ers in my group of 8, including John, who has already won twice. This time, trash talking was abound, but I stayed silent and managed to pull out a close victory. As I emerged from the gaming section, curses were abound and my family was being threatened. Don't we just love competition? Yay! Another T-shirt! That one went to Wisdom, for being denied so many unlucky times that day. Sad...
My second encounter with the bus was yesterday at my very own school, UCLA. Originally it was thought to be right in the middle of the student union, but because they were unable to obtain a permit, they had to settle for the gas station next to In-N-Out at a relatively obscure place, student wise. Still, there was a few people that gathered, but not enough skilled ones to force a competition. I played 3 rounds, sweeping 1st in all of them. Unfortunately the guy handing out the prizes refused to give me another Q3A T-shirt. Shucks. Total booty? 2 white AMD T-shirts, 2 black Q3A T-shirts, a Q3A baseball cap, a Madcatz Panther XL T-shirt, a full version CD of Quake 2 and its mission packs, a Q3A mousepad, a Q3A poster, and a Q3A cup. Phew! The latter two were free though, so I could have taken as many as I wanted. Heh heh.
Overall, the experience was definitely a positive one. The game, I heard, is progressing along nicely, and the intensity is definitely high. Watch for it to go gold before Christmas! It will be interesting to see how it stacks up against Unreal Tournament, which is my current favorite game right now. All in all, it spells out a good season to come for consumers.