AudioQuake and Level Description Language - new re-written 2020 beta release

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matatk

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Sep 10, 2020, 7:25:32 AM9/10/20
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Hello there,

I’m not sure if anyone’s still on this list, but in case you are, and have been wanting to try out the Level Description Language (and/or AudioQuake) on modern platforms, I have some news :-). Whilst times have moved on in terms of accessible games and mainstream game accessibility, I wanted to bring things up-to-date so at least you can still play the game - and most importantly, try out the Level Description Language (LDL).

There’s a new beta version for Windows 10 and macOS Catalina, which you can get from GitHub: https://github.com/matatk/agrip/releases/tag/2020.0-beta1

Feedback is welcome. Here are some major changes…

1. New GUI launcher based on wxPython.

2. Level Description Language (LDL) is built in to the launcher.

3. Support for Quake, Open Quartz (more on that in a bit) and ‘high-contrast’ texture schemes for maps (and all AGRIP maps have been built for all three ways to play).

4. Support for QMODs has been reinstated since the previous beta from years ago (and the GUI is massively improved since then, too).

5. It’s much easier to build AQ yourself because the build system has been completely rewritten and the documentation updated. Even on Windows it can compile the engine for you automatically, without the need for you to use the Visual Studio GUI. (You still can, and you still need to install some build tools from Microsoft; the documentation has all the info.)

6. The user and development manuals have been edited and brought up-to-date (though I'm still working on the multiplayer section of the user manual, but wanted to start by getting this beta out now things are working well).

There are some notable changes from previous versions.

1. Instead of the Quake Shareware version, we support the community-made Open Quartz data pack in case you’ve not bought the full Quake data (and because it's pretty cool itself). After some additional research (whilst I was looking into the rules around texture data for maps), I found that the EULA for the shareware version doesn’t allow you to use custom maps. We still want you to be able to play out-of-the-box though, and Open Quartz is a great data pack that allows just that.

2. Alas mindgrid:audio is no longer included. It is no longer available. Given that this may be due to licensing restrictions, we can't redistribute it, and nor should you.

I would be really interested in your thoughts on the Level Description Language (LDL), simplistic as its geometry is, if you fancy having a go at that. The tutorial has many examples to help you get started, and each tutorial map, plus some examples, are included.

I hope to work a bit more on this and get a stable release out this year. I am not sure how often the releases will be (or need to be) after that, but as I’ve wanted to make it easier for you to access the tools and the game for some time, and finally found the time, I thought I’d give it a go. There are some things that I still want to add; an incomplete list can be found at the end of this message. Also there are some known bugs in this initial beta:

1. The server will only run if you have the full Quake data installed. If you don't, it will just not run. On Windows this means it'll instantly disappear, which isn't very informative.

2. Several sounds and models are missing from Open Quartz, as a result you will get some messages about missing sounds (sometimes quite a lot of them; you can stop them from all being announced by opening and closing the console again), and LDL tutorial map 7 won't run at all. Neither may some mods (though some will be able to).

3. There's no Linux version, simply due to lack of development time. I have tried to keep all the new code and build system cross-platform, so it would be easy to add Linux support back in, but I have not had time (nor a regular Linux install, though I think a VM would be fine to get this working if there's sufficient demand).

4. I have tested the launcher with VoicOver and NVDA and it works well, though the file picker controls' textboxes don't have their own accessible names. I have tried to provide some, but haven't met with success; need to do more research on this.

5. There are some funny special/non-printable characters in the various manuals (user, developer and LDL tutorial) on Windows. Not sure why; working on it.

6. When you install the registered data on Windows, the file dialog won't actually show any files, because it's a directory selector. I was expecting the classic tree-based directory picker to be used, but it seems to've been replaced. This is a bit confusing, but it doesn't stop the thing from working - just make sure you're in the directory where pak0.pak and pak1.pak reside, and use the "Select folder" button and you'll be good to go.

7. The code is not signed, for Mac nor Windows, as I don’t have developer accounts. On Windows you’ll be given a choice as to whether you want to run it. On the Mac, you would need to allow it through Gatekeeper and move it somewhere on your computer if you decide you want to run it.

best regards,


Matthew

Here’s what I think could be needed to get to a stable release:

0. Fix the first two limitations above (server and need for some replacement data).

1. Add a help feature in the launcher that lists your keybindings from examining your config files.

2. Add a setting to choose the editor to be used for config files and LDL files (currently it uses whatever you have set already for each file type).

3. Add a setting to determine whether you want to play in Quake or Open Quartz by default after Quake has been installed (currently Quake is automatically preferred).

4. Reinstating the Doxygen documentation for the QuakeC code, for developers.

5. Updating the multiplayer section of the user manual.

6. I'm toying with the idea of allowing LDL to process maps at different levels in the process, and requiring a version ID for each file, in case there are significant changes in future, though really for now you should still regard LDL as very-much proof-of-concept, or alpha-release, stuff that could change. I don't think there will be many more releases of it (as above), but will try to avoid breaking changes if possible.

7. Currently the ZQuake engine runs in a window only. I could add settings for fullscreen (and maybe also using a custom resolution).

tony seth

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Sep 13, 2020, 11:13:45 PM9/13/20
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Heya there and hotdamn! Glad to see that AQ is still being developed.
Also glad to hear about open Quartz, though I do have the game data.
Bummer to hear about the loss of Mindgrid Audio, but I have that too
somewhere, but won't be handing it out if I share AQ with anyone.
Looking forward to the linux version when it comes, much more now since
the only windows I run is a vm in Qume as I got tired of windows
breaking my dual boot system.
Thanks much for a ll the hard work you do, even though it's old, I
still love AQ and bein' happy to play it.
Thanks again!
Cheereo!

Antonio Mendoza

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Nov 26, 2020, 9:53:27 PM11/26/20
to AGRIP Project
Hi, running AQ on a Mac and am getting the hang of it sort of, how can I connect to the server? I type connect grip.org.uk but it doesn't seem to be working and stats website from the manual doesn't work either. Hope this is still running it's a good game.

matatk

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Jan 10, 2021, 1:21:33 PMJan 10
to AGRIP Project
Hi, and sorry for the slow reply. I don't know of any public servers running at the moment, sorry! Glad that you are enjoying the game though :-).
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