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Legacy:Mod Ideas/ExpertCTF

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Mod ideas for UT 2003 – Expert CTF (the continuation of a great mod)


Expert CTF for Quake 1 and Quake 2 has been quite popular and still retains a die-hard base of about 100 players who play the Quake 2 variety regularly. This community can be observed at


Expert pulls the focus away from item gathering to combat. All players spawn on an equal playing field with 125 health and all weapons and ammo for them. Levels of ammo are relatively low, but, like health, regen as play progresses. Both health and ammo regen faster if the player is actively involved in combat. Healt regens to a maximum of 160 and the levels of ammo appropriate for UT weapons is yet TBD. Important to the development of this game, and probably the most difficult to develop is the off-hand grappling hook. It is usable to hook to get the player anywhere (including hooking the sky) and creates a true 3-axis combat environment. The hook moves the player in a straight line to where they hook, there is no swinging action like spider-man... Its pull speed is about 15% faster than walking. Throw speed is about the same. In quake 1 and 2 it is made of particles making it easy to turn invisible (other than the hook head) for the player who cares to tweak that client-side setting.


Thanks for listening, UT folks. If someone's interested in this idea, please contact us at the messageboard over at where we have a number of developers who have attempted ports to q3, but have been, so far, unsuccessful, though the Alliance mod for q3 did include a 'Combat' mode based on q2 Expert, the larger LMCTF community who dominates the primary mode of gameplay for that mod pretty much got rid of 'combat' mode... Not to mention the fact that the q3 engine is just lame.. :)

Interested Scripters

Captain Kewlstarted 05 Oct 2002.


EntropicLqd: I took the liberty of placing it in the standard format I've adopted for these things - hope you don't mind. That brings back memories. My first (and last) mod for Quake was to take the ThreeWave CTF mod and merge it with the offhand grappling hook. The resultant mod still wasn't quite what I was after so I tweaked all the weapons to death as well :). The version of the hook I merged with the CTF code let you travel a good 20% faster I reckon - maybe even up to 30%. The problem with building this for UT2003 (or UT) is that the "sky" tends to be really really high - out of reach of all but the infinitely long hooks. Still, it's a nice idea. I did like the offhand grapple.

Goner: Great! Sorry for not using the prescribed layout in my submission, but I AM at work and really ought to be working.. :) Thanks for taking the time to go behind and fix it up! as for the particulars of building this for UT2k3... I've seen everything done already in mutators for UT in the form of NUIT (No-item UT) which provided the options needed to set up a server that did everything Expert does other than the hook. In my searching I was never able to find an off-hand hook for UT. As I understand it, making an item-based hook is the whole problem facing the coders... It's a necessary thing to preserve the gameplay that Expert players have grown to love and the reason why we still play quake2 as much as we do (many hours per week) and have yet to find a newer engine that can capture the essence of Expert CTF. Is an off-hand hook even possible with the tools available to an unreal developer?

Goner: One additional note on sky hooking.. While it might seem to be an alien concept, sky-hooking is integral to expert.. If you've ever played most any mod with a hook in it and had the experience of trying to hook around only to have your hook hit a sky brush (be it a small one in the roof of a mostly-indoor level or a large one in the middle of a giant level, you know it can be frustrating or even fatal when you make a leap and hook off to a direction and expect to get that pull in that direction only to have your hook impotently hit the sky brush and leave you falling to wherever is below you (often a pit of death, sich as in the demo ut2k3 ctf map)... Sky hooking vs. no sky hooking is one major sticking point that the LMCTF community in quake never could embrace and it drove quite a wedge between the attempt to merge the two great Q2 mods into the single Alliance mod for Q3.  :(

EntropicLqd: Don't worry about not using the "prescribed layout". There isn't an official one. Since I was editing it anyway I thought I might as well do a bit of reformatting. I figured the sky-hooking thing would be an issue - which is why I raised it. In Quake, the gap between the "sky textures" and the actual solid brush behind the sky was generally very very small. In UT2003 it doesn't seem to be like that. However - I have noticed that there are "blocking brushes" fairly low (to low for my liking) on BR-Anubis so it might be possible to hook onto those rather than the "sky". However, I don't know whether all levels are built that way - and community built levels definately won't be consistent in that way. The problem is not allowing/disallowing sky hooking - it's simply one of distance. The sky is a long long way away. If the community was happy with completely custom maps then you could always add a visible "mesh" type affair around the edges of the level to grapple on to. Either that or stick to indoor maps only - which is really all Quake was. Personally I'd simply ignore the issue and simply have the hook able to latch onto any brush, where ever it was – even on some Quake levels the sky was too far away to hook. Someone wrote a form of grappling hook (called the beamer or something) in Unreal. It never made it into UT for some reason, but would be possible to do. Someone is bound to do it at some point.

Birelli: I think I remember a UT mod that had a hook in it, I forget what it was called though, I never d/led it. One reason that "hook" mutators in UT are sparse is that I just don't think people want a hook. The hook completely changes the dynamics of gameplay (at least it did for Q3A, which is the only Quake I've ever played). The translocator also changes this if people translocate-spam their way through a level, but there are definitely mods/mutators that set delays on it (Jailbreak for one)), which fixes that problem. Technically speaking making a hook for UT2003 should be even easier that it would have been for UT - with particle systems and such a Quake-looking hook should be quite possible.

If a mod like this was made for UT2003, the community might be more receptive to it than the UT one was. The "community" of UT2003 is hard to define atm, there are just so many new people taking interest in it.

EntropicLqd: Also, the best way to use an off-hand grapple is with the right mouse button - which is used for the alternate fire mode of the weapons. The alternate weapons fire is something you really don't want to lose.

Goner: Interesting thoughts. And yes, map design plays into the gameplay of the hook a great deal. I've built a couple of the maps that get regular play in Expert CTF for q2.. Protuding decorations like one sees a lot of in q3 are a big no-no... Expert is meant to be a very high speed, 3-axis game and having things to get hung up on everywhere is no good. For that reason there is a relatively short list of levels that the community plays on.. There are a number of mappers and even a few dedicated mapping teams who have produced a good supply of such maps.. So, any map-specific issues can be designed around, I'm sure.. :) Thanks for the comments, Birelli. If you were able to dig up the info on the off-hand hook you recall seeing, it might help out, since, frankly, that's the main difficult part of this whole deal...

capt. k. Pencil me in. Q2CTF is arguably the reason why I nearly flunked half my classes in college.  :) Got this UTCTF mod buried on my hard drive somewhere with a working and bot supported Quake-style grapple which I just sorta lost interest in after concluding that no one else would be interested either...

Goner: Cool! :) Is that hook a weapon-based or item-based hook? In other words, can it be freely used at the same time as a weapon?

Mr.Mitchell: ChaosUT has a nice "itembased" grapplinghook.

capt. k. It's a weapon, but in UT weapons *are* items, so it doesn't really matter. Though I think it's best to just sit and wait a week or so for 2k3 to come out – and just redo it all from scratch – as there will be some changes in the 2k3 class hierarchy.

One thing: I'm wondering how much of this would be better suited for a series of mutators rather than a gametype. 2k3ctf already has a scoring system similar to threewave q2, I believe. I'm betting that things like regeneration and no items may even come prepackaged – if not, they'll be among the first mutators made. Which really just leaves the grapple... which is just a single weapon replacement.

EntropicLqd: Actually, the grapple cannot be a weapon replacement - it's much closer in behaviour to an inventory item than a weapon. The single most important feature of the grapple is that it's off-hand. You hold down a key to grapple someplace, but at the same time you can be firing weapons, changing weapons, all that sort of stuff. Think of it in terms of a flashlight. The flashlight can be on or off, but doesn't affect your ability to do anything else in the game. In order to get the bot AI working correctly you'd probably have to make it a new game type - you can change the AI using a mutator but there are limits on how much you can tweak.

capt.k.: Obviously it's going to involve more than just making a working grapple, but I still think it's doable with just a mutator. Again, I think it's best to wait for 2k3 to actually come out.

DEVIL(from Expert Q2) I just want to say that expert mod has always be the greatest mod i had ever seen invented, quake 3 was not a good game and i hope this mod gets quickly mod as i am eger to play it :)

captk: btw, this somehow slipped my mind, but if anyone doesn't feel like waiting, RealTournament ( has a CTF mode with an offhand grapple, though the mod allegedly doesn't work well online. It's implemented as a weapon, incidentally... that's part of the reason why I'm being so stubborn about it – it's not only doable, but has already been done since RealCTF; I'm not just trying to be difficult. :) (The other part is that I'm actually personally not a big fan of the offhand grapple; thus I'd like to give admins the option of having a classic grapple instead.)

DEVIL I agree i think it should be a server side option as we like to have different options but keep the same rules for ladder reasons, also the real tournament maybe we can get the source code for the offhandhook then create around that. Ill do a little research this weekend.

Goner: Cap, you rock!  :) thanks SO MUCH!