The new guys might have seen Derfel playing in our pickups. The veterans will surely remember him from the famous Quake III CTF team “Gunzoids” as well.
Now playing for the Dutch-based team LowLandLions in the GGL CTF cup, we wanted to sit down and have a chat with Derfel.
Can you start by telling a bit about yourself?
I’m 27, and live in Bristol, England. I am running my own PC build/repair/tuition business from home while I wait for my girlfriend to finish her teacher training and find out where we’re going to live!
When did you start playing Quake?
I started playing quake when I bought my first computer in 1999, a friend of mine introduced me to Quakeworld and Quake 3 which had just come out. My PC handled Q3 terribly as knowing nothing about PC’s I had chosen an AMD K6 chip instead of an Athlon purely because it came with a cd writer, bad choice. Coupled with my friends old Voodoo3 and an onboard 56k modem I managed 20fps in timedemo and 250 ping, like most people in those days!
Were you addicted to Capture The Flag immediately or did you play other gametypes first?
To start with I played FFA only for a while. I think I first played competitive CTF soon after with a team call The Unfettered Monkeys (uNF) as a defender in a SavageCTF or Barrysworld league.
Do you like Quake Live? Do you think it will be a worthy replacement for the game we played for years, Quake III?
I enjoy Quake Live a lot at the moment, but I think a lot of work still needs to be done. I have been a beta tester for a couple of months now but have been slacking in terms of input, I hope to make a substantial post on the beta test forums with my views on QLCTF soon.
What do you think of the new CTF map ‘Ironworks’?
It’s a very fast paced map and it flows well, it’s probably my favourite map yet to come directly from ID. The main issue I have with it is that I suspect when you get evenly balanced clan matches on it, the game will revolve around Quad too much.
You will have 30 secs of tooling up and fighting for mid to get quad then the team that gets it will attack and the other team will all defend, so almost 50% of a match will be focused on quad. The map is good enough for it to flow naturally rather than break down the gameplay into Quad runs. I don’t think a map like this needs a power-up at all.
I’m hoping that when you get proper matches on this map it will all be about capping and flag recovery, rather than locking your base down. I’m sure some muppets will try and play with 2 def or a mid-camper, but hopefully negative play like that won’t work if the map is good enough!
Another point is how fast it is to cap along the high route, I think there needs to be some kind of obstruction along the way or maybe a route to get from low to high in the midfield.
Do you want to see remakes of the old maps or completely new maps?
I would love to see more new maps like Ironworks, but I also think remixed classic maps should be in there to show the heritage of the Quake series – ZTN in duel for example. I fully support remakes of selected classic maps but only with changes in layout and item locs, and they have to be well tested to work well in QL. As we saw in OSP the tactics and general ‘style’ of ctf play changed a lot as more and more people got high fps and low ping – especially at LAN tournaments – but nothing changed in terms of maps or weapon ammo and damage. When you combine that with a fear of losing you can end up with some really boring matches! CTF should be about capturing the flag more than defending it (It is CTF not DTF!). I’m not saying it should be all attack constant mayhem, but I believe good maps with good item positions should make it hard for teams to sit back on a lead, or even for a draw like we’ve seen quite a bit in the latter years of OSP, on some maps especially.
Do you think the skillmatching system will indeed bring new players to the Quake scene?
I don’t see why not, the question is how well will it work! I invited a couple of newbie friends to the beta but they have macs which aren’t supported yet so I haven’t heard any feedback from anyone other than quake veterans.
What do you think Quake Live needs to make it even better than it already is?
For CTF I think it needs a couple more maps and some gameplay tweaks. Then more general things like private servers, various competition options which I think have been promised. Oh, and we want working anti-cheat stuff!
Gunzoids did very well in Quake III; 2 silvers and 2 bronzes in the EuroCup. Do you think we’ll see you playing under the Gunzoids tag again?
Yeah we did pretty well in quake 3, we certainly had a lot of fun and some great trips. I think we had a bit of a reputation as under-achievers but I always considered us over-achievers.
After our first Eurocup season and league successes we basically stopped practising and some of us didn’t play at all between official matches. Couple this with the amount of people going inactive and regular new recruits, for the last few years we were basically a high level merc team, we had lots of fun though! The fact we still did so well with such little effort probably reflects how small the osp ctf pond became (we were just a lazy big fish!).
I’m not saying we weren’t passionate about winning – I think the competition was the only reason most of us still played rather than ‘love of the game’ – but I’m sure we would have done a lot more had we been motivated to practise as that has a big affect on your performances, but we didn’t – so we can’t complain!
As for gzd making a comeback in Quake Live, I have no idea. I’m playing in the upcoming GGL cup in a team (LLL) with a couple of other ex-gzd mates for some fun but gzd members tend to have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies so who knows where people will end up if Quake Live takes off!
Thank you for the interview Derfel, do you want to give some shout outs?
um not really nah 🙂