2002-2005: The PadMod

From the PadMaps to the PadMod

On January 1st, 2002, ENTE started the development of World of PADMAN as a modification for Quake 3 Arena by launching the website and officially announcing the project. This came as a surprise to many at the time, as ENTE had previously announced his intention to take a step back. However, the idea for the PadMod had been in his mind for a long time, since he became well known in the Quake3 scene with the PadMaps, especially with PadGarden. So the PadMod was the next logical step to create his own little PadWorld for PADMAN. So he decided to finally realize his idea.

From the very beginning ENTE planned to make a real game out of it, a PadGame, but that was not foreseeable back then. So the first idea was to create a total conversion mod for Quake 3 Arena, with new maps, weapons, models, effects and of course two or three newly designed game modes. The PadMod should not be a dark or realistic mod, but a fun mod, where the focus is on having fun. Everything should be more colorful, brighter and friendlier, or as ENTE likes to put it: “A mod for the whole family!” It was important to him that the mod was cohesive and looked like it was made out of one piece.

Players would move around as small cartoon characters in exclusively oversized everyday rooms such as kitchens or living rooms, shooting at each other with water pistol-like weapons. Enemies should be stuck with chewing gum and water bombs should bounce around wildly. The gameplay was to differ significantly from Quake 3 Arena, although the basic concept of the shooter itself was to remain, just at a slightly slower pace. New powerups such as the WallWalk (Climber) would allow players to walk on walls and ceilings, and KillerDucks would chase the enemy and make life difficult for them. Health and ammunition would not be collected through items, but would only be recharged at special loading stations. The game modes Spray Your Color, Big Balloon and Last Pad Standing were essential elements of the game concept from the beginning. In addition, a game mode called Catch the Baby, similar to the well-known Catch the Chicken for Quake 3 Arena, has already been described.

Originally planned player models of the PadMod

Originally planned player models of the PadMod

The Who’s Who of the Quake3 scene

ENTE had already started to work on the concept of the mod in 2001 and put together a team for the PadMod. The fame of his PadMaps opened some doors for him. A little apprehensive about going public with his project right away, he discreetly wrote an email to selected people in the Quake3 community and asked them if they would be interested in working on such a project. It was important to him to have really good, experienced people in the team right from the start, people he gets along with and who are on the same wavelength. And indeed, the list of PadMod members at that time reads like a Who’s Who of the German and international Quake3 scene. Many well known names were among them.

At the beginning of the development GomJabbar, Mr.Slomo and QuaterPounder were responsible for the code. Five 3D artists, namely BoBo-the-seal, tone, tpe, SloB and FEzzz were to create player models, weapons and map objects, which would then be skinned by Redlemons and milla. NoSeRider was in charge of the animations, while a whole army of mappers, namely Tymo, Harmonieman, GreenThumb, Fiesling and Maverick, were responsible for the maps. Of course, Ronny’s band Dieselkopf from Sweden provided the background music. The team was supported by freelancers -chaOs, gekitzu and GrimReaper.

The Real PadMod promo picture

The Real PadMod promo picture

However, ENTE’s calculations didn’t quite work out, as many of these early developers left the project after just a few weeks or months. As a result, new people kept joining the team, some of whose names are still firmly associated with World of PADMAN today. These included raute (#@) and Herby, who did the main code work, and later cyrri, who was mainly responsible for bot support. Gogitason created further player models, while the mappers GlowStar, Cyben, MopAn and theKINGofRING contributed further maps. MightyPete and Landi took care of the design of the skyboxes, Angie Lee became the announcer and lent her voice to PadGirl and PadLilly, while DoomDragon and Heiko Klüh took care of the intro video. Rastaman, DemonPrincess and Tenken were responsible for the animations. But not all of these people were able to make it to the release.

An ambitious start

The PadMod started out as a very ambitious “hobby project”. Eight to ten maps, six to nine player models, nine weapons, three additional power-ups and the loading stations for health and ammunition were planned for the first version. Originally, only two of ENTE’s old PadMaps were to be included, the rest were to be created from scratch. Of the three planned game modes, Spray Your Color should be included. The release of a first beta version of the PadMod should take place after eight months of development, at the latest by the end of 2002, according to ENTE’s vision. First for Quake 3 Arena and later even for Elite Force 2, which was to be released in the middle of 2003. At that time it was already apparent that the number of players for Quake 3 Arena was declining and a port for Elite Force 2 was intended to counteract the loss of community and keep up with the times.

In fact, the team already had a lot to show in the first half of 2002. These included the first player models PADMAN, PadGirl, PadLilly, FunnyPad, MonsterPad and FatPad, although not all of them were skinned and animated yet. The weapons BALLOONY, PUMPER, BUBBLE G., BOASTER and NiPPER were partly provided with first effects. PadKitchen and later also PadGarden were heavily revised by ENTE. Further maps were to be PadAttic by ENTE, HarmsHütte by Harmonieman, GreensShed by GreenThumb, MavRock by Maverick and GamersHome and GamersGarage by Fiesling. The PadMod should get some completely new powerups, and Jumper, WallWalk (Climber) and the KillerDucks have already been introduced. Completely new models have been created for the already known Quake3 powerups. The design of all powerups was based on the PadLogo. The loading station for health and ammunition as well as the spray gun with color cartridges already existed at that time. It really looked like a rocket launch, but there were still major construction sites in the areas of coding, skinning and animations.

 

The PadMod in crisis

The first serious problems in the development process occurred in the middle of the first year of development. Despite very good progress, many important people left the team. Often this was simply due to lack of time or a change in priorities, e.g. an offer from the professional game industry. Occasionally, however, communication simply broke down and some people simply played hide and seek. The PadMod shared this problem with many other mod projects in the scene at the time, which also threatened to fizzle out.

In the case of the PadMod, this led to four of the originally planned maps not being completed. There was a lack of 2D artists for the skins, the effects, the HUD and especially someone for the animations. This was one of the biggest problems besides the unfinished code. At this point they would have been happy if they had found someone who could transfer the character animations already available in Quake 3 Arena to the player models of the PadMod. There was an almost desperate cry for help in this area and no improvement was in sight. As a result, the original August release date was pushed back to December 24, 2002.

But there were bright spots. In the area of coding, raute and Herby were a real stroke of luck from mid-2002 on, as both were able to produce their first results very quickly and stayed on the ball. With MopAn, GlowStar and a little later Cyben three new and reliable mappers were found, who also wanted to contribute four new maps with Anteroom, Backyard, Jail and Bath. GlowStar’s Cabin and Harms Diner were added later. ENTE also decided to contribute a new map, PadShip, which was originally called PadRevenge. In October 2002, in addition to the first screenshots of the spray rooms and many map objects, the first versions of the ammunition bottles could be admired in the game. Ammo bottles? Yes, the team quickly abandoned the idea of players having to stock up on ammunition as well as health at the loading stations. The fear was that the gameplay would focus too much on the loading stations.

ModDB trophy

Creativity Award

has got to be one of the most craziest looking mods around, with its bright colors and comic themed characters. It is this difference that sets this mod apart, and well the class demonstrated by this mod team, makes it well worthy of this honour @ modDB!!

Awarded by HuntEr | Wed 23rd Oct, 2002

In addition to the Creativity Award the team received from ModDB in October 2002, it was the first action screenshots from a local alpha test with bots that got fans excited. Towards the end of the year, the sprayroom teleporter, weapon markers, skyboxes and a first version of the menu were also shown. However, the position of the animator could not be filled, so the release on December 24th, 2002 was cancelled and postponed indefinitely. There was still a long way to go.

 

The squirrel eats with difficulty

Since not all open positions could be filled, ENTE often stepped in and worked as a 2D artist in addition to mapping. Finally, many weapons, including the Punchy, had to be given appropriate skins. FatPad, PadGirl and PadLilly were given alternative skins. PadGarden and PadKitchen were also completely reworked by ENTE for the PadMod. In the middle of 2003 an 80% status was announced, after many of the powerups and weapons with their effects were finally ready for use. However, some things fell victim to the red pencil. The originally planned PadMod support for Elite Force 2 was cancelled due to capacity reasons. The implementation of animated in-game hands or the WallWalk power-up were also completely abandoned. Finally, someone was found who wanted to work on the animations and a release date around Christmas 2003 was boldly promised. Unfortunately, even this date could not be met due to constant staff turnover. It wasn’t until February 2004 that the first real internal beta test took place. A closed beta test with selected players from the community followed in early March. As a result, the decision was made to include the Big Balloon game mode in the game after all, apart from the feedback requests from the beta test, so that a release was still some time away.

 

Release and acceptance

On June 18th, 2004, after two and a half years of hard work, the time had finally come. The PadMod was released with 11 maps, six player models with a total of 14 different skins, nine weapons, seven powerups and the game modes Spray Your Color, Big Balloon and Last Pad Standing. The game was still in beta status as bot support for SYC and BB could not be implemented in time. The Dieselkopf music pack was released a week earlier as a preload because the file size of 115 MB was a challenge at the time. With about 340 MB the PadMod was also not very slim. Today, 20 years later, this is hardly understandable. The release party took place on IRC channel #padmod@quakenet.

A first preview of the PadMod had already appeared in mid-April in the GIGA Games show on GIGA TV, where it was presented live. The team was quite disappointed at that time, because not only did the moderator not have a proper idea, but the mod was also started with the wrong parameters and only played with vertex light, which did not make the maps look very nice and showed the cartridges without textures. Shortly after the release of the PadMod, the GIGA Games team made up for it with another show where the PadMod was presented in great detail.

After a number of PadMod servers were online and the mapping tools were released, the first maps were created by the community. However, the servers remained rather empty. So in August 2004 the Padday was created by the community, at that time every Sunday at 18:00, which was very well received in the following and also led to the fact that not only FFA was always played, but also WoP’s own game modes SYC and BB.

On March 7th, 2004, World of PADMAN was voted Mod of the Week on planetquake.com, after an interview with Harmonieman had already appeared there in late December 2004. In addition, articles appeared in international PC gaming magazines such as PC Gamer and PC Zone, and the PadMod was included on the magazine’s DVD.

Updates and addons

In early August 2004, John Carmack announced that the source code of Quake 3 Arena would soon be released as open source. This would give everyone who does not own Quake 3 Arena the opportunity to play World of PADMAN. This of course created a good mood and motivated the team to work on an update for the PadMod to fix some bugs and especially to provide the missing bot support. There should also be three new skins for PADMAN, namely HellPad, BioPad and SuperPad. ENTE also planned to rework the PadShop map for the PadMod. Unfortunately, there was a critical bug that caused crashes, so the planned release of the first update had to be postponed again in early November.

In early December 2004, ENTE’s PadShop for the PadMod was released as a separate download, followed by the actual update #1 of the PadMod. In the course of 2005 another music package was released by Dieselkopf with new tracks and ENTE’s PadPack for the PadMod. This included heavily revised versions of PadCastle, PadGallery and PadCrash for the fifth anniversary of the first PadMap. With PadLibrary, ENTE created a new map for the PadMod, which stands out visually, and the Berlin band das -boerge- released a small music package with four demo tracks. This band later became Green Sun, who wrote the anthem for the World of PADMAN, the PadAnthem.

 

In August 2005 the release of the source code for Quake 3 Arena the development of the PadMod finally came to an end. The planned update #2 of the PadMod was not released in favor of the planned standalone version. In order to make the waiting time for the standalone version a little more bearable, an all-in-one installer for the most common operating systems was finally released in October 2006, which should make the installation of the PadMod with all addons much easier, especially for new players. However, it would be a while before World of PADMAN would be released as a standalone game. But that’s another story.

Epilogue

To get a better understanding of the intention and motivation to develop the PadMod, here are some final words from ENTE, which he said in April 2004, a few weeks before the release of World of PADMAN:

With the PadMod, my goal was to create a visually convincing mod, and it was important to me to go a different way, away from all the realistic mods. Our mod is bloodless, because instead there are nice stars above the heads, you have cartoon characters as player models, you shoot with super soaker like weapons and move around in a colorful Lilliputian world. You could almost call it a family friendly mod. 😀

As far as I know, there has never been a mix like this before, which surprises me because Lilliputian maps are always quite popular. Even though the PadMod is a fun mod, I didn’t want it to be a mod for little kids. It was always important to me that the mod, despite all the colors and funny characters, would not degenerate into something exaggerated and silly, e.g. with annoying squeaking sounds. Everything should be harmonious and meet a certain quality standard, as far as the given resources allowed us.

We wanted it to be a visually appealing, friendly and fun mod, no more and no less. It was never our goal to create a mod that would be played at major tournaments or that would create clans. The PadMod is rather something for a cozy evening with friends or for the breaks at various LAN parties 😉

PadMod First Release - Make Your Game!

PadMod First Release – Make Your Game!

Image sources

  • ModDB throphy: ModDB