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Night Capture the Flag

1) Introduction

When I was a wee lad (sometime in the last century) living on the outskirts of  Calgary, we used to play a version of Capture the Flag up in the hills in the summer. Two teams would each set up a base camp and put some raggedy flag there. Then we'd go out and try to get the other teams flag. 

Oh yeah, one other thing. We played at night.

Now, these flags were pretty safe. It's bloody dark in the hills around Calgary at night. An invisible spectator would have had a great time listening to a dozen or so people crashing around the bush and swearing in ways to make Marine Corps drill instructors take notes. 

Anyone caught using darkness reduction tools like flashlights were cheerfully categorized as wussies of the worst sort. Carrots and other Vitamin A supplements were consumed in mass quantities. I think there was even a late night  emergency room visit or two. But it was fun.

Ever since Quake people have been playing CTF on the computer. I've played it, and had some fun, but there's just something missing. Or not missing actually. Light. It's just too damn bright. What fun is there in playing CTF if you can actually see where you're going?

Well, we've fixed that. We've taken the dark bits in NH and moved them to CTF. Hence the Night part in the name of the mod. 

2) Disclaimer

This mod is a beta. As such, it hasn't been extensively tested. 

However, I think it's a pretty good beta. This is the fourth time at least that I've done this night stuff in a mod and it's getting to be pretty automatic. I'd estimate the new code touches the existing CTF source in less than two dozen places. For those of you who are wondering why that's a good thing, well, the less I touch the good code the  less chance of me screwing things up. I do that a lot. 

Please play the game. If you enjoy it, cool. If you don't, that's cool too. But tell us why. If you find any bugs, tell us. 



3) Gameplay

3.1) CTF Newbies

For those of you who aren't familiar with CTF, it's probably the oldest and most popular modification for Quake and Quake2. It is a team mod involving two (or more in some instances) teams. Each team has a  home base and a flag. The object of the game is to capture the other teams flag. To do this, you must pick up the other teams flag in their base and return it to your flag in your base. Pretty simple.

CTF adds a whole bunch of extras to this basic mechanism. First, each player has a grappling hook .  Secondly, there are a number of "power ups" called "techs". Each of these techs alter your players abilities in some way. 

You will need the basic CTF mod in order to use this mod. Download the CTF mod from id or PlanetQuake,  or some other Q2 site.

3.2) CTF Old Timers

For you crusty old timers, what does Night CTF add? 

First, and most obviously, the game is played in the dark. I mean really dark. Black. I should have payed the hydro bill black. Anyone who's played Night Hunters will know what I'm talking about. If you haven't played NH, then you're in for a new experience.

Each player gets a flashlight, which is color coded for the team that you belong to. In other words,  if you're on the Blue team, your flashlight is blue. This allows you to quickly determine just who is trying to light up your life. Unlike NH, your flashlight does not make you glow. We wouldn't want to make  fragging people too easy, would we?

Using a red or blue flashlight can make it tough to tell who's on your team. To fix this, we've altered the standard "id" command so that it will display the names of your teammates, but NOT the names of  your enemies. So if you have someone in your sights and you don't see a name, you have my permission to fire.

Each player also gets a number of flares. This number is fixed and you can't pick them up so be careful when you use them. The flares will light up a fairly large area for a short period of time. Flares can be thrown normally, like grenades, or tossed using a new "offhand" version (useful when you're doing the Tarzan across the other team's base).

To add a little light to the subject, we've added our custom sound and light show. This is a short (very short) flash of light which briefly lights up the map. Don't whine. You can see a lot in a few seconds.  This flash is followed by the expected rumble of thunder. Ooooooh. The sound and light show plays at random times during the level.

The quad rune has been changed to IR goggles. IR goggles make all players and most items glow red for a  brief period of time. Get out the rail gun and go wild!

The techs glow brightly at all times in the level. We wouldn't want you to have to hunt for those  little beauties, eh?

Now, the flags in CTF have a glow all their own. In the dark, they're pretty hard to miss. Pick up one of the flags and people will know it. Hiding with the flag is no longer an option, believe me.  To compensate for this, all flag carriers receive IR vision automatically. Gotta have a fighting chance.

Beyond that, it's the same old CTF. Cap it!

3.3) Commands

There are only 3 new commands:

flashlight: Toggle the flashlight beam.
flares: Select flares for a manual throw.
offhand: Toss a flare out ahead of you. 

Nice and simple.

3.4) Installing Night CTF.

The Night CTF DLL has to live in your CTF folder. I'd recommend saving your old DLL in case you want to play the original version at a later date. Or you could check out BatMax's GameLoader, which will allow both to  live peacefully together.

If you unzipped this archive into the quake2 folder, the new dll/so will be called:

gamex86.nctf.dll or gamei386.nctf.so

You will have to copy that file to gamex86.dll / gamei386.so yourself - or use GameLoader (recommended - see www.planetquake.com/nighthunters)

4) Comments

Before all sorts of people bombard me with requests to add predators, let me say I'm thinking about it. I think it's important to test out Night CTF before going there first, that's all. There are a few potential game balancing issues (such as IR vision for flag carriers) which need to be checked. I also need to decide how to incorporate predators into the game. Currently, I'm leaning towards a new tech rune which would convert the player to a predator.

I think that Night CTF could actually improve teamplay in CTF. You are definitely going to need someone to protect you when you have the flag. I don't care how much of an LPB you are, you are not going to be able to defend yourself for long as a flag carrier. You will need your teammates to defend you and to make sure your flag stays at it's base. 

HPB's definitely have a place in Night CTF. I'd recommend letting the HPB's take the flag while LPB's defend. A match made in heaven.

I predict the games will see fewer caps, but that's not such a bad thing. 

BFG's now not only help clear out bases, they point out the location of camping defenders (the BFG beams will show you where defenders are standing). 

I switched the IR to the version implemented by Rogue because it will be in effect for a goodly portion of any game. Let the engine carry the load, not the DLL. 

I've thought about altering the scoring a little to reflect the slight changed game dynamics. I've left it alone for now. If anyone has any feelings on this, let me know.

5) Known Problems


You ONLY need to download the files if you want to run a server.  If just want to play on a Night CTF server, all you need is the regular CTF files which you probably already have.

You can download the files from the Download page.