DreamCatcher feedback

PKEURO have had the opportunity to put questions to the producer of Painkiller and BooH, Robert Stevenson. Robert has been at the forefront of Painkiller since the start of its development. He continues to be the “head man” at DreamCatcher paving the way for this years ongoing activities and enhancements.

When thinking about the questions we should ask, the obvious questions voiced by many online players were considered. The details of the CPL agreement and the timescales for when we shall see functionality delivered. The issues we have heard the US community voice on the quality of the DC official servers over the pond. And finally, the ongoing activities in DC and PCF working towards the creation of the next patch. Here’s what Robert had to say:

CPL agreement & MP Extensions:

Q: Please could you let us know your “to do” list on Painkiller Multiplayer and the time scales you have in mind for each? The the list published on the CPL forums is below:

Painkiller TV
Improved Netcode
Disable client console
New duel maps
Further development of tourney mod
Improved server distribution

With regards to the CPL commitments here is the breakdown:

CPL Statement:

The statement above (not issued by PCF or DC specifically) and the actual contracted items we are working on are not exactly the same in every last detail. Simply put, some items are be handled by each party – PCF, DC, and the CPL. The spirit of the agreement is that we are all working together to make sure the 2005 World Tour goes extremely well and that is what is happening.

Painkiller TV

This of course the most challenging enhancement and is being worked on currently. We are putting together a short list of the items to include, beyond the obvious stuff (numerous spectators, camera controls, spectation modes, demo recording). Some more elaborate stuff we may get to, some we may not – but if we can open it up to the community we will.

Improved Netcode

This is available in the Battle Out of Hell Game and will be made available in the planned 1.61 update (see below).

Disable client console

This is available in the Black Edition/1.6 build of Painkiller


Also available in the Black Edition/1.6 build of Painkiller


This was not achievable by December 2004 because it required a specialized build of the physics libraries from Havok (for the changes to the netcode released in 1.5). This was completed in December and the Linux server is about to enter testing, we are literally just a few days away. The community will definitely be involved in testing, as well as the in house team at Dreamcatcher.


This was not originally a CPL item and we will likely not spend much time with it. However the request is known.

New duel maps

New maps are just about finalized. The team at CPL/Ritual has done a bang up job putting together 3 new maps: Absinthe, Ballistic, and 5quid01. We may do another map or two at PCF, but at this time it not definitively planned.

Further development of tourney mod

We wont be doing this directly, but we have no fundamental problems including it with our distributions.

Improved server distribution

Some of this is addressed now – some not totally, as it is hard to please everyone. We will not (DC) be providing any additional hosting, but hopefully with the Linux release servers will pop up in new spots.

Q: Are you looking into another development team completing the agreed extensions to Painkiller for the CPL, and hence not PCF? if so, which teams have been approached?

No, it is not necessary. Most of the items above have been completed or are in progress to completion.

Q: What are the expected features above and beyond BooH that are expected in “Black Edition”?

Black Edition features a few of the CPL items above, notably the netcode advances, client console changes, server GUI. Linux was originally intended to go in the box, but it did not make it for the reasons stated above.

Q: Will DC release a standalone v1.5 patch?

We will likely just jump to a 1.61 patch. It is actually in early testing right now. This update will be fairly comprehensive and make available some things currently not for users of the base game (+ 1.35).

Q: What will be included in v1.6 patch and when do you see it being available?

Well it is in testing currently. Many smaller SP and MP issues have been addressed in it and it bring all Painkiller versions up to synch with one another. It also includes the Battle Out of Hell and Black Edition items.


Q: Will DC be providing a dedicated server for BooH that does not require the disc? If so, please indicate timescales.

We will release a 1.61 standalone dedicated server. This is aimed to be released at the same time as the 1.61 client

Q: Please explain the reasoning behind not allowing Voting for all possible options on the American Servers

This has been fixed. There was a period (I realize a long period) where the servers were not configured correctly because of an unfortunate miscommunication between DC and the hosting company. Believe me; I almost exploded when I heard the problem. It should be fixed going forward and we will be providing more supporting as we have a better handle on why things were confused before.

Q: Would DC mind a third party such as pkeuro looking after the setup of the US servers? Note, We already advise on the EU official servers.

This is not necessary. Any change requests on the hosting side can come just directly to myself or to the Product Manager and it will be fixed. Jolt, our main European partner, did not have the same miscommunication as Netfire, our main North American partner, noted above and have been pretty proactive about changes requested. We do have the community suggested list of changes and will continue to make some modifications, especially providing more Dueling servers.


Q: Would DC be agreeable to incorporate a community developed selection of settings as a promode? ie to be votable promode 0/1

This should work. I would need a bit more details, but in concept there is no issue of course. Please just let me know.


Q: Will DC be subsidising the creation of any more Multiplayer maps?

We may do another set of maps. Right now it is not planned, but in discussion. There, as I am sure people are aware, now numerous maps available from other sources coming available – some which totally rock.


Q: Weve discussed with PCF the option of developing PKTV open with the public. This in our view would help create a better tool in the long run. Would DC support this?

We may do this. It was proposed internally a long ways back as a good possibility and both PCF and DC feel like it might be a good thing. We will finalize this detail in the new year, once everyone is back from the holidays, but keep in mind there are some legal issues to consider under the hood – specifically in regards to code ownership from the middleware licenses (for things like Havok, i.e. we can’t give out portions of their code) and the game code.

Next we have a small update on some information provided by People Can Fly. Movement has been a topic of discussion since BooH came out, and we wanted to know why BooH differs so much from v1.35 in its movement. Here is a summary of what PCF kindly told us:


-The movement cant be the same simply because the 1.35 movement used precise Havok physics, unfortunately unpredictable, and 1.5 uses simplified physics. It’s what enabled the netcode to work.

-It was made as close as possible to the feeling of Havok movement. It changed because it was written from scratch, not using Havok.

-Havok cant be made reliable over the network (at least it couldnt last year). So it had to be dropped. Physics simulation is now similar to QuakeWorld in movement algorithm. PCF tried to make it as close to the Havok movement as possible.

-PK still uses Havok scene access speeding-up tools, but not physics simulation. PCF were unable to remove all differences because the whole thing is based on different principles

-As an example, the player collision body was a set of vertical spheres in 1.35, and is now a bounding box in 1.5. Much of the code written for 1.5 was inside of Havok for 1.35 – and its their secret, they didnt give the source away on that. So PCF had the physics textbook rather than Havok source to base the physics on.

Many thanks to Robert for his time to feed back to us on these questions. We appreciate the time you have taken to update us all.

GGL Player of 2004 Nominees

As the 2004 year has passed, GGL have decided it’s time for the Player of 2004 awards to take place. The awards are going to pick the person from each game who has been most successful and well-known through-out 2004, as well as achievements. The PK nominees are as follows:

1) Sander Kaasjager aka. Vo0 (fnatic, )
2) Stephan Lammert aka SteLam (SK, )
3) Jonathan Wendel aka Fatal1ty ()
4) Alessandro Avallone aka Stermy (play.it, )
5) Benjamin Bohrmann aka zyz (SK, )

As you can see, there is some big big names in that list. It’s going to be a tough one to call. If vo0 doesn’t win it though, I will be very surprised. 🙂

The awards show, which will be hosted by Radio ITG’s djWHEAT will take place January 28th. Stay tuned.