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.

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0 thoughts on “DreamCatcher feedback

  1. -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.

    What does that mean? 🙂

  2. The movement problems (stopping when pressing a quick weapon key etc.) are fixed by the floating point problem being fixed.

    This is the only one I know of.

  3. and what about the problem where your direction doesn’t change upon landing, and you carrying on going in the same direction?

  4. Jabb0r, I asked that question and PCF state they havent seen it. They believe it also occurs in 1.35. I think this is because they have only tested on Listen servers.

  5. warhog, the thing what jabb0r said occurs on listen server too, make server in lan and then try it.. its soooo bad..

  6. I wish this kind of feedback was directly provided at Dreamcatcher Forums. Most people there don’t necessarily know to come here for anything worthwhile.

  7. I posted a link to here on the DC forums curselogins.

    dvr, its a bug.

    Reptile, I didnt know that. Its not what others tell me for example Stelam on the CPL forums.

  8. Clains posted:
    -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.

    What does that mean? 🙂

    I post:
    its very simple, the game engine first saw you as the model as you see it in the game. A sphere is a ’round’ object. And now the game sees you as a moving ‘box’. Because a sphere behaves different then a box in the world of physics (basic science), the movement isnt completely the same.

  9. “Because a sphere behaves different then a box in the world of physics (basic science), the movement isnt completely the same.”

    Umm, would you mind explaining HOW it is different? The change is in regards to collision, NOT movement. And, as far as I know, air resistance would be the only [major] thing that would effect movement, which I *highly* doubt is in the game.

    The change is in the clipping. The clipping region is now laterally equidistant from top to bottom of the body (although might differ uniformly at any angle). Simply, this means that getting stuck on an object will be more consistent.

  10. from what i can tell, the “advanced” movement styles seem to be drastically unresponsive compared to 1.35 on 1.5 listen servers, and near impossible on ded servers.

  11. “and what about the problem where your direction doesn’t change upon landing, and you carrying on going in the same direction?”

    I was wondering about this very same thing, and why are they only testing on listen servers?

    Why are they so content in having control when nothing good has come of it?

    How could it possibly JUST be a lack of communication when servers have been screwed up for almost a year, despite almost 100% of the USA players complaining like mad dogs?

    Why did it take this long to get ANY news at all from DC? We really shouldn’t have to ask.

  12. Also…

    It’s good to finally get some info. So the article was great, but for some reason I’m a little annoyed.

  13. Do they actually know that the movement in BooH is messed up unless you’re playing on your own localhost?
    It sounds like they think the movement is as good as it can get without havok and that they’re not working on fixing it.
    The movement is OK on your own listen server, but anything else just doesn’t work right.
    I hope they know about that and are working on fixing it.

  14. Im not sure what that means by you do not change direction after landing but I dont have that problem in Booh. THe only movement problems with it are the jump pad damage and the occasional stopping when you press custom weapon bug. Which hasnt happened to me in awhile. The movement in Booh is much better for me. I dont slow down going upstairs like in 1.35.
    Regular forward type (manual) rocket jumps dont speed you up but behind the back rocket jumps do which adds an element of skill to rocket jumping that is sorely needed. This brings rocket jumping closer to what it is in quake based games where you have to turn around and shoot the rocket behind you to get a forward speed boost from it. Best of all is your speed does not fluctuate like in 1.35. Now maybe there is something about how booh is running on my machine differently than ALL of yours and 1.35 running worse on my machine than all of yours or maybe yo all have it tweaked very well and im stuck with poor settings. But I think anyone who likes 1.35 better is nuts. Anyhow alot of you players who are complaining now were the ones complaining to get havok removed from Painkiller multi several months ago. So now you are getting your way but there is a cost to that.
    I didnt want the havok removed but now that it is I admit it is better.

  15. heh, i’m not maybe pr0 😮 but i think BooH movement is fine, they’ll fix the rj bug and imho it will be perfect ;x

  16. waa: This isnt really changes in that way, atm the game is very bugged and is hardly playeble at all.

  17. sb make a commercial version of cpma, artificially increase hardware requirements to make the industry support it and we have a nice world tour game :/

  18. dc and pcf are horrible companies. therefore, i have absolutely no faith in their abilities to make this a good game, or that they’ll fulfill their obligations to the cpl and the community. if we’re lucky, they’ll quit making games and start up a marketing firm (since they’re so good at lying).

  19. changes list sounds promising…
    still i doubt they will be able to deliver a definitely playable and watchable game all packed in a bug-free box called ‘black edition’
    i expect pktv to be one of the last implemented features, even though if its one of the most important
    time will tell 🙂

  20. The bad thing about BooH is that the movement is messed up to such a grade, where it seriously changes the whole gameplay.
    BooH has much less of the fast gameplay for what people love(d) Painkiller. I only hope for all the players (and spectators) PCF is going to do something about it!

  21. Gameplay only slightly changes in booh and for the better.
    Seriously try to do an install that is fresh
    install PK off CD then the Booh CD and then play it. Thats how I did it and I have no trouble playing online and is much much smoother in every way.

  22. I have Painkiller and i play in 1.35 servers, I do not have Battle Out of Hell, so I was wondering, when 1.6 update comes out I can play with what I have? or I will have to buy the Black Edition?

  23. Still remains.. if it aint broke dont fix it :), seems to me that their not really opening the game to the community like they say they were going to do.. As far as test etc etc.

  24. I find it very easy to forgive PCF. I can see how a new and fresh dev house can have problems. Even though I didn’t like their two faced arguments about the multi-player. Mainly how this is a single player game, and how we should first view the game as such, and now the game is being used in CPL. doh

    DC is another story.

  25. I highly doubt they will be able to deliver. I have very little trust in their abilities judging from the state of PK after almost a year.

  26. it is broke doughboyler. In case you didn’t notice how few players there are online. Most of the people who tried Painkiller decided the netcode sucks and its not fun to play and they put it away. Now I don’t know if 1.61 is going to make the game popular I kind of think the game had it’s chance and lost it already but at least it can be enjoyable for those of us who do have to play it. 1.35 sucks Ive always thought so. When they released it I quit Painkiller because I could not stand to play it. We were told Booh would fix all that and it did in every way. Now everyone else is getting the fixed version for free so that should reunite the players all under one version again and simplify things for everyone.

  27. “Now everyone else is getting the fixed version for free so that should reunite the players all under one version again and simplify things for everyone.”

    Yeah i hear you .. pretty flamming for those who bought booh, since it was pretty much a cock tease as far netcode fixes and the whores of bugs it has. But, I do belive they will pull it off, I mean if they dont it will make the cpl look dumb and I assure you they will gain some control over the game.

  28. I’m not at home, so don’t have my login details (Firefox remembers them for me :P).

    How do I get signed up as a beta tester for the linux server ? My brother and I have experience running linux gamer servers (Q3, HL, CoD etc) for a local ISP, and we’re keen to get some PK linux servers running.

    Is PCF going to get some public beta testers going for the linux server ? They would be crazy not to IMO (judging by Q&A quality of previous releases LOL).

  29. Also, it should be noted that with any dedicated server – having Rcon access is almost a base requirement.

    If rcon access is not provided, it makes admining servers time consuming. The rcon should be worked on while the linux server is being tested.

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