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Vol. 2, Issue 2
November 15, 1999
End of the Line

A report by Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon

RadPipe has a vision. It's the id Software annual marketing meeting, where all ideas for the coming year are discussed and hashed around. There's a big table. There's lots of chairs. The owners of the company are there, as well as the biz and marketing people. Perhaps they're having danishes and coffee. Perhaps not. Anna Kang is talking.

<Anna> It'll be great! We'll buy a big bus, design it up all cool like with big Quake III logos everywhere, we'll put really fast computers on it, network them up, and drive the thing from city to city and let people try the game. It'll be a big roving lan party! It'll be great! Why is everyone looking at me so strangely? I haven't a clue who was the first to propose the idea of the Quake III: Arena bus, but Anna sure deserves credit for making it happen. And seriously, I bet whoever came up with the original idea got some strange looks before the dream was finally realized. (Personally, I like to think it was my Road To QuakeCon series on QuakeCon.org that brought it about, but I'm told differently. But that would have been cool.)

I had the wonderful privilege of doing interviews for the Quake III Arena site. Which was rather odd, because I never got on the bus until the final stop, in LA at Activision HQ. It was there that I finally played on those very cool Athlon machines with the flat screen monitors, and I kicked me some Activision employee butt. Ok, some of them had never played before, and they were having problems getting the controls just right, and I kept kicking people behind me, and most of them had never played any sort of FPS game before, but I still won myself a glorious battle and smack-talked them into oblivion. When in Rome, do as the Romans, right? Of course we were nowhere near Rome.

At least half the id Software folk were on hand and we retreated to a secret Activision room where more machines were setup and a special build of Q3A was loaded and raring to go. So what did I do? I sat down at one of the machines and we played on q3test2, The Longest Yard. Not the brightest thing considering we had new levels to play with, but I wasn't about to stand up and suggest we do something else in a roomful of id and Activision people. Someone else soon stood up and suggested we play a different level and everyone applauded and commended his initiative. I was tempted to throw something, but I didn't. (And by the way, it was Christian "Disruptor" Antkow of id.)

We dropped into one of Disruptor's maps and he proceeded to mop the floor with us. I got my first look at both the Klesk and Orbb models. I got fragged a few times trying to check them out, especially when I was laughing my ass off at the "testicle on arms" model (as described on Blue's msgboard one day). Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a cool model once you get used to the obvious strangeness of it. Paul Steed did an excellent job animating it, which leaves me to wonder who at id he used for the motion-capture filming. I can see it now…

<Paul> Hey Tim, can you walk on your hands? Great, now can you do it holding this basketball between your legs? No, that's not a quote. That's my cracked mind creating reality out of fiction. Cool huh.

Back to Activision. Dinner was held at the swanky DC3 restaurant which was steps away the office. The buffet was a passing memory because I was anxious to start gambling. Yep, that's right. They had one of those kooky fake-money casinos going and we each got $300 to blow. Well, I sidled up to a blackjack table and went through my money pretty quick. Ah but, "it's just fake money!" I kept screaming to myself.

Some funky DJ appeared and the dance floor lit up like a Turkish bazarre. I hit the floor with Anna Kang, Lowtax (formerly of PQ), David (id Software's tourmeister), and a couple other hip Activision people. Lowtax and I showed `em what dancing is all about. We were up, we were down, we were all over that grooving scene in what was either the most fantastic demonstration of hip hop ever, or the most embarrassing display of two grown men trying to look cool. But Anna kept laughing so I think we were doing okay.

Here's a funny tale. I asked one of the waitresses if she would be dancing, and when she responded that she had to work otherwise "would love to!", I grabbed her tray, shouted, "Ok go!" and proceeded to race around the tables collecting empty bottles and glasses. Well she almost screamed but chased me for a good 2 minutes before she caught me and her tray (I was going pretty fast). But now she knows. Never bluff the Radmeister.

Somewhere I dug up another $300 (now THAT doesn't happen everyday does it) so I hit the blackjack tables again. With only minutes to spare, I decided to see how quickly I could lose the money. I kept dropping $100 chips on other folks' bets, including loonyboi, Blue, Sharky, and a few others, but danged if I just could not lose everything.

At the end we got tickets based on how much money we had won, and there was this big prize giveaway, but for some reason I can't remember much of it. I talked to Todd Hollenshead for a bit and then Christian, and things were pretty much coming to a close. The rest of the night was pretty hazy, but I do remember walking for miles and miles down Sunset Blvd at 2:00am in the morning. What a great town LA is.

Saturday morning was kind of neat. I managed to make it back to my hotel just as David was getting up, and we jumped on the bus and drove it back to Activision. There I had the distinguished honor of helping to pull the guts out of the bus. We pulled out the machines, the nifty Q3 eye-pleasers, all the black padded foaming, and quite a bit of the wooden frame holding most of the innards together. It was fun but kind of sad. I think it was worse for David though, because he had ridden the thing since launch, a couple of months earlier.

I managed to grab a couple of hours of sleep and then hit the town with two wonderful folk. Paul, the Office Manager from Activision and his friend, shoot can't remember her name, took me through LA and we had a wonderful day together seeing the sites. I got to walk the Promenade, the Santa Monica peer, and even dunked my head in the ocean. Kind of a geeky touristy thing to do, but hey, I'm a computer nerd. What do you expect?

That was pretty much the end of my stay in LA, but I can't end this without sending a huge thank-you over to Anna Kang of id, who asked me to be apart of it. Um, so, thanks Anna. Was fun.

- Russell "RadPipe" Lauzon is some guy who just walked into the loonygames office and started calling himself Features Editor. The position wasn't filled so we kept him.


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