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Friday, 31 May, 2002, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
British gamers set sights on Sweden
David Beckham, PA. Quake3 Arena screenshot, id
Footie and frags: Both have international tournaments

It is not just England's football players who are looking forward to taking on Sweden in June.

The UK's top Quake players are also due to take on the Swedes in the semi-finals of the European Nations Cup, a leading online gaming tournament.

Thankfully, unlike England's football players, none of the key members of the British team are ruled out through injury.

If the UK wins the deathmatch against Sweden they could be facing Germany in the final to decide Europe's top Quake nation.

'Tough team'

Like many computer games, Quake has a large and loyal online following.


Sweden are a very, very tough team to beat having some of the world's best players to choose from

Tony Dobson, UK Quake III captain
It is popular because it strips the first-person-shooting genre down to its essentials by putting players in a variety of locations, or maps, and letting them shoot each other with an assortment of outlandish weapons.

The player who kills, or frags, the other players the most wins.

The latest version, Quake III Arena, was designed with multiplayer gaming in mind and has become one of the most popular online games.

Keen players often band together into teams, or clans, and fight it out to discover who is the best.

Many games websites organise tournaments for the clans and one of the most prestigious competitions is the Quake III Arena DeathMatch Nations Cup run by the Clanbase website.

The UK team has battled through to the semi-finals of the competition and now is poised to take on Sweden around the same time that the England football players are taking on the Swedes in the World Cup.

"Sweden are a very, very tough team to beat having some of the world's best players to choose from," said Tony Dobson, captain of the UK Quake III team.

Crowd control

Mr Dobson said the match would likely hinge on the speed with which players could swap data with the server where the match was being played.

Quake ]I[ Arena screenshot, id
Quake: Find new friends and frag them
He said that Swedish players typically had very fast net connections and were used to very low delays, or pings.

By contrast the UK team was used to more delays, said Mr Dobson, aka Farside of the Gunzoids Quake clan.

The first stage of any match involves a search for a fair server that both teams are happy to play on.

"Finding a fair server will basically mean Sweden compromising their normally powerful connections to have the same as us," said Mr Dobson. "That should swing things more to our side."

Thankfully no key UK Quake players are out through last minute accidents.

"It is pretty hard to lose players to injury in Quake," said Mr Dobson.


With the proliferation of broadband internet access, online spectating is going to be huge

Brad Whitehead, GamersTV
Anyone with a copy of Quake III Arena and a net connection can watch the crucial deathmatch live using the GamersTV online spectating software.

Although the UK-Sweden match is likely to gather an audience it will not match the numbers watching the football game. The Saitama stadium, the venue for the England-Sweden match, can hold 63,000 spectators.

By contrast the numbers expected to be watching the Quake semi-finals is not likely to exceed 250.

But Brad Whitehead, the creator of the GamersTV software, said audiences in the thousands have watched previous European Quake finals.

"There's no question that, with the proliferation of broadband internet access, online spectating is going to be huge," he said. "It's just a matter of time."

See also:

21 Oct 00 | UK Education
24 Mar 01 | Entertainment
29 Oct 01 | dot life
05 Dec 01 | Science/Nature
02 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
15 Feb 02 | Entertainment
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