It has been over a year since that fateful day in early October when my good friend Darkhawk
showed me the latest game from LucasArts, "Jedi Knight." He'd been talking about it for months
prior to its release, when we were both still in High School. Knowing him for the SW fanatic
that he was, I brushed it off as "a phase" but one day he said he wanted to "show me something"
and this was when we setup our first game of JK Multiplayer. Well, he'd been playing for awhile,
but I had only sampled the demo with mild interest. While it had some interesting weapons,
I didn't think much of it. There wasn't alot of action, I thought. Kind of blah really.
Darkhawk setup a MP game, and without further ado we started fighting in BattleGround Jedi.
I was floored.. he blinded me, used persuasion, turned on protection, I had a hard time
even hitting him. Everywhere I looked I was looking at my dead body on the ground.
From that day onward I vowed that I would get the game and become good, good enough to
beat him at his own game.
Since those days I've played the various levels that have been released and met all kinds
of players, good ones, bad ones, whiney SOBs, good clans, bad clans, cheaters, and those
in it just for fun. I've met folks of all ages and cultures from around the globe. I've developed
a strong respect for Canadians through this game, and a strong dislike for the sysops on the zone. In all I say it was pretty fun. I'd never seen a group of online personalities
quite like the JK Community, though I'd never been part of a gaming community before. I must
say it was a positive experience. My roommate and I played Jedi Knight together in our dorm
room, and along with Darkhawk the three of us would "crash" Dark Jedi parties. ; )
Now here it is 1999, over a year after JK was released, in fact the one year anniversary of
MOTS has come and gone. Keeping in mind that the average "life" of a game is about 4 months
before it passes into obscurity, what is next? I have heard lots of folks tell me JK/MOTS are dated,
and "old hat" compared to the newboys.. the third generation of FPS games after JK: SiN,
Half-Life, Tribes, and many others yet to come like Quake3 (or Quake Arena).
One thing I can say for these games is that though they promise flashy new graphics and
big multiplayer games, they don't quite have the attraction that JK has had for me. JK
just has some things that help it stand out from all the other "me too" shooters and graphical
upgrades of old classics.
I must say I'm not ready to move on yet. Not being a true "gamer" I don't spend all my money
on games, and I don't buy a new game every two months or however often I'm supposed to get
new games. I don't have a stack of old hardware that I've been upgrading constantly. I'm just
a guy who likes a good game now and then.
Lately I've become interested in editing, and though I never considered editing when I picked
up a copy of JK back in '97, now I can't imagine getting the game without this aspect available.
I think that in order to survive, a game needs what JK and MOTS provided, that is: Immersive,
challenging and creative Single Player, innovative and exciting multiplayer, and editability.
The editing community has grown so much since the first modified levels were released. I still
consider "Dark Jedi Levels" to be one of my favorites, because I took an early liking to saber
duels (something no other FPS game prior to this had in a multiplayer setting).
While 1998 was the year of JK/MOTS Playing, I predict 1999 will be the year of Editing. So
far it's turned out that way. I was amazed at the amount of addons (many of them very high
quality) released since Christmas. Most of that stuff if you had told players about in early
1998, would have been scoffed at as "impossible in the limited engine." I'm enthused with
the "late breaking" mods such as Blaster Tag and Paintball. I long ago had given up on them
as "promisers of mountains" who wouldn't deliver, but they proved me wrong, thank you guys.
So why is JK the universal game? I'd say it is not because of it being cross platform, unfortunately
JK is limited to Win32 platforms due to the current market "situation" with Microsoft. I wouldn't
say JK handles the largest games (something Quake fans have criticized JK for) or that JK is
cheat proof (again, a problem, but thanks to the community we have patches for that), but
I would say the world would be a wonderful place if instead of bombing each other and rioting
we could solve our differences in a friendly game of JK. ; )
Seriously though, I find editing and creating new things in the JK engine as much fun as
playing was. I see alot of people working on making Star Wars "Total Conversions" and I think
that is all well and good, but they don't seem to grasp the full possiblities of the engine,
which are only limited by your imagination.
So what about the prequels? I hear there is a new FPS coming out soon based on the prequels.
Well if this is to be the next big SW shooter, what will happen to JK and MOTS? I sincerely
hope that the community will not be abandoned, but the new game will be accepted into the sphere
as MOTS was to JK. We are just scratching the surface of what can be done in JK editing,
and it distresses me that some folks are content to play Canyon Oasis and make recolored Yun
skins then abandon it with a "it sucks" attitude them move on to the newer games. Where's
the Force? It's with the community, and it can be your ally.