Weapons Factory

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The Weapons Factory (also abbreviated as WF) is a series of video game capture the flag class-based mods, originally created for Quake II by brothers Tom "Tumorhead" and Gregg "Headache". It since has had several incarnations (six plus three currently in development) on most of the predominant FPS games released since 1998 (in the Quake, Unreal, Half-Life and Tribes series).

The Weapons Factory is partly based on the Team Fortress mod for QuakeWorld. Its idea sprung when Quake II was announced but the Team Fortress development team decided to join Valve Software and work on a Half-Life sequel to the mod instead of a Quake II one.[1] It consists of two teams of six players each who can choose between seven to ten classes of combatants (depending on the incarnation of WF) each having their own specificities and special abilities, amongst which is a grappling hook (Weapons Factory's signature).

In the Quake Series[edit]

Weapons Factory (Quake II)[edit]

History[edit]

Gregg started programming Weapons Factory (WF or Q2WF) as an experiment to learn how to create a Quake 2 mod while his brother started looking at how to build maps.[2] Weapons Factory was the first CTF-type mod to be released (on March 6, 1998), only two days after Zoid's Q2 CTF source was published[3] and as such got some press and early success. They soon decided to merge with another mod, Star Troopers by John "Cryect" Rittenhouse on May 1, 1998,[4] which had a vast arsenal of weapons that WF lacked. The initial versions of WF featuring only three classes (notably version 2.1b, the "merger" one), they had to bring this number up to six (final beta version 2.2[5]) and then nine (version 3.0[6]) simply to have somebody to give the weapons to.[7] In that configuration, it fulfilled their goal of creating something close to a Team Fortress for Quake II.[8]

Along with the Weapons Factory, Gregg introduced a new technology for mod makers, the Mod Construction Kit[9] (also abbreviated as the MOCK) released with WF version 3.0. The MOCK is a user-friendly tool that lets one modify the number of classes and their attributes (such as health, armor, weapons...) from the original WF.

Later in the development of the mod, the project of a tenth class was considered. The original idea was of a powerful class that would spawn only in the losing team. Later this last bit was dropped but the Mercenary class indeed saw light with WF version 4.0 released on January 19, 1999.[10]

The last version developed by the original Development team, Weapons Factory version 4.25, was released on September 27, 1999.[11]

Competition[edit]

Most of the competition in Weapons Factory took place in the OGL (Online Gaming League) WF ladder. The internet connections at the time and network code flexibilities of Quake II allowed for North American and European players and clans to play in the same competition against each other (which hasn't been possible since). The rest of the competition happened in the DEF-CON league which was a tournament format. Late in the mod's life, a European league (WFEL) was created. A couple of smaller scale tourneys were also organised, like Solicitor's Invite Yourself Weapons Factory Tournament or the Relentless Assault Invitational Tournament.

Weapons Factory Arena (Quake III Arena)[edit]

History[edit]

Since the release of Q3Test (in May 1999), the Weapons Factory Development team was considering a port of the mod to Quake II's sequel Quake III Arena. However, when the game is released on December 2, 1999 and work on Weapons Factory Arena (WFA) really starts, Tumorhead drops from the team soon followed by his brother Headache. Harvi "Acrid" Kiiski then takes the lead of the project. The first beta of the mod is released on May 20, 2000, featuring eight classes, the nurse being implemented later in the development process. WFA version 1.0 was officially released online on July 26, 2000.

The next version focused on graphical enhancement. The WFA Development team pushed the boundaries of the four years old Quake III engine to bring it up on par with more recent technologies and added new visual effects such as sky portals or bump mapping. The team also worked in close collaboration with Randy "Ydnar" Reddig, creator of the Q3MAP2 technology, a tool notably used to enhance the lighting compilation in maps. It resulted in versions 3.5 and then 3.5b, released on January 15, 2003 which is the last official version of Weapons Factory Arena.

Weapons Factory: Fusion (Quake II & III)[edit]

Weapons Factory Revolution (Quake IV)[edit]

When Doom 3 was released Static decided to port WF to the latest id Software platform. The WFA Development team was reunited along with the help of some old time players to work on a new incarnation of WF, Weapons Factory Revolution (WFR). However as time went by, it became more and more obvious that Doom 3 wasn't the suitable platform the team initially thought it would be. The game was obviously directed towards single player and wasn't optimized at all for multiplayer. The poor network code and per-poly collision detection of weapon hits didn't allow for enjoyable online playing experience (besides the fact Weapons Factory is already pretty demanding in terms of network traffic).
The team then decided to switch games and work on the Quake 4 platform (due late 2005), which focuses a lot more on the multiplayer aspect of the game.

In the Half-Life Series[edit]

The last release of WF2 was v5.2 (alpha).[12]

In 2012, the WF2 source code was added to SourceForge.[13]

In the Unreal Tournament Series[edit]

Weapons Factory Unreal Tournament[edit]

Around the same time Weapons Factory was ported to Quake III Arena, another team (headed by spoon) did their own unique conversion of WF on the Unreal Tournament engine which was rising in popularity. Weapons Factory Unreal Tournament (WFUT) took the classes and weapons from the Quake II version and adapted them to the Unreal style of gameplay, in addition to being inspired by MegaTF.

There were several major changes to the Unreal Tournament version that helped make it unique from the other WF mods. The grappling hook was replaced with a translocator that used limited ammo and was given to all the classes. The standard Quake II weapons were replaced by Unreal Tournament versions with the custom WF weapons now having alt-fire modes. The grenades were thrown "offhand" in the same manner as in MegaTF instead of being used as weapons. In addition, while the classes suffered only minor changes to their weapon loadout and special abilities, the major change was the Mercenary class being replaced by the Demoman class.

There were attempts by other teams to make a Weapon Factory mods for both Unreal Tournament 2003 & Unreal Tournament 2004, but they have been canceled.

References[edit]