The Happy Friar is a long-time positive force in the Quake scene and was a writer for Planet Quake. He’s even hanging out with us here at Quake Expo (check out his booth).
Fortunately we were able to get together for some Q and A-
Qbism: Sorry I haven’t gotten back to you. Forgot about a screening of “Serenity” movie I had tickets to last night!
The Happy Friar: The one with Nathan Fillion and Adam Baldwin? That’s an awesome movie! It got my wife and me hooked on Nathan. We watched almost every episode of Castle because we first (by chance) saw him on TV one Monday night. It was the only TV show I watched for years. Now that it’s canceled I don’t watch TV any more, just DVD/BD/Streaming. We own almost every season. Firefly is one of our favorite series (at the time it was on the air I was working for a local UPN affiliate so I never saw it on the WB).
Qbism: Many know you from Planet Quake. How did you become involved, and when did you begin as a writer there? Some readers may remember that PQ was still going during the time of the last quake expo in 2011. But it was closed a year or two later (?) Can you talk about that? It is an asset I miss this time around.
The Happy Friar: I was a fan of PlanetQuake since sometime in the late 90’s. I forget when exactly, but my friends and I liked to dialup Doom and we were big in to BBS’s (I ran one for several years) and when I got Quake we’d use the local dialup internet to get new stuff to play. (One of us would buy a game and then we’d install it on all our computers to play). In college I ran Quake and Q2 servers on campus and PQ/Fileplanet/ftp.cdrom.com was the source for a lot of the maps/mods/etc. If you look hard enough you’ll see some of the stuff I e-mailed PQ staff posted on the site. 🙂
When Pappy-R was in charge he was looking for someone to write Mod of the Week articles so I applied and got accepted. I don’t remember how many I wrote but it was a lot over several years. Eventually I started to run out of mods. I went to QuakeCon 2004 (or 5, I forget which my first was) to cover it for PlanetQuake (I covered my own way & what not). Got to meet some really neat people down there.
With PQ closing (and all of Gamespy) it was very sudden, but not unknown it would be happening. One day I couldn’t log in. My support contact at IGN no longer worked there and none of the other Planet sites were being updated. On the IGN forums it was confirmed every GS volunteer had their access removed and that was it. There was nothing nobody could do. Not really an interesting story, is it? 🙂
To be fair, most of the Planet sites had a lot less traffic then years prior, hosted sites transferred to other sites or were abandoned long before this happened. PQ/PD were the most frequently updated sites that I can remember, even on shutdown, but most would go weeks or months without updates.
Qbism: I’ve been reading up on some old PQ articles. Here’s a toughie: About 10 years ago you wrote an article “The Happy Friar’s Top 10 Mods of ALL TIME!” 10 years into the future, but still within the Q1/ Q2/ Q3 realm, are there any you would change? [/evilgrin] Are you surprised how much has happened in the mod scenes for all three since that time?
The Happy Friar: Since then I’ve seen several “best mods of all time” reviews. The most recent is the one on Moddb.com for Quake’s (http://www.moddb.com/games/quake/news/20-years-of-quake). Moddb.com has done a great job of showing off Doom and Quake stuff over the past several years, so a great big “Thank you!” to them!
After comparing mine, I don’t believe I’d change any of them. Not because there aren’t other awesome mods out there, but because the ones I listed are ones I’ve gone back to at LAN’s, at my house, when my friends came over one Christmas several years ago for a “remember back when…” LAN. 🙂
I just checked, it was 8 years ago, not 10. 🙂
As for being surprised by what’s happened in the Quake scene since then? Yes and no. I’m not surprised by the Quake1/Q2/Q3A crowd. Them (and Doom1/2/Wolf) have always been the “we’ll do it on our own if we need to” type of personality. The general attitude of modding has changed since the Quake heyday, but it seems the ones who mod (and map, and new assets, etc) those games do it for the same reason someone climbs Mt. Everest: because it’s there and they can. The most disappointing thing, in my opinion, is that many new content consumers discount things like sound packs, texture packs, single maps, small mods (like Excessive Overkill for Q3A). Newer consumers want everything to be a TC, and have little positive to say if it’s not.
Qbism: Any fond memories from the PQ era when there was enough activity to feature a “mod of the week”?
The Happy Friar: Pappy-R. 🙂 He’s awesome (just checked my Yahoo mail and e-mails with him go back to ’06!). He also had really high expectations on my content quality. I was expected to have better grammar and less typo’s the an AP article, plus make it interesting to read. 🙂 I picked up a copy of Q4 for him & drove it to his house on release. He’s in Canada, I’m in the USA, USA release was a couple weeks before Canada. So I drove up & delivered one. 🙂
I really liked doing Mod of the Week. I got to try a bunch of mods I would of never tried otherwise, got to give my opinions on mods I’ve liked for years & were never reviewed. It was a lot of fun and, sadly, I lost my archive of all my reviews last year when my HD crashed.
By the way, my favorite two mods to try out were the Alien Arena single player mods. Those were awesome! Occasionally I shoot them off an e-mail saying they should make another one of those but they’re still doing that Alien Area game we see here at Qexpo 2016. 🙂
Qbism: I believe you and peeweeRotA have the only joint-venture booth. My first thought was “hey, why aren’t more folks teamed-up?” and second thought was “What about that sheep mod from way back?” How long have you been collaborating?
The Happy Friar: I don’t think PeeWee has posted anything to our booth. To busy with his own Hexen stuff now. 🙂 So maybe that’s why people don’t team up. 😀
BTW, you mean this sheep mod? http://www.moddb.com/mods/sheep-in-the-midst-of-wolves
A shameless plug! I met PeeWee though TastySpleen.net, a Q2 community that Jehar of TastySpleen.TV introduced me to at my first or second Quakecon. Nothing freaks you out more then a stranger saying “Hey, you’re The Happy Friar! Awesome!” when you’re 1300 miles from home in a place you’ve never been to with nobody you know… but they know you! Anyway, PeeWee’s made a bunch of small mods for Quake 2, we both like modding, so we started doing some small things together. I could get models out of Blender in to Q2 in quick order and he’s a very good coder. Hence “Sheep in the midst of Wolves” for Q2. That was our last project though. We both have children and wives, there’s only so much time during a day, so more important things took time from our hobbies.
BTW, it’s a hard mod to play. The idea is (although PeeWee and I like letting server ops to decide how the game plays) that everyone is a sheep model, but only one player is the wolf-in-disguise. He gets points by killing sheep but sheep get points by only killing him. So as a sheep you don’t want to kill other sheep. The idea is you’ll watch what other players are doing for a pattern, like a murder-mystery. Most players don’t like that.
Qbism: Is there a story behind your nickname?
The Happy Friar: That’s an easy one! At the time I was working for Polish Franciscan Priests. It’s also unique enough where there’s no number at the end. If there’s a “The Happy Friar” on a forum anywhere, or on social media, it’s most likely me or the restaurant that is completely unrelated to me. 🙂
Happy Friar food stand at Cedar Point Amusement Park, Sandusky, Ohio. Qbism: I’ve eaten here!