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You'll be quaking in your boots at those monsters

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aj+. column

C P Snow, the bloke who did for Oxbridge cloisters what Trollope did in the previous century for the cathedral close, would be spinning in his grave.

The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies at Cambridge has been spending hard research funding (check it out via www. arct. cam. ac. uk/ research/current. html) on people playing that dimly lit computer shootem-up game, Quake.

You will, of course, know that Quake's setting is of a series of corridors, gates and traps arranged in an insane threedimensional array in which you get lost almost immediately.

Paul Richens at the Martin Centre has been playing a lot of Quake II in the service, he claims, of creating architectural three-dimensional space.

'There are some compromises on graphics quality, but they are compensated by the emphasis on extreme interactivity.'

Extreme interactivity may well be a virtuous thing if you are talking about ergonomics, but Quake interactivity consists mostly of driving an enclosed sledge at insane speeds while blasting monsters which come at you from all sorts of unexpected angles.

Still, Richens has been designing spaces with the Quake level building tool Qoole (which stands for Quake Object Oriented Level Editor).Try http: //qoole.

gamedesign. net and other Qoolerelated pages such as the Qoole Source Repository at www. volved. com/qsr.

This site says that the source code to Qoole is available free to the public, but we will explore the copyright issues in the next AJ (15/22 August).

One of the things Richens finds interesting is modifying the appearance and extremely violent behaviour of the Quake monsters. I say re-attire them in pinstripes and low slung jeans, leave their behaviours unchanged, and you have a perfect metaphor for architectural life.

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