— Official Hexen II FAQ —

Post-Release v1.8 - STANDARD revision



Last Updated: May 12th, 1998 GMT
Hexen Quote: "Smash those spiders before they suck your blood."

© 1997, 98, 99, 2000 Richard "Sat" Connery. All rights reserved.



This document is provided "as is" without any guarantees or warranty. Although the author has attempted to find and correct any errors or mistakes he, and everyone who contributed to it, are not responsible for any damage or losses of any kind caused by the use or misuse of information in this FAQ. The author is under no obligation to provide service, corrections, or upgrades to this FAQ.



The following is legal information and refers to all the information in this document. This information pertains to all use of the FAQ worldwide. All specific names included in the package are registered trademarks and are hereby acknowledged. Any other trademarks not mentioned in the FAQ are still hypothetically acknowledged.

  • No portion of the document may be separated and distributed separately without the written permission of the author, Richard Connery.
  • The document can not be included in any publication, such as, but not limited to: magazines, books, newspapers or newsletters, without the written permission of the author.
  • The document can not be included in any software compilation using media such as, but not limited to: CD-ROM, tape backup, optical disks, hard disks or memory cards, without the written permission of the author.
  • The document can not be recompiled, modified or not, and distributed without the written permission of the author.
  • The user is encouraged to send submissions and error fixes to the author, but the author is in no way obliged to utilize these enhancements or fixes.

As long as you comply with the above rules you may do whatever you want with this document.



Sections added "+" or updated "u" since the last version of the FAQ.

Chapter I: Introduction

  1.     Foreword u
  2.     Submissions
  3.     Getting the FAQ
  4.     Credits & Acknowledgments u
  5.     History u
  6.     About the Author u
  7.     Who made Hexen II +

Chapter II: Basic Information

  1.     What is Hexen II? u
  2.     System requirements u
  3.     Windows 95 / NT
  4.     MMX
  5.     OpenGL u
  6.     Consoles & other OSs
  7.     Gettting Hexen II u
  8.     Demos
  9.     Mission Pack #1 u

Chapter III: In Depth Information

  1.     3D Engine
  2.     Levels
  3.     Textures
  4.     Models
  5.     Soundtracks & Effects u
  6.     Demos & Cutscenes u
  7.     Artificial Intelligence
  8.     HexenC

Chapter IV: Gameplay

  1.     Storyline u
  2.     Your Character u
  3.     Weapons u
  4.     Inventory u
  5.     Enemy u
  6.     Hubs u

Chapter V: Multiplayer

  1.     Modem-to-Modem & Serial
  2.     LAN / Internet
  3.     Lag


Chapter I: Introduction

    1.    Foreword

Welcome to The Official Hexen II FAQ!

Anniversary Edition
One year ago today I released the first version of this FAQ. After thirteen post game and several pre game FAQ versions I'm finishing the FAQ. There was a lot more I would have like to put in, especially console commands and character stats but all in all I honestly believe it served the intended purpose: to let newbies (or not) learn more about the game they were waiting for / had just bought. Unless new information comes up, this should be the final version of the FAQ, at least concerning the actual game. I'll be following HexenWorld and post here its history. Until next version.

The FAQ is maintained by Richard "Sat" Connery also maintainer of The Unofficial Quake II FAQ. This document is intended to be a compilation of all the information floating around the various websites about the new game by Raven Software: Hexen II. It's the place where all the features, news bits, scoops fall back to. The ultimate source of general information about Hexen II. Please note that all text in yellow following the "Q" sign are quotations and that actual content of the quotes may be outdated.

I, and everyone who has contributed so far, hope you enjoy reading it and that this FAQ ultimately answers all your questions about the game. The FAQ is now on post game versions (v1.x format). The latest Hexen II version is, at this time of writing, v1.11. The latest Portal of Praevus version is, at this time of writting, v1.12a.


    2.    Submissions

If you wish to submit something to the FAQ (i.e. questions, comments or articles) then mail me and if your submission is accepted and incorporated into the FAQ you will be credited under section I.4. Please be advised each and every submission becomes the property of the author. If you wish to ask something then do but please keep it FAQ related. If you don't get a reply within two days then mail me again. Keep trying, as I do my best to answer everyone.


    3.    Getting the FAQ

The latest version of The Official Hexen II FAQ will always be uploaded to HexenWorld and/or Raven-Games.com. Don't ask me to mirror, or link to the FAQ on a regular basis because Activision handles the online marketing distribution of the FAQ and only official Hexen II websites can host it. You should also check the Mini-FAQ for solutions to common problems.


    4.    Credits & Acknowledgments

The following people have made this FAQ a much better one than it would be otherwise:

  • Raven Software - Thanks to Eric Biessman, Rick Johnson, Brian Raffel, Mike Crowns, Mike Werckle, Mike Gulmmet and the rest of the team for their continual support of our community through .plan updates, interviews and IRC chats which helped us grasp a little more of Hexen II. Visit http://www.ravensoft.com.
  • Activision - For getting involved and being overall great guys. Visit http://www.activision.com.
  • William Mull [Phoebus] - Support, ideas and other misc. stuff.
  • Jeff Buckland [Upaboveit] - For helping me through the first versions of the FAQ.
  • Adam Krumbein [Bakshra] - Demo walkthrough. Error corrections and support.
  • Ben Wilhelm - Several corrections and misc. suggestions.
  • David Gunther - For letting me know of the "Quake II" typos v1.3 had.
  • Evan Read [Militant] - Submissions and CPU suggestions.
  • Michael Walther - For letting me know of the "Quake II" typos v1.3 had.
  • Paul Thurleen [Filth] - Same as above.
  • Paul Thurrot - OpenGL vs DirectX error corrections.
  • PeelBoy - Many bug fixes and coleo suggestions.
  • Stefan Eischet - For the beta OpenGL drivers for RIVA 128 cards report.

My sincere thanks to all of these and to everyone who reads the FAQ.


    5.    History

The versions of the FAQ with the changes made in each are sorted by date below. Only standard and major revisions are listed. FAQ started on 1997.

  • v1.8 - Corrected many mistakes. Added the remaining Portal of Praevus information. HexenWorld, HW Siege.
  • v1.75 - Hopefully final Portal of Praevus information. HexenWorld, Hexen trivia and error corrections plus GLHexen information.

Enter the Portal of Praevus
The first official Hexen II mission pack has been released proving that Hexen II hasn't died. Rick Johnson is finishing HexenWorld so you can play DM over the internet with reasonable fluidity and Raven prepares one of its next games: Heretic II. The Hexen II engine is much more advanced than Quake's and is, at the moment, the only medieval themed game using Quake's 3D engine. The FAQ can now also be found on the Mission Pack as well as a direct link to HexenWorld for the latest version of the FAQ.

  • v1.7 - Mainly structural changes and more Portal of Praevus information.
  • v1.666 - Beta version not for public disclosure but that was released nonetheless.
  • v1.6 - Er... all weapons listed now.
  • v1.55 - More Mission Pack information plus addon Mods. Fixed the Weapons section. Hexen2W information at last. Plus where to get bug solutions.
  • v1.5 - The FAQ lives! Mission Pack, CTF, new layout. Merged into a single page and zipped so you can read offline.
  • v1.45 - New info about v1.11. Demo and patch. Utils released. Typos corrected. Things have reached a standstill. I'm just waiting for HexenWorld to be released so the FAQ is complete.
  • v1.4 - Fixed Quake II typos and "Interactivity"? What kind of word is that? Anyway, replaced with Interaction. System requirements, Verite inf. and HexenC. Btw, v1.3 was originally v1.5 when I first uploaded it because I was half drunk when I typed the version. =) No way any document junps from v1.2 to v1.5 without any new inf. added.
  • v1.3 - Completely new design, not many inf. added updated but then not much inf. to update on. This should be the final layout and the way things are going the FAQ will only be updated one more time (more if necessary but I don't think it will be).
  • v1.2 - Somewhat big revision, combining more stuff from Activision. Added HexenWorld and patch inf. Corrected minor typos and HTML bugs.
  • v1.1 - Minor revision to correct some mistakes and change references from the coming of Hexen II to the actual available game. Added links to many new pages on HexenWorld. Changed the font on quotes.
  • v1.0 - First version after the release of Hexen II. Demo sub-section enhanced. Single Player section completely revamped. Troubleshooting and Console / prompt commands sub-sections added. Many bugs fixed. Added links to the .DEM and text walkthrough by Bakshra. Weapons section merged. FAQ broken down into several pages for faster load times. Merged Hexen II's online help.


    6.    About the Author

I go by Richard "Sat" Connery and I live in Miramar, Portugal, Europe, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, ad infinitum... My house is just three hundred yards from the sea. It really is great to wake up, go to the balcony and watch the waves caress the burning sand... :-)

I like to think of myself as a level designer. I've started with Doom back in the good 'ol days but I never actually released any of my work since I didn't think it was good enough. In January 1997 I was hired by Dark Designs, inc. a company which will release its first game, using the Quake II engine, in late 1998. I'm in charge of game and level design as well as doubling as the company's biz guy.

You can find me on IRC occasionally, on Undernet #3dgamers but I rather go out and live a little. You should too. If you'd like to get in touch with me you can mail me at rconnery@planetquake.com. For more personal matters you can catch me on ICQ. On the servers I go by "Richard Connery".

Past work include:

  1. Kraan, a world designed for Unreal
  2. Hexenworld along with Phoebus and Bakshra
  3. UAC Gateway, the first database of links exclusively dedicated to Quake II
  4. Serpent's Realm, the first database of links exclusively dedicated to Hexen II
  5. The Mailbag, in theory an opinion page
  6. The Unofficial Trinity FAQ now discontinued
  7. The Official Doom Legacy FAQ now discontinued


    7.    Who made Hexen II


Rick Johnson
Bob Love
Mike Gummelt

Brian Pelletier
Shane Gurno
Jim Sumwalt
Mark Morgan
Rebecca Rettenmund
Kim Lathrop
Les Dorscheid
Ted Halsted
Mike Werckle
Brian Schubart

Eric Biessman
Brian Raffel
Brian Frank
Tom Odell

Kevin Schilder
Chia Chin Lee


James Monroe
Mike Gummelt
Josh Heitzman
Josh Weier

Les Dorscheid
Kim Lathrop
Gina Garren
Joe Kobertein
Kevin Long
Jeff Butler
Scott Rice
John Payne
Steve Raffel
Eric Turnman
Mike Werckle

Jon Zuk
Tom Odell
Mike Renner
Eric Biessman
Kenn Hoekstra
Matt Pinkston
Bobby Duncanson


Producer: Steve Stringer
Marketing Product Manager: Henk Hartong
Marketing Associate: Kevin Kraff
Puclicist: Amy King
Quality Assurance: Tim Vanlaw, Douglas Jacobs, Steve Rosenthal, Chad Bordwell, David Baker, Steve Elwell, Damian Fischer, Samantha Lee, Ian Stevens, Chris Toft
Manual Written by: Marc Saltzman, Joe Grant Bell
Thanks: All those at Activision that worked on Hexen II and Portal of Praevus



Chapter II: Basic Information

    1.    What is Hexen II?

Hexen II is a first-person 3D game developed by Raven Software. Raven has a respectable game list behind them: Shadowcaster, CyClones, Heretic, Hexen, Necrodome and Black Crypt. Hexen II uses id Software's highly acclaimed Quake 3D engine to deliver stunning worlds in which you fight for survival. Hexen II is actually Heretic 3, the last of the Serpent Riders trilogy. Raven Software is based in Madison, WI.

Brian Raffel: We felt that the game was more inline with the Hexen style of play than Heretic. i.e.. multiple classes as well as the Hub system. We also felt that Hexen had more of a following than Heretic.


Eric Biessman: The word Hexen was chosen because a.) It started with and H and sounded cool, and b.) it was the German word for "spell" or "spellcaster."  It really didn't have any relationship with Heretic except that it tended towards magical stuff. You can also put in the FAQ that it was Sandy Petersen from Id who came up with the title and explained it to us.

It's the second game using id Software's Quake engine. Based on WinQuake, a native Win32 application, Hexen II runs on either Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 or later in its first version. What is beyond Hexen II? Check section II.9 for information about Portal of Praevus, the official mission pack.


    2.    System Requirements

Since Hexen II has new effects, more detailed textures, levels and models than Quake it also requires a more high-spec machine. Here are the official system requirements:

  • Windows® 95 or NT 4.0 with 100% compatible computer system
  • Pentium® 90 MHz Processor (120 MHz recommended)
  • Memory:

    Win 95 - 16 MB RAM Required (24 MB recommended)
    Win NT 4.0 - 24 MB RAM Required
  • Dual-Speed CD-ROM drive (300k/sec. sustained transfer rate)
  • Hard disk drive with at least 120 MB of uncompressed space available
  • 100% Sound Blaster-compatible sound card
  • Joystick and mouse-supported (3-button mouse recommended)
  • Supports network and internet play via IPX or TCP/IP

"Hexen II: Portal of Praevus" Additional Requirements

  • Registered version of Hexen II
  • Hard disk drive with at least 45 MB of uncompressed space available

GLHexen Additional Requirements

  • 24 MB RAM
  • GLHexen supports some OpenGL 3D accelerator cards
    Consult your hardware manufacturer to determine compatibility

A genuine Intel Pentium processor, fast video card, 32 MB RAM, an OpenGL compatible card and a decent sound card will give you much better gameplay. Don't go for Cyrix chips. I'm not saying they're bad it's just that since Hexen II uses Quake's engine the same kind of sluggish performance you get with a Cyrix and Quake is back in Hexen II ten fold. AMD K6 chips have good FPU performance, so if you really can't afford an Intel, the K6 chips are excellent Intel alternatives (especially if you use software that uses the FPU, like the Quake engine). The Pentium Pro's are not recommended since the Pentium II (Pentium Pro evolution with MMX) is already out.

Concerning sound cards, unless your card is recognised by DirectX 3.0a you won't be running at full performance. Force Feedback controllers are not supported. Nor is 3D sound.

Such a big memory requirement is not a surprise since Quake needed 16 MB to run under Windows 95 but because you could run it in DOS with only 8 MB no one really complained. Hexen II ONLY runs in Windows 95 / NT so it was bound to need much more than Quake. Also, all the new effects and file formats require much more memory.



    3.    Windows 95 / NT

Yeah, I know: why Windows and not plain, old and fast DOS? Well, it's easier to develop games since you don't have to worry about devices like mice, sound cards, modems, LAN card setups, video cards, 3D acceleration cards; the list is endless. Trust me. It's BETTER this way. The OS handles things automatically and the programmers can concentrate on the game itself instead of writing emulators and drivers like in the DOS days. Hexen II requires DirectX but it doesn't use Direct3D but OpenGL instead, which is a set of drivers 3D card developers are really pushing forward, some even say it has surpassed Direct3D, at least in the first-person perspective genre. The bottom line is: install either Windows 95 or NT 4.0 and you can be sure if the OS detects and correctly configures your device Quake II will have no problems using it and that can only be a good thing.


    4.    MMX

Hexen II does NOT use Intel's latest MultiMedia eXtensions. Unreal will though as well as other upcoming games. Even then, it's wise to buy a MMX chip if you're already thinking of upgrading your machine.

The Quake engine uses the Intel FPU extensively, and also uses a native feature of the Intel FPU called Parallel FPU lines. This allows simultaneous integer and FPU calculations and Quake uses these to do lots of calculations at the same time. The problem is that the MMX instructions use the Parallel FPU lines for calculation, and if MMX were supported in Quake, Quake and the MMX would be fighting over the usage of the Parallel FPU lines. This isn't the problem for most programs because Quake is just about the first major program that even uses Parallel FPU lines in the first place, so other programs don't have this conflict.

Carmack reported that a MMX version of Quake he had in alpha stages would run, at best, the same speed in 16-bit colour as an 8-bit colour version does on a non-MMX Pentium chip of the same clock speed. Carmack says this increase in colour depth only isn't worth the development time and money and has decided not to support MMX with the Quake engine in its current form.


    5.    OpenGL

Hexen II runs in one of two modes: Software or OpenGL rendering. Rendition is bringing out beta drivers of their OpenGL Verite implementation. 3DFX was the first chip technology to make drivers for it and many more are writing their own too. Although Quake didn't have native support for OpenGL, 3DFX wrote a OpenGL mini-driver for Quake. (both VQuake and GLQuake are available as a free download from several websites) but Hexen II uses a much wider and expandable format: OpenGL and the term "GLHexen" now refers to hardware rendering through OpenGL drivers.

If you don't have any OpenGL compatible card then the game will render through software by default. This is still great and MUCH better than Quake ever was. There are OpenGL beta drivers for RIVA 128 cards (Diamond Viper V330, Elsa Victory Erazor for instance). Stefan reports:

Stefan Eischet: The bad thing about the drivers is that they don't seem to work very well with H2. I can run glQuake and glQuake II without any problems and with high fps counts for hours (~35 fps in Q2 on my P200MMX with 96 megs, much more in some areas), but H2 always "hangs" after some minutes of playing. The mission pack's glh2mp.exe works perfectly on my system, so I can now play the game in full OpenGL beauty. If you want to play regular Hexen II with glh2mp.exe, just start it and enter "map demo1" on the console.


Christopher Wise: There is an open gl mini driver that supports both V1000 cards and V2x00 cards. Performance is poor on the V1000. There is also a Verite native version of the hexen executable called vH2.exe (file vh2b5.zip). This executable requires hexen 2 to be patched to version 1.11. I couldn't find a link for vH2 on the Rendition site, but it is on one of the hexenworld web pages. The native version is much better than the open gl version on the V1000. I have read that the performance of the native version is roughly equal to  the gl version on V2x00 series cards, I don't have one myself. Finally there is also an alpha version of a full ICD open gl driver for V2x00 cards only. A good link for verite users is www.bjorn3d.com. It's much better than the rendition site for getting drivers and patches etcetera.


    6.    Consoles & other OSs

Hexen II is available as a supported product for Windows 95 and NT 4.0. There are no plans for a MacHexen II just yet though; we'll have to see if MacQuake is well received. Only then a Mac port will be discussed. A port to Linux, SGI and other workstations is still unknown.

Hexen II is also being developed for the Saturn and Playstation. Hexen 64 has now shipped and selling rather well but this a straight port from the PC's original Hexen; it has nothing to do with Hexen II.

Eric Biessman: Currently, no one has picked up the rights to port Hexen II to the N64 platform. That could change but for now, we aren't looking at porting to that system. Of course, we don't do the ports anyway.


    7.    Getting Hexen II

You can buy Hexen II from any major software retailer or order it from Activision which publishes Hexen II. The original Hexen II retail version is 1.03. Here's the version history. Unless stated otherwise each can patch any of the previous versions.

  • v1.03 - Original Hexen II CD version
  • v1.07 - The first Hexen II patch
  • v1.09 - Interim patch to correct various bugs
  • v1.11 - Interim patch to correct various bugs
  • v1.12 - Original Hexen II: Portal of Prevus CD version
  • v1.12a - Very minor patch to correct small bugs. Completely optional

The latest Hexen II patch is out (v1.11). Get it on ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com. Portal of Praevus comes with the v1.11 patch for Hexen II. With this you can patch the original (v1.03) or over any already patched version (v1.07 and v1.09). HexenWorld (Siege included) versions are also available:

Emorog: It seems that the install prog for the Mission Pack doesn't delete the glhexen directory used to cache the GL commands for model drawing. If you are seeing whacked out models in GL, delete the files in data1\glhexen and the game will recompute them. This should solve all your problems, and the world will be happy and bright again. :) (if you want to save time, you could just delete the files for the models which have changed - (golumn and skull wizard i think).


    8.    Demos

Unlike Quake, there is NO shareware version of Hexen II. Instead, Raven has already released its two demos. This first demo was released because the community was getting itchy: It's somewhat big at 12 megs. Here are the specs:

  • v0.42 of the engine
  • 2 singleplayer levels + 1 DM level
  • 2 classes (Paladin and Assassin)

Also, here is the official word from Raven Software about the demo contents:

Rick Johnson: The demo will consist of 2 regular levels (though this may be broken up into 3 levels for various reasons) and 1 death match level. Both the software and GL rendered versions will be released with the demo. No additional tools or scripting code will be released until the final product ships. I'll set up an email address once the demo is released: h2bugs@mail.ravensoft.com

There is now another Hexen II demo. This is THE demo so to speak. Here are the specs:

  • v1.11 of the engine
  • 3 singleplayer levels + 1 DM level
  • All four classes

This demo is just a content cut down version of the full game. This means you can connect to servers running the full version. You'll only be able to play if the server is running one of the four levels though. With the exception of the extra levels the demo is exactly the same as the full game v1.11.

An illegal pre-alpha was leaked. It is recommended you erase it from your HD if you have it in your possession. If you downloaded it from the Internet then most likely there are traces of your IP all over the place. This version is nothing compared to even the first demo. Hexen II is MUCH better. Also, if you happen to discuss the pre-alpha on message boards or IRC channels you'll be flamed and banned. Raven Software provides absolutely NO support if you happen to run into any kind of bugs or problems.


    9.    Mission Pack #1

The first official mission pack for Hexen II is out and has received awesome reviews. Hexen II: Portal of Praevus is being distributed by Activision, developed by Raven Software and published by id Software.

James Monroe: We added rain, snow, and dust, using particles. We also added a falling rubble effect using models. There is also a colored light beam effect, which is a colored poly. Latency is a concern, and we are planning to make a H2World port. Probably after we finish the MP due to time constraints.

The mission pack provides two extra hubs. A new character class with new weapons, the Demoness, is included as well as a couple more enemies. You can read Activision's Press Release or visit the Portal of Praevus website.

Hexen II: Portal of Praevus

The first hub is called Tulku and its theme is the cold, snowy Tibet.

Jon Zuk: I wanted to come up with a unique name that had nothing to do with Tibet. If you look back to Hexen 2, the four continents were named Blackmarsh, Mazaera, Thysis, and Septimus. We were looking for something that sounded Tibetan without being anything specific.

I looked through a book on Tibetan Buddhism, and in the back was a glossary. I made a list of the ones that I thought were interesting and sent it out to the team to vote on. Tulku was the name that people chose. The reason was that Tulku means reincarnated body. Everyone thought this was neat since our main baddie Praevus is trying to resurrect the Serpent Riders.

The new levels are meant to be an extension of the original game. There is a basic story involved and we hope to make it an enjoyable single player experience. But as I said previously, all levels will be DM playable and we're hoping that with the things learned on Hexen 2, the levels will run optimally in multiplayer. There are three new enemies in the Mission Pack, and hopefully we'll see some new looks for old creatures. Pentacles are small elementals that will exist in rock, ice and possibly other states. We're trying for a simple poly creature so that we can put in lots of them in a room or area. The Yakman is going to be a large biped yak creature in keeping with the new snowy hub. He bears some resemblance to a minotaur but he will have some different attacks. We're hoping to get a ranged ice attack, a charge, and a melee in time permitting. Finally, there will be a new boss creature to fight. I don't want to give away too many details on him, because then there won't be anything to strive for! Maybe he's a giant snail...........heh, heh!



Chapter III: In Depth Information

    1.    3D Engine

Everything (well, almost) in quake is represented in three axis: x,y and z. The z axis was lacking in Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Hexen for instance. Unlike these games, Quake's world is the real thing and not an interpretation. For instance, if you want a cube you give the editor the eight corners each with its own x,y,z values and the engine - through QBSP - builds it while in Doom and others you had to do tricks with sectors and linedefs to achieve the same effect. It was a gruesome way of doing things but it was great at that time. Duke Nukem attempted to fake z movement and sector placing and it worked pretty well until Quake arrived.

The bottom line is: You can build whatever structure you want in Quake engine games without worrying if the engine is capable of doing it. The engine IS capable of building anything. You could say that Quake can't have true spheres; yes, that's right because Quake's engine is not based on raytracing. But if you build a sphere with more than 128 faces on each of the three axis you can fool the human brain at the right scale. This, of course, poses some incredible pulls on the processor so it's not really feasible.

Hexen II also features incredibly realistic lighting since the light entities are true 3d object spawning a radius which is affected by the light's intensity. It's an incredibly simple idea and it's anyone's wonder why it hadn't been used before Quake appeared (perhaps in Duke Nukem 3D).

Hexen II's levels aren't QRAD enabled like we were led to believe. Raven should release their utils nonetheless. Apparently, the QRAD engine was using up too much memory. Quake II uses QRAD which makes light reflect off the walls like in real life and generate dynamic shadows.

Here are some of the new highlights of Hexen II's engine:

  • Rotating brushes
  • Transparent / translucent brushes
  • Breakable brushes
  • Environmental effects
  • Hub like design
  • Dynamically changing polys (shrinking, growing, etc.)
  • Pushable entities
  • Breakable entities
  • Transparent water
  • CD Audio and MIDI
  • Cutscenes

Let me arrange all these topics into these categories:

Rick Johnson: We've added translucent particles, sprites, models, and world architecture. Models can dynamically scale and have some lighting effects applied to them. They can also be assigned a global skin (like an ice texture). The scripting language has been improved, adding more features of "standard" c, more built-in functions, etc. Networking has been optimized for greater speed. We've tried to make sure that most of the features we have added can be expanded easily by the Internet community. No colored lighting in Hexen2, software OR GL.

Hexen II uses a non-linear hub level system. Each hub consists of several levels. When you enter a hub, you will solve the various puzzles and defeat the enemies that lead you to the Hub Room. From this room, you access any of several teleporters that take you to other levels of the hub. Solve those levels and return to the Hub Room. Once all the levels in a hub are complete, you can move on to the next hub.


    2.    Levels

Anyone into Quake level designing will tell you that Quake's 3D engine doesn't like outdoor bits a whole lot. Actually, the game's framerate grinds to a halt if you put lots of monsters in a outdoor "room". It's actually because of the sky code and not the size or anything like that. If you make a big room and play it with a ceiling and then with the sky texture you'll notice a (very big) slowdown even though the architecture in the room remains the same. Hexen II uses the same sky as Quake so... :(

Brian Raffel: We have one level that is totally outdoors and some other that have parts that are outdoors or in caverns. This was pretty hard to do with the quake engine but we are pretty happy with the results.

Quake II uses a new, better sky but unfortunately, due to time constrains Hexen II still has Quake's old sky. The BSP, VIS and LIGHT Hexen II utilities are now available for download as unsupported programs. Check Activision. There is no automap like in Quake.

Rick Johnson: In doom, having a map was easy because all of the levels were really "flat" and not true 3d. With quake, you now have full 3d levels, and trying to do a map with levels that are extremely complex (in terms of architecture and layering), it just wasn't practical nor did we have the time to implement a map feature. Time is the killer of all good ideas.


    3.    Textures

We read on GameCenter's latest Hexen II preview a rant that went something like this: "Quake seems like a study on the colour brown". For the most part, this is absolutely true. Hexen II, despite being an 8-bit colour game, (i.e. a max of 256 colours on screen at any given time) has a more colourful palette with purples, yellows, greens and such... which makes the textures MUCH more appealing to the eyes.

Like its predecessor, Hexen II has many custom textures not just the tile variety we saw in Quake, as a result, Hexen II doesn't need so much brush detail because the textures themselves will replace certain structures. When using OpenGL rendering the colour depth pumps to 16-bit colour.

Apparently Hexen II was going to use Quake II's new .BSP format meaning the levels themselves wouldn't store any textures. But, again due to time constrains, Hexen II still uses Quake's old .BSP format.


    4.    Models

Quake's monsters, players, weapons, whatever are also 3D objects but they are dynamic, unlike the world. They are textured with two skins, and where those 2 skins come together, it looks really ugly. According to Raven, Hexen II's models have only one skin which wraps around the model and give it a much better appearance.

Also, the models have now a much bigger poly count (Quake's models had about 200 triangles while Hexen II's have up to 300) and should have about double the animation frames (20 fps, up from Quake's 10 - which means in each second the models change 20 times - don't mistake this for the game's framerate though).

Mike Werckle: There are no multi-object or 1500 poly monsters. Bosses, however, are another story... ;-)

Also, now you'll be able to tell which weapon a player is carrying just by looking at him. At last! This was one of the things which made the minimum RAM requirements go from 8 MB to 16 MB. See section II.2. Also, now you can see the characters swimming rather than walking while submerged in liquids. The models now have more options as you can push, destroy, activate, plus much more. Bottom line: infinite possibilities for Total Conversions.


    5.    Soundtrack & Effects

The music is in both Redbook format (CD Audio) and MIDI. Apparently Raven wants those people playing in LAN to experience the wonderful music. Hexen II has 16 audio tracks and Portal of Praevus has 11 new ones, making a total of 27 breathtaking soundtracks.

Hexen II has tons of ambient sounds to give er... ambiance <g>. If you played Heretic or Hexen you know what I'm talking about: wind blowing, water dropping, fire, chains dragging...


    6.    Demos & Cutscenes

Like Quake you're be able to record your performance for posterity. Still like Quake demos can only be recorder server side. Hexen II immerses the player in the plot unlike every other game so you have some rendered sequences to promote the storyline. Here's what JeFf from Raven told me:

Jeffrey Lampo: Here is the first line from the flics..."A shadow has fallen across the world of Thyrion, for Evil is upon us." So basically you now get the idea that all hell has broken loose again. The animation sets you up for the game and tells a little history of what is happening and what to expect if you decide to step forward and bring the reign of Eidolon to an end... A little about the flics, they were done in a 320 X 170 , 256 color format. We have close to 2 minutes of animation. And the animation are pretty well finished now. I don't want to give away too much, but we did a decent job at putting these flics together in a very short amount of time, and when Kevin adds sound to them, I think you will be happy with the results.

The Portal of Praevus' intro is not a pre-rendered cutscene like Hexen II but a demo-recorded video of what happened to Eidolon.


    7.    Artificial Intelligence

Although Quake monsters were a little smarter than Doom's they were still bloody stupid. To enhance singleplayer games Raven put a lot of effort into AI. An example would be a monster that picks you up, flies over lava and drops you in. Raven said they didn't want Reaper kind of enemies; they said the average players wouldn't stand a chance in Hexen II's levels so they didn't make them as smart as a "bot". Also, some say how realistic an injured fleeing enemy is, well... it may be realistic but it's not fun to just run after him and kill him in the back.


    8.    HexenC

Hexen II still uses QuakeC (albeit more sophisticated). The changes made to it render Quake utils useless.

Rick Johnson: If we had another 2 months on the project, I would have pushed to switch over to the real c - there are just so many advantages to that - faster execution time and true c coding - like for's and switch's and other stuff. But I guess I'll have to wait until Hexen 3 to be able to get into that.

Though we don't have a full list of changes (will be doing that once we have time after final), you can:

  • Declare functions in regular c style:    void name(float a)
  • Many new builtins
  • +-, *=, and -= operators for floats / vectors
  • New method for cycling through frames
  • Frame definitions are more flexible now
  • Better way to set / clear flags:    self.flags (+) FL_SWIM            self.flags (-) FL_SWIM
  • Constant Arrays
  • Different output of errors (VC compatible format) - additional messages for unused variables, improper return values
  • Compiles quicker
  • Other things I'm forgetting

It uses Quake's PROGS.SRC format but a QuakeC compiler won't work with HexenC since Raven changed the opcodes and formats of the file - i.e. expanded a lot of the limitations. You can now get the source code plus the compiler from Activision. Remember these are unsupported.



Chapter IV: Gameplay

    1.    Storyline

Hexen II takes place on Thyrion where Eidolon, the third and most powerful serpent rider, arrives to conquer. Four heros rise to the challenge but Eidolon already controls four continents.

The storyline of Hexen II: Portal of Prevus continues where Hexen II leaves off: after the destruction of Eidolon a misterious winter comes to Thyrion freezing most continents. After some time rumours of wild magic being weilded by an unknown sorcerer begin to surface. Apparently this vile person is attempting to collect the souls of the three vanquished Serpent Riders: D'Sparil (Heretic), Korax (Hexen) and Eidolon (Hexen II) to do his bidding thus rising as the ultimate power in the universe. As the four heros you must, again, save Thyrion and as the new character, the Demoness, your task to to avenge your master, Eidolon itself, and getting his soul back from the sorcerer to it may rest in peace.


    2.    Your Character

There are five classes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. They are:

  • Assassin
  • Crusader
  • Demoness []
  • Necromancer
  • Paladin

[] Only available with Hexen II: Portal of Praevus mission pack.

Brian Raffel: This time there will be 4 different classes. Paladin Necromancer Crusader Assassin (this will be a female character) Each class will have 4 different weapons that will also have the ability to be powered up by the tome of power (Heretic). Some of the different attributes will be strength, speed, armor class, jumping, dexterity. Each class will also have 3 different abilities that will become available as different levels are achieved. For example, the assassin may be able to backstab, or pick pockets, while the necromancer will be able to raise the most recent dead he has killed to aid him.

Your character is be able to gain experience as you go through the game. You have a status sheet and your abilities improve as you complete tasks and kill monsters. Not only will mundane abilities like running speed or jumping height be increased, but also supernatural attributes such as spell power, etc. Note that this doesn't mean the experience system is anywhere near as complex as a role playing game - most changes are automatic and transparent to the player and you don't have to mess with editing stats, etc.


    3.    Weapons

Each Caracter has four weapons which can be enhanced by the Tome of Power. They are respectively:

  • Katar
  • Hand Crossbow
  • Grenades
  • Staff of Set
  • War Hammer
  • Ice Mace
  • Meteor Staff
  • Lightbringer
  • Blood Fire
  • Acid Rune
  • Firestorm
  • Tempest's Staff
  • Sickle
  • Magic Missiles
  • Bone Shards
  • Raven Staff
  • Gauntlets
  • Vorpal Sword
  • Axe
  • Purifier


    4.    Inventory

Here are some of the items available from the simplest and mundane to the rare and powerful:

  • Health - 3 types: Healing Vial, Quartz Flask and Mystic Urn.
  • Mana - 4 types: blue, green, combined and Krater of Might.
  • Armour - 4 types: Amulet, Breastplate, Bracers and Helmet.
  • Rings - 4 types: Flight, Water Breathing, Regeneration and Reflection.
  • Torch - Lights up a passageway.
  • Chaos Device - Portable Teleportation device.
  • Boots of Speed - Run ultra fast.
  • Disc of Repulsion - Reflects attacts.
  • Icon of the Defender - Invencibility.
  • Tome of Power - Enhances the power of your weapons.
  • Seal of the Ovinomancer - Turns the target into a defenseless sheep.
  • Glyph of the Ancients - Depends on the character.
  • Force Cube - Both defense and attack artifact.
  • Stone of Summoning - Summons a giant Imp to help you.
  • Invisibility Sphere - Renders you almost invisible.


    5.    Enemy

I already discussed about AI so I'll concentrate on the actual foes you'll be encountering throughout the game. There are lots of new stuff in Hexen II's enemies. Some are only encountered in certain areas:

  • Scorpion - Annoying bastards.
  • Spider - More of the same.
  • Imp - Flying atrocities.
  • Knight Archer - Aims well and it can pose a threat to less experienced players.
  • Hydra - More of a nuisanse than a real danger.
  • Golem - Three kinds. Powerfull and fast for its size.
  • Fallen Angel - Dangerous, its attacks may miss more than usual but you'll eventually die.
  • Medusa - Predictable.
  • Mummy - Relenteless which makes them hard to kill. When attacked by a pack of them regroup and rethink your strategy.
  • Were-Jaguar - Two kinds. Hard to hit. A nother kind, the Snow Leopard is only found in Portal of Preavus.
  • Gyagk - A once peaceful creatured turned evil by Praevus.
  • Pentacle - A real bugger. Attaches itself to walls and leaps when living creatures come near. Only in Portal of Praevus.

Protecting Eidolon, the final boss, are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse at the end of each hub. And this is Hexen II's big boss:

Mike Werckle: There are no screenshots of Eidolon, but I can tell you that he looks like a cross between a frog and a giant red snail with two purple tentacles, three huge green eyestalks and horns on his shell. He moves very, very slowly, back and forth on the level, leaving a trail of slippery goo wherever he goes, just like the demon snail he is. Occasionally he throws an exploding projectile at you.

This is, of course, a joke played on us by Raven. The end boss is _much_ scarier. Prevus the end boss of the official Hexen II mission pack is said to be one of the most beautiful and challenging foes ever encountered in a game. I'll just say he's one tough mama.


    6.    Hubs

For those of you familiar with Hexen's hub system, each hub has a separate atmosphere, and can see Meso-American, Egyptian, Greco-Roman, and Medieval Europe hubs. For those of you who don't know what a "hub" is, it's a set of (usually between 6 and 9) levels where you can go back through; usually doing things in one level will make changes in another level, and you'll have to go hunt those changes down. Once you're done with a whole hub, you move on and can't go back to it.

Each of the four different areas (like Quake's episodes) have distinctive atmospheres and music as well. There are 30 levels designed for single player plus four deathmatch-specific ones.

Egyptian - Thysis
Beware the many traps that hide behind peaceful fronts. The once peaceful artisans and craftsmen of this civilization are now controlled by the Lord of the Flies, and you are their only hope for freedom. Journey through time to gain access to the most powerful secret of this realm, and return to defeat Pestilence. It is only then that you may travel to the stolid fortifications of the realm of Septimus, defenders of the world of Thyrion.

Greco-Roman - Septimus
Septimus was the first defense of Thyrion against the onslaught of Eidolon and his forces. It was also the last. War now resides in the temples that were once filled with peaceful meditation and prayer to gods long forgotten. You must search these darkened temples and find the last of Eidolon's Generals and beat him at his own game. It is only then that you will be strong enough to return to BlackMarsh, fight through the bowels of the castle and destroy the Master of the Four Horsemen. But Eidolon will not be an easy mark, for he will be waiting for you with his entire twisted arsenal.

Medieval-Europe - BlackMarsh
You will begin and end your journey in the dark walls of BlackMarsh. Once, the bustling metropolis of BlackMarsh was the ruling seat of the world of Thyrion. Now, it has fallen into disrepair due to its capture at the hands of Eidolon's forces. You must fight your way through ransacked town streets, dank and dripping sewers, the majestic cathedral, and crumbling, ancient passageways as you search for the first of Eidolon's Generals... the Horseman known as Famine. From there, you will journey through the other civilizations of the world until you return to Blackmarsh, and face the Ultimate Evil of your realm - Eidolon.

A land of cold rain and dark, decaying castles, Blackmarsh appears harsh and uninviting to the casual visitor. It has become even less so since the coming of Praevus: once-quaint villages and fortresses have now been devastated by the fury of an endless winter.

Mezo-American - Mazaera
The dark jungles of Mazaera hide the stronghold of the Lord of Unlife. Delve deep into this ancient city and root out the terrors that have possessed it. The Court of 1000 Warriors, The Plaza of the Sun, and the Square of the Stream are just a few of the exotic locations that you will have to visit and reconquer if you wish to defeat the evil that has enshrouded your very existence. Finally, you will be sucked into the Well of Souls and battle the very opponent that most fear to face. Death is his name, and he rides a pale horse.

Tibetian - Tulku
Far to the north, a new land mass has seemingly risen from the sea. Some say a heavy mist covered the horizon, and when it cleared, there was a new land. None have ventured far into this place and survived to tell about it. It is described as a barren wasteland encased in a bitter and endless winter. The effects of this climate now extend well beyond its borders into all the lands of Thyrion.

Hexen II tries to combine RPG with Doom gameplay. Raven has already succeeded in doing this in Hexen but while its puzzles were more of the kind: 'find-switch-push-switch-look-what-switch-did' Hexen II's puzzles are more visual like pushing crates to climb to otherwise inaccessible places and the more global puzzles will be like find the ingredients to make a potion to open something and others of this ilk.

Brian Raffel: Yes, although we are going to be keeping away from the "great switch hunt" were you are looking tons of different switches. We want the puzzles to be more logical and interesting. There will be some keys of course in the game but mostly we will be trying to have more real world puzzles. A good example may be pushing a barrel over to be able to jump up to a pressure plate that raises a door. Or luring a creature over a pressure plate and then killing him over that plate so that he holds a door open.

Models, objects and parts of the level (walls, etc.) themselves are destroyable. Unlike Quake, in Hexen II, you have to come back to visited levels quite a few times. Basically a collection of levels makes an hub and you'll need to solve puzzles and kill monsters while going back and forward to complete the hub. This will give you a sense of purpose and not the 'oh... another level... <sigh>' feeling.

Fly and crouch are featured in Hexen II. The flying mode has been described as more of a soaring. This should add to the realism. Crouch is one feature that many felt was missed in Quake.



Chapter V: Multiplayer

    1.    Modem-to-Modem & Serial

There is no native Modem-to-Modem or Serial play. Since QuakeWorld technology is getting better, a simple (not perfect, but easier) solution if you want to play a friend like this is to just both jump on a close server and play. With the Plus! pack for Win95, you can use its included Dial Up Server utility to have two modems connect and then simulate an IPX LAN over it. This makes Hexen II modem-to-modem playable, but the problem is that one player would still be the server, the other would still be the client, and the one who is the client is going to have about some lag while the server has zero lag. This makes for a very unfair (for whoever the client is) game and is not likely to be a whole lot of fun. The best solution is likely still going to be playing via the Internet where two modem players are fairly equally lagged. You don't need Plus! tough, here's Microsoft's DUN.

Anyway, I removed the steps to connect using DUN since several ppl reported it to be inacurate. If you wish to setup a Modem-to-modem game check this very good site. Yes, it's for Quake II but it should work for Hexen II as well.


    2.    LAN / Internet

The Internet code in Hexen II is like the original Quake's Network code. Raven has announced they will be releasing of their evolution of QuakeWorld. 32 players, reduced lag and much more features already implemented into QuakeWorld v2.0 like OpenGL acceleration although there is not slated release date. You'll also be able to taunt your oponents through text macros.

Rick Johnson: Well, after months of doing work which I still can't get into, I've finally been given official time to work on H2World. I'll be starting full time on it later this afternoon. Next week, a few other programmers will be joining me to clean up the scripting code, to make it more net friendly (i.e. do stuff on the client side).

I'll also include any minor bug fixes that have been done in the mission pack so far. This will also include new .PAK files which will contain models that are about 1/3 less in size (so you should have less caching problems with machines that have 16 megs of memory).

Deathmatching is going to have a few more features, like capture the flag. The networking should support tcp/ip and ipx, but no direct modem-to-modem support (as in winquake). I've been able to optimize the networking packet size to about 40%-50% of the original size in quake, so Internet should be a more viable option.)


Rick Johnson: The next release of HW will be near the middle of this week, as we are adding support for the new character class from the mission pack and other things regarding the mission pack.

The way it will work: if the server has the mission pack installed, a client is eligible to play the new class, but only if the client has also purchased the mission pack. If the client has not, then he/she will only be able to see others play that class, and be restricted to the original 4 characters.

List of Servers:

Raven Servers

Other Servers

Phoebus: Note: For what it's worth, these are my personal impressions, and don't represent Activision, Raven Software, or any other Software, in the least. We are currently testing v0.06. Things are starting to come together, and the Hexen II Deathmatch potential is really starting to shine!

Number one favorite thing to do, currently: Repulsion Jumping - very cool (looking down quickly and jumping at the same time you use the Repulsion Disc, akin to the Rocket Jumping skill accordingly garnered by the best Quake deathmatchers) - definitely a much needed addition! Could there be a beefed-up, more satisfying sound effect when the disc is used in this way, perhaps? I'd also like to see more physics effects for all of the weapons and artifacts.

Kenn's DM level has a few teleports that don't work, but that's a two minute fix. I noticed the ceiling height was raised all around - which is good, because if I hit my head on a ceiling in any user level, I'm reminded of CHASM (not a good comparison). The sky needs to be raised accordingly and made not solid. Kenn's DM level has the makings of a classic, but I'd like to see some speed optimizations (it seems to lag noticeably as compared to Atrium of Immolation, for example, don't know why). And I'd suggest more interesting textures all around - maybe it's just that I'm viewing them in software at this point. Regardless, I can't wait to see it in glorious gl. :-)

The Crusader's glyphs have changed... when they follow him around, it's a funny sight. I'm glad the glyphs are working now for all of the classes. Overall, weapons balancing is shaping up across all of the classes. Bottom line, HexenWorld is pure addictive fun, just as I knew it would be. Spread the word, brothers and sisters, HexenWorld rules! :-)


    3.    Lag

When you connect to a server, no matter how near it is, your commands (like firing, moving, etc...) take some time to arrive there. Then the server's response will take the same time to arrive at your comp. This is unnoticeable on LAN games since the computers are too close. Over the Internet, however, lag is the player's worst nightmare. :)

QuakeWorld manages to reduce lag in half because it doesn't need confirmation from servers for movements - client prediction. Firing still requires confirmation though so it's not a smooth ride altogether.

Here is what John has to say about Multicast IP:

Are you thinking of using ip multicast (igmp) in your quake server at some point? I'm sure many routers do not yet support this, but at some point it will be a perfect way to propagate game status information at a reduced bandwith.

John Carmack: Actually, multicast won't help. Each client gets a specifically tailored stream of packets with only the bare minimum information they need. No two clients get the same info, so multicast isn't usable.


Robert McMillan: I was getting ping times for Quake II ranging from 350 to 8000. (It was totally unplayable) I then discovered the following sites and I now get ping times in the low 200's. I think it would be a tremendous service to include this info or links in the multiplayer section of the FAQ. A headline on Quake2.com with an overview might be nice too. http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/mreeves/tips.htm

Note this site recommends installing a Unimodem Driver update. The self extract needs to be unzipped in the windows\system dir and should not be applied if IE 4.x is installed. If you have OSR 2, you probably don't need the update anyway. I'm not sure if it really did anything for me...

A freeware program to give easy access to the TCP/IP registry variables is at this URL: http://www.mjs.u-net.com/mtuspeed/mtuspeed.htm


The End

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