The majority of programming work on the Quake engine was done by John Carmack. Michael Abrash, a program performance optimization specialist, was brought in to help make the software rendering engine fast enough to be feasible. The game design and layout was done by John Romero. The sound effects and music for the game were composed by Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails (within the game, the ammo box for the nailgun has the Nine Inch Nails logo on it in reference to this). Quake was released just as the Internet was commercially coming of age, and much of Quake's popularity arose because it was one of the few games of its kind playable over the internet rather than just a local network.
Quake and its four sequels, Quake II, Quake III Arena, Quake 4, and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars have sold over 4 million copies combined. In 2002, a version of Quake was produced for mobile phones. A copy of Quake was also sold in 2001, labeled Ultimate Quake, which included the original Quake, Quake II, and Quake III Arena.
In 2008 Quake was honored at the 59th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards for advancing the art form of user modifiable games. John Carmack accepted the award.
Before the release of the game or the demo of the game, id software released "QTest" on February 24, 1996. It was described as a technology demo and was limited to three multiplayer maps. There was no single player support and some of the gameplay and graphics were unfinished or different from their final versions (notably the boxes of nails, then called flechettes, displayed the NIN logo). Nevertheless, the game's multiplayer support caused Quake servers to spring up everywhere overnight. QTest also gave gamers their first peek into the filesystem and modifiability of the Quake engine, and many entity mods (that placed monsters in the otherwise empty multiplayer maps) and custom player skins began appearing online before the full game was even released.
On July 22, 1996, id Software released the full version of Quake. Upon registration, players who already had the shareware version could unlock three additional episodes and a series of deathmatch-only maps. id supported the release of Quake with multiple patches, the mod source code (QuakeC), the tools source code, and frequent plan updates. The shrinkwrapped retail version was distributed by GT Interactive.
Before the start level, there is a set of three pathways with easy, medium, and hard skill levels; in order to reach the Nightmare skill level (described in the game manual as "so bad that it was hidden, so people won't wander in by accident), the player must drop through the water before the Episode 4 entrance and jump into a secret passage.
Quake's single-player campaign is organized into four individual episodes of about eight levels each (each including a secret level, one of which is a "low gravity" level — Ziggurat Vertigo in Episode 1, Dimension of the Doomed — that challenges the player's abilities in a different way). As items are collected, they are carried to the next level, each usually more challenging than the last. If the player dies, he must restart at the beginning of the level. However, games may be saved at any time.
Upon completing each episode, the player is returned to the hub Start level, where he can then enter the next episode. Each episode starts the player from scratch, without any previously collected items. Episode I (which formed the shareware or downloadable demo version of Quake) has a boss in the last level. The ultimate objective at the end of the episode is to recover the magic rune. There are four runes; the Rune of Earth Magic, Black Magic, Hell Magic, and Elder Magic, from the episodes of Dimension of the Doomed, Realm of Black Magic, Netherworld, and Elder World, respectively. After all of the runes are collected, the floor of the Start opens up to reveal an entrance to the End level which contains the final boss.
In multiplayer mode, players on several computers connect to a server (which may be a dedicated machine or on one of the player's computers), where they can play against each other. Typically in multiplayer mode, when a player dies he can immediately respawn, but loses any items he has collected and so must start collecting them again. Similarly, items that have been picked up previously respawn after some time, and may be picked up again.
The single-player campaign can be played in co-op mode.
The most popular multiplayer modes are all forms of deathmatch. Deathmatch modes typically consist of either free-for-all (no organization or teams involved), one-on-one duels, or organized teamplay with two or more players per team (or clan). Teamplay is also frequently played with one or another mod. Typically, no monsters are normally present, as they serve no purpose other than to get in the way and give away the player.
The gameplay in Quake was considered unique for its time because of the different ways the player can maneuver through the game. For example: bunny hopping or strafe jumping can be used to move faster than normal, while rocket jumping enables the player to reach otherwise-inaccessible areas (or just move faster), at the cost of some self-damage. The player can start and stop moving suddenly, jump unnaturally high, and change direction while moving through the air. Many of these non-realistic behaviors contribute to Quake's appeal. The nature of the gameplay is often fast and frenzied, and has become considerably faster over the years as players mastered advanced movement techniques.
There is obvious skill needed to react quickly, aim precisely, dodge other players' shots, and jump across tricky spaces. As Quake did not include any automap, it also requires considerable knowledge of the sometimes confusingly-contorted maps (made more complex by the frequent use of teleporters) as well as careful planning in order to collect needed items and conserve health and ammunition. Strategies include regularly picking up items to prevent one's opponent from having access to them and controlling certain critical areas of each level. Duels often take place with opponents mostly out of sight of each other, jockeying for position and carefully stocking up on items, with sudden changes in speed of play when one player or the other gains an advantage. Sound also plays a central role in keeping track of other players and even items in the game, so many players use headphones to give the clearest sound and directionality. Teamplay adds even more tactical layers, with different ways to communicate and cooperate.
Multiplayer Quake was one of the first games that people singled out as a form of electronic sport. Most notable was Dennis "Thresh" Fong who won John Carmack's Ferrari 308 at the Microsoft-sponsored Red Annihilation tournament in 1997.
Online Quake play is also a significant social activity, with players chatting during gameplay, or even just talking while connected through the server without actually playing the game at all.
The game consists of around 28 separate "levels" or "maps", grouped into four episodes. Each episode represents individual dimensions that the player can access through magical portals (as opposed to the technological Slipgate) that are discovered over the course of the game. At the start of each episode, the player is deployed in a futuristic military base and he has to find a slipgate that will take him to the alternate realm. The various realms consist of a number of gothic, medieval, as well as "fire and brimstone"-style caves and dungeons with a recurring theme of hellish and satanic imagery reminiscent of Doom (such as pentagrams and images of demons on the walls). The latter is inspired by several dark fantasy influences, notably that of H. P. Lovecraft; most notably, the end boss of the first episode is named Chthon, and the final boss is named Shub-Niggurath, although there is little resemblance to the original literary descriptions. Some levels have Lovecraftian names as well, such as the Vaults of Zin or the Ebon Fortress. Originally, the game was supposed to include more Lovecraftian bosses, but this concept was scrapped due to time constraints.
Although the moniker "Quake" originally applied to the protagonist, the final story describes Quake as simply being "the enemy".
It should be noted, however, that by the time the game was released the specifics of the story had become relatively unimportant and somewhat disorganized. This is mainly due to a last-minute mix of two different game designs: lead level designer John Romero wanted to make a dark fantasy hand to hand combat/RPG hybrid game, while level designers Tim Willits and American McGee wanted to make a more futuristic, Doom-like game. Ultimately the Doom-like mechanics were implemented and many of the dark fantasy design elements were incorporated into the graphics and visual effects of the game.
However, Quake is one of the few modern id games not to have a true sequel: after the departure of Romero, the remaining id employees chose to change the thematic direction substantially for Quake II, making the design more technological and futuristic rather than dark fantasy; Quake 4 followed the design themes of Quake II, whereas Quake III Arena mixed these styles, as it existed in a parallel continuity that housed several "id all-stars", from various games, as playable characters. PC Gamer, in its recap of the mixed settings throughout the Quake series in its fall 2004 preview of Quake 4, stated that Quake II actually began as a totally separate product line. Unfortunately, due to the failure to gain rights to the title they wanted, id designers were forced to fall back on the project's nickname of "Quake II." Since any sequel to the original Quake had already been refused, it became a viable way of continuing the series without actually continuing the storyline or setting of the first game.
The expansions pick up right where the first game left off, use all the same weapons and powerups (plus a handful of new ones between the two of them), monsters and gothic atmosphere/architecture and continue/finish the story of the first game and its protagonist.
There are in fact no official names to these tracks. They are usually referred to either by the level they are initially played to, or by one of two fan created track listings. They can also be referred to by their track number, however, the first audio track being placed on the CD's second track (the first being reserved for the actual game data), this usually leads to confusion.
|Quake Original Soundtrack Tracklist|
|Audio Track||CD track||Level Appearance||Time|
|1.||Track 02||Quake Theme||5:05|
|3.||Track 04||Start / Whispers||8:18|
|4.||Track 05||Grisly Grotto||6:02|
|5.||Track 06||Slipgate Complex||7:20|
|7.||Track 08||Castle of the Damned||5:33|
|9.||Track 10||Ziggurat Vertigo||3:30|
|10.||Track 11||Gloom Keep||5:13|
Music: Trent Reznor
Sound: Trent Reznor
Project Manager: Shawn C. Green
Support: Barrett Alexander
Business: Mike Wilson, Jay Wilbur, Donna Jackson, Todd Hollenshead
Additional work on sound code, UNIX ports: Dave Taylor
Linux ports: Dave "Zoid" Kirsch
Special Thanks To: Sean Barrett, Raymond Chen, DJ Delorie, Andy Glew, Lance Hacking, Chris Hecker, Todd Laney, Terje Mathisen, Charles Sandmann, Jon Vondrak, Billy Zelsnack
The first major Quake mod was Team Fortress. This mod consists of Capture the Flag gameplay, but with a class system for the players. Players choose a class, which creates various restrictions on weapons and armor types available to that player, and also grants special abilities. For example, the bread-and-butter Soldier class has medium armor, medium speed, and a well-rounded selection of weapons and grenades, while the Scout class is lightly armored, very fast, has a scanner that detects nearby enemies, but has very weak offensive weapons. One of the other differences with CTF is the fact that the flag is not returned automatically when a player drops it: running over one's flag in Threewave CTF would return the flag to the base, and in TF the flag remains in the same spot for preconfigured time and it has to be defended on remote locations. This caused a shift in defensive tactics compared to Threewave CTF. Team Fortress maintained its standing as the most-played online modification of Quake for many years.
Another extremely popular mod was Threewave Capture the Flag (CTF), primarily authored by Dave 'Zoid' Kirsch. Threewave CTF is a partial conversion consisting of new maps, a new weapon (a grappling hook), power-ups, some new textures and new rules of game play. Typically, two teams (red and blue) would compete in a game of Capture the flag, though a few maps with up to four teams (red, blue, green, and yellow) were created. Capture the Flag has become a standard game mode included in most popular multiplayer games released after Quake, in addition to Deathmatch first introduced in Doom.
Rocket Arena provides the ability for players to face each other in small, open arenas with changes in the gameplay rules so that item collection and detailed level knowledge are no longer factors. A series of short rounds, with the surviving player in each round gaining a point, instead tests the player's aiming and dodging skills and reflexes. Clan Arena is a further modification that provides teamplay using Rocket Arena rules. Such game modes are commonly found in later games under names like Last Man Standing.
More extreme mods have included AirQuake (a primitive jet fighter simulation), Quake Rally (an off-road car racing game) and Quake Chess. These, however, were stretching the engine's capabilities to the limit, and were more curiosities than particularly playable games, although various clans were created for playing them.
One interesting category of mod are bots. These were introduced to provide surrogate players in multiplayer mode, and are a particular challenge of artificial intelligence behavior implemented with the limited scripting system of QuakeC. Botblasts were for a time popular contests to see who could perform the best against one or more bots under specified conditions. Like speedruns, each player would record a demo (film) of his matches and use the best performance as his entry.
More than 1500 single-player and a similar number of deathmatch maps have been made for Quake.
As an example of the dedication that Quake has inspired in its fan community, a group of expert players recorded speedrun demos (replayable recordings of the player's movement) of Quake levels completed in record time on the "Nightmare" skill level. The footage was edited into one continuous 19 minutes, 49 seconds demo called Quake done Quick (QdQ) and released on 10 June, 1997. Owners of the game could replay this demo in the game engine, watching the run unfold as if they were playing it themselves.
This involved a number of players recording run-throughs of individual levels, using every trick and shortcut they could discover in order to minimize the time it took to complete, usually to a degree that even the original level designers found difficult to comprehend, and in a manner that often bypassed large areas of the level. Stitching a series of the fastest runs together into a coherent whole created an amazing demonstration of the game played in a way that most players could never have imagined. Recamming is also used with speedruns in order to make the experience more movie-like, with arbitrary control of camera angles, editing, and sound that can be applied with editing software after the runs are first recorded. It should also be noted that the fastest possible time for a given level is not necessarily the fastest time used to contribute to "running" the entire game. One good example is grabbing the grenade launcher in an early level, an act that actually slows down the time for that level over the best possible, but actually speeds up the overall game time by allowing the runner to bypass a big chunk of a map in a later level that they could not otherwise do but for the launcher.
A second attempt, Quake done Quicker (QdQr), reduced the complete time to 16 minutes, 35 seconds (a reduction of 3 minutes, 14 seconds). QdQr was released 13 September, 1997. One of the levels included was the result of an online competition to see who could get the fastest time.
The culmination of this process of improvement was the unbelievable Quake done Quick with a Vengeance (QdQwav). Released three years to the day after QdQr, this pared down the time taken to complete all four episodes, on Nightmare (hardest) difficulty, to 12 minutes, 23 seconds (a further reduction of 4 minutes, 12 seconds), partly by using techniques that had formerly been shunned in such films as being less aesthetically pleasing. This run was recorded as an in-game demo but interest was such that an .avi video clip was created to allow those without the game to see the run.
Most full-game speedruns are a collaborative effort by a number of runners (though some have been done by single runners on their own). Although each particular level is credited to one runner, the ideas and techniques used are iterative and collaborative in nature, with each runner picking up tips and ideas from the others, so that speeds keep improving beyond what was thought possible as the runs are further optimized and new tricks or routes are discovered.
Further time improvements of the continuous whole game run were achieved into the 21st century. In addition, many thousands of individual level runs are kept at Speed Demos Archive's Quake section, including many on custom maps.
Speedrunning is a counterpart to multiplayer modes in making Quake one of the first games promoted as a virtual "sport".
As the name implied, VQuake was a proprietary port specifically for the Vérité; consumer 3D acceleration was in its infancy, and there was no standard 3D API for the consumer market. After completing VQuake, John Carmack vowed never to write a proprietary port again, citing his frustration with Rendition's Speedy3D API.
With the help of client-side prediction, which allowed players to see their own movement immediately without waiting for a response from the server, QuakeWorld's network code allowed players with high-latency connections to control their character's movement almost as precisely as when playing in single-player mode. The netcode parameters could be adjusted by the user, so that QuakeWorld performed well for users with low latency (also referred to as Low Ping Bastards or LPBs) as well as high latency (sometimes called High Ping Bait (HPBs).
The tradeoff to client-side prediction was that sometimes other players or objects would no longer be quite where they had appeared to be, or, in extreme cases, that the player would be pulled back to a previous position when the client received a late reply from the server which overrode movement the client had already previewed; this was known as "warping". As a result, some serious players, particularly in the USA, still preferred to play online using the original Quake engine (commonly called NetQuake) rather than QuakeWorld. However, the majority of players, especially those on dial-up connections, preferred the newer network model, and QuakeWorld soon became the dominant form of online play. Following the success of QuakeWorld, client-side prediction has become a standard feature of nearly all real-time online games.
As with all other Quake upgrades, QuakeWorld was released as a free, unsupported add-on to the game and was updated numerous times through 1998.
On March 11, 1997, id Software released WinQuake, a version of the engine designed to run under Microsoft Windows; the original Quake had been written for DOS, allowing for launch from Windows 95, but could not run under Windows NT-based operating systems. WinQuake used Win32-based APIs such as DirectSound and DirectInput that were supported on Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 and later releases. Carmack caused some controversy, however, by eschewing DirectDraw and Direct3D, opting instead for MGL and OpenGL. Like GLQuake, WinQuake also allowed higher resolution video modes. This removed the last barrier to widespread popularity of the game.
A faithful port of Quake was also released for the now defunct Acorn brand of home computer by R-Comp Interactive. A Quake player had already been available for a while before this port but required players to have the shareware or full PAK files. The Acorn port was basically the PC Resurrection Pack which had the original Quake bundled with Q-Zone and Malice, two third-party add-on packs.
Quake was also ported to console systems. In 1997, it was ported to Sega Saturn by Lobotomy. The Saturn port used Lobotomy's own Slavedriver engine (the same engine that powers the Saturn port of Duke Nukem 3D and Powerslave) instead of the original Quake engine; yet it is widely considered to be some of the most advanced 3D work ever cranked out of the console; it is also the only version of Quake that is rated 'T' for Teen instead of 'M' for Mature. The Saturn version also contains four exclusive levels not seen in any other version. In 1998, Quake was brought to Nintendo 64 by Midway Games.
Both console ports required some compromises because of the limited CPU power and ROM storage space for maps. The Saturn version lacked multiplayer but had most of the maps from the original game, with only the secret levels (Ziggurat Vertigo (E1M8), The Underearth (E2M7), The Haunted Halls (E3M7) and The Nameless City (E4M8)) not making the cut. Instead, it had four new maps: Purgatorium, Hell's Aerie, The Coliseum and Watery Grave. The N64 version had multiplayer, but was missing The Grisly Grotto (E1M4), The Installation (E2M1), The Ebon Fortress (E2M4), The Wind Tunnels (E3M5), The Sewage System (E4M1) and Hell's Atrium (E4M5). It also lacks the "START" map where the player chooses difficulty and episode; difficulty is chosen when starting the game, and all the levels play in sequential order from The Slipgate Complex (E1M1) to Shub Niggurath's Pit (END).
A port for the Commodore Amiga was also made available in 1998 by clickBOOM Software. It is currently only available in a 68K version (though the game is pretty much unplayable on anything less than a 68060 CPU).
Many more ports were done after the source code release, such as numerous homebrew ports for the Dreamcast and Xbox consoles. Most recently, an engine designed for Windows Mobile powered Pocket PCs has been released, which uses the 3D chip found in a few Dell PDAs. A Palm OS port is also available, called ZQuake.
There has also been a port for Series 60 Symbian mobile phones, although it is still in beta version. (http://sourceforge.net/projects/quakes60)
A second version for S60 which is more complete than the first version has surfaced recently. Currently it is available for phones that are based on S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1. (http://koti.mbnet.fi/hinkka)
A Port to the Nintendo DS system has also been recently created for use on flash cards as homebrew. It supports any DS flashcard, and also supports the various RAM packs, DS flashcarts coming with extra memory for use with particularly large user-created mods. A release can be found at (http://www.quake.drunkencoders.com)
A port was written for the Sony PSP system; it requires the game files from the shareware version of the game. To date, only the first "episode" is playable and no updates have been released for quite some time.
A second PSP version was written which works with the full or shareware versions of the data files, has sound and supports networking. Work still continues on this version, and the next release will have hardware rendering support.
There is also a Gamecube port, as well as an enhanced version for the Nintendo Wii utilising a Wiimote/Nunchuk control scheme somewhat similar to Metroid Prime 3. A beta version of this Wii port, called QuakeGX after the 3-D hardware of the system, features 3D acceleration and all the features of GLQuake. It is available here
It is also interesting to note that Quake was the game primarily responsible for the emergence of the machinima artform of films made in game engines, thanks to edited Quake demos such as Ranger Gone Bad and Blahbalicious, the in-game film The Devil's Covenant and the in-game-rendered, four-hour epic film The Seal of Nehahra.