JohnNy_cz  /  21 Jun 2008, 09:30
Freeing Quake - GPL Maps Status
It all began in October 2006 when John Romero released Quake maps under GPL, that is the most "free" license ever. In that moment lots of people started hoping that Quake could finally become a completely free game for downloading, because deathmatch and episode 2-4 maps were the only important thing that was missing in the shareware version.

But what is the reality? Why don't we have any free Quake version available for download yet?
What John Romero released are .map files, which basically are "source codes" of all the Quake maps. However, what he did not release are the textures, which are also contained in the resulting compiled .bsp map files. This is the core problem of the whole thing. Let's see what are it's consequences.

1. Alright, let's take the sources, compile them and we have free .bsp
As we've just said, we don't have the textures. Without textures there's nothing to display on the walls basically.

2. That's easy - take textures from the original maps, everybody does that when creating a custom map anyway
That is right. Creating a custom map with textures made by id Software is allowed by the Quake license. So we are free to use the textures and we have the source code under free license. Sounds good, right?
Here's the biggest paradox of this all. Because the source code is now under GPL and textures under different license, these two things can never be compiled together.
Spike: "GPL prohibits license mixing with such licenses."

3. That's truly sad. But we still have Quake Retexturing Project, so at least we can use their textures?
Those textures are made by persons outside of id Software, are not under any strict license and are quite faithful to Quake look and feel. And that seems to be a problem here. Those images are not perfect digital copies of the original textures, however are clearly created by taking the original ones as a base and improving the details. It resembles Quake feel and look and is derived from the original textures.

4. Oh right, so we are doomed, backup plan failed? We simply can't use anything we have?
That luckily is not right. Todd Hollenshead from id Software who gives interpretation of license agreements explicitly allowed free stuff:
Todd Hollenshead: wrote:
As long as the only "id content" used is what was released under the GPL, then you should be fine.

So yeah, the real last backup plan exists. Free maps can be produced. Most probably they can't resemble Quake feel and look in details though. But anything else can be used. Solid-colored walls for example. Such bsp files are already done. Or some completely different theme can be used too.

How would it work? You have to have exactly the same .bsp file as the server has to be able to connect.
That has already been taken care of. The server can be changed so that it recognizes when the client is using an alternative free bsp model and client can connect in such situation. The code is already done and is present in the ZQuake project at the moment, all done by Tonik.

All the conclusions in this article are based only on opinions of various people on forums, especially Baker5, Spike, LordHavoc and Tonik. Since there is very low amount of lawyers among Quake players, one can never be sure which interpretation of the license is true.

One of the many opinions for example is that derivate works such as Quake Retexturing Project are not an issue here and can be used in the "final free maps" pack. And there are efforts in QRP to finish all the missing textures so that new bsp files can be compiled using QRP textures only. It is an open matter to get clearance on this and to unify the efforts of creating the final free alternative maps.

How to get out of this? Maybe ask John Romero to release the .map files under some different license? Are id Software's intentions really to make our lifes that much complicated? What was the point in releasing the .map files under this license? Doesn't the community maybe deserve something more? It certainly is the community who keeps the game alive for more than a decade already and mostly thanks to this id Software still can sell this game for money.
On the other side not many companies do as much for open source as id Software and we can also quote John Carmack from the Gamers With Jobs Interview:
"I like making my money by continuing to move things forward rather than collecting residues forever of a work that has been done long time ago."

If the community decides for the fourth, last plan mentioned here, the main point of this effort would most probably not be achieved. That is attracting new players. Single-colored maps would most probably not attract new players to the game. Maybe there is a place for a project "in between" - not problematic QRP textures and also not solid-colored ones, but a completely new textures with a new look, maybe a chance to give Quake a brand new e-Sports feeling...

But then there are also other problems. Original bsp files contain additional information that are not in the .map file - texture size, placement and offsets, that's another complication for QRP case. Also most people presume that shareware Quake is free. Shareware version has a special kind of license and then there is a problem of distributing things under GPL together with things under such license. This pretty much affects the nQuake project.

More reading:
John Romero: sources released
Inside3D forum talk
QuakeOne forum talk forum talk + GPL maps from Baker5
Quake license
2008-06-21, 12:11
Yeah, it's all yadayada about the licenses - Solid textured maps aren't bad, everyone has 24bit textures anyway, and they are included with nQuake.

But using low quality versions of the QRP textures would be better, and from the interview you quoted from, it sounds like that shouldn't be a problem, not with ID anyways.

The different licenses shouldn't be a problem for nQuake - it's an installer, if it just has the GPL maps in one package(zip) and the shareware in it's original package, then there shouldn't be a problem. Thats how all the linux distros do it.

It's been almost 2 years - And we still don't have dm2, dm3, dm4, dm6 and e1m2. The textures are there, who ever wants to do the "official" GPL maps should release those asap, and then wait for textures for the singleplayer maps.
2008-06-21, 12:11
excellent read.

I think we could just ask john romero. he keeps an updated site:
contact him? im sure they don't want to complicate our quake lives.
2008-06-21, 12:15
Yeah I didn't mean to sound like there's something wrong with nQuake, it's solved there.
2008-06-21, 13:12
thanks for this overview. i feel kind of "in the picture" about this for the first time.
2008-06-21, 13:52
These are the textures missing from dm3, and the only ones missing to do a dm2-dm6 pack.


Couldn't figure out what comp1_7 is used for, but the others are the ceiling.
2008-06-21, 14:07
Nice article which sums it up pretty good. But, although I welcome copyleft as a restriction that sometimes is necessary, saying that the GPL is the most free license ever is simply not true. Licenses like BSD (3-clause) or MIT are even "more free".
2008-06-21, 16:57
I think Quakeworld players and server admins should get rid of original .bsp files and replace them with solid coloured maps. I see no point in allowing two versions of one map by client - waste of coders time. It's 2008 - playing QW in software mode is arhaic and most software users tend to cut texture details anyway (lego style). Not to mention that it is possible to get software-like look in gl. Everyone can use QRP textures to have faithful look - and if someone is playing on really old machine and get low framerate with these, there is always InfranView that allows you to resize them o 8-bit 64x64 (original textures size i think), and you will have the same thing that you have right now with original id textures...

Seriously, getting pak1.pak takes 5 seconds starting from google, but this file is still biggest obstacle in path to attract more ppl to QW. That sucks! That sucks even more after realizing it hurt so awesome project like nQuake.

I have original Quake CD, i have paid for it, but original dm1-6 looks are things i absolutelly don't care about...
2008-06-22, 13:14
so why not allow servers to upload missing dmX maps to a client? original qwsv.exe couldn't allow uploading maps that are in .pak files, but now we have all source code and changing this behaviour isn't illegal right?
2008-06-22, 13:50
Changing the behaviour itself would not be illegal but distributing the maps that way would be illegal for the server admins.
2008-06-22, 15:51
simple textured bsps + 32bits on top distributed by nQuake = the easy way2go
2008-06-22, 17:43
Why use simple textures, when we got replacements? Using simple textures would also break the lego quake - As that doesn't work with high res textures.

Making servers use only the GPL maps would be a very bad idea, it would break the compatibility with original maps, and thus be a pain for everyone who has the original quake pak files. People who just bought the game off steam, would have trouble joining servers.
2008-06-22, 19:06
Idea is to make QW totally free, remove need to buying Quake on steam, because only file you need from original game is pak1.pak, and more accurate, .bsp files for dm maps and ones from episodes. We can have these maps for free since .map files were released, rest of the stuff from pak1.pak is useless in QW. It won't break nothing cuz there won't be need to use original pak1.pak anymore. Just download QW and you are good to go, like in case of Warsow for example.

What we can't have, are textures for maps from pak1.pak, they are still not free, and must be replaced with something. I think QRP textures would be too similar to originals, you could of course use different textures, but most of texture packs around the net have unclear license status, if any. That's why i vote for simple colored .bsp maps, it easier and most safe way to have id maps. No one have rights to color "0 23 230"
2008-06-22, 19:45
I think a big share of the cannonfodder still want to use the old models, textures and what not though. :I
2008-06-22, 20:07
Yes, but they aren't the issue. They already have full copies of quake through whatever means.

Surely the point of a fully-free, all-inclusive quake package is to entice new players to the game. They aren't going to care that the old 256-colour textures aren't dotting the levels. They'd be happier with the new hig-res 24-bit ones.
2008-06-22, 22:38
Well, that solves the problem - new players probably won't even touch software mode, they will use 24-bit textures, and every player who still use old looks should already have copy of quake. And remember there is still way to get original files on steam or ebay or in less than five clicks starting from google, this is ofc illegal, but in reality id doesn't give a damn about first Quake anymore. So if someone can't live without 8-bit image files, he have ways to get them.

Add simple colored maps + support from both versions at the same time to nQuake, and everyone will be happy.
2008-06-23, 12:23
Exactly, if you really want to play a game, you just get it one way or another. I personally bought all quakes, but that's me.
2008-06-23, 21:03
Maybe this will create an outrage, especially among old players, but why dont we just give a fuck about the maps. think about it.

From the 5 1on1 maps 2 (aerowalk & ztndm3) are already custom and could be distributed freely. So the maps that are creating the problems are dm2,4,6.

dm2: I cannot remember exactly when it was but I think 1 or 2 years ago there was already a discussion to get rid of dm2 because of the possibility to play it too defensive. So there is/was already a tendency within the community against this map. People argued that it has an unique style to play, tactically, slow paced, fast paced and so on, but a lot of people pointed out that it has a lot of downpoint. There are several talented map makers in the community, why dont we let them create a dm2-like map, with the advantages of the original dm2 but eliminating the downsides.

dm4: what can I say. I dont think this map suits the present day style of playing quake anymore. With todays fast paced games and increased aim the majority of the games turn into a boring grab weapon spawnfrag, spawnfrag, spawnfrag,... make mistake, getting fragged, getting spawnfragged, getting spawnfragged, getting spawnfragged... . dm4 presents the more fast paced kind of map, but with aerowalk in the map pool it has a far superiour competitor.

dm6: honestly i cant say much about the map, since i have not developed a "real feeling" for it yet. so i will not say that we can easily get rid of this map.

Since this gametype does not have that much prestige as the 1on1 and 4on4 gametype so I dont see any reasons to stick to old maps here, since for me no map has this epic or traditional flavor in it when it is played in 2on2.

e1m2: it is an episode map and i think it was picked way back then, because of the lack of a good 3rd deathmatch map. playing wise I think there are far better maps out there which are designed for 4on4 deathmatch

dm2: I dont have a special opinion about this map in 4on4. I know that it is together with dm3 the most played 4on4 map, but I dont think that it is a real good one. Of course, on the one hand side it has 2 MHs and 2 RAs to time and control, but on the other only 1 powerup, the Quad. In my opinion modern gameplay is capable of handling more complex maps.

dm3: No solution here. =) For me the 4on4 map. Lot of tradition, epic battles and still fits modern gameplay.

All in all i dont want to say with this post, get rid of all the maps in general. What i have said is more to be seen with regards to the problem to create a legal quake package to offer to players outside of our community. In my opinion only 2 maps are creating a real problem (dm3 & dm6). All other maps have obvious flaws and are mostly played because they were always played, they are played by the good players and they are in the mappools of the tournament and not because they are particular any good or the even the best maps available.

So if we as a community really need a "competitive" package wich is adressed to beginners to get them into our game that it wont die out. Do we really let 2 maps stand in our way. Especially if those maps can get downloaded later or can be received in another way. And additionally it would give us something new in our community.

As i mentioned above, this is all with regard to the free quake package.
2008-06-24, 00:10
Reality is it won't happen. People get used to these maps, and as you mentioned, there isn't real substitute to dm3... And remember even if these maps have flaws, and maybe shouldn't be played in tournaments because of them, they are still lot of fun and are in almost every pub server mappool. It's too drastic to get rid of them, remember we are talking about 12 years old game, played mostly by veterans and biggest fans of it...
2008-06-24, 15:41
We could aswell recreate the maps with a few realllly small changes and give them other names. problem fixed?
2008-06-25, 08:25
I almost got upset when reading your thoughts of removing the core maps, nix. But as I'm not a debater and really tired, I wont discuss it further. I disagree on almost all those opinions. GL with this.

Kwibus haven't lost it, nice idea there.
2008-06-25, 08:52
Problem not fixed, what about watching demos? And getting players who has the maps to play on dm4gpl? That doesn't sound like something thats gonna happen.

Herb, you said that we should only have 1 version of the maps, instead of allowing both the new and the original. But I guess you figured out yourself that it wasn't a good idea, reading your later posts.

"I think QRP textures would be too similar to originals"
I don't see how that can be a problem, it's similar - but the textures are made from scratch, there is nothing that indicates that this should be a problem, not regarding the license and not with id software.

The shareware pak0.pak license is a bigger problem than using QRP textures, and the 24bit replacements for the menu/conback/hud thats included in ezQuake don't seem to be a problem either.
2008-06-25, 10:48
can't we just gather a list of names (what's the word?) and beg and plead to ID Software to make Quake freeware?
2008-06-25, 14:27
I believe "petition" is the word I doubt it would help though, but who knows.
2008-06-25, 18:40
Man, they didn't make Wolfenstein 3D free, why they should do something like this with Quake?
2008-06-25, 19:08
Because someone officially would ask? :p I dunno.
2008-07-19, 08:24
it would be rude to ask for a freeware Quake after the engine and maps source code was released.. we'll be stretching it.. Quake can be freed without id's help at this point.
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