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Zombies attacking the player.

Quake is a first-person shooter computer game that was released by id Software on July 22 1996. It was the first game in the popular Quake series of computer and video games.

It can be said that the original Quake game pushed most PC hardware to its limits, due to never-before-seen features it offered: complex textured 3D environments, polygon-modelled enemies with certain intelligence, and the like. Quake was able to overshadow almost all 3D-shooters at the time, including Blood and Duke Nukem 3D, both based on simpler 3D requirements and sprite-based characters. In fact, the poor performance of 486 processors on Quake pushed many people to upgrade to Pentium processors, while the excellent performance of the Pentium Pro, coupled with a fast video card, led to many servers and high-end workstations being used for Quake gaming. Its mixture of dark, horror fantasy with good 3D shooting action was a major departure from other light-themed games of the time.

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 background music for the game was 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 gamers were graduating from local bulletin boards to the global online community. id Software recognized, before anyone else, that the future of competitive gaming lay with the Internet, and so Quake was the second game whose multiplayer could be played against many people on the Internet rather than with only people on a local network.

Quake and its three follow up games (which many do not regard as true sequels), Quake II, Quake III Arena and Quake 4, have sold over 4 million copies combined. In 2005, a version of Quake was produced for mobile phones.


Quake has two fundamental modes of gameplay: single player and multiplayer.

In single-player mode, players explore and navigate to the exit of each level, facing many challenging monsters and a few secret areas along the way. Usually there are buttons to press or keys to collect in order to open doors before the exit can be reached. Once reaching the exit, the game takes the player to the next level. 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 during a level, he is restarted at the beginning of the level and loses all his items. 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. There is also an End level after all four episodes are completed, containing the final boss.

In multiplayer mode, no monsters are normally present. 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. Multiplayer Quake is considered to have much greater replay value than single player (with the possible exception of speedrunning), since the opponents not only have the same capabilities as your player (instead of being slower, weaker, or more poorly armed, like most of the monsters), and can collect items in the levels, but, being human opponents, are generally much more clever and less predictable than the computer-controlled opponents.

The multiplayer modes included in the game are all forms of deathmatch. Deathmatch modes typically consist of either free-for-all ("FFA" - each player for himself), 1v1 duels, or organized teamplay with two or more players per team (or clan). Teamplay is also frequently played with one or another mod. Quake is still perhaps the best game available for pure deathmatch gameplay, while later games are often stronger in modes such as Capture the flag.

The gameplay in Quake is considered unique 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 gotten considerably faster over the years as players mastered advanced movement techniques.

In addition to the obvious skill needed to react quickly, aim precisely, dodge other players' shots, and jump across tricky spaces, Quake also requires considerable knowledge of the sometimes confusingly-contorted maps (made more complex by the frequent use of teleporters, which work uniquely well in Quake) as well as careful planning in order to collect needed items and conserve health and ammunition. Beginning players are often surprised by how much of a difference level knowledge makes, often assuming that other players must be cheating because they seem to come out of nowhere, always seem to know what corner to shoot around, or never seem to die. 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 co-operate.

Multiplayer Quake was one of the first games that people singled out as possibly a form of electronic sport, with presumed parallels to tennis (dueling) or soccer (teamplay). Of course, the notion of an 'electronic' sport shows it requires no physical fitness.

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. Many players have built enduring friendships with people they met online while playing Quake. Template:Multi-video start Template:Multi-video item Template:Multi-video end


The player takes the role of a marine sent into a portal to stop an enemy, code-named "Quake". The government has been experimenting with teleportation technology and created a working prototype called a "Slipgate" but accidentally opened a portal to an unknown dimension. Death squads then began to emerge from the Slipgate, killing and robbing as much as they could before returning through the gate. Once sent through the portal, the player must fight through hundreds of monsters of varying types to stop the enemy. The game consists of around 28 separate "levels" or "maps", grouped into 4 episodes, representing individual dimensions that the player can access through portals made of magic (as opposed to the technological Slipgate), populated by the various monsters. The various realms consists of a number of Gothic, medieval, and some futuristic settings as well as "fire and brimstone" style caves and dungeons with a recurring theme of Hell and Satanic icons reminiscent of id Software's Doom, and is inspired by several dark fantasy influences, notably that of H.P. Lovecraft (the end game boss is named Shub-Niggurath and the end boss of the first episode is named Chthon although there is little resemblance between the game's portrayal and the original literary description). Originally, the game was supposed to include more Lovecraftian bosses, but this was scrapped due to time constraints. It is debatable whether the four dimensions under Shub-Niggurath's rule are truly the spiritual Hell or if it's simply another physical realm and the Hell theme is merely used for horrific effect (a similar debate surrounded the earlier game, Doom).

Although the moniker "Quake" originally applied to the protagonist, the final story describes Quake as simply being "the enemy". It has been implied by other sources that Quake is a master antagonist, possibly leaving open the option for a direct sequel in which this person or creature is a boss character. This has neither been confirmed nor denied by John Romero or id Software.

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 - 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. Some fans claim the chaotic and ominous design compliments the chaotic and violent gameplay while other players find it sloppy and incoherent. To most multiplayer "deathmatch" players, the various environments simply provide interesting spaces for gameplay.

Partly due to the internal power struggle surrounding the game design, Romero was asked to resign from id Software soon after the game was released. He went on to co-found the ill-fated development company Ion Storm. Petersen left shortly thereafter.

The unnamed hero of Quake reappears as one of the selectable characters in Quake III Arena, where he is known as "Ranger". However, Quake is one of the only 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 IV followed the design themes of Quake II, whereas Quake III Arena lacked a standard single-player campaign entirely as this episode was meant for multiplay only. Many have claimed that Painkiller is Quake's spiritual sequel, as that game successfully implements dark fantasy and horror themes with challenging end bosses like the ones included in the original Quake designs.

The Quake engine

Template:Main Quake popularized several major advances in the 3D game genre: it uses 3-dimensional models for players and monsters instead of 2-dimensional sprites; and the world in which play takes place is created as a true 3-dimensional space, rather than a 2-dimensional map with height information which is then rendered to 3D. Previous 3D games such as Doom and Wolf 3D (sometimes called 2 1/2D games) used a restricted-view mathematical trick when rendering their 3-dimensional view. This allowed a true 3D view, but only in a straight-ahead look (you can tell the difference by tilting up and down in those games, which is really just a distortion trick of the straight-ahead view rather than a true rotated rendering.) Quake was the first game to do away with this and create a full, true 3-dimensional rendering viewable in any angle, including up and down.

Quake also incorporated the use of lightmaps and dynamic light sources, as opposed to the sector-based static lighting used in games of the past. Quake by default used the keyboard to strafe left and right and look up and down, using the mouse like Doom to move forward and backward and turn left and right. This produced awkward movements, and required settings like "auto-level" that would move the viewpoint back to straight forward as you moved and "auto vertical aim" that would automatically shoot things above and below you. Probably because of this the level design in Quake was more suited to the 2.5D environment of Doom. Only in a few spots in the game was the monster that was shooting you above or below you. Quake did have the option of using the mouse to look/aim/orient ("mouselook") and the keyboard to move forward, backward and sideways, but it was not the default until Quake 2 was released.

Quake was also one the first games to support 3d hardware acceleration. While initially released with only software rendering, OpenGL support was soon added. Many believe that this kick-started the independent 3D graphics card revolution, "GLQuake" being the first application to truly demonstrate the capabilities of the 3dfx "Voodoo" chipset at the time. The only two other cards capable of rendering GLQuake were a professional (very expensive) Integraphics 3D OpenGL card, and, later, the PowerVR card by Matrox. The Quake engine was later licensed by Valve Corporation for use in Half-Life.

Network play

Quake includes cooperative and deathmatch multi-player modes over LAN or the Internet. Additional multi-player modes were later added using "mods".

Quake uses the client/server model, where a server has control of all game events. All players connect to this server in order to participate, with the server telling the clients what is happening in the game. The server may either be a dedicated server or a listen server. Even in the latter situation, Quake still uses the client-server model, as opposed to the peer-to-peer networking used by some other games. Quake thus cannot suffer from de-synchronized network games that could occur from different clients disagreeing with each other, since the server is always the final authority.

Depending on the client's specific route to the server, different clients will get different ping times. The lower a player's latency (ping time) is, the smoother his or her in-game motions are, which makes it easier to aim, move, and score. Someone playing at the PC or within the same LAN as the server gets a substantial advantage due to essentially no lag.

While gamers had been deathmatching each other via IPX LAN connections, serial cable connections, and modems in the Doom, Heretic, and Hexen series of games, it was not until Quake that the Internet deathmatch community really began.


The game itself can be heavily modified by altering the sounds, graphics, or scripting in QuakeC and due to its popularity, has been the focus of many fan "mods". The first mods were small gameplay fixes and patches initiated by the community, usually enhancements to weapons or gameplay with some new foes. Later mods were more ambitious and resulted in Quake fans creating versions of the game that were drastically different from id Software's original release.

The first major Quake 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), 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. The mod was vastly popular and as of 2005 there is still a community of players who play the Quake CTF mod. The popularity of the specific Quake Threewave CTF mod stems from the speed of the game and the grappling hook. In most cases a player has the ability to travel from one base to another base in a matter of seconds. The grappling hook acts as a slingshot, where advanced players can maneuver themselves in the air by using the strafe keys. Players would master flying around and shooting rockets with precise aim. The Threewave CTF Quake mod was converted into a ClanRing modification coded by J.P. Grossman and Paul Baker, geared towards match play. Quake CTF Clans used this mod to play 20 minute private matches. This same ClanRing modification would later be upgraded by pulsewidth and rook. This was widely used for team deathmatch tournaments. As of late 2005 two CTF servers still get active gameplay, nearly 10 years after the game's initial release. In 2005, woods released a new ctf textures for the Threewave CTF maps for use with the new engines.

The popular Team Fortress mod for QuakeWorld 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. TeamFortress maintained its standing as the most-played online modification of Quake for many years.

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.

One interesting category of mod is the bot. 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. Prominent Quake bots included the Zeus Bot, Reaper Bot, Omicron Bot, Oak Bot, and Frog Bot.

Custom maps

It is also worth noting the huge number of custom maps that have been made by users and fans of the game. Custom Maps are completely new and original maps that are playable by simply loading them into the original game. Custom Maps of all gameplay types have been made, but the most custom maps for Quake have been in the single player and deathmatch genres.

There have been thousands of third-party single-player and deathmatch maps made for Quake. They vary in quality enormously, but the best custom maps are generally accepted to be better than the id Software maps in the original game. Some of the best and most ambitious single player custom maps are episodes like Nehahra, Insomnia and Zerstorer, and single maps like Marcher Fortress, Cassandra Calamity and Bestial Devastation. Two of the most popular multiplayer maps are Aerowalk by Preacher (popular strategy guide here) and Blood Run (ztndm3) by ztn.

The quantity, quality, artistry and diversity of custom maps for Quake is notable. For deathmatch in particular, the balance and "flow" of gameplay designed into the custom maps rose to a highly-refined art, in addition to purely aesthetic considerations. In addition, new maps continue to be made into 2006 for the game, almost 10 years after it was originally released.

Many of the best custom mappers have gone on to obtain full-time paid jobs at various software development houses, based on the custom maps they made.


Template:Main 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 min 49 s demo called Quake done Quick (QdQ) and released on 10th 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 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 16:35. QdQr was released 13th September, 1997. One of the levels included was the result of an online competition to see who could get the fastest time. It didn't hurt that the fastest also happened to be one of the prettiest.

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 difficulty, to 12 minutes, 23 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". Template:Multi-video start Template:Multi-video item Template:Multi-video end

Bosses and monsters


Chthon is a fierce beast of living lava and the first boss, found at the end of episode I. Chthon is inherently immune to all common weapons the player holds, and only the two electrical conductors around his arena can damage and eventually kill him. It is believed Chthon also has children that exist in one of the two mission packs for the first Quake. However, they are affected by smaller weapons, and go down much easier than their parent does.Template:Citation needed

Shub-Niggurath is the aforementioned demon supposedly drawn from Lovecraft lore and is the second and last boss, found at the end of the game. The creature's looks are based on a Dark Young rather than Shub-Niggurath herself; it's simply not large enough. It sits on an island in a pool of lava, and is surrounded by many Vores and Shamblers. Like Chthon, it is immune to the players weapons. In order to kill it, the player must make use of the small, spiked sphere that circles around the room in combination with the portal device that overlooks the boss.


Rottweiler: A guard dog that can bite players and can jump quite well.

Grunt: The standard anthropoid enemy armed with a shotgun. They look somewhat like the player but worse for wear, and much slower and weaker. It's not explained why this former human is against you but it's most likely due to being possessed by the forces of Quake. It is mentioned in the instruction manual that the Grunts have electrodes attached to the pleasure centers of their brains, to give them bursts of pleasure when they kill. Drops a backpack of shells when killed.

Enforcer: A more powerful anthropoid enemy with a more futuristic theme, armed with a laser blaster and wearing a body suit. These soldiers tend to shout "freeze" and have a heavy breathing sound like Darth Vader. Drops a backpack containing a couple of cells when killed.

Knight: A knight in armor, armed with a sword. They make pained groans when wounded.

Death Knight: A more powerful knight, also shoots slow-moving fireball projectiles (Also known as Hell Knights).

Rotfish: Fish that bite and swim in swarms and more or less resemble piranha. They are relatively weak.

Zombie: Undead creatures that throw lumps of rotten flesh at their target. They are effectively immune to non-explosive weapons unless combined with Quad Damage since they need to take more damage in a single hit than can be inflicted by any non-explosive, non-Quad enhanced weapon. It would however be possible to kill a Zombie with a regular weapon if it took damage from another source at the same time - for example, being hit by another monster. The Zombies also make long moans, and can be knocked down temporarily with normal weapons.

Scrag: A sort of flying creature that resembles a wingless manta ray and shoots acidic projectiles. When a Scrag is hit, it seems to say "No". They make hissing sounds like a snake (Also known as wizards, though they don't look like them).

Ogre: A brutish character armed with a chainsaw and a grenade launcher. It's one of the most common supernatural enemies in the game.

Spawn: Strange creatures made entirely of blue slime that jump about at high speed, making them difficult to target. They explode when they are hit or come near the player, causing significant damage. They sound like a water balloon hitting something (also known as Tarbabies). This creature is most likely based on one of the Formless Spawn of Tsathoggua.

Fiend: Hound-like creatures with dog-like lower bodies, thick tails, and spikes protruding from their faces. Can jump long distances to reach you and tear with their scythe-like claws (Also known as Demons, as they more or less resemble the Pinky Demon from Quake's predecessor, Doom)

Vore: Tripodal spider-legged creature that flings spiked spherical purple projectiles which track the player. Vores make harsh breathing sounds as they walk along and sometimes whimpering sounds but when they spot an enemy, they screech (also known as Shalraths).

Shambler: Somewhat akin to a giant, bipedal, hairless polar bear or Yeti that shoots lightning bolts, as well as having large, very damaging claws. A gory appearance, with bloody claws, no head but with sharp teeth in the top of the neck where the head would be. Explosions will only do half-damage against this demon. This monster is more or less based on H.P. Lovecraft's Dimensional Shamblers, as many times they teleport into the area to fight you. The Shambler is most easily defeated with rounds from a Super Nailgun. Save them for Shamblers.


Axe: The player always has an axe, the only weapon not requiring ammunition. Due to limited range, it is rarely used. It is good for finding secret walls and hitting buttons.

Shotgun: The default weapon. The shotgun is a weak hitscan weapon with a moderate fire rate. Seldom used when other weapons are available, except occasionally for sniping at long distances due to the relatively narrow pellet spread.

Super shotgun: A double-barrelled shotgun. Does more damage and has a wider pellet spread, but takes two rounds per shot and has a slower fire rate. Moderately useful for closeup or finishing damaged opponents, or in conjunction with quad damage. Uses ammunition more efficiently than the shotgun, since for the two shells it comsumes, it does more damage than two single shots from the regular shotgun.

Nailgun: A rapid-fire projectile weapon with relatively light damage.

Super nailgun: A more powerful, damaging nailgun, uses up nails twice as fast than the regular nailgun. A moderately powerful weapon, very good with quad damage. (Also known as the perforator.)

Grenade launcher: An explosive weapon that throws grenades in an arc. A unique weapon, somewhat different from grenade launchers in other games due to limited projectile speed and range (resulting in high arcs), and grenades that bounce off of inanimate surfaces, only exploding after hitting a living creature or a 2.5 second timer elapses. Can be used to grenade jump.

Rocket launcher: An explosive projectile weapon, the dominant weapon in the game in most levels that have it. Rockets travel in a straight line, relatively fast and have slightly more damage than grenades. Rockets always explode on impact. Frequently used for rocketjumping.

Thunderbolt: An electrical discharge weapon with a beam in the form of a solid jagged (but straight) line. Aiming is challenging, though, since the beam jumps around rather than turning smoothly. One of the most powerful weapons in the game. Also will discharge when the player using it is in water deeper than ankle-depth, which will release all of its remaining battery power in a massive explosion and almost invariably kill the player. (Also known as the Lightning Gun and "shaft".)

Items and powerups


Shotgun shells are used for the shotgun and super shotgun.

Nails are used for the nailgun and super nailgun. These ammo boxes are adorned with a "NIN" logo, a nod to soundtrack composer Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

Rockets are used for the grenade launcher and rocket launcher.

Cells are used for the Lightning Gun.

In multiplayer games, these respawn 30 seconds after being picked up.


Medkits can heal the player by 15 or 25 health points, up to the starting maximum of 100.

Armor comes in three types: green, yellow and red, from weakest to most powerful. These reduce the number of health points of damage the player suffers. Green absorbs 30% of damage and gives you 100% armor, yellow absorbs 60% damage and gives you 150% armor and red absorbs 80% damage and gives you 200% armor.

In multiplayer games, these respawn 20 seconds after being picked up.


Quad damage causes the player's weapons to do four times their normal damage. It expires 30 seconds after being picked up and will respawn every 60 seconds (1 minute) after being picked up.

Pentagram of Protection makes the player invulnerable to damage for 30 seconds. The pentagram will respawn every five minutes after being picked up.

Ring of Shadows makes the player invisible, except for the eyes, for 30 seconds. In multiplayer games, respawns every five minutes after being picked up. (Often referred to as simply "eyes".)

Megahealth provides an additional 100 health points. After a 5 second stable period all health above 100 starts to gradually tick down (about 1 point per second) until it reaches the standard maximum of 100 again. If two (or more) megahealths are picked up in a short time period, the maximum health can reach up to 250 points, but the health then wears off faster than with one (every additional megahealth reduces the overall health by 1 point per second and the effect starts after 5 seconds after being picked up as normal). In multiplayer game, it respawns 20 seconds after player's health drops back to 100 (countdown to 100 completes or player receives enough damage).

Episodes and levels

Episode Level Title Designer Notes
Start start Welcome to Quake John Romero hub level
Episode I
Dimension of the Doomed
e1m1 The Slipgate Complex John Romero
e1m2 Castle of the Damned Tim Willits
e1m3 The Necropolis Tim Willits
e1m4 The Grisly Grotto Tim Willits
e1m5 Gloom Keep Tim Willits
e1m6 The Door To Chthon American McGee
e1m7 The House of Chthon American McGee
e1m8 Ziggurat Vertigo American McGee secret level, low gravity
Episode II
The Realm of Black Magic
e2m1 The Installation John Romero
e2m2 The Ogre Citadel John Romero
e2m3 The Crypt of Decay John Romero
e2m4 The Ebon Fortress John Romero
e2m5 The Wizard's Manse John Romero
e2m6 The Dismal Oubliette John Romero
e2m7 The Underearth Tim Willits secret level
Episode III
The Netherworld
e3m1 Termination Central John Romero
e3m2 The Vaults of Zin American McGee
e3m3 The Tomb of Terror American McGee
e3m4 Satan's Dark Delight American McGee
e3m5 Wind Tunnels Tim Willits
e3m6 Chambers of Torment American McGee & Tim Willits
e3m7 The Haunted Halls American McGee secret level
Epiosde IV
The Elder World
e4m1 The Sewage System Tim Willits
e4m2 The Tower of Despair Sandy Petersen
e4m3 The Elder God Shrine Sandy Petersen
e4m4 The Palace of Hate Sandy Petersen
e4m5 Hell's Atrium Sandy Petersen
e4m6 The Pain Maze Sandy Petersen
e4m7 Azure Agony Sandy Petersen
e4m8 The Nameless City Sandy Petersen secret level
End end Shub-Niggurath's Pit John Romero
The Deathmatch Arenas
dm1 The Place of Two Deaths Tim Willits
dm2 Claustrophobopolis American McGee
dm3 The Abandoned Base John Romero
dm4 The Bad Place American McGee
dm5 The Cistern Tim Willits
dm6 The Dark Zone Tim Willits


A preview included with id's very first release, 1990's Commander Keen, advertised a game entitled The Fight for Justice as a follow-up to the Keen trilogy. It would feature a character named Quake, "the strongest, most dangerous person on the continent", armed with thunderbolts and a "Ring of Regeneration." Conceived as a VGA full-color side-scrolling RPG, "The Fight for Justice" was never released.

Pre-release and QTest

Quake was given as a title to the game that id Software was working on shortly after the release of Doom 2. The earliest information released described Quake as focusing on a Thor-like character who wields a giant hammer, and is able to knock away enemies by throwing the hammer (complete with real time inverse kinematics). Early screenshots showed medieval environments and dragons. The plan was for the game to have more RPG-style elements. However, work was very slow on the engine, since Carmack not only was developing a fully 3D engine, but also a TCP/IP networking model (Carmack later said that he should have done two separate projects which developed those things). Thus, the final game was very stripped down from its original intentions, and instead featured gameplay similar to Doom and its sequel, although levels and enemies were closer to medieval RPG style rather than science-fiction. Praised throughout the gaming community, it quickly dethroned previous FPS titles and revolutionized the way multiplayer games were developed.

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, but 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 released.

Shareware and Final release

On June 22, 1996, id Software released the shareware version of Quake. This consisted of the first episode of the game, roughly one-quarter of the single-player content. It became the downloadable demo version of the game.

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.


In late 1996, id Software released VQuake, a port of the Quake engine to support hardware accelerated rendering on graphics cards using Rendition Vérité chipset. Aside from the expected benefit of improved performance, VQuake offered numerous visual improvements over the original software-rendered Quake. It boasted full 16-bit color, bilinear filtering (reducing pixelation), improved dynamic lighting and even optional anti-aliasing.

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.


To improve the quality of online play, id Software released QuakeWorld on December 17, 1996, a build of Quake that featured significantly revamped network code including the addition of client-side prediction. The original Quake's network code would not show the player the results of his actions until the server sent back a reply acknowledging them. For example, if the player attempted to move forward, his client would send the request to move forward to the server, and the server would determine whether the client was actually able to move forward or if he ran into an obstacle, such as a wall or another player. The server would then respond to the client, and only then would the client display movement to the player. This was fine for play on a LAN—a high bandwidth, very low latency connection. But the latency over a dialup internet connection is much larger than on a LAN, and this caused a noticeable delay between when a player tried to act and when that action was visible on the screen. This made gameplay much more difficult, especially since the unpredictable nature of the Internet made the amount of delay vary from moment to moment. Players would experience jerky, laggy motion that sometimes felt like ice skating, where they would slide around with seemingly no ability to stop, due to a build-up of previously-sent movement requests. John Carmack has admitted that this was a serious problem which should have been fixed before release, but it was not caught because he and other developers had high-speed Internet access at home.

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) or High Ping Weenies/Whiners (HPWs)).

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, despite being updated numerous times through 1998.

GLQuake and WinQuake

On January 22, 1997, id Software released GLQuake. This was designed to use the OpenGL 3D API to access hardware 3D graphics acceleration cards to rasterize the graphics, rather than having the computer's CPU fill in every pixel. In addition to higher framerates for most players, GLQuake provided higher resolution modes and texture filtering, improving image quality. GLQuake also experimented with reflections, transparent water, and even rudimentary shadows. GLQuake came with a driver enabling the subset of OpenGL used by the game to function on the 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card, the only consumer-level card at the time capable of running GLQuake well. Previously, John Carmack had experimented with a version of Quake specifically written for the Verite chip used in the Creative Labs PCI 3D Blaster card. This version had met with only limited success, and Carmack decided to write for generic APIs in the future rather than tailoring for specific hardware.

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 DirectDraw, DirectSound and DirectInput that were supported on Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 and later releases. Carmack caused some controversy, however, by eschewing Direct3D, opting instead of continue supporting OpenGL. Like GLQuake, WinQuake also allowed higher resolution video modes. This removed the last barrier to widespread popularity of the game.


In 1996 there was a port of Quake to Linux that involved code theft and patches being submitted back to id Software before it became an official port. Additionally, pirated code was used to create an early fan-created port to Mac OS. 1997 saw further porting efforts, with an IRIX port, called SGI Quake (link) done by Ed Hutchins on the SGI O2. SGI Quake has both OpenGL and software rendering systems. In addition, in 1997, the official port to Mac OS was done by MacSoft and a port of Quake to Sparc Solaris was released.

Quake was also ported to console systems. In 1997, it was ported to Sega Saturn by Lobotomy. It is widely considered to be some of the most advanced 3D work ever cranked out of the console; it's also the only version of Quake that is rated 'T' for Teen instead of 'M' for Mature. 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 you choose 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).

An Amiga port 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 utilises the 3D chip found in a few Dell PDAs.

Source code and legacy

The source code of the Quake and QuakeWorld engines was licensed under the GPL in 1999. The id Software maps, objects, textures, sounds and other creative works remain under their original license. The shareware distribution of Quake is still freely redistributable and usable with the GPLed engine code. One must purchase a copy of Quake in order to get the registered version of the game which includes more single player episodes and the deathmatch maps.

Based on the success of the first Quake game, id later published Quake II and Quake III Arena; Quake 4 was released in October 2005. It was developed by Raven Software utilising the Doom 3 engine.

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 ingame film The Devil's Covenant and the ingame rendered four hour epic film The Seal of Nehahra.


Programming: John Carmack, Michael Abrash, John Cash

Level/scenario design: American McGee, Sandy Petersen, John Romero, Tim Willits

Graphics: Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud

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

Commercial games using the Quake engine

There have only been two official expansion packs for Quake:

The following expansion packs are unofficial:

Games using a modified Quake engine

Replacement Quake/QuakeWorld Engines

Replacing the game engine became possible after the 1999 release of the Quake and QuakeWorld source code under the GPL.

QuakeWorld mods


Popular North American LAN Party QuakeCon finds it roots in the game as well. The gaming convention was started up so Quake fans could get together every year and compete on a LAN, on even footing without Internet connection latency (engineering) and packet loss handicapping play.


The only annual LAN Party left that hosts QuakeWorld (and wrestling) as only game is QHLAN. Being in held in Stockholm, Sweden it is being held right in the centre of the active QuakeWorld community of modern times.

External links

QuakeWorld Leagues and Competitions: