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Carmack remembers Quake on 15th anniversary

id sister company Bethesda's celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of Quake's launch with some thoughts from id techno-wizard John Carmack, and by digging up a documentary about the launch of QuakeWorld.


Yesterday tolled the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of Quake, id Software's seminal 3D first-person shooter. Celebrating the event, id's sister company Bethesda has dug up Quake treasures to share with the world.

John Carmack, id co-founder and technical wizard, offered a few thoughts on Quake. He recalls struggles with developing the 3D engine, the novelty of free mouse movement, online multiplayer, 3D acceleration, and the importance and impact of modding. Notably, one of his defining Quake memories is quite unexpected, approached with Carmack's characteristic criticism:

My defining memory of the game was fairly early in development, when I no-clipped up into a ceiling corner and looked down as a Shambler walked through the world with its feet firmly planted on the ground. This looked like nothing I had ever seen before; it really did seem like I had a window into another world. Of course, as soon as he had to turn, the feet started to slide around because we didn't have pivot points and individual joint modifications back then, but it was still pretty magical.

QuakeWorld is the version of Quake that made the Internet a genuinely viable way to enjoy multiplayer, thanks to revamped netcode client-side prediction. As well as being thoroughly excellent in its own right, QuakeWorld supported a thriving mod community, including the hugely influential Team Fortress. Bethesda managed to rustle up a documentary about the classic:

Quake spawned a whole franchise, with four numbered Quake games, multiple expansions, spin-off Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and, most recently, Xbox Live Arcade and free-to-play versions of Quake III: Arena.

Carmack recently commented that "strong factions internally" at id Software fancied returning the Quake series to its Lovecraftian roots. While no such game is currently being made (or even planned), we live in hope.

Finally, the Quake community has organized its own celebration for Quake's anniversary with the Quake Expo 2011. Festivities include new mod releases, contests, tournaments, and some very angry midgets.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 23, 2011 6:45 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Carmack remembers Quake on 15th anniversary.

    id sister company Bethesda's celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of Quake's launch with some thoughts from id techno-wizard John Carmack, and by digging up a documentary about the launch of QuakeWorld.

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      June 23, 2011 7:47 AM

      Hehe, nice documentary.

      2-3 years of my life spent playing Quake and QuakeWorld in a clan and on tournaments. Fun times.

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      June 23, 2011 8:06 AM

      wow yea. this brings back some good ol memories.

      its crazy he was already thinking about how the dependancy on hardware acceleration was going to be a requirement down the line.

      hilarious how they're trying to stuff mmx down his throat. looks like he's been asked that question a million times and just flat out says it aint for us.

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      June 23, 2011 8:09 AM

      Really enjoyed that video. Quake reminds me of a better time. - funny enough I was always a Doom person over Quake - I guess being older. I just loved Doom more than Quake - although Q was pretty awesome too.

      I wonder who owns that cat!

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      June 23, 2011 8:13 AM

      Is there some place where I can place my vote or just give id money to make this throw-back version of Quake? I'll pre-order the thing today for $100 (collector's edition) if they just promise me they will start making it now!

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        June 23, 2011 9:02 AM

        Just send yhe money to my account and I'll see what we can do.

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        June 23, 2011 10:53 AM

        You should write Bethesda and Id Software, they just need to know this!

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        June 23, 2011 7:40 PM

        ditto, where do i sign up.

        Forget a big AAA Quake game costing millions of dollars. Just have Carmack optimize the hell out of the id Tech 5 engine for a raw Quake competitive experience. Then get a dozen artists and coders to create some retro Quake 1 flavored levels and weapons and game play. Perhaps borrow the boys from Quake Live and create some persistent stats, clans, and laddering. And leave it open for modders. Take my money. Take it.

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      June 23, 2011 8:46 AM

      How can you write this article and not mention CTF? That was, hands down, the ultimate (and first REAL) mod for Quakeworld.

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        June 23, 2011 9:11 AM

        Never played it but McKinley Base in UT was great fun.

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          June 23, 2011 10:57 AM

          this is a horrible post

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          June 23, 2011 11:06 AM

          I hope you realize that UT didn't come out until after Q3.

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            June 23, 2011 2:51 PM

            Of course. I prefered it though.

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        June 23, 2011 9:30 AM

        I made a conscious decision not to mention CTF because I knew you, you specifically, would be irked by it.


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          June 23, 2011 10:49 AM

          I understand why you brought up TF, for obvious reasons, but Zoid's CTF is really what got things started.

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            June 23, 2011 2:39 PM

            Zoid effectively turned the clock back on Quake. The grappling hook + CTF was just amazing.

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        June 23, 2011 11:21 AM

        Or 1v1 Rocket Arena, which is still 100x better than Team Rocket Arena.

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        June 23, 2011 12:06 PM

        QW CTF was the peak of gaming for me. The runes, the grappling hook, Spill The Blood, Forgotten Mines, McKinley Base... Such good times.

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        June 23, 2011 7:48 PM

        My guess is that she wanted to reference a mod that not only got its start with Quake but is also still widely recognized today. I loved Threewave as much as the next guy but the number of people who'd recognize that name is probably pretty small compared to TF.

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      June 23, 2011 9:07 AM

      Guy playing with the joystick is lol.

      This video is great. So many memories.

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        June 23, 2011 10:05 AM

        I seem to recall that the very first version of the Quake shareware, like 1.00, had no joystick support. Enough people complained that they patched it in with 1.01 (which was the version number of the first release on CD). Their comments were something to the effect of "it never occurred to us that someone would even want to use a joystick with this"

        Good times.

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          June 23, 2011 10:55 AM

          I remember buying the Wingman Warrior joystick for a LOT of money because it had "Advanced Quake controls" :( Good thing at the end I could use it for playing Xwing.

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        June 23, 2011 12:22 PM

        I think that's the old Panther XL joystick-with-a-trackball. I think their advertising at the time had John Romero in a crown and kingly robes hyping that thing as the way to play Quake.

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          June 23, 2011 7:46 PM

          It's not, I had/have a panther XL. I don't think those things came out until '97 or '98

          As a side note, THOSE THINGS AREN'T VERY GOOD

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      June 23, 2011 10:54 AM

      ahhhhhhh yes. carmack is so awesome. that interview with folks just drinkin' beer. viva the quake era.

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        June 23, 2011 11:44 AM

        Brought back so many memories, like if you listen closely the reporter calls it "eye dee software" and nobody corrects him. I think most people called it "eye dee" software for a couple years.

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      June 23, 2011 12:01 PM

      Awesome Video!! Brings me back to the old days of ALL beige PC components, big bulky flickering CRTs, bad hairdo's, stonewash jean-shorts (really john? lol), and of course QW! I played it on a P90 with 64MB ram and a 1MB vidcard and it was great. Even if they do make a Quake1/QW remake it will be very difficult to capture the original greatness of those games. We can only hope.

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      June 23, 2011 12:05 PM

      Ahh, the days when a FOV was something developers just got right.

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      June 23, 2011 12:24 PM

      Don't miss the Michael Abrash comment on Bethesda's site as well.

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      June 23, 2011 2:27 PM

      great vid, back in the days where it was so much more gung ho

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      June 23, 2011 3:35 PM

      The funny thing is... I don't feel like it was that long ago... until I see the dudes playing on these ancient PC's and it really drives home the point: "holy shit... I'm old... and that was a LONG time ago"

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      June 23, 2011 9:27 PM

      The sound of Quake grenades bouncing is imprinted on my brain stem. Of all childhood memories that evoke nostalgia, hearing that sound in the video brought me back.

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      June 23, 2011 9:44 PM

      That guy with the mullet looks like Dan Harmon

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      June 23, 2011 9:50 PM

      Seeing how old everything from the 90's looks nowadays makes me feel all empty in my gutty-wutts. :( Always great listening to Carmack, though.

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      June 24, 2011 10:25 AM

      i wish there was some /time command ... cause id give all those mmo addicts a run for their money with how much time i spent on dm4 alone.

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