C:\QUAKE - Part 7: LAN Parties and Killer Quake Pack

C:\QUAKE - Part 7: LAN Parties and Killer Quake Pack

I found a backup of my C:\Quake folder from 20 years ago when I was a Quake-obsessed teenager. This is part 7 of a series on the hidden gems and curiosities from that time-capsule. This time: The anarchic and hilarious weapon mod KQP - Killer Quake Pack.

Required soundtrack for this Cortex article: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKD9WAOrfkM

Heaven at 10BASE-T

It was winter break, between Christmas and New Years 1996-1997. I'd been invited to spend a few days at my friend Chris's house, and I was instructed to bring my computer and monitor and haul it down into his basement. As I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs, fifty pounds of leaded glass and electronics in my arms, I saw the bluish glow of half a dozen PCs set up around a ping pong table. The sounds were tantalizing - the rumble and bang of Quake, the crack of pop cans being opened, and the trash talk and laughter of my best and nerdiest friends. I was fifteen years old and this was my very first LAN party.

Mid-90's LAN party aesthetic.
Mid-90's LAN party aesthetic.


Our network was coaxial. Our computers were Pentiums. Our monitors were CRT. Our mice had balls. And our game was Quake. First up was deathmatch, where one of the guys destroyed all of us so thoroughly we had to ask him what his secret was - he said it was mouselook. And then he spent an hour inducting the rest of us into the Temple of Inverted Mouse Aiming. Then together we played through most of the campaign in co-op. Chris's mom made us all macaroni and cheese. Bliss. 

There was always someone who needed to reinstall Windows.
There was always someone who needed to reinstall Windows.


Once we got rolling, we all stayed awake for 24 hours in a row. After that first big stretch, we slept on couches and under the pool table and woke up ready for something new. Chris had an idea - we could play this Quake mod he'd found that he knew we'd love. Chris went from computer to computer with a Zip drive and a serial cable, transferring the mod files to each of us. Ten megs of pure anarchic joy: KQP.

More Is More

KQP, also known as Killer Quake Pack was and maybe still is the Mother Of All Quake Weapon Mods. The dev, Howard Roy, collected nearly thirty weapon mods into one megapack. Then he went a step further, integrating them and balancing them for multiplayer in a way that made each one useful and powerful and interesting. For example, there's a short-range teleporter but it doesn't work if you have under 50 health. That way you can't flee combat if you're about to die. KQP had been polished to a lovely shine - something you couldn't say about other weapon compilation mods available at the time.

KPQ title image

The weapons are the focus here, and I want to take the time to list each of them, direct from the mod's README:

Super axe     		Super damage, but will hurt yourself as well.
Vampire axe  Suck up enemy's health, and give it back to you.
Morning Star  Finally, the morning star you've all been waiting for.
Throwing Axe  A throwing flaming axe. You'll like it in action.
Disc          A bouncing disc that can lop someone's head off.
Auto-shotgun  5 continuous shots at a time.
Portal Gun    It can open a portal on walls to let you get through.
Magnum Lite    Scaled down version of Magnum, take less ammo.
Poisoned arrow A sniper arrow capable of poisoning others.
Air Fist      You can repel other people or blow away items with it.
Chain Gun      This gatling gun will kick some major butt!
Mini Cannon  With this mini cannon, you can shoot THROUGH walls!
Akimbo shotgun    Blow'em out with one super shotgun held on each hand.
Blaze Gun      A new 'fireball' thrower type weapon. Can burn people.
RFL            Rapid fireball launcher, like Blaze gun, but faster.
Laser!        This weapon has a wide range of effectiveness.
Blood Drainer Ever wonder what it'll be like to drain someone dry?
Blazethrower  Wanted to setup a wall of fire? Try this!
Radio tag bomb Tag to enemy and detonate it remotely.
Promixity mine Explode when anything get close. Fairly powerful.
Timed Nuke!    Extremely powerful. Can gib anything in sight.
Freezethrower Wanted to freeze someone? Try this!
Nail bomb      The a.k.a. Eraser bomb.
Guided missile Fly your missile around to hunt people down.
Auto-missile  3 continuous shots at a time.
Nuke          Ultra powerful, can gib everyone in a room with 1 shot.
Flare          Lights up the room.
Guided Nuke!! Guided version of Nuke, a bit more powerful.
BFG 9000      The BFG from DOOM is back!
Gibbed head    Floating in the air, looking for people to ambush.
Self-Destruct Only allowed when health < 20. Kill everyone with it.
Gib-gun mode  Same damage as grenade / RTB. Fun to watch it explodes.
Trapped backpack Now you'll never know which backpack is safe, which isn't.
Fake backpack Now you'll never know which backpack is real, which isn't.
Shield        Good defensive device.
Orb            Good defensive and offensive device.
Feign death    Hope that people will think you're really dead.
Decoy          Another device to deceive people
Air Strike    Call for an air strike.
Radar          A VERY useful living object detection device
Rain of fire  Summon a rain of fire to burn like hell!


Beyond the new guns and weapons, KQP added the kind of details and polish that would later come for granted in late 90's and early 2000's shooters: decapitation, bleeding and twitching gibs that could float on water, shell casings, interactive props, akimbo weapons, projectiles that had some physics and would bounce off things, and much more. It had a built-in third-person camera system. You could even spawn a dog companion to fight for you, named Cujo, natch. Bots were built in, each with a custom skin and name so you could fight Captain Picard and The Mummy along with your friends. KQP really was a tremendous showcase of QuakeC programming.

Chasecam! Screenshot taken at the 1996 LAN party, found in the C:\Quake backup
Screenshot taken at the 1996 LAN party, found in my C:\Quake backup
The Mummy seems fond of poison arrows.
The Mummy seems fond of poison arrows.


There probably isn't a way to replicate the sheer joy and exploration of our first few hours playing KQP at that LAN party. New forms of gameplay emerged, and the combat meta evolved minute-by-minute as we each discovered new guns and their effects. For example the magnum shotgun could one-shot an unarmored opponent but required precise aim and some distance from your opponent. Meanwhile a cautious player could find a good hiding place and then simply send out deadly guided rockets from safety. Someone found out that the Blood Drainer would slowly kill an opponent after a single shot, leading to sneaky hit-and-run gameplay. We found hilarious ways to grief players, and discovered some maps could be dominated by overpowered or broken weapons. The air cannon was devastating on maps with lava, because you could just blast people off walkways to their doom. We ended up banning the morningstar because you could use it to escape the map and crash the server. I dug through the mod documentation and told someone that typing "impulse 230" would give you a portable nuke but instead it initiated thier self-destruct mechanism. The comedy and greifing had no end.

Triple Missiles vs. Poison Arrows - who wins?
Triple Missiles vs. Poison Arrows - who wins?


Later on, we built new game modes on the honor system. Things like freezegun and ax only. Or low-gravity with the Air Fist, which let you ping-pong around the map with blasts of air trying to bump someone into environmental hazards. It seemed like new game experiences were only limited by your imagination.

Minigun shell casings obscure your vision, but who cares because BRRRRRRRRT!
Minigun shell casings obscure your vision,
but who cares because BRRRRRRRRT!

I recorded a deathmatch against a few bots in Triumph, a multiplayer map included with KQP. It gives more an idea of the frenetic pace of KQP in multiplayer, like trying to find the right weapon for the situation and dealing with the status effects like being poisoned, lit on fire, or having your arms cut off.

Coming back to play KQP with bots for this article reminded me how much I miss that in-person discovery of gameplay that LAN parties facilitated. While the Zeus bots are good at using all the wild weapons, they don't suggest doing an impromptu round-robin dueling tournament with the Xena Warrior Princess flying disc weapon. Even so, this mod really holds up. Each gun is so much fun, and I ended up playing a solid hour with bots on various maps and once again discovering the tricks and strategies that worked best for each map and combat space.

Flying Disc duels usually end with decapitation.
Flying Disc duels usually end with decapitation.


Honestly speaking, KQP makes me a little depressed at how same-ey shooters are these days. The weapon lineups haven't changed since Doom: pistol, shotgun, submachinegun, rifle, grenade launcher, sniper rifle, the one interesting gun, blah blah blah. Where's the shooter with fun and funny weapons? What games give you the joy of exploring new ways to blow up your friends? I've seen some interesting stuff in the indie space, like Duck Game, that has that spark. But I miss that feeling.

KQP provided some of the most fun Quake gaming moments of my life. While you may not be able to recreate the novelty of encountering it for the first time at a LAN party, it's still fun to stomp some bots or run through the single-player campaign of Quake with KQP loaded up.


From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 10, 2021 8:49 AM

    Seventh in a weekly series of articles about the cool Quake stuff I collected in the late 90's. This time: The anarchic and hilarious weapon mod KQP - Killer Quake Pack.

    Read more: C:\QUAKE - Part 7: LAN Parties and Killer Quake Pack

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 8:49 AM

      This Cortex was the most powerfully nostalgic to research and write yet. I took a week off for the holiday and spent the time to capture some fun footage of multiplayer with bots - it's embedded near the end of the article.

      Attn: ThomW, shotgun1, roushimsx, someWayne, mn3m0n1c, JohnnyDanger, skankcore, u sir name, gracelessdragon, cap n KRUNCH, someWayne, knytehawkk, ughhhhhhh, quazar, paravis, cokefiend, CrustaR, Waverider, redfive, Maddog_Delphi97, Audhuml4, skizl, dmode101, reelbk, lacker, MikkleThePickle, Distortion462, Ziz, razlebol, MacemannInTW, zehh, frib, ventro, ahlee, sasoi, enyakk, Conan, hobosapien, Veegeezee

      • reply
        April 10, 2021 8:51 AM

        Mannn, I miss lan parties.

        • reply
          April 10, 2021 1:28 PM

          Me too. The crew of guys from this story mostly stuck together and still have yearly LAN parties around winter break even though they're all married and have kids and whatnot.

        • reply
          April 10, 2021 1:54 PM

          i don’t miss my 130lbs self carrying a 50lbs crt everywhere with me, but that just meant that once the lan was setup, no one was leaving until forced out

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 11:58 AM

      My friends were too deep into Quake 2 and CounterStrike to appreciate all of the good Quake 1 mods I spent so many hours downloading and trying to get running on a pentium 200 with a voodoo2.

      Thanks as always for these articles, I love them.

      • reply
        April 10, 2021 1:32 PM

        Once Half-Life came out the Lan Cree became addicted to HLDM and Sven Co-Op and Counterstrike and mostly left Quake behind.

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 2:37 PM

      This stuff is awesome!

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 3:00 PM

      Very cool write up. Lots of nostalgia for that time. What you described is exactly why LAN parties were so much fun.

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 4:55 PM

      Haha, oh man, all our LAN parties were also on a ping pong table.

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 5:27 PM

      I loved KQP!

      I never thought it was particularly well balanced. The grenade launcher had some sort of blood sucking dart alternate fire which would kind of "home" in on people a little bit. Anyway, if you stuck someone with one of those they would slow right down while it was hitting them. Made it pretty easy to get another 2 or 3 into them to finish them off.

      I remember a few impulse commands you could use when you picked up various kinds of armor. I think one would summon a dog? The other a bot that would fight on your side. The bot didn't seem to have any delay on firing weapons so it shoot off about 10 poisoned arrows a second.

      @enkidu - if you wanted another old Quake thing to write about, did you ever play with the Stooge bot? Amazingly enough, the homepage still seems to be up: https://graphics.stanford.edu/~kekoa/stoogebot/about.html

      • reply
        April 10, 2021 5:47 PM

        We banned some of the weapons in KQP due to them being janky or broken, on penalty of getting kicked off the server and having your score reset. I remember the blood dart thing being especially hated, but didn't know about the homing function.

        I believe the version of KQP we used didn't have the dog, Cujo, or perhaps none of us read far enough into the manual to figure out the commands to summon it.

        • reply
          April 10, 2021 9:57 PM

          Yeah, it was a super strong homing or anything, but it would notably "strafe" left to right in the air to kind of follow people.

          Also the Xena disc I remember being hilarious and being able to lop off arms and heads.

      • reply
        April 10, 2021 6:14 PM

        unbalanced was how we rolled in the 90s

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 5:46 PM

      The portal gun in that mod was so cool. I loved playing around with it.

    • reply
      April 10, 2021 6:22 PM


      • reply
        April 10, 2021 6:30 PM

        Thanks! I'm glad you like the writeups and its good to hear my half-assed videos are appreciated.

        Since I wrote the text for the article I've heard that Bulletstorm had some odd and interesting weapons in them, so I might try that out. It's only a few dollars on itch.io

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