Quake celebrates its 15th anniversary

quake

Fifteen years ago, Quake blew us all away. It was a process that started for many of us in the early ’90s withWolfenstein 3D. Here was a game that unfolded entirely through the eyes of its protagonist, a simple experience in which you ran through an elaborate network of corridors, collected weapons and, most importantly, gunned down Nazis.

Doom came next, taking the first-person trappings of Wolfenstein and adding a Hell-comes-to-sci-fi twist. Both of these games were the work of a young, upstart company, id Software, under the guidance of founders John Carmack, John Romero, Tom Hall and Adrian Carmack. They took the lessons learned from those inaugural FPS experiences and applied them to Quake, adding a key element that would help shape the future of interactive entertainment as we now know it.

Quake is counted among the first shooters to add a Y-axis to the aiming controls, allowing players to direct their fire up and down as well as side to side. The real achievement though was bringing this style of gaming into an online space. Suddenly, you were looking through a virtual avatar’s eyes out into an environment filled with other avatars controlled by actual humans. And everyone had guns.

The collective gaming hivemind, still small and scattered at the time, reacted immediately. Here was an opportunity to play out the fantasy of being a Wild West gunslinger and put your fastest draw against another living human. Only there were rocket launchers too. Exaggerated physics and a varied selection of weapons filled out self-contained arenas of death, where explosions tossed all around and gun-toting soldiers bunny-hopped everywhere, firing away the whole time. It was a rhythmic sort of chaos, just as hilarious as it was energizing to watch unfold. Of course it became a hit.

Bethesda Softworks, fellow subsidiary to id owner ZeniMax Media, celebrates the anniversary today with blog post, featuring a message from John Carmack. You can also head over to the source link to check out a vintage interview with him at the inaugural QuakeWorld in 1996.

“I could write an awful lot about Quake, but since we are in the final crunch for Rage right now, I’ll have to settle for just a few random thoughts.

I have a bit more subdued memory of Quake than many of our other projects, because the development was so tough. It was the first project where I really had to grapple with my personal limitations; I had bitten off a little more than I could chew with all the big steps at once – full 3D world, 3D characters, light maps, PVS calculations, game scripting, client / server networking, etc. No matter how hard I worked, things just weren’t getting done when we wanted them to.

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.

It seems silly now, but at the time we were very concerned that people wouldn’t be able to deal with free look mouse control, and we had lots of options to restrict pitch changes and auto-center when you started moving.

The internet gaming aspect was almost an accident. I had moved from Doom’s peer-to-peer networking to client/server primarily to allow late game entry, and UDP was supported because I was still doing a lot of the development on NEXTSEP unix workstations. The idea of playing over the internet was always there, but I didn’t think it would be practical for many people due to the long latencies and variable performance of typical connections. When it turned out that people were doing it despite the low quality, it gave me the incentive to develop the alternative QuakeWorld executable with the various latency reduction mechanisms.

The other important alternative executable was glQuake, which played a significant role in the early days of 3D accelerators. 3DFX was the gold standard back then – Nvidia’s RIVA128 had poor subpixel precision and didn’t handle all the blend modes properly. In fact, almost everyone was under the incorrect assumption that blending was only good for alpha transparency, even companies like 3DLabs that should have known better.

Competitive deathmatch had gotten started with Doom, but the Red Annihilation Quake tournament was a high point, where I gave my first turbo Ferrari away to Thresh for his dominating tournament win.

I look back at Quake as the golden age of game modding, before the standards rose so high that it required almost a full time commitment to do something relevant. I am very proud that many of today’s industry greats trace their start back to working with Quake.

The most important thing about Quake for me was that I met my wife when she organized the first all-female Quake tournament. She still thinks Quake was the seminal achievement of Id, and she glowers at me whenever I bemoan how random the design was.”

Gaming

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is endearing and wonderfully weird

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening is as magically weird as I remembered. The super cute art style fits Koholint Island so well, and Nintendo improved multiple, critical mechanics.
Deals

Need a smartphone? The Razer Phone 2 gets a huge $300 price cut

Mobile gaming has grown seen incredible growth in recent years. The best gaming smartphones tend to be expensive, though, but the beefy Razer Phone 2 is on sale right now for a huge discount on Amazon that can save you hundreds.
Deals

Walmart drops a big $200 price cut on the Dell XPS 8930 PC

If you're looking for an affordable gaming PC, you'll want to check out this Dell XPS 8930 Gaming Desktop Computer (8th Gen), which is $200 off from Walmart. Normally $1,400, a cool 14% discount brings the price down to $1,200.
Gaming

From Nintendo to Capcom, here are the best booths we saw at E3 2019

Every year, publishers and developers gather in Los Angeles to show off their games at E3. Booths are a major part of the excitement and this year didn't let us down. From Nintendo to Capcom, here are the best booths of E3 2019.
Computing

Don’t call it retro. Atari’s VCS is a modern console for PC gamers

You might think the Atari VCS is another retro console like the Nintendo SNES Classic or Sega Genesis Mini. You'd be wrong. Atari's VCS is actually a modern console that runs PC hardware. Yes, it can play Atari games, but it does much more.
Gaming

Call of Duty: Mobile is the best shooter I’ve played on a smartphone

Call of Duty: Mobile attempts to put the franchise's tight gameplay in the palm of your hand. It's largely successful, thanks to precise controls and attractive graphics. The game arrives on iOS and Android later this year.
Gaming

The PlayStation Network is back up. Here’s the latest on the PSN outage

Sony's PlayStation Network is back online after going down for several hours on Thursday afternoon, annoying legions of gamers right in the middle of E3. Here's the latest on the outage
Cars

Tesla screens may support YouTube with next software update

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today at E3 that the infotainment screens will support YouTube video streaming very soon. This most likely lines up with the latest software update that is expected later this year.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for June 2019

Looking to score Nintendo's latest console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals, including discounts on bundles that feature must-have games like Super Mario Odyssey, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Gaming

Niantic Labs sues hackers who help players cheat in Pokémon Go

Niantic Labs has filed a lawsuit against Global++, who is said to be behind the hacked versions of Pokémon Go and Ingress. The legal action comes as the developer is preparing to launch Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Gaming

How Epic Games almost made the mistake of ending Fortnite

Former Epic Games production director Rod Fergusson said that he would have canceled Fortnite if he stayed with the developer. The game only started soaring in popularity when the Battle Royale mode was released a few months after launch.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Plant-based shoes and a ukulele learning aid

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

Put down the controller and pick up the best phones for gaming on the go

Which phones are the best if all you want to do is play some mobile games? We've done the hard work and put together a list of the best gaming phones on Android and iOS, so you can keep playing and winning.