Skip to main content

John Romero celebrates Quake’s 20th birthday with ancient FAQ and long-lost screencaps

Wow. Talk about feeling old. Some of us remember id Software’s now-classic first-person-shooter Quake before it hit store shelves, playing the “legendary” QTest multiplayer demo that the developer launched back in February 1996 to see how well the upcoming polygon-based game would run. For some of us, the demo showed that the machine capable of running Doom like a blazing demon from hell wouldn’t run id Software’s next shooter without a component called a math co-processor. Later on, we needed a new thing called a graphics processor to make the game look and run even better.

What’s crazy to fathom is that Quake launched exactly 20 years ago on Wednesday (June 22, 1996). The game changed the industry, setting the use of polygons as the standard way to render objects. Quake enabled players to create their own levels, skins, and mods. It also introduced players to the chaos of Internet-based multiplayer gaming, and opened up the virtual world by allowing players to look in all directions simply by moving a mouse.

What a golden age in gaming that was.

Back then, Tim Willits, Sandy Peterson, American McGee, and John Romero were designers at id Software. They created a unique, medieval, somewhat devilish world that was heavily inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Unfortunately, both American McGee and John Romero left the company, and even John Carmack, the mastermind behind id Software’s idTech engine, recently jumped ship and joined Oculus VR.

Get your weekly teardown of the tech behind PC gaming
Check your inbox!

Quake was really John Romero’s baby, and he may be missing that baby to some degree. How do we know? He recently coughed up a document originally posted in October 1995 by Joost Shuur, released many months before the final game went retail. It was called Quaketalk 95, and is basically a roundup/FAQ of everything that was posted on the Internet regarding Quake up until that date.

“Joost did a great job scraping this information together,” Romero writes. “You can see the original design thinking behind Quake while we were making it. Just one month after this Quaketalk 95 FAQ was released was our fateful, big company meeting that determined the final direction of the game into the Quake that was released. It bears little resemblance to the designs discussed here, but it lets you see how volatile game design processes can be.”

In addition to the document, Romero posted the first screenshots of Quake id Software distributed to the Internet back on August 3, 1995, along with the associated document. The screenshots were originally unleashed in a 320 x 200 resolution, but Romero enlarged them for a better viewing, which in turn shows how Quake was rendered without a standalone graphics chip. Needless to say, 3DFX (Voodoo) and Rendition (Vérité) definitely cleaned up all those jagged edges quite a bit!

Finally, Romero posted on his blog a set of Quake-based trading cards generated by an unknown fan. They’re cool to say the least, even more so if you’re a big fan of this specific Quake title.

Recently, Bethesda and id Software rejected John Carmack’s previous idea of revisiting the original world of Quake in a new campaign, and decided to pursue a multiplayer-only game called Quake Champions instead.

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
What is Revered Spirit Ash in Elden Ring?
A warrior fights in Elden Ring.

There's no denying that Elden Ring is a tough game with a lot of enemies and bosses that can really test your mettle. Luckily, alongside the ability to improve your weapons, you can also find a variety of Spirit Ashes that can be used to summon spirits to help you in battle. There are tons of these to choose from, and while some are objectively better than others at different things, even the worst ones can add a bit of extra survivability or damage output when you're in sticky situations.

While these Spirit Ashes can only be improved to level 10 in the base game, the Shadow of the Erdtree expansion allows you to increase their damage and defense even further when finding and using Revered Spirit Ash. Here's everything you need to know about Revered Spirit Ash.
How Revered Spirit Ash works
You'll discover multiple Revered Spirit Ash throughout your journey in the Land of Shadow. As you find them, you can take them to any Site of Grace and select to enhance your Shadow Realm Blessing, granting your Spirit Ashes the ability to deal and take more damage in combat.

Read more
How to stagger enemies in Elden Ring
A troll fights a player in Elden Ring.

Whether Elden Ring is your first From Software game or you’re an experienced Souls player, you’ve probably learned that some of the game’s systems can be a little…opaque. Staggering is an excellent example: Players know it’s in the game, they can see it work when an enemy drops their shield or gets interrupted, but it isn’t clear what’s going on.

Staggering is a clear advantage in Elden Ring, especially when you are facing a heavily-armored opponent or trying to break a boss’s moveset before it utterly destroys you. While some of the mechanics behind it are still a little fuzzy, we know enough to turn you into a stagger master anyway. Here’s what to do.

Read more
How to use Great Runes in Elden Ring
how to pre order elden ring logo

The world of Elden Ring is filled with mysteries. The game doesn't hold your hand for long before letting you venture out in any direction you like – which is both a blessing and a curse. Stumbling upon new weapons, enemies, or another gorgeous viewpoint is what makes Elden Ring so entertaining, and if the game simply pointed you towards all these locations, it wouldn't be nearly as exciting.

Read more