This is highly outdated!

Use Quakespasm or DirectQ

A comparison of Quake Engines focused on Singleplayer. Gimmicky techdemos like Tenebrae are excluded as well as "old and forgotten" engines. Also excluded are engines that do not add any significant (for proper Singleplayer) features to its codebases (eg Tremor and Vengeance).

Please read the footnotes, especially if something seems unclear or weird.

If you have more feature comparisons to suggest and are willing to do the work, please contact me.

The only "special features" I added are ones I would like to see supported in more engines (such as logging centerprints to the console or full- and overbrights).

As most engines support those I excluded them: Scrolling in the console, colored lights (.lit), gamma

The testing was done on a mobile P3 with 256MB Ram and onboard Ati Mobility Radeon Something, Windows XP. If an engine had a "classic" mode I used it. I did NOT play around with cvars or anything like that.

ezQuake is only included because it is the most popular QW engine and unfortunately many people use it to play Singleplayer too.

To-Do

General Information

Name Author Website Tested release OS support ((unofficial) ports) Renderer
Winquakeid Softwarewebsite1.00Windows, (Linux, MacOS, more)Software
GLquakeid Softwarewebsite0.95 (1.09)Windows, (Linux, MacOS, more)OpenGL
FitzquakeJohn "metlslime" Fitzgibbonswebsite0.80Windows, (Linux, MacOS)OpenGL
aguirRe's glquakeaguirRewebsite1.33WindowsSoftware, OpenGL
Tyr-glquakeTyrannwebsite0.58Windows, Linux, BSDSoftware, OpenGL
DarkplacesLordHavocwebsite20.11.2007Windows, MacOS, LinuxOpenGL
JoeQuakeJozsef Szalontaiwebsitebuild 1862Windows, LinuxSoftware, OpenGL
QrackR00kwebsitev1.85 (build 2194)Windows, (Linux)OpenGL
QMBDrLabmanwebsiteV1.19WindowsOpenGL
TomazQuakeTomaz-1.48WindowsOpenGL
TelejanoTeiwebsite8.01WindowsOpenGL
MHQuakeMHwebsite8.1WindowsOpenGL
ProQuakeJP Grossman and Bakerwebsite3.99Windows, (Linux)Software, OpenGL

General features

Name "Faithful" engine [1] runs marcher [2] loads warpc [3] loads lr.bsp [4] Random special features [5]
WinQuake yesyes"mod_numknown == MAX_MOD_KNOWN""ED_ALLOC: no free edicts"unknown
GLQuake yesfar parts are cut off, pretty slow"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""ED_ALLOC: no free edicts"unknown
Fitzquake yesyes"Mod_FindName: NULL name""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"unknown
aguirRe's glquake yesyesyes, slow but faster than the othersyesunknown
Tyr-glquake yesyes"Mod_FindName: NULL name""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set (8192)"r_lockpvs
Darkplaces noextremely slowloads, but "server can't keep up" messages and very slow"has encountered a problem and needs to close."Ogg Vorbis support, even for cdtracks. Highly advanced graphical features.
JoeQuake yesyes"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"dzip support
Qrack noextremely slow"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"dzip support
Telejano nouse gl_far 8192"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""Loop_SendMessage: overflow"unknown
QMB nobrainmelting hell of failure"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""ED_ALLOC: no free edicts"unknown
MHQuake noweird lighting"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"Beautiful sky
TomazQuake noyes"has encountered a problem and needs to close.""SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"unknown
Proquake yesyesFreezes unrecoverably. With a bit of luck you can control Windows via hotkeys in the background (you won't see what you are doing) to save open work or restart."SZ_GetSpace: overflow without allowoverflow set"unknown
(ezQuake 1.9) yes, optional"gamelogic" is missing (of course, it's a QW engine), many entities are not displayed"Host_Error: Map has too many models."Loads the map but only displays ~1% of the monsters. Also sounds are "chopped".unknown
Q2K4 (honorable mention)yesyes"has encountered a problem and needs to close."loads, but slow and sound chokingunknown

Graphic Features

Name fullbrights overbrights animation interpolation external textures [6] fog from worldspawn [7] "fancy" particles [8] transparency skybox from worldspawn Waterwarp [9]
WinQuake yesyesnono nono nonowaving
GLQuake nononono nono nonowaving
Fitzquake yesyesnoyes (tga, pcx) yesno noyesstretching
aguirRe's glquake nonoyes, optionalyes (tga, pcx) yesno yesyeswaving
Tyr-glquake nononono nono nononone
Darkplaces yesyesyesyes (lots) yesyes, optional yesyesstretching
JoeQuake yesyesyesyes (tga, png, jpg) noyes, optional yesnonone
Qrack noyesyesyes (tga, png, jpg) Crashesyes, optional yesyesnone
Telejano yesnoyesyes (lots) noyes yesyesnone
QMB yesyesnoyes (lots) noyes nononone
MHQuake yesnonoyes (lots) noyes nononone
TomazQuake yesnonoyes (tga, pcx) noyes yesyesnone
Proquake nononono nono nononone
(ezQuake 1.9) yesyesyesyes (lots) noyes, optional nononone

Testmap

I put my 3 testmaps into one: enginetest-spirit.zip
Explanations and these "reference" screenshots are included:

Screenshots

Some demo1.dem screenshots are available at engine_comparison_screenshots.html (warning, about 7 Megabytes of images).

Console Features

Name enhanced tab completion tab completion for files logging centerprints [10] insert mode [11]
WinQuake nononono
GLQuake nononono
Fitzquake yesnoyesyes
aguirRe's glquake nonoyesno
Tyr-glquake yesyes (maps and demos)nono
Darkplaces yes, veryyes (maps and more)noyes
JoeQuake yesyes (maps, demos and more)noyes
Qrack yesyes (maps, demos and more)yesyes
Telejano yesnonoyes
QMB nononono
MHQuake nononono
TomazQuake yesnonoyes
Proquake yes, basicnonono
(ezQuake 1.9) yes, verynonoyes

Conclusion

Quite a lot of engines are missing crucial features or contain severe buggyness. While lr and warpc may be considered exceptions (and engines that run them exceptionally stable), every engine should be able to run marcher well (missing sounds are ok). Why that? Well, id's Winquake almost can.

It is impossible to announce a "winner" as even the "better" engines are missing some important features. aguirRe's glquake has no full- and overbrights, Fitzquake has no animation interpolation and not even alpha support. Fitzquake can't run warpc and lr either, yet its console is a tad nicer. Tyr-glquake has some nice features for mappers but then misses most other features. Darkplaces, the massive monster tank, has more features than one can imagine, yet it breaks compatibility to many Quake hacks on the way and chokes on marcher. Joequake and Qrack are decent engines for players that like a bit more eyecandy. Qrack's crashing on fog is severe though. Telejano, QMB, MHQuake and TomazQuake are typical "coder engines" that come with many new features for mods, yet don't support modern maps and "map features" only sporadically (TomazQuake being an exception as pioneer and standard setter here).

Spirit, quaddicted.com, April 2008

Changelog