Quake Advent Calendar 2013 - Part 1

Welcome to a Quake-themed Advent Calendar. On 24 days 24 people will showcase something about Quake. Something old, something new, something obscure, something you should check out. Monitor the list on the frontpage to see new posts every day.

6th December - Scampie

Merry Quakemas! I come with a bounty of classic Deathmatch levels made by the community back in the day! This is an unsorted list of ten favorite deathmatch levels of mine, plus some mentions of how the author/map influenced the level design community. This isn't a top ten, and I'll also note that I specifically decided to leave out Aerowalk and Blood Run, two maps which I believe all Quakers already know about. I also decided to limit myself to 1 map per designer, and only maps which were released before the year 2000. So without further ado, let's get to it!

See Scampie's list of Classic Custom Quake Deathmatch Levels.

5th December - onetruepurple

I, and many others, find it amazing how Quake continues to rear its old head even today. ;) It doesn't take long to figure out that what keeps Quake alive is the community, and the dedication and creativity of numerous players and mappers and modders and members otherwise.

In the dark ages of 1996, the community was just as dedicated and creative as we are today, even though the majority of the effort is lost to time. However, by some netherwordly miracle, one extremely obscure website still stands today.

YoonioR's Quake Page was founded on 14th October 1996, and is the oldest Polish website dedicated to Quake 1. The author closed it sometime unknown, preserving the content. It is essentially a time window leading right into the heyday of the deathmatch scene. Many of its guests have submitted screenshots and stories of their server conquests, creating an atmosphere of a massive tavern of 90's Quake bros.

What's unusual, though, is a series of fanfiction articles in the stories section. While there are many such stories available, I have a favorite. Here is an excerpt of "Fugazi" by Krzysztof "Chris" Arkuszewski:

Zipping my suit, I teetered on the unstable floor of the console. Somebody's hand supported me, and another tried to give me a handful of drugs. "Fuck off," I snarled, regulating the harness. A while later, they put on my helmet, isolating me from everything around me. Quiet. Dark. I found the control panel. A control screen lit up. I set it to automatic tuning. Then a short, manual correction. My headphones cracked. "One! One, respond." An electrical impulse ran over my skull. I yelped. "You hear me now? Configure yourself." Menu. Customize. A short series of commands. Confirmation. Ready! "Alright, test it. You get 30 seconds of DM4. Go!" I fell onto the floor. Pain in the knees. I hit a wall, my arm went numb for a short moment. Jesus, how real it is! For a while I stood and looked around the familiar map. A nice heat emanated from the lava. A few steps, then a jump. Sprinted sharply for the nailgun. I fired at the wall for warmup. OK. Everything's fine, can't be better. "Okay, over! You're starting soon." Darkness, and a squeeze in my throat. Fear? Yes. It hit me and paralysed me, drenching me in sweat. Digits appeared in the corner of my eye. 5… 4… My legs trembled. 3… Idiotic, niggling itching on the neck. 2… 1… Go!

onetruepurple translated the whole story so go read "Fugazi" by Krzysztof "Chris" Arkuszewski.

4th December - taniwha

The QuakeForge project is one of the oldest opensource Quake projects. Its main focus has been on stability and broad hardware support. It is one of the few projects to still maintain both the OpenGL renderer and the original software renderer. Still, in recent years QuakeForge has come to support many features seen in other modern Quake Engines such as large maps, IQM models, and colored lighting. Many modern mods can be played using QuakeForge. However, one feature that sets QuakeForge apart from the others is the hardware accelerated "software" renderer.

The hardware accelerated "software" renderer uses OpenGL shader magic to reproduce the gritty look of the original software renderer, even the lighting. Along with the original look, many features from modern OpenGL Quake engines are supported, including transparent water and certain walls, fog and smoothed model animation (hardware accelerated).

For technical reasons the renderer is not selected by default (instead, the regular OpenGL renderer is), but it can be selected via the command line: nq-x11 +set vid_render glsl (Linux etc) or nq-win +set vid_render glsl (Windows). For any assistance with QuakeForge, go to #quakeforge on irc.oftc.net or irc.freenode.net, or #qc on irc.anynet.org (ping taniwha).

Visit http://quakeforge.net/

3rd December - Vondur

The year is 1997. I don't have internet at home. I just recently bought pirated Quake CD and played it without +mlook and only with keyboard (yes, completed it in this mode first time because I didn't know you can use mouse). I liked game very much because of its atmosphere and of course gory brutal gameplay and wanted more.

Once, I stumbled upon a CD-ROM full of so called "Quake mods" on some warez point. Those dark times Russia was full of warez on every corner because interweb was seldom in peoples homes. The contents of CD-ROM showed me that I can explore more Quake dimensions because this CD-ROM was full of badly made levels. I didn't care then, I was just playing not knowing that custom made levels could be much much better. And, thanks to power of interweb that I had on my work and mighty Yahoo search engine, I typed 'quake levels' or something into the search box and the site that turned to be a cornerstone of my Quake adventure was found - SPQ Level Heaven.

This site gathered reviews of the finest levels at the time, tiny screenshots showed new unexplored realms. So I took pack of 3" diskettes and started bringing levels home. Those times it was rather hard. Silly diskettes could spontaneously stop reading. Most hardcore thing I remember was bringing Zerstorer mod home. It took 2-3 days! Because I had just 3 diskettes and mod is around 10Mbs. So, thanks to that first site I found I've got mighty inspiration to make levels myself. And it all happened one day but that's another story ;)

Browse an archived copy of SPQ Level Heaven.

2nd December - Daz

"Electric Sheep" by David Jewsbury is a Quake level spanning three maps and was released on 07/11/1996. Why do I bring this up? As far as I can remember this was the first custom level for Quake that I had ever played. I had absolutely no internet at the time and every month I would hop down to the local news agents to grab a copy of either PC Zone or PC Gamer, depending on which one had more Quake content on its cover cd that month!

So imagine my excitement one day as I rummaged through the magazine rack and came upon an issue of PC Zone which included "Over 100 quake mods!" on its cover cd. The initial excitement diminished slightly when I got home and read the contents of the Quake folder. Extra ammo mod! Ogre rocket mod! The list went on this way for a good ten lines before I found it. "Over 20 new levels!" Jackpot. I installed all the levels into my Quake directory and wrote down a list of all the map names on a piece of paper, then rebooted into msdos (more memory free! Ahh the old days) .

Elcshp.bsp was the first name on the list of course. I must have attempted the first level around 8 times and had been horribly murdered at each attempt! At the time I didn't even use the mouse to control the game. Keyboard all the way! Even though the level was cramped, difficult and frustrating I found it fascinating that someone had created this entire world for me to play in. David Jewsbury (among others) is responsible for me installing a Quake level editor and learning how to create worlds of my own.

Electric Sheep is available for download and play right here: https://www.quaddicted.com/reviews/elcshp.html

1st December - Spirit

QuakeWorld is the Internet-optimised multiplayer part of Quake. The European Quake League is a 4-on-4 team deathmatch league. Suddendeath (SD) from Sweden and The Viper Squad (tVS) from Finland are two clans which were both founded in the hey-days of Quake in 1997. Tonight, at 20:30 CET (that is 6 and a half hours from now), they will face each other in the grand final of the 17th season of the EQL in a best-of-five showdown. (Image by bps.)

If you own Quake, you can spectate the match in-game using QTV in the ezQuake engine. Monitor a QTV browser and when the game appears, click the Watch link and open it with ezQuake. nQuake offers an easy installer for ezQuake for beginners.

For everyone else there will be a livestream at the suddendeathTV channel at Twitch.tv, hopefully with live commentary.