Quake Advent Calendar 2013 - Part 4

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. This is part 4 for the 19th to 24th December. See quake_advent_calendar_2013 for the previous posts.

24th December - Spirit

reQuiem is a Quake engine by jdhack for Linux and Windows with demo playback controls (pause, rewind, fast-forward, quick-seek), extensive tab-completion in the console, vastly improved options menus, a map browser, a demo browser, fast and convenient video capture support, many bug fixes, compatibility options like "ignore the case of filenames", expanded limits so you can play all the latest maps without problems (actually it automatically detects if it has to use an extended protocol), dzip and zip/pk3 support. It can record nicely-named demos at any time and compress them if you like, it names screenshots after the map they are taken on. It supports the soundtrack in Ogg Vorbis or MP3, playing the Quake Pre-Release and Test versions, non-US keyboard layouts. I have been using this engine as tester pretty much exclusively for the last 4 years and I never want to go back to the alternatives.

Check out reQuiem, my favourite Quake engine.

Please be aware that this is a beta release. File your issues at https://github.com/SpiritQuaddicted/reQuiem or mail them to spirit@quaddicted.com. Please be verbose!

23rd December - Dr. Shadowborg

Hellsmash is an in development partial conversion for Quake featuring new / enhanced monsters, new weapons, new items, and thus far, one start map and one SP/DM map. Frikbots also come installed so you can play against them in DM. Previously available as Beta 3, the mod disappeared in original mod form, but survived to some extent via MrGreezy's PSP Port.

This latest version features a revised hse1m1, a female player model by lelleilol, tweaks and improvements over the original Beta 3. If you missed the original version, now is the perfect time to try this latest release.

22nd December - ericw

One of the single-player maps from the early days of Quake that sticks out in my memory the most is The Middle Evil, by Jean-Marc Gruninger, released in November 1997. Undoubtedly it’s because of beautiful custom texture set the author made. In the readme, he mentions making scans, so I’m assuming these were sourced from photographs of a castle. I don’t recall seeing these textures being used again, or the level mentioned on forums, so hopefully this is a new find for some of you.

Compared with recent Quake releases the design is a bit blockier, and the level’s scale is similar to id’s levels, unlike many newer gargantuan custom levels (Tronyn’s recent release is fresh in my mind!) - but to my eyes The Middle Evil has aged really well. The map is able to create quite a convincing medieval castle setting.

Unfortunately, the gameplay is really frustrating - there’s a mix of unintuitive switches/buttons, having to avoid fighting tough enemies, and being forced to retrace your steps through areas patrolled by shamblers. If you feel like a challenge, and can deal with some frustrating saving/reloading, I’d suggest giving it a try anyway. The one benefit of the unforgiving, frustrating gameplay is it’s a very tense map - you never feel safe - and this does work well with the map’s atmosphere.

Here’s the download page on Quaddicted: https://www.quaddicted.com/reviews/middle.html

I wrote some spoilers/tips to help navigate the first section of the map, which will hopefully make it a little less frustrating:

  • The door to the main courtyard opens by hitting the switches in the two gate houses.
  • Once you open the first door, save, and wait for a shambler to walk by, heading to the right. There are several shamblers walking in a loop here. You don’t have the firepower to kill them, so you have to try to play stealthily here
  • You’ll need to follow closely behind a shambler, trying to avoid alerting him, but also staying out of the line of sight of the previous shambler behind you in the loop. There are three wall-mounted buttons that need to be attacked - use your axe, but don’t do it with a shambler too close (they should probably have been regular push-buttons)
  • Once you manage to activate the three buttons, one of the doors in the start area has opened
  • Look for a wheel leaning against a wall - attack it, and attack the button that is revealed underneath
  • This opens a door to a church, which is unfortunately along the route patrolled by the shamblers
  • In the church, there’s a floor tile near the altar, in a corner - stepping on it opens up a megahealth secret
  • There’s a floor switch between the pews that you need to hit to exit the church.
  • Try to make your way back to the start area, avoiding alerting the shamblers, and look for the silver key door.

You’re on your own for the rest!

21st December - LordHavoc

Once upon a time, an ego-fueled madman called MindCrime wrote, scripted, directed, acted, and produced a particular tale that poised itself as a direct successor to Quake, The Seal Of Nehahra is a machinima not to be taken lightly, weighing in at 3 hours and 55 minutes in length. Get your popcorn and watch an exceptionally snarky tale of heroes and villains, power struggles and conquest, and the unforgettable Phil, it's time well spent if you like machinima.

That would be enough on its own to make the history books (which it did), but Nehahra is actually a complete expansion pack to Quake.

Lovingly crafted by some of the best-known Quake level designers of the time, the mod features two episodes of mirthful destruction (and more if you download the thirdparty episodes), and of course a fair few cutscenes as well (even featuring a half hour intro cutscene).

On a personal note I must say it was a thrill to work with MindCrime, Elek, Vondur, Vigil, czg and others on the Nehahra mod and its supporting engines, thanks in particular to Ender of the Quake Standards Group and Arguirre for continuing work on the official Nehahra engine, the mod is also supported to this day by DarkPlaces engine.

To play Nehahra you'll need to:

  1. Get nehahra.zip and drag the files to your quake folder, this is the mod itself, you may want to rename the glquake.exe when copying as it will only play Nehahra.
  2. Get the_seal_of_nehahra.zip and drag the new files from its nehahra folder into your nehahra folder, replacing the pak0.pak when it asks.
  3. Run the glquake.exe (Arguirre's nehahra engine) that you copied from the nehahra.zip.
  4. Choose either Singleplayer to play the mod or Play Demo to select chapters in the Seal of Nehahra machinima.


20th December - quakis

After thinking too much about my contribution, in the end I decided to showcase something a little different for my assigned date and thus present this piece of fan art created specifically for the advent calender. Despite several hours of eye straining work and some glaring issues that could be vastly improved upon, I'm pleased with the final outcome overall. An over confident Ranger picking a risky fight against Mr. Death Knight. Besides, who else can't resist a good ol' axe fight against Quake's bestiary every once in a while? The original idea was to create a short, humorous comic but because of time constraints, a change of plans had to be made to ensure something actually got completed. Having already drawn out two characters for the first panel, it didn't feel right to scrap the work instead opting to develop the scene further beyond my former intentions and expectations. This became quite a learning experience too in fact considering I haven't previously drawn many background settings in other drawings, especially one as detailed as this. Was about a good time than any to push myself, give it a shot and figure things out from there. Hopefully the fans out there will recognise which level has been depicted here!

Quake has stuck with me throughout these years since '97 and hasn't been simply because of the gameplay. There is this fascinating world that had once been crafted which made perfect sense for all the actors on stage performing their roles, while logic and realism is often tossed aside to keep the audience intrigued and asking questions. Ziggurat Vertigo is one setting that instantly springs to mind, along with many other strange contraptions, devices and traps littering each scene to make up the inner workings of a dimension. This is what keeps me coming back for more and once again be immersed within strange environments, soak up the eerie atmosphere and question its ambiguous lore. Even despite the Lovecraftian influences, Quake still offers a distinctive flavour helping to separate itself as an entity of its own, a quality I have trouble finding in many projects inspired by the same work. Yet so much is still left unrevealed and the curtains have only been drawn part way, hiding away other mysteries and unexplored lands that encourages speculation from the minds of many others through creation of their own adventures across a wide array of custom levels. Even to this day we continue trekking through new lands to gun down angry Ogres, wipe Scrag spit off our armour, flee from shock therapy Shamblers and jump through another slipgate into the unknown. What awaits us in Quake during 2014? I definitely look forward to it.

19th December - sock

Quake inspired the hearts and minds of fans in many ways; for some it was the rich diverse atmosphere with blood thirsty monsters and to others it was the intense multiplayer game play with Doom style weapons. There were even fans that customized the game with creative mod/engine updates, but for me, it was all about the Third Dimension!

Nowadays that sounds like a trivial thing, but at the time it was ground breaking, literally! Gone was the fake platform landscapes of Doom and crazy sector hacking, Quake was 3D and the world was truly vertical!

You could look down and see the world below your feet, walk under and over structures, feel the sensation of height as you peered over the edge of cliffs into the abyss. Something so simple, but yet had such a big impact on how the player moved throughout the environment.

I still play the original id maps and I love the feeling of how the landscapes were designed to make you look up at towering castle facades or look down into the depths of giant lakes of water wondering what architectural wonders are longing to be discovered.

For the past couple of months I have been creating a new Quake map called “The Horde of Zendar” which is based on a large city layout with high roof tops to run across and look down upon the cobbled streets below. The map is about trying to capture the vertical essence of Quake, the desire to climb and explore the world while dealing with the minions of Chthon!