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Quake Turns 15; Carmack & Hollenshead Speak

By - Source: Bethesda | B 26 comments

If you remember the days of qtest and the original Quake "shareware" demo, then you're getting old too.

It's hard to believe that id Software's classic FPS Quake hit retail shelves fifteen years ago on June 22, 1996. The Gothic FPS promised to revolutionize PC gaming and indeed delivered on its promise without a flinch. To celebrate the grand occasion, Bethesda posted a blog playing host to comments from id Software president Todd Hollenshead, and co-founder and programmer John Carmack. There's also a video of the QuakeWorld Launch Event from 1996 sporting a boyish-looking Carmack still riding the waves of money washing in from DOOM and DOOM II.

Also marking the 15-year anniversary is a fan-organized Quake Expo 2011 which launched last week. The online expo features virtual "booths" containing a fan-made art book, Quake Live commentaries, a Quake revitalization booth, the Future vs. Fantasy mod, Quake Dodgeball and more. For those who were PC gaming back when id software released qtest, then the demo, and then finally the retail product packed with Trent Reznor's soundtrack on the install disk (meaning use -nocd to boost the game's performance), it's a trip down memory lane.

“One of my all time best game moments is still grabbing the rune at the end of the first episode and awakening the lava monster," said Hollenshead when asked to recall his feelings about the original Quake. "I’m sure that level also inspired the USMC commercial with the Marine fighting the lava demon. Compare the screenie to the video."

"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," Carmack said although he ends up writing around eight paragraphs.

"I have a bit more subdued memory of Quake than many of our other projects, because the development was so tough," he admitted. "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," he went on to say. "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."

To read his full letter posted on Bethesda's blog, head here.

Last week brought reports that id Software may reboot the Quake franchise and focus on the Gothic world that started it all. "We are at least tossing around the possibilities of going back to the bizarre, mixed up Cthulhu-ish Quake 1 world and rebooting that direction," Carmack said. "We think that would be a more interesting direction than doing more Strogg stuff after Quake 4. We certainly have strong factions internally that want to go do this. But we could do something pretty grand like that, that still tweaks the memory right in all of those ways, but is actually cohesive and plays with all of the strengths of the level we're at right now."

For many, the original Quake seemed to throw the gates of PC gaming wide open, offering a polygon-based 3D world backed by a new thing called a GPU. At the same time, the Internet was beginning to snake its way into homes nationwide, provoking the studio into dumping loads of time into ironing out the TCP/IP bugs so that, for the first time without having to use a gaming service, eight to sixteen players could gib each other in deathmatch sessions across the nation. The studio even gave fans a set of tools so they could create custom maps, mods and total conversions. We saw incredible material ranging from Capture the Flag to Alien Quake, to Future Vs. Fantasy and Painkeep.

Thanks, id Software, for that classic gem. And happy birthday to the Scrags, Ogres, Grunts, Shamblers, Shub-Niggurath and the rest of the Quake gang for giving us a fraggin' good time.

1996 QuakeWorld Launch Event

Display 26 Comments.
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  • 3 Hide
    wooodoggies , June 28, 2011 12:05 AM
    wow that brings back memories, carmack and mcgee, so young back then
  • 1 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , June 28, 2011 12:16 AM
    Good old times... I still remember how awesome the BFG was in Quake 2, tearing through the walls and stuff =)
  • 1 Hide
    kj3639 , June 28, 2011 12:21 AM
    I recently purchased this on Steam to relive the good ol' days. I remember playing DOSquake and being pretty impressed and then my head exploding when I picked up a 3Dfx Voodoo Rush for GLQuake. I worked all damn summer for that Voodoo Rush...
  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , June 28, 2011 12:49 AM
    I vote for The Seal of Nehahra storyline.
  • 0 Hide
    f-gomes , June 28, 2011 12:51 AM
    I remember Quake very well. It was that game everybody was talking about while I was playing this other FPS nobody knew, called Duke Nukem 3D. 15 years later, I still play Duke Nukem 3D from time to time, and the last time I played Quake was more than 10 years ago.

    No Quake for me. Come back... 15 years!
  • 0 Hide
    4745454b , June 28, 2011 1:00 AM
    After CnC (the first one.) my friend and I play Quake. For a really long time. I mean really long. We switched briefly to Half life, but he couldn't use WASD + mouse so I killed him a lot. We went back to quake. Problem was we had played other games and HL for so long that quake caused our eyes to water. Now he plays consoles and I stay with my WASD + mouse. I will forever remember "Gibbing" him on that final map. I learned the spawn order and could send a rocket to his next spawn area when I heard him tap the keyboard.
  • 1 Hide
    skaz , June 28, 2011 2:22 AM
    Awesome video. I miss the 90s.

    I love all the air time that one girl gets in the beginning. Looks like shes in some room alone.
  • 0 Hide
    campb292 , June 28, 2011 2:40 AM
    Wow, 8 whole comments on Carmack the has been.
  • 0 Hide
    captaincharisma , June 28, 2011 4:50 AM
    quake 1 and 2 were the only good ones quake 3 was one of those "WTF did they do?" games
  • 2 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , June 28, 2011 6:09 AM
    ^ Silence! :D  Quake 3 was great, especially if you don't try to link it to Q1 and Q2. Best multiplayer FPS of all times.
  • 1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 28, 2011 6:52 AM
    captaincharismaquake 1 and 2 were the only good ones quake 3 was one of those "WTF did they do?" games

    quake 3 was awesome, i agree it in somewhat regard as it was so different being purely a deathmatch style game. It should have just been called Quake Arena minus the "3" as it really didnt have a lot to do with the first two.
  • 3 Hide
    jamesedgeuk2000 , June 28, 2011 8:36 AM
    Damn, shareware, that's a name I haven't heard in a long time, back when PC games were the schizz before Consoles turned up and ruined everything...
  • 0 Hide
    dib , June 28, 2011 11:39 AM
    Yeah. I missed out on 3 days of calc in college just to rule the Quake 2 world of fraggin fun on the internet.
  • 0 Hide
    macewrox , June 28, 2011 11:55 AM
    Wow! Oldschool.
  • 1 Hide
    bill gates is your daddy , June 28, 2011 2:14 PM
    "Quake was already kinda pushing it market wise saying we're requiring a Pentium"

    Makes me chuckle a little. That badass 486DX4 running at 100 MHz just isn't enough.

    Interesting fact. Back in the day, Intel 486 processors were capable of addressing up to 4 gigabytes of physical memory and 64 terabytes of virtual memory. By those standards shouldn't we be A LOT further than where we are now?
  • 0 Hide
    jj463rd , June 28, 2011 2:40 PM
    Ah the 90's back when PC Games,Applications and Windows were not horribly infested with draconian DRM crap unlike today and getting most software involved going to a brick and mortar retail store.Copy protection just involved a meager Product Key Code if that (Many PC Games didn't even have any form of (very light) copy protection).
    I still cherish my old software and games well because it will always still work.
  • 0 Hide
    GNCD , June 28, 2011 2:47 PM
    Thank you ID! Now release Rage!
  • 0 Hide
    cracklint , June 28, 2011 3:31 PM
    I remeber at college downloading a glide patch ( it might have been opengl, correct me if I am wrong) and taking it home to a friends house on the weekend. His computer had a Diamond monster 3d add on card. WE were totally blown away the difference it made. We spent an hour shooting rockets down corridors just to watch the lighting effects on the walls. We were playing Quake, interstate 76, and tomb raider pc with full 3d acceleration it was one of fondest memories of gaming till this day.
  • 0 Hide
    gm0n3y , June 28, 2011 4:47 PM
    Quake 1 is still in my top 3 games of all time. I actually go back and play my way through it a couple of times every year.
  • 1 Hide
    visagoth , June 28, 2011 5:41 PM
    My favorite mods were Rune Quake and Headhunters. Death spots, Gravity Wells and Freeze spots were just so cool! And I still remember my awe the first time I saw someone running across a level with 15 heads attached to their body. Does anyone still run Quake servers? I wanna play!!
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