At this point, you might as well call it Quake 3 Arena 2013. The game that started out as a standalone but returned years later as a browser-based game called Quake LIVE is ditching the browser, returning our beloved id Software frag fest back to its locally installed self. The move from browser to desktop should be completed by the end of the year. Why? Blame the drop in plugin support in Google's Chrome and Mozilla's Firefox browsers.
"Over the past few years, browser support for plugins such as QUAKE LIVE have dropped off significantly, causing problems for plugins to operate in a consistent and working manner," reads the latest blog. "With the recent announcement of Google Chrome's roadmap to turning off plugin support and the upcoming changes in Firefox, it seems that now is the time to make the transition."
"Once we go live with this change, you will log in to the site as you normally would. From there you will be presented with a prompt to download the new QUAKE LIVE Launcher," the blog adds. "The launcher will automatically keep your game up to date before loading. Once inside, you'll be greeted with the website, embedded directly into the game itself. From here, the interface will look and operate similarly to how it does today, but the game will already be running and ready to connect to a match."
The transition will be quick and painless for those who already have Quake Live installed within the browser, as users will be prompted to download a small launcher that will automatically update the files. The team is currently taking applications from current subscribers to beta test the standalone client: sorry, but freeloaders can't participate in the program.
"Certain functions will remain available on the website even after the update is released. Players will be able to manage certain account settings, view profiles, manage clans, and even launch Pro matches from any web browser," reads a short FAQ. "NOTE: Managing and chatting with friends, viewing the match browser, and joining games will require the game to be open."
Unfortunately, id Software is unable to support Mac and Linux clients with this transition even though testers say it works through emulation or virtualization software. That means subscribers using these two platforms will only be able to access the game through emulation and virtualization, and will not receive technical support despite their monthly investment (aka subscribe at your own risk).
"This change [to a standalone client] will allow us to have greater control over the game environment, and more tightly integrate the game with the online components going forward," the blog reads. "Some of these benefits will be apparent from day one: getting in and out of games is a smoother experience, and you will be able to view server pings from the match browser before joining the game to better judge connection quality."
More specific dates will be given as the team get closer to release.
Shame. And shame on Mozilla and Google, no longer pioneers in their own fields it seems - it was only months ago we were being shown the Unreal Engine running in a browser, now hopes of anything really materialising have vanished.
It has become as bad as ActiveX was back in the day.
A native program should always be a better performer.
Does the original boxed version still work?