Thursday, August 03, 2006

Quake Tribute!

Why all of a sudden, I am giving my tribute to one of the greatest gaming franchise? Well, few people will know that the Original Quake was released on 23rd July 1996. Quake did make a small appearance in form of a demo that was released full one month ahead of its publishing date i.e. 22nd June 1996. Today is 22nd July 2006 and tomorrow Quake will officially celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

Like many, even I find it hard to believe that Quake is 10 years old. Well, I never felt it like 10 years, more like 5-6 years. Well, may be I was too engrossed playing Quake games, and who wouldn't be? We will just run down a brief recap of the franchise and the contribution it made towards the FPS gaming genre.

The Beginning

After releasing Doom II in 1994, Id Software immediately started working on its next project. Around that time, graphics being rendered by dedicated hardware were being talked about. Doom II was a software-rendered game, where the models and objects were nothing more than 2D sprites. Id Software was looking forward to make a true 3D game, where everything is rendered in three dimensions, rather than using sprites. Quake was finally released on 23rd July 1996. Id Software combined a cutting edge fully 3D engine with an excellent art style to create what was at the time regarded as a feast for the eyes.


Ever since, Quake got released, Id's games have always been used for benchmarking and pushing the PC to the limit. Initially, Quake's graphics were rendered by the CPU, but within a year's time, a patch was issued out, which was designed to use the OpenGL 3D API to access hardware 3D graphics acceleration cards to render the graphics, rather than having the computer's CPU fill in every pixel.

The game was originally supposed to have some RPG elements, but then it altered its original intentions, and instead featured game play similar to Doom. The background music for the game was composed by Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails. Doom II had experimented with multiplayer concept and Quake took a step further. QuakeWorld was released as a free update on 17th 1996 which featured significantly revamped network code including the addition of client-side prediction.

Quake's Engine was incorporated into many games, more notably Valve's Half Life. Quake's release was considered totally revolutionary rather than being evolutionary. The next line of franchise further pushed the brand name altogether.

Quake II

Quake II was developed real fast after the Original Quake. It had a different plot and was in no way a sequel to the first one. Quake II came with OpenGL support out of the box. Quake II was also the Id's first game to be ported on gaming console. It was ported to Nintendo's 64, Sony' Playstation, and even the XBOX 360.

The game had fast paced action, with heavy metal music played in the background. It also introduced the plot of the intergalactic fight between the Humans and the Stroggs, which is followed in Quake IV and Quake Wars. Quake II was extremely popular in the multiplayer modes, and many gaming events organized had Quake II as their game of attraction and competition. The success of Quake II's multiplayer paved the way for the next installment.

Quake III Arena

Id Software was already aware of the amount of popularity Quake II's multiplayer had. After a lot of plans and discussion, it was finally decided that Quake III would be a multiplayer only, with bots featured for those who were not lucky enough to play it online or LAN. The game was released on December 2nd 1999 and had a direct competitor to 'Unreal Tournament' which was released on November 22nd 1999.

While the story of the game is thin, continuity with prior games in the Quake series and even Doom is maintained by the inclusion of player models related to those earlier games as well as some biographical information included on each contestant in the manual. It has a familiar mixture of gothic and technological map architecture, and specific equipment; for example, the Quad Damage power-up, the widely used rocket launcher, and the powerful BFG, which was first seen in Doom series.

Quake III Arena also became famous for trick jumping. Even though, trick jumping existed in the earlier Quake installments, this game was pushed to the extremes.

The fast and the furious game play along with a smooth and stable engine still makes it one of the best multiplayer games of all time. Even today, people continue to play it as a competitive game.

The game was ported to Sony's Playstation 2 and Sega's Dreamcast. Sony's Playstation 2 lacked online play and hence was considered a flop for the console.

Quake 3 engine was one of the most widely used engine in various games such as MOH:AA, Call of Duty, RTCW, etc.

Quake IV

Quake IV was not actually developed completely by Id Software. It was developed by Raven Software (Soldier of Fortune Fame) with close supervision by Id software. It was the first Quake game which didn't feature its own engine and was using Id's Doom III engine.

Quake IV is a sequel to Quake II, where Humans and Stroggs are still engaged in Inter Galatic War. It also includes vehicular combat mode, which became quite popular after Halo and Unreal Tournament 2003.

Multiplayer was not ignored like in the case of Doom III. A lot of elements were copied from Quake III considering its high popularity. Today, Quake IV is used in major gaming events such as CPL and ESWC. However, many people were disappointed by not including bot support in the multiplayer mode. As of right now, the game has been ported to XBOX 360, which has received a lot of negative criticism due to frame drop issue.

Quake Wars: Enemy Territory

Quake Wars: Enemy Territory will be the latest game to be released in the Quake franchise. The release date has stated as Q1 2007. Quake Wars is being developed by Splash Damage and will be using id Software's Doom III engine and MegaTexture rendering technology. It will be similar to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, but will include elements from Quake II and Quake IV.

The Saga Continues

The success of Quake series was very crucial to Id software and it is because of them that they stand away from the group as elite game developers who can churn out some of the best games. Their games were always used and even today used as a benchmark to stress even the most powerful systems. Quake will always have a special place in any gamer's heart. We would like to hear from you, especially gamers who have been impacted by the Quake series.


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