Unofficial Quake II FAQ
Post-Release v1.8 - STANDARD revision
Updated: October 10th, 1998 GMT
Quake Quote: "Mess with me and your problems are all over... all over the floor."
© 1998 Richard "Sat" Connery. All rights reserved.
This document is provided "as is" without any guarantees or warranty. Although the author has attempted to find and correct any errors or mistakes he, and everyone who contributed to it, are not responsible for any damage or losses of any kind caused by the use or misuse of information in this FAQ. The author is under no obligation to provide service, corrections, or upgrades to this FAQ.
The following is legal information and refers to all the information in this document. This information pertains to all use of the FAQ worldwide. All specific names included in the package are registered trademarks and are hereby acknowledged. Any other trademarks not mentioned in the FAQ are still hypothetically acknowledged.
As long as you comply with the above rules you may do whatever you want with this document.
Sections added "+" or updated "u" since the last version of the FAQ.
Chapter I: Introduction
Chapter II: Basic Information
Chapter III: In Depth Information
Chapter IV: Gameplay
Chapter V: Multiplayer games
Chapter VI: Editing Quake II
Chapter VII: Quake II Third Party
Chapter VIII: Frequently Asked Questions u
Welcome to The Unofficial Quake II FAQ!
The Future Holds Void
First of all let me thank you for taking the time to read through this as I need you guys' full attention. I work on the FAQ in a fan based, meaning I neither have any support from id Software or get paid to do this. I'm in college and thus I can't spend all my cash on games and in this case on Quake II mission packs because of three reasons: a) Many people won't bother with them; b) Most mission packs aren't worth the money; c) They may not have enough modifications that warrant me buying them to report on the FAQ. What this means is that The Unofficial Quake II FAQ will only have mission pack information that I can get my hands on (i.e. the web). So, what I'm asking is: if anyone out there has a particular mission pack and is willing to share the new information with me I'd be most grateful.
Due to some inexplicable accident, which I'm not going to dwell on, this FAQ is as of now, closed. Quake II has pretty much went as far as developing is concerned. What this means is that, my work on the FAQ will be discontinued. Although I won't add any more written text, you can still submit your own content and I'll gladly add it but I won't waste my time on a game FAQ for a company which does not ackowledge his fans, or at least, a part of them. Before you get all worked up by the previous statement, let me just say that is has not been a good time writting a piece of information without any sort of support from id Software (be it moral or otherwise), with having my mails with questions being ignored and generaly feeling left out, when (I think) I'm doing them a favour by helping promoting the game and its features.
Since I found a much community-aware company which also produces some of the best ever games (Raven Software) I will be turning my attention that way. I get mail answered for the FAQ and support from Activision. I never asked it from either company but once I got it from one, the other just begun to fade away in my mind. I would love to write the Quake III: Arena FAQ but I'm afraid things won't change thus my comittment to Raven Software from now on. Already The Official Heretic II FAQ will be coming out and things will get rolling soon.
If any of you is thinking (like some did even before this version of the FAQ is out) of taking my place, the answer is no simply because I dedicated too much time on the FAQ to hand it over to someone else. Unlike The Official Hexen II FAQ which was started by me this one Slipgate gave it to me (see Credits) but I took over v0.4 which means that I can safely say what was before me no longer exists in the FAQ. If you have new information you'd like to put in by being the FAQ maintainer then submit it to me instead. I'll save you the trouble of keeping the FAQ under your supervision.
The FAQ is maintained by Richard "Sat" Connery also maintainer of The Official Hexen II FAQ. This document is intended to be a compilation of all the information floating around the various websites about the new game by id Software: Quake II. It's the place where all the features, news bits, scoops fall back to. The ultimate source of general information about Quake II. Please note that all text in yellow following the "Q" sign are quotations and that actual content of the quotes may be outdated.
I, and everyone who has contributed so far, hope you enjoy reading it and that this FAQ ultimately answers all your questions about the game. The FAQ is now on post game versions (v1.x format). The latest Quake II version is, at this time of writing, v3.19. Darryl "Nite" Ashton is the creator of the FAQ but handed it over to Ismail "Slipgate" Saeed which, in turn, has handed over the FAQ to me.
If you wish to submit something to the FAQ (i.e. questions, comments or articles) then mail me and if your submission is accepted and incorporated into the FAQ you will be credited under section I.4. Please be advised that each and every submission becomes the property of the author. If you wish to ask something then do but please keep it FAQ related. If you don't get a reply within two days then mail me again. Keep trying, as I do my best to answer everyone.
3. Getting the FAQ
The latest version of The Unofficial Quake II FAQ will always be uploaded to PlanetQuake first. You can get it as a file here. If you wish to mirror/store the latest version of the FAQ then please mail me with an elaborate request. If you're accepted your URL will go to the FAQ mirror list:
http://www.planetquake.com/q2faq/ - Maintained by Richard Connery
http://www.quake2.com/q2faq.html - Maintained by Bini Parkhurst [Blitz]
http://dd.networx.net.au/q2faq/ - Maintained by Russell Cavell [Dr. Death]
http://quake.pganet.com/q2faq/ - Maintained by Jozsef Sasvari [angelday]
http://www.bluesnews.com/faq/q2faq.html - Maintained by Stephen Heaslip [Blue]
http://www.ogl.org/quake2/q2faq.html - Maintained by James Stearns
http://grc.quake2.com/3rdimension/faq/quake2.htm - Maintained by Brian Hough
http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arcade/6833/q2faq.html - Maintained by Gary Wong
4. Credits & Acknowledgments
The following people have made this FAQ a much better one than it would be otherwise:
My sincere thanks to all of these and to everyone who reads the FAQ.
The versions of the FAQ with the changes made in each are sorted below. The FAQ was started on 1997.
Two years ago today, id Software was releasing Qtest, the first look into what Quake was shaping up to be. It was strictly for multiplayer testing and although LAN was the prime target id received a lot of feedback concerning Internet play. Qtest is as crude as Quake gets, you neither had the axe nor the shaft (lightning gun) and the weapon models were very, very basic. There were some monsters but they changed considerably before the game shipped. Some even lacked skin. You had three levels which, after some polishing, became DM1, DM2 and DM3. The Rocket Launcher from Doom quickly rose to the status of "prime-weapon".
The lighting was very dramatic, especially in DM2 and the sky which is now obsolete was then a sight to behold. Some ppl even got sick watching it. There were no .MIDs and all you listened was crying, shouting, rockets blasting away and the ocasional lava dipping sound. The 3D world really pushed the mouse as the number one throwing the keyboard into the oblivious void (to some extent at least). The death animations were delightfull, and even the lack of inventory items (like in DukeMatch) didn't seem to care. Real DM was back and we longed for it ever since our Doom II days begun to fade.
Two years have passed and Quake still has that special glow of "true DM" even with Quake II out the door for almost three months. Quake failed single player wise but in DM it is a worthy sucessor to Doom and Doom II and it all begun two years ago today...
6. About the FAQ Author
I go by Richard "Sat" Connery and I live in Miramar, Portugal, Europe, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way, ad infinitum... My house is just three hundred yards from the sea. It really is great to wake up, go to the balcony and watch the waves caress the burning sand... :-)
I like to think of myself as a level designer. I've started with Doom back in the good 'ol days but I never actually released any of my work since I didn't think it was good enough. In January 1997 I was hired by Dark Designs, inc. a company which will release its first game, using the Quake II engine, in late 1998. I'm in charge of game and level design as well as doubling as the company's biz guy.
You can find me on IRC occasionally, on Undernet #3dgamers but I rather go out and live a little. You should too. If you'd like to get in touch with me you can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more personal matters you can catch me on ICQ. On the servers I go by "Richard Connery" although since I live in Europe don't expect to see me wandering about the US, etc.
Past work include:
7. Who made Quake II
QUAKE II BY ID SOFTWARE
QUAKE II CTF
EFFECTS AND MUSIC
1. What is Quake II?
Quake II is a first-person 3D game developed by id Software. It's the second game from id Software to use a real 3D engine. Based on WinQuake, a native Win32 application, Quake II runs on either Windows 95, 98 or Windows NT 4.0 or later in its first release. id Software is the company responsible for creating the first-person shooter perspective genre when they released Wolfenstein 3D and then Spear of Destiny, the sequel to Wolf3D. Then it was well underway to release the game that would make the PC a games platform to be reckoned with: Doom, arguably one of the top 5 games of all time, if not the first.
Doom 2, Ultimate Doom and Final Doom followed shortly. While every competing company was trying to beat Doom for its sheer gameplay brilliance, id started development on "the next big thing": Quake. Using a real 3D engine, Quake surpassed everything in terms of internet community known to date and now id did it all again. Quake II, much more than a mere sequel, is totally different from Quake fixing the incoherence present in that game plus adding tons of new effects which were impossible to do in Quake. "There are no satanic references in Quake II but it still rules the cosmos" and you better believe it!
|The war engines are in place, the mines
buried beneath the earth, and already the towers tremble;
the ladders stand at the gates, the grappling hooks
cleave to the walls and fire runs through the roof tops.
With the gleaming swords and the menacing faces of his enemies around him, and thinking utter ruin is upon him, why should he not quake and mourn?
Francesco Petrarca, in Secretum, 1342 A.D.
What is beyond Quake II? Check section VII.4 for information about the mission pack.
|Brian Hook: There is talk of a mission pack, there will be interim "point releases" that will fix bugs and maybe put in some new features for multiplayer, and, of course, there is Trinity.|
2. System Requirements
Since Quake II has new effects, more detailed textures, levels and models than Quake it also requires a more high-spec machine. Here are the official system requirements:
Minimum Install Additional Requirements (Play from CD-ROM)
Normal Install Additional Requirements (Play from Hard Disk)
Maximum Install Additional Requirements (Play from Hard Disk)
GLQuake II Additional Requirements
A genuine Intel Pentium processor, fast video card, 32 MB RAM, an OpenGL compatible card and a decent sound card will give you much better gameplay. Don't go for Cyrix chips. I'm not saying they're bad it's just that since Quake II uses Quake's engine the same kind of sluggish performance you get with a Cyrix and Quake is back in Quake II ten fold. AMD K6 chips have good FPU performance, so if you really can't afford an Intel, the K6 chips are excellent Intel alternatives (especially if you use software that uses the FPU, like the Quake engine). The Pentium Pro's are not recommended since the Pentium II (Pentium Pro evolution with MMX) is already out.
Concerning sound cards, unless your card is recognised by DirectX 5.0 you won't be running at full performance. Also, controllers like joysticks and so on seem to have a problem with Quake II. Force Feedback controllers are not supported. Such a big memory requirement is not a surprise since Quake needed 16 MB to run under Windows 95 but because you could run it in DOS with only 8 MB no one really complained. Quake II ONLY runs in Windows 95 / NT so it was bound to need much more than Quake. Also, all the new effects and file formats require a lot more memory.
|John Carmack: Cyrix has a new processor that is significantly faster at single precision floating point calculations if you don't do any double precision calculations anywhere. Quake had always kept its timebase as a double precision seconds value, but I agreed to change it over to an integer millisecond timer to allow the global setting of single precision mode.|
I asked John whether Quake II final uses any double precision calculation. Here's his reply:
|John Carmack: The first demo still included some double precision calculations. The released Quake2 did not do any double precision calculations, and it set the control word to single precision, but we found out later that every LoadLibrary() that we did reset the control word. The next release of Quake2 makes sure that it stays in single precision mode all the time.|
Running Quake II 3.10 under Linux, Only 2.9 MB are really neccessary (just the binaries). You can push it to below 2.6 MB if I run Quake II in just one video mode. Quake II supports the following video modes if available in both windowed or fullscreen rendering:
3. Windows 95 / 98 / NT
Yeah, I know: why Windows and not plain, old and fast DOS? Well, it's easier to develop games since you don't have to worry about devices like mice, sound cards, modems, LAN card setups, video cards, 3D acceleration cards; the list is endless. Trust me. It's BETTER this way. The OS handles things automatically and the programmers can concentrate on the game itself instead of writing emulators and drivers like in the DOS days. Quake II doesn't use Direct3D but OpenGL instead, which is a set of drivers 3D card developers are really pushing forward, some even say it has surpassed Direct3D, at least in the first-person perspective genre. The bottom line is: install either Windows 95 or NT 4.0 and you can be sure if the OS detects and correctly configures your device Quake II will have no problems using it and that can only be a good thing. I've personally been able to run Quake II under Windows 98.
|Brian Hook: We will support DirectX if it's available, e.g. DSound, DInput, and DDraw (NOT Direct3D), but we won't require it. If DInput isn't available we'll use standard Windows messaging. If DSound isn't available we'll use WaveOut. If DDRAW isn't available we'll use GDI with DIB sections. DDRAW will be required if you want fullscreen software rendering support though. In a nutshell -- DirectX is supported, but not required.|
Quake II does NOT use Intel's latest MultiMedia eXtensions. Unreal will though as well as other upcoming games. Even then, it's wise to buy a MMX chip if you're already thinking of upgrading your machine.
The Quake engine uses the Intel FPU extensively, and also uses a native feature of the Intel FPU called Parallel FPU lines. This allows simultaneous integer and FPU calculations and Quake uses these to do lots of calculations at the same time. The problem is that the MMX instructions use the Parallel FPU lines for calculation, and if MMX were supported in Quake, Quake and the MMX would be fighting over the usage of the Parallel FPU lines. This isn't the problem for most programs because Quake is just about the first major program that even uses Parallel FPU lines in the first place, so other programs don't have this conflict.
Carmack reported that an MMX version of Quake he had in alpha stages would run, at best, the same speed in 16-bit colour as an 8-bit colour version does on a non-MMX Pentium chip of the same clock speed. Carmack says this increase in colour depth only isn't worth the development time and money and has decided not to support MMX with the Quake engine in its current form.
Quake II runs in one of two modes: Software or OpenGL rendering. At this moment, you can choose between four rendering options: Software, Default OpenGL, 3DFX OpenGL and PowerVR2 OpenGL. Verite is currently not 100% supported but Rendition is bringing out beta drivers of their OpenGL implementation. Keep checking their site the news pages for news versions of Verite drivers. 3DFX was the first chip technology to make drivers for it and many more are writing their own too. Although Quake didn't have native support for OpenGL, 3DFX wrote an OpenGL mini-driver for Quake. (both VQuake and GLQuake are available as a free download from several websites) but Quake II uses a much wider and expandable format: OpenGL and the term "GLQuake II" now refer to hardware rendering through OpenGL drivers.
|Readme file: OpenGL is a low-level API (Application Programming Interface) that works with a compatible 3D video chipset to render top quality 3D graphics. Some of the features you will see while using OpenGL, and a compatible 3D hardware video accelerator, are 16-bit graphics, colored lighting, improved translucency and increased game speed.|
If you don't have any OpenGL compatible card then the game will render through software by default. This is still great and MUCH better than Quake ever was.
|Brian Hook: Well, you simply can't do as much with software rendering as you can with GL. Obviously with GL we can support hardware accelerators, which means high quality colored lighting and nice looking transparencies. You'll also get higher resolution and better performance. So yes, in a way we're "biased" towards GL, only because it allows us to do more stuff. We definitely strive to make the software rendering engine as good, but we run into limitations of the 8-bit palette all the time.|
Brian Hook on the list of cards capable of running GLQuake II:
|Brian Hook: So far we run on 3Dfx (Win95 and NT), PowerVR PCX2 (Win95), Permedia2 (Win95 and NT), Rendition V1000 and V2200 (Win95 and NT), NVidia RIVA128 (Win95(soon) and NT), Voodoo Rush (Win95 and NT) and a few others that haven't been announced yet. The PowerVR doesn't implement colored lighting because...well, someone there decided that the particular blending mode we need for colored lighting wasn't worth implementing in their chip.|
3D cards running with the PowerVR2 chipset (like the Matrox 3D) do have coloured lighting. The lowest resolution is 320x240 and not 320x200; this old resolution has a poor and ugly ratio thus id has replaced it with 320x240 which is half 640x480, considered a "perfect" resolution. Extra high resolutions were added like 960x720 to provide speedy computers, yet not speedy enough for 1024x768, a chance to take advantage of the extra horsepower.
|Brian Hook: It's our opinion that the Voodoo is likely going to be the best board for Quake2 when we release. As for "Voodoo 2" and other non-existent accelerators - we'll support anything with a working OpenGL driver. In terms of practical differences, the only difference between a Voodoo and a Voodoo2 for us is that the Voodoo2 is going to be much faster.|
Regarding Rendition and Verite, John "NiNe" Mury (thanks man) reporting: The miniport on Rendition's site (http://www.rendition.com/download.html) is named just miniGL.zip now (as s2 implied it was only for the Stealth II). There is also an OpenGL ICD at the same location called OpenGL_ICD.zip which is a full OpenGL implementation. The v1000 native renderer which also works on v2x00 chips is now up to beta 5, hence it is now refv1kb5.zip instead of refv1kb3.zip.
The native renderer that was on Zanshin's site was not, in fact, a native renderer. It is the same OpenGL miniport mentioned above. His page now just points to the Rendition download area. It does work (slowly) on v1000 chips, but only with Quake2 before v 3.10. For more VQuake and VQuake II information check NiNe's Rendition Quake Workshop. For more information about OpenGL / GLQuake II and more read Zanshin's GL FAQ.
6. Consoles & other OSs
Quake II is available as a supported product for Windows 95 and NT 4.0. A Linux port has been released, however, and can be found here. Brian Hook mentioned in his .plan that they will be releasing executables for several other OSs like Linux, SGI, Alpha and other workstations. There are no plans for a MacQuake II just yet though; we'll have to see if MacQuake is well received. Only then a Mac port will be discussed. There is a utility to convert the Win32 version of Quake II to the OS/2. Get it here. You should also check this link provided by Timothy Weaver.
It should be noted that John Carmack has mentioned numerous times in interviews that he will be porting Quake II to Rhapsody shortly after the commercial release of Quake II. Rhapsody is Apple's next-generation OS (already seeded to developers) that runs on Mac hardware as well as Intel hardware. In fact, Carmack had Quake up and running on Rhapsody at one point.
|Brian Hook: We plan on porting to Linux, DEC Alpha WinNT (done today), Rhapsody, and SGI Irix. I'm sure we'll port to other stuff later as time permits.|
Quake is being developed for the Saturn and N64. Again, like the Mac, only if these versions are well accepted a Quake II port will be considered at all. At the moment, the N64 version (which includes a 2 player DM mode) is as good (if not a little better) than GLQuake; the Saturn version however has a slight colour depth problem which fools into thinking you can only get 128 colours. This is understandable considering the Saturn's spec relatively to the N64 or the 3D accelerated PC. Activision has announced that Quake II will be ported to the Nintendo 64 console; no deadlines were announced though.
For an unofficial port of Quake II to Silicon Graphics workstations visit this website.
7. Getting Quake II
You can buy Quake II from any major software retailer or order it from Activision which publishes Quake II. The original Quake II retail version is 3.05 but activision will start producing Quake II CDs which come with v3.13. Here's the version history. Unless stated otherwise each can patch any of the previous versions.
There was a v3.11 which was a specific patch for Alpha workstations but it was not released for Windows 95 / NT versions of Quake II. Keep checking this page to download the latest patches. There's also two other official Quake II components you can download: DM levels and CTF:
It's highly recommended you download the Point Release as it will allow you to run CTF and have better performance while playing with the 64-player levels. Here is a description of all the changes from v3.10 to v3.19:
If you live in Germany then please note Quake II is not available to minors (<18 years old) there.
comments: I wasn't aware that Quake II had been banned
in Germany, so I can't confirm that, but it wouldn't
surprise me. Wolf was banned in Germany, and it's
much less realistic than Quake II (Nazi issues
notwithstanding). I don't think that the German
agency that makes these rulings is a fan of id Software
and may go as far as to search for reasons to keep our
games out of distribution in Germany.
If it is true that Quake II has been banned in Germany, then I understand that it would be illegal to own/possess a copy of the game. In fact, once we get the demo finished (soon, I promise, and with multiplayer), it will be illegal to download it if you live in Germany (and hence, illegal for us to allow downloads). I guess that would mean that German vacation plans should be ruled out for a while for the crew at id )
Unlike Quake, there is NO shareware version of Quake II. Instead, id has already released the first of its two demos. This first demo has no multiplayer, rushed sound effects, no soundtrack (obviously), incredibly rough AI and has some frequent bugs. On the other hand, it has three levels linked into a unit, six weapons (of a total of ten), all four rendering modes, half of the enemies and artifacts. This was a compatibility test to receive technical feedback instead of gameplay comments. Still, the three level demo is incredibly addictive and shows the single player gameplay of the final game.
The second demo is available now for download here. Careful, it's 40 Mb worth. This demo features the Quake II v3.14 engine and is just a cut down version of the full game meaning multiplayer (DM and Cooperative) are included as well.
1. 3D Engine
Everything (well, almost) in quake is represented in three axis: x,y and z. The z axis was lacking in Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Hexen for instance. Unlike these games, Quake's world is the real thing and not an interpretation. For instance, if you want a cube you give the editor the eight corners each with its own x,y,z values and the engine - through QBSP - builds it while in Doom and others you had to do tricks with sectors and linedefs to achieve the same effect. It was a gruesome way of doing things but it was great at that time. Duke Nukem attempted to fake z movement and sector placing and it worked pretty well until Quake arrived.
The bottom line is: You can build whatever structure you want in Quake engine games without worrying if the engine is capable of doing it. The engine IS capable of building anything. You could say that Quake can't have true spheres; yes, that's right because Quake's engine is not based on raytracing. But if you build a sphere with more than 128 faces on each of the three axis you can fool the human brain at the right scale. This, of course, poses some incredible pulls on the processor so it's not really feasible.
Here are some of the new highlights of Quake II's engine:
Let me arrange all these topics into these categories:
Rotating brushes were present on id's Quake: Mission Pack #1: Scourge of the Armagon yet in a crude way. Hexen II received John Carmack's new Quake II rotation code which is much simpler for the level designers and much more solid. Transparent and translucent brushes are also present in Hexen II. Quake II is even better though as the code has been optimised since then. With this feature you can have stained glass like you did in Duke Nukem 3D.
|Brian Hook: Stipple alpha is a method of implementing transparency that is very fast but also pretty ugly. Instead of making individual pixels transparent we just draw every other pixel (i.e. "screendoor" transparency).|
You are able to see through water in both software and OpenGL just like in Hexen II. Lighting is standard white in software and colour enabled in OpenGL rendering. Radiosity makes lighting a level a bit differently. Although you can still have light entities in mid space, light is now originated by textures making it much more realistic. Also, now the light beams reflect off the surfaces of the world creating a more life-like scenario. Dynamic shadowing is used in weapon firing and several effects like picking up a powerup. What is news though is that instead of increasing the light intensity (positive) you can now decrease it (negative). Check the Weapons section for more details. Unfortunately, Quake II still has the light from explosions going through walls.
|Brian Hook: The second thing I
want to discuss is "lights shining through
walls". I can not BELIEVE the number of people who
simply think we're lazy or too stupid to get this
happening. *fume* The problem is this -- yes, we can
backface cull the lights and not show them on opposite
sides of a wall, however backface culling will NOT
prevent lights from splashing across a floor. In those
instances the lights wouldn't poke through the wall, but
it would flood under the wall and show up on the floor,
which actually looks WORSE. There have been some efforts
to reduce the "light through walls" phenomena,
but right now it's essentially a part of the engine that
would be very difficult to fix.
Screenshots in GL accelerated mode will be TGA format and screenshots in standard 256 color mode will be PCX format. Momentum will work the same as in Quake (automatic acceleration, no coefficient of friction). Quake II will use DirectX (except Direct3D) if it is present. The DLL source will be released but that is the only documentation id will provide to it, people can document it themselves.
Levels are grouped in Units which are the equivalent of hubs on Hexen II. Every level in a unit is connected to the rest of the unit's levels and changes you make in one level might affect the next level's behaviour and so on. Also, you have to backtrack a lot between levels, solving puzzles, destroying machinery and killing bad guys. There are 39 levels and more are planned for the point release or the addon pack.
Quake couldn't stand outdoor environments because of the sky engine which broke the sky brush into several little ones making an abode which would simulate a sphere. This presented tremendous pulls on the CPU cycles thus Quake was a dungeon type game. With Quake II, id has returned to Doom's type sky where you can see the actual horizon with mountains, clouds, buildings. But they also worked on it making it semi-interactive making believe it actually changes depending on where you stand on the level, whatever direction you look (including up and down) the visage is different. Unfortunately the sky can't be animated, here's why:
|Paul Steed: I've spoken to John about this and the memory hit would be tremendous. Trinity hopefully will feature this.|
Still, the sky can rotate by any axis at any speed. Like Quake, the new levels can be 8K (8000) units big in all 3 dimensions. Although this hasn't changed from Quake, now this capability is fully used and levels are massive. id has released their utils so you can build your own maps and take advantage of the new effect. Levels are a little bigger than Quake levels but they are tons bigger gameplay wise. Also, you'll need to parse your Quake maps through a converter to play them on Quake II.
While level designing you can now tag any brush face as slippery (i.e. ice), transparent (i.e. clear glass), translucent (i.e. stained glass), flowing (i.e. water animations), damaging and QRAD: reflective and / or self-illuminating. This makes the life easier and requires less coding by the programmers.
|Brian Hook: Terrain and walls cannot be dynamically destroyed in the general case, but we do have some effects where we emulate the effect of destroying a particular brush or wall or whatever.|
|John Cash: For things like doors, plats, etc. a team is a group of entities that move (or don't move) as a unit. That way you can make a set of doors so that if one gets blocked they both stop. A million and one fun uses for that. You can also makes teams of items; very useful for DM. Teamed items work like this: when the map loads one (and only one) of the ietms will be spawned. When somebody picks up that item there is the usual respawn delay time and then one of the items on the team is randomly selected to respawn. For example, you could put a quad and a invulnerability on a team so that they are both on the level but never at the same time. Or you could put 5 RL on a level as a team so that you can't camp on it because you don't know which one will come back next.|
To play any home-made levels you need to create a subdirectory in your Quake II folder ("test" for this example). Create a "maps" subdirectory on your "test" subdirectory you created earlier and put the levels there. Start Quake II with the "+set game test" command line parameter (or type "set game test" on the console) to enable the directory. Of course, replace "test" with eachever directory name you have. Type at the console: "map mapname" where mapname is, obviously, the name of the map you wish to play; you don't need to type the .BSP extension.
Quake II's BSPs do NOT have the textures inside them. This is a much economic format since it will reduce BSP filesize making downloading levels a welcome activity. Besides, having two levels use the exact same textures and don't take advantage of common grounds to reduce filesize was odd. Thankfully, id has now implemented the new format. The actual textures are separated into several .WALs instead of being grouped into a single .WAD. The actual information is not different though. The textures themselves now have surface and content attributes, meaning they will behave differently in Quake II. You can change a texture's preset attributes at any time.
|Brian Hook: We've gone to considerable effort to make the colors in Quake2 more vibrant and less gloomy and dark.|
Models run at a minimum of 10fps, just like Quake; but if you have the number crunching necessary (i.e. a fast computer) extra frames of animation will kick in making the model's movement ultra smoother; this is called linear frame interpolation. Quake's average face count is around 250. Check out Quake II:
|Paul Steed: Our models run from 400 to 700 with the bosses around 2000 faces. Keep in mind that just because they are in separate pieces, it doesn't change the fact they're just considered a collection of vertices. The bounding box doesn't recognize individual limbs or objects yet within any particular character.|
|Brian Hook: Recursive subdivision rendering has been dropped since we couldn't update it to support the new features we wanted such as transparency. Or, more specifically, updating it wouldn't have been worth the hassle.|
The explosions are now models, unlike in the first demo, although the sprite explosions are still included in the final version.
5. Soundtrack & Effects
Quake's soundtrack and sounds were left to Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. Although not exactly a flop, everyone felt it should sound more like NiN instead of background noise. Quake II's soundtrack was handled by Sonic Mayhem (Methods of Destruction fame). They have released three MP3 samples which are playable by Winamp. Go try them. There were early reports of Ozzy Osbourne's contribution as CD tracks and player / environment sounds. Ozzy is rumoured to produce a soundtrack but you'll have to buy this second CD.
Brian Hook updated his .plan a few months ago stating that Rob Zombie (lead singer for White Zombie) sent id a really kick ass music track for the intro to the game, and they might be using that for the intro. His contribution is in the final game. Trent Reznor, although rumoured at first, hasn't worked on Quake II. Unlike Hexen II, Quake II only has CD Audio music and not MIDI. The mixing quality has also improved. You can now choose between 22KHz or 11KHz mixing rate. The later will give you less quality but faster framerate. There is an addon patch to let Quake II play .MID files.
John Carmack discussed the possibility of implementing the sound equivalent of Radiosity lighting. But this idea has been scrapped for Quake II. Also, there is no support for 3D sound. Here is the soundtrack information:
6. Demos & Cutscenes
Like Quake you're able to record your performance for posterity. Unlike Quake, however, demos can be recorded both client and server side. Demos can now be recorded from any point during a game not necessarily from the start. There are no demo based cutscenes included with the game. There are, however, cutscenes for the intro, the end and between units.
|Paul Steed: I'm using 3ds4, 3dsMax, Photoshop and animatorPro for the cinematics in Q2. We will probably have some scripted animations using the quake engine ala the Rangers stuff.|
Ganslick wrote to Paul Steed which in turn pasted into his .plan instructions on how to make your own cutscenes:
|Ganslick: Render scene to
individual PCX's (8-bit), all named *0000.pcx Copy the
files to /bin_nt/video/[dir with same name as *] Place an
optional .WAV file, also named the same as the PCX's
(minus the 0000) in the bin_nt/video dir. Create a text
file (with .QDT extension) and place the following info
$video pcx-file-name (minus the 0000) 4
eg, $video testing 4 would process the files named testingxxxx.pcx and the /video/testing directory, and process the optional WAV file, named testing.wav place QDT file in /bin_nt, and type QDATA testing.qdt (or whatever your filename is)
I just got word from John Carmack that Quake II supports "serverrecord" which generates a HUGE demo file of all entities during a recording session, specifically to allow some very nice post-production. This is a massive improvement over the old demo technology.
7. Artificial Intelligence
The enemies are cleverer than Quake's ones but not too difficult so it doesn't scare newbies, or inexperienced players, away. Monsters duck rockets and other projectiles, roam around certain parts of the level, are affected by visibility (shadowy areas) like a real human instead of being omniscient. At higher difficulty settings monsters stalk the player without getting lost in the level. They are not reaper-kind intelligent but clever nonetheless.
No more QuakeC, pseudo-code giberish. Now you can REALLY code something worth your time. Make your own .DLLs and release them, simple huh? Also, QuakeC code can't be used in Quake II directly. The code will be server side only. No more client downloads! (Please note that in QuakeWorld you didn't have client code just in plain Quake DM)
|Brian Hook: Quake2 will probably be MORE customizable than Quake, since we're using a DLL architecture that really gives PC and TC authors a LOT more power. However, with added power comes complexity, so the barrier to entry for some folks may be a lot higher now than it was qith QuakeC.|
To use addon patches you need to create a subdirectory on your Quake II folder and put the "game86x.dll" file there. Start Quake II with the following command parameter: "+set game gamedir" where gamedir is the name of the directory in which you put the game86x.dll.
Quake II has a coherent story for once. Nothing like Quake. "So is it a sequel?" - I hear you ask; no. The only reason it uses the same name is because id encountered legal problems with the other names they come up with, besides (like Hexen II) the game became popular and known as Quake II thus it was too late to change it.
Jaquays: I've had a request (which means that there's
a lot more of you out there who don't write) to explain
why I'm saying that Quake II is not a sequel to Quake.
The word sequel implies a continuation of what has gone
before. In this case, a continuation of the battle
against Quake, the mythical overlord of evil, by soldiers
fighting in an undefined army in undefined places.
Although many of the features of Quake II will be similar
to Quake players (such as a 3D environment, some weapons
that function similar to those of Quake, lava, slime and
use of game's logo in certain special game powerups), it
is not a continuation of the Quake story.
With Quake II, id has chosen to follow a different story line (and they did this before I got here). Instead of a vague "Kill the minions of Quake" sort of imperative, we have created a brand new story with a solid, homogenous, entirely futuristic, totally militaristic story line. In Quake II, you are a soldier in the TCM (Terran Confederation of Man) army, a combined force put together from the surviving armies of nations on the planet Earth and those of Earth's colonies on the Moon and the new independent nation of Ares on the planet Mars. Humanity is commited to what we hope will be the terminal battle of an ongoing war to not only repell alien invaders from our system, but to destroy their ability to make war of any kind. The battle (in this episode) takes place on the planet Stroggos, the alien homeworld, the core of their barbaric "civilization." Levels are designed to be played in a logical, sequential progression. And here, your mission doesn't end until the big guy, the core of the problem goes down for the long dirtnap.
OK, now WHY are we calling it Quake II, when it's not really a sequel to Quake? Several reasons. Trademarking. The names we were going for, the ones that to our thinking, really expressed the concept and theme of the game were owned by someone else (when it appears that you may have money to actually cover real or imagined damages, "foxxing" really gets ugly. They don't just tell you to cease and desist). We kept putting forward names to our copyright attorneys and they kept telling us "You're not safe from liability with that one." The deadline for having our real and true name in time for E3 came, and our hands weren't grasping that one great name. And there it was waiting for us like an old lover ... our working title ... Quake II. It knew we'd come home to it at last. It should have been obvious. We've built up a great deal of name recognition with Quake. We shouldn't just throw that away.
|Paul Steed: An alien force has
been pounding the shit out of earth in an attempt to
invade and conquer us. The aliens are a nightmarish and
painful hybrid of machine and flesh. They are pure evil
incarnate and probably eat raw human flesh as well.
As the game unfolds you are part of an invasion force which has found a way to reach the alien homeworld through their own technology (i.e. worm hole/black hole trans-dimensional transportation 'portals'). As you hit the dirt of the said alien homeworld you quickly realize that most of your buddies are in the process of being wiped out and it is of course up to you to save the day. Your goal? To shut down the defenses of the alien military complex which you've crash landed into and specifically incapacitate the 'Big Gun' which can shoot down any one of the ships in the awaiting fleet overhead.
Once you've accomplished the destruction/shut-down of the Big Gun, the fleet will begin pounding the alien planet into submission as most of their defending fighters are off pounding OUR planet.
|Activision: After years of waging war against the alien aggressors, the Earth is on the verge of being completely obliterated. A last effort to bring the mass destruction to an end is underway. Launched from a giant space carrier, you are part of a secret assault force sent through an interplanetary gateway in single-manned pods. Shortly after landing on the alien surface you learn that hundreds of your men have been slashed to just a few. Now, you must do what entire armies could not: fight your way through heavily fortified military installations, lower the city's defenses, and shut down their war machine. Only then, can Earth even hope to launch an air assault. Only then, will the fate of all humanity be known.|
Taken from the Quake II manual:
Long shadows claw desperately away from your dusty combat boots, fueled by the relentless sun of a late Texas afternoon. Shading your eyes against the glare, you squint for the thousandth time at the line of soldiers ahead of you. It stretches on endlessly across the rubble, disappearing at last into the cool shadows of a troop carrier. Soon you'll walk up the ramp into the ship, climb into your one-man cocoon, tear through the interplanetary gateway, and smash down light-years away from the blowing sand and blasted ruins that surround the Dallas-Metro crater.
"What the hell is taking so long?!" you snarl, slamming the battered barrel of your side arm, the blaster, against your scarred palm. "I've waited long enough. Time to kick some Strogg ass."
Slightly rocking back and forth under the sweltering August sun, you spit out of the side of your mouth, rub your eyes, and think back to the day when the wretched creatures first attaced. Like flaming meteors, their crafts pounded into the Earth and unbelievably, these bio-mechanical aliens... these hideous cyborgs... swarmed out while their ships still sizzled with reentry heat. They killed or captured anything that lived. We figured that the Strogg were after our planet's resources: minerals, metals, and water: things like that. But their onboard storage facilities did little to disguise what they considered to be resources: fleshy limbs and organs for new cyborgs, and of course, food. The line moves. And moves again. Into the cool shadows at last. The assembled armies branch off into new lines divided by corps and unit.
"I can't deal with this shit - what's the friggin' hold-up?"
"Cool your jets, marine." Tokay mutters and smiles over his shoulder. "We'll all get a few Strogg heads to take home as souvenirs. I promise you that."
"Yo, soldier, 3585." The medtech's voice startles you. "You in or out?"
Competent hands guide you into the coffin-like opening of your Mark 9A drop pod: sleek, dark, and invisible to the Stroggos defense systems. One of the techs begins to drop the reinforced pod door. "Sleep tight, soldier. You'll see sunlight in less than six and a half hours. Not our sun, mind you." <SLAM>
Pitch black except for the mild glow of your video readout system in front of you. You've done this a dozen times in the sim classes. No sweat. Just a few short hours to sleep, recharge, and then the moment of glory. But this time it's for real.
It's also time to think. You recall your first official day of training, your unit commander discussing how these damn parasites made it to Earth and other nearby colonies in the first place. By employing our best satellites and long-range scanners, we learned how they traveled light years so quickly - the Strogg used these black hole-like gateways as their highway to heaven. We still don't know if they created these rips in the fabric of space and time, or if they simply discovered them by accident. Either way... it's just like opening the door to an all-you-can-eat restaurant for these bastards. In about two hours, we'll be entering the same interstellar portals, to hit 'em where it hurts... on their own turf. You close your eyes and relish this thought. Eventually, you nod off to the low hypnotic hum of the troop carrier.
*Crackle* ... *fzzzz* ... "Greetings to the people of the Coalition. This is Flag Admiral Crockett, speaking to you from the bridge deck of Phobos. We are entering the outer orbits of Stroggos, the alien's home system. As we had postulated, Stroggos' atmosphere is harsh but breathable. We expect to make planetfall soon. Now is the time to switch on your debriefing panel if ya need it."
"Boomer?" the voice crackles through every soldier's headset. "Drop X-ray squad in 30 on my mark. You copy?"
"Roger that!" In another pod, your sergeant snaps back. "OK boys and girls, you see the clock on your heads-up. Two demerits for anyone who up-chucks during bounce and roll!"
*Shthunk!!* Your drop pod is shot from the side of the carrier and hurtles downward. *Wheee-oooooo!* Incendiary atmosphere howls past the pod's rapidly heating shell. *Ka-WHUMP! * The pod wall suddenly buckles to your right, but stays intact. Another pod must have clipped yours on its way in. ECM didn't indicate enemy fire. Shit. Thrusters and stabilizing gyros are fading. Based on the pings, the other pods are pulling away. Below you, the large alien city roars into focus on the screen. But where are the other pods? They were there a minute ago.
Suddenly, distorted radio chatter lights up, "Mayday! Mayday! Lost all power... shielding failed... missed dz... some kind of EMP is... kzzzt... us out. We're dropping like fli... zzzzkkkzzzt". Silence.damn! If the Strogg have electromagnetic pulse defenses and we failed to detect them... all of us are in the shitter. That HUGE blip has to be the Big Gun. You do a slow dogleg left as your navcomp finds a place to land when all of a sudden retros kick in and propel you south.
"What the...?" Before you know it you skip across the lip of a crater and slam into a structure, a good distance away from your target. Dazed and bleeding from a head cut you toggle open the labeled arsenal bins and reach for where your gear ought to be stowed. Damn. Nothing but your sidearm.
You leap out the crushed pod door, alone, with blaster in hand, and tear off into the room with the bittersweet stench of vengeance coursing through your veins...
2. Your Character
You are able to choose between male and female space marines. The female is more a Vasquez type marine than a Babe; yet it manages to retain a sexy look while the male character is bald and tough. Note that there is at least one male skin where the character isn't bald. These don't have Duke kind of attitudes though:
|Brian Hook: The player you play
is not a character we create. We prefer it when the
character takes on the player's own state of mind and
personality, so we're not going to try and insert an
artificial personality into the character.
I don't think "id" has a view on female gamers, but I know there are a lot of individuals here that do. We think it's really cool that all-female clans exist, and we think it's cool that Quake is THE game that has popularized female gamers in what is predominantly a male dominated genre (first person shooters). We did a female character because this is what people like PMS, CW, etc. will want. It would suck that a female player would run around in a guy's body when we can provide them a female equivalent. So that's what we're doing. We're providing the female character to appeal to female gamers out there, not to appeal to the hormonal urges of teenage boys.
Breaking up with previous id games, the weapons are offset to either side (lefties rejoice) giving it a much more realistic look and the basic "out-of-the-stomach" view which probably is only used in Deathmatch. All weapons are futuristic with a mix of earth and alien pieces of mass destruction. Currently, there are no plans for a melee weapon. (personally I'd like to see a comeback of Doom's chainsaw :) The third column tells you how much ammo a particular weapon discharges with just one press of the trigger. The fourth column lists how much raw health (raw as in before acounting for armour) each individual hit will take from the target in Deathmatch and the final column for any special cases:
|Weapons||Type Of Ammo||Ammo 1 Shot||DMG||Special DMG|
|Blaster||-||-||15||10 DMG in single player|
|Shotgun||Shells||1||4 per fragment||Max DMG = 48 if all 12 fragments hit|
|Super Shotgun||Shells||2||6 per fragment||Max DMG = 120 if all 20 fragments hit|
|Chaingun||Bullets||9||6||8 DMG in single player|
|Grenades||Grenades||1||125||Blast Radius = 165 units|
|Grenade Launcher||Grenades||1||120||Blast Radius = 160 units|
|Rocket Launcher||Rockets||1||100 + (0 to 20 random)||Blast Radius = 120 units|
|Hyper Blaster||Cells||1||15||10 DMG in single player|
|Railgun||Slugs||1||100||150 DMG in single player|
The Blaster has unlimited ammo thus no info is relevant regarding how many ammo it depletes in one shot. The Chaingun has a rate of fire of 20 bullets / sec for the first second and 40 bullets / sec afterwards. To understand the units you should be aware that the height of the player is around 64 units. BFG elaborate explanation:
Once you fire it and the green ball is hovering to its target a number of green lasers will ignite from the center of the green ball which will hit any adversaries within a 256 units radius. This laser will take 5 health points per second. Once the green ball touches either an enemy or a wall it will take 100 points (when closest from impact point) from the unlucky target plus it has a 200 unit radius from the impact point. Please be careful if you happen to be within that radius the blast will take twice the health points from you (200 when closest to impact point). But the fun is not over, the BFG also spawns up to 500 damage in a 1000 unit radius. If you'd like a more in depth view on weapons and inventory then you should read the Tips section or The Quake II Weapon and Combat FAQ.
Due to time constraints weapon discrimination in multiplayer games is still not implemented (i.e. you still can't tell which weapons the other players are using). id has stated, though, that this feature might be available in an official addon. Apparently you'll be able to view three different weapon models: small, medium and big. Although not perfect it helps to know when to charge and when to... er... run away. =) Also, when running, one hand wings for balance while the other holds the weapon.
|Brian Hook: We're aware of the weapon balance issues people had with Quake, and those are being addressed. We're going to have more weapons, and we're also going to be modifying the characteristics of some of the weapons (DB shotgun will be more powerful, RL may be a little weaker or slower).|
Unfortunately we can't use the gun turrets found in some of the levels. Several weapons like the desintegrator, flaregun and mines were removed from the game. A variation of Rocket Jumping is now possible in Quake II: Barrel Jumping where you step on top of one of the exploding barrels present in Quake II (ALA Doom) and doing a Rocket Jump. This was already possible in Quake but you had to be invincible otherwise you'd be blown to pieces by those Nuke Boxes. This new Barrel Jumping propells you to incredible heights, possibly four times your standard jumping height.
In Quake II you can do a BFG jump as well, pretty much like Rocket Jumping. The major difference is that you have to pull the trigger _before_ you jump. Wait a couple seconds (for the BFG to warm up), point downwards, jump and blast yourself into the cosmos.
Here are some of the items available from the simplest and mundane to the rare and powerful:
|Ammo||Amount per box||Max||Bandolier||Backpack|
The Bandolier and Backpack columns state the new maximums for a particular kind of ammo after picking up those artifacts.
|Armour||Amount per item||Max|
Armour Shards keep raising your stats even if you have 100 or more. The last two armour protections use cells so their Amount and Max are dependent of your cell suply. The Energy Shielding is actually not available in Quake II but it is included in the Quake II gamex86.dll (which controls the actual game) but id Software decided not to put it in. This armour only works when the energy weapons' blasts hit the target in the front, unlike the Energy Armour which protects the whole body.
|Health||Amount per box||Max|
|Adrenaline||raises up to 100 if health < 100||100|
Stimpacks keep raising your stats even if you have 100 or more. The First Aid and Medkits raise to 100 (or whatever is your standard maximum health).
|Paul Steed: We currently have plans for IR goggles and a scope which zooms in on a target.|
These two artefacts were removed.
I already discussed about AI so I'll concentrate on the actual foes you'll be encountering throughout the game. There are lots of new stuff in Quake II's enemies: there are female-looking monsters, they seem to be alien cyborgs (machines with living tissues), when they die swarms of flies gather around the corpses, monsters have amazing animations to reflect which part of their body was hit and they have two condition skins which will reflect the monsters health (and aggressiveness :).
Levels are broken down into missions (Units). There is more scenery interactivity by being able to destroy walls and other parts of the world. You're now able to crouch, use an inventory and interact with the scenery. You still don't have a "use" key though.
The levels now have a theme and objectives like "destroy the reactor core" and things like that. You'll see several pieces of machinery where you can interact and push levers and stuff. It won't be just mindless carnage this time. If you wish to skip a certain unit then just bring down the console and type the exec command as described below:
|Military Base||The start of the game. Scenery damage due to marine strike||-|
|Bunker Warehouse||Sabotage the alien's logistic support of their main defense systems||exec warehouse.cfg|
|Jail||Pretty obvious||exec jail.cfg|
|Mines||Damp, eerie passage ways back to the factory||exec mine.cfg|
|Factory||The Strogg's assembly line||exec factory.cfg|
|Power Station||Take out the energy to the Big Gun||exec power.cfg|
|Big Gun||Sabotage the Strogg's main planetary defense system||exec biggun.cfg|
|Hangar||The aliens are trying to escape through their wormholes, stop them||exec hangar.cfg|
|City||Stroggos capital city||exec city.cfg|
|Final Battle||Hunt down and kill the Stroog's leader, Makron||exec boss.cfg|
Here is the complete lowdown of the 55 levels present in Quake II sorted by category and filename. Type "map x" at the console where x stands for the first term below:
Single Player Levels
64-player DM Levels
Capture The Flag
If you don't like to cheat then skip this section. Otherwise read on. Btw, these are typed in the console. Type them again to disable (except ammo).