We're running a Quake server all week—come play with us!

Quake's multiplayer map DM4 as rendered by ezQuake.

Quake's multiplayer map DM4 as rendered by ezQuake.

If you’ve been around the PC gaming scene long enough, there’s a very good chance you have a story that involves Quake in one way or another. Quake helped change the rules for gaming on the PC, and this week marks the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking first-person shooter (look for a retrospective and more later this week!). But even if you don't have a story about nearly flunking out of school thanks to late-night Quake matches in the 90s, it's never too late.

We've set up a few deathmatch servers for our community and plan to leave them running for the next week. After all, is there a better way to celebrate a classic’s 20th birthday than to play it into the wee hours of the morning? I can’t think of one.

We’ve set up three servers for our readers to play on: One in San Francisco, one in New York, and one in London. All three have been set up as free-for-all deathmatch, with timelimits of 20 minutes and a 50 frag limit. Come play with us!

How to play

First off, you’re going to need a copy of Quake. You can find Quake on Steam for $5. If you prefer not to use Steam, Quake is on sale at GoG.com for $5 there as well.

The next thing you’ll want to do is install nQuake. nQuake is basically a meta package that grabs all of the most popular mods and enhancements for a solid QuakeWorld experience. We even set up the servers using nQuake. nQuake makes use of the ezQuake engine, and will make it a lot easier to enjoy Quake on a 1080p monitor. (Remember, Quake was published in the era of 4:3 aspect ratio CRT monitors where 800x600 was considered high-res.)

You can download nQuake for Windows, Mac and Linux. The Windows installer will look for your copy of pak1.pak (which you need from the retail copy of Quake) automatically and pull all the other mods, maps, textures and things you need. 

The Linux copy of the installer is simply a shell script. You’ll need to tell the script where to find your copy of pak1.pak that's distributed with Quake. Note that Steam (curiously) doesn’t offer a Linux copy of Quake. If you want to play on your Linux box, you’ll need to pull pak1.pak off a Windows machine and paste it into your home folder somewhere (like ~/quake) and tell the script to look for it there.

Make sure to boot up ezquake-gl.exe to run the game instead of launching it through Steam. When you start ezQuake/nQuake for the first time, the game defaults to making enemy skins appear like bright red blobs. That’s great for visibility, but looks like hell. If you prefer using the “old school” skins, pull down the console by pressing the tilde (~) key and enter the three commands: 

/set noskins 1

/set r_enemyskincolor ""

/set r_teamskincolor ""

Be sure to go through and configure your graphics settings how you like them. We'd also suggest checking your keybindings (like next and previous weapon) and other options in ezQuake's menu before you get started. Some of the default settings can be a little confusing (e.g. Gun Preselect and Gun Autohide), and you don't want to be in the middle of a deathmatch trying to figure out why you can't find your rocket launcher.

I'd play though a couple levels of the single-player campaign to make sure everything feels just right.

The PC Gamer Quake servers

We have three servers open for anyone to join. Pick the server closest to you for best performance. 

US-West (San Francisco) -
US-East (New York) -
UK (London) - 

Once you’ve chosen your server, use the console to connect to the server by typing “connect” followed by the IP address and port listed above.

Our staff will be hopping on from time-to-time all week, and we may even have a special guest or two join in the action later this week. You should be able to find and frag the US team online on the US-West server at 4:30 pm Pacific. Stay tuned to @pcgamer for updates on when we're playing.

Happy fragging!

Alex Campbell
Alex first built a PC so he could play Quake III Arena as a young lad, and he's been building desktop PCs ever since. A Marine vet with a background in computer science, Alex is into FOSS and Linux, and dabbles in the areas of security and encryption. When he's not looking up console Linux commands or enjoying a dose of Windows 10-induced schadenfreude, he plays with fire in his spare time.