Quake II

Quake II

Infobox VG
title=Quake II

caption=North American box art, PC version
developer=id Software
Hyperion Entertainment (Amiga)
Virgin Interactive (Playstation, Linux)
Activision/Valve Corporation (Steam)
version=3.20 (3.21 as Source Code)
engine=Quake II
released=December 9, 1997 (NA) 1999, 2001, 2002
modes=Single-player, multiplayer
ratings=ESRB: M (Mature)
OFLC: MA 15+
USK: 18
platforms=Amiga, Macintosh, Nintendo 64, PC (BeOS/Linux/Windows), PlayStation, Xbox 360 (free with "Quake 4")
media=CD (1)
requirements=90 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM
input=Keyboard, mouse, joysticks

"Quake II", released on December 9 1997, is a first person shooter computer game developed by id Software and distributed by Activision. It is not a sequel to "Quake"; it merely uses the name of the former game due to id's difficulties in acquiring a trademark for alternative titles. [http://www.gameinformer.com/News/Story/200708/N07.0803.1731.12214.htm?Page=2 QuakeCon 2007: John Carmack Talks Rage, id Tech 5 And More] .] The soundtrack for "Quake II" was mainly provided by Sonic Mayhem, with some additional tracks by Bill Brown.

The next game released by id with the title "Quake", "Quake III Arena", is also not considered to be related to "Quake" and "Quake II" as it is multiplayer focused, and has a dissimilar storyline. A direct sequel, titled "Quake 4", was released in October 2005 for the PC (Microsoft Windows and GNU/Linux), and later for the Xbox 360 and the Apple Macintosh. A prequel to "Quake II", "", has been produced by Splash Damage.


"Quake II" takes place in a science fiction environment. In the single-player game, the player assumes the role of a marine named Bitterman taking part in "Operation Alien Overlord", a desperate attempt to protect Earth from alien invasion by launching a counter-attack on the home planet of the hostile cybernetic Strogg civilization. Most of the other soldiers are captured or killed almost as soon as they enter the planet's atmosphere, so it falls upon the player to penetrate the Strogg capital city alone and ultimately to assassinate the Strogg leader, the Makron.


The game is played in general FPS paradigms, in which the player shoots enemies from the perspective of the main character. The gameplay is very similar to that featured in "Quake", in terms of movement and controls, although the player has been slowed down, and now has the ability to crouch. The game retained four of the original "Quake"'s weapons (shotgun, super-shotgun, grenade-launcher and rocket launcher), although they were all completely redesigned and made to function in slightly different ways. The remainder of "Quake"'s eight weapons (axe, nail-gun, super-nailgun, and Thunderbolt) are gone. Newly introduced weapons are the blaster, machine-gun, chain-gun, hyper-blaster, rail-gun and BFG10K. Some power-ups from "Quake" are still present, including quad damage.

ingle-player game

The single-player game features a number of improvements over that of Quake. First, evident from the opening CGI introduction sequence, the game's plot is much more integrated into the action. The player is given mission-based objectives that correspond to the storyline. For example, the player carries out a wide range of activities, including stealing a tank commander's head to open a door, or calling down an air-strike on a bunker. CGI cutscenes are used to illustrate the player's progress through the various main objectives, although they are all essentially the same short piece of video, that shows a computerised image of the player as he/ she moves through game's levels.

The game's weapons, items and enemies also reflect more a thoroughly planned game design, as they all fit convincingly into the game's universe, unlike the random mixture of types found in "Quake".

Another addition is the inclusion of a non-hostile character type: the player's character's captured comrades. However, it is impossible to interact with such characters, because they have all been driven insane by their Strogg captors.

The game features much larger levels than "Quake", with many more wide-open areas. There is also a hub system that allows the player to travel back and forth between levels. Indeed, this is sometimes necessary to complete certain objectives. There are some similarities to "Quake" in that some of the textures and symbols that appear in the game are very similar to some of those found in the original. The levels are now populated by a new set of enemies, including more recurring types than previously. There are also more monsters per level, and enemies now demonstrate visible wounds after they have taken damage.

Multiplayer game

The multiplayer game is similar to that in "Quake". It can be played as a free-for-all deathmatch game, or a co-operative version of the single-player game, it can also be played in Capture the Flag Mode. The deathmatch game benefited from the release of eight specifically-designed maps that id Software added after the game's initial release. They were introduced to the game via one of the early patches, that were released free of charge. Prior to the release of these maps, players were limited to playing multiplayer games on the single-player levels, which, while functional as multiplayer levels, were not designed with deathmatch gameplay specifically in mind.

As in Quake, it is possible to customize the way in which the player appears to other people in multiplayer games. However, whereas in Quake, the only option was to change the color of the player's uniform unless third party modifications were used, now the game comes with a selection of three different player models: a male marine, a female marine, and a male cyborg; choice of player model also affects the speech effects the player's character will make, such as exhaling in effort while jumping or groaning when injured. Each model can be customized from within the in-game menu via the selection of pre-drawn skins, which differ in many ways; for example, camouflage style, skin color, application of facepaint, etc.


Quake II was extremely well-received, by reviewers and gamers alike. It was called "The Best Game Ever" by PC Gamer, and went on to sell over one million copies.cite web|url=http://www.idsoftware.com/business/history/|title=id history|publisher=id Software|accessdate=2007-02-14] Quake II was the most popular online game for all of 1998.cite web|url=http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/july01/top505/|title=Gamespy's Top 50 Games of All Time|publisher=Gamespy.com|accessdate=2008-01-17]

Custom content

As with Quake, the game was designed to allow players to easily create custom content for it. Subsequently a large number of mods, maps, player models, skins and sound effects were made and distributed to others free of charge via the internet. Popular sites such as PlanetQuake or Telefragged allowed players to gain access to this custom content.

Another improvement over Quake is that it is now much easier to select custom player models/ sound effects, and skins for them, because they can now be selected from the in-game menu.


Unlike "Quake", where hardware accelerated graphics controllers were supported only with later patches, "Quake II" came with OpenGL support out of the box.

The latest version is 3.21. This update includes numerous bug fixes and new maps designed for multiple players deathmatch. Version 3.21, available on id Software's FTP server, has no improved functionality over version 3.20, it simply is a slight modification to make compiling for Linux easier.

"Quake II" uses an improved client server network model introduced in "Quake".The game code of "Quake II", which defines all the functionality for weapons, entities and game mechanics, can be changed in any way because id Software published the source code of their own implementation that shipped with the game. "Quake II" uses the shared library functionality of the operating system to load the game library at run-time - this is how mod authors are able to alter the game and provide different gameplay mechanics, new weapons and much more.

The full source code to "Quake II" version 3.19 was released under the terms of the GPL on December 21 2001. Version 3.21 followed later.

Since the release of the "Quake II" source code, several Third-party update projects to the game engine have been created; the most prominent of these are projects focused on graphical enhancements to the game such as "Quake2maX", "EGL" and "Quake II Evolved". The source release also revealed [http://www.quakedev.com/forums/index.php?topic=53.0 numerous critical security flaws] which can result in remote compromise of both the "Quake II" client and server. As id Software no longer maintains "Quake II", most 3rd party engines include fixes for these bugs. The most popular server-side engine modification, "R1Q2", is generally recommended as a replacement for the 3.20 release for both clients and servers. The most widely used engine modifications as of 2006 appear to be "R1Q2", "AprQ2" and "EGL", with a large majority of users still using the original 3.20 release.

In July, 2003, Vertigo Software released a port of Quake II for the Microsoft .NET platform, using Managed C++. [ [http://www.vertigosoftware.com/Quake2.htm http://www.vertigosoftware.com/Quake2.htm] "Vertigosoftware.com" ] It became a poster application for the language, showcasing the powerful interoperability between .NET and unmanaged C++ code. It remains one of the top downloads on the Visual C++ website.

In May 2004, [http://www.bytonic.de/ Bytonic Software] released a port of Quake II (called Jake 2) written in Java using JOGL.

"Quake II" engine

The following games use modified versions of the "Quake II" engine:
*"Heretic II"
*"Soldier of Fortune"
*"Half-Life was originally going to use the "Quake II" engine during early development stages. However, the final version runs on a heavily modified "Quake" engine, the predecessor to "Quake II".


Despite the title, "Quake II" is a sequel to the original "Quake" in name only. The scenario, enemies and theme are entirely separate and do not fall into the same continuity as "Quake". id initially wanted to set it separately from "Quake", but due to legal reasons (most of their suggested names were already taken), they decided to use the working title.Fact|date=September 2008 "Quake II" was also adopted as a name to leverage the popularity of "Quake".Paul Jaquays quote in the [http://www.planetquake.com/q2faq/#IV.1 PlanetQuake "Quake II" FAQ] .]

"Quake II" has been released on Steam, but this version does not include the soundtrack. It was also released on the bonus disc included with "Quake 4" Special Edition for the PC, with both expansion packs.


Ports of "Quake II" were released in 1999 on the Nintendo 64 (ported by Raster Productions L.L.C. and published by Activision Value ) and PlayStation (ported by HammerHead Ltd. and published by Virgin Interactive) console platforms, In both cases, the core gameplay was largely identical; however, changes were made to the game sequence, and split-screen multiplayer replaced network or internet play. An SGI port was made in 1999 by Philip Nemec. In 2002, the game was ported to the Amiga PowerPC platform by Hyperion Entertainment. There was also an unofficial port for the Sega Dreamcast, another port to Xbox, named "Quake2X", and an unfinished port to PlayStation 2 via homebrew coders.

"Quake II: Colossus" ("Quake II" with both official addons) was also ported to Linux by id Software and published by Virgin Interactive in 1999. Be Inc. officially ported "Quake II: Colossus" to the BeOS to test their OpenGL acceleration in 1999, and provided the game files for free download at a later date — a Windows, Macintosh or Linux install CD was required to install the game, with the official addons being optional.


For the PlayStation version, several of the original levels, including several complete sections and units were removed. Some enemy types were removed, as well as some scenery objects. A new enemy type, a human-spider cyborg with twin railgun arms, was added, and many short airlock-like corridors were added to maps to provide loading pauses inside what were contiguous areas in the PC version. Saving the game is only possible between units and at mid-level checkpoints, the majority of which lie in the aforementioned airlock-like corridors, while in the PC version the game could be saved and loaded anywhere. The game supports the PlayStation Mouse, to provide a greater parity with the PC version's gameplay.

The music of this port is a combination of the "Quake II" original music score and some tracks from the PC version's mission packs.

The PlayStation version is limited to a far lower resolution than the PC original, giving it a grainier look. Colored lightmaps for levels and enemies, and yellow highlights for gunfire and explosions, are carried across from the PC version, with the addition of lens flare effects located around the light sources on the original lightmaps. There is no skybox; instead a flat Gouraud-textured purple sky is drawn around the top of the level. The PC version's software renderer originally used particles to render blood, debris and rail gun beams as trails of large, opaque coloured pixels. In the PlayStation version, the particles are circular and translucent, similar to the OpenGL driver given with the PC version.

There is also a split-screen multiplayer mode for 2-4 players. The only available player avatar is a modified version of the male player avatar from the PC version, the most noticeable difference being the addition of a helmet. Players can only customise the colour of their avatar's armour, and change their name. The multiplayer levels are unique to the PlayStation version, and none of the PC multiplayer maps are carried over.

Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64 version, unlike the PlayStation version, had completely different levels and multiplayer maps. This version also had new lighting effects, mostly seen on gun fire, and also used the Expansion Pak for extra graphical detail.

Xbox 360

A ported version of "Quake II" was included in the box of "Quake 4" for the Xbox 360, on a bonus disc. This is a direct port of the original game, and does not feature any graphical improvements, other than it may render in 480p and 720p (although PC users of the time had access to resolutions roughly as high). However it does allow for System Link play for up to sixteen players, split-screen for four, and co-operative play in single player for up to sixteen players or four with split-screen alone.

Expansions and modifications

There are three official expansions:
*"The Reckoning" — released on May 30 1998, developed by Xatrix Entertainment and published by Activision.
*"Ground Zero" — released on August 31 1998, developed by Rogue Entertainment and published by Activision.
*"Netpack I: Extremities" — released on November 26 1998 — a collection of some of the best custom maps, models, and mods developed by the online community, compiled by id Software and published by Activision.

Unofficial expansions include:
*"Juggernaut" — released in 1998, developed by Canopy Games and published by HeadGames.
*"Zaero" — developed by [http://teamevolve.planetquake.gamespy.com team-evolve] .

Game mods

*"Action Quake 2"
*"Rocket Arena"
*"Weapons Factory"
*"Weapons of Destruction Extreme (WOD-X)" (http://www.netdoo.com/wodx)

Modified engines

*"Quake 2 Evolved"

ee also

*"Quake II CTF (mod)"
*"Jake2", a Java port of the "Quake II" game engine.


External links

* [http://www.idsoftware.com/games/quake/quake2/ id Software's official "Quake II" site]
* [ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/quake2/ Demo, patches and other resources on id Software's FTP]
* [ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/source/q2source-3.21.zip Source code of the engine version 3.21]
* [http://planetquake.gamespy.com/quake2/ "Quake II" at PlanetQuake]

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