Quake III Arena is a sci-fi dark-fantasy multiplayer-focused first-person shooter developed and published by Activision for the PC, Mac, and Linux on December 2, 1999. A limited open beta was released on April 24, 1999.
The sequel to Quake II (and the first to use the new id Tech 3 engine), Quake III Arena is focused solely on multiplayer combat (and is the first to have no traditional single-player campaign). It takes place in the Arena Eternal, a chaotic dimension created by mysterious "Arena Masters" (known as the elusive race of Vadrigar) for their own amusement.
While the game has the same fast-paced gameplay style of its predecessors, it has a new visual style and an overhauled multiplayer-focused weapon roster. Some characters from previous id games (including the protagonists of Doom, Quake, and Quake II) are also included as playable combatants. The game's soundtrack is composed by both Sonic Mayhem and Bill Leeb (founder of Front Line Assembly).
Other new features to the series include various visual improvements (including scripted "shader" textures, curved surfaces, and multi-mesh vertex animation), networking improvements (using a "snapshot" system and delta encoding for faster bandwidth), modding improvements (including a "virtual machine" system to minimize risk of mods crashing the entire game), and the addition of advanced AI bots (each with their own personalized "bot chatter"). The game's complete source code was later released as open source on August 19, 2005 under the GNU General Public License.
Along with numerous official patches, an official expansion (Quake III: Team Arena, released on December 18, 2000), and two compilations (Ultimate Quake and Quake III: Gold, both released on September 26, 2001), the game was ported to the Dreamcast (ported by Raster and published by Sega on October 22, 2000) and the PlayStation 2 (ported by Bullfrog and published by EA on March 26, 2001 as Quake III Revolution). The DC version was notable for natively supporting the platform's keyboard and mouse peripherals and for being the first to support online cross-platform multiplayer. The PS2 version was notable for a revamped single-player mode and new game modes. Both versions support split-screen multiplayer for up to four players. The game was also ported to the Xbox 360 (ported by Pi and published by Bethesda on December 15, 2010 as Quake Arena Arcade), adding numerous visual improvements (as well as new content, including some from the expansion) and a revamped single-player campaign.
Both the game and its expansion were later published digitally (by id themselves) via Steam on August 3, 2007. It also received a free-to-play port for compatible web browsers on August 6, 2010, titled Quake Live. This port features a variety of improvements and new content (including new game modes and maps, some of which are community-made), a player account system (with stat-tracking) and in-game advertising (with paid subscription options). It was released in numerous closed and open beta forms from 2008 to its official release. Due to the deprecation of certain browser plugins, Quake Live was migrated to a traditional downloadable PC game and, on October 28, 2015, was re-released as a standard paid game via Steam. The game later received a spiritual sequel in the form of Quake Champions.
Quake III Arena is a very fast paced game which gives the player a large selection of powerups, items and ten different weapons, both hitscan and projectile based.
The typical game modes in Quake III have the player spawn with just a weak Machinegun and no armor, the player will have to scavenge the map for more items and build up a stack so that he or she have a better chance against all other opponents. When a player dies, he will loose all of his items and have to respawn, starting from scratch.
The game ends once the frag or time limit is reached.
Strategy and tactics
The strategical elements of Quake III are apparent in game modes such as Duel and Team Deathmatch where the players have to control certain key item areas on the map (Mega Health, Red armor and Quad damage for example) and fend off any opponents who are trying to do the same thing.
Because items respawn on specific intervals they will inevitably sync up at one point during a match, meaning that a player can't pick up both. Because of this, some players opt to delay certain items (standing idle next to them for a couple of seconds) just to be able to make it in time to both items the next time they spawn.
One of the key aspects of Quake III is the freedom of movement it gives to the player.
- Bunny hop
By continuously jumping, you gain speed and move faster.
- Circle jump
By moving in a half circle with forward, strafe and mouse and then jump - you fly further than you normally would. It is a good way of starting your Bunny hop.
- Strafe jump
By using the strafe and forward keys while moving your mouse slightly in the same direction when Bunny hopping, you gain extra speed.
Besides the default movement capabilities of the player character, players can also use certain weapons to get to places they normally wouldn't be able to reach.
- Grenade jump
You can jump on top of grenades right before they explode to gain extra height.
- Plasma climb
When standing next to a wall, shoot downward at an angle with the Plasma gun to climb the wall.
- Rocket jump
Jump and then immediately shoot a rocket at your feet to gain extra height.
Whenever a player performs certain high-skill plays in the game, they receive a Medal that is displayed on both the player's HUD and the player character's head icon.
- Excellent - Awarded for scoring two frags within 2 seconds.
- Impressive - Awarded for two consecutive hits with the Railgun.
- Humiliation - Awarded for fragging an opponent with the Gauntlet.
- Capture (CTF only) - Awarded for successfully capturing the enemy flag. Added on Version 1.27g / December 13, 2000.
- Assist (CTF only) - Awarded after an ally captured the flag if the player either returned the flag shortly beforehand or fragged an enemy flag carrier shortly beforehand. Added on Version 1.25 / September 22, 2000.
- Defense (CTF only) - Awarded for fragging an opponent who are near either the team flag or a teammate carrying the enemy flag. Added on Version 1.25 / September 22, 2000.
- Accuracy (Single-player only) - Earned at the end of the match if the player has an accuracy of 50% or higher.
- Perfect (Single-player only) - Earned at the end of the match if the player has not been fragged once.
- Frags (Single-player only) - Earned for every 100 frags in the single-player campaign.
The Quake III weapon list borrows from both the Doom and Quake franchises.
The Gauntlet is essentially an electrified hand mounted saw blade. Used as a last resort melee weapon, it does about 50 damage per hit, and can usually frag an enemy in 2 or 3 hits depending on health and armor values. Given the fast paced nature of Quake III, the Gauntlet is rarely ever used as people can easily avoid it. Also, surprise melee kills are almost impossible due to the weapon's loud noise when in use.
When a player kills somebody with the Gauntlet, the killing player is awarded a Humiliation point, which comes with its own separate icon. Multiple Humiliation icons stack up depending on the amount of kills, encouraging continued melee kills.
The Machinegun is the weapon every freshly spawned player starts with. Like any other Machinegun, you pull the trigger and bullets come out at high velocity. At about 7 damage per shot, and a very high firing rate, the Machinegun is a fairly weak but serviceable starter weapon. It is good for finishing off opponents with low health on long distances.
As the name implies, the Shotgun in Quake III performs like one would expect a shotgun to: it fires a cone of 10 lead pellets. Each pellet does 10 damage, totaling up to a possible 110 points of damage, making the Shotgun very effective at close range. Also, it's got a laser sight - deal with it.
The Grenade Launcher fires pineapple sized "pineapples", which bounce around for a few seconds until exploding . However, if a grenade comes in contact with a player it immediately explodes, bringing about the term "grenade swallowing." While the latter is hard to accomplish, the Grenade Launcher is primarily used for littering a key area (items such as Red Armor or Mega Health) with very unpredictable grenades that makes it tough for your opponent to get out without taking damage.
The staple of Quake III: Arena is the rocket launcher. Firing explosive rocket projectiles, the real draw of the rocket launcher is it's splash damage. While it's easy to avoid a rocket, it's harder to avoid the explosion the rocket causes. Because of this, most Rocket Launcher wielding players will try to aim at the ground or nearby walls around a target. The rocket launcher is the most effective way in Quake III to leave your enemy in a shower of gibs. Not only used as a weapon, the explosive effect of the Rocket Launcher allows players to launch themselves up into the air.
Combined with jumping (known as rocket jumping), this allows players to reach places inaccessible through regular jumping. Certain professional players have developed a skill towards avoiding rocket fire commonly described by the community as being rocket scientists.
Returning from the original Quake, the lightning gun is almost like a flamethrower, yet instead of discharging a plume of fire, it shoots out a beam of lightning. The lightning beam is also instantaneous and does not deteriorate from where the crosshair is aimed, making it more powerful in the hands of a player with good aim. The Lightning gun is suitable for medium range combat since it has a limited reach.
Like it's Quake II predecessor, the Railgun fires a depleted uranium slug at extreme velocities, dealing massive damage. The railgun is Quake III version of a sniper rifle; highly accurate, and extremely lethal - however because of its long recharge time, it is very dangerous to use in close combat. The Railgun leaves trail, making it very effective for tournament commentary and viewership. The Railgun is the most common weapon used in the various Instagib mods for Quake III
First found in Doom, the plasma gun acts like the Machinegun, spewing out orbs of plasma at a high rate of fire with a small radius of splash damage. The Plasmagun is one of the strongest weapons in the game (but also very hard to master) and is especially deadly in tight corridors.
Because of its splash damage it allows some skilled players to "plasma climb", firing the Plasma gun underneath them against a wall to "climb" up walls.
While previous versions of the BFG fired slow moving balls of energy, the BFG operates as a souped up version of the Plasmagun. The BFG fires large bolts of plasma at a high rate of fire, causing even the most heavily armored characters to turn to gibs in only 2-3 well placed shots.
Health & Armor
- 5 Health (Green) - +5 HP. Grants overheal if at (or above) 100 HP, up to 200 HP.
- 25 Health (Yellow) - +25 HP
- 50 Health (Gold) - +50 HP
- Mega Health (Blue) - +100 HP. Grants overheal if at (or above) 100 HP, up to 200 HP.
- Armor Shard (Green) - +5 AP.
- Armor / Combat Armor (Yellow) - +50 AP.
- Heavy Armor (Red) - +100 AP.
- Medkit - Restores the user's health up to 100 HP. Using it while at 100 HP or above grants 25 HP as overheal.
- Personal Teleporter - Teleports the user to a random respawn point on the map. Using it while holding the enemy flag drops it prior to teleporting.
- Battle Suit - Increases the wielder's resistance to hostile conditions (such as lava and drowning) by +50%. Negates all splash damage.
- Flight - Allows the wielder to fly around the battlefield, managing their height with the Jump and Crouch buttons. Unavailable in single-player.
- Speed / Haste - Increases the wielder's weapon firing rate and movement speed by +30%.
- Invisibility - Cloaks the wielder, making them harder to see.
- Quad Damage - Multiplies the wielder's weapon damage by 3x (despite the name). Players who wield it glow blue (or in team games, their own team color).
- Regeneration - Slowly regenerates the wielder's health (+15 health when under 100, +5 otherwise) up to 200 health. Players who wield it glow red.
Quake III Arena features three deathmatch-based modes and one objective mode:
- Free-For-All - Players earn points by eliminating enemies and lose points by suicide.
- Tournament - Round-based one-on-one deathmatch. After one player wins the round, the loser is switched with the next spectator in line and the game state resets.
- Team Deathmatch - Deathmatch, but players are put into one of two teams (Red and Blue).
- Capture the Flag - Team-based objective mode where players earn points for their team by taking the enemy flag and returning to their pedestal (capturing it only if their flag remains at the pedestal). Players can retrieve their flags by eliminating the enemy flag carrier and touching the dropped flag (or waiting until it resets).
The base game includes 23 character models, each having a "default" version and two color-coded versions (Red and Blue) that are also used in team-based game modes. Four of these characters were previously playable in earlier games from the same studio (Doom for the Doom series, Ranger for Quake, and both Bitterman and Grunt for Quake II).
Custom character models can be used both in single-player and in servers that support them.
In addition, the game includes special versions that use the above character models (also known as "skins"). While they are considered alternate characters, they do not have team-based versions and defer back to the original model's version for team-based games. A large amount of these characters also do not have a corresponding bot and do not appear as opponents in the single-player Campaign.
- Angel (uses Lucy model)
- Bones (uses Bones model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Cadavre (uses Biker model)
- Daemia (uses Major model)
- Flisk (uses Klesk model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Gorre (uese Visor model)
- Grrl (usses Slash model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Harpy (uses Hunter model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Hossman (uses Biker model)
- Id (uses Razor model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Krusade (uses Sarge model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Patriot (uses Razor model)
- Phobos (uses Doom model)
- Roderic (uses Sarge model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Slammer (uses Biker model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Stripe (uses Grunt model)
- Stroggo (uses Biker model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Wrack (uses Ranger model)
- Yuriko (uses Slash model, does not have a corresponding bot)
- Zael (uses Uriel model, does not have a corresponding bot)
Version 1.16n (released on March 14, 2000) added six bonus models based on the game's developers: Brandon, Carmack, Cash, PaulJ, Tim, and Xian. Not only do these characters not have a corresponding bot, but because they are "base" models without team-based skins, they have the tendency to glitch and use another character's team skin (or revert to the game's default model/skin, which is Sarge's default skin).
The base game included 20 deathmatch-style maps and 4 maps for Capture the Flag mode. 5 new map variations were added in later patches.
These maps are used for the Free-for-All, Tournament, and Team Deathmatch modes. All maps (other than the PRO- maps) are used in the main single-player campaign.
- Q3DM0 - Introduction
- Q3DM1 - Arena Gate
- Q3DM2 - House of Pain
- Q3DM3 - Arena of Death
- Q3DM4 - The Place of Many Deaths
- Q3DM5 - The Forgotten Place
- Q3DM6 - The Camping Grounds
- Q3DM7 - Temple of Retribution
- Q3DM8 - Brimstone Abbey
- Q3DM9 - Hero's Keep (updated on Version 1.16n / March 14, 2000)
- Q3DM10 - The Nameless Place
- Q3DM11 - Deva Station
- Q3DM12 - The Dredwerkz
- Q3DM13 - Lost World
- Q3DM14 - Grim Dungeons
- Q3DM15 - Demon Keep
- Q3DM16 - The Bouncy Map
- Q3DM17 - The Longest Yard
- Q3DM18 - Space Chamber
- Q3DM19 - Apocalypse Void
- Q3TOURNEY1 - Powerstation 0218
- Q3TOURNEY2 - The Proving Grounds
- Q3TOURNEY3 - Hell's Gate
- Q3TOURNEY4 - Vertical Vengeance
- Q3TOURNEY5 - Fatal Instinct
- Q3TOURNEY6 - The Very End Of You
- PRO-Q3DM6 - The Campgrounds II (based on Q3DM6, added on Version 1.30 / August 23, 2001)
- PRO-Q3DM13 - Lost World II (based on Q3DM13, added on Version 1.30 / August 23, 2001)
- PRO-Q3TOURNEY2 - The Proving Grounds II (based on Q3TOURNEY2, added on Version 1.30 / August 23, 2001)
- PRO-Q3TOURNEY4 - Vertical Vengeance II (based on Q3TOURNEY4, added on Version 1.30 / August 23, 2001)
While all of these maps can be played in any mode using console commands, players creating a local server (or by playing single-player Skirmish mode) have a limited amount of maps to choose from based on game mode (due to map sizes):
- Free-For-All: Q3DM0-19, Q3TOURNEY1-6, PRO- maps
- Tournament: Q3DM1-2, Q3TOURNEY1-6, PRO- maps
- Team Deathmatch: Q3DM6-9, Q3DM12, Q3DM14-15, Q3TOURNEY4, PRO- maps
These maps are solely used for Capture the Flag mode and is not used in the main single-player campaign.
- Q3CTF1 - Dueling Keeps
- Q3CTF2 - Troubled Waters (based on Q3DM8)
- Q3CTF3 - The Stronghold
- Q3CTF4 - Space CTF
- Q3TOURNEY6_CTF - Across Space (based on Q3TOURNEY6, added on Version 1.16n / March 14, 2000)
The Dreamcast version includes 33 maps, 17 of which are from the PC version.
Most of the maps (DC_MAP02-24) were released for the PC version as a downloadable map pack on April 6, 2001 (distributed by Raster as Quake 3 Arena: Dreamcast Map-pack), allowing players on the PC version to play with (and host servers for) the Dreamcast version.
- DC_MAP01 - Introduction (based on Q3DM0)
- DC_MAP02 - Arena Gate (based on Q3DM1)
- DC_MAP03 - House of Pain (based on Q3DM2)
- DC_MAP04 - Powerstation 0218 (based on Q3TOURNEY1)
- DC_MAP05 - Arena of Death (based on Q3DM3)
- DC_MAP06 - Blue Monday
- DC_MAP07 - Hidden Fortress
- DC_MAP08 - Dark Chapel
- DC_MAP09 - The Place of Many Deaths (based on Q3DM4)
- DC_MAP10 - The Forgotten Place (based on Q3DM5)
- DC_MAP11 - The Camping Grounds (based on Q3DM6)
- DC_MAP12 - Fatal Instinct (based on Q3TOURNEY5)
- DC_MAP13 - Temple of Retribution (based on Q3DM7)
- DC_MAP14 - Lost World (based on Q3DM13)
- DC_MAP15 - Gaze of the Abyss
- DC_MAP16 - The Proving Grounds (based on Q3TOURNEY2)
- DC_MAP17 - Evil Playground
- DC_MAP18 - The Bouncy Map (based on Q3DM16)
- DC_MAP19 - The Longest Yard (based on Q3DM17)
- DC_MAP20 - Hell's Gate (based on Q3TOURNEY3)
- DC_SS401 - Revolver
- DC_SS402 - Frenzy
- DC_SS403 - Incinerator
- DC_SS404 - Brute Force
- DC_SS405 - Agony
- DC_SS406 - Crisis
- DC_MAP21 - Dueling Keeps (based on Q3CTF1)
- DC_MAP22 - Space CTF (based on Q3CTF4)
- DC_MAP23 - Blast Radius
- DC_MAP24 - Fallout Bunker
- DC_SS407 - Incinerator
- DC_SS408 - Slowburn
- DC_SS409 - Revolver
The game's single-player component consists of a series of Free-for-All fights. There are five difficulties to choose from (from easiest to hardest: "I Can Win", "Bring It On", "Hurt Me Plenty", "Hardcore", and "Nightmare!"), each of them determining how vulnerable each Bot is to damage, as well as the movement activity and weapon accuracy of each Bot.
Tier 0 (Training)
- Q3DM0 (vs. Crash, 5 frags)
Tier 1 (Trainee)
Tier 2 (Skilled)
- Q3DM4 (vs. Orbb / Bitterman / Grunt, 20 frags)
- Q3DM5 (vs. Hossman / Daemia, 15 frags)
- Q3DM6 (vs. Orbb / Hossman / Daemia / Bitterman / Grunt, 20 frags)
- Q3TOURNEY2 (vs. Hunter, 10 frags)
Tier 3 (Combat)
- Q3DM7 (vs. Daemia / Wrack / Grunt / Slash, 20 frags)
- Q3DM8 (vs. Gorre / Bitterman / Slash / Angel, 20 frags)
- Q3DM9 (vs. Angel / Gorre / Wrack / Slash, 20 frags)
- Q3TOURNEY3 (vs. Klesk, 10 frags)
Tier 4 (Warrior)
- Q3DM10 (vs. Angel / TankJr / Wrack, 20 frags)
- Q3DM11 (vs. Lucy / Biker / Patriot / TankJr, 20 frags)
- Q3DM12 (vs. Slash / Gorre / Lucy / Biker / Patriot / Wrack, 20 frags)
- Q3TOURNEY4 (vs. Anarki, 10 frags)
Tier 5 (Veteran)
- Q3DM13 (vs. Visor / Razor / Stripe, 20 frags)
- Q3DM14 (vs. Visor / Razor / Keel / Stripe, 20 frags)
- Q3DM15 (vs. Razor / Keel / Stripe, 15 frags)
- Q3TOURNEY5 (vs. Uriel, 10 frags)
Tier 6 (Master)
- Q3DM16 (vs. Cadavre / Bones / Doom, 15 frags)
- Q3DM17 (vs. Major / Sorlag / Doom, 20 frags)
- Q3DM18 (vs. Major / Sorlag / Cadavre / Bones / Keel, 20 frags)
- Q3DM19 (vs. Sorlag / Doom / Cadavre, 20 frags)
Tier 7 (Elite)
- Q3TOURNEY6 (vs. Xaero, 10 frags)
Like previous Quake games, Quake III: Arena has a strong mod community. There are countless modifications, ranging from small tweaks to total conversions. Some of the more popular mods are:
- CPMA (Challenge Promode Arena) - Competitive feature set, supports a large variety of game modes (including Rocket Arena) and two gameplay styles (Vanilla Q3 and Promode).
- Defrag - Allows players to engage in trick-jumping.
- Rocket Arena - Round based game mode, every player starts with all weapons and armor in teams of two.
- Urban Terror - Tactical-shooting experience (Free, stand-alone game).
- OSP (Orange Smoothie Productions) - Competitive feature set (deprecated, see CPMA).
Ports and other versions
Quake III Arena (Dreamcast)
Developed by Raster Productions for the Sega Dreamcast game console, Quake 3 became one of the flagship titles for Sega's online service by making use of either the dial-up modem or the Broadband Adapter sold separately. Up to four players can play offline through split-screen multiplayer. There were several compromises made in order for the game to run on the platform, such as bringing the total player count down to four players offline and online. When more players play on one console, the choices of levels shrink due to memory limitations of the platform. Certain levels were altered due to system limitations or for a more streamlined experience.
The Dreamcast version offers several control schemes, including support for the regular controller, the MadCatz Panther DC, as well as proprietary Dreamcast keyboard and mouse accessories. Each control accessory plugged in can be mapped to any active player. For example, four individual control types can be mapped to four active players. A mouse and keyboard can be paired to one active player, which allows two player split-screen gameplay with two keyboards and two mice. You can even set four mice to four separate players for mouse-only combat. Keyboard control allows for text messaging during online gameplay to talk with other players or team members in team games. Only one player per console can play online.
The game also features exclusive content including levels made just for the Dreamcast version including one level provided exclusively to paying SegaNet members and VMU mini games that unlock cheat codes for offline gameplay based on progression in the Single Player game and difficulty played.
The Dreamcast version also introduced a cross-play feature, allowing Dreamcast users to play against PC users.
Quake III Revolution (PlayStation 2)
This is the incarnation of Quake 3 for the PlayStation 2 game console. Revolution plays really close to its PC brethren except for controls and just a few tweaks. One of the greater and most innovative things about this version is the campaign and being able to build up your characters in a RPG-esque manner. The game supports up to four players offline in split-screen gameplay through a multi-tap adapter.
Quake Arena Arcade (Xbox 360)
Quake Arena Arcade was officially announced by Id Software at QuakeCon 2007. An ESRB listing at the time confirmed that Pi Studios, notable for work with the Call of Duty franchise, would be handling the port. Development then went silent until February of 2009 when John Carmack stated that Quake Arena Arcade was "very close" to finished.
The game was eventually released to XBLA on December 15, 2010 to tepid critical response due primarily to a lack of local split-screen play and connection issues on Xbox Live.
Quake Live (known as Quake Zero during development) was released in 2010 as an updated version of Quake III Arena. It was originally a free, ad-supported game which ran in a web browser.
In 2015 the game moved away from that model and must be purchased from Steam as stand-alone software.
On the map Q3DM11 go to where the Shotgun spawns, which is right next to a teleporter. Directly opposite to the teleporter is a wall.
Walking in to or shooting it will cause a panel to open up which reveals a grotesque version of the Dopefish, an enemy from the Commander Keen series of platforming side scrollers.
Playing Quake III on modern systems
Quake III Arena runs well on modern systems but it is still recommended to use a modern source port because of the numerous bug fixes and features they provide.
- Quake3e - Introduces 64-bit support, various security, bug and performance improvements as well as additional quality of life features for competitive play. Quake3e is a fork of ioquake3.
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