Quake [PC – Beta / Proto]

Quake [PC – Beta / Proto]

Quake is a famous fps released in 1996. In a preview section of Commander Keen (dated 1/23/90), we can see that originally the game was going to be a 2d role-playing game. Also, when in the mid 90’s they created the quake engine, the early testing was made on some Doom levels.

Also, as we can read on Wikipedia, the earliest information released described Quake as focusing on a Thor-like character who wields a giant hammer, and is able to knock away enemies by throwing the hammer (complete with real-time inverse kinematics). At the start, the levels were supposed to be designed in an Aztec style, but the choice was dropped some months into the project. Early screenshots then showed medieval environments and dragons. The plan was for the game to have more RPG-style elements.

Eventually, the whole id team began to think that the original concept may not have been as wise a choice as they first believed. Thus, the final game was very stripped down from its original intentions, and instead featured gameplay similar to Doom and its sequel, although levels and enemies were closer to medieval RPG style rather than science-fiction.

Before the release of the game or the demo of the game, id software released QTest on February 24, 1996. It was described as a technology demo and was limited to three multiplayer maps. There was no single player support and some of the gameplay and graphics were unfinished or different from their final versions.

As noted by Portend (check the video below):

There are quite a few differences in this deathmatch test release like the map designs and weapon models for instance. When I start moving and going down the stairs you’ll see armour in front of a gate, in the full release of Quake that armour is behind the gate.

After I go through the portal and across the moving platform, then back again… dropping down the lift is the Rocket Launcher (the red model which isn’t the finished version of the weapon). That hall in the final version has an alcove with the rocket launcher in it and straight ahead towards the steps is another alcove with the Quad Damage modifier sitting up top along with some boxes of health, that area as you can see doesn’t exist.

Some more info can be read thanks to old interviews with John Romero:

Quake as it turned out is not what Quake was supposed to be in either that original prototype (TFFJ) or in the original concept of what Quake1 was going to be. The idea completely changed and the only reason we didn’t change the name of the game is because everyone in the world already knew what we were working on.

Nope. Quake was one original idea that got changed 7 months before shipping to something totally different and the name remained because the world already knew what the game was called.

Our dragon was going to be a massive fly-by that traveled along a path outside the level, dropping in for some firebreathing every now and then. Mostly it was gonna be for a cool, huge character event. The Vomitus was going to be something disgusting that vomited small versions of itself that attacked you.

Also Spirit recorded a long session from the Quake beta, you can check it at Quaddicted or Archive.org!

Thanks to Nathan for the contribution!



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14 thoughts on “Quake [PC – Beta / Proto]

  1. Ross Sillifant

    John Romero, talking to EDGE May’97 about his original concept for Quake:

    ”My original idea was to do something like Virtua Fighter in a 3D world, with full-contact fighting, but you’d also be able to run through a world, and do the same stuff you do in Quake, only when you got into these melees, the camera would pull out into a third-person perspective.It would’ve been great, but nobody else had faith in trying it.The project was taking too long, and everybody just wanted to fall back on the safe thing-the formula.’

  2. Ross Sillifant

    Sounds like it.I’d of loved to have seen Romero’s original concept born of flesh as it were.

  3. Ross Sillifant

    Maximum Magazine quized I.D about why game had changed from you running about with a hammer, a la Thor, only to be told that after implementing it, I.D found it really was’nt that much fun, so they ‘fell back’ and basically implemented a Doom-style game with the most awesome technology they could develop.

  4. Ross Sillifant

    Regarding I.D bringing Quake to the Atari Jaguar :

    In all likelyhood, there will be no port of Quake to the Jaguar.

    -Shawn Green
    Project Manager
    id Software


  5. Ross Sillifant


    Developing on the Jag started out fun, but pushing the jag hard
    started showing up some architectural problems.

    The system suffers from a critical lack of balance. The central
    processor is well over an order of magnitude slower than the risc
    chips, but the risc chips are not suited to running the entire
    program because of their small fixed code memories.

    There is quite a bit of power there, but you have to go through
    contortions to get a lot of it.

    The worst problem is that the system has some hardware flakyness when
    all the processors are banging on the bus at once. This is what
    causes the network errors (they aren’t really network errors, they
    are game errors that show up by different things happening on the two
    systems). In hindsight, I should have just run the net game without
    all the processor overlap. It runs a good deal slower, but it
    doesn’t get the errors.

    Of cource, I would do several things differently if I was doing the
    project again. I know for sure how to make the rendering code 50%
    faster. This would allow you to either increase the horizontal
    resolution from 160*180 to 256*180, or increase the speed to 20 fps
    from 15, or run totally full screen at the same resolution with a
    more complex world.

    The problem is that Jag DOOM usually becomes speed limited by the
    game logic, not by the rendering code. The problems of movement
    clipping and line of sight calculation for all the monsters are more
    difficult to run efficiently on the risc processors. The basic actor
    logic is too bulky and spread out to run on one of the risc chips,
    but it is really a bit too much for the 68k to handle when the
    rendering is taking up most of the bus bandwidth.

    We are not working on any more jag projects at the moment (Quake is
    taking up all my time). We gave Atari a lot of our time and effort,
    and we are now in a “wait and see” mode. If they hit their sales
    projections, we will probably do something else late next year. We
    are probably going to license the jag DOOM code to some other
    companies though, so you might see a similar game before that.

    John Carmack

  6. Ross Sillifant

    More press coverage detailing what never made it:

    august ’94 copy of pc format:

    quake to hit in ’95

    id software’s doom 2 is released on on 10 october, but details are already
    beginning to emerge about quake, its successor which is scheduled for
    release in the latter half of ’95.

    quake features a thor-like character who, armed with a massive hammer,
    likes nothing better than to bludgeon his victims to death.

    id is hoping to include some real physics in the game, so that characters
    will twist and tumble through the air when they fall from a great height,
    or be knocked flat on their back from a heavy blow. in-game sprites will
    also be depicted in 3d, unlike the flat two-dimensional characters that
    inhabit the doom games.

    there will almost definitely be a multi-player link-up, as well as a vr
    tie-in with a majoe manufacturer. the last point is probably the most
    exciting, as many of the vr exhibitors at ces used doom to show off their
    respective helmets’ abilities. by producing a game with a specific headset
    in mind, id software could finally kick-start the vr market in a b-i-g
    way. prices of vr-headsets are already in freefall – five manufacturers
    were showing off cheap sub-$200 helmets at the show – so a game designed
    to work with them would be an instant hit and could even be part of a
    bundling deal.

  7. Ross Sillifant

    John Carmack talking up N64 Quake:

    Aaron Seeler from midway is coming down in a few days and we are going to
    start thrashing out the architecture for Quake on the N64. I’m really
    looking forward to that — I have some clever things in mind that should
    really leverage the N64 hardware and deliver an awesome game. All of our
    previous cart ports have been just trying (and failing sometimes…) to
    equal a mid range PC game experience, but Quake on the N64 should be a lot
    closer to the vquake / glquake versions than the vanilla software version
    that most people are fammiliar with.”

  8. Ross Sillifant

    While I was at id, I also spoke with Shawn Green, who is now the id
    console title guy, while I was there, and I got a sneak peek at DOOM
    on the Nintendo 64. WOW! If you have ever seen any of the original
    models that id used for DOOM II, that’s exactly what the creatures
    look like on a TV in the Nintendo 64 version of DOOM!  I was blown
    away by how fantastic these fully rendered models looked. They
    were also BETA testing Final Doom for the Playstation while
    I was there playing Quake. It looked pretty cool, and identical to its
    PC counterpart, with the loss of the 640×480 resolution of course.
    Final DOOM for the PSX will include all of the levels from Final DOOM
    and some levels from the DOOM II Master Levels, as Shawn told me. Also
    they are working hard on Hexen for the PSX, which may make the holiday
    season at this point. What is totally clear is that the PSX & Saturn
    will NOT get Quake. He explained to me that the PSX & Saturn are
    just to weak to run it, and that there will certainly be Quake for the
    new Nintendo 64 in time, because it will have no problems
    with Quake”

  9. Ross Sillifant

    Peter Hawley, GT Interactive, P. R Executive, April 1997:

    “I know there is talk of Quake being developed on Playstation and the Nintendo 64,maybe Sega will sign the rights to do Quake on the Saturn, but it is currently all speculation and rumour, nothing has been signed”

    Notice he never once talked of there being any attempt at converting it to the Atari Jaguar.

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