How To Play Quake 1 Like It’s 2011 (not 1999)

by stavrosthewonderchicken
Features, Games and Gaming, Retrospectives

Seeing this recent post on RPS got me in the mood to do some singleplayer QuakeOneing. Just thinking about it gave me a shiver of anticipation, and I could hear the shotgun pow-tch-chk, the hiss and growl and roar and the clank-wobbleboom of grenades. That was it: the itch needed scratching. As soon as I got home from work, I got to re-installing.

But if you’re anything like me, you like a little modern gloss on the old warwagon. Leave the gameplay mechanics alone, but the shiny? I like the shiny!

After I got it running and waded through a few levels of delicious gibs, I thought you, the game-blog-reading public, might find a quick primer based on my adventures in getting it tarted up and modern-looking (without adulterating the essential Quakeyness, of course) helpful. So: this. I offer this fine, free service with the understanding that there are about a thousand ways to do this, and this is merely the way I did it today, and that I always tend to do it, for my customary biannual reinstall.

A quick note before we get this pony liquored up: your go-to site for all things Quake 1 is It is still active, and the forums have all manner of good things.

So. Let us begin.

I offer this fine, free service with the understanding that there are about a thousand ways to do this, and this is merely the way I did it today

1. Get Quake 1 Files

The fairly easy way: Get Quake 1, and install it. (If you do a full install, make sure you delete opengl32.dll from your install dir if it’s there.)

The even easier way: Well, OK, you can go one step easier than that, even. Create a folder called Quake somewhere. Create another folder inside it called ID1, and copy your pak0.pak and pak1.pak files from your install CD or whatever into that ID1 folder. Proceed to step 2!



2. Get Darkplaces

There are a lot of sourceports out there. Everyone has their favorites. Mine, because I love the eye-candy, is Darkplaces. It is gorgeous even before you tweak it out (with the handy in-game menus), and with everything maxed out, it makes even a modern computer break a mild sweat.

Darkplaces can be a little confusing, because there’s an engine bit and a dpmod bit. You just need the engine to get started. Grab it here, and unzip it in your Quake 1 folder.

Congrats! You can now run Darkplaces.exe and you’re in a whole new sparkly sexy Quake 1 world.

3. But Wait, I Got More!

You can also run the dpmod, if you want, which does a whole bunch of neat stuff in addition to running the vanilla game. You can grab it here, and once you open the zip file, just drop the dpmod folder in your Quake 1 folder (same level as the ID1 folder).

You can run it (in case you’ve forgotten how that works) by creating a shortcut and setting the target to

D:\Games\Quake\darkplaces.exe -game dpmod

(where D:\Games\Quake is whatever the path is on your own system, of course)

If, like me, you prefer just running the Darkplaces engine on the default Quake 1 data, you can forget about that.




Easy. Head here, grab the rtlights files, drop them in your ID1 folder.

Go here, and grab either the high res retexture pack (about 800Mb) or the SUPERULTRA res texture pack (in three parts, about 2.5Gb). They are pretty. Drop the pk3 file in your ID1 folder.

You can grab some shader animated ammo box models here. Again, just drop the pk3 file in your ID1 folder.

5. I Want Me Some New Maps and Episodes To Play!



Got you covered, my friend. Like you, I’ve played the basic game so many times, I hunger for new single player Q1 fun. If you do too, your absolute easiest solution is: The Undergate. Grab the zip file here, unpack it to your Quake folder (you’ll have a folder called undergate at the same level as your ID1 folder and your dpmod folder if you installed that). Create a new shortcut with the following target

D:\Games\Quake\darkplaces.exe -game undergate

(where D:\Games\Quake is whatever the path is on your own system, of course)

Run it, and you’ll spawn on a vast darkling plain, with a grid of portals that lead to 104 single player maps and episodes! No muss, no fuss, no fucking around. Just shoot the screenshot cubes to reveal the portals, and hop through! If you want to go back, type ‘return’ in the console. I love this freaking thing. [Pro-tip: The Hall Of Fame is at the back of the platform from where you spawn.]

What Else?

Well, once you get into messing around, there’s a near-infinite variety of stuff to find and play with out there in the wild. Running Half Life maps in Darkplaces? OK, whee! Mixing gamemodes on the shortcut command line and all manner of crazy stuff? Darkplaces supports it! Resampled audio? Sure, why not! A little oldstyle deathmatching? Aye.

And don’t forget, there’s an active community and a lot more fun stuff to be found on Let the updated-retro fragging begin!

Share and enjoy.


stavros thewonderchicken has written 125 FGEC articles.

Founder and Chief Ornithological Officer of Wonderchicken Industries™. I run LevelsOfDetail, Gamefilter and MefightClub (the mothership), and do not-gaming internet things at and I love you all.

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3 thoughts on “How To Play Quake 1 Like It’s 2011 (not 1999)

  1. Katrel says:

    I think that nostalgia must be contagious, because now I kind of want to go back and play some Quake 1 again — especially now that I know how to use Mouse/Keyboard controls. When I first played Quake 1, I did it keyboard only, cause I didn’t know about how useful the mouse controls would be. (Mouse control in Doom and Wolfenstein was pointless and pretty lousy, so I never bothered with it there, and I guess I assumed that Quake would be the same way.) So that meant that I used the arrow keys to move, Ctrl to shoot, and page-up/page-down to look up and down.

    I didn’t realize that there were so many new resources for it though. That’s pretty impressive.

  2. Dogface says:

    Woah! I guess it makes complete sense that Quake1 would be insanely well-modded by now – I continue to be amazed (and gladdened!) by how much effort a community can put into something they love.

    Great article! Also I have to say that the game is much easier with 10 years of mouselook practise behind me. :P

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