North American boxart, PC version
Raster Productions (N64)
Hyperion Entertainment (Amiga)
|Designer(s)||Tim Willits, American McGee|
|Artist(s)||Adrian Carmack, Kevin Cloud|
Rob Zombie (main theme)
|Engine||Id Tech 2|
August 3, 2007
|Media/distribution||CD-ROM (1), download|
Quake II is a first-person shooter video game developed by id Software and distributed by Activision. It is not a direct sequel to Quake; it merely uses the name of the former game due to id's difficulties in coming up with alternative names. The soundtrack for Quake II was mainly provided by Sonic Mayhem, with some additional tracks by Bill Brown.
The next game released with the title Quake III Arena, is not considered to be related to Quake or Quake II as it is multiplayer focused, and has a dissimilar storyline. A direct sequel, titled Quake 4, was released for the PC (Microsoft Windows and Linux), and later for the Xbox 360 and the Macintosh. A prequel to Quake II, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, has been produced by Splash Damage.
The game is played in general first-person shooter 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 retains four of the original Quake's weapons (Shotgun, Super Shotgun, Grenade Launcher and Rocket Launcher), although they were all redesigned and made to function in slightly different ways. The remainder of Quake's eight weapons (Axe, Nailgun, Super Nailgun and Thunderbolt) are gone. Newly introduced weapons are the blaster, Machine Gun, Chain Gun, Hyperblaster, Railgun and BFG10K. The Quad Damage power up from Quake is still present in Quake II and new power ups include Invulnerability, Bandolier, Ammo Pack, Enviro-Suit, Rebreather, and Silencer.
The single player game features a number of changes from Quake. First, the player is given mission-based objectives that correspond to the storyline, including stealing a Tank Commander's head to open a door and calling down an air-strike on a bunker. CGI cutscenes are used to illustrate progress through the main objectives, although they are all essentially the same short piece of video, showing a computerised image of the player character as he moves through game's levels. Another addition is the inclusion of a non-hostile character type — the player 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, which is necessary to complete certain objectives. Some of the textures and symbols that appear in the game are very similar to some of those found in Quake. Enemies also demonstrate visible wounds after they have taken damage.
The multiplayer portion is similar to that in Quake. It can be played as a free-for-all deathmatch game, a cooperative version of the single-player game, or as a 1 vs 1 match that is used in official tournaments, like the Cyberathlete Professional League. It can also be played in Capture the Flag Mode (CTF). 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 in the in-game menu via the selection of pre-drawn skins, which differ in many ways; for example, camouflage style, skin color and application of facepaint.
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 an 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 as evidenced in the game's intro, so it falls upon Bitterman to penetrate the Strogg capital city alone and ultimately to assassinate the Strogg leader, the Makron.
Unlike Quake, where hardware accelerated graphics controllers were supported only with later patches, Quake II came with OpenGL support out of the box. Later downloads from id Software added support for AMD's 3DNow! instruction set for improved performance on their K6-2 processors, and Rendition released a native renderer for their V1000 graphics chip. The latest version is 3.21. This update includes numerous bug fixes and new maps designed for multiple players deathmatch. Version 3.21, available as source code on id Software's FTP server, has no improved functionality over version 3.20 and is simply 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. A LCC-friendly version was released on January 1, 2002 by a modder going by the name of Major Bitch.
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 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++, called Quake II .NET. It became a poster application for the language, showcasing the powerful interoperability between .NET and standard C++ code. It remains one of the top downloads on the Visual C++ website. In May 2004, Bytonic Software released a port of Quake II (called Jake2) written in Java using JOGL. In 2010 Google ported Jake2 to HTML5, running in Safari and Chrome.
Quake II's game engine was a popular license, and formed the basis for several commercial and free games, such as CodeRED: Alien Arena, War§ow, SiN, Anachronox, Heretic II, Daikatana, Soldier of Fortune, Kingpin: Life of Crime and UFO: Alien Invasion. Valve Software's 1998 Half-Life, which went on to sell over eight million copies, was originally going to use the Quake II engine during early development stages. However, the final version runs on a heavily modified version of the Quake engine, GoldSrc, with a small amount of the Quake II code.
Ports of Quake II were released in 1999 on the Nintendo 64 (ported by Raster Productions) and PlayStation (ported by HammerHead) video game consoles. 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. A Macintosh port was developed by Logicware and released in 1999. Quake II: Colossus (Quake II with both official addons) was ported to Linux by id Software and published by Macmillan Digital Publishing 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.
Jake2 is a Quake II port shown by the JOGL team for JavaOne 2004, to present an example of Java-OpenGL interoperability. Jake2 has since been used by Sun as an example of Java Web Start capabilities for games distribution over the internet. In 2009, Tectoy Digital ported Quake II to the Brazilian gaming console Zeebo. The game is available for free, but does not feature CG movies nor multiplayer support of any kind.
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 - Arachnid, 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 lights 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 4 player game is possible using PlayStation's Multi-tap). 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.
The Nintendo 64 version had completely different levels, music and multiplayer maps. It featured multiplayer for up to 4 players. This version also had new lighting effects, mostly seen in gunfire, and also used the Expansion Pak for extra graphical detail. A port 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. However it allows for System Link play for up to sixteen players, split-screen for four, and cooperative play in single-player for up to sixteen players or four with split-screen alone.
As with Quake, the game was designed to allow players to easily create custom content. A large number of mods, maps, player models, skins and sound effects were created 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, skins and sound effects because they can be selected from the in-game menu. Two unofficial expansions were actually released on CDs in 1998: Juggernaut developed by Canopy Games and published by HeadGames, and Zaero developed by Team Evolve and published by Macmillan Digital Publishing. Other notable mods include Action Quake 2, Rocket Arena, Weapons Factory and Loki's Minions Capture the Flag.
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. Quake II was also adopted as a name to leverage the popularity of Quake. 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. This version also lacks the soundtrack. Quake II is also available on a bonus disc of the Xbox 360 version of Quake 4. This version is a direct port featuring the original soundtrack and multiplayer maps.
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.
See also 
- News - All News
- QuakeCon 2007: John Carmack Talks Rage, Id Tech 5 And More.
- "Quake II Engine Source for LCC Compiler". Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- http://www.vertigosoftware.com/Quake2.htm Vertigosoftware.com
- Ramsdale, Chris (2010-04-01). "Look ma, no plugin!". Google Web Toolkit Blog. Google. Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- Paul Jaquays quote in the PlanetQuake Quake II FAQ.
- Official PlayStation Magazine, Future Publishing issue 51, (October 1999)
- "id history". id Software. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- "Gamespy's Top 50 Games of All Time". GameSpy. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- Official website
- Demo, patches and other resources on id Software's FTP
- Source code of the engine version 3.19 as originally released
- Source code of the engine version 3.21
- Quake II at PlanetQuake