Quake II engine

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Quake II engine
Developer(s)id Software (John Carmack, John Cash, and Brian Hook)
Final release
3.21 / December 22, 2001; 21 years ago (2001-12-22)
Written inC, Assembly (for software rendering & optimization)
PlatformWindows, Mac OS 8, Linux, PowerPC Macintosh, Amiga, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Xbox, PlayStation 2
PredecessorQuake engine
Successorid Tech 3, GoldSrc
LicenseGNU GPL-2.0-or-later
Websitewww.idsoftware.com/business/idtech2/ Edit this on Wikidata

The Quake II engine is a game engine developed by id Software for use in their 1997 first-person shooter Quake II.[1] It is the successor to the Quake engine. Since its release, the Quake II engine has been licensed for use in several other games.[2]

One of the engine's most notable features was out-of-the-box support for hardware-accelerated graphics, specifically OpenGL, along with the traditional software renderer.[2] Another interesting feature was the subdivision of some of the components into dynamic-link libraries. This allowed both software and OpenGL renderers, which were selected by loading and unloading separate libraries. Libraries were also used for the game logic, with consequences including:

  • Since they were compiled for specific platforms, instead of an interpreter, they could run faster than Quake's solution, which was to run the game logic (QuakeC) in a limited interpreter.[3]
  • id could release the source code to allow modifications while keeping the remainder of the engine proprietary.[4]

The level format, as with previous id Software engines, used binary space partitioning. The level environments were lit using lightmaps, a method in which light data for each surface is precalculated (this time, via a radiosity method) and stored as an image, which is then used to determine the lighting intensity each 3D model should receive, but not its direction.[5][6]

id Software released the source code on December 22, 2001, under the terms of the GNU General Public License v2.0 or later.[7]

Games using the Quake II engine[edit]

Games using a proprietary license[edit]

Year Title Developer
1997 Quake II id Software
1998 Quake II Mission Pack: The Reckoning Xatrix Entertainment
Quake II Mission Pack: Ground Zero Rogue Entertainment
Heretic II Raven Software
SiN Ritual Entertainment
1999 SiN: Wages of Sin 2015, Inc.
Kingpin: Life of Crime Xatrix Entertainment
2000 Soldier of Fortune Raven Software
Daikatana Ion Storm
2001 Anachronox

Games based on the GPL source release[edit]

Year Title Developer
2003 UFO: Alien Invasion UFO: Alien Invasion Team
2008 Gravity Bone Blendo Games
2012 Warsow Warsow Team
Thirty Flights of Loving Blendo Games
2017 Alien Arena: Warriors of Mars COR Entertainment, LLC


  • Jake2 is a Java port of the Quake II engine's GPL release. It has since been used by Sun as an example of Java Web Start capabilities for games distribution over the Internet.[8] In 2006, it was used to experiment playing 3D games with eye tracking.[9] The performance of Jake2 is on par with the original C version.[10]
  • Yamagi Quake II is a port of Quake II to modern systems which aims to preserve the original gameplay.[11][12][13][14]
  • vkQuake2 is the original Quake II engine with additional Vulkan renderer created by Krzysztof Kondrak, a programmer from Poland. It was originally released in December 2018 under the GPLv2.[15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grant, Christopher (August 9, 2011). "id Software looking to shorten dev cycles, stop building new engines for every game". Joystiq. AOL. Archived from the original on August 28, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Technology Licensing: id Tech 2". Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. Retrieved September 17, 2008.
  3. ^ Sanglard, Fabien (September 16, 2011). "Quake 2 Source Code Review 2/4". fabiensanglard.net. Retrieved July 29, 2023. Dynamic linking provided numerous advantages: [...] Full native speed for mods, no need to rely on QuakeC and Quake Vitual machine.
  4. ^ Sanglard, Fabien (September 16, 2011). "Quake 2 Source Code Review 2/4". fabiensanglard.net. Retrieved July 29, 2023. Dynamic linking provided numerous advantages: [...] More capabilities to mod makers, the entire game could be altered via game.dll.
  5. ^ Milne, Rory (March 1, 2019). "The making of Quake 2". pcgamer.com. Retrieved July 29, 2023. We also had light bouncing—simulated radiosity—so every corner of the world had some lighting.
  6. ^ Sanglard, Fabien (September 16, 2011). "Quake 2 Source Code Review 3/4". fabiensanglard.net. Retrieved July 29, 2023. Contrary to Quake1, Quake2 used radiosity and colored light during the precalculation.
  7. ^ DiBona, Chris (December 22, 2011). "Quake 2 Source Code Released Under the GPL". Slashdot. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "JDK 6u10: Jake2: Quake II in Java". Sun Microsystems. Retrieved July 27, 2023. The Jake2 applet example shows the future of game distribution over the Internet. Jake2 is a port of id Software's Quake II to the Java platform developed by Bytonic Software. (...). With the new Java Plug-In, it is now possible to deploy the game directly into the web page with full hardware acceleration and rock-solid reliability.
  9. ^ "Play with your eyes". Joystiq. March 3, 2006. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  10. ^ "Q24j: Jake and Java-gaming Viability". O'Reilly Media. November 28, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2009. This is a great show of 3D prowess. Things like this, as well as the Narya 2D open source engine from ThreeRings really are starting to at least show Java can serve as a first-class gaming platform. More than that, just having seen all the… *cough* horrible code in games before, having things like Java's threading model, network and database support might really make it a BETTER platform for a lot of forthcoming games than C.
  11. ^ Dawe, Liam (July 21, 2021). "Alternate Quake II game engine Yamagi Quake II adds optional Vulkan support". GamingOnLinux. Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  12. ^ Burmeister, Yamagi. "Yamagi Quake II project page". Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  13. ^ "Quake 2 - Source Ports". GOG.com. Retrieved March 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "Quake II: Quad Damage Review". Gaming Pastime. August 18, 2017. Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  15. ^ Larabel, Michael (December 20, 2018). "Quake 2 Gets A Vulkan Renderer 21 Years After Release". Phoronix. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  16. ^ "vkQuake2 on GitHub". GitHub. December 19, 2022.

External links[edit]