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Gamespy Intro
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The Console
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Mod Introduction
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Part 4 - The Console

The console in Quake and Quake 2 is almost as innovative an idea as the Quake engine itself. The console acts as a conduit for the user to interact with the game. Aesthetically it's a lot like command line operating systems such as DOS and UNIX. There is a prompt and the user types in commands for the console to perform.

The console is of special interest to deathmatch players because of the new levels of customization it brings to the game. Every good deathmatcher has their copy of Quake 2 customized to their personal specifications. A good configuration helps bring that extra (and fair) advantage newer and experienced players alike crave for.


USING THE CONSOLE
Before we begin I should take the time to make sure you know how to access the console in Quake 2 and type commands in. If you've been reading this tutorial all the way through you should already know how to do this; but it doesn't hurt to cover it again.

To bring up the console anytime you're in Quake 2, simply hit the tilde key (~). The tilde key is the little squiggle key in the upper left hand corner of the keyboard located to the left of the "1" key and just under the escape key.

After you've hit the tilde key, the console appears. It's quite obvious when it does. It looks like a brown box with a flashing prompt. Now you're ready to enter commands. Just to see the console actually do something type the word version into the console and hit enter. The full version of your copy of Quake 2 will then be displayed. This is a very simplistic command, but it illustrates - at a very basic level - what the console does. It interacts with the user, but instead of clicking buttons to make it do things you type commands.


CONFIGURATION FILES
Quake 2 is probably one of the most (if not the most) highly customizable games on the market today. Configuration files help allow that level of user customization.

Basically, a configuration file is nothing more than a text file with a bunch, or a few, console commands in them. Quake 2 can load these configuration files and execute all the console commands that are in them. You probably already see the advantage to configuration files (or configs and CFGs as they are also known). Instead of having to type a bunch of console commands every time you play Quake 2 you can just type them once into a configuration file and have Quake 2 load them every time you play!

To get a look at a Quake 2 configuration file open up the Windows Explorer and navigate to the "baseq2" folder in your "Quake2" folder. Inside the baseq2 folder is a file called "config.cfg." Double click on the file and it should open up in Notepad. What you're seeing is just one huge list of console commands. Quake 2 loads this particular one automatically every time it starts. Right now none of these console commands mean anything to you (but we'll soon change that). Quit Notepad and be sure you don't save any changes made to this file.

Quick Tip
Remember for your configuration files to work they must be placed in your Quake2/baseq2 directory!

BINDING KEYS
The most useful command to any deathmatch player is probably the bind command. It lets you assign another Quake 2 console command - like "use Chaingun" - to a specific keyboard key. So if I wanted to I could write a bind command that would make my player switch to the chaingun every time I hit the ALT key. Let's try a quick example of this.

Start up Notepad and type the following (or copy and paste) into a blank document:

//Your first Quake 2 config file!
bind e "use grenades"

When you're done with that, save the files as "autoexec.cfg" in the "baseq2" folder of your Quake2 folder. Now run Quake 2 and start a game. Every time you press the "E" key your player will pull out a grenade (provided you have some on you). I should also take a minute to note that Quake 2 automatically checks for (and loads if they are present) two configuration files named "config.cfg" and "autoexec.cfg."


USING MULTIPLE CONFIGS
I've already mentioned that Quake 2 will automatically load two config files - config.cfg and autoexec.cfg - every time it starts. But what if you want Quake 2 to run other configuration files? There are several ways you can go about doing this.

First you could use a console command in Quake 2 to load a configuration file. For example if you wanted to load config file named "myconfig.cfg" you would type exec myconfig.cfg at the console.

When you're playing deathmatch though you want this to be done automatically so you don't have to bother with the console once you're in the game. Gamespy can help us accomplish this. Start up Gamespy and click the player profile button. Select a player name and then click Edit. In the next window there should be a box labeled Custom CFG File:. This box will let you select a CFG file to use from all the CFG files in your Quake2\baseq2 directory. Click Ok and now every time you log onto a server with that player name, Quake 2 will automatically load the config file you selected.


RESEARCHING THE CONSOLE
The things you can do with the Quake 2 console are truly endless and a complete and thorough coverage of every console nuance and command is beyond the scope (and intention) of this tutorial. However I do hope I've picked your curiosity and gotten you interested in researching the Quake 2 console more.

You can start exploring the console more at Fahrenheit 176.


That was a quick, but hopefully thorough, introduction to the Quake 2 console and the customization possibilities it opens up to you. I highly encourage you to research this topic more on your own. It will help you build the configuration that is tuned to your needs and styles. Click the link below to read up on aliases.

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