Part I - What is Quake III Arena?
In this section you will be introduced to Quake III Arena - the latest 3D
Shooter (as of this writing) from id
Software, the makers of Doom, Quake, and Quake II.
A Brief History And Overview of "3D
I'll assume that you already know Quake III Arena is a computer game. But just
what kind of computer game is it exactly? Quake III Arena, and other
games like it, are categorized as "3D shooters" or "first person
shooters." Essentially this means you, the game player, assumes the role of
a character who runs around an environment shooting bad guys, monsters,
opponents, etc., gathering weapons and items, and (possibly) solving some sort
of problem or watching a story progress. In a 3D shooter you see things through
the eyes of the hero.
3D shooters have actually been around for quite a
while. Wolfenstein 3D, by id Software, was one of the first widely popular first
person shooters. It's follow-up, Doom, was a landmark game that defined the 3D
shooter genre. Doom had remarkable technology for its day and for the first time
allowed people to be immersed in a rich 3D environment that felt real. Doom did
have multiplayer options which allowed humans to play each other over modems or
networks, but not the Internet. Quake and Quake II changed all that.
Quake and Quake II, besides bringing the richness
of 3D accelerate graphics to the PC, marked the arrival of Internet gaming to
the masses. Now gamers could play anyone in the world, at anytime, via the
Internet. Quake and Quake II have helped redefine gaming and shift its emphasis
to the Internet. This is where Quake III Arena comes in.
What's So Special About Quake III Arena?
On its face Quake III Arena seems to be nothing more than an upgrade of Quake
II. Same game with fancier graphics and gimmicks. It's actually much more than
just that. Quake III Arena is one of the first "multiplayer-only"
computer games. What does multiplayer-only mean then?
In Doom, Quake, and Quake II the player had the
option to play through a large set of levels that were designed exclusively for
singleplay. In other words, it was just you against the computer; no Internet,
no modems, nothing like that. Quake III Arena takes the opposite approach. The
whole premise of Quake III Arena is built around online gaming. There are no
singleplayer levels or missions to solve, per se. Everything is done in the
style of multiplayer gaming.
It should take a moment to note that this does
not mean you have to be on the Internet to play Quake III. Quake III Arena has a
nice little feature called "bots" which lets you fight computer
simulated opponents while you're "offline." We'll discuss bots in more
detail later, for now just realize that you don't always have to play other real
people in Quake III.
There are certainly those who argue against
removing the old singleplayer maps and stories from the game, but id Software is
banking that the trend is distinctly shifting to online gaming. It's anyone's
guess as to what the future holds, but right now all we care about is getting
started with Quake III and having some fun. Our next section will briefly
discuss what online gaming is.