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Source ports are modifications of a game's source code that add extra features, such as improved graphics and support in newer operating systems.

Source ports allow you to play Quake games without having to run the game in MS-DOS or a DOS-emulating program like DOSBox, an emulator like SheepShaver for classic Mac OS, or deal with incompatibilities with executables for older versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

The term "source port" comes from source code as after the release of the specific game's source code by the developers, third party developers and programmers began to create their own engines for the main game.


Before the public release of the source code by id Software ports were developed with license from the developers, Dave Taylor one of the employees of the company at the time developed the first ever port to the Linux operating system on July 5, 1996. Later followed by a SPARC Solaris port later at the same year.

A Mac OS port was also released, being the first commercially released port done by MacSoft and Lion Entertainment. Dated late August 5, 1997. ClickBOOM developed a port of the game to the Amiga operating system in 1998. A RISC OS port was published in 2000 by R-Comp Interactive.

One of the oldest known source ports entitled VQuake was developed by John Carmack, designed for use with the Redition Verité V1000 chipset on late 1996. The port predates the more known GLQuake by one month, Carmack however grew frustrated by Verité's programming difficulties and so gave up on the Verité, focusing instead on support for non-proprietary APIs.

Official source ports

GLQuake was developed by id Software, being released to public on January 22, 1997. It is one of the most known source ports and many of the modern OpenGL source ports derive from it. Unlike the vanilla renderer, GLQuake allowed for advanced graphic features such as linear filtering on textures, shadows, transparent liquids, improved speed, reflective surfaces. The changes are quite controversial among the community however, for example some may feel the textures lose their detail when filtered, GLQuake also lacked graphical features present in the original renderer such as over-bright lightning and full-brights on textures, which made the maps way darker than they were meant.

WinQuake is a source port which allowed the game to be played on modern Microsoft Windows operating systems with the original renderer, was released later on the same year. Being faithful to the original game's look. QuakeWorld only version was later released.

QuakeWorld was later released focusing on improving the multiplayer aspect of the game, receiving both software and GL versions. NetQuake is a term used to describe the original pre-QuakeWorld multiplayer implementation.


Community source ports

See: List of Quake source ports

After the release of the Quake source code in 1999, third-party programmers began to create different engines so the game could be played on modern operating systems. Some focusing on getting the game to run straight, without any graphical enhancements, others introducing in some graphical features such as particles, improved rendering, colored lightning, real time shadows, support for texture and model replacements and more.

Quake 2

See: List of Quake II source ports

As with the first game, Quake II received a number of fan made third-party source ports after the release of the game's source code in 2001. However unlike the first game, Quake II did not receive official source ports by id software themselves, the main reason being the original engine already supporting both software and hardware accelerated OpenGL rendering running on Windows, thus the need for a update was scrapped.

The advantages of using an modern source port for playing Quake II can range from bug fixing and addition of new features without altering the visuals, or improved graphics and rendering while fixing bugs. Some source ports also allow external music to be played without a CD in the drive.

Quake 3 Arena

Microsoft Windows source code released in 2005 following closed ports to AmigaOS 4, Linux, Mac OS, Mac OS X, Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 and later Xbox 360 and iOS.

Quake 4

The source code to Quake 4 was never released, but the source code to the id Tech 4 engine and Doom 3 were in 2011. Quake 4 had previously received binary ports to Linux, Mac OS X and Xbox 360.

The author of Quake4Doom has also drafted a similar port for Prey, but not Enemy Territory: Quake Wars which uses an updated version of id Tech 4.

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