R-Comp Interactive have been giving their games range a bit of TLC in recent times, with Final Doom, the Doom Trilogy and Wolfenstein 3D all being spruced up to be compatible with modern RISC OS hardware.
The Quake Resurrection pack, originally ported for the StrongARM RiscPC many moons ago, is now compatible with modern hardware such as the ARMX6, Titanium and Rasberry Pi. The game comes with all the original Quake levels, plus the Malice ‘total conversion’, and the Q!Zone expansion CD as well as a load of extra levels.
What is Quake?
Developed by id Software and published by GT Interactive in 1996, Quake is a first-person shooter and the first in the now long-running Quake series of games. Players must find their way through various maze-like, medieval environments while battling a variety of monsters using an array of different weapons.
The successor to id Software’s Doom series, Quake built upon the technology and gameplay of its predecessor. Unlike the Doom engine before it, the Quake engine offered full real-time 3D rendering and had early support for 3D acceleration through OpenGL.
After Doom helped popularise multiplayer deathmatches, Quake added various multiplayer options. Online multiplayer became increasingly common, with the QuakeWorld update and software such as QuakeSpy making the process of finding and playing against others on the Internet easier and more reliable. Quake played a huge part in making online multiplayer gaming as popular as it is now.
In the single-player campaign, you take the role of the protagonist known as Ranger who was sent into a portal in order to stop an enemy code-named Quake. The government had been experimenting with teleportation technology and developed a working prototype called a ‘Slipgate’.
Quake compromised the Slipgate by connecting it with its own teleportation system, using it to send death squads to the ‘human dimension’ with the sole objective of wreaking havoc. It’s down to you then to put up a fight over the 30 levels that makes up the main campaign.
What’s new in this re-release?
As well as a lower price point (£15 down from £23), this new version takes advantage of the hardware-accelerated ‘VFP’ floating point capabilities of modern CPUs. This effectively doubles performance on modern systems, meaning stability and gameplay on systems like the Raspberry Pi, Titanium, ARMX6 etc. should be pretty slick.
R-Comp’s Andrew Rawnsley has commented that, while other programs have benefited from VFP enhancement in the past (LAME MP3 encoder is one example), this is by far the biggest improvement he’s seen with a piece of RISC OS software.
When this re-release was initially launched back in February, the Malice ‘total conversion’ pack was not compatible with newer RISC OS machines – this has now been upgraded so it will run on newer hardware too. An update has also been released recently to make the game compatible with the Raspberry Pi 3.
What’s the advantage when compared to free RISC OS ports of Quake?
Many moons ago, ArcQuake was released for RISC OS which allows you to play Quake for free providing you’ve sourced the Quake levels from somewhere. While it was pretty stable, it was never upgraded to work on 32-bit RISC OS sytems, and because Quake is a pretty demanding game, this limits you really to only being able to play it on something like a StrongARM RiscPC – while I’ve not tried it myself, it has been reported that ArcQuake will not run under Aemulor on a newer RISC OS machine.
DarkPlaces Quake was ported to RISC OS more recently, and while being free it still comes with the same caveat that you need to source the Quake level files before you can play the game. Also, the port can throw up some stability issues from time to time, a number of users have reported that the game will crash after 10-15 minutes of gameplay.
For the £15 price you can’t really complain if you take into account that all the level files are included – as opposed to having to source them yourself (legally!) in the case of the free ports.
There’s no setup like you have with the free options, which require sourcing level files and placing them in a location the game is expecting the file to be in – plus the game does appear to be a lot smoother and far less buggy than other versions out there.
Quake Resurrection can be purchased as a £15 download from R-Comp’s Pling Store.
August is Games Month on the RISC OS Blog, where we focus exclusively on gaming, be it reviewing new games or taking a trip down memory lane with a look at a classic title. Stay tuned for more games articles throughout August!