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Proto:Quake III Arena/IHV Prototype

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This is a sub-page of Proto:Quake III Arena.

So very stubbly.
This page is rather stubbly and could use some expansion.
Are you a bad enough dude to rescue this article?

Compiled on February 12, 1999. The internal version is 4.01.

This prototype is intended for graphics companies (3dfx, 3DLabs, ATi, Matrox) to rev up their OpenGL driver in preparation for this game, as it's one of the first commercial games that demand proper OpenGL 1.1 compliance. This was leaked soon after, and that made John Carmack very angry.

Engine Differences

  • It has not been optimized yet, being far slower than the final game.
  • Dynamic lights are updated through lightmap texture updates.
  • Curves/beziers does not have clipping/collision data yet.
  • r_normalizetextures - only appearing in this version. It normalizes the color of every texture loaded, leading to an inconsistently bright appearance.
  • Overbrights are not implemented yet.
  • Flares are present, but no flare textures or shaders are contained in this build.
  • Marks (or decals) do not fade away on their own.

Client Game Module Differences

  • A particle system in cgame is unique to this prototype. Rocket trail particles, grenade trail particles, plasma trail particles, railgun trail particles, item respawn and player respawn particles appear.
  • Items appear lower, and they don't bob vertically yet.


To do:
First-person screenshot galleries.



A small, lava-filled curve level.



A test level. A small vertical room with two platforms, two fog volumes and a very large texture of red balls. Intended to stress the capabilities of the then-current video chipsets and their OpenGL implementations (Nvidia Riva TNT, S3 Savage3D, Matrox G200, Voodoo2/Banshee, ATI Rage128, 3DLabs Permedia2).


A technology showcase level.

It starts off in a black room with an animated Q3 symbol, with a portal teleporting the player to a curve-based mouth room (later seen in the final version on Q3DM1).



Early version of Q3TOURNEY5.

There is no fog here. The sky is gray and flashes with lightning.




It actually looks like a kit rather than a single syringe.



The texture has much more detail to it and it does not have the electric current effect that goes around it like the final.

CTF Flags

Q3a-101-r flag.png
Q3A-101-b flag.png

Although Capture The Flag is not featured in this prototype, there's still early flags stuck in there.



It's far more militaristic looking. Probably was changed to read better for the 8x8 size used for the team overlay later on. In addition to the font change, a 1 pixel translucency border was enforced on each character to prevent filtered edge bleeding artifacts on stretched-up characters.

Early Final
Q3A-101-bigchars.png Q3A-bigchars.png

Respawn Spot


Carrying over an idea from Quake II, These little platforms appear at every spawn point. These were removed in the 1.03 prototype.


In this version, the player's view is offset by a virtual neck, which is apparent when you look down and up, your view leans slightly forward or back, for a more realistic illusion. Unfortunately this can lead into wall clipping issues. This was removed in 1.05, and this feature is commented out in the cgame source.


Many sounds are placeholders borrowed from Quake II that end up unchanged in the final game.



Early Final


Early Final


clank1.wav, clank2.wav, clank3.wav, clank4.wav

Early Final
Early Final
Early Final
Early Final

splash1.wav, splash2.wav, splash3.wav, splash4.wav

Early Final
Early Final
Early Final
Early Final


world/fire1.wav was a Quake placeholder.

Early Final


hit.wav is a direct copy from Windows 95's Musica sound scheme, even retaining the metadata. The final version lowers the pitch and adds a bit of a noisy punch to it, and still retains the original metadata.

Early Final




Swings once. No sound effect is available so it buzzes. An explosion sound plays when it hits something.



Doesn't spin, but otherwise functions the same. Borrows sounds of the machinegun from Quake II.

The first LOD level looks more properly textured than the highest.



Functions the same, and there's orange lights on the barrel's grill.

Grenade Launcher


Functions the same, and the model is green with a ring on it. The grenades are completely different looking orange plastic balls. Like the BFG10K, part of this early design is seen in the final's manual that was changed before the final release, most notably the disappearance of the ring.

Early Final (Manual)
Q3A-101-Grenadel.png Q3A-Manual-grenadel.jpg

Rocket Launcher


Functions the same. Looks completely different from the final model. The rocket itself is also very different. It's green, has a yellow flare and a blue jet flame on it. The word ROCKET is written on it.


Plasma Gun


It is purple, it fires purple balls with blue trails. The texture is clearly unfinished with several parts still a blank white.


Early Final

Lightning Gun


Model looks similar to final, but is completely untextured. There is no lightning effect yet.



Fairly complete, but uses many surfaces compared to the final. Strangely, this model has LOD meshes, whereas the final version has none.



Functions completely differently. The weapon is a faster hitscan that spawns explosions at the end. Visually the model doesn't look much different, apart from the non-spinning gear and no shader effects.

Interestingly, it looks very much like the BFG10K picture in the final version's HTML manual.

Early Final (Manual)
Q3A-101-BFG10K.png Q3A-Manual-BFG-10K.jpg



A model and muzzleflash texture exists, however the weapon does not function yet. All it does is play a firing sound and flashes.

Grappling Hook

A model exists which happens to be the same as the unfinished model in the final game. There is no functionality yet, so like the flamethrower, it just flashes with a sound.


This prototype only has Sarge. Sarge has a fatter head and has not started smoking yet.

Furthermore, the surface name in the MD3s refer to it as "band", shortened from bandolier, a player model name found in q3data.qdt.


Player Weight Classes

The weight class system is partially implemented in this prototype. Changing class to light will make you faster. Changing it to heavy will make you slower. Default is medium.

Health, starting ammo/weapon and armor does not change.

There are also unused icons for the three classes.

There's also several cvars that can adjust their effectiveness.

Cvar Value Description
g_weak 1.25 Adjusts damage taken multiplier for the Light class.
g_tough 0.70 Adjusts damage taken multiplier for the Heavy class.
g_slow 0.8 Adjusts speed multiplier for the Heavy class.
g_fast 1.125 Adjusts speed multiplier for the Light class.


Teamplay is also partially implemented. Setting teamflags to 1 will enable Team Deathmatch.

Early Textures

To do:
The other textures.



Early Final
Q3A-101-tex-gothic wall-iron01 p.png When in doubt, add skulls.