OFFLINE / Strategy @ Thresh, the legend of Quake, by Goblin

OFFLINE / Strategy @ Thresh, the legend of Quake, by Goblin

Quake2 / General source / Thresh: the legend of Quake

Thresh: the legend of Quake

Our hero’s name is Dennis Fong. As he is of Chinese origin he doesn’t have a middle name. Dennis was born in Hong Kong, in 1977. He had lived in Hong Kong for 7 years when his family decided to move to Beijing for a while, there little Dennis studied for 3 years and there he met his 10 years anniversary.

Dennis doesn’t remember much about his life in his faraway Chinese motherland. Except for cheerful games with his chum, an Italian guy Winnie-the-Bull by nickname. At the age of 5 years he first kissed with a girl and since that time it’s OK with girls for him. I should mention that Dennis went to the so-called International School designed for American kids. So they teach in English there so he hasn’t ever had any language problems there.

His family returned from Beijing to Hong Kong and when Dennis was 11, his restless family decided to move to California for goods. The matter is that Hong Kong was about to go under the communist China jurisdiction and the Fong family was in no mood to build “the bright future”.

They fulfilled their decision and started a new life. The future virtual combat champion started the Cupert high school, California, immediately. He had all As, making his parents happy with his progress. Unlike his brothers, elder Leila and younger Bryanthan, Dennis was by nature extremely fond of real sport. While his brothers were goggling at computers all days long, Dennis was eagerly playing football. He was taking up sports seriously, especially tennis and volleyball. Besides at school he organized a roller hockey club.

Getting acquainted with the Game

Once passing his brother Bry’s room, Dennis heard a wild screaming behind the door, stunning explosions and random shooting. Got interested he entered the room and asked about what was going on. It turned out that his brother was having fun playing the game with the heavy name DOOM.

Dennis drove his brother away of the keyboard and driven by the sport interest tried to play himself. As a result he was smashed up. Dennis surprize was beyond the boundaries! He started questioning his brother about the way his opponent was programmed as he had unusual skills and was completely unpredictable. And it turned out at once that he had been playing not with a computer but with his brother pal at San Jose.

An opportunity to play on computer with another man stroke Dennis completely. To play with a man was just the thing he got used to. But to play with a man on a computer – it was something new! It turned out then that such games were none the less interesting to him as the real sport. Since that time Dennis took to such stuff completely.

Playing many and often, having an excellent reaction and keen mind, he advanced rapidly and soon became a cool elite fighter. It’s worth saying that at that time there was no Internet in its present sense, even in America. Thus people were keeping in touch by means of BBS, in chat-rooms they made agreements about future combats and having dialed-up, started combats.

And then the question of telephone bills payment was looming severely. But the skills of the future champion were of great help even there! The matter is that according to the unwritten rules it is a challenger who pays for everything. So living at his own money Dennis didn’t waste them and his biggest payment bill was just 150 bucks. At the same time other less talented fighters were draining up to several hundred of greenbacks. In order to avoid the payment folks were constantly moving around the country as that was not a big deal in America.

Besides DOOM Dennis was keen on MUD (if you don’t know – it stands for Multi-User Dungeon – text on-line games) and on WarCraft II, the Blizzard masterpiece. He got his hand in at it and won some serious victories on different tournaments.

Where the Thresh started

Playing MUD Dennis took the nickname Threshold and added the title “of Pain”, it made Threshold of Pain. It was sound and smashing. But in DOOM you can’t use name longer than 8 symbols.

So Dennis decided to shorten his colorful title and become just Threshol. Do you understand that it sounded a bit dopey? Just like asshole, and it’s not the way that a expert like him could be addressed. So he shortened his nick up to simple Thresh.

Though he had a profound knowledge of English, Thresh took the time and trouble and consulted the dictionary. And then he found out that his new nick means “to strike repeatedly”. Thus “Threshold ” invisibly, smoothly and steadily became “thresh”. Dennis was very much content about his new nick.


Meanwhile the computer games were developing rapidly. Multiplayers were constantly improving and greater and greater number of people wanted to take part in the competitions and tournaments to show everybody who is the real big guy. Competitions became quite a regular thing. Of course, shooters and real-time strategies were dominating.

The first really great national/international tournament was The Dwango league, hosted by the Dwango firm. It’s evident that they were playing DOOMII – the coolest at the moment. Thresh was the head of the San Jose team. Except for him there was Usurper, Bry, Slayer and Major.

The tournament was on 1-on-1 system, it means that only duels were played and Thresh was as good at them as nobody else. His team reached the final easily where they smashed up the Washington team and beat out them all.

Deathmatch 1995

Deathmatch ’95 was one of the first (to be precisely it was really the first) international PC games tournaments, and for sure it was the largest one at the moment. It was timed to the broad celebration of the Microsoft Judgement Day and it was as the promotion for the Microsoft games. It was not quite clear what Microsoft were heading for as they were playing games of different, more talented game companies: DOOM, DOOM II and Heretic. Combat schedule was also rather strange, so at the same time they were playing DOOM, and DOOM II and Heretic.

Choosing the best, fighters struggled first in regional tournaments on Dwango servers. Best players from each server, total number 22, gathered in Redmond, Washington, to play the final alive on local network. Of course, Thresh was there. And it was there when people from CNET television company got in touch with him and offered first to give an interview and then to track his progress through the fight series. Thresh agreed, and it was his first acquaintance with the television.

In semi-final match Thresh was fighting against Merlock in DOOM II on map1 and in a hard combat he knocked him off with 9:5.

According to the dumb rules (evidently it was for the organizing company greasy hands), having played DOOM II in semi-final match, in the final they played Hexen – a game which demos had been released only couple of weeks before the champ. The decision of the organizers was quite strange, to put it mildly. But there was nothing to be surprised at! As we know the outfit well…

There were rumors that Cleric character (obscurant priest) was ill-balanced and much too sturdy, thus those who were playing him would have a considerable chances to rule everybody out. Sly Chinese guy Dennis Fong got at once the idea that everybody would play for “the priest” for sure, having shown his advanced wits. Thus at leisure time before the final he was practicing the knocking down of a magician priest. While others were playing with priests against priests, he was quickly searching for the priest weak points and practicing the fighting techniques against the obscurant by means of mortal magician tricks…

In the final happened what should have happened. Thresh opponent Romine (Romine from Seattle) chose the sturdy clerk and as a result he lost it to Thresh magician with 8:0. That’s what right tactics and farsight means!

FragFest 5,6,7,8

FragFest was a champ series, organized regularly one time in several months on LAN in San Jose. There were constantly tournaments on DOOM II, WarCraft II and as he appeared – on Quake. Thresh won several times in DOOM I, WarCraft II and Quake Teams. Of course these local competitions had little in common with such global events as worldwide QuakeCon, but Dennis always remembers l its atmosphere of friendship well.

Red Annihilation

For Thresh (and also for others) Red Annihilation is the most memorable tournament, also called simply “The Ferrari Tournament”.

It was there that John Carmack, one of the id Software founding fathers, drove out as the first prize his first Ferrari – 328 GTS cabriolet of 1987, to buy which he had scraped his money for the Wolfenstein 3D – the ancestor of all 3-D action games. The car had been washed up, repainted in nice cherry, equipped with a new Turbo engine (Carmack had killed up the old one) and with a Texas numbers “ID TECH1”.

I should say that after Doom II and Quake releases the id Softwareper has been not so poor a company, I could say , that its personnel have been prospering. All of them have had a lot and having been pleasing themselves with some nice things. John Carmack, for example, likes cars very much. That’s why he first bought one Ferrari, then another, then … In short it happened what should have happened : there were no more place in his garage. That’s why good old John decided to make a good thing: to give back to the fighting society, that he owns his financial success to, one of his splendid cars asa a competition prize. And then to start filling his garage up with cars all over again.

And it was at the national Quake I tournament, red Annihilation by name, when as the Grand-Prix, a slightly used Ferrari, bought for the Wolfenstein 3D bucks, was driven out.

Having heard the news and having got excited very much, thousand of players were slaughtering at Mplayer servers. Until there were 16 best of the best. There were Entropy, Gollum, Froggy, Unholy, Kiljoy, Whitewolf, Hijinks, B2, Kenn, Ultra P, Cross, Sho, Pookie, Reptile, Rom and, of course, Thresh. They were divided in teams with 4 players in each, and then 2 strongest players were chosen.

It was really hot, as some-hundred-bucks-worth prize was looming. After desperate combats Entropy and Thresh were in the final. After some thinking they decided to fight on the prominent e1m2 map, The Castle of the Damned (by Tim Willis, a famous expert in map-design). It was there when Thresh smashed out Entropy. The score was 13:-1.

In that way Thresh set Entropy up for the car and got away home on his own Ferrari, though then he’s been repeating several times that he doesn’t consider the score to be a shame as in Quake the score shows rarely the real fighting level and fighter skills and talent. And there is no doubt that it is so.

Thresh hasn’t sold the car won, thought taking into consideration how much it costs to pay the insurance and the taxes he fist was trying to do it. But as a smart Chinese guy he decided that this car having such a history could be sold only to a person who knows that kind of stuff.

For now there are no such people, and the car is in his parents garage at Los-Altos. As Thresh himself lives at Berkley (it’s not very close actually), he doesn’t use his Ferrari. He’ s waiting.

Clanring Tournament 3

T3 was the first national clan tournament. The combats were held on single elimination system and ended in “Eastern vs Western coast” fight. By that time Thresh had organized the Death Row clan with which he was fighting for Western coast team, and U4 clan was for the Eastern one. There were 4 strong players in U4: Gollum Batch, Thorn and Graphik, the final match took place in Los-Angeles.

Death Row lost out the first match. The clan gathered immediately for the war council to develop the fighting strategy against such cunning opponent. By a brainstorm the U4 strategy was knocked up and DeathRow developed the counter-measures at once. When the combat started, Death Row was sure that the enemy would change the tactics they had been following in the previous combat.

But to their great surprise and joy, they didn’t! Encouraged by such turn of fortune, pals went on for it. As a result U4 guys were just torn into pieces. And also due to some unknown reason, they didn’t change their tactics even in the third combat. It was deadly. The rest was clear, as a result U4 were knocked off completely.

Result. Death Row utter victory, about which they keep large 6-meter flag, stolen from the competition and that was hanging at the building during the series.


PGL (Professional Gamers League), newly opened by the CPU production company AMD, hosted the duel tournament in which several thousand people took part. 128 winners in slaughter series were divided in 16 teams, where there was one-on-one fighting. At the first season there were 8 men who got in the final: Frick, B2, Reptile, Cabalist, Kurtz, Unholy, Soulnet and Thresh. 7500$ and AMD K6-2 were for the prize. Of course, with such a catch, guys were fighting as tigers.

In the final there was Thresh and Reptile (Jim Dangcil). They had to play 2 games, among which Thresh should win both and Reptile – just one. Our hero gathered up and annihilate the enemy on dm2 with 5:-1. the second match was on dm6 where sly Reptile succeeded several times in shooting Thresh off and ruling him out thus threatening the whole tournament. But Dennis seized the control over the level once again and won with 6:2.


Having won and played at much, Thresh decided to leave PGL2 out thus giving others, less talented players, an opportunity to have fun.


The third season was also no t an easy one. Thresh signed up for the three categories: Quake II 1on1, Quake Teams and Starcaft. The main emphasis was in Quake 1 teams as the Death Row clan was about to beat them all out and thus to hail its last “hurrah” and retire. The second was Quake II 1 on1 in which Thresh was practicing a lot. And then Starcraft, which he liked very much but in which he could go only to the 32 place.

Combat schedule was settled in such a way that he had to switch between QI and QII constantly. Let’s clear it up for those who are not good at the point. These games have as much in common as badminton and tennis. In both cases you should kick a ball off over the net but in each case in its own manner and it’s no easy to switch from one case to another. It’s not the point that one is better than another, these are two absolutely different games.

In Quake Teams 4 strong clans fought off finally: Clan Gib, Clan Kapitol, Power Rangers and Death Row. First Thresh’s clan kicked off Clan Kapitol, while Clan Gib knocked out PowerRangers. It was a hot final as clans were going head to head but Death Row beat the enemy out and won again. In Quake II final there was Revelatiion, Lord-287, Mastakilla, Ren, desys, Thresh and little but too malicious Immortal. The 8 finalist Pharaoh by name didn’t come to the final match. Sleep it over, probably.

So while having hard combats in teamplay, at the same time Thresh was fighting severe duels in QII. Those who plays Quake will understand that it’s hard and with that level even impossible. The first combat with Immortal he played on q2dm3, and little Curt Shimoda (by the way, he was semi Japanese) smashed Thresh up 10:1.

Folks were shocked! Previously it was only Reptile who had succeeded in it. According to Thresh it was possible only because he couldn’t switch to QII physics and strategy at once. We have to do nothing but to believe him as then impudent Immortal was merciless and smashed him off twice one after another with a special brutality. What important here is that on the same q2dm3 he was knocked up 10:3.

The final match was on Power Trip map, a very small one, designed for cruel quick combats and very popular at that time. Thresh felt at ease on it and knocked little Shimoda up 45:0, there they said good-bye to each other, both satisfied , especially Immortal.

For now it’s the last serious Thresh’s victory in such tournament.

On what server can Thresh be found?

He never uses his nickname “Thresh” when he plays. Because as he enters any server there is a lot of questions like “Is it really you?” instead of playing.

After that excited folks start offering fighting to death cause they want to be more tough than Thresh and the like and just don’t have time for kicking him out. Most simply don’t believe that he’s Thresh but bother him and pick him up with questions.

That’s why he prefers playing just with friends or with clanmates, though in most cases it’s just the same. So if you come across D11-Thresh on Western-coast servers, you should know that it’s not him. Generally there are a lot of false Threshes in the net. You can start Game Spy right now and see the number of jerks for yourself.


To be honest, Thresh doesn’t use any modes but just tries them to get acquainted. Let us say, he has never played in CTF, Team Fortress, Action Quake and Lithium. It’s not because they are bad, but because game style and movements differ a lot from standard deathmatch and he doesn’t like it. He’s tried RA2 (fast weapons switchin) and Clan arena (no-team/falling damage) a lot and sometimes he plays Rocket Arena/Clan arena.

By the way, he has never played single mode neither in Doom, nor in Quake, nor Quake II. He doesn’t have an idea what those monsters are. Besides our beloved id megahits he enjoys Warcraft II, AOE, Starcraft and especially Half-Life. But generally he like the kind of games that give you adrenaline at large.

By the way, he has never played single mode neither in Doom, nor in Quake, nor Quake II. He doesn’t have an idea what those monsters are. Besides our beloved id megahits he enjoys Warcraft II, AOE, Starcraft and especially Half-Life. But generally he like the kind of games that give you adrenaline at large.

Time for games

Usually it takes one or two hours a day. Getting prepared for the competition it’s much more, in a day right before the match he plays 8-9 hours. Developing the FiringSquad site doesn’t leave much time for games, so at the moment he is none the player he used to be.

What does Thresh play on (early 1999)
  1. Pentium II 450
  2. Abit BH6 Motherboard
  3. 128MB PC-100 RAM
  4. IBM 9GB 7,200 RPM UW-SCSI Hard Drive
  5. 32x IDE CD-ROM
  6. Adaptec 2940 UW-SCSI Adapter
  7. Diamond Viper V550 (Nvidia Riva TNT) Diamond Monster 3D Voodoo2 12MB x2 (SLI)
  8. Diamond MonsterSound MX300
  9. Sony Multiscan 500PS 21″ Monitor
  10. Sony MDR-V600 headphones
  11. Cambridge Soundworks Microworks Speakers
  12. Microsoft Intellimouse USB
  13. Keytronic Lifestyle keyboard

Well, not bad … For nonexperts: the more tough is the system, the easier it is to run, to shoot and to aim.

Of mouse sensitivity

Playing quake with Microsoft Mouse 2.0 (drivers by default) Thresh sets sensitivity in 12 (in Dosquake). Cause QII is more demanding to the shooting accuracy than Quake there he sets sensitivity in half, that’s 6. Here he uses USB Intellimouse, he sets scrolling in Windows just in middle of the bar.

Talking about frequency itself, Thresh says that it’s important to switch over 40Hz, then it doesn’t matter whether it is USB or PS/2 with PS/2 rate. Personally he doesn’t feel any difference between 100 and 200 Hz. He prefers USB.

Game cheating

Thresh stands FOV changes. Though it’s an important thing but it was from the very beginning, folks do what they want to. Besides it’s done from console, so it can be done by everybody. Besides it has a negative aspects, so it’s ok.

He doesn’t approve gl_modulate changed, because it has different effect on different accelerators. Somebody will have corners dark, others – a bit grey. Though it’s also done from console, so you should admit that it’s also can be used. By the way , id itself tried to illuminate it in a patch, but folks were against and they left it as it was.

But he disapproves strongly usage of bots instead and model replacement.


Practically Thresh doesn’t record demos. There are few. Actually there were two: when he played on dm6 against MikeJ and when he kicked out Entropy in the Ferrari. But they are the coolest ones. There is nit just jumping accuracy and emotions but just the other thing logic and absence of useless running. But those times have passed, and now there are more tough players for sure, but still it’s a pleasure to watch them.

He doesn’t record demos as he thinks that he can’t learn anything new watching his own playing. In this case it’s more useful to watch the demos of your opponents. And also there is a kind of superstition here: even playing for fun he takes it seriously. He can’t do anything about it as he thinks that demo recording lags the process.

But when he started working in the net sites, people asked him hardly to record demos. Since that time he ‘s been recording them. But still they are very few in number…


Clan is a feature of Quake. It’s a big or small group of players gathered together to fight with another group of amateur players. First, Thresh was a member of Dwango League (Doom II). The first Quake-clan he joined was The International House of Spork (I don’t know myself what does it mean). Having some difficulties with the quality of connection, Thresh decided to join a local clan. Together with several friends (Timinator, Tower, rj) he ganged up Legends.

Some time later Legends grew to an enormous size and gradually collapsed. Having taken into account all his previous mistakes, he organized Death Row clan. Its members were only his close friends. And up to now he is a member of that clan. They all swore to allow in only close friends so that their number is no more than 15. By the way, you can’t offer yourself. After voting procedure they may call you in.

By the way, Thresh pays a lot of attention to the character traits of his players. For example, he himself never talks smut, and all his friends are rather descent people and carefully watch their language. Death Row member never uses bad words starting with “f”. When quite successful fighter Immortal asked to be admitted to this clan, Thresh suggested that, first, he should achieve better results in his school studies, then stop using foul words, and only then apply for admission into the clan. It’s funny even to read it. If he entered our clans in the middle of slaughte…

Inside their clan, every person has its number (e.g., D2, D13). And they decided not to use number D1 to show that their clan didn’t have a leader and was governed democratically. Thresh took the number D11.

The initial list of clan members: D2-B2, D6-Geiger, D5-Spear, D6-Orion, D7-TwistdKillr (one of few who won duel with Thresh), D10-Cross, D11-Thresh, D13-Unholy. Spear (Kenn whom Thresh works with in FiringSquad) and Cross (Lyle) have been away from clan activities but now, after QIII arrival, are going to return.

Nowadays the member list looks as follows:

  • D2-B2
  • D3-LittleDragon
  • D4-Orion
  • D5-Spear (executed)
  • D6-Geiger
  • D7-Twistdklr
  • D8-Reptile
  • D9-Frick
  • D10-Cross (executed)
  • D11-Thresh
  • D12-Handiman
  • D13-Unholy
  • D15-Da5id

Generally, clan plays Quake, although some of them play QII (B2, Unholy, Makaveli, and Thresh himself).

Advertising and Money

Thresh is the first fighter who started to earn his living by his skill. He advertises those things, which he tested himself, not those, which are paid much money for.

For example, Microsoft mouse. From the very beginning of his hobby he used this model, and only later started to use Intellmouse USB “with scroll”. He plays with “wrist”, that’s why he likes Microsoft one because it’s heavy (Logitech is more convenient for “elbow”).

In addition, he worked with Diamond Multimedia, and especially with a will he advertised accelerators like Monster3D and Viper.

In answer to some guileful questions he says that these activities do not effect FiringSquad site equipment testing. Kenn is in charge of hardware there, and he works with nobody for sure, so you needn’t to worry about.


This Thresh and Kenn Hwang’s site URL is This site started functioning in Novermber 1998. It does reports on latest events in the games manufacturing and new hardware. It’s quite clear that these two things are interconnected, that’s why they cover both topics. Goes without saying, it’s a very useful activity. By the way it was there where I learnt why my keyboard doesn’t support simultaneous pressing of all buttons in hockey and football. They are quick-witted guys and give rather useful advices.

Not long ago Bob “Calbear” Colayco has started to work on Firing Sqaud.

Thresh himself is editor-in-chief, pursuing the general policy of his party. Sometimes he writes reviews on new games, but he actually has no time to play each game from the beginning till the end. That’s why he is focusing his activity on blockbusters like Daikatana, Unreal Tournamnet and – it goes without saying!!! – QIII.

Writing Activity

Moreover, having played a lot and smashed everybody disposed, Thresh is distinguished as one of the most Quake-informed persons. That’s why he decided to write “Quake Bible” – the excellent manual for Quake beginners ( It has been and is the fullest and the most advanced work in that field as it’s easy to read and understand. With the “Bible” success at its utmost, Thresh promised to write a book about Quake II, but he failed to do it properly. There is nothing to read as the main focus was made on “single player mode”.

Nevertheless, Thresh is a well-known authority in the Quake world. Even John Carmask sometimes calls him in id Software headquarters to get advices on the most important problems of modern times: RailGun rate, movements control level, etc.


It’s actually no use to write letters to Thresh (I tried to do it myself – keeps silent as a guerilla). He receives nearly 700 letters a day. But still you may try to send him a message:

He uses “ICQ”, but has another nick as when he plays games. Or else it takes three pages.

The best player in the world – Thresh?

Being a well-bread and modest guy, Thresh himself doesn’t think so. He says that there are lots of stronger players in the world, and not all of them have an opportunity to participate in competitions and fight for titles. Moreover, all cyber sport organizations and leagues are just beginning their activity and haven’t found all the talents. Thresh thinks that it’s no use to talk about “bests in the world” right now, as it’s impossible to give an answer. We should wait until this sport becomes really professional.

I highly recommend thinking over these words for those who like talking about their achievements all over Russia while all Russian champions live within the Moscow circle.

But you shouldn’t forget that Thresh has been defeated rarely and only in several episodes. He lost on dm6 for Reptile and on q2dm3 for Immortal.

Then, of course, Thresh beat them both out mercilessly. Though he says that he could sustain it. So well, he shouldn’t have let these guys be disappointed…

Despite this constant sound reasoning about his “toughness” Thresh does receive a lot of fighting challenges. As a rule the most part of them is written in a rude and dirty form, and it makes him sad. He suggests that those heroes should go to PGL or CPL when there is a chance for them to show themselves not in words but in deeds.

Leisure time

He has a little, and it’s not connected with computers or computer games. It’s quite different – tennis and roll hockey! Our champion likes them and practice regularly. He has a normal sexual orientation, he has affairs with girls (unlike, let us say, Dave “Zoid” Kirsh, author of CTF) Thresh has a girlfriend – Alice (it’s a name, not a nickname). He has photos of her.

About the music – Thresh likes different, but he points out that he listens to the artist , not to the style.

His favorite film is “The Matrix”. What’s interesting here is that having played such “terrible” games and having watched such ”awful” films Thresh has never gone out of the street with a Shotgun to shoot out lazy citizens. Though with his bloody game experience it’s high time.


What can I say? Good chap. Get so high and still so nice – in his 22 it’s not easy! Good boy! On staff behalf I want to wish Thresh to flourish, to fight and to let us enjoy his victories and his demos, which are indecently few in number.

By Goblin

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