Redwood’s Photos of QuakeCon ’96 and ’97

QuakeCon ’96

John Romero‘s Hummer.

Side/Front view of John Carmack‘s super powerful Ferrari Testarossa.

Rear 3/4 view of John Carmack’s Ferrari.

People standing around watching John Romero kick butt at DM (note John Cash in the gray polo).

Paradox showing off some of his work to John Romero (left), John Carmack (center), and John Cash (behind Carmack).

Swansong (left), Sickman, and others.

A random shot on Saturday of #quakecon.

That’s Avatar staring at the camera and Fisy standing in the background behind him.

Another random shot where you can see Polish just to the right of the column (sitting).

That’s Yossman staring at the ground and Polish standing up to his right.

August 15, 1996

I just got off the telephone with Tim Willits of id (you were expecting some other company maybe?) a few minutes ago. He wanted me to let EVERYBODY know (because “I like your page the best” *grin*) that on Friday the 16th(tomorrow) at 7:00p.m. Central time, JOHN CARMACK and the gang (Tim Willits, Bear, Adrain Carmack, and possibly others), will be attending #Quakecon talking about Quakeworld, Quake II, and the future of gaming at id Software!! This will be a discussion type format where we’ll talk about what we’d like to see.

#Quakecon is being held in Garland, Texas (northeast suburb of Dallas a few minutes from id’s offices) at the Best Western Inn (214) 696-0202. The price of admission is $25 and that is for the whole time (Thursday through Sunday). Those already in the Dallas area, these are the directions they gave me from Plano: Take 635 East…exit Centerville/Ferguson…turn left at the light and you’ll see it on the left side. Once inside, walk to the left by the front desk, hang a right and then a left. It’s in the Stateroom. I’m going there in a little while, for a few hours.

August 19, 1996

Well, #quakecon seemed to be a success. Several people were impressed with the turnout including the id boys. I will have #quakecon pics in a few days and I’ll have room to post them since I now have more web page space. Like a little good web page maintainer I took a fair amount of notes. I attended Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday afternoon. I didn’t show up until 7:15 Friday because of a rolled over Blazer on Central Expressway which caused traffic to be backed up. That pretty much ruined my buzz gained from Happy Hour. It was okay though because the id guys had just gotten there minutes before me and were still just hanging out watching everybody play netquake.

A lot of them showed up! Let’s see, there was: American McGee, Tim Willits, Bear, Mike Wilson, John Cash, Sheridan, John Carmack (in his newly upgraded 1100hp Ferrari Testarossa), Adrian Carmack, the former Prey guys, Rogue entertainment people, and other people too. There were so many that if you were there you were likely standing next to one of them and may not have known it. John Romero (in his Hummer of course) even showed up for a while on Friday night and Saturday night to play some deathmatch. If anybody attending quakecon can remember who I forgot then let me know. Could somebody please send me the “it” deathmatch code?

At around 8, John Carmack had people interested in Quake C and stuff to come outside to talk with him. Here are some things talked about that are from John and others in the crowd. This also includes later conversations with me and with a few others. Anybody else attending feel free to tell me other stuff I forgot or changes:

  • In the future he wants to go to more object oriented code so mixing & matching of modules will be easy.
  • Quakeworld client will be out in about 2 weeks. 2 or 3 more weeks after that, another version will come out.
  • Quakeworld will include latency reductions so that 28.8 will play more like IDSN, etc.
  • He wants to allow more client side changes (e.g. a weapon icon on the status bar) in Quake 2 and to show who’s running hacked stuff. There are bandwidth considerations for more client flexibility.
  • Likely to do crouching or crawling later (Quake 2?)
  • Working with the idea of exiting a level to an IP address but there is a problem with a server being full for the next level. Possibly a reservation line to help this? There’s also an issue of wanting to start a level over again fresh because people could stay on a level forever and their large frag total is meaningless.
  • Wants to add Clan specific support in Quakeworld. Multiskin support might be such that each clan can only use a specific Clan texture.
  • The master servers will have separate accounts. No data sharing.
  • The ranking system will be similar to chess in that you can only get a higher ranking by killing better people. Magnitudes of wins may be counted.
  • QW originally will have the rankings will just be a matrix of frag totals.
  • QW will have something like Ctrl-Esc to do a chat function that is better than the one currently in Quake.
  • QW Servers could only allow people of certain skill levels on.
  • The NT QuakeEd is currently in Alpha…maybe released in a few months.
  • Quake 2 should have everything with 500 polygons because rendering will be over 50% faster.
  • 3dfx is the best card out there for Quake and will provide the most significant improvement. Unfortunately it costs $300 for a card that is used in addition to your current 2D card. This may cause the marketshare for the card to be small and Quake may not have a port of it for that reason.
  • All the other cards pretty much suck and will only give you smoother pixels and higher colors rather than higher framerates. Some card ports (S3 ViRGe) might actually be slower than the normal Quake.
  • People will be disappointed with the DirectX performance for a while.
  • Even so, developers have to move to it because they can’t possibly support all the 3D cards out there.
  • Will add a Palette Shift to Quake C.
  • He wants to get rid of the graphics wad in Quake.
  • There may be some bandwidth choking in QW where the game may get choppy but it won’t bog down like it does now where it gets overloaded for a few seconds.
  • MMX doesn’t work well with Quake (because it gets its performance by using floating point lines and Quake wants to use them) and generally isn’t as good as hyped. 16-bit color at about the same speed as 8-bit without MMX. The sound channel part of MMX doesn’t work well because there’s a problem of getting it over the bus.
  • AGP isn’t so hot either. (I didn’t hear this part but that’s what I was told).
  • Quake 2 should be about a 9 month project and will start in about a month.
  • For the next generation, John should have the new graphics engine and editors done in 1 year. Development should finish about a year after that.
  • Quake is the last palette based engine they will do. The next will use direct color instead.
  • Somebody said currently that Unreal is running at HALF Quake’s speed and they have only 3 monsters and 3 weapons done. They’d be lucky to get it done by December 1997 let alone February.
  • Dynamic Shadowing not likely to be in Quake 2.
  • Colored lighting may be in Quake 2.
  • The Nintendo 64 is “Damn good hardware” and DOOM for the N64 never drops below 30fps.
  • Prey in late 1997 is pushing it. It is rumored that the engine programmer for Prey is looking for another job.
  • The Hipnotic Interactive guys are going to be doing a Quake add-on level pack that should include new weapons, etc. Look for that in about 6 months.
    Things said about John Romero’s departure by J. Carmack:
  • Romero had been on a sort of probation because of not getting behind projects and not pulling his weight. He was on final probation toward the end of Quake.
  • He basically had his resignation handed to him.
  • They parted on okay terms though. This seemed to be the case as Carmack, Cash, and Romero were talking together for a while inside about various things. Seemed friendly.

John Romero apparently has a warrant out for his arrest for speeding. Hehe. Sounds like me…pulled over 16 times…received 8 tickets. Paradox had some cool DOOM levels he’d made with bridges over bridges!

Remedy won the tournament on Saturday by beating Bullyboy. I lost to Avatar after beating Fisty but had to leave before the consolation round with Wendigo. Things I learned: It’s a good idea to actually have played the levels you’re deathmatching in unlike me. Not playing much deathmatch beforehand doesn’t help.

Swansong beat American 20-3 on dm1 and lost 20-14 on dm4. He also beat Romero on e1m1 (I think) but lost to him on Romero’s levels (not surprising since I think he could have kicked butt blindfolded).

QuakeCon ’97

Quake Server Central.
Hi, my name is Blue and I’m a Quake addict.
Mr. Ferrari himself – Thresh!
The Player formerly known as Chris Roberts from Gatsbyhouse.
Main Quakecon Room:  Anybody here have a computer?
sCary, Yossman, Onethumb, and Joe (of Ritual).
Extra secret picture of redwood playing Quake at Qcon.

I arrived at my first day of QuakeCon 97 a little about a quarter after 4p.m. on Friday July 18th (Quakecon started Wednesday the 16th). Fortunately I arrived just in time to catch almost all of Paul Steed’s great 3D modeling presentation. I have never done 3D modeling, but I understood most of it and learned some things as well. Paul had a motorcycle accident a couple of days before and still showed up despite scrapes along his leg and a bandaged arm. Just goes to show you how important the fans are to these guys. He’s da man. Here are the weapons in Quake 2 that Paul mentioned:

Blaster, hyper blaster, machine gun, assault shotgun, double-barreled shotgun, , disintegrator, rail gun, chain gun, PS3000 (bfg type weapon), grenade launcher, rocket launcher, hand grenade, flare gun, and some sort of personal nuke weapon.
-Upon entering the main room for the first time, I noticed the over an inch thick power cables running all over the floor from the large trailer generator outside. The power of the hotel was not sufficient so they had to go rent a power generator. In an amazing showing of how cool they are, id, sCary, Ritual, and others paid for the generator.

After Paul’s talk, I talked to Tim Willits for a few minutes and met Brian Hook for the first time. Brian seems like a pretty sharp guy that knows what he’s doing.

Kraemer, Hawkwind and I went to Chili’s to eat. There I realized even more that I miss living in Dallas. Afterward, we went back and then went to the ION Storm party at the Harvey Hotel a few blocks down the street. Everybody went (well, we were kicked out of the main Qcon room, what were we supposed to do?). After some socializing and snacking, there was a video presentation showing some Daikatana footage and other things. Some of it looked interesting, but not out of the ordinary. Unfortunately the Centaur party where people could play it was the night before so I missed out on that. I am REALLY (not so subtle hint, Ion) interested in playing Daikatana so I can see why it is going to be cool.

The Razor team (made up of former PainKeep members) were showing their little deathmatch mod they made. This showed ducking and you could also see what weapon the person was carrying.

I only saw a few minutes of the Ghostbusters 3D mod. The beam that wrapped around players looked cool. You could pick people up and then dunk them into lava. Unfortunately I did not get to see much more of this.


Saturday started out slowly. I went down to the main room after 11a.m. and hardly anybody was there. Paul Jacquays showed up shortly thereafter. It’s just unfortunate that he wasn’t there when there were tons of people like usual. For lunch we went to none other than Denny’s, where I met Zanshin (

After lunch, I decided to try and update my page so I went by id’s offices to take Tim up on his update offer. So off we went to little old Mesquite to the big black cube building, seeing 3 accidents in a 10 minute span on the freeway (and I thought Houston drivers were scary, I think it was on the way to the last qcon that I saw an overturned blazer). Anyway, we showed up. Adrian Carmack’s beautiful black Dodge Viper was in the parking lot (drool).

Tim answered the door to id’s suite 666 offices and led us back to his office so I could update my page. I met Brandon James, their new level designer for the first time. He seems like a cool guy. Tim and Brandon showed us some cool Quake 2 stuff, some of which were nice advances since E3. Tim also had dug up the original Quake design document that John Romero had come up with for them long ago, all 1 page of it (mostly tables). Not impressive to say the least. Quake 2’s was quite a bit bigger (though not hundreds of pages like for some games, for obvious reasons). You’ll be able to see that stuff at a later time. Tim had to leave, I finished updating, then said our goodbyes to Brandon and we were on our way back to the illustrious Holiday Inn.

John Cash was often in attendance. He even brought his 6 year old son Johnny on Saturday. It turns out Johnny is a fairly good Quake player. He even beat poor Esses one on one and I hear he won in a four player game. I got to watch him play Hexen 2 a little bit. John commented that it was a little different than the one he’d played before. I wonder if the kid is under NDA. Hehe.

Saturday afternoon was when the ‘SiN girl’ showed up to give out SiN t-shirts. I was over watching somebody deathmatch and saw Jack Mathews dancing without a shirt on out of the corner of my eye about 15 feet from me. I had to investigate (as any good news person would do). I went up and asked her if I could have a shirt. She said I had to do something for it. So I asked her what she wanted me to do. She told me to give her my belt and I obliged. Then she told me to get down on my hands and knees. As people started chanting my nick several times, she spanked me. Then I got up and grabbed the shirt. Not only did I not have to pay for it, but she gave ME something. Where else could this happen but Quakecon? :) See the picture below to get the visual image in your head (Jack ‘morbid’ Mathews in the background):

I talked to my friend Barrett Alexander from id for a few minutes and then PoLiSh grabbed me and took me over and talked to Nancy about the very cool H3D glasses. It consists or tinted looking glasses that you wear (no wires) and a little box that sits on top of your monitor. Their special version of Quake looks really cool through these things. Blood and explosions especially seemed to jump off the screen at you. I was also shown a mech warrior looking type demo made specifically for the glasses. This looked even more impressive. They also have web pages (PlayBoy is interested she said hehe) using the modifications and some movies. There was a 3 Stooges movie being shown that had a steak fork flying out of the screen at you. It looked like it came out of the screen over a foot in distance and made me flinch back just slightly. Now THAT’S 3D. This thing is under $100 too! It blows away those big helmet like things that sold for $1000 two years ago. You’ve got to love how technology progresses sometimes (unless you spent the $1000 heh). ION Storm also plans on supporting these things I’ve been told.

A little while after that was the SiN demo done in one of the side rooms. The place was packed and I ended up standing as usual. ParadoX showed even more than was seen at E3 and did a good job. Some of the things shown were the new 3D world around the level ala Quake 2 (looked VERY nice), windows you could blow out, a big gun that you could control with wheels, objects that blew up in a random pattern according to their phsyical characteristics, and colored lighting in software. George Broussard of 3D Realms was even checking out the excitement. Afterward, they had the same demo out on the projection screen in the main room with a large audience I heard. Ritual obviously knows how to get people’s attention.

After that the SiN demo was over, the people that I drove up with decided they had some stuff to do in Houston and didn’t want to stay any longer so they left. Fortunately I was able to get a ride back the next day (thanks!) tucked snugly inside an Acura Integra. Pat and Chris from my former now nonexistant host Gatsbyhouse were nice enough to take me to dinner at Black Eyed Pea (good food). After that we went back and I caught the last half of Morbid and Zoid’s QuakeWorld presentation. They did a good job and had lots of questions to answer. They even showed the new GL QuakeWorld client (unreleased) with the new smaller font and heads up display (HUD).

Shortly after that, Zanshin gave his presentation on GL Quake and talked about his improved, full OpenGL driver for the 3dfx Voodoo that he’s going to have released in beta form around the 15th of August. Zanshin obviously knew what he was talking about. He said, depending on the system you have, you will likely see a GL Quake performance improvement of between 30 and 50 percent depending on the system (Pentium Pro/IIs seeing less of an improvement). There was also a Cyrix tech support person there (they’re based in the Dallas area) who told us that the reason Cyrix’s FPU on their chips does not run Quake as well is because Intel has a patent on the pipelining that they use, thereby forcing others to come up with something that may not be as well suited for Quake’s needs.

Afterward, I watched sCary show people how to camp properly on the qcon1 map. Hehe. Later that evening, Blue, onethumb, Judgecal, and about half a dozen others went with Tom ‘ParadoX’ Mustaine and KillCreek to the Ritual offices down in Dallas’ partying west end district to check out even more of SiN and get a tour of their offices. Needless to say, the stuff we saw was jawdroppingly cool. I can now understand the level designer’s complaints about the loud music. One of the bars downstairs is a country bar (we had to go through the bar to get to the offices) that blairs music that is annoyingly loud in their offices. I mean, I have no problem with country music and all, but I’d go crazy.

After we got back from that, I went in to the main room where some of the final matches were being held. It was very quiet in there so the players wouldn’t have distractions. If I was playing for a $2500+ Micron Computer, I wouldn’t want distractions either. Bastard got our full attention when he and his entourage were removed from the main floor. They got a little rowdy after drinking.

I mostly hung out in the Ranger room and drank beers from the full O beer and ice bathtub in their room. The Rangers had to have had more people there than any other clan with about 15 people in attendance. They’re an extremely hospitible and nice guys. I was thoroughly impressed. They showed another section of the upcoming Ranger movie. This part had tons of action, unlike what was shown at the ION thing (that just led up to the action). It had no voiceovers or music, but was cool nonetheless. I’m sure the final version will be impressive. My friend Brian ‘Whaleboy’ Cozzens from the Duke Nukem Forever team at 3D Realms showed up as well. It was great to seem again, as usual.


-Sunday, I finally played a little bit of Quake in a ffa going on. The mouse I was using wasn’t letting me rocket jump very well, but it was fairly playable. A little bit after that, I had to leave because that’s when my ride was going. Unfortunately, the celebrity tourney was pushed back to Sunday and then cancelled I was really nice to have met so many people face to face for the first time. Now I can hear their voices and see their faces when they talk online. I was sad that I didn’t get to meet everybody I wanted to though. I didn’t even know Darin McNeil (Quake will rule the cosmos) was there and never ran into Heath Fowler (Mr. Wolf’s Quake Den). I only got to talk to Process for a couple of minutes too (only time I saw him). Oh well, maybe at the next Quake convention.

A huge thanks goes to the companys and people that helped make QuakeCon a success. Those include Activision, Micron (for supplying many of the PCs!), id Software (for the ballroom/big part of generator bill), H3D, ION Storm, and Ritual. Also, thanks to Chris Roberts and Pat Carmichael from Multi-PC for the pictures.

Sean Martin –

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