Quake III Arena

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Quake III Arena
Quake III Arena cover
id Software
macOS (OS X) The Omni Group
Linux Loki Software
id Tech 3
Release dates
Windows December 2, 1999
Linux December 27, 1999
Mac OS (Classic) December 28, 1999
macOS (OS X) January 4, 2002
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS, Shooter
Art styles Realistic
Themes Fantasy, Sci-fi
Series Quake
Quake III Arena on HowLongToBeat
Quake III Arena on IGDB
Quake III Arena guide on StrategyWiki
Quake III Arena on MobyGames
Quake III Arena on Wikipedia
Quake 1996
Quake II 1997
Quake III Arena 1999
Quake 4 2005
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars 2007
Quake Live 2010
Quake II RTX 2019
Quake (2021) 2021
Quake Champions EA

Key points

Engine is open source with modern multi-platform ports available; see Source ports.

General information

ESReality - Community hub for competitive Quake.
Func_Msgboard - Mapper hub, new map releases, technique improvements.
Worldspawn Archive - Map repository.
GOG.com Community Discussions for game series
GOG.com Support Page
Steam Community Discussions


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
CD key
Mac OS
DRM-free after installation through Bethesda.net Launcher (notes may include more details)
DRM-free when launched directly from executable (quake3.exe)
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Gamesplanet logo.svg
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Quake III Gold. Unlike other digital stores, this can be bought in Germany.
Quake III Gold.[1]
Microsoft Store
DRM-free after installation through Microsoft Store client (notes may include more details)
DRM-free after being copied to any other folder.
Included with Xbox Game Pass for PC. Unlike other digital stores, this can be bought in Germany.
Icon overlay.png
Quake III Gold.
Amazon.com (unavailable)
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Humble Store (unavailable)
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A demo is available. Can also be installed via Steam (allow Steam popup).
A faithful higher quality icon can be found from IconArchive.
Only Gamesplanet and Microsoft Store versions are available in Germany.

DLC and expansion packs

Name Notes
Quake III: Team Arena Included with Quake III: Gold.

Version differences[edit]

Quake III: Gold includes the base game along with the Quake III: Team Arena expansion.


The original, closed-source versions of the game still work for online multiplayer. Many users may prefer to use more recent, improved engines based on the source code release.

Quake Live[edit]

id Software launched a free-to-play browser-based port of Quake III titled Quake Live, that has since migrated to Steam and is no longer free-to-play. Most players have migrated to this service to continue playing, as it adds new features and game modes, and improves compatibility with newer systems.

Essential improvements[edit]

Official patch[edit]

Digital distribution platforms such as GOG and Steam are already have the latest version.
The latest official patch is 1.32c, it can be downloaded from Quake 3 World.

Graphics improvements[edit]

Increase LOD (reduce pop-in)[edit]

After starting the game, open the console, write /r_subdivisions -1; r_lodbias -1 then press Enter. The first command increases world geometry detail, whereas the second command uses high-quality models regardless of the viewing distance.

High resolution menus and HUD[edit]

A source port is required.
An additional mod is required for Team Arena support.
Widescreen support is integrated. Enter the following into the console for 1920x1080 (example): /exec res1920x1080
You get the highest possible graphic settings with: /exec hq
New assets are faithful to original HUD and menus.

Neural upscaled textures[edit]

All in-game textures, upscaled with Waifu2x and SFTGAN.
Upscaled textures are faithful to the original textures.

Source ports[edit]

While the original Quake III Arena point releases still work on modern systems, the release of the engine's source code has enabled the creation of additional variants that improve upon the game but are backwards compatible for multiplayer play. These versions do not support PunkBuster anti-cheat and thus cannot connect to servers using it, though very few still exist. Which one to use is a matter of taste.

ioquake3 is recommended for authenticity to the original; Quake3e and Spearmint is recommended for graphical enhancements and quality-of-life features.
Name Description
ioquake3 A port of the engine to SDL to assist in multi-platform development of stand-alone mods for the Quake III engine. Includes an auto updater which automatically updates the software with a new version.
macOS (OS X)
Quake3e Fork of ioquake3. Adds bug fixes, security and performance improvements as well as some quality of life features for competitive play.
macOS (OS X)
Spearmint Fork of ioquake3. Update in-game menu with modern graphics settings like MSAA or anisotropic filtering, and supports XInput controllers and split screen multiplayer up to 4 players.
Does not support vanilla Quake III Arena servers, mods or demos.
Stopped development as of October 2018 [1], with the latest update from July 2020.[2]
macOS (OS X)
Quake 3: Arena NT Designed specifically around the features of Windows 8's app packer. Adds ARM support, widescreen, XInput controllers, and DirectX 11.


Quake 3 servers often use modifications in order to enhance the game in some way.

Challenge Promode Arena[edit]

Challenge Promode Arena (CPMA) is a modification which supports two gameplay styles (vanilla and promode) and many different game modes. It is often used for competitive play.


Defrag (q3df) is a modification that removes the deathmatch from Quake 3 (de-fragging it), replacing it with obstacle courses for bunnyhopping, trickjumping, and surfing, to name a few.
Secondary resource here.

Game data[edit]

In-game general settings.
In-game general settings.

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\baseq3\q3config.cfg[Note 1]
Mac OS (Classic)
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/2200/pfx/[Note 2]
It's unknown whether this game follows the XDG Base Directory Specification on Linux. Please fill in this information.

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows <path-to-game>\baseq3\q3config.cfg[Note 1]
Mac OS (Classic)
Steam Play (Linux) <Steam-folder>/steamapps/compatdata/2200/pfx/[Note 2]

Save game cloud syncing[edit]

System Native Notes
GOG Galaxy
Steam Cloud
Xbox Cloud


In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
See Widescreen resolution.
A source port is required. See Source ports.
See Widescreen resolution. Image is Vert- and FOV will need to be increased to compensate. See Field of view (FOV).
4K Ultra HD
See Widescreen resolution. Chat text does not scale.
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
Can be forced through the Nvidia Control Panel/AMD Control Center, or by using a source port. See Source ports.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
In source ports like ioquake3, open the console and enter /r_ext_multisample N where N is the number of MSAA samples. Use /vid_restart to apply changes.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
Vsync is the "sync every frame" setting.
60 FPS
120+ FPS
Frame rate is capped at 90 FPS. Override with /com_maxfps XX in the console. Certain numbers can adversely affect player physics.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Launch the game at least once then close it.
  2. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  3. Open q3config.cfg with a text editor.
  4. Change the following lines to set the resolution.
    • seta r_customwidth "XXXX"
    • seta r_customheight "XXXX"
  5. Change the following line to this value.
    • seta r_mode "-1"
FMVs may be blank and character models in the model viewer may be distorted.

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

Edit the configuration file[citation needed]
  1. Launch the game at least once then close it.
  2. Go to the configuration file(s) location.
  3. Open q3config.cfg with a text editor.
  4. Change the following line to the desired value.
    • seta cg_fov "XX"


Changing FOV affects the weapon viewmodel.


In-game control settings.
In-game control settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mouse acceleration
Mouse sensitivity
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Limited modern controller support in vanilla. A source port is required for full xinput controllers support. See Source ports
Full controller support
A source port is required for menu navigation support. See Source ports. Cannot navigate Team Arena menus.
Controller remapping
Controller sensitivity
Controller Y-axis inversion
Needs to be manually mapped to the specific direction.
Additional information
Button prompts
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
ioquake3 supports up to 7.0 output through OpenAL.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
A3D 2.0[2] only[3]
Broken since one of the first patches[4] (possibly 1.17)[5] 1.25 point release beta is the last version with A3D support.
ioquake3 supports OpenAL Soft for binaural HRTF mixing.[6] Unlike A3D 2.0, it does not support elevation HRTF effects.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Fan translation.


Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
4 A source port is required. See Source ports
LAN play
Online play
All official maps are designed for at most 16 players. However, dedicated servers can be set to have no max player limit.

Connection types


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 27950, 27952, 27960, 27965
UDP 27950, 27952, 27960, 27965
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native Notes
G3D, DirectVR
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.

Issues fixed[edit]

Game crashes on exit[edit]

Game Crashes Upon Exit[citation needed]
  1. Right-click the game in your Steam library.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Uncheck "Enable Steam Community In-Game".

Random FPS drops[edit]

Edit a line in config: r_finish 0[7]
Use a Source port[7]

Invalid CD-Key[edit]

Write the CD-Key in lowercase.

Other information[edit]


Technical specs Supported Notes
OpenGL 1.1
Use Quake3e or Quake III Arena Kenny Edition.
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bitARM Notes
A source port is required for native 64-bit and ARM. See Source ports.
macOS (OS X)
The original version of the game on OS X only supported PowerPC.
A source port is required for Intel 64-bit support to work on OS X 10.7 and later. See Source ports.
A source port is required for native 64-bit. See Source ports.
An alternate source port supports PowerPC.


Middleware Notes
Audio DirectSound
Anti-cheat PunkBuster [citation needed]

Brightness issues[edit]

By default, Quake III Arena has brightness issues and may appear very dark.
Edit the configuration file[8]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\baseq3\
  2. Open q3config.cfg with a text editor.
  3. Find the line r_overBrightBits 2.
  4. Set the value to 0.
seta r_overBrightBits "0"


You can change the gamma level by finding the line r_gamma 1 and increasing it to brighten the screen or lowering it to darken the screen.
r_intensity can also be set to a value above 1 to multiply texture intensity, making them appear brighter.

View bob[edit]

By default, Quake III Arena has view bob that may cause motion sickness.
Edit the configuration file[citation needed]
  1. Go to <path-to-game>\baseq3\
  2. Open q3config.cfg with a text editor.
  3. Find these three lines: cg_bobup 0.005, cg_bobpitch 0.002 and cg_bobroll 0.002.
  4. Set their values to 0.
seta cg_bobup "0.000"
seta cg_bobpitch "0.000"
seta cg_bobroll "0.000"

System requirements[edit]

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 95, NT 4.0
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium MMX 233 MHz
Intel Pentium II 300 MHz
AMD K6-2 350 MHz
AMD Athlon 500 MHz
System memory (RAM) 64 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 25 MB
Video card (GPU) 8 MB of VRAM
OpenGL 1.1 compatible
DirectX 7 compatible
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Any distribution (ports of the engine available in most distros' package repositories)
Processor (CPU) Intel Pentium 233 MHz / Pentium II 300 MHz or AMD K6-2 350 MHz / Athlon. Also suitable are CPUs exceeding 400 MHz of any ISA
System memory (RAM) 64 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 25 MB
Video card (GPU) 8 MB of VRAM


  1. 1.0 1.1 When running this game without elevated privileges (Run as administrator option), write operations against a location below %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMDATA%, or %WINDIR% might be redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later (more details).
  2. 2.0 2.1 File/folder structure within this directory reflects the path(s) listed for Windows and/or Steam game data (use Wine regedit to access Windows registry paths). Games with Steam Cloud support may store data in ~/.steam/steam/userdata/<user-id>/2200/ in addition to or instead of this directory. The app ID (2200) may differ in some cases. Treat backslashes as forward slashes. See the glossary page for details.