Quake resources
Models, textures, sounds, tutorials, and other links for Quake mapping and modding

Get the Quake Level Design Starter Kit

Download the Quake Level Design Starter Kit (Windows only) by Jonathan Linat, which contains a lot of recommended tools and assets for single player Quake 1 mapping, all collected in one convenient bundle. This is the easiest way to get started.

Communities

If you're interested in Quake mapping and modding, we strongly recommend joining a Quake community. It's the best way to learn! Experienced people can give you tech help, advice, and feedback on your work. Some have even been modding Quake for 20+ years.
  • Quake Mapping Discord is the biggest public social hub, beginner-friendly with frequent single player design jams and social opportunities
  • Quaddicted is the main single player Quake map archive
  • Func_msgboard is the longest running Quake level design web forum, but maybe not as newbie-friendly as the QM Discord
  • The QuakeCast is a long-running podcast series where David "dumptruck_ds" Spell interviews various Quake community members and discusses new releases
YouTube embed of "Quake 2022 Community Preview" edited by dumptruck_ds

Mapping

How to make Quake maps

for useful map measurements and combat stats + design advice, see Quake metrics
After you know the basics of map construction and feel somewhat comfortable in the editor, learn about more complex design and building patterns:
for more on Quake's influence on level design, see History of the level designer

Compiling Quake maps

To play Quake maps, you must compile (bake, package) the editable .MAP into a playable optimized .BSP file. You will need both tools and a graphical user interface (GUI).

Example map source files

  • many mods package .MAP source files with the public release, just look in the mod folder
  • trenchbroom_quake_map_source.zip (4.5 mb download) is a collection of the original Quake 1 .MAP source files (as released by John Romero in 2006) but converted to modern file format (TrenchBroom compatible) + fixed texture references (with repackaged Quake101.wad), thanks to Atul "toolness" Varma
trenchbroom_quake_map_source.zip
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Binary
download mirror of "Trenchbroom Quake Map Source" by Atul 'toolness' Varma, last accessed 13 January 2022
for more about parsing and working with .MAP files in code, see .MAP file format
animated GIF of entry hallway in map E1M1 "The Slipgate Complex" by John Romero, for Quake 1 (1996)

Engines / source ports

To play Quake (and playtest your own maps or mods) you need a source port -- a Quake engine that "ports" the original 1996 engine code and add many new features / compatibility.
We only list free open source ports in active ongoing development. (see full list of source ports via QuakeWiki.org)
Source port
Description
current community-standard engine for a "faithful" Quake single player experience; bundled in Quake Level Design Starter Kit
vkQuake
popular Quakespasm fork using new Vulkan graphics path
FTE
many features + wide compatibility beyond Quake 1 formats, good for making standalone games
nQuake
common multiplayer Quake ("QuakeWorld") bundle
animated GIF of level entrance in e4m2 "The Tower of Despair" by Sandy Petersen, for Quake 1 (1996)

Assets / textures

In Quake modding culture, it is generally considered normal and acceptable to rip models, sounds, and textures from other maps and mods, as long as you credit the original authors.
However, if you rip textures and assets from a .BSP, you'll usually have an incomplete fraction of the full kit. It'll likely be difficult to use. In these cases (e.g. the Makkon set) you're better off finding the full official public texture releases.

Texture WADs

Quake texture collections are stored in .WAD files. To use textures in a level, download a .WAD and then add the WAD path to the .MAP file using the level editor. (Note: this is not the same as a Doom WAD. Quake WADs are only for map textures.)
When compiling a map into a playable .BSP file, all used textures are automatically embedded directly inside the .WAD file. You can rip textures from compiled maps using a tool like BSP2WAD.
  • Prototype WAD by Khreathor is useful for blockout and prototyping.
  • Quake101 WAD contains all the Quake textures in one collection, or you can just download the textures used for each map if you want to stay strictly within a traditional theme.
  • Quaddicted WAD archive contains many .WADs from many maps and mods, but it's somewhat unorganized.
  • Quaketastic has a similar pile of WAD files
  • Knave is a medieval library themed texture set by Kell
  • Makkon is the current most-popular texture set used in community Quake maps today
    • Makkon0.wad - medieval gothic metal
    • Makkon1.wad - medieval stone and rock
    • Makkon2.wad - terrain (dirt, grass) and medieval wood
    • Makkon3.wad - sci-fi metal, lights, doors
    • Makkon4.wad - alien bio-mechanical
    • Make sure you read the trimsheet tutorials included in the .ZIP
Quake_Makkon_HowToUseTrimsheets_WEB.png
Quake_Makkon_HowToUseTrimsheets_WEB.png
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Quake_Makkon_HowToUseTrimsheets2_ConvexAndConcave_WEB.png
Quake_Makkon_HowToUseTrimsheets2_ConvexAndConcave_WEB.png
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WAD Tools

  • The most common WAD creating / editing tools are TexMex and Wally, which can browse WADs and convert textures for you easily.
  • If you are going to modify WADs frequently, you can automate the WAD building process via batch processing via command line interface (CLI) with qpakman.
  • Use BSP2WAD to extract textures from a compiled .BSP map file
  • Palletizing textures to fit Quake's fixed 256 color palette is tricky, because some of the colors are reserved as "fullbright" colors. You may also need EricW's "defullbright" tool to remove these fullbright pixels.

Skyboxes

Quake has two different sky systems. The original 1996 sky system is a two panel texture parallaxed over itself. Newer Quake engines support a more standard cubemap-style skybox made of 6 static .TGA textures, each corresponding to one side of the skybox.
screenshot of sci-fi hub map in Quake mod Alkaline, with textures by Makkon

Mods / dev kits

Mods add new functionality and features for mappers to use in their levels. Listed below are common Quake mods and toolkits used by single player Quake mappers.
When you release your map(s) or mod, bundle the core mod files with your maps to make a self-contained .ZIP with no external dependencies. For example: if you make a mod with Copper then you should include the Copper mod files in the ZIP. Big mods include slimmed-down "dev kits" you can use, which have just the core mod files.

Arcane Dimensions

Arcane Dimensions is a popular recent mod / toolkit that adds many new monsters and features.
  1. 1.
    install the latest version of Arcane Dimensions (v1.81 as of January 2022) if you want to make your own mod based on AD, get the slimmed-down dev kit instead
  2. 2.
    add the /ad/ mod folder and ad_1_8.fgd in your map editor
  3. 3.
    read the included ad_v1_80_documentation.txt for info and advice
  4. 4.
    open the example test maps in an editor to learn how to use the new systems
ad_v1_80_documentation.txt
148KB
Text
download mirror of Arcane Dimensions v1.81 documentation TXT file, last accessed 14 January 2022

Alkaline

Alkaline is a recent "base" themed mod / toolkit that adds sci-fi themed monsters and weapons.
  1. 1.
    install latest version of Alkaline (minimal dev kit available)
  2. 2.
    add the /alkaline/ mod folder and alkaline.fgd in your map editor
  3. 3.
    read the included docs.html Alkaline mapping manual

Copper

Copper is a minimalist "refinement" mod that rebalances vanilla Quake gameplay and adds quality-of-life features for mappers. It is good for a "vanilla+" feel without vanilla bugs.
  1. 2.
    add the /copper/ mod folder and copper.fgd in your map editor
  2. 3.
    read the official Copper - Mapping notes for info and advice

Progs_dump

Progs_dump is a recent dev kit mod that adds new mapper features, but doesn't add any new monsters or weapons, it's still basically the same old vanilla Quake gameplay.
However, because it exposes so much functionality, it's possible for mappers to add some new game features without coding in QuakeC.

Horde mode (2021 re-release)

To map for the new "Horde" mode added in the Quake 2021 re-release:
  1. 1.
    download the special Horde mode .FGD file and load it into your map editor
  2. 2.
    in the editor, add a single horde_manager entity, this is the brain of horde mode
  3. 3.
    in the editor, add info_monster_start entities for where you want monsters to show up. You can also toggle a info_monster_start, which lets you do progression stuff.
Quake_mg_TrenchBroom_ericw.fgd
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Binary
download mirror of the MachineGames' Quake .FGD file for making Horde maps, last accessed 13 Jan 2022
See the example Horde mode .MAP source file for usage:
horde_example.zip
28KB
Binary
download mirror of example horde mode .MAP source file, last accessed 13 Jan 2022
screenshot from hub map in Quake mod Arcane Dimensions, by Simon 'sock' O'Callaghan et al

Modeling

for a list of 3D art tools, see Tools
To make custom monsters, weapons, items, or props, you must export a 3D model.
The original Quake models are stored in .MDL files in a sub-folder called /progs/ . The MDL format reflects the memory limits of 1996 PCs:
  • Max triangles: 2048; max vertices: 1024
  • Textures: 8-bit palettized; max UVs: 1024
  • Max vertex animation frames: 256 at 10 FPS
for more info on MDL file format and parsing, see Quake MDL file format spec
The 2021 re-release, as well as more recent fan engines, have added much more modern MD5 (Doom 3 format) file support with much higher memory limits and skeletal animation support.
  • Model data stored in .md5mesh file
  • Animations stored in .md5anim file; can load multiple .md5anim files for one model
  • Textures are .tga, bind with .mtr material definition file
  • works in 2021 re-release engine ("KexQuake"), Quakespasm-Spiked, and FTE

Quake MDL

Get the Quake MDL importer / exporter for Blender v2.8+ by Taniwha, Khreathor, and Jazzmickle.
io_mesh_qfmdl.zip
22KB
Binary
download mirror of Quake MDL plugin file for Blender v2.8, last accessed 13 Jan 2022
Fairweather has made some great beginner video tutorials on using Blender to model for Quake, no prior Blender or 3D experience required:
modifying the Quake "Ranger" player MDL in Blender

Quake MD5

  • read the documentation thoroughly, it's a little complicated
  • community is still figuring out best practices / pipeline... ask questions and shares notes in QM Discord #modeling-and-texturing

Coding

Quake game code is written in a special programming language called QuakeC. It has many historical quirks and it can be tricky to learn, but once you figure it out, it's fun.

QuakeC tutorials and documentation

Example QuakeC projects
QuakeC tools
FTEQCC is probably the most modern compiler available, with plenty of compilation options and enhancements. You can choose between GUI version and a command line version: