1001 Video Games

The PC version of Quake III Arena appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Copy protection

As Half-Life, the game shipped with a very controversial multiplayer CD key check. (The key was printed on the case of the CD-ROM)

This system reduced piracy, but also introduced several other interesting issues. Several people who had bought the game were unable to play it online because their cd-key had already been "stolen" by people who used key generator programs to find valid multiplayer keys. There are also numerous reports of Quake III: Arena boxes being opened at the store by dishonest people wanting to get a valid CD key.


After finishing the game, watch the credits roll. After the Credits show "THE END", the character with the hoverskates will skate around the screen like she's just learning.

Cut content

Quake III: Arena had several graphical features cut (assumed for performance reasons, and the arcane OpenGL ICD driver implementations at the time). Quake II-style particles and realistic flares (that occlude behind models and alpha textures) were present in earlier revisions, but did not make it to the final release of the game.

There was also a flamethrower weapon planned, as well as a 3-tier player class system (light, medium, heavy) which were also cut from the design. References to this can still be seen in older Q3Test releases, and the files of the designer player models in a patches' pak2.pk3 (the 1998 dated .skin files).


Some of the features of the id Tech 3 engine:
  • Bump mapping instead of mip mapping: Mip mapping rescaled a texture for several different sizes. Bump mapping actually applies per pixel light calculation for each texture. The trade off is processor speed vs realistic lighting.
  • Curved surfaces: Quake III will interpolate the position of a point by doing real time calculation, based on the curvature of a surface.

German index

On January 12, 2000, Quake III: Arena was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS (confirmed on March 31, 2000). For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

Limited Edition

There was a Limited Edition run of a "tin" game box instead of cardboard. The only difference is the box itself, nothing else extra is included.


  • A downloadable add-on map pack is available on many Quake III: Arena sites on the internet, which contains all the maps from the Dreamcast release of the game. This add-on pack allows players of the Windows/Linux version to play on servers with Dreamcast players. This makes Quake III: Arena one of the first games to support transparent Internet play between a game console and the PC!
  • In an interview on Gamasutra, designer Tim Willits called Quake III his biggest failure: "The game offered perfect multiplayer for hardcore players. In fact, they're still playing it. But the more casual gamers, and other people who actually have money, found playing next to impossible." This hints at a commercial motivation, and not the quality of the game itself.


  • Quake III: Arena presents some of the heroes from previous Id games as playable skins, including the Space Marine from DOOM, the marine from Quake, and a few of the different marines from Quake II. All of these models and skins have both male and female counterparts, and different color variations.
  • The game contains a reference to a popular online comic called User Friendly ( When playing on q3dm19, pick up the fly power-up from the top of the level and fly all the way down until you’re below the final platform. Look up at the central floor and you’ll see an image of the Dust Puppy, as featured in the comic.
  • While this game was in development, it was referred to as Trinity. This was an obvious reference that it was using the third and possibly final Quake engine.
  • Some maps in Quake III: Arena include a wall decoration, that is actually The Icon of Sin, the final boss of id Software's Doom II: Hell on Earth.
  • On the map q3dm15, the severed head of John Carmack can be found lying in a pool of blood.

References to the game

The game appears in the fifth episode of the first season of the US HBO TV series Six Feet Under. The character Claire is shown playing it, doing rail shots with the quad damage activated.


50,000 copies of the game were sold within the first 3 days of its release.

Source code release

On August 19th, 2005, the full (GPL'd) source code to the game was released.

Tech demo

id Software released a technology demo of the game, called Q3Test, in early 1999. In the following five days, 2 million internet games were started worldwide. That works out to around 4 games every second.


  • GameSpy
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 03/2000 - Best Graphics in 1999
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/2000 – Best Graphics in 1999
Information also contributed by Chris Martin, Cochonou, Jason Musgrave, JubalHarshaw, Lord FlatHead, leileilol, lethal guitar, Medicine Man, Paul Budd, Sciere, Scott Monster, Tibes80 and Xoleras

Contributed by DarkTalon (162) on Jan 02, 2000. [revised by : FatherJack (62763), Patrick Bregger (195869) and Sciere (505957)]. -- edit trivia