Because Why Not Port The Original Quake To Android

Because Why Not Port The Original Quake To Android

Not content with being one of the company’s senior engine programmers, id software’s Axel Gneiting has decided to spend some of his spare time giving the original Quake a bit of love. And naturally, one thing led to another.

Gneiting tweeted out last week that he’d completed the majority of work on getting the original Quake to run on Vulkan. If you’re unfamiliar, Vulkan is a new graphics API that id recently patched into DOOM to great effect. It’s given AMD cards a substantial boost and has even provided a small bump in performance for NVIDIA cards as well.

Quake 1 doesn’t really need a jump in performance, though. You can run the game at crazy frame rates already on a potato. But getting the iconic shooter has benefits other than running on a fancy new render.

Like being playable on Android devices.

Alex Gneiting was the one responsible for porting Quake to Vulkan, but the person currently messing about with the game on Android is Sascha Willems. He’s an app developer who also looks after the OpenGL, Vulkan and hardware databases for GPUInfo.

Now while the initial work in progress video has plenty of artefacts, the game’s first few levels are perfectly playable:

I’ve asked whether we might see Quake playable on regular mobile phones one day, given that Willems is doing this through a NVIDIA SHIELD. While I haven’t heard back from him, there’s no reason why it’s not possible. A controller might still be required — although there are plenty that work for smartphones — but it certainly doesn’t seem out of the realms of possibility.


  • Haven’t there been Android ports of Quake for a long time? The headline buries the interesting news, which is the Vulcan port of the engine.

    • A.) Yeah, “QVR” for Google Cardboard has been out for quite some time, and it kicks some serious ass. I’ve played the core game, the expansions (released, unreleased, and the recent ‘DOPA’ episode) as well as hundreds of custom levels on it. If they think they’re pioneering anything with an Android port, this and several other products already beat then to the punch.

      B.) Dear god in heaven, don’t share that f&+#@$ Opendive Quake2 garbage. With anyone. Nobody can get that thing running even remotely right for more than about eight minutes at a time. Whoever pushed that port out actually OVERRODE the look/aim controls out of the game configuration -you can tinkee/tweak whatever you like, but there’s no way to adjust sensitivity or to supplement with a standard right thumbs tick on the gamepad like you would with QVR. I’ve even tried re-assigning gamepad input to keyboard input, the game recognizes them in the control configuration, accepts them… And then is completely unresponsive to them in-game. Meaning you basically HAVE TO play this standing up or sitting in a swivel chair.

      I could forgive all of this with time and adjustment -because Quake2 is probably about my favorite classic fps… Except that you have to launch a secondary app to get the sensor input working, and once you do, it’ll stop working after about eight minutes. Then you have to exit the game, re-read the nativeinput app, and restart Quake2. It’s like some ultra-rigid shareware limitation from the days of old. Despite that, I tried, I mean really tried to enjoy this just so I could sink my teeth into Quake2 in 3D. Turns out that after about an hour of these shenanigans, nativeinput will inevitably screw up somewhere, and your phone sensors will just stop sending any kind of input until you restart your phone. I mean, holy hell, it’s like whoever assembled this really wanted to play Quake2 in VR on their Android device… But also really wanted to be a sadist. I can’t express how big of a freaking tease this terrible thing is. Please, for the sake of all that is good and holy, don’t share out that f€©¢&$ link. We’ve suffered enough.

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