Classic games never die – The original Quake on Linux

Every computer/modded pseudo-gaming system I have ever owned has run some version of the original Quake at some point.  It’s a classic game that I have beaten in single player mode a countless amount of times and have invested an insane amount of hours in the multiplayer side of the game (I’m embarrassed to even come up with a number of hours total).  The original Quake is one of those first person shooter games that I hold near and dear to my heart.  I get nostalgic every now and again and that nostalgia leads to me installing the game on whatever PC/laptop that I’m currently using to bank some more hours into the game.

Besides the nostalgia factors of wanting to play the game, another reason I absolutely love the game is that the hardware requirements for playing the game are very minimal.  Because of this, I can play Quake on almost anything that I ever come across.  I currently use an on old Thinkpad X23 as basically a netbook.  The X23’s size allows me to carry it anywhere without it being a burden during travel.  I currently run Ubuntu 9.10 on this 8 year old laptop without any issues.  This laptop runs a Pentium III 800 mhz processor with only 600 MB of RAM (the processor is pretty obsolete by today’s standards).  But, it’s still good enough to play Quake.  For me, that’s awesome.

Quake on Ubuntu is very easy to get going:

1.) Install DOSBox and the SDL-Net lib from apt

sudo apt-get install dosbox libsdl-net1.2

2.) Download and copy quakespasm to the /usr/local/games/quake directory

sudo mkdir /usr/local/games/quake
sudo cp quakespasm /usr/local/games/quake/quake

3.) Download the Quake shareware zip from idSoftware and run it in DOSBox

cd /home/username/Downloads/
mkdir quake106
cp quake106/.
cd quake106

Now, run DOSBox from the command line: dosbox

In DOSBox, mount the folder where the unzipped quake files are and run the install:

mount c /home/usernane/Downloads/quake106/

Install the files in whatever directory you want (probably will be C:QUAKE_SW).  Wait until it finishes.  Now, at this point, you could run Quake straight from DOSBox, although it’s not really optimal for graphics and sound (but, in my case runs just fine).

NOTE: If you want to run DOSBox in full screen mode, press Alt + Enter

4.) Copy quake files to /usr/local/games/quake

sudo mkdir /usr/local/games/quake/id1
sudo cp /home/username/Downloads/quake106/QUAKE_SW/ID1/PAK0.PAK /usr/local/games/quake/id1/pak0.pak

Linux Quake requires (most) filenames to be in lowercase. If you get an error similar to “Error: W_LoadWadFile: couldn’t load gfx.wad” it means the game can’t find the data files, possibly because they are not all lowercase.  Make sure you have the subdirectory “id1” (not “ID1”) containing the files “pak0.pak” and “pak1.pak”.

NOTE: There are MANY Quake ports to Linux besides Quakespasm: EZQuake, ProQuake, Tenebrae, etc.  I just chose one, but they are all just about equally as easy to install.

There you have it.  Enjoy some original Quake on Linux!

1.) Linux Quake HOWTO
2.) Quakespasm on SourceForge
3.) Quake from id Software
4.) Ubuntu Community – DosBox
5.) Basic Setup and Installation of DosBox

2 thoughts on “Classic games never die – The original Quake on Linux

  1. No GL = no Quake for me. I guess my 3Dfx card back in the day spoiled me? In any event I have a core2 laptop that struggles playing the DarkPlaces Quake engine. Now DarkPlaces spoils me because it looks so great. If you love Quake then you should check DarkPlaces out sometime. But your P3 might struggle running it if it does not have a GPU that can do accalerated GL. Heck my i3 can’t play GL Quake unaccalerated very well.


  2. installed fine and plays well on dosbox but i can’t get it to play any other way



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