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Archive for January 15th, 2008

How to Install a Quake 3 Mod – Common Problems and Solutions

Posted by gregd1024 on January 15, 2008

I’m assuming you’re reading this post for one of two reasons:

  1. You downloaded a mod from a third party, followed the installation instructions, and nothing actually changed in the game.
  2. You programmed your own mod but couldn’t get it to actually run.

This post can be applied to solve both problems, but I’m not going to cover how to actually make a mod; I’m just going to explain what common pitfalls exist and how you can overcome them. (I will be writing a post about how to create a mod in the near future, but that’ll be after I’m done with the Quake III .NET port.)

OK, let me start off by saying if you are having trouble installing a Quake III mod, you’re not alone. I had massive problems with the first mod I tried. It was a very simple mod where I changed the rocket launcher’s trigger rate and rocket speed – so it could rapid fire like the plasma gun. 😉 And, in the end, I was only able to install it via the compiled DLL’s – the QVM files, even though they all compiled successfully, just refused to load. Since Quake III will behave the same way regardless of whether a mod is installed via DLL(s) or QVM(s) (although DLL’s are a bit faster), I didn’t see the point in continuing to beat my head against the wall over those QVM files. Therefore in this post I’m going to explain the installation of mod DLL’s only, not QVM’s. If you have successfully installed QVM’s on the v1.32 point-release, please contact me here or leave a comment on this post.

This is the main problem: when you run Quake III using command line options, some parameters in the q3config.cfg file (under /baseq3) get overwritten in order to remember what was last set. Then, the next time you run the game, even if you don’t set the same arguments as in the last instance, the game will still run as if they had been set. For example, if you launch the game with, “quake3.exe +set vm_game 0” and later use just “quake3.exe,” those two instances will behave no differently. This can be very confusing and naturally results in methods never getting tested.

Not all command line parameters behave this way, but most do. The one’s which affect you when making mods are the following three:

  1. vm_game
  2. vm_cgame
  3. vm_ui

As you probably already know, these three correspond to the three “mod’able” game DLL’s or QVM’s (qagamex86, cgamex86, and uix86 – if you’re running on a non-Intel platform, the suffix will be different than “x86”).

There’s another big problem with installing mods and it has to do with the server’s operating mode. There are two modes the Quake 3 server can run under – “pure” and “non-pure.” A pure server can only run modified versions of qagamex86, while a non-pure server can run all three modules. Trouble is, even if you tell the game to use a module other than qagamex86, it will simply ignore your request if the server is in pure mode. You won’t even see an error message.

OK, by now I’m sure you’re wondering how to set up things properly so let’s get to it! I’m going to show you a series of steps, but first keep in mind that I’m running the 1.32 Point Release. If you don’t already have this version I would highly recommend installing the patch so we’re both on the same page. I don’t know whether the steps I’m going to list will work in other versions of the game. Now here goes…

Mod install steps:

  1. Copy the mod DLL(s) into the same directory where “quake3.exe” is located. Update (1/21/2008): actually, it’s safer to copy them to the “baseq3” directory under the root because only a Debug build of Quake III will scan both the root and “baseq3” while the Release build will only scan “baseq3.”
  2. Open a DOS command prompt.
  3. Type “cd <drive>:\<quake3_install_dir>\” and hit <Enter> (on my computer the path is “c:\quake3\”)
  4. Type “quake3.exe ” and append one or more of the following command line options:
    • “+set sv_pure 0” (this one is not optional)
    • If you’re installing qagamex86 add: ” +set vm_game 0″
    • If you’re installing cgamex86 add: ” +set vm_cgame 0″
    • If you’re installing uix86 add: ” +set vm_ui 0″
  5. Press <Enter> and the game will load.
  6. Once you see the Quake 3 menu go ahead and start a new single player game.
  7. Press tilde (“~”) to drop down the Quake 3 console.
  8. In the console you’ll see a ton of status text. Scroll through it via the <PageUp> and <PageDown> keys looking for lines that say your DLL’s were loaded successfully. The status text for qagamex86 is quite a few pages up, while the status of cgamex86 and uix86 are near the bottom. The lines look like, “LoadLibrary qagamex86.dll ok.” 
  9. If the console indicates your DLL(s) loaded correctly, then congratulations! Your mod should now be running in the game!

That’s about it. If you have any questions about installing DLL mods, feel free to email me via my Contact page.

-Greg Dolley

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Posted in Game Modding | 26 Comments »