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What Keeps The Quake Community So Active?
So I've been going over 2015's releases for addon levels for various games I follow and was surprised to find that Quake has actually overtaken Half-Life in both release quality and quantity of releases. Here are some quick and dirty stats from quaddicted/RTSL:

Quake Releases: 17

Half-Life Releases: 9

Half-Life 2 Releases: 19

Keep in mind that many of the Quake releases are Jams and other multimap releases, so the number of actual maps released last year will be much higher. The same can be said for Half-Life 2 as RTSL released 4 *ville competition packs last year.

I was chatting with Phillip (he runs RTSL) before christmas about this and we were both fairly surprised that an older game with a smaller community could put out more and higher quality content than a game which came out later, had massive mainstream appeal and a giant modding community.

Why do you think this is? What is different and/or unique about Quake that fosters such an active community? Does the Quake community do anything different to other communities that helps in this regard?

Would love to hear everyone's thoughts!
My thinking is that the simplicity of Quake counts for a lot. It's just easier to create a Quake map.

I've long wanted to create a Half-Life 2 map but the learning curve seems daunting to really come up with something cool.

Quake ... eh, some brushes, a few monsters, some lights - done!

I wonder how the Doom community stacks up. 
Re: Doom Community 
vastly outweighs the other communities, a quick check shows roughly 300 releases in 2015, including plenty of 30+ mapsets. 
We All Know Quaddicted And The Quake Injector Are The Reason! 
Don't count releases. You have to look at the actual complexity for anything meaningful comparison. A release might be 1 map or 15 maps. Vastly different.

Quake and Doom have very diverse possibilities while the HL universe is very limited. Not many things look as boring as HL2 maps to me but I might be negatively biased. 
I tend to get the impression that we're just quake mappers and coders making quake maps and tools and engines for other quake mappers and coders - as opposed to making stuff for a wider public - so our community is kind of self-sustaining now and feeding off each other until the end of time.

We are a perpetual motion machine of quake content creation, and appreciation, and infinitum. 
The Doom community is absolutely crazy. I probably should have included it in the list but I don't follow it as closely as the games listed and wasn't sure where to go to find a full list of 2015 releases.

I'm more interested in the question of "what makes these communities so active and fruitful" rather than a popularity contest.

I think Willem has a very good point. The simplicity of creating something for Doom / Quake helps greatly. When you look at the step up in work from Quake -> Half-Life you suddenly introduce heavy scripting logic, and a bunch of other things that slow down development. 
So Doom's popularity comes from a number of sources, but one of the big recent ones is Twitch streaming. Doom speedrunning got a little bit big after one of the AGDQs, and got a lot of people interested. Dime directed people towards doomworld and encouraged people to check out cool new releases and we got a noticeable influx of new members and new mappers. Of course, Doom 4 has helped as well, but that I think will have more of an affect on 2016 than 2015. 
Custom Gamer. 
B2B Quake being awesome.

Also without actually reading the original post, HL1 was outclassed and overridden by HL2 in every way, so there would be no need to make anything for HL1 any more. Quake hasn't been superceded by a relevant game in the same style. 
Three Things 
Already mentioned, but whatever:

1. Play style
2. Ease of build
3. Community

I think these are the factors that keep it going.

The play style isn't anywhere else. The only genuinely fast and uncomplicated FPS games on the market are indie procedural lack lustre efforts trying their hardest to be teh retr0.

Maybe you could count Painkiller? No idea if they have a modding / mapping community though.

The big advantage is that Quake is easy to play - you've got directional controls for moving, shoot, jump and mouse look. No alt fire, equipment or loot to piss about with, you just run around shooting stuff. This means even brand new players can just get into the game immediately without having to learn it first.

2. Not only is it easy to build something in Quake, it's also easy to make it look good. It shouldn't need saying, but good != HD. (Although I'm not sure what HD is even supposed to mean anymore).

The techniques are tried and tested, and not particularly difficult to master once you get going. The only real barrier to making an awesome looking level or mod is artistic flair. And even when someone considers that they don't have that, with enough perseverance they can still produce something with its own unique style thanks to how lo-fi quake is by nature.

The latest additions for dirtmapping, fog, skyboxes, better suns, texture packs and so on add a lot here, giving new content creators a head start.

3. The community itself is self sustaining. Not only sites like Quaddicted or func, but also the player centric ones like QuakeOne or the raw data of the various wikis and associated 'frozen in amber' sites, and the blogs, twitter accounts, youtube videos and so on.

If you've got nobody to answer the question 'Why doesn't this work!?' then you're going to get frustrated and give up pretty quickly.

It rarely takes more than a half day before such questions are answered on the mapping/coding help threads. And to the credit of the new guys who turn up, they keep learning.

Finally, a special mention - Trenchbroom had a much bigger effect than many people realized in the influx of new faces - being retweeted by John Carmack (and other influential people) exposed the community to people who otherwise wouldn't have realised it existed.

And the ease of use and quality of the tool doesn't hurt either! 
What I Find More Surprising 
Is that there are still new faces showing up around here, some of which stay and crank out top notch releases. Who had heard of mfx five years ago? Or Fifth, or Daya, or all of the others who suddenly came out of nowhere and released great stuff? Also sock switching to Quake and releasing a string of incredibly good releases contributed a lot.

I think that the is influx of new mappers with new ideas was had a great impact. Put together with the new and improved tools that have been released in recent years, I think that accounts for quite a bit of the resilience of this community. I sure hope that this will continue, and that we will see more new people in this community cranking out the good stuff. 
Whoops, Just Now Read Ijeds Post 
I think that Carmack's and Romero's mentions of TrenchBroom, and the RTS article about it, have had a great effect too. I don't believe that it's attributable to TrenchBroom as such, but more to me getting lucky when emailing those guys. And I'm sure as hell going to try again when TB2 is out. 
Thanks Ijed 
for the warm words. Bit drunk and receptive right now ;-) 
You Wouldn't Have Heard Of Me 
because I was busy making maps for classic UT. Actually I had mostly given up on mapping for almost a decade.
I installed Quake maybe 2 years ago and played a bunch of Thans maps after discovering Quaddicted and decided to try my hand at Hammer again. Then you released Trenchbroom and I was hooked. In all honesty if you had not released Trenchbroom I probably would have given up. 
Quake mapping community is dead, but keeps moving forward, animated by pure force of will.

And editors / tools. And events and exposure via Custom Gamer cuz moving pictures with sound brings all the boys to the yard. 
Let's Also Not Forget The Engines While We're Patting Ourselves On Our 
collective backs. 
To be honest, Quake has more tools and cool techy toys released for it now than it did back in the day.

I think part of that is it's relative simplicity and the fact that the community is so intimately familiar with it now that it allows for leaps in tools and tech we couldn't have even attempted back then. 
Also The Sheer Power Of Todays Machines 
allows us to circumnavigate technical hurdles that we haven't been able to do before. 20 years ago, TrenchBroom would not have been possible at all. 
Yes! Good point. 
circumnavigate technical hurdles

It's much more, right? Almost like mapping for an ideal infinite computer. Fps will suck, VIS will freeze, but the limit today is mostly our imagination. 
Theme. Half-Life takes you to one contiguous world of labs, offices, storage, utilities, and sparse outdoors. There is also Xen... But generally, you're going to be making more of a very particular place, a place that is remembered in no small part for its scripted events.

Quake covers wider spaces with fewer prescriptions as to scenarios, and makes an impression with its secrets, combat, and mood. You've got tech bases, medieval, wizard, metal, and elder themes while sticking to the original textures and not blending things. It's a larger tool set for a larger canvas with a broader acceptance criteria. 
Nobody Has Mentioned This 
I would ask where we'd really all be if metlslime hadn't created func_msgboard after QMap went down a hundred years ago and maintained it (with sleepwalker) all this time.

"I Would Ask Where We'd Really All Be..." 
doing useful things. 
I think Ijed nailed it, but I also want to add that one of the reasons why, I believe, Doom is way more active than Quake is because making maps for it is simpler. Sure, making a good Doom level is as hard as making a good Quake level, but you don't have to worry too much about full 3D space like you do in Quake, and the process is generally way faster. 
Yes, I think Doom nails that bottom line of simplicity vs cool pay off. People don't make a lot of Wolfenstein levels because there's really not a lot you can do there. It would be easy, sure, but the payoff isn't there. 
The Answers In There Nail It 
Though another factor that contribute to this is that despite its primitive graphics, they're not ugly and really gives the proper atmosphere, it has aged like whine, despite most 3D games of the generation.
And even when you want to make new theme, like a modern city, it's not really a stretch to take the vanilla monsters in, because they're interdimensionnal one, so they can pretty much go anywhere, same goes for Doom, so the flexibility definitely helps.
The obvious advantage Quake has over Doom though is of course true 3D Spacing, which I learned to really appreciate in general with how the game utilizes it, as before I was more of a 2D guy.

Speaking of Quake not being replicated, I've heard the only one that's close to that is Daikatana, with similar player physics and movements, though I can't really tell myself. What I can tell is that the game by now can't come close to Quake for a number of reasons:
1/Despite 4 Themes, some sets of weapons are exclusive to each of them, as well as monsters, but they're limited, with just 4/5 weapons (but I especially like the first set, with the Shotcycler and 2-way Rocket Launcher) and a measly 5/6 monsters for each themes, and they don't seem to be that varied anyway.
2/The level-up system makes the player OP, where the player kills everything in 1 or 2 hits. Not counting the speed and jump upgrades which makes traversing level design a pushover.
3/The AI Partners, which takes out of the isolation displayed in other FPSes. There's a patch that removes them, but still.
4/The game's just unpolished, both design-wise and technically. Bugs aside, the level design doesn't take advantage of the player's moveset (especially with the level up system), and the game's just not pretty overall. Even if it came out in 1997 like it was supposed to, Quake 2 and Unreal have a more appealing look. 
aged like whine

this forum in three words 
..and attention to detail. Seems the ID team that created Q were deep on attention to detail, down to the finest texture. It didnt stop at the artwork, they took a gamble with the NIN soundtrack and hit paydirt. First game with real 3d sound, and a multisession CD that has the game music as CD tracks was a first I believe. First real multiplayer internet type shooter..that made the first GLOBAL impact and impression of www gaming to the entire globe... lots of groundbreaking things no one else tried or dreamed of no less and they pulled it off.

Consider also Q was not bug free and still to this day its always being modded and improved. Its got an appeal the Darker side of mankind in the actual game, and an appeal to his potential if you look at its groundbreaking achievements. Very well balanced , groundbreaking and innovative I would sum up how I see it as. 
deep on attention to detail, down to the finest texture

Weren't too fussed about texture alignment tho. 
"Weren't too fussed about texture alignment tho. "

Well, considering the state of the tools... 
Well, considering the state of the tools...

Was it really that hard to rotate and offset textures on faces? I would have thought that considering texture rotation/offset was part of the .map brush definition, they would have made it possible to edit that stuff simply in radiant? 
I always suspected that they didn't bother with it too much because at 320x240 who's gonna notice? 
Sure, but it was primitive at best. Typing in numbers, guess work, etc.

I've grown used to Hammers alignment tools but it's easy to forget that id didn't have those. 
Why Do You Think That? 
Here's a screenshot from QuakeEd:

As you can see, it has a texture mapped 3D preview. Unless that wasn't updated in realtime, which I would find hard to believe, you have essentially the same tools available as in most editors today, sans automatic texture fitting.

I think what you're referring to is that originally Quake didn't have per-face texture axes. These were only introduced with the Valve 220 map format, and support has been added to Quake compilers later. 
Yeah, it's totes because at 320x240 no-one sees that shizzle, so they just left it at "good enough" 
Coupled with the fact that the poor thing was in development hell for 3 years (which was big at the time) and everyone was just tired of working on it. 
What scar3crow said, plus open source.

HL hasn't evolved, Quake has. Quake got not just new tools, but also new tech, new formats, higher limits and so on.

Quake's open source nature is also better to attract people who are more curious, more tech-minded, more prone to keep working on it.

And Quake will keep evolving. 
Coupled with the fact that the poor thing was in development hell for 3 years

Quake was in development hell? Are you sure that phrase means what you think it means? 
I read it certainly went on longer than they wanted it to but I don't think it was 3 years, was it?

I mean, compared to RAGE it was a long weekend. :) 
Quake was always in active development. True, they were making it up as they went along, but that's different to the typical definition of "development hell", where development is not allowed to progress for some reason. 
I think they were somewhat blocked on Carmack as he developed the tech or, hell, invented it in the first place. There's not a lot you can do when the engine isn't even working yet ... or is being rewritten for the Nth time. 
The Problem Was 
that it took Carmack a year to make the engine and the id guys couldnt work on the game properly... it was basically in pre-production for so long that they got bored of it, so when they actually started making the game they had to force their creativity to get the game done. 
Quake was one of the first true AAA games. Id was small and they didn't anticipate the amount of work properly.

From the history in The Masters of Doom, they most likely thought that once the engine was in place, asset creation would be as quick and intuitive as in Doom, so in the meantime they spent time working in other projects, because that's how they used to work.

Carmack had a feeling about this and forced them to start working on Quake before the engine was complete. But this made everyone confused, they didn't know how the engine would actually be because much of it was still in Carmack's head, so things got messy, in a bad way.

Even the map editors kept being modified until the last minute. The difference in quality between some assets, specially the monster's models, is a testament to this. 
That Must Have Been Terrible! 
It Still Is!! 
Quake mapping is more an artists platform.
Hl not as much, you're often just replicating real life scenes and so many modern games do this. No modern games follow the styles in Quake.

plus func_msgboard 
Romero On Quake 
Right. Sounds to me then that no-one had a clue what the technology would be capable of until the last minute, and id tends to design games around the technology, and not vice versa.

Still, a year of fannying around doesn't sound like a big deal to me; certainly not enough time to get burnt out.

I once wasted two and a half years working on a PS3 launch title with a design that was constantly in flux; always changing at the whim of a committee of producers that couldn't make up their minds what game they wanted us to make, and in the end it was too late and they pulled the plug. Was always fun seeing Sony sneaking our assets into other games though. 
...and our gameplay ideas / level designs. 
I Keep Coming Back To Quake After 20 Years 
mainly because of the tools and engine refreshes. I can confidently say that I would not be mapping right now if it weren't for Trenchbroom. Over the years I've used Quest (original release), BSP, Qoole, Phase2, GTKRadiant, Hammer etc and TB just grabbed me. Not as a novelty, but as more of a true evolution that makes sense and feels "right". Now TB and QS, MarkV, the compilers etc would be NOTHING without a supportive and generous community to help spread the good word.

Another thing is inspiration. Watching Daz play through some of these amazing works of art is truly inspiring. As soon as I see a new playthrough I want to jump on my system and start mapping immediately. 
So to answer this threads question daz, go make more videos!

supportive and generous community

I said that once, czg said "wow", Lunaran called me crazy, Warren called me gay. Lots of love going on <3

Yes, this community does cause a positive impact on newcomers. This answers what Sleepwalkr said about new people still coming. 
Another thing is inspiration. Watching Daz play through some of these amazing works of art is truly inspiring.

True. I've been away from quake mapping since about 2007. Daz's videos and streams (discovered them because of hl2 videos back then) gave me the first impact to return to quake mapping. The second impact was the quality of the modern maps. Seeing new names producing awesome content is inspiring as well.

And yes,
daz, go make more videos! 
func_msgboard is like Hogwarts.

There are wizards everywhere running around casting spells and arguing and sharing obscure level design secrets and rarely used compiler switches. Occasionally a visiting sorcerer is lured into the mix and decides to setup shop.

The alchemists are in their labs turning ordinary metals into gold, arguing about the number of neutrons required to create the ideal isotope.

The philosophers and the bureaucrats have a pedigree. The users, most uncommon. Even the janitors are quite unusual. The critics bite with a forked tongue that often echos to lands abroad and resonates.

The mappers are real mappers. The players are real players. And the small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. 
Baker is baking now! 
Who's the basilisk? 
Baker/Madfox duality confirmed 
/me Votes Vondur For Heir Of Slytherin 
It wasn't simply that they didn't know what the final form of the tech would be; new builds kept breaking maps and meshes, leading to lots of scrapped work. That can be demoralizing. Then throw in the fact that every one was kind of doing their own thing... And it wasn't one contiguous team. Willits started mapping for Quake in early 96. Romero finished the tools in December 95. Cramped timelines, no clear goal, progress being lost... But yeah, not the typical Development Hell situation. I've been there as QA, working 80 hour weeks on month old builds, and when a build arrives, no bug fixes... 
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