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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!
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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" 
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