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Quake II engine

id Tech 2 (Quake II engine)
id Tech 2 in Quake II
Developer(s) id Software, (John Carmack, John Cash, and Brian Hook)
Initial release December 9, 1997 (1997-12-09)
Stable release 3.21 / 22 December 2001
Development status Discontinued
Written in C, x86 assembly (software rendering)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Mac OS 8, Linux
Platform PC, PowerPC Macintosh, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Amiga
Type Game engine
License GNU General Public License

id Tech 2, popularly known as the Quake II engine,[1][2] upgraded from Quake engine, is a game engine developed by id Software for use in their games, most notably Quake II. Since its release, the Quake II engine has been licensed for use in several other games.

One of the engine's most notable features was out-of-the-box support for hardware-accelerated graphics, specifically OpenGL, along with the traditional software renderer. Another interesting feature was the subdivision of some of the components into dynamic-link libraries. This allowed both software and OpenGL renderers, which were switched between by loading and unloading separate libraries. Libraries were also used for the game logic, for two reasons:

  • id could release the source code to allow modifications while keeping the remainder of the engine proprietary.
  • Since they were compiled for a native platform, instead of an interpreter, they could run faster than Quake's solution, which was to run the game logic (QuakeC) in a limited interpreter.

The level format, as with previous id Software engines, used BSP. The levels were lit through a lightmap method, in which light data for each surface is precalculated (this time, via a radiosity method) and stored as an image in the level file, which is then used to determine how much lighting intensity each model should receive, but not its direction.

John Carmack released the source code on 22 December 2001 under the terms of the GNU General Public License.[3]


  • Games using the id Tech 2 (Quake II engine) 1
    • Games using a proprietary license 1.1
    • Games based on the GPL source release 1.2
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Games using the id Tech 2 (Quake II engine)

Games using a proprietary license

Games based on the GPL source release

See also


  1. ^ id Software Wants To Shorten Dev Cycles - IndustryGamers
  2. ^ id Software looking to shorten dev cycles, stop building new engines for every game | Joystiq
  3. ^ Slashdot | Quake 2 Source Code Released Under The GPL

External links

  • Official id Tech 2 licensing page at the Wayback Machine (archived November 8, 2009)
  • Quake II engine full games list
  • Source code of the engine version 3.19 as originally released
  • Source code of the engine version 3.21
  • Quake II code review by Fabien Sanglard
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