Quake III Arena (or Quake III: Arena), often referred as Quake 3, Q3A or simply Q3, is a first-person shooter published by id Software in 1999.
Its engine, known as id Tech 3, supports OpenGL graphics (and specific support for the "3dfx Voodoo" cards, popular at the time).
Quake 3 and another game released that year (Unreal Tournament) were different from previous FPS because of they didn't have single player "story" game. Previous games had a "deatchmatch" multiplayer game mode, but these two games focused themselves on this game mode. They were a success.
In Quake 3 you can fight against human players over LAN or Internet, or you can play offline against computer-controlled players called "bots".
The game supports additional maps and character models... and entire "mods" that can change various aspects of the game. Many of them have been created by fans. id Software itself created a commercial mod called Team Arena.
id Software released some patches for the game, called PointReleases. Latest version is 1.32c (one has to install the game, then 1.32 PointRelease, and then the 1.32c patch).
It does exist a port for the Sony PlayStation 2 console, which is named Quake III Revolution (Q3R in short), and incorporates stuff from both Q3A and Team Arena, with some other twists.
Until 2005, various commercial games used licensed (and modified) versions of its engine (for example, Star Trek: Elite Force, or Star Wars: Jedi Knight 2).
On August 19, 2005, id Software released the source code of the game under the GNU General Public License, allowing programmers to use it for free.
So, ioquake3 was born. ioquake3 uses a modified version of the id Tech 3 engine, resolves some bugs and adds various features, like support for IPv6. ioquake3 source code is under GPL, and you can download the installer for free... but to install it, it needs the textures, maps and 3d models from the original Quake 3, and they are still under copyright of id Software (only source code is free). This means that you must buy Quake 3 to be able to install and use ioquake3, and you can't share freely the whole thing.
Since ioquake3 source code is free, it has been used to create OpenArena. OpenArena is totally stand-alone (you don't need the original Q3A) and free: all copyrighted material has been removed, everything has a free license. So, you can play a game very similar to the famous Q3A and use the improvements introduced by ioquake3, at no cost.
id Software itself created a new version of Quake 3, called Quake Live (QL for short... a working title was "Quake Zero"), even more Online-focused than the original game. Changes introduced during the years brought some details of its gameplay to noticeably differ from Q3. It used to be "freemium", while nowadays it has changed to one-time buying game.
Quake Champions (QC in short) game followed in 2017. While it can be seen as a Q3/Quake Live successor, it has got major differences. While it aims to keep some classic Q3 feeling, it's however another game, with a more modern engine, with some different weapons and game mechanics (it uses "champions" as "classes" of characters with different stats and abilites). It has got a free-to-play business model.
You can use additional characters, maps and mods designed for the original Quake 3 Arena inside OpenArena. But some of them could have some problems, for example caused by missing textures, missing maps or missing bots. Please refer to ModCompat page for additional info. In general, mods designed for Q3A v1.27 or later should work. Also, you can refer to MapCompat for a long list of Q3 maps tested (or still to be tested) with OA.
Additional player models should be complete models (usually, those in pk3 files larger than 1 MB), not simply additional skins (different textures) for existing Quake 3 characters.
It happened in the past that players were not able to find Q3A servers due to a problem with id software internet domains. Here we explained a workaround that was useful back then.
UPDATE: Checked again at the end of May 2016... it looks like id Software/Bethesda fixed the DNS problem. Quake 3 Arena master server works! So the workaround described here below is no more needed. If you applied it, probably you can remove the workaround from your .hosts file, to have it dynamic again.
In March 2016, Quake 3 Arena master server address master.quake3arena.com stopped working due to some DNS misconfiguration of quake3arena.com domain (master3.idsoftware.com and monster.idsoftware.com aliases still work), resulting in "no response from master server" error by internal server browser. Users needed to apply a workaround in order to play:
For server admins, probably this can be workarounded just by setting sv_master1 to master3.idsoftware.com, but for clients, it looks like master server address is hard-coded, so the workaround requires to edit one's "hosts" file:
- Hosts file is usually "c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts." on Windows or "/etc/hosts" on Linux.
- This is the line which should be added to hosts file, using a plain text editor:
- In Windows, launching notepad as administrator and temporarily disabling antivirus program hosts file protection may be required to be able to save changes to the file.