Although we don't cover many retail software game launches here at Phoronix, unless of course they happen to be native to GNU/Linux, today is one of the days this year in which Linux, and Windows, gamers can be ecstatic over, and that's the long awaited launch of Quake 4. Continuing on where Quake 2 had left off, you play as Matthew Kane who is a member of the Elite Rhino Squad, which coincidently is leading the next wave of Earth's invasion. During the battle, you're captured by the Strogg, the enemy forces, and are then taken to the "Stroggification" facilities, which as the name implies is attempting to convert Mr. Kane into a Strogg. Moments away from completing the transformation, your squad rescues you and returns to base. With much of the Strogg transformation process complete, you're able to manipulate and interface with the opposition like never before. With the substantial advantage in hand, you're able to ultimately over-power the Strogg defensive system and bring "The Nexus" and Markon to its demise. Although the story line may sound enticing, we alternative OS users aren't yet able to experience this action first hand.
Late last month Timothee Besset of id Software had confirmed officially to the folks at Linux-Gamers that Quake 4 indeed would be released for the Linux platform. Although he stated it might be a week or two delay from the launch date (October 18, 2005) until the client binary is complete, the Linux dedicated server port should be available very soon, however, at the time of writing we have yet to see this binary come about. Handling the needs for the Linux version will be SDL (Simple Direct Media Layer) and OpenGL. Of course, the magnificent Doom 3 engine with a few tweaks and optimizations in place powers Quake 4. With id Software porting many of its products to Linux, along with Macintosh, we have full faith in these upcoming binaries and that they will be released in a timely fashion. The installation instructions for the Linux version will be similar to that of Doom 3 or Quake 3 Arena where you will need to download the Linux client binary and run it followed by copying over the *.pk4 files from the Windows installation CDs over to the appropriate Quake 4 base location.
For those pondering over the minimum requirements for this game, the stated Windows hardware requirements as listed on the retail packaging are - Pentium 4 2.0GHz / AMD Athlon XP 2000+ or faster, 512MB RAM, 8x speed CD-ROM, and 2.8GB of hard drive space. For the graphics processing, an ATI RADEON 9700 or faster is needed to properly handle the needs of Quake 4 while most any NVIDIA graphics card ranging from the GeForce 3/Ti to the 7XXX series is compatible with the game engine but of course a 6 or 7 series card is preferred for optimal usage. On the Linux front, we do expect these hardware requirements to change slightly but of course, the Linux 2.4 or 2.6 kernel will be needed as well as Glibc, OpenGL, and SDL libraries. We hope as id Software has had a fair amount of time since working out the various bugs in Doom 3 for Linux, the binary upon availability should be fairly well rounded and not experience the sort of issues we initially had encountered. Upon the release of the Linux patch, we will be performing some of our own in-house testing and reporting all results immediately. Quake 4 is presently available in two forms - one as the traditional four CD set ($49.99 USD) or alternatively a special DVD edition ($59.99 USD) that contains Quake 2 with its expansion packs as well as some other bonus features. Contained on each of the Quake 4 CDs is the q4base folder that is home to the various content needed to operate the game under Linux. There are fourteen pak0XX.pk4 files spanned across the CDs, or single DVD, which amount to nearly 2.8GB in required space. Although we have yet to see the Linux client or server binaries for Quake 4, we are faithful that id Software will indeed release both of these files in the very near future unlike the time that had passed for the initial Doom 3 release. We haven't heard of any official confirmation whether there will be a Macintosh port of Quake 4 but we do imagine it's on id Software's schedule.