Quake 3 Arena

Quake 3 cover
Genre: First Person Shooter
Release Year: 1999
Developer: ID Software
Publisher: Activision
Age Rating: 15+
Playability Status: Perfect
Tested On: Windows 7 x64
Availability: Copyright retained - Still sold

No matter how good the artificial intelligence gets, nothing beats a real human opponent. First person shooter games with online matchmaking have been popular for several decades now. While todays most popular shooters might be Battlefield and Modern Warfare, back at the turn of the Millennium, Quake 3 ruled the roost. On its release, Quake 3 was a cutting edge videogame, demanding the very latest PC hardware in order to run at optimal settings. In 2012 the game may look somewhat dated, but the fast, relentless death match action is as playable as ever.


32 bit Windows users can simply insert the Quake 3 CD and install the program as normal.

Unfortunately the launcher program on the Quake 3 CD-ROM is incompatible with 64 bit versions of Windows. To work around this, open the CD in Windows Explorer. Open the Quake3 folder then locate the “Setup” or “Setup.exe” file and double click it, the game should now install.


You should patch the game before trying to play it. The final patch (that can be applied to any retail copy of the game) is V1.32. It can be downloaded here.

Tweaking visual options

When Quake 3 came out, running the game with full visual settings was a dream for all but the very richest of gamers. Now, even the most modest systems will happily run the game with full visual quality. When you start the game you can open the settings menu and then go to “System”. You will then see the menu shown in the picture below:-

Quake 3 graphical settings options

Most of the settings can be left as default. For the highest quality settings, configure your Quake 3 settings to match the screenshot, with the exception of “Video mode” which should be set to your monitors native resolution. If you have a widescreen monitor you will be unable to choose the native resolution. We cover widescreen monitors in the next section.

Widescreen support

Quake 3 does not directly support widescreen resolutions, but Quake 3 engine games do. In order to enable widescreen support you will need to manually edit a configuration file. The downside of doing this is that the introduction and pre-level videos may no longer display. Run the game at least once before carrying out this procedure and set all the other visual options accordingly. To find the file, open up your Quake 3 program folder in Windows Explorer (by default it can be found in C:\program files\Quake3 or on 64 bit systems c:\program files (x86)\Quake3). Now, find the “baseq3” sub folder and open it. Inside this folder there should be a file called q3config.cfg. We need to edit this file, but unfortunately doing so in Notepad proved rather troublesome due to the lack of formatting. You can either use another editor such as the freeware Arachnophilia or simply soldier on with Notepad. Either way, find and change the following in the file.

Find ‘seta r_customwidth’ and set it to the native width of your monitor or TV. For 1080p (full HD) use ‘1920’. For 720p use ‘1280’.
Find ‘seta r_customheight’ and set it to the native height of your monitor or TV. For 1080p (full HD) use ‘1080’. For 720p use ‘720’.
Find ‘seta r_mode’ and set it to to ‘-1’.
Find the string ‘seta cg_fov’ and change the value to ‘115’.

Save the file and start the game again. Do not attempt to change resolutions in game as this will reset the changes you made to the cfg file and you will have to repeat the procedure again.


Despite being almost 13 years old, there is still a thriving community that plays Quake 3 Arena online. We found well over 1000 servers hosting free to play multiplayer games. Many of the players still playing the game will be highly skilled, so be sure to practise offline before jumping in.

Quake live

If you can’t find a copy of Quake 3, there’s always the free to play version, Quake Live. Quake Live is a game that runs in your browser, but don’t let that put you off. Visually the game is just as appealing as classic Quake 3. You can find out more about the game by visiting this link.


  1. Oscar Montero Fernandez says:

    Thx. Your confidence has led me to try it again and I realized that I should have clicked other setup file, not that directly in C:.
    Thx, again and sorry for my English

  2. Mauss says:

    Love this page, complete instructions and everything seems fine. Just one question: How do I download the cds or how do i get the installers not to ask “no cd found”? Help please D:

  3. Dan Burke says:

    “To work around this, open the CD in Windows Explorer. Open the Quake3 folder then locate the “Setup” or “Setup.exe” file and double click it, the game should now install.”

    Nope. Doesn’t work. Pretty much any newb is going to try this first before looking how to solve. It doesn’t work, which is why I’m looking for answers.

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