I received an unsolicited email a few days ago from id Software requesting that I join their beta program for Quake Live. I haven’t played Quake since since 1999, but remember playing quite a bit of Quake 3 Arena–especially capture the flag.
In order to beta test, you first create an id Software user account, and then you have to create a second beta tester account just for Quake Live. Both accounts require you to go through a registration/authentication email loop.
The gameplay is quite good, it feels just like Quake 3 Arena with a number of the original maps available for play. The most impressive thing is that the game runs smoothly within a browser tab. You can easily change game settings, including resolution changes on the fly, with a brief loading routine by the app.
Another interesting feature is that the statistics from your matches are immediately available in other pages of the Quake Live site. So, you can play a game, then click out and navigate directly to a list of people you played against recently and add them to a friends list.
There aren’t very many people playing yet. Apparently, the beta has been going on for several months. The public can apply for a beta key right now, but I don’t know how many requests are getting granted. I think that this is the closest thing I’ve seen to putting a franchise gaming release up in the cloud. When you can have a high calibre game, a tool like the Zoho CRM, gmail, and a Google Docs spreadsheet open in the same browser it sort of makes the OS look a little thin.
The game will pay for itself using live in-game advertising provided by IGA Worldwide.
Here’s the Quake Live Beta email in full:
QUAKE LIVE Tester!
Your name has been submitted to id Software to help us test a new multiplayer project underway here at the studio. We are working on QUAKE LIVE and would appreciate your help as we progressively test technology systems, user interface options, and gameplay changes.
What is QUAKE LIVE?
Originally dubbed “QUAKE Zero” when we announced the project at QuakeCon 2007, QUAKE LIVE will be a freely available, updated version of QUAKE III Arena that you access and play through your web browser.
As a beta tester, we are asking you to help us test the game delivery mechanism and core game technology, and to provide feedback on gameplay and game levels. The servers are always available, but you are encouraged to join us for our regular focus tests and special events (you will receive email notifications).
Please note that QUAKE LIVE is a work in progress and your experience as a beta tester does not reflect the final set of functionality that will be available. We encourage you to post comments, issues, suggestions and other feedback to the QUAKE LIVE forums. As a beta tester you are asked to keep your personal key, login information, account information, and all other information related to your participation in this program private and confidential.
Simply use the personalized key below to setup an id Beta Tester account and gain access to the QUAKE LIVE website where you can begin playing.
You will be asked to agree to a non-disclosure agreement and we ask that you keep your personal key, login information, account information, and all other information related to your participation in this program private and confidential.
Thank you for your time,
The QUAKE LIVE Team at id Software