It’s 2013 And I Want To Play Quake: In The Shadows

Time for a confession: I’m not a Quake guy. I’m not a Quake guy to the point where I haven’t even played Quake. It was old hat by the time I was all in on video games and I chose the wonderful Unreal Tournament over Arena due to preferring better games. But here I am, intrigued and somewhat astounded by what modder Simon O’Callaghan has managed to do with the seventeen year old engine. Essentially, In The Shadows is a semi-conversion that adds a stealth system and whole new campaign to the aging beast, but it also hits some specific me-shaped buttons. Sneak past the break for a video and a little more in-depth explanation.

According to a mechanics post on ModDB, the system works like this: you’re invisible outside of detection ranges by monsters, but are incredibly fragile. Backstabs (with an axe) do critical damage, one-shotting most things. Your only other armament is a crossbow which can distract enemies or poison them, weakening those too strong to kill immediately. The first of our Ben-shaped excitement triggers is the secondary effect of the poison. Some enemies enrage under its effects, turning on their allies. This sort of in-fighting is one of my favourite things about the early Doom games and being able to trigger it in modern titles is a long-held dream.

Then we have the larger picture of building a stealth game in a fast-paced environment. Be it Deus Ex, Skyrim or Hitman, stealth has rarely been done quickly. It’s not a fault so much as a deliberate design decision to focus on suspense. But that’s left In The Shadows with a unique appeal that pulls on some favoured strings. The quick, soundless hops are ninja-like and the fast speed allows enemies to be dodged more easily. I feel you’ll never be bored waiting for a guard to pass or slowly creeping around unknown areas. It’s a stealth system for the Meat Boy crowd who want speed and quick resets over intense planning.

Having only recently restarted work on the mod, Simon doesn’t seem to have a planned release date. A demo version was made available late last year, but it’s significantly out of date according to the latest news post. Still want more? There’s a whole host of videos over here.


Top comments

  1. Robert Yang says:

    Also: Simon O'Callahan aka "sock" was one of the most prolific Q3A modders / level designers ever. Check out all his previous work.

    Also: Quake 1 modding is kind of horrible and limiting in a lot of ways, so it's pretty great what he's managed to accomplish.
  1. Zeliard says:

    “I chose the wonderful Unreal Tournament over Arena due to preferring better games”

    You can be (vaguely) forgiven for thinking this given you admit you haven’t played Quake. ;)

    • Premium User Badge

      Ben Barrett says:

      UT2k4 is the best shooter ever made you may COME AT ME SIR

      • Mungrul says:

        Quake 3 is better than UT and Spectrum is better than the C64 and I claim my ten pounds.

      • PAK-9 says:

        Only a fool or a madman professes UT to be superior to Q3 on the internet – I ask WHICH ARE YOU sir?

      • LionsPhil says:

        2K4 over 99? Psh, you shall see no support from this UTite for that transgression!

        • Fenix says:

          This. The original UT was the best. 2k4 was awesome too. Does anyone remember the weird abortion of a game that UT2k3 was?

          • 2gudtoulouse says:

            2k3 was my first UT experience (I think), although I had played Unreal 1&2

      • morbiD says:

        This man speaks the infallible truth (as long as you ignore the terrible vehicle-based gametypes).

        Telefrags and wall-dodge shock combos are infinitely more interesting than bunny-hopping and rocket jumps! >:D

        • Stevostin says:

          Speed, rail gun, circle jump. You missed all the meaningful stuff. Your affirmation is invalid.

          • dmoe says:

            Basically. Also, it’s cute he brought up “telefrags” as a plus for UT.

      • Lambchops says:

        Ben’s right UT series > Quake

        I of course say that from the informed standpoint of only ever playing UT!

      • Apocalypse says:

        Cloaks and Daggers at dawn. What is the place I shall come to?

      • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

        Hear, hear, you lovely bastard good Sir!

      • haradaya says:

        UT’s guns have always been more interesting and fun to use.

      • McTerry says:

        Nothing beats UT99!

      • dmoe says:

        People who are bad at FPS’s say this.

    • Lorc says:

      Oh goodness gracious, don’t mention the war!

    • Henke says:


    • faelnor says:

      Quake SP&MP (Quakeworld + Team Fortress) > Unreal Tournament >~ Quake III Arena > Unreal Tournament 2004 > Quake 2 SP&MP > Unreal Tournament 3 > Unreal Tournament 2003 >>> Quake 4 SP.

    • Premium User Badge

      Johnny Law says:

      The Unreal vs. Quake thing is kind of cute and comfortable at this point. It’s like, those Unreal guys are heretics, but they’re MY kind of heretics.

      We should sit out on the porch together in our rocking chairs and casually insult each other while complaining about the young whippersnappers these days with their prestige levels and their micropayments.

    • Spacewalk says:

      This is like comparing Street Fighter to King Of Fighters.

  2. Robert Yang says:

    Also: Simon O’Callahan aka “sock” was one of the most prolific Q3A modders / level designers ever. Check out all his previous work.

    Also: Quake 1 modding is kind of horrible and limiting in a lot of ways, so it’s pretty great what he’s managed to accomplish.

    • Tei says:

      In computer science, potential and complexity are balanced. Making mods for Quake 1 is very easy, so there are million of mods made for it. Of course, you pay for that simplicity: what you can do with quake is limited.

      Still I have seen people make mod with the genres RTS , RPG, Pokemon like games, 2D platform games, Space scrolling shot-em-up,… even two dudes did a GTA like game. One dude did a GTA, with infinite map generator. Some people has made a physic engine using stick physics. And so on.

      Quake1 was a really good way to enter the modding world and for some people enter the game dev world. Nowdays maybe would be better to start with something like scripting LUA, or using Unity, or specialize on a single role, like modeler.

    • Premium User Badge

      Phasma Felis says:

      I’m not sure “kind of horrible” is fair. Quake was AFAIK the first mainstream game* to ship with a comprehensive modding framework built in from day 1. You might as well say the graphics were “kind of horrible” because they’re not as good as Crysis.

      *Not including things that were construction kits first and complete games second.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    stealth has rarely been done quickly


    • Premium User Badge

      Ben Barrett says:

      What time I spent with Dishonoured was mostly spent in crouch mode, hiding from guards and creeping around corners. Blink alters it up a bit but it’s definitely nothing approaching the speed of a Quake-style FPS.

    • Vandelay says:

      I imagine if you play lethal Dishonoured then it can be pretty speedy, but no one played that game actually killing anyone surely?

      I would go with Hotline Miami as a suitable counter to Ben’s statement.

      • The Evil Moose says:

        I had the most fun playing dishonored using lethal stealth, too many deadly gadgets and powers that would go unused if I played nonlethal.

    • Professor Snake says:

      Splinter Cell Conviction. Now that was faster paced stealth done right.

  4. kerbal says:

    I remember getting up hours before mom calling for breakfast to play this game. Right after returning home from school playing some more, only to leave my room for taking a piss and resupplying with food from the fridge. Guess i had not to much sleep these days, loved the game…

  5. Jesse L says:

    The Quake axe has a beautiful aesthetic.

  6. nasenbluten says:

    Quake still is my favorite game of all time, great to see modders working with it.

  7. Apocalypse says:

    Burn the heretic!

  8. Stevostin says:

    ” It was old hat by the time I was all in on video games and I chose the wonderful Unreal Tournament over Arena due to preferring better games.”
    You mean “due to lack of taste”, of course. Or of skills. One goes fast and the other does not. Now if you can’t play fast, of course… :P

  9. Megazell says:

    Quake is not my favorite of the early FPS – I’m more of a DooM and UT PC Gamer – but it’s pretty good and many of the mods and addon make it even better.

  10. dazman76 says:

    This looks awesome, thanks for the heads-up Ben :) Also, thanks for the joke about UT being better than Q3 – that’s a good one!

  11. Deadly Habit says:

    I could have sworn he said he stopped working on this and wasn’t going to pick it back up on the moddb page.

    • Premium User Badge

      Johnny Law says:

      He did down tools for a while, but he’s noodling away at it again now.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Sweet this was one of the mods I was looking forward to more of.

  12. A Pair of Pliers says:

    The level on that video seems like an interesting nod at the original Quake as well, pretty sure that’s entirely based on the first level of the first episode, only prettier with and some added nooks.

  13. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I don’t really care for truly cubist art like Minecraft and stuff, but the crusty semi-pixel-art textures and grungy low-poly stuff of early polygonal 3D really gets me going.

    Having said that, only played as far back as Quake II, always been an Unreal/UT man myself.

  14. Grey_Ghost says:

    Those sound effects really took me back. Played the hell out of Threewave CTF in Quake 1. vQuake looked way better than opengl Quake!

  15. kwyjibo says:

    Yeah, what Quake really needed was stealth sections.

  16. Spacewalk says:

    I am really pleased to see that work on this has resumed because I was big on it when the demo was released.

  17. honuk says:

    Only plebs think UT is better than Q3

    The kind of plebs who would want Quake in their stealth (this looks bad)

    If you want fast stealth there’s various Tenchus and Mark of the Ninja

  18. Devocalypse says:

    I won’t take sides on the Quake vs Unreal debate as I equally respect both games (excluding Q4). That aside, I preferred the setting of Quake before it went all strogg-killing-space-marine.

    If anyone is interested in the original Quake experience you can also try Lord Havoc’s Dark Places which is a custom engine supporting modern resolutions and effects (to some extent at least) along with a 4gb high-res texture pack floating around the net. Note that you still need the original game levels/expansions from steam or the likes.

    Ramblings follow:
    And what would Unreal(Tournament) and Quake be without mods amounting to multiples of the size of the said games.
    I fondly remember spending countless hours playing quake 3’s “Alliance” (ctf oriented semi-conversion) as well as UT with all of its community bonus packs, maps (cliffy-b had a UT map review blog with quality stuff in the days before he went all console on us), mods like U4E with it’s 40+ weapons (singularity cannon anyone?), total conversions and so on.
    UT2003/2004 had some of the most artistically beautiful and innovative level designs, made by the community, EVER to grace a game. Nothing comes even close.
    It saddens me that the current generation has no respect or appreciation for these games and only drowns in conveyer-produced military shooters. And here I am, one of the few, hoping epic will make a new UT at least once more and not just another next-gen engine…

    • BoZo says:

      I could not agree more about UT2004. I really miss it but I doubt anyone plays it anymore right? The community map packs were crazy good and the amount of maps in the game were just insane. Nowadays we don’t even get a fucking map editor and get to BUY two shitty maps from the developer for $5.

      I miss you UT2k4, hold me…

  19. HelderPinto says:

    ” I’m not a Quake guy to the point where I haven’t even played Quake.”
    lol wat, I felt like stop reading right there, but this mod really deserves the exposure, so i commend you for doing it! :)

  20. cdx00 says:

    “It was old hat by the time I was all in on video games and I chose the wonderful Unreal Tournament over Arena due to preferring better games.”

    Credibility lost in one sentence, impressive.

  21. frightlever says:

    “Time for a confession: I’m not a Quake guy. ”

    So this Ben guy doesn’t seem to be working out.

    (I went the UT route over Q3A as well, to be fair. Torch mode!)

  22. waaaaaaaals says:

    I always find the old and yet neverending UT99 VS Quake3A fight to be fascinating.

    Back in the day I tried my best to like both but I ended up dropping Q3 for UT simply because of variety, even discounting things like mods (and you were a madman if you played UT without CHAOS), UT beat the pants off Q3 for the amount of things you could do.

  23. HPLoveshack says:

    It’s an amusingly quirky idea to convert Quake to a stealth game, but after seeing the mechanics I honestly don’t think this would be fun beyond about 5 minutes of novelty play.

  24. Dr.Green says:

    Is this not entirely missing the point of quake? or am I dumb?

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      The point of Quake was missed a long long time ago with mods like Quake Rally.

  25. Inzimus says:

    even though I’ve been a Quake player since day 1; I still found Unreal 1 to be more fun on-line… UT99, etc. were all very neat as well; but there’s something ’bout Unreal 1 which I just found more interesting (DM_Ariza, anyone?)

  26. Gypsy says:

    Wow, this article was terrible.

    An entire paragraph dedicated to the fact the post author isn’t even relative to the game. Followed by a quick summary that overuses essentially the same link and ending with a bunch of videos you didn’t make.

    You can “delete” me all you want. It wont change the fact this article is beyond amateur.

    How about you ditch the admission to irrelevance altogether. Then do some friggin research and introduce sock (other mods he has made, any relevant notoriety he has received, etc). Once you have established sock as an accomplished artist, then start getting into his game and what makes it unique. Possibly even follow up with a short interview with sock, ending with all related links and media you can possibly find.

    If you have any doubt that this article is garbage, look at the comments. They are all focused on whats better UT or Q3. You did that when you made your story personal. If you would have stuck to the subject and left your “admissions” out, the comments would be about this game. Who cares (or needs to know) what your Quake status is. The only thing that matters is that you have at least played In The Shadows.

    You have one commenter opining that this defeats the purpose of Quake. With better reporting people would understand that this isn’t a mod, it’s an (almost) total conversion. This is an “original” game, built “the quake way”.

    You hacked your own foot off. Get it together, man.

    You can find me very easily at (MadGypsy) if you want to share your opinion.

  27. qrackerjackquake says:

    I also made a video about this mod at
    link to

    If you would like to see Quake with a modern engine have a look at my YouTube Channel:
    link to

    You can also try it… see in the upper-right corner for Qrack_HD.


    Q -Mark [0!0]

    Qracker Jack Quake
    link to

    Gather Quake Archives