New Quake tourism mod mixes in NIN’s Ghosts I-IV

Sitting at the intersection of several of my interests is Ghosts I-IV for Quake, a new mod which turns id Software’s gibtastic first-person shooter into a quiet walking simulator and couples it with a calmer soundtrack. While Quake’s original 1996 soundtrack is an industrial dirge by the popular beat combo Trent Reznor & The Nine Inchnails, this mod replaces it with tunes from their chilled-out 2008 album Ghosts I-IV – which is legally fine to include, thanks to its Creative Commons licensing. The mod is organised by JP LeBreton, a designer and level designer who worked on the first two BioShock games and has developed quite an interest in peacefully exploring seminal FPSs.

As LeBreton explains on the mod’s Itch page:

“This mod re-scores Quake using every track from the 2008 Nine Inch Nails ambient/instrumental album “Ghosts I-IV”, and puts the game into a “tourism mode” where there are no enemies, weapons, and the player can’t take damage.”

It also rolls in a version of the level Dismal Oubliette including the original opening which Quake mapper John Romero needed to cut out the launch version but later released separately.

In short, it’s a Quake that’s retooled to be nice to potter about. Quake as a whole is incoherent and largely brown (I quite like its exploration of browns and blues), sure, but it does have some interesting places and architecture. I don’t know Ghosts I-IV but, from what I’ve played of this, the pairing can be quite nice.

LeBreton has previously released tourism mods for games including Unreal, Deus Ex, and Thief, as well as a simpler one for Quake. He also keeps a game tourism page listing mods and instructions to make other 90s FPSs–and their modern descendants–safe to wander around.

Or if you’d rather Ghosts I-IV were paired with all the fragging and gibbing of Quake’s original campaign, hey, LeBreton explains how to disable tourism too. He also details how to change which song plays on which level, if you fancy a fiddle.

Download Ghosts I-IV For Quake from Itch. You’ll need the data files from a full copy of Quake to play, along with the Quakespasm fan-updated engine. The readme explains how to make it work.

Oh, and as a Quake purist, I’d strongly recommend you pop open the console and enter GL_TEXTUREMODE GL_NEAREST to disable the blurry texture filtering that ruins Quake’s true grit. I’ve come to physical blows with our Alec over this.

I have just remembered that the first issue of cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer I ever read ended with a page-long deadpan joke about an official Christmas Quake mod which included NIN remixes of Christmas carols. Not knowing the tradition of back page jokes, and being very trusting, I looked for this mod for ages. What rotters! This was before they replaced that back page feature with the month’s horoscopes for every RPS staffer, of course.

[Disclosure: I vaguely know LeBreton a bit? We met at a barbecue years back? idk man, I haven’t sent him a Christmas card.]

19 Comments

Top comments

  1. trjp says:

    Excuse me, we've come on holiday to this FPS by accident
  1. benzoate says:

    Damn, such an amazing idea. I put in enough time with Quake and Ghosts that I can completely visualize this in my head. A++

    PS – The images that came with Ghosts make for really great desktop wallpapers – bottom of page one here: link to flickr.com

  2. zgtc says:

    I believe the band’s proper name is Inchnail & Nine.

  3. Flangie says:

    The original version would use whatever CD you put in the PC so I replaced NIN with Lifeforms by Future Sound of London. Was great.

    • Premium User Badge

      keithzg says:

      I entirely accidentally discovered this feature when I left a Rimsky-Korsacov disc in the tray, and it happened to fit perfectly—particularly because the track it switched to when showing the after-level report, generally with tons of dead bodies littering the view, was a whistful melody played on strings. It was all so perfect that I just played through the rest of the game that way, and honestly remember Quake more with that classical soundtrack than with the actual one (which is particularly ironic since I was getting into NIN around the same time).

  4. Crusoe says:

    My my god. This is my dream mod.

    Additional: I’m fully expecting Mr. Meer to write about this at some point now.

  5. apa says:

    There are NiN versions of Christmas songs? Oh ye… oh.

  6. hijuisuis says:

    Oh thank you for linking the game tourism page. Off to install HL1.

  7. Michael Fogg says:

    JP also streams random doom Wads and provides expert commentary on the mapppers handiwork, it’s great fun.

  8. poliovaccine says:

    One of my favorite New Vegas mods is the one that puts the Ghosts album on a radio station. Mother of fuck but that album is good.

  9. mukuste says:

    Sadly, I’ve always found Ghosts to be only so much muzak. Might actually work better as an ambient game soundtrack, though?

    • Uncle Fass says:

      Yeah, I really had to struggle to listen to Ghosts in one sitting by itself.

      Though Trent Reznor and Co.(TM) set up a competition some years back where they wanted people to make films using the soundtrack provided by the album, with plans to screen all the best ones at a small film festival. Nothing ever came of this plan outside of it’s initial announcement, but it does sort of contexualise the album for me.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      Yeah, this might actually make the album good. It’s a cool idea, in any case!

  10. Ross Angus says:

    JP LeBreton playing through his Unreal Tourism Mod is well worth a watch. He has a calming voice and never says “Hi, guys!” or “like and subscribe”.

  11. kael13 says:

    And here’s a video of him playing the Ghosts mod for Quake! Because lordy I don’t want to go through all that trouble of procuring the game.

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    keithzg says:

    Pretty great example of why licenses like the GPL and Creative Commons are very positive for art!

  13. spacejumbo says:

    I was thinking of using these tracks for a game I’m making, but after reading the license came to the conclusion it was only ok if you didn’t charge for your game. Can anyone confirm my understanding?

    • JP says:

      That’s correct. From the readme:

      Nine Inch Nails released Ghosts I-IV under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license:
      link to creativecommons.org
      BY means we have to tell you who made the original work – that would be Nine Inch Nails.
      NC means noncommercial, ie we aren’t charging money for it – the only place to download this 100% free mod is on jp.itch.io.
      SA means “share-alike” – all the original files you need to remix this mod for yourself are included, see below for details.

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