Command Lines/Console Commands

One of the greatest strengths of the first-person shooter is its flexibility.  For most of the games, it is possible to greatly modify the regular game, and the number of additional levels and conversions to the game is staggering.   To use most of these modifications, and to get the most out of the game itself, a user should under how to use different command that can be entered either through a command line or a console command.

Command line options To use these commands, a player must add the commands to the command that begins the game.  The base command to begin single-player Quake, for example,  is "quake.exe" and the base command to begin a multi-player game in Windows 95 is "q95.bat"   There are several ways of executing these base commands, and each way allows for the addition of other commands.  The following examples are for systems running MS-Dos or a Windows variant.  First, a player can execute the command from the Dos.   To do this, change from the current directory into the quake directory ("cd\quake") and then enter the command.  Second, Quake can be executed in Windows 95/NT by creating a shortcut that contains the command.  A shortcut can be created by clicking on the Windows desktop with the right button of the mouse, and then selecting the appropriate file name.  Third, the Quake can also be executed from certain "server finders", like QSpy, and from the browser plugin called QPlug.

Once you know where the command line is located, it is fairly easy to add different command line options.  Here is a short list of the options most widely used by players:

-winmem 16 "winmem" instructs Windows to force the allocation of specified amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) for Quake.  So, "-winmem 16" would allocate 16 megabits of RAM. Naturally, you should not attempt to allocate more RAM then you posses, or all of the RAM in your computer.  The command "heapsize" performs the same function in QuakeWorld.

-exec *** This command instructs Quake to perform a specific program during the start of a game. A common use of this command is to load custom configuration files for gameplay.  For example, "-exec dakota.rc" would instruct Quake to look for my configuration file contained in the c:\quake\id1 directory. Alternatively, "exec ***" can be entered from the console.

-game *** This command instructs Quake to look for additional files contained in subdirectories of c:\quake.  For example, "-game ctf" would instruct Quake to load all of the files located in the subdirectory c:\quake\ctf instead of just loading the files contained in c:/quake/id1.

-map *** The "-map" command instructs Quake to load a specific map for gameplay. "-map" should be used when the map is contained within c:\quake\id1\maps, while "+map" would cause Quake to load a map in another subdirectory, like c:\quake\ctf\maps.  This only effective if the the "-game" command line has already been used to direct Quake to a specific directory.

Console Commands Many games also permits the execution of many commands from within the game itself. This is accomplished by using the "console."  To open the console, depress the "tilde" key (`). A dialog box will appear as a portion of the screen scrolls downward.    These commands provide players with a great deal of control over the game, and allows for many modifications.

Here are some of the commands that are used the most often:

connect ***This command, followed by a server's IP, will connect you to a Quake server.

bind *** This command will allow a user to bind a particular command to a key on the keyboard. For example, "bind f "impulse 1"" would bind the axe ("impulse 1") to the "f" key. Pressing the "f" key would then cause the current weapon to switch to the axe.


GameLaunch 3D

The huge number of commands that can be entered into the console and the command line can be very overwhelming for a new player.  Fortunately, the good folks at GameLaunch 3D have made life easier for us all.  This amazing program allows you to customize every aspect of Quake, Quake 2, and Hexen 2.  More importantly, the program has a smooth, intuitive interface that makes tweaking Quake a breeze.  This is something that everyone should try, even veterans who already have a deep understanding of this topic.


Several sites have been created to provide comprehensive lists of commands used in popular games.  Turmoil's Q2 Console Commands and Fahrenheit 176 both have complete lists of console commands for Quake 2, and Daniel Rinehart's  Quake Console Command Pages lists the complete list for QuakeFahrenheit 176 also has a complete list of commands for Hexen 2


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Last update: March 28, 1998
This page is maintained by Darren L. Tabor,
aka DaKoTa