Capture the Flag

Threewave logo

Capture the Flag is team-based modification that replicates the old game of capture the flag.   Under the standard version of this game, all players are divided into two teams.   Each team is assigned a color and each team has a flag located within a defined "base".  The object of the game is to take the enemy's flag from their base and touch it to your flag.  This simple idea can result in complex team strategy since each team should have both an offensive unit and a defensive unit.  The popularity of this mod is evidenced by the number of games that are being released with versions of CTF.  Rogue Entertainment's Dissolution of Eternity, id Software's Quake 2, and LucasArts' Jedi Knight are just a few examples of the games that have, or will have, integrated CTF support.  Also, the development of Hexen II CTF shows that even games without integrated CTF may soon have CTF mods created by the gaming community.

It appears that the development of CTF is analogous to the invention of calculus:  developed simultaneously by two separate groups.  Threewave CTF, by far the most successful mod to be created in the fertile Quake Community, was developed by David "Zoid" Kirsch.  During the same period, the fall of 1996, the talented members of the QTeam were also developing a similar game.  Each had different elements, each had a different interpretation of the game, and each enjoyed different levels of success.  At Quake Innovations, the QTeam has released a relentless series of CTF mods, such as Capture the Shambler, King of the Hill, Hot Potato CTF, and Paintball.  Threewave CTF underwent a gradual evolution but stayed true to the original mod.  QTeam has had considerable success with their projects, especially Paintball, but Threewave CTF is a true Cinderella story.  Kirsch worked with Rogue to include CTF in their Quake Mission Pack, and is now an independent contractor for id Software.  He has been a key figure in the continued development of QuakeWorld and GL Quake, and is now creating an official version of CTF for Quake 2 for id Software. 

Initially, Threewave CTF was a server-side modification that only added Quake C modifications to existing structures and items.  This way, players were not required to download any files.  Two important elements were introduced in these early releases in the summer and fall of 1996:  the grappling hook and runes.  The grappling hook attaches to most objects in the game and allows a player to move to the object and remain attached to the hook.  As a result, a player can "grapple" to the ceiling or take creative shortcuts through the levels.   The runes, which are based on the runes found at the end level of each episode in Quake, provide a specific enhancement to any player that possesses them.  The four runes will provide either double speed in firing certain weapons, regeneration health, half of health loss from injury, or double damage to other players.

Version 3 of Threewave CTF added new sounds, textures, and custom maps designed specifically for CTF.  All of the eight new levels were basically symmetrical in design and provided a more equal battlefield for team then was possible in the original Quake levels.  Version 4 was recently released and contains eight additional maps as well as a host of improvements.

To play Capture the Flag, you will need to download the following files:

Both files must be downloaded.  These files are compressed into the "zip" format, and must be expanded and installed. TUCOWS has a great collection of compression utilities, and I would recommend trying WinZip by Nico Mak Computing, Inc.

To install the CTF files, use a compression program to unzip the files into a directory named "c:/Quake/ctf/".  WinZip will allow you to create a directory automatically, but other programs require additional steps.  Once the files are in your CTF directory, you will need to add a line to the command line to tell Quake where to look for additional information. The line for CTF should be "-game ctf".

Quake 2 CTF

David "Zoid" Kirsch is also responsible for bringing capture the flag into Quake 2.  Many competing version of CTF for Quake 2 were created in the months between the release of Quake 2 and Q2 CTF, but Zoid's version is clearly the leader in popularity.  This new version of CTF has all of the features that made Threewave CTF so popular, plus a few new surprises.  The first version contains 5 levels, and can be downloaded here.



Captured.Com, a part of the PlanetQuake Network, is the host to the largest collection of CTF-related sites on the internet, including Zoid's Threewave CTF.  Over a dozen groups are currently producing custom versions of capture the flag for Quake, QuakeWorld, Quake II, Jedi Knight, and even Doom.  Captured.Com is also host to Dakota's Frontline News, the oldest and most visited CTF news page.   Captured.Com is run by Dakota.

Mod mods

One way to judge the success of CTF is look at the success of groups that have endeavored to modify CTF. It may be difficult for some mods to find any support from server administrators, but the more popular mods of CTF can already be played on dozens of servers.

All-Star CTF logo

All-Star CTF is one of the most unique creations in the short history of CTF.  All-Star CTF is an integration of Threewave CTF, ThunderWalker CTF, CTF Plus!, the CTF Expansion Project, Expert CTF, Midnight CTF, and the new Xeno CTF.  A new start map allows players to choose from 11 separate episodes, and the combined client supports all of the custom features, models, skins, and sounds from all of the previously mentioned projects.  An innovation in its own right, All-Star CTF is also serving as the premiere of ThunderWalker version 4.0, CTF Plus! version 2.0, and Xeno CTF version 1.0. 

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Last update: March 14, 1998
This page is maintained by Darren L. Tabor,
aka DaKoTa