Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a good place to meet with other players and to get information about Quake. Unlike e-mail or newsgroups, IRC provides an almost instantaneous method of communicating. This is quite valuable for Quake players looking to talk to others interested in the same topic.
IRC was designed by Jarkko Oikarinen in Finland in 1988. Like other areas of the internet, IRC is fundamentally a connection between a client and a server. Individuals (clients) connect to a computer that acts as a server. To join a server, you will need an IRC program. The most popular programs are mIRC, PIRCH, and VIRC. These programs offer different features, but all serve the same purpose. All are available from TUCOWS, under "text chat." After you have chosen a program and installed it, you will need to select a server.
One of the most important things to remember when selecting a server is that most servers are part of a larger IRC network. An IRC network is a linear network of servers that share information. By joining on server in the network, you will be able to chat with people connect to many other servers. The largest networks, EFNet, DALNet, and Undernet, may have as many as 100 servers or more connected at any given time.
Once you have selected a network and a server, you will also need to choose a channel. A channel is defined officially as "a named group of one or more clients which will receive messages addressed to to that channel." The act of joining a channel is fairly simple. First, you need the command, which for joining is /JOIN. Note that all IRC commands begin with "/". Second, you will need to add a channel name. All channel name begin with "#". So, to join a channel about or for newbies, the command would be /join #newbies. If you don't know the exact name of the channel you wish to join, you can use the /LIST command to see a list of all channels. However, do not use this frequently as there can be thousands of channels and excessive use of the list command can result in banning from the server.
There is at least one other command that you should know for IRC. /NICK , followed by a name, will change your nickname. Many IRC servers limit your nickname to 7 characters, but other have increased this length. This can be important on networks that will not allow more than one person to use the same nickname. A large list of available IRC commands and helpful tips can be found at Internet Relay Chat [IRC] Help.
Quake IRC has evolved from the use of certain channels on existing IRC networks to the creating of entirely new IRC networks dedicated to Quake-related channels. The importance of IRC can be seen in the recent release of Threewave's CTF 4.0. This program was officially released at a huge IRC party held at #threewave, a party in which hundreds of anxious people joined a single channel. It is also notable that an IRC client has been added to the server finder QSpy.
IRC does, however, have some drawbacks. It can be very difficult to follow discussions when many people are typing messages at the same time. Your question may get lost in a sea of other comments. It is also important to realize that other people on IRC are often on the channel to "hang out" with other players and may not want to respond to your questions. Like quake servers, IRC can be a rough place for newbies. Ask questions, but avoid being a pest. And since it is possible to permanently ban people from channels, avoid being unduly obnoxious or rude.
IRC channels are typically moderated by two different methods. First, on member of the chat group my be an "IRC Administrator." The administrator has the ability to change the suggested topic of conversation and to remove others from the channel. It is also possible to be permanently banned from channels for unacceptable conduct. The second method of moderation is by the use of a "bot." A bot is simply a program that can provide answer to certain questions, can transfer requested files, and can do some of the other functions of a "true" administrator.
#Quake & #Quake2 - Undernet
#Quake of Undernet is one of the grandfathers of IRC Quake chat. Beginning about a year and a half ago, members of id software would frequent this channel and would provide information and partake in discussions about Quake's development. This open communication between the software developers and their potential market helped to heighten the frenzied interest in Quake during its infancy. The channel is still widely used, and provides a great place to meet members of the Quake community. As they did with the original, members of id Software have begun appearing on the #quake2 channel of Undernet to answer questions and provide information about Quake2. Logs of these conversations can usually be found at the Quake 2 Channel.
#Quake - EFNet
The oldest of all of the Quake-related channels (having been originally created by former #doom channel members in the heyday of Doom), EFNet #Quake is also the largest gathering spot for Quake players on IRC. During the releases of the original QTest and Quake shareware, EFNet #Quake hosted nearly fifteen-hundred people at once. Few channels have inspired the fierce loyalty and undying support with which EFNet #Quake has been blessed. Examples of such loyalty can be seen at the IRC #Quake Yearbook II and #Quake HQ. Newbies to EFNet #Quake should visit the Newbies Guide to #Quake before participating in the channel, to learn the channel guidelines.
GamesNET offers realtime chat through your internet browser. Just go to the IRC page of this server and connect through a Java Applet. With servers across the United States and in the United Kingdom, GamesNET provides a great IRC network dedicated to Quake.
This page is maintained by Darren L. Tabor,