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Quake3 Arena Autoexec Creator

Posted: May 5, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy

This tool does not work with Google Chrome and may only work on legacy versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox.


Before you look over this guide, there's something you need to know about it... as a writer for Incite PC Gaming magazine, I program (well, if you want to call JavaScript programming :)) these Autoexec Creators. I had permission from the magazine to port some of my work over to Tweak3D, hence the reason this is on the site now.

Because it was not originally written for Tweak3D, it is not as fresh as what we normally post. I originally wrote this Autoexec Creator on January 10th. This article is unchanged thus far...
For this reason, if you find ANYTHING that you would like to contribute or mention that you believe is inaccurate or outdated, feel free to blast me an e-mail -- I'd appreciate it. Thanks! :)

How it Works

This program will allow you to customize your Quake3 Arena game in order to optimize performance, visual quality, Internet play, sound, and more. If Quake3 Arena runs slow or poorly for you, make the choices you wish to below, then click the "Create" button to create an "Autoexec" that will customize your game. Further instructions will be available when you have completed this process.

Graphics Settings

Level of detail

The Level of detail (LOD) will configure the detail of weapons and objects. This will lower visual quality, but it will boost frame rate (how smooth a game runs, measured in FPS: Frames Per Second) and make the game run better.

If you set the LOD to 2, your gun will look much uglier, but the game will run better. The default value for this option is LOD 0.

LOD at 0:

LOD at 2:

Use LOD 2 (unchecked = LOD 0, default). We recommend that you set this to 2 only if your PC runs the game very poorly.


Simple items

Enabling "Simple items" will boost performance by hiding the small bubbles that contain energy, and rings that contain quad damage and other items. The items will be simplified from 3D objects to 2D icons.

Simple Items disabled:

Simple Items enabled:

Enable Simple Items (unchecked = disable simple items, default). We recommend that you check this box for performance.



Gibs are the flesh remains that stick around after a player is killed. Disabling gibs will boost performance.

Hide gibs (unchecked = keep gibs, default). We recommend that you check this box for performance.


Dynamic light

When you fire a weapon in Quake3 Arena, it throws light on the walls and surfaces around you. This effect is called dynamic light. If disabled, it will boost performance significantly.

See the screenshots below. Look at the differences between the overall lighting in the scene, and the frame rate (shown in the top right corner). Notice that the version with dynamic lighting disabled is running at 39 FPS instead of 33 FPS. This is a very large performance increase.

Dynamic light enabled:

Dynamic light disabled:

Disable dynamic light (unchecked = enable dynamic light, default). We recommend that you check this box for performance.


Marks on walls and surfaces

Most weapons in Quake3 Arena will leave bullet holes or scars of some type on all walls and surfaces. Disabling this effect will boost performance.

Disable marks on walls (unchecked = enable marks on walls, default). We recommend that you check this box for performance.


Weapon visibility

You can hide your weapon in Quake3 Arena, which will leave the crosshair visible. You will be able to see more of the area by hiding the weapon and this will boost performance.

Visible weapon:

Invisible weapon:

Make weapon invisible (unchecked = leave weapon visible, default). We recommend that you check this box and try it out. If you do not like it, change it back.


Sky quality

The sky in Quake3 Arena is very impressive, but has no effect on the way the game plays. If disabled, it will boost performance significantly.

See the screenshots below. Look at the difference in the backgrounds. One has a flat, plain background, while the other is very detailed. The frame rate (shown in the top right corner) is much higher in the "fast sky" mode. Setting your system to "fast sky" mode will result in a large performance increase.

Fast sky enabled:

Normal sky:

Use fast sky (unchecked = high quality sky, default). We recommend that you check this box for a significant performance increase.



Shadows in Quake3 Arena are shaded regions that look similar to real shadows, that are cast from most objects, including player models, gibs, and walls. There are a few options for shadows in Quake 3 Arena. Setting the value below to 0 will disable shadows completely. This is the default setting, and we recommend you use this for the best performance. Setting the value to 1 will enable plain shadows which look out of place, and significantly slow the game down. If you set the value to 2, the shadows will be stencil buffered. This is a technique that creates very realistic shadows in terms of lighting but this slows the game down a lot. Setting this to 3 will also use stencil buffer shadows, but they will be somewhat darker. If you set this vlaue to 2 or 3, it will also configure the r_stencilbits variable. Keep in mind that stencil buffering is not supported by all video cards and therefore we do not recommend that you use it.

We recommend that you set this to 0.



Gamma is the measurement of brightness. If Quake 3 Arena is too dark or too light, try adjusting this value to your liking. The default value is 1. This value can be set as low as 0 or as high as 3. Setting this higher than 1 with increase the brightness and lowering the value will decrease the brightness.

We recommend that you set this to 1, or your desired brightness.


Vertex or Lightmap

The primary lighting used in the game can be rendered using two options: vertex and lightmap.

Vertex lighting is much faster than lightmap lighting, but lightmap lighting is more detailed, and the colors are deeper and rich. For this reason, we recommend that you use lightmap lighting unless you really need the extra performance.

Vertex lighting:

Lightmap lighting:

Use vertex lighting and gain performance (unchecked = lightmap lighting, default).



SMP, or Symmetric MultiProcessor support, should only be enabled if you have more than one CPU in your system. This is uncommon for most computers, so make sure you have more than one CPU before enabling this feature. If you do have more than one CPU, this will boost performance considerably.

Enable SMP (unchecked = disable SMP support, default)

Internet Settings

Maximum frame rate

When playing over modems, lag is unavoidable. The best way to eliminate some lag is to limit your frame rate. Setting this lower will result in lower pings - but also frame rates. My favorite setting is between 30 and 33. If your modem is slower, you may have to set it lower. If your modem is faster, try setting it higher.
Non-modem users should not be concerned with this command.

Maximum modem frame rate. (default = 0 (disabled)). We recommend that you set this value between 30 and 33.



Another way to battle lag is to adjust the rate. Setting this lower will result in lower pings in most cases, because the servers will be sending you less data. We recommend setting this to between 2500 and 3500 for 28.8 or 33.6 modems, 3000 to 5000 for 56k modems, and 5000+ for other, faster connections. For LAN (local area network) games, set this up to 25,000. Try different values and pick what works for you.

Rate (default = 3000). Set this value according to your Internet connection speed.


Netgraph (Lagometer)

The netgraph is enabled by default, and shows the lag on the server you're on. This can cause a distraction but we recommend that you leave it enabled.

Disable netgraph (unchecked = enable netgraph, default).


Message time

Although this doesn't really relate to performance, it's something that most people would prefer to customize. Set this variable to the time in seconds that you wish messages to stay on your screen before disappearing.

Time in seconds (default = 3).

Sound Settings

Sampling rate

The sampling rate of sounds determines the overall quality of the sounds heard during the game. This will also lead to more CPU usage and therefore slightly lower performance. If you have a high quality sound card, set this to the highest value.

Sampling rate. You have to set this to one of three settings: 11, 22, or 44 (default = 22). Low quality = 11, medium quality = 22, high quality = 44.


8-bit sounds

To save on memory, sound card, and CPU load, you can set the sound files to load as 8-bit. This can boost performance, especially on slower systems. It also will result in less hard drive access. However, this will lower the sound quality.

Enable 8-bit sounds (unchecked = 16-bit sounds, default)

Misc. Settings

Show frame rate

Your frame rate will determine how well the game will run. Any frame rate lower than 30 will not be completely smooth. Enabling this option will allow you to view your frame rate. If the value is very low, try some of the settings above, or try lowering the games resolution.

Show frame rate (default = disabled). We recommend that you check this box unless you know how well your game runs already.


Reserved memory

You can set a desired amount of system memory, or RAM in MB, for Quake3 Arena to allocate. This will usually lead to better performance because the memory will be allocated to the game. Make sure not to choose more memory than you have available.

Allocated memory (default = 56 MB)


Console speed

The console (toggled up and down by hitting the ~ key) is used for several purposes. By default, it slowly moves its way down and up, wasting precious time (and in some cases endangering your life).
Increase this value to cause the console to come down and go up faster (or lower to cause the console to go up and down slower).
The default value is 600. A value of 3000 or higher makes the console come up and down almost instantly.

Console speed (default = 3). We recommend that you set this value to 3000 to make the console instant.



Most people find it easier to use a mouse/keyboard combo rather than a joystick when playing first person shooters like Quake3 Arena. Disabling joystick support will increase performance.

Disable Joystick (unchecked = enabled, default). We recommend that you disable joystick support, unless you plan on using it.


Crosshair Size

The crosshair size (measured in pixels), is important for several reasons.
If you're having a hard time seeing the crosshair, you can increase the size. If you want a smaller crosshair for better accuracy (for example, with the Railgun), you can decrease the size.
The default value is 24 pixels. Increase this value slightly for a larger crosshair, or decrease it for a smaller crosshair.

Crosshair Size (default = 24). We recommend that you test various settings before making a decision.


Zoom X

The zoom option is very handy for long distance battles. By default, you can zoom in quite a long way, but sometimes it's still not far enough. Luckily, you can tweak this value too!
The default value is 22.5. If you decrease this value, you can zoom in farther.

Zoom not in use:

Zoom @ 22.5 (default):

Zoom @ 10:

Zoom @ 4:

Zoom (default = 22.5). We recommend that you test various settings before making a decision.


Railgun Trail Time

Since Q3Test version 1, many people have complained about the time it takes for the Railgun trail to go away after shooting. After all, this trail blocks your view for a second which could possibly be enough to cost you the match.

This option allows you to change the time it takes for the trail to disappear. By default, this value is 400. If you set it to 200 or even 100 (or lower), the trail will disappear almost instantly. The lower you set it, the faster it disappears. Also, the higher you set it, the longer it takes to disapppear (this doesn't really have a practical use, but it's a fun option to toy around with).

Trail time @ 50000:

Railgun Trail Time (default = 400). We recommend that you test various settings before making a decision.


Follow the instructions in the new window that appears after clicking the Create button.

This Autoexec Creator was coded in JavaScript by Dan Kennedy. For this program to work correctly, you must have JavaScript enabled. This program works best with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.

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