Last month I wrote about an important security update, and we were lucky that the news was spread far and wide but many players still didn’t see it.
Even if they read the news, and they updated to the latest build of ioquake3, they wouldn’t have caught the follow-up security commits to the code repository unless they downloaded another test build more recently.
We have a serious issue getting people on the latest code because our installers and DMGs are 8 years old and designed for a time when the only way to get Quake 3 was on a disc.
That’s changed, the only good way to get Quake 3 today is on Steam or gog. You can probably find old discs on ebay, but I wouldn’t bother when you can get digital bits delivered instantly. There are huge caveats to those digital platforms, #1 for us is that if you’re on macOS or Linux it is not at all straightforward to get the data from Steam or gog.
If we had a standalone baseq3 replacement of our own, that would not be as big of an issue.
Even if we had installers that were modernized, our binaries aren’t code signed and so players on macOS and Windows receive warnings and their operating systems prevent our code from being executed. We need help resolving that issue from someone who is more familiar with the code signing process.
Even if our binaries were code-signed, we don’t have any way for players to get the latest binaries automatically. This has become the new normal for games delivered via Steam and standalone mechanism’s like the one Blizzard uses for their games. Even web browsers like Firefox and Chrome have been doing this for years. Networked software needs security updates, and we can’t get it to players without an auto-update mechanism.
Here again I will make the caveat that it would be possible for ioquake3 to be on Steam if only we had a standalone game, even a minimal one, for players to play when they don’t own Quake 3.
Around this time last year I wrote a post about an issue when the id master server was down, because id (thankfully) was able to bring their master server online we did not get a fix implemented and committed to our git repo. This means that exceptionally long-running Quake 3 servers might still be reporting to the wrong ioquake3 master server, and if id has ever changed their master ip address it could be wrong for those servers as well. It also means that the in-game Quake 3 server browser still only receives servers from id’s master.
When security issues, and others like the id master server downtime, occur, it would be amazing if we could also announce that they are already resolved for players on our auto-update system instead of having to post blog posts and hope that people update before their computers are compromised.
We need to deliver updated code automatically to everyone, and make it as easy as possible to play Quake 3, mods, and games built on this engine. We need a project manager to help get our launcher project going again and developers to work on adding an auto-update mechanism to it.
This project, ioquake3, is entirely volunteer-driven. We receive no grants of time or money from any corporation except for the wonderful discourse forum donated from the Discourse enterprise. We spend more money on hosting ioquake3 and its servers than it gets in donations.
We can’t move one step without volunteer contributions from the community of players and developers who love Quake 3 and the projects that have been built off of the source code. It’s only with those contributions that we have been able to develop ioquake3 for the past 12(!) years.
While there wouldn’t be an ioquake3 project without the code, the contributions we need now are in recognition of the mature status this codebase has reached.
We need help from build and release engineers to update and maintain our installation process for Windows, macOS, and Linux.
We need help from people to create art, sounds, maps, and menus for a small stand-in for baseq3 when people don’t own Quake 3: Arena but want to use this incredible code to get some frags in or to get started making a game.
We need help from anyone who loves the quality assurance process to go through our bug queues on Bugzilla & Github in order to triage and duplicate those issues to confirm their continued threat and eradicate them. Testing is part of quality assurance and testing means playing Quake 3, who wouldn’t want to do that?
We need to make ioquake3 the best and easiest way to play Quake 3 on Windows, Mac, and Linux, develop new games, and play mods. This is your opportunity to contribute to an incredible free software project that needs your help. Get involved.