Ironwail playing Twisted Xmas Jam

Ironwail - the new kid on the source port block

To see new source ports popping up for a game that is nearing 30 years old is testament to the impact Quake had and continues to have on the gaming/modding/mapping community.

The first source port I used was DarkPlaces back at the end of the 2000s. After rediscovering Quake years later though, I wanted to play Quake with an authentic, original style, so I started playing with Quakespasm. Then, after I heard someone was developing a Vulkan based port, vkQuake became my go-to.

vkQuake has remained my main source port for the last couple of years, but after Novum announced they were closing the project due to other source ports gaining popularity, I was intrigued. "What other source ports?" I asked myself.

After snooping around on Reddit and YouTube, I discovered people were talking about Ironwail. As I delved further, I came to realise Ironwail is not just another Quakespasm fork. Oh no. Ironwail has some very special features on show.

Ironwail GitHub page

Ironwail shifts most of the CPU compute over to the GPU. This has phenomenal performance improvements. This may not mean much when you're playing the original maps, but if you're playing some newer maps loaded up with mods, the performance improvements need to be seen to be believed.

Ironwail playing Twisted Xmas Jam

And this is the focus of this source port: performance. To see some of these performance gains, some compromises must be made, namely dropping support for older hardware. Because it uses OpenGL 4.3, you're not going to get the thing running on your old Pentium II with Riva TNT graphics. Recommended GPUs are GeForce GT 630, Radeon HD 7700, or newer.

There's a long list of quality-of-life improvements, but my favourite is the new mods menu for quick loading and navigation. No more needing to remember directory structures on the Quake console.

Ironwail mods menu

I also like that you can now control the GUI via your mouse. I think it would be hard to go back now that I've gotten used to that!

It's been a while since I've done a tutorial, and because setting up Ironwail is a little different to Quakespasm or vkQuake, I have put this on my to-do list. Stay tuned.