Quake 3 config file structure

A description of how quake 3 uses your file structure and how best to deal with configuration changes – taken from my posts on various forums.

Regardless of the directory you installed quake3 in, it follows a set subdirectory structure.

  • Quake3 Install Directory
    • baseq3
    • Mod Directory 1
    • Mod Directory 2
    • Mod Directory 3
    • quake3.exe

baseq3 directory is where most stuff exists. Within it pak0.pk3 and pak1.pk3 (which are actually just zip files with a pk3 extension instead of zip) contain all the standard quake data from maps to gun shaders.

Every mod you play will create its own directory at the same level as baseq3, so most of you will have other folders specific to the mods you play.

All configuration parameters are stored in a file called q3config.cfg and you will find this file exists in baseq3 and any mod directory. If you remove this file from a mod directory then next time you play that mod quake3 will copy the q3config.cfg file from baseq3 into the mod directory. If you remove the q3config.cfg file from the baseq3 directory then you’ll lose all your settings and have to start again! Quake3 won’t break, it’ll just create a new q3config.cfg file, but it will be a default one without your tweaks in it.

When you join a server quake3 reads the q3config.cfg file from the relevent mod directory. This means you can have a different config for each mod if you like, but more often than not it means you have inconsistent settings between each mod because you’ll altered a particular q3config.cfg file. Sometimes quake3 even goes a little haywire and trashes your q3config.cfg file, leaving you with the default one again!

When quake3 starts up it searches for q3config.cfg and autoexec.cfg in baseq3. If it finds autoexec.cfg it will use the settings in that file in preference to those in q3config.cfg. As quake3 will never touch autoexec.cfg (apart from to load it) that is where you should put all customisations. It means you’ll have to fiddle around with notepad to edit it as the quake3 menus interact with q3config.cfg.

If you take a look in q3config.cfg you’ll find huge amounts of stuff that you couldn’t care less about so don’t just copy and paste it all into autoexec.cfg. Once you’ve made your own autoexec.cfg remember to delete the q3config.cfg files out of each of the mod directories so they can be recreated next time you play than mod (and include your new changes!).

A few important commands you may want to put in autoexec.cfg are listed below …

com_maxfps 125  // make sure you can get optimum fps
cg_drawFPS 1  // draw your fps in top right hand corner, default 0

r_picmip 3  // reduces detail level slightly, default 1
r_mapOverBrightBits 3  // most people find q3 too dark, set this to 2 if it is too bright

snaps 40  // how many updates per second you ask the server for (server has final say so 40 is a good default)

name UnnamedPlayer  // your player name!
model doom  // your preferred model

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