How I Recreated Our Studio in Quake Deathmach Map

BONUS: TrenchBroom primer.

How I Recreated Our Studio in Quake Deathmach Map
Screenshot from Quake 2021
When Quake Enhanced came out it made me back to the map making. I wanted to create something fun and creative. I looked around and decided to recreate our office space. Fragging colleagues  on that kind of map is double fun!

It was a while since I touched TrenchBroom. Even longer when I made a map for the first Quake. The setup process is easy but you need to know what to look for. That's why I decided to make a little tutorial on how to set up TrenchBroom and map compiling tool-set.



Cross-platform level editor for Quake-engine based games

Compiling Map

Map compile tools for Quake

Extracting WADs

PakExplorer v1.2 [Quake] [Modding Tools]
A Quake (Q1) Modding Tool in the Other/Misc category, submitted by Ghost1676076

Quake Enhanced

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The overall setup is straightforward. You need to have 3 things:

  • Quake executable path
  • Compile tools paths + parameters
  • WADs (texture packs)

Quake Engine

To get working entities and run games from the tool you need to point to the Quake executable directory. Enchanced Quake is in \release\ subdirectory.

Quake Engine setip

Compile tools paths + parameters

The most important part of the setup is a compile window. Each map needs to be exported then compiled by qbsp. After that lights and visible surfaces need to be calculated. The order is important here.

TrenchBroom Compile setup

WADs (texture packs)

Every map needs textures. Those are kept in packs named WADs. You can make your own but to start it's best to use original ones from Quake itself.

This is where the PakExplorer comes in handy.

  • Run it and open Quake/rerelase/id1/pak0.pak.
  • Then search for WAD/all.wad.
  • Extract it to the Quake/rerelase/idq/wads/all.wad. Yes, you need to create /wads/ directory.

Lastly in TrenchBroom add this wad to the collection. On the right side choose Face tab and then at the bottom double click on Texture collections. Use "+" icon and absolute path.

You should see a long list of materials to choose from. Some of them are also animated or emissive.

The Map

Now as everything is set up we can get to the next step. That is pre-production. You'll need a few things:

  • Estimate the real size of the room(s)
  • Translate meters to quake units
  • Make reference photos
  • Find a few basic materials (textures)
  • Make an empty room with the approximate size and the right scale

Reference Photos

Reference photos of the beffio space

New Map


Turns out the 16x16 grid is approximately 50x50 cm. So 32 grid is 1 meter.

I created a big room approximately the size of our studio. Then started to block out individual rooms and desks. This way I could test if the scale fits.

Base Texturing

Our place has complicated architecture and two types of wall materials. Both intersect in an interesting way. It was easier for me to visualize everything with those materials already assigned.


More details and props

I got more reference photos of selected walls. Over the weekend I have more rooms and props. I also needed to add lights here and there to make the level brighter.

And how it all ends up in the game.

I realized that some parts of the map are too small. I moved walls on one side and started to refine placeholder props. Desks, posters, toilets.

Closing Words

It was a fun little project. It shows that old tools can be still super easy and productive.

Also Quake never dies!