Apple has an impressive array of equipment set up for this week’s QuakeCon 2001 event in Mesquite, Texas. QuakeCon gathers thousands of hardcore enthusiasts of Id Software’s popular series of Quake first person shooter games for four days worth of conferences, meetings and most importantly, tournament play.
More than a thousand attendees have brought their own systems, mostly PC compatibles. MacCentral’s sources at the show report that while AMD-sponsored PCs are being used for Quake 3 Arena tournament play, Apple’s oasis is the only place attendees are able to play Quake 3 Team Arena in tournament play.
Contrary to MacCentral report posted yesterday and since corrected, Apple is not an official sponsor of the show. Regardless, Apple is there in force — the company has more than thirty Power Mac G4s set up both for tournament play and open play. Sources report that the signup in Apple’s area for Quake 3 Team Arena tournament play was brisk — the roster was full by 6 pm on Thursday.
The open play Power Macs are G4s of various vintages, equipped with CRT-based 17-inch Studio Displays. The tournament play machines are brand-spanking-new 800MHz dual-processor Power Mac G4s equipped with GeForce3-based graphics cards and gobs of memory. The machines are running Mac OS X and a new, internal build of the Quake 3 Arena executable not yet available to the general public. Several of the tourney G4s are equipped with 22-inch Apple Cinema Displays, as well — the remainder are equipped with 17-inch digital flat panel Apple Studio Displays.
To give the Power Macs some sonic punch, Apple has outfitted its G4s with Harman/Kardon’s stylish Soundsticks, a USB-based satellite speaker and subwoofer system that sports translucent plastics complementary to the Mac’s design. Apple has also provided Logitech mice as an option for Quake enthusiasts who prefer multi-button mice.
The Mac’s aesthetic qualities have been noted, and it’s little surprise, given the plethora of bland, industrial beige boxes that make up the Windows contingent at this year’s show. Even QuakeCon.org Webmaster Joel “Nok” Levin called the iMacs that make up QuakeCon 2001’s registration area “undeniably pretty” in his coverage of the show’s setup earlier this week.
Hardcore gamers are particularly concerned about performance, however. And for many attendees, Apple’s presence at this year’s QuakeCon 2001 is not just an introduction to Quake 3 Team Arena in a tournament setting — it’s a favorable introduction to the Mac as a powerful gaming system.
“Many Quake players at this show use PCs at home, so they’re surprised to see Macs here at QuakeCon,” an attendee of the show told MacCentral. “And once they get a chance to play on the Macs, that surprise turns to amazement. They’re really impressed by how well the Macs perform.”