New Add-on Available: Tainted for Quake

By: Joshua Boyle

Play the free Tainted Add-on in our re-release of Quake today.

Twists and turns abound in the latest addition to our lineup of free Add-ons! Originally released to the community less than a year ago, Tainted is now available as a free Add-on utilizing the Copper mod for the re-release of Quake. 

Cavernous hallway with magma flow from above.

(For those who may have missed it: Check out our Nods to Mods interview with Copper mod authors Lunaran & Scampie, first featured in the Underdark Overbright Add-on, also available in-game.) 


With memorable designs – both aesthetics and layout – Tainted brings a single player, eight-episode campaign rewarding players who keep their spatial awareness keen. In addition to classic Quake shooter action, expect map-expanding puzzles, vertical spaces and interconnected passageways as you navigate your way through this mind-bending new Add-on! 

Darkened halls illuminated by lamps.

Tainted is available as a free download for all players by visiting the in-game Add-ons menu for Quake, out now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.  

Starting area, in arid outdoor environment.

But wait, we also have another Quake edition of Nods to Mods, bringing you a closer look at the community creators behind these amazing Add-ons and their process! Today, we’re excited invite Tainted’s creator and Nods to Mods newcomer: Jakob “DragonsForLunch” Christoffersen!  

SLAYERS CLUB: Thank you for joining us, Jakob! Could you tell us how you started making your own maps? 

JAKOB CHRISTOFFERSEN: I originally started with DOOM mapping back in late 2019. I got a hold of the DOOM editor and made a demon-infested version of my childhood house as a sort of joke to myself. I released a couple of standalone maps and even a short episode before I transitioned into Quake after mapping for a year or so. 

In-editor shot of Add-on development.

SC: We’re excited to feature such a modern Add-on, originally released just last year! Can you tell us a bit about what it's like right now in the Quake modding scene?

JC: It just keeps getting better! People are just so massively talented that it’s a bit intimidating to release a map sometimes! I love that there’s a good mix of ‘vanilla’ Quake maps alongside content for mods like Alkaline, Arcane Dimensions, Re:mobilize and Copper. The different mods have their own specific features and gameplay elements, so Quake has become a real sandbox for aspiring level designers to try to map for different gameplay scenarios beyond just the original game. On top of that, the tools for making maps are also improving, so it’s always exciting to check in. 

SC: We noticed some cool new textures and sounds in Tainted - how big was your team to make this full episode replacement?

JC: It was just me. Originally, I used a bunch of community-made textures for the maps. For the re-release, I went back and created a bunch of new textures myself that I mixed with textures from Kell and Lunaran along with the classic textures. I hadn’t done much texture work before, so it was interesting to try that out too. 

Moody purple skies above a cobblestoned street.

SC: We love your intro text kicking off the Add-on: 

In your tainted land, an unfathomable cosmic horror takes root. Monstrous abominations sow chaos and despair, while the Rune of Power, pulsating with forbidden energies, is stolen. To restore harmony and repel doom, you must drive back the eldritch creatures and reclaim the Rune of Power...  What were your main inspirations behind this project? 

 JC: I wanted it to feel a bit like an adventure! When I play the Realm of Black Magic (Quake Episode Two) the maps feel connected and it's like I’m traversing a real place. For Tainted, I wanted to emulate that. This is most apparent when you enter the third map outside the door of the fortress you were in the previous map. I also thought it was fun to have the player start off in the 'medieval’ themed maps and then later traverse to a tech base as a sort of subversion of the original episodes' progress. The final map, Future Imperfect, was heavily inspired by the start map for Underdark Overbright, which has the player explore the original E1M1 map but in an overgrown and decayed state. 

In-editor shot of Add-on development.

SC: Many of the levels in Tainted have players traversing through spaces via a series of puzzle mechanics expanding the map as they progress, as well as clever use of verticality adding additional fun in the gameplay and extra immersion by making the sprawling architecture come alive. How do you approach level design in your work? 

 JC: I think getting the basics right matters a lot, so I spend a lot of time making sure that the level is fun to run around in, is paced well and has some nice surprises and return visits. When I just started learning level design, I found John Romero's level design rules (for DOOM) and I still think about those a lot when I map. I’ve experimented a lot with different methods: sketching on paper, describing the flow in text, going straight to the editor, etcetera; I’ve found that all of these techniques can work. I think the important thing is to get started and then iterate as much as possible. I try not to cram too many ideas into one map so I avoid burnout and actually finish the map. There’s a bigger chance of me finishing making two 10-minute maps than one 20-minute map. 

Top-down view of maze-like stone structures.

SC: When you complete the final level in Tainted, you offer players a chance to return to the start map to explore further. Tell us more about your thought process behind this feature…

 JC: I wanted a surprise reward and a good sendoff for the player for completing the episode. While I was mapping for Tainted, members of the Quake community hosted a map-jam about exploration maps (maps without combat, but an emphasis on exploration and puzzles) and I wanted to contribute but didn’t get my map done in time. I took my idea for that jam and used it in Tainted. The big church there is very loosely based on Roskilde Cathedral in my hometown. 

Large circular hall with open ceiling.

SC: Could you tell us about your decision to use the Copper mod in this project?

JC: I actually started the project in ‘vanilla’ (Quake) but quickly realized that I could work much faster in Copper. Not only does Copper tighten up the gameplay of Quake to make it much easier for mappers to create interesting combat scenarios, but it also affords the mapper a bunch of quality-of-life tools in the editor. 

In-editor shot of Add-on development.

SC: What tools did you use to create this Add-on? 

JC: My notebook for sketches, Trenchbroom for mapping, Notion for notes and writing, Photoshop and Aseprite for textures, Eric-w compiler tools, PakScape and TexMex to package up the mod. 

SC: Who’s your favorite modder or team of modders in the Quake community and what’s your favorite thing they’ve done? JC: There are so many amazing modders that it’s difficult to name just one. I think Dwell with Fairweather as Project Lead is an astounding achievement that mixes classic Quake gameplay with some new tricks and gameplay elements. Fairweather is the king of tight Quake gameplay for me, although some of their maps are pretty tough for me to finish (I’m sure they’ll take that as a compliment)! 

Outdoor environment with shadowed overhands and foggy green skies.

SC: Wanna give any other shoutouts? No time like the present…

JC: Thanks to the Quake community for keeping Quake alive! Thanks to everyone who ever gave me feedback, critique or helped me out with my maps! Thanks to David Spell for making the amazing ‘Mapping for Quake’ video series that initially got me started mapping. Thanks to AlexUnder and Yoder for pitching Tainted for the re-release. Thanks to id Software for making Quake and still supporting it after so many years! There’s a lot more people I could mention, but I’ll keep it at that! 

Underground ruins with torches.

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