New Add-on Available: Episode Enyo for Quake
By: Joshua Boyle
We've got something special for you with our latest free Add-on for Quake! Episode Enyo, now available to download, doesn't just add new levels of Quake action to power through - it serves as a canon prequel to a different series!
Episode Enyo's five-level campaign has players in the role of the titular Enyo, an elite assassin antagonist in developer Poppy Works’ side-scrolling action title Slave Zero X, published by Ziggurat Interactive. Using Quake's fast-paced shooter action, Episode Enyo serves as a prelude to Slave Zero X, itself set four years before the events of the original Slave Zero (1999). Download and play Episode Enyo free today by visiting the in-game Add-ons menu for Quake, available now on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.
Not only do Episode Enyo and Slave Zero X share the same game universe, they also share many of the same developers. We're thrilled to get to members of Ironwood Software, creators of this imaginative Add-on, as well as team members from Ziggurat Interactive, the publisher behind Episode Enyo and Slave Zero X. Read on for more!
SLAYERS CLUB: Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! We’re excited to premiere your Add-on to the Quake community - would you like to introduce yourselves?
James Greenwood: I'm James Greenwood, founder of Ironwood Software. I got into Quake mapping in 2019 while I was between jobs. I always wanted to create my own world in a first-person shooter and after watching Dumptruck_ds's YouTube tutorials on TrenchBroom, I delved into level design. I ended up cranking out a ton of custom maps and learning a ton from the Quake community, which was very supportive. After several years in the industry, I joined Poppy Works and became part of the part of the Slave Zero X development team before founding Ironwood.
Ironwood has four main members: Fabio (AKA bmFbr), Kebby, AlekswithaK and myself. Mazu is also part of our crew as a guest mapper. My work involves level design and additional art: HUD, typography, etcetera. (Fabio) is the lead coder, designed levels and worked on SFX. Kebby is the lead modeler-slash-animator and AlekswithaK is our talented lead musician. Finally, Mazu contributed "Mechanized Mayhem" and the fun Deathmatch level we included as a bonus.
Kebby, Aleks, and I are located in the United States. bmFbr is in Brazil and Mazu is in Finland. We have a very international team!
Wolfgang Wozniak: I’m Wolfgang Wozniak, co-founder of Poppy Works and producer of Episode Enyo and Slave Zero X.
Cole Law: I’m Cole, and I’m part of the marketing team at Ziggurat Interactive.
Rose McKee - Producer, Poppy Works: Ironwood Software comprises four core team members and brought on a guest mapper for Episode Enyo. Poppy Works provided production assistance, and Ziggurat is our amazing publisher. Ironwood Software did an amazing job pulling together such a cool mod with a tight-knit team. They rock.
SC: Where does Episode Enyo, our latest Quake Add-on, fit in the timeline of the biopunk dystopian universe of Slave Zero (1999) and Slave Zero X (2025)?
Wolfgang: In Slave Zero X Deluxe Edition, the art book dives deep into the worldbuilding we did to get us to the branch in history that led us to the events of Slave Zero (1999). So be sure to check that out if you’re curious about what we did there. The timeline for these games is Episode Enyo, then Slave Zero X, then the events of the original Slave Zero. We didn’t really start Slave Zero X or Episode Enyo with the intent of working backward in time, but that’s just sort of how things worked out!
Cole: When we saw how Poppy Works utilized TrenchBroom and Quake’s visual language to bring the world of Slave Zero to life in Slave Zero X, pursuing a Quake mod further to add to the lore of the Slave Zero universe was a no-brainer. Episode Enyo really feels like a love letter inspired by the Quake community, delivered back to the Quake community.
SC: What inspired the unique idea to create a Quake Add-on based on Slave Zero X's setting? And why the decision to play as the game's antagonist, Enyo?
Wolfgang: When we were coming to the end of the main project, it occurred to me that we had a team of experienced, talented Quake level designers and modders who worked directly on all of Slave Zero X’s environments. I asked if we could make a free Quake mod to celebrate the launch if we gave them complete access to all of the materials created for the main game. Choosing Enyo was pretty easy, as she’s the only member of the Slave Zero X cast with access to that much firepower! Lead writer Miles Luna and character designer Francine Bridge already had a good idea for her story leading up to the game's events.
When we started development on Slave Zero X, using the Quake level format (with some modifications) allowed us to create environments quickly and in a way that our engine could use. It then made sense to look for those with Quake level design experience. Our job listing didn’t shy away from saying we needed people experienced with Quake, and very quickly, we found those with both fan projects and professional Quake project experience. From there, things went smoothly!
Cole: As Wolf said, it just made sense. The influences and inspirations of the team are palpable when playing Slave Zero X. With the mix of 2D pixel art and 3D assets, ripe with the nostalgia of the 1996 shooter; it positions this spiritual prequel to Slave Zero (1999) not only narratively, but visually as well. And to have Enyo?! She’s motivated by bullets and destruction, so to be able to let loose in a fast-paced first-person shooter experience as her just feels good.
SC: How long did it take the team to complete this Add-on?
James: Give or take chasing down hiccups & issues, we cranked out a playable, cohesive version in approximately six months! Of course, this was only possible due to the already established assets provided by Poppy Works and the extensive history that three out of the four main members already had working on the creation of Slave Zero X.
SC: In your own words, what's the modern Quake modding scene like?
James: We are all big fans of id Software's fully 3D first-person shooter, and appreciate the long history of the Quake modding scene and its innovations and interpretations. From polished overhauls like Arcane Dimensions & Alkaline to subtler mods like Copper & progs_dump, there is a little something for everyone in the Quake mod community. Themes vary from medieval fantasy to dystopian science fiction to Lovecraftian horror, so you're only limited by your imagination. Half-Life and Counter-Strike started as a Quake mod, so there's a little Quake DNA that exists in a lot of projects! The Quake modding community is generally very open and supportive, and with the 2021 KEX release, newer generations are enjoying Quake on more devices and making mods for the game, too.
Rose: Quake is a classic; the sheer number of mods available is amazing and the community around it is phenomenally active. It was incredibly exciting to be able to bring so many of our assets, guns and the world of Slave Zero X to the Quake community. We find Episode Enyo hugely fun to play and hope the community feels the same!
Kebby: I think it's great that there’s a wide range of experienced artists and beginners all learning from each other, and I always looking forward to hearing new perspectives. I'm sure people weren't expecting to see cartoony toy blasters, blocky brick-built guns or enemy ducks in Quake before I joined! Quake mods are so varied, from elder realms full of ancient beasts and wild creatures to adding super fast mobility in Multiplayer; from faithful improvements to total conversion mods with even more brutal weapons and aggressive monster behaviors. What Quake is or what it could be depends on the modders, and I'm glad we can share our ideas and collaborate with so many talented others so that everyone can enjoy them and play together!
Cole: Rose, Kebby, and Greenwood said it so well. Quake and the Quake modding scene is a gift that keeps on giving in the video game space. The iterations and inventions on and within a classic game while also springing to life new stories, experiences and games?! Can Quake be a comfort game? The creativity and the vast number of possibilities in the Quake modding scene have made it my “go-to” experience when I feel the need to be inspired, and it never disappoints.
SC: What tools did you use to create this Add-on?
James: The main programs that I used were Trenchbroom (level design); Photoshop, TexMex, and Wally for texture editing, PakScape (archive editing) and Fimg, which was a blessing for altering the gfx wad.
Kebby: Blender v2.82a is my main program for Quake projects and was used to model, texture and animate 13 new characters and nine new weapons for Episode Enyo. Including the ammo pickups, health items, armor, powerups, gibs, enemy weapons and projectiles, the total count of new assets created is over a hundred. Finished models made in Blender are exported as a Quake 1 MDL; these files include the 3D mesh, palettized texture and all the vertex animation data. We could utilize models from Slave Zero X, but most needed reworking before they could be used in-game. At the end of the episode, the big baddie was created by 3D sculptor and animator Ty, with textures by environment artist shoTgun from the Slave Zero X team. We couldn't import the enemy directly into the KEX engine without using MD5 models, so I needed to reduce the vertex count while preserving the final texture and creating new animations for a MDL version.
SLK img2pixel is a great image editor I used to batch index all the model's textures to the correct Quake palette colors. It also handled the down-sampling and dithering for my high-resolution paints. Once palettized, I used GIMP to edit further and adjust the textures, like having a separate emissive mask to prevent unwanted bright spots. Environment textures can be made using Wally, a fantastic free pixel painting program. When all of these tools are used together, you can quickly make readjustments or new art and ensure everything will work within Quake's limits. TexMex is used to package environment textures into a WAD, which can be used by our level editor, TrenchBroom. Some decorative props in the episode were remade as solid BSP brushes instead of the typical MDL models.
The source code for Episode Enyo was written in QuakeC by our lead programmer and level artist, bmFbr, using FTEQCCgui64. It's a revamped version of the Alkaline mod with many cool new features we think you'll enjoy! I assisted with some of the lesser code work, mostly tweaking weapon animations, gib setups and enemy damage statistics using GitHub to update changes. Shoutouts to LibreOffice/OpenOffice versions of Excel style spreadsheet, which really helped us organize weapon balance issues early on.
For sound effects, Audacity is a great choice to format audio. Thanks to the enhanced KEX engine, we can use higher-quality sound samples. Audio effects like weapons shooting and swords clashing were created by audio engineer and musician Russell from Slave Zero X. Voice line recordings for Enyo and her enemies were handled by Poppy Works. Episode Enyo features eight brand new songs created with Ableton Live by our lead musician AlekswithaK. For the best gaming experience, crank up the music!
Fabio: For the coding, I used SublimeText paired with the GitHub Desktop app to manage the repository and FTEQCC to compile the QuakeC code. For sound editing, I used mainly Audacity and ocenaudio. For everything else, it was mostly the same tools the rest of the team already cited - Wally, Photoshop, Krita, Blender, FIMG, q1mv and so on.
SC: Who are some of the team’s favorite modders in the Quake community? Any mods out there you’d recommend people try?
James: The big ones are metlslime (Rubicon 2), Sock (Arcane Dimensions), Kell (Quoth), and Lunaran (Copper). There are other ones, including our Alkaline sci-fi mod, progs_dump, and the recent Re:Mobilize, but those four mods probably have been used the most for custom maps and/or have serious historical importance.
Custom mods — that include playable maps — that I would recommend, in no particular order:
- Rubicon 2
- Rubicon Rumble Pack (an awesome expansion pack of Rubicon 2 with new features)
- Arcane Dimensions
- Underdark Overbright
- Zerstörer (a very early mod that, IMO, is a classic)
There are many others out there, so please let this list be a springboard! For example, both SMEJ episodes are quite good, but arguably more for advanced players.
AlekswithaK: I think Fairweather is truly the beating heart of the Quake Community. They wield a unique combination of vision and talent that I have not seen in anyone else in my entire life. There is nothing they can't do - mapping, coding, modeling, community project organizing, they are masters of it all. Without Fairweather being the champion of the scene that they are, many of us would not be here. I highly recommend people check out their work in Dwell.
Cole: There are so many great modders and mods. I will third everyone by saying Fairweather’s Dwell. And to mix it up a little bit, I think Raven Keep by Redfield is a delight. And I really loved playing Gloom by pallokallo. But really, explore the Quake mod archives; there are some really great gems out there, big and small.
SC: Wanna give any other shoutouts? No time like the present…
James: Sure! I'd like to thank the following: ptoing for allowing me to use his plasma projectile sprite; Lunaran & Bal, both Quake modding vets, for their help over the years; Wolfgang & Poppy Works for the opportunity; Shamblernaut & Khreathor for assistance back in the days of early Alkaline; the Dwell team for their support over the years; Dumptruck_ds for his great Trenchbroom tutorials; of course, Kristian Duske for Trenchbroom & id Software for making Quake in the first place!
Fabio: Besides the names already brought up by other team members, I'd also like to thank ericw and Paril for their work on the map compiler tools, as well the whole Quake community spread around the main "hubs" - Quake Mapping Discord, Slipseer, Quaddicted, and func_msgboard - whose collective knowledge from then and now allowed us to get to where we're standing today. Another shoutout to Mike "sponge" Rubits at id for the huge help with the bugs we were having on console platforms.
Slave Zero X arrives February 18 on Xbox Series X|S, Steam, GOG, and PlayStation 5, with a playable demo available now on on Steam and Xbox Series X|S. Again, a huge thanks to the team at Ironwood Software, Poppy Works and Ziggurat Interactive for bringing this exciting new Add-on to the Quake community. Enter a dark world and prepare for action with Episode Enyo, available now for free in the Add-on menu for Quake!