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Classic FPS ‘Quake’ ported to Apple Watch

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A programmer managed to get the original “Quake” game running at 60fps on Apple Watch with gyro controls and sound.

Tomas Vyzmazal used a “Quake” rendering engine mapped to a WatchKit surface to get the port running. It operates at 640p by 480p at a full 60fps.

First spotted by PCMag, a video shows off the implemented touch and gyro controls for “Quake” on an Apple Watch Series 5. Even the Digital Crown was able to tilt the camera up and down.

While this is a totally impractical way to play “Quake,” it is interesting to see that the Apple Watch processor was able to run this classic game without too many workarounds. The Apple Watch is able to play some games and has access to SpriteKit, but first-person shooters aren’t exactly possible or expected on the platform.

What makes this execution impressive is the programmer’s ability to get “Quake,” a game released on Mac in 1997, to run in an emulated environment on a limited Watch processor. The Quake Engine offers full real-time 3D rendering, which makes the game much more difficult to emulate on chipsets versus something like the original “Doom.”

Audio was an issue since WatchKit does not support CoreAudio, so Vyzmazal got it working using AVFoundation audio backend. A filter was needed to remove clicking sounds from some low-frequency samples.

While this game would not be allowed on the App Store for licensing reasons alone, those interested can build the project from GitHub. Use the provided code to build a demo file in Xcode for testing on a development Apple Watch.


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