Daemon based games

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Dæmon is the game engine powering Unvanquished. The Dæmon engine is a fork of the XreaL engine through the ET:XreaL variant which derivates from both Quake 3 engine and Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory engine.

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The Dæmon engine was named OpenWolf for a very short time in its very early days and must not be confused with another OpenWolf engine based on the Qio engine, that other OpenWolf engine isn't based on Dæmon (and Dæmon isn't based on it).

Released games


Type: port.
Status: active, released (beta builds).

Unvanquished is the game maintaining the Dæmon engine, first release happened on February 29, 2012 and is still releasing new versions 10 years later. Unvanquished derivates from the Tremulous game that was initially released as a standalone game on an engine derivated from ioquake3 in 2006, after having been a Quake 3 total conversion mod for some time.

Unreleased projects


Type: remake.
Status: active, unreleased.

FreeFort is the most recent attempt to make a game based on the Dæmon engine and the Unvanquished game code. The project is to remake a Team Fortress 2-like game as a fully free and libre open source game. The project is in it's very early state and nothing is released yet.

The project is currently active.

Unnamed project

Type: new game.
Status: active, unreleased.

There is also another project whose name is not known yet and status unknown to make a new game from scratch based on the Dæmon engine (without reusing the Unvanquished game code) which is more about being an infantry war game. Few information is know about it. While doing this effort, The White Lion produced a lot of very useful documentation in the Technical Documentation page, especially the Program Ignition and Initialization part and many other parts like Source Code Filesystem Tree Structure or System Architecture.

The project is considered active but very few information is known about it.


Type: new game.
Status: stalled, unreleased (as a playable game).

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The project demonstrated the ability to follow the Dæmon engine upstream and Unvanquished upstream as a basis for a game, merging improvements from upstream while the project lived its own life from writing source, creating levels and producing binaries.

The project is currently stalled if the project managed to produce multiple build, there is nothing playable.

Unreal Arena is a brand new game project (not a port) based on Dæmon and Unvanquished code. The purpose is to provide the user two different teams, one using Quake III Arena movements and weapons, another one using Unreal Tournament movements and weapons, and let people frag together.

The project managed to recreate a Quake 3 map (untextured) from scratch and publish some alpha build just making possible for a tester to load a map, join and navigate.

Smokin' Guns

Type: port.
Status: dormant, unreleased (on Dæmon engine).

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The project demonstrated the ability to improve the Dæmon engine by testing assets from more than one game, debugging and implementing fixes. It also helped to design some good practices in the way game assets can be built, as tools like Urcheon are thoughts to be reusable for more projects.

The project is currently dormant as most people involved are very busy on other projects and other things in their life. Players should use the ioquake3-based game for now.

This is a project to port the Smokin' Guns game to the Dæmon engine. The Smokin' Guns game already exist as a released standalone game running on ioquake3 engine, it derivates from the Western Quake 3 total conversion mod.

The project is to use the upstream Dæmon engine (or to upstream the changes) and to rebase the specific Smokin' Guns game mechanics on the Unvanquished game to be able to merge improvements from Unvanquished as time passes.

Some fixes for Smokin' Guns assets were upstreamed to the Dæmon engine, and a some testing assets were produced to load Smokin' Guns maps with the Unvanquished game and the Dæmon engine for testing purpose and to fix related issues.


Type: port.
Status: stalled, unreleased (on Dæmon engine).

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The project demonstrated the ability to have multiple teams from different games working on the same game engine and contributing heavily to its development, to stimulate cross-projects contribution, to make Free Software development community a better place with projects living together and helping each others, and to make the Dæmon engine better.

The project is currently stalled as all people involved in those various attempts became busy with other things in their life. Players should use the DarkPlaces-based game for now.

There was multiple attempts to port the Xonotic game on the Dæmon engine. Historically, Xonotic is running on the DarkPlaces engine. Xonotic as a released standalone game running on the DarkPlaces engine exists since September 8 2011 and is a fork (and continuation) of the defunct Nexuiz game initially released on May 31, 2005.

The Darkplaces engine development was stalled and it was considered difficult to improve it for non-technical reasons because the DarkPlaces engine tries to keep compatibility with original Quake game and some improvements wanted for the need of Xonotic may break compatibility.

On the other hand the Dæmon engine can break things for the best (like fixing design issues) and was seen as a live project. Multiple people from Team Xonotic expressed the will to port their game on the Dæmon engine.

The project was to port the Xonotic game code on the Dæmon engine (not rebasing on Unvanquished game code).

Such effort is not a an easy task because the Dæmon engine is an engine derivating from Quake 3 engine while DarkPlaces engine derivates from Quake (the first) engine. Anyway, DarkPlaces already supports Quake 3 bsp files (map format) and most of Quake 3 shaders (material format) which are the ones natively supported by the Dæmon engine, and Xonotic already uses those Quake 3 formats.

The difficulty is that the Xonotic game code is written in QuakeC and is expected to run on a Q1VM, while Dæmon executes native code (currently sandboxed in NativeClient) compiled from generic languages like C or C++. There was multiple attempts to achieve the port, some people worked on source transpilers to convert the QuakeC code base to less exotic languages like C++ or Rust, others worked on writing a Q1VM expected to run on the Dæmon virtual machine.

There was interesting progresses achieved by those various attempts, the team managed to produce a minimalistic Q1VM running some minimal QuakeC code base allowing to start the Dæmon engine, load a map and walk around.

Xonotic developers helped to split the Dæmon engine and the Unvanquished game, developped some code to make the engine more standalone.

Lots of features were implemented in the Dæmon renderer using Xonotic data files (maps, materials, textures…), for example the relief mapping feature was debugged and fixed using Xonotic maps and materials, or the ability to support both lose normal maps and normal maps embedded in height maps was implemented. Also a lot of rewrite was done to make the Dæmon engine better and even helped Dæmon team to better understand some things to make the engine better, for example the multitextured material blending feature is a direct consequences from that, or the ability to support multiple formats of normal maps.

The Dæmon engine now provides some cvars to enable compatibility code to better support medias purposed for the DarkPlaces engine.

This project also helped the Dæmon game engine to support both the newer DPK format and the legacy PK3 format at the same time, because Xonotic through Nexuiz has more than 15 years of history and there are thousands of maps out there so porting maps was not really an option.

Xonotic data files (maps, materials, textures…) are still used today as test bed for the Dæmon engine to test for regressions and to implement new features: Xonotic assets makes use of more rendering features than Unvanquished! For example the Xonotic assets may be used to test the sRGB lightmap technology we still need to implement.

The Xonotic and Unvanquished teams became very close, and multiple Xonotic contributors also became Dæmon and/or Unvanquished contributors (TimePath, Mario, Melanosuchus, EACFreddy…), making the engine better, implementing features, etc. Some Unvanquished contibutors also started to help Xonotic as we still have common interests. For example Unvanquished contributors help Team Xonotic to maintain the NetRadiant level editor which is also the recommended level editor for Unvanquished.

Special mentions (not Dæmon-based but very close)


Type: remake (on a custom XreaL port).
Status: active, released (beta builds).

This project is not running on the Dæmon engine but on another fork of XreaL (like Dæmon), so technically both engines are very close and we share common interests. For example hypov8 from KingpinQ3 converted our new lasgun first person model to a usable third person model in Unvanquished!

KingpinQ3 is a remake of Xatrix Entertainment's Kingpin - Life of Crime game on an engine derivated from Quake 3 through the XreaL lineage like us!