The word Trickjumping describes an alternate way of playing the id software game Quake III Arena; it is a style of play where the object of the game is completely different from nearly any other fps. The goal of the game is no longer simply killing, a style of play, which is heavily dependant of aim. In trickjumping movement is everything; doing things that may at first seem impossible. Trickjumping means pushing the limits of the game as far as they will go, which in some cases is only limited by your own skill. This is written as a guide to understanding and performing both simple and advanced tricks and jumps.


There are several elements of the game that makes trickjumping possible.

  • Knockback: 3 of the weapons in the game (Rocket launcher, Grenade launcher and Plasma gun) feature a property called splash damage, wherever a projectile from any of these weapons hits or detonates damage will be dealt to both their point of impact and an area surrounding this point. This damage will also push you away from the point of impact, it is what makes the rocket jump possible.
  • Framerate dependent physics: The way the quake 3 engine handles the calculation of the player movement is linked to your framerate. The result of this is that your framerate determines how high you are able to jump. This is not a linear or exponential relation, the jump height slowly increases along with the framerate until it reaches a peak, after peaking it is strongly reduced, the process is repeated. The ideal is to have your computer sustain a stable framerate, also giving stable physics. A constant and stable framerate of 125 frames per second gives a jump height of 66 world units, this is considered to be the standard for trickjumping, and is also the value that gives the second highest jumps. 333 frames per second will result in a jump height of 72 world units, but also results in buggy movement, it is not commonly used.
  • "Strange" aircontroll: While the variations in jump height are determined by framerate, the speed you move at is determined by certain other factors. The console command g_speed (changing this command is in general considered a cheat and a bad thing), the default value of this is 320, meaning you are limited to a max speed of 320 units per second. This should work, in theory, but its implementation is flawed. What the command limits is your maximum speed in relation to the ground beneath you, when you are not in contact with the ground this limit will not apply. Although this last part is not entirely accurate it works well as a general rule. Having established that the ground is a bad place for you to be, at least if you whish to break the speed limit, the air is a much better alternative. The physics that govern movement in the air are strange, and that is putting it mildly. Being free from the ground you are also free from the force it exerts on you. The speed at which you are moving is derived from the direction you are travelling and the angle that you are facing in relation to that direction. The optimal angle varies with the speed you are travelling. The faster you move the wider this angle becomes. This is what makes bunnyhopping possible.
  • Overbounces: This is the result of a bug, or feature depending on how you see it, that has only recently been discovered. It only occurs consistently when the physics are locked down and are set to operate independent from framerate (more on this later). The overbounce bug can be used in at least 4 ways but the bounce will always be caused by the same occurrence. Overbounces happen when you fall from a specific height, the engine will see you as falling through the floor, even though you are not doing so. What happens when this occurs is that the engine exerts a force equal to that which you hit the ground with. The concept is in itself simple enough, but using it effectively is somewhat difficult. In addition this wraps it up for the theoretical aspects of trickjumping.

Getting started:

Naturally you will need a decent computer, do not worry if your computer is unable to sustain 125 frames per second, there are ways around this. Also a copy of Quake III Arena that must be up to date with the latest patches, the current patch is point release 1.32. Downloading and installing the mod Defrag will greatly enhance your experience; I would almost say that it is a must. The current version of Defrag is 1.9 and can be found at Defrag contains many features which are extremely convenient. The mod, when configured properly (there is an application which does this included in the download), will give you information on how fast you are moving, keep track of how high and long you are jumping, sophisticated overbounce detection, and it also gives you feedback on how well you are accelerating, to name a few of the features. If you choose not to use Defrag I recommend that you use the command cg_drawspeed 1, it will display your speed onscreen. That should be it.

Getting consistent physics:

Not being able to sustain a constant framerate of 125 can be inconvenient. Also in addition to requiring rather expensive hardware it is not stable enough to allow for consistent overbounces. There are two way to fix this, both can be done through the console.

  • g_synchronousclients 1 and sv_fps 125

    g_synch... is a clientside setting while sv_fps must be set serverside in regular Quake, in Defrag both can simply be entered in the console.

  • pmove_fixed 1 and pmove_msec 8

    again, in regular Quake the first command is entered clientside and the second serverside, in Defrag both are clientside.

What this does is forces the engine to calculate your movement as if you had a rock-solid 125 frames per second, this is a good thing.

Movement, no weapons:

Basic movement unaided by weapons or overbounces consists of several different techniques, which are combined to best deal with the situation at hand. In addition to being the fundamentals of trickjumping they are also very handy when it comes to regular death match. I will go through the basics, but first some minor notes. The terms strafe jumping and bunnyhopping are in may cases used when describing the same thing, although the words are also, and more properly, used to describe two different techniques, both of which are similar. You will find that the word strafe jumping is much used in place of bunnyhopping, I believe that this is because actual strafe jumping has little use when compared to bunnyhopping, and thus is rapidly becoming an obsolete term. Please note that both these terms have been used to describe similar behaviour in other games.

  • Strafe jumping: The most basic method of fast movement. It is simple to do but the benefits of it are moderate. To strafe jump first find a nice open space and then move forward, do not let go of your forward key. As you run forward you must jump repeatedly, minimising the time you are in contact with the ground, jump exactly when you hit the ground for best results. Also you must strafe, in which direction is up to you, but it will not matter, as you will be alternating directions on each jump. Personally I prefer starting with a left strafe. Each time you hit the ground and re-jump you will change the direction of you strafe, this will keep you going straight. It might seem strange, and even ridiculously easy, which it is, but this is the basis of proper bunnyhopping, and thus has some relevance. The maximum speed you can attain is somewhere in the immediate vicinity of 450 units per second.
  • Circle jumping: Or how to get the most out of a single jump. There are three steps to performing a decent circle jump, and as opposed to strafe jumping, doing this well is difficult. This jump is called a circle jump due to the path you will travel through the jump, while not being a complete circle; you will follow a curved path through the run up and the jump. The three parts of the jump are: the run up, the time you are in the air, and the transition between these. Start of facing 90 degrees to the right from the direction you wish to travel, press forward and the strafe left keys, these will be held for the duration of the jump. As you start to move move your mouse so that you turn towards the direction you wish to jump, this motion will be a fast one, but not so fast as to be a flick of you wrist or hand. You should also keep an eye on your speed, if you have done this correctly you should be moving at roughly 400-450 units per second (450 is the maximum value). Now you are actually ready to jump, do not let go of your forward and strafe keys, hit jump just as you are starting to face the desired direction, as you hit jump you must immediately slow your down the movements of your mouse, the point is to align your view as close as possible to the optimal angle, and to keep yourself aligned that way. Then you land, hopefully on the other side of the gap you where facing, about one or two seconds have passed since you started the jump. In Defrag there is a tool, which gives you input on your screen as to how close to the optimal angle you are, it will help you greatly. If you are not using Defrag you must experiment, look closely at your speed, the theoretical maximum for one circle jump is about 550 units per second. Keeping your movements smooth through ought the jump will most likely result in increased length and greater speed.
  • Bunnyhopping: This is a combination of the two techniques mentioned above; you start out with a standard circle jump, and then continue with a form of mix between the two. In order to do this well timing is important, you must pay close attention to when you jump, and how you alternate between strafing left and right. But first things first. Start with the circle jump, don't worry if you are nowhere near the max speed, when you land the circle jump you must immediately hit jump again, and reverse the direction of your strafe, if you started left change to right. As you land you must also very quickly reverse the direction in which you where turning your with your mouse. The reversal of the strafe causes the optimal angle to change to opposite side of your desired direction. Do this as smoothly as you can manage, the movements need to be fast, but control is vital. You should now be well into your second jump, keep an eye on your speed and the optimal angle, and prepare to change direction of both your strafe and turning again. (The maximum speed that can be attained in two jumps is 650, although this is extremely difficult to do). Continue, check out your speed on each jump, you should steadily be gaining, also keep an eye on the optimal angle. There are ultimately two limits to how fast you can go doing this: skill and space. Bunnyhopping can also be done backwards and sideways
  • No-forward: Exactly what it says, a form of bunyhopping where you are not using the forward key, only the strafe keys and the movements of your muse will let you gain speed, it sounds strange but forward motion without pressing forwards is possible. This is difficult as it reverses much of what you do when you are bunnyhopping. The prime difference is of course that you do not keep the forward key pressed, also the direction of your strafing and turning has up to now been the same, here you must reverse them; turn left, strafe right, turn right strafe left. As always start out with a regular circle jump to gain speed, as you land after the first jump let go of your forward key at the same time as you change your turning direction. Do not change the direction you are strafing. Also the optimal angle will be different from what it is when you bunnyhopp. While bunnyhopping the optimal angle is fairly wide and is located to the side of your screen, now it will be very close to the direction you are travelling. The motions of your mouse will be very small, yet you will accelerate almost as well as when bunnyhopping regularly.
  • Air strafing: This is what you do when you are in the air whenever you circle- or bunny-hop, simply keeping yourself aligned at the optimal angle in relation to where you want to go, makes you go farther and faster, very convenient for reaching difficult places. For increased effect do this of jump pads.

That is it for regular, unaided movement. The next sections will first cover use of individual weapons to aid your movement, and finally combinations of weapons will be covered.

Movement, weapons (single) :

  • The Rocket launcher:
    • Single rocket jumps: These are already well covered. When you are trickjumping you will want to keep self- and falling-damage turned of. Also, add some air strafing to the rocket jump in order to gain distance. Do a circle jump but add a rocket at the very instant you jump. The maximum height for a single rocket jump is 390 world units. Doing rocket jumps of jump pads is a great way to increase your mobility, a well placed rocket will propel you with close to double the force of a regular jump pad, at times even more.
    • Double rocket jumps: Twice the rockets, twice the height and twice the fun. A rocket moves at 800 units per second, to do a double rocket jump you need to get to the point of impact before the rocket does, and with enough time to be able to get of another shot. The best way to do this is to fall of somewhere high, on your way down shoot a rocket, you will need to experiment with when to shoot, usually shooting the first rocket almost right after you start falling is a good idea, right now you do not need it to hit the ground at the exact same time as you do. Just make sure to be standing where it will hit, as it detonates do a rocket jump of the explosions. This should get you twice the height of a regular rocket jump. Use this to reach places you otherwise would not be able to reach. This is particularly useful to do on jump pads, where a single rocket can do wonders, just think what two can do. Double rocket jumps going of jump pads require that you and your first rocket hit the jump pad at the exact same time, this is difficult, and the ideal time to fire the rocket will vary with the height and speed of your fall. Firing the first rocket early in the fall is usually still good idea.
    • Triple rocket jumps: The basics of this is the same as with the double rocket jump. Fall from a height place, you will need more height for this than a double rocket jump will require, you need to reload two rockets. Before you fall locate the spot you want to jump from, remember it. As you start falling fire the first rocket at the spot, wait till you overtake the rocket, then as you pass it fire the second one at the same spot, you must compensate for the different heights when aiming. There will now be two rockets almost directly behind you. Land on the spot you shot the two rockets at, be prepared, and as the two rockets hit fire your third one, just like a normal rocket jump. Fly. A perfectly executed triple rocket jump will give you enough height to do another one.
    • Quadruple rocket jumps: Yes they are possible, although I have only seen one person do one. If you wish to attempt this you will need somewhere to fall from, somewhere very high up, and also a wall to fall close to. This jump is done similarly to the triple rocket jump, but different in that it adds one extra rocket and one extra spot to aim, you will not be able to get all the rockets arrive on time. The solution to this is to space them out over two points of impact, one at the bottom of the wall, on the ground, and one a bit up on the wall. The two first rockets will be aimed at the bottom, while the third will be aimed at the wall, the forth is fired after the impact of rocket one and two push you up against the wall and passed the third rocket, which if you timed it right will explode as you pass. Add the forth rocket as you pass the third. Good luck, you will need it.
  • The Grenade launcher:
    • Grenade jumps: The grenade launcher fires a bouncing grenade with either an impact detonator or a time fuse, since there will most likely not be any enemies to shot at the impact detonator will not cut of the timer and cause the grenade to explode prematurely. Shoot: you have three seconds to get away, or in our case get to where the grenade is. The principle involved in grenade jumping is the exact same as in rocket jumps, get the detonation to propel you farther and higher that you would normally be able to go. When dealing with grenades timing is vital, you have exactly 3 seconds before it explodes. There are two ways of timing this; one is to go by feeling, simply knowing how long 3 seconds is. This is of course a bit tricky, but there is a simpler method. If you look straight down and fire a grenade it will bounce two times, and immediately before the third bounce it will detonate. When it detonates you should be on top of it, if you want to go up or slightly of to the side of it if you want more horizontal speed. This is not too often used as an independent trick, it is mostly used in combinations of several tricks as you will see later.
    • Multiple grenade jumps: Before you attempt this you need to do some planning, find an area that you like. Try to first plot a route through that area, timing the detonations of each grenade to your movement. Start shooting grenades and move from one explosion to the next. This is in no way as easy as it sounds, and requires careful planning and very precise timing.
  • The Plasma gun:
    • Plasmaclimbing: This will allow you to use the knock back from the plasma gun to move up any wall or suitable flat vertical surface. Basic plasma climbing is pretty simple. First find a high wall, stand at the bottom of the wall, facing against it. Move so that you are as close to the wall as possible. Ready your plasma gun and aim it at the intersection of the wall and the floor. Press and hold forward, do not let go until you are done climbing. Press and hold fire, and at the same time press jump. It is important that you do not keep the jump key pressed; a single jump at the beginning of the climb is all that is needed. If done correctly this should send you straight up the chosen wall at decent speed. You can correct the direction of your climb with the strafe keys, and for increased effect you may turn slightly away from the direction you wish to go. In order to maintain your momentum up the wall it is vital to keep the vertical alignment of your aim, the angle of your aim should always be identical to the one you lined up at the beginning of the climb. An angle too straight against the wall will push you away from it, and not upwards, and an angle too close to the floor and you will not get any boost from the plasma. At this point you will probably notice that when trying to climb horizontally across a wall your climb looses its momentum as you turn your mouse to one side. As you turn your motion towards the wall becomes less and less efficient, to avoid this you should try to keep your movement against the wall as efficient as possible, this means that if you are turned 45 degrees away from the wall you will need to hold one of the strafe keys in addition to the forward key. This will also in most cases be the most efficient way of climbing across large gaps or long walls. It is also possible to climb horizontally without any vertical momentum, although only for a limited duration. This is good for clearing gaps where there is not enough space to allow for vertical motion. To do this you must face the wall and move towards it, then strafe towards the gap, as you are about to fall press the fire key and release your strafe key. This will send you going straight across the wall with very little loss of height.
    • Plasma jumps: This jump is done in nearly the exact same way as a rocket jump, but exchanges the rocket for a shot from the plasma gun. It gives a slight boost to the jump, but nowhere near what a rocket jump can give. But if a little is all you need, this will work.

Movement, weapons (combinations):

The single tricks and jumps mentioned above can in many cases be combined to improve their efficiency. However, there are some things that are more common than others. The grenade launcher is usually the weapon of choice when adding to a trick. For example a rocket jump is nice, but a rocket jump of an exploding grenade gives twice the distance or height. The thing is to know where you will get the most benefit from the grenade, and then place one there. In most cases this is at the beginning of the jump. Starting a plasma climb with a grenade will if done correctly more than double the distance you can climb. These are of course only examples, and it is in combining these several single trick or jumps into longer sequences, which is essential to trickjumping. You should try to go about the map, look for possibilities, be creative, and try what you most certainly think is impossible. You will be surprised at what you can pull of.

Movement, Overbounces:

Overbounces can be divided in several categories, but they all share the basic property of falling from a specific height. Finding out where overbounces are encountered can be done in two ways, either through experimenting, or through Defrag. Defrag features highly customisable overbounce detection, something that will be immensely helpful.

  • Vertical Overbounces: Falling from a "bounceable" height can result in a vertical overbounce, as you hit the floor the force of your fall will be reversed and you will bounce up to the exact height as you fell from. This can be done at any place you know will cause an overbounce (use Defrag to find these places). Simply fall, or jump (it depends on where you are, some places will let you bounce of a fall and others of a jump), the important part is that you need to have absolutely no horizontal movement as you hit the ground, 0 units per second. If you are moving you will perform a horizontal overbounce. The simplest way to stop your movement is to fall in a corner, using the walls to keep you from moving. You can also use walls, but you will need to make sure that you are moving absolutely straight, and that you hit the wall straight on. After hitting the ground successfully you will be moving up, you are now free to move. Another way to stop your movement is by using the movement keys, although this is difficult, so much that it borders on luck, it also produces very impressive looking results.
  • Horizontal Overbounces: Horizontal Overbounces occur when you hit the ground falling form a correct height without being perfectly motionless. The result of this is that all the force that would normally have pushed you up is now added to your horizontal momentum. To fully take advantage of this you need to fall of a good height and move in the direction you wish to bounce; the speed at which you move is nearly irrelevant as long as you are falling more or less straight down. Right after you hit the ground you need to press the jump key, it is important to do this after you hit and not when you hit. If you jump at the same time as you hit you will loose most of your speed. The correct timing of your jump is difficult to explain, you should experiment with this; use the sound of your landing as a way to measure time. As always, when in the air get as much acceleration from it as possible; air strafe.
  • Sticky Overbounces: These are tiny overbounces that when triggered are not activated; they stick to you until your next jump or fall. These usually occur when you move down a very small drop, such as a single step in a flight of stairs, or of a small ledge. The sticky overboucne is convenient when you need extra speed while bunny hopping. A sticky overbounce will add about 50 units per second to your speed; which in many cases will enable you to cross gaps that would have been impossible without the sticky overboucne.

Closing words:

This should cover most things you will ever need to know about trickjumping in Quake III Arena, and a few things you probably didn't need to know as well. Now go out and try it.

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