Making a colored nickname in Quake 3

Quake III Arena is an old school FPS shooter that is still alive even in 2020 and still hot =) One of the most important thing for a badass quaker is to make own nickname cool and recognizable. This is possible because the Quake 3 engine allows to utilize different visual effects to your nickname. But these effects are different depend on a mode you play and there are set of bugs and side effects that are not documented and might be surprise for you. And there is good news, this article will help you understand common aspects of name customisation for most polular Q3 modes.

First of all I developed a good web tool that makes name generation process easiest as possible, take a look at it here -> Q3GFX <-

Lets start with the following name and customize it

/name "Xaero"

BaseQ3 customization

BaseQ3 is a default built-in Quake 3 mode known as vanilla quake. Developers made builtin system that applies colors on different game strings that affects to player's nickname too. For this purpose special control character ^ was introduced. So BaseQ3 supports eight colors: ^0, ^1, ^2, ^3, ^4, ^5, ^6, ^7. Just put it before you nickname and your color will be changed. You are able to use as much colors as you want but keep in mind that quake 3 nickname is limited to 35 characters.

For example how the nickname Xaero should looks like if we apply to it Anarki's coloring style:

/name "^1X^2a^3e^4r^5o"

You are able to use all these colors by typing letters instead of numbers but I do not recommend to do it because it's buggy and unpredictable.

OSP customization

OSP mode brings much more abilities in name customization. Unless vanilla q3 it supports ten numeric control codes - ^0, ^1, ^2, ^3, ^4, ^5, ^6, ^7, ^8, ^9 and different effects.

RGB colors

OSP has an ability to use RGB colors that dramaticaly increases amount of available colors. First of all you are able to change your background shadow, just use ^x<rgb hex> for instance ^x00FF00.

/name "^x990000Xaero"

There is an ability to change a front name color too but it's a bit buggy. When you change a name color as a side effect you change a background shadow too. In any case for this purposes just use the combination ^x<rgbhex>^n, example ^x00FF00^n.

/name "^x990000^nXaero"

As can you see that effect makes your nickname blurred. To avoid it you might combine RGB background color with numeric colors:

/name "^x990000^1Xaero"

And the following trick ^x<front_rgbhex>^n^x<back_rgbhex> changes front and background color using RGB:

/name "^x95736a^n^x990000Xaero"

Fading effect

Fading effect is possible by using controls ^b and ^B. The only different between these controls is that ^b has more deep fading effect than ^B. And you are able to stop fading effect by using ^n or ^N controls.

/name "^bXaero"

/name "^BXaero"


OSP has two visible layots and both display one by one. You are able to use these layots by typing ^f - display first half of the second, ^F - display second part of second. So using one layot results in a blinking effect and using both layots results in a replacing effect. You are able to cancel an effect by using ^n or ^N controls.

/name "Xaero^F_"

/name "^fXaeRo^Fx34r0"

CPMA customization

On the CPMA there are no special effects like on the OSP and it only have a cheap abillity to set a colors over your nickname. An any case CPMA utilize numeric controls and it's excended by letters:
^0, ^1, ^2, ^3, ^4, ^5, ^6, ^7, ^8, ^9 ^a, ^b, ^c, ^d, ^e, ^f, ^g, ^h, ^i, ^j ^k, ^l, ^m, ^n, ^o, ^p, ^q, ^r, ^s, ^t ^u, ^v, ^w, ^x, ^y, ^z

/name "^bX^ca^de^er^fo"

Excessive Plus customization

E+ mode has the best name style system that is based on OSP but is much more powerfull and less buggy than OSP. But I will not explain it here because there is a good and full article that explains how to make E+ names -

Moreover there is a special tool for E+ mode that helps you to generate E+ name known as XP Qname 2.0. You are able to find it in the internet but keep in mind that it's developed on Java, so to run it you have to install Java Runtime first. And there is an issue with running it related to missing ipdb.db file. You can find that file here in a forum thread.

Special symbols

Vanilla Q3 and OSP supports advanced symbols that not possible to write using keyboard. That's possible because Q3 engine is able to display invisible ASCII characters with code from 0 to 31 and 127. Characters from 0 to 31 will be transformed to these symbols on image below, character with code 127 will be transformed to 🡨.

As I said it's not possible to type these symbols using keyboard, therefore to use them you have to use special tools like Q3GFX or Quake 3 Name Changer that are able to generate symbols.

Important: you are not able to copy past these symbols into a quake console. The only known way to load symbols is to put them into your config and then load it.

seta name "^1X^2a^3e^4r^5o^6"

Excessive Plus mode makes possible to utilize all 256 characters in your nickname by using #<hex code> control and xp_name command

Other tricks

Quake engine supports few tricks that allows you to avoid some limitations.

Using ^ symbol

As you know ^ symbol is used for making different controls but what if you use unknown control for instance ^j? Usually effect is undefined, on Base3 ^j it results to a random color on OSP\CPMA there is no effect but on each mode an unknown control going to be hidden. But what if you want to use the char ^ in your nickname? If you just type ^ it should eat next symbol so these technique works only if you type ^ in the end of the nickname. Fortunately threre is a better way to use ^ in any place - just type ^^<any char>. In this case a behavior is the following: first symbol ^ is going to be shown but others ^<any char> are going to be interpreted as a control. For example ^^1 should result to symbol ^ and make your nickname red (^1). If you want to avoid additional effects just use unknown controls for instance ^^+.

/name "^^+Xaero"

/name "^^1Xaero"

Symbolic-only nickanme

Specific ASCII symbols are interesting effect but Quake 3 doesn't allow to use nicknames without at least one visible character (ASCII code >= 32). There is a way to avoid that limitation, just type a space in the and of your nickname.

Invisible nickname

To make your nickname invisible just type any control with a space :)
/name "^1 "

Other tricks

Contact me in Telegram if you know any other interesting tricks with the name ;)