The website LinuxQuake.com has posted a story claiming that Q3A collects information about every system it is run on and then sends that information to id Software every time the game is run. According to the folks at LQ, the game sends a UDP packet that reports on the platform the game is being run on, the rendering library used, and which graphics card is in use. They even have a link to a screenshot that shows the contents of an example packet.
They contacted Carmack about this issue, and he stated that the information was used mostly for tracking which video cards require the most support, as well as determining how support calls broke down on each of the platforms for which the game is being written. Obviously, from the contents of the packet, the game isn’t sending any personal data, but as one person at Linux Quake.com put it “Not a really big deal… but I seem to recall people getting really angry at Microsoft for this sort of thing.” I saw the link to this story on Slashdot, by the way. [Update – Voodoo Extreme has a more comprehensive response from Carmack that includes, among other things, how to disable the transmission of the information by using “cl_motd 0”.]