Over on Szablewski’s Twitter account, you can see how he developed Q1K3 and got it all to fit in such a tight package. The levels were built using TrenchBroom, a popular Quake mapping tool used to create custom levels for Quake-engine games. To help make this mini-FPS, he also created a tool that allowed him to more easily create tiny textures. He released this tool for free for anyone to download and use, though he does warn it’s a bit “quick and dirty.”
While it’s true that Q1K3 and the other games featured in this contest might not be as big or graphically impressive as newer games that take up 200GB or more of space, it’s a nice reminder that a good, fun game doesn’t need to be huge. Even something as tiny as a dozen or so kilobytes can provide some enjoyment. I mean, Super Mario Bros. on NES was only 32KBs and I hear a lot of folks liked that game!