Gaming giant Id Software released the second public beta of its upcoming game Quake III Arena this weekend. Q3Test 1.6, as the release is known, runs only on 32-bit Windows systems such as Windows 9x, Windows NT, and Windows 2000. Macintosh and Linux versions are expected sometime later.

Quake III Arena is a winner: In addition to the two deathmatch-only levels introduced in the first "Q3Test," this version sports a new level and the return of an old weapon favorite, the lightning gun. And Quake III obviates the need for separate programs to find Internet servers: The functionality is built right in. I was online, trading frags with opponents, within seconds. Unlike previous Quake games, the game plays well with relatively low-speed connections, but it will also take advantage of the latest and greatest 3D accelerators, offering a visual clarity that is unmatched elsewhere.

Check out the new Q3Test today (it's a hefty 31 MB download) on the Quake III Arena Web site