In video games, noclip mode (also known as "noclipping") is a cheat that prevents the first-person player character camera from being obstructed by other objects and permits the camera to move in any direction, simply removing all physics so the player is granted the ability to pass through such things as walls, props, and other players. Noclipping can be used to cheat, avoid bugs (and help developers debug), find easter eggs, and view areas beyond a map's physical boundaries.
The term was popularized by the games of id Software in the 1990s. The name is derived from the command traditionally used to activate it: typing "idclip" in the game's command PC game console for Doom II (the previous one was "idspispopd"). The cheat is commonplace, particularly in action-oriented first-person shooters such as Quake or Half-Life. John Carmack of id Software has told fans that he derived the term from the concept of "clipping a movement vector". The first instance of noclip code came from id Software's popular game series Commander Keen.
Noclip modes (and similar modes) often originate as a means by which developers test games. If a new feature is implemented in a game but requires play to determine whether it works, it saves time if a developer can quickly reach the relevant portion of the game by avoiding death or by "flying" over time-consuming regions of the game environment. This source of god modes often manifests itself in the route by which players activate these modes – for example, running a game with a development mode flag.
The equivalent code for a game may also turn off clipping, but this is not the reason why the player can walk through walls. The code turns off collision detection, an entirely separate toggle. The code generally does not turn off back-face culling, which is why the other side of a one-sided wall is not drawn when the player uses "no collision" mode to walk through it.
Some developers have continued in the fashion of id Software.
Generally speaking, walls and objects have no "substance" unless advanced in-game physics is being used. Collision detection refers to the intersection of a wall or object with the player's avatar. If there is an intersection (collision is on), the game stops the player's motion, as if they had bumped into the intersecting object. Otherwise, the avatar will not interact with the object and will pass through it. This is a relatively simple method of implementing in-game physics with walls.
Noclipping can conflict with other elements of the game. For instance, in the MS-DOS registered 1.3D version of Duke Nukem 3D, and the Commander Keen series, having noclip mode on and walking outside the level area causes death, and if the player has god mode activated the game will be left in an infinite loop or crash due to the way god mode was implemented. In the MS-DOS Plutonium Pak 1.4 / Atomic Edition 1.5 and in source ports for Duke Nukem 3D, this problem is corrected and it instead behaves more like Doom. Disabling collision detection may also interfere with the game's programming in other ways; the player may trigger pre-programmed events at the wrong time, prevent a critical event from activating at all, or inadvertently disable access to other sections of the game world.
In the classic first-person shooter Doom, an effect known as the "Hall of Mirrors" can occur as a result of design error or player experimentation.[further explanation needed]
Games of the day had been programmed under the assumption that the player's viewpoint would always be completely contained within sealed areas. This made it unnecessary to erase the contents of the screen before drawing the next frame; the new frame would completely cover its predecessor anyway. However, when the player used noclip mode to maneuver the virtual camera so as to violate this assumption, the game would generate frames with "holes" in them where there was no content to display. These frames would fail to completely cover the older ones, leaving whatever had been drawn a moment before still visible in certain regions of the screen. As the player further moved the virtual camera, numerous un-erased regions would blend together to produce visual patterns resembling those encountered in a physical hall of mirrors.
Typing gl_clear 1 in Quake engine games is a way to empty the buffer of the image of what was last rendered. With this setting, a magenta color is drawn outside of the world, clearing the screen and aiding navigation when outside of the level.
There are bugs in games such as Sonic Adventure 2, Dead Rising, Lost Planet and We Love Katamari at which the character's shadow appears on all floors below the character instead of only the floor immediately beneath the character.
This can also happen in Source engine games including Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress 2, where if a mapmaker has not set the correct properties on a floor (disable shadowing, etc.), the shadows of the players above will show through. A "Hall of Mirrors" effect can also occur is the mapmaker has not sealed the map properly and left a leak to the void. In Team Fortress 2, noclipping can be used to build buildings in spawns; walk through walls; float everywhere; receive health, ammo and metal; and move players into enemy spawns, if enabled by the server. In Counter-Strike and the Left 4 Dead series, after the player has died, they have the option to select "free mode" as they wait to respawn or are a spectator. This allows the player to move anywhere on the map. This ability also helps to find secret areas of the map that are unreachable or unable to be seen in normal play such as seeing the credits for the map de_Dust2 (and many other maps) outside the Counter Terrorist's spawn.
This can happen in Unity games if the camera's Clear Flags are set to "Don't Clear".
In many Unreal Engine games there are several cheats that can be typed to enable noclip mode. The most common one is a single typing of the ghost cheat. The player typing the cheat will be able to fly around the level and through geometry.
In the massively multiplayer online role-playing game RuneScape a glitch was discovered that gave players certain properties of noclip, such as being able to go past almost any barrier and allowed players to cheat in in-game activities. This glitch was patched some months after its discovery in 2008.
In the games Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: World at War, and Call of Duty: Black Ops for the Xbox 360 and more recently[when?] the PlayStation 3, players could copy their game save data to their computer and modify it so they could use noclip in online multiplayer matches. Players primarily used the noclip mode to cheat, as it allowed them to "fly" across the map with great speed and access normally inaccessible parts of the map in addition to turning off the hit detection (which effectively made them invincible). However, while the noclip mode was active, players could in no way interact with the game environment (i.e. shoot other players). This exploit has since been patched for both versions of the game on the Laptop's Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. However, some games, such as Team Fortress 2 have not patched this on the console version. On PC versions the noclip mode is accessible in single player maps as well by entering "noclip" into the console.
Noclip mode is available in numerous open source games based on the GPL Quake source code.