All the RAGE: Tim Willits

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Recently we had a chance to catch up with id Software’s Tim Willits to discuss his career, interests, and more. Leading up to RAGE’s release in September, you can expect to hear plenty more from the game’s creative director — both on RAGE’s official site and here at Bethesda Blog.

What do you do at id Software?

I am the Creative Director working on RAGE. I manage the entire RAGE team and ensure things get done with the game. My days involve a little cheerleading, whip-cracking, motivational sneakiness, and just about anything else to get the team working. Luckily for me, I’m working with the best team in the industry, and I feel like I have the best job in the world!

Do you remember the first game you ever played?

The  stand-up arcade version of Space Invaders. I was visiting my grandparents and the drug store down the street had just installed one. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. With its blinking lights, cool sounds, and just massiveness (I was pretty little at the time), I thought I had found the greatest thing ever. My life has never been the same.

What was the first time you realized that you wanted to work in video games?

I realized I wanted to work in video games while playing the shareware version of the original DOOM. When I played those levels and experienced what I could do in that game,  I pretty much knew it was the path for me. I thank my lucky stars that I was able to do it at the company I fell in love with as a gamer.

You started your career as a level modder. How did you get id’s attention?

The guys at id Software discovered me because I made some really fun and well constructed DOOM 1 levels and posted them to a BBS they frequented. At the time I was modding, the community was rather small so it wasn’t difficult getting noticed. It was a bit of luck mixed with a lot of hard work. Even today I encourage people who want to get into the business to work on their own modding games they love –it’s the best way to produce something and get noticed.

If you’ve got a dinner reservation for two and you can invite one game developer to join you?

I would invite my good friend Todd Howard. I always enjoy spending time with Todd and frankly –he’s just brilliant. He always has very intuitive, clever, and thought-provoking things to say.

What’s your proudest accomplishment thus far?

Between designing the shareware episode of QUAKE 1 to building QUAKE  2, to DOOM 3, it’s really hard to choose just one. Even today, I am proud of the great work done the team working on RAGE. When someone does even the smallest thing well it helps everyone on the team.

What’s your all-time favorite video game level?

That’s easy. QUAKE 2 DM level ‘The Edge’. It’s the perfect death match level that’s been imitated many times with great success. It has everything you need for fun, well-balanced multiplayer matches.

What games have you been playing lately?

Fallout: New Vegas, Red Dead Redemption, and anything Kinect with my kids.

What are your non-gaming hobbies?

I have quite a few kids so chasing them around the yard and spending time with my wife consumes all my free time. I’m quite lucky.

Reader Comments

  1. Hello, Mr. Willits. I’m sure, that you, get crazy ideas, from gamer all over the world. Here in my mind, is a weapon that will revolutionize, any game that, it, is deployed, on to. Impressive work, Sir, you are truly, remarkable! I probably will never get reply, from you. I understand. So I guess I’ll continue modifying, It, here in Will’s world. I have told, No One, about “IT”. I just see, “it” wonderfully taking down enemies, in, RAGE. Causing havoc, to foes, even after, “it” has been used, on five, six, maybe even ten of them. Sorry for rambling. I know that you, are busy. I myself, am not a programmer, not that would not love to learn but have been a PC technician and gamer since the early days of “dragon slayer” have several yeas of college, in the Science and health fields. Was a paramedic for many years and even been in a movie, like excessive force. Well Sir, i’m glad, to know a bit about you, from reading your information, on the Meet the team section of id, site. Great Job on rage, I’ll be waiting for it and playing some of your creations, in the mean time;). GOD bless.

  2. Hi Tim,

    Thats a great profile you have there

    I have some ideas and questions for RAGE. I am an ID fan, and own alot of the games for mac. I am only 13 years old though so I play them at my dads house. If you like my ideas give me an email.

    Is there going to be a map making or character modding tool for the console or computer – like forge and anvil?

    Is RAGE going to come out or be ported for mac?

    I think you should ask banksy (an unknown famous graffiti artist) to make some tags for you to put into your game – the Dead City for example – he is realy cool. http://www.banksy.co.uk/

    Custom your Character and guns like you can do in Brink

    Gun Perks for online multiplayer – I know this is to much like Cod but it would be cool

    A chain saw, axe, knifes, jet pack and stuff you find through levels that you can pick up and use

    A shop

    Its not much but I just needed to put something in. P.S. I really like mutant bach tv.

  3. Oh and also I hope they have destructible environments in RAGE – like you have to blow a hole in a wall blocking your path with a rocket launcher to continue or if you could toss a grenade at a pillar so the bottom blows up and the pillar falls over on to a mutant. Also it would be cool if you had to swing across a huge rope swing while shooting mutants to cross a dried up river or something. I so cant wait for RAGE

    Jake – also I like Red Dead Redemption too.

  4. To Mr. Willits, thank you for all your hard work over the years. Truly impressive and you’ve made contributions to the industry! Keep up the great work!

    As I sit here watching the rage video, I’m wondering when we’ll take gaming to the next level to be fully interactive. I’ve been playing games since the text days of the early 80’s. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it from the original Doom, Castle Wolfenstein, Quake and it’s iterations, Call of Duty, BF, Halo, etc. You get my point. But something lacking that I’ve yet to see or read about is the ability to truly and realistically interact with the games. Let me explain. What we have today is great, I’m not knocking that, but to walk up to a character in the game you’re playing and have it talk to you is well, getting boring. Why can’t I talk to and interact with them? When they ask a question, why can’t “I” answer? Why can’t I ask a question of them? Not a text response or some physical action done by my character but me, truly being my character. If I walk up to someone in the game and they say what do you want or something else. I want to be able to talk to them and respond with a voice into my microphone. They in turn react based on my speech. Now I realize what I’m asking is difficult, if not impossible, but com’n for all the years we’ve been making and playing games, we haven’t even tried to step in this direction that I’m aware of. I realize the difficulty in building an AI and all the underlying diction to go with it, the logic and such to accommodate such a feat but until we try… Maybe I’m wrong and it’s out there somewhere but wouldn’t it be great if we could start heading there??

    Just dreaming out loud I guess.