All the RAGE: Matt Hooper

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RAGE design director Matt Hooper joins John Carmack and Tim Willits in having a new interview up on Bethesda Blog.

What do you do at id Software?

My title is Design Director, which would imply that I handle the design direction. However, like most folks at id, I’m allowed to apply my skills beyond my title’s scope into other areas that benefit the team as a whole.

So, while my main passion has always been design and I do work closely with our group of talented designers, I’ve also been responsible for collaborating with the core technology group. I’ve always been excited by our cutting edge directions we take at id, and one of my tasks has been to help focus the practical application of our technology. With industry leading engineers like John Carmack, Robert Duffy, Jan Paul Van Waveren, and many more, I consider that a fun and exciting endeavor more than just a task.

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All the RAGE: John Carmack

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Whether he’s making games, building rockets, or just talking about technology, it’s always interesting to listen to John Carmack. Read his ‘All the RAGE’  interview below. And if you missed it, be sure to check out the podcast interview Nick and I did with him back in November.

What do you do at id Software?

I am the technical director. I find and develop the major technology pillars that our games are built on, which involves research, some inspiration, and a whole lot of work.

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The Temple of DOOM

Our European PR manager, Alistair Hatch, pointed me to an insane collection of DOOM collectibles on Flickr and YouTube. Collected by Mahmut Saral (aka DOOM Collector), he’s got every possible version of the game (32X!!!), as well as guns from the movie, old as dirt press kits, and even an HD-DVD.

It’s a collection that would even make John Carmack envious… unless he’s actually got John stashed in somewhere in there.

Remembering Commander Keen, 20 Years Later

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Hard to believe it’s been two full decades since the world got its first taste of what would become id Software.

Commander Keen, the earliest work produced by the id team, was launched 20 years ago on December 14 — over a month before the company was officially founded. Starring Billy “Commander Keen” Blaze, an eight-year-old genius-turned-space explorer, the Keen series quickly won a big following for its smooth side-scrolling action and irreverent style.

To mark the series’ 20th anniversary today, developers from both id Software and Bethesda have volunteered to share their memories of the Keen games. Take a trip back through time and space with us below:

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The Bethesda Podcast Episode 5: John Carmack

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On a very special hour-long edition of the Bethesda Podcast, id Software co-founder and technical director John Carmack joins us for a long discussion on topics ranging from the development of RAGE Mobile to space exploration and Ferraris.

Also featured on the podcast is Bethesda Game Studios level designer Joel Burgess, who shares his Minecraft expertise, as well as his advice on breaking into the video game industry.

You can now grab the podcast via any of the following methods:

Subscribe on iTunes
Direct Download
Streaming
RSS

RAGE now available on iTunes in HD & SD flavors

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Big week on iTunes. First the Beatles show up, and now RAGE for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is available! In the game, you’ll get a taste of RAGE’s world and story as you compete in Mutant Bash TV, a post-apocalyptic game show where you’ll be stalked by hungry mutants while you scour pulse-pounding levels for ammo and cash pick-ups.

It should be noted that the game is available as two separate releases: RAGE HD ($1.99) and RAGE (SD version, $.99). Before you download, you should make sure you pick the version best suited for your Apple device. Below is information on the game’s compatibility with specific iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches.

RAGE (SD app)

  • File Size – 831MB (537MB compressed)
  • Price – $0.99
  • Platforms – (Universal App) – iPad / iPod Touch 2, 3 & 4 (2nd – 4th gen) / iPhone 3G, 3GS & 4 (2nd – 4th gen)

RAGE HD (high definition version)

  • Price –$1.99
  • File Size – 1.26GB (743MB compressed)
  • Platforms – (Universal App) – iPad / iPod Touch 3 & 4 (3rd – 4th gen) / iPhone 3GS & 4 (3rd – 4th gen)

For more on the game, check out our official page for the game.

John Carmack discusses RAGE on iPhone/iPad/iPod

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This month we’re privileged to share a special diary from the legendary John Carmack, technical director and co-founder of id Software. In addition to his current work on RAGE — coming to Xbox 360, Games for Windows, and PlayStation 3 on September 13, 2011 — and id Tech 5 technology, John has been working on an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch version of RAGE that will introduce gamers to the game’s story and world.

Round of applause for John Carmack…

RAGE for iPhone

Our mobile development efforts at id took some twists and turns in the last year. The plan was always to do something RAGE-related on the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch next, but with all the big things going on at id, the mobile efforts weren’t front and center on the priority list. There had been a bit of background work going on, but it was only towards the end of July that I was able to sit down and write the core engine code that would drive the project.

I was excited about how well it turned out, and since this was right before QuakeCon, I broke with tradition and did a live technology demo during my keynote. In hindsight, I probably introduced it poorly. I said something like “Its RAGE. On the iPhone. At 60 frames a second.”  Some people took that to mean that the entire PC/console game experience was going to be on the iPhone, which is definitely not the case.

What I showed was a technology demo, written from scratch, but using the RAGE content creation pipeline and media. We do not have the full RAGE game running on iOS, and we do not plan to try. While it would (amazingly!) actually be possible to compile the full-blown PC/console RAGE game for an iPhone4 with some effort, it would be a hopelessly bad idea. Even the latest and greatest mobile devices are still a fraction of the power of a 360 or PS3, let alone a high end gaming PC, so none of the carefully made performance tradeoffs would be appropriate for the platform, to say nothing of the vast differences in controls.

What we do have is something unlike anything ever seen on the iOS platforms. It is glorious, and a lot of fun. Development has been proceeding at high intensity since QuakeCon, and we hope to have the app out by the end of November.

The technical decision to use our megatexture content creation pipeline for the game levels had consequences for its scope. The data required for the game is big. Really, really big. Seeing Myst do well on the iPhone with a 700 meg download gave me some confidence that users would still download huge apps, and that became the target size for our standard definition version, but the high definition version for iPad / iPhone 4 will be around twice that size. This is more like getting a movie than an app, so be prepared for a long download. Still, for perspective, the full scale RAGE game is around 20 gigs of data with JPEG-XR compression, so 0.7 gigs of non-transcoded data is obviously a tiny slice of it.

Since we weren’t going to be able to have lots of hugely expansive levels, we knew that there would be some disappointment if we went out at a high price point, no matter how good it looked. We have experimented with a range of price points on the iPhone titles so far, but we had avoided the very low end. We decided that this would be a good opportunity to try a  $0.99 SD / $1.99 HD price point.  We need to stay focused on not letting the project creep out of control, but I think people will be very happy with the value.

The little slice of RAGE that we decided to build the iPhone product around is “Mutant Bash TV”, a post apocalyptic combat game show in the RAGE wasteland. This is the perfect setup for a quintessential first person shooter game play experience — you pick your targets, aim your shots, time your reloads, dodge the bad guys, and try and make it through to the end of the level with a better score than last time. Beyond basic survival, there are pickups, head shots, and hit streak multipliers to add more options to the gameplay, and there is a broad range of skill levels available from keep-hitting-fire-and-you-should-make-it to almost-impossible.

A large goal of the project has been to make sure that the levels can be replayed many times. The key is making the gamplay itself the rewarding aspect, rather than story progression, character development, or any kind of surprises. Many of the elements that made Doom Resurrection good the first time you played it hurt the replayability, for instance. RAGE iOS is all action, all the time. I have played the game dozens of times, and testing it is still fun instead of a chore.

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id files brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA & ESA case

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Earlier in the month we explained why you should consider signing The Gamer Petition, a grassroots campaign to mobilize the gaming community in the run-up to Schwarzenegger v. ESA and EMA. Set for oral argument in November, this landmark United States Supreme Court case will determine whether video games should continue to enjoy protection as free speech like any other respectable art form.

But gamers aren’t the only ones speaking up. Today our friends over at id Software have equipped their own legal BFGs, firing off a “friend of the court” brief for the Supreme Court justices to consider. The brief boils down to an argument for why video games should not be thought of as any different than films, novels or other artistic media.

In the argument, Homer’s “The Iliad” is used as a basis for explaining why video games “have the same claim to constitutional protection as traditional forms of art.” The brief further argues that video games’ distinctive characteristics should not exclude them from First Amendment protection.

Citing scads of legal precedents, it’s a pretty interesting read as a bystander, and hopefully something the Court will consider helpful to its deliberations. But as LeVar would say, you don’t have to take my word for it — read the full brief here. And for more information on the case, head to the Entertainment Software Association’s dedicated page.

Special Promotion for QUAKE LIVE starts today

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Earlier today, we let folks know about some special deals on QUAKE LIVE. Read the details below…

We’re pleased to announce that starting today, anyone who signs up for QUAKE LIVE can experience the Premium subscription membership benefits for FREE until next Sunday, September 26th.

Additionally, anyone who purchases a Premium or Pro membership for QUAKE LIVE during this promotion will receive the added bonus of one additional month of membership access!

If you purchase a membership during this promotional period, you will have the option to redeem this one month token to extend your membership or gift it to a friend.

More details after the break…

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