John Carmack discusses RAGE on iPhone/iPad/iPod


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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Around the web: Brink wins Eurogamer Expo Game of Show


Like whack-a-mole, we put up new coverage roundups, and more and more stuff keeps popping up. In addition to our recent updates for RAGE, Brink (parts 1 and 2), New Vegas, and Hunted… we’ve MORE news to share.

Kicking things off, we’re excited to share news that Brink was named the #1 Game of Show at this year’s Eurogamer Expo. You can check out the top ten games here (which includes New Vegas as well). Congrats to the team at Splash Damage for their efforts both on the game and at recent trade show events.

Also ranking the top games from the show was split/screen co-op — who ranked New Vegas, Brink, and Hunted in their top 10. Swap New Vegas out for RAGE, and that pretty much sums up the most recent Eurogamer podcast. Definitely worth listening to, the podcast features RAGE’s Tim Willits, Hunted’s Maxx Kaufman, and Brink’s Ed Stern.

More after the break…

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RAGE Weekend Roundup


Last weekend’s Eurogamer expo saw daily stage presentations of id’s RAGE, and the folks there were pretty fired up for it. As Eurogamer wrote:

Every day at this year’s Eurogamer Expo, Tim Willits takes to the stage in our massive auditorium to show and talk about RAGE, the latest first-person shooter to issue forth from the legendary id Software. To understand how exciting we find this, it is worth noting that without id’s games Eurogamer literally would not exist – several of the founding staff only do this because they grew up on Doom and Quake.

That paragraph precedes a long interview with Willits that can be digested here. A number of sites also talked to Willits, including Games.On.Net, VG247, AtomicGamer, GameRant, BrutalGamer, Critical Gamer and GameShard. And if you’re looking for a write-up of the presentation, head to VG247 for a live blog recap.

Finally, in general id news, Next-Gen wrote an excellent bio on John Carmack’s Legacy. Amongst other interesting anecdotes, it mentions that Carmack’s son has ambitious plans for robotic domination. Somehow we are not surprised.

Update: Check out a preview, as well as a new video interview with Tim at GamerCast.

Around the Web: Post Apocalyptic Double Feature


On a business trip out to Phoenix, I’m taking advantage of the flight’s wifi. Here’s a web update covering news for both Fallout: New Vegas and RAGE.

Kicking things off, Planet Fallout had a chance to interview Obsidian’s Chris Avellone — asking questions both on his career and New Vegas. For more interviews with members of the team, keep an eye on the site in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile at PC Gamer this weekend, the site has a new hands-on preview, as well as an interview with Senior Producer Larry Liberty. Here’s a quick look at the latter, as Larry talks about some of his favorite weapons in the game:

PC Gamer: What are your favourite new items and weapons that we’ll discover in New Vegas?

Larry Liberty: I really like the Ballistic Fist – it’s essentially a tiny shotgun grafted onto a gauntlet. It’s activated by a pressure plate when impacting a target. Perfect for the unarmed fighters among us. Euclid’s C-Finder has the single coolest weapon effect in the game. It’s a space-based mega-weapon that has its own quest line. Spears are really fun for Melee fighters. We’ve added the ability to throw weapons, and in the case of the spear you can literally pin limbs to walls, with or without the victim. If you prefer a more traditional, conventional FPS weapon, the Light Machine Gun is fantastic. It has a high rate of fire, and with the right ammo type can handle most enemies rather easily.

To read the rest of PC Gamer’s interview, head here. And more more coverage on the game, check out the following:

For the latest news on RAGE, read on after the break.

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Eurogamer Expo Update: Playable titles


Earlier in the month, we let you know about the Hunted and RAGE presentations taking place at this year’s Eurogamer Expo (more on that in a bit), but we also wantd you to know we have playable titles at the show. Like QuakeCon and PAX, you’ll have a chance to go hands-on with Hunted, New Vegas and Brink. And with Brink, you’ll even have a chance to chat with with developers from Splash Damage.

One quick programming note, the presentation for Hunted has been moved to 3:30 PM on Saturday, October 2nd. For those wanting to see RAGE, that presentation will be shown each day at 5 PM.

For more details on this year’s show, head to the event’s official site. If you think you’d like to attend, you might want to purchase your tickets now (Saturday’s tickets are already sold out).

IGDA: Hangin’ with Mr. Hooper


Later this month, id Software’s design director, Matt Hooper, will be presenting to the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) in Montreal. Details on his presentation, “Controlled RAGE: Production, Design, and Tech Challenges of Revolutionizing the FPS,” can be found below:

As in industry pioneer, id Software has been pushing the boundaries of the FPS genre since its inception. With RAGE and Tech5, id is revolutionizing the modern FPS, rethinking the player experience and facing the production and technological challenges that go along with it. Matt Hooper, id’s Design Director, will walk us through a demo of RAGE and discuss key aspects of the game’s development.

For more details on the presentation, head to IDGA’s official site.

Eurogamer Expo 2010 Presentations


Living in London? Wishing you were at PAX? There’s good news for you. Encore presentations of Hunted: The Demon’s Forge and RAGE will be shown at Eurogamer Expo 2010 in Earl’s Court, London.

This year’s show will take place on October 1-3, with presentations for RAGE each day at 5 PM each day. Meanwhile, Hunted will be demoed on Saturday, October 2nd at 3:30 PM.

Just announced: Hunted Presentation at PAX


If you’re heading to Seattle next week for PAX, be sure to check out our presentation for Hunted: The Demon’s Forge. Details below…

A Live Demonstration of HUNTED: THE DEMON’S FORGE

Come check out Bethesda Softworks’ and inXile Entertainment’s live demonstration of the exciting new action game, Hunted: The Demon’s Forge™! Powered by the Unreal 3 engine, Hunted is a fresh take on the classic fantasy game that delivers the intensity and action of a modern-day shooter. Descend into a dark world for an unforgettable cooperative experience as you and your partner face down wave after wave of vicious enemies.  Taking control of either E’lara, a ranged weapon expert, or Caddoc, a master swordsman, you must use a variety of weapons, powerful spells, and cover tactics to battle your way through menacing dungeons, overgrown ruins, and downtrodden towns. This path will lead you deep within the world of Kala Moor…and to the secrets of The Demon’s Forge.  Q&A session to follow the demonstration.

The Hunted presentation will take place in the Unicorn Theatre at the Washington State Convention Center on Friday, September 3rd, from 1:30-2:30 PM.

In addition to Hunted, developers from id Software will be presenting RAGE at the show. Details on the presentation, as well as what’s at our booth, can be found in our latest community newsletter, In The ‘Works.

New screens for RAGE, New Vegas, Hunted and Brink


In the chaotic jumble that was QuakeCon, you may have missed the bundle of brand-new screenshots we released for our upcoming games. We kind of did, too. So here they are, re-posted in one place for consecutive consumption.

Check below for fresh shots of Hunted, Brink, Fallout: New Vegas and RAGE.

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