It came from QuakeCon 2008

Sunday 03rd August 2008, 03:35:00 PM, written by Richard Connery

After the lacklustre E3 less than a month ago, QuakeCon 2008 is coming to a close. The id Software event opened up and the likes of AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and more are sponsoring it. The tournament focused convention is highlighted by John Carmack's keynote address. With the subsequent interviews that followed there is a lot to digest so here are some of the major points:

The Xbox 360 version of Rage will look worse than the PS3 version. Turns out that because of the reduced size on xbox 360's DVDs, Rage would have to use three of them, except Microsoft charges for the privilege of releasing a game for their console on a per disc, rather than per game, basis. We had already identified disk spaning as a problem for id Tech 5 games. id says this is not a closed matter.

When asked in an interview John Carmack has readily admited putting that out there to provoke public pressure on Microsoft to change the way they charge per disc. What if MS doesn't cave in? Well, you can expect "blurry rocks" in the periphery of the huge landscapes. Instead of reducing texture sizes for surfaces the player isn't likely to get close to in other engines, id Tech 5's MegaTexture allows developers to have more aggressive compression instead. Discussions of Blu-Ray vs DVD in consoles are never going to die down now. Despite the above, JC still thinks the Xbox is better system to develop for:

"What you can say really quite clearly and not get into too much argument about it is that the 360 is much easier to develop for, it's easier to get the performance out of it that it can deliver, and the rasterizer, the GPU side is generally faster than what the PS3 has. You could design a game where the PS3 would be the superior platform, but you'd have to go out of your way to do it. If you're doing a game like people just want to do games now, the 360's the better platform."

Likewise, id have also confirmed that all platforms are running Rage at 60fps, including the PS3 even though it took them more work to get there.

The first screenshots of Rage have been released, showing two of the factions of the game. There was also an extended trailer showing more characters and more vehicular combat. Shacknews also scored the first bullet point list of Rage gameplay details which portray an action FPS with vehicular combat with a focus on exploration. Inventory system, global economy and memorable characters also show id Software is trying something new.

Speaking of something new, DOOM (4 -- id now says it may not have a four in its title) will be a departure from DOOM 3's survival-horror FPS and lend credence to the speculation that it will be a reimagining of DOOM II: Hell on Earth, the same way D3 was a reimagining of the original DOOM. QuakeCon also confirmed that D4 will aim at 30fps (like every other game these days) unlike Rage which runs at 60fps. JC did say that by the time DOOM 4 is released, PCs will be so far ahead of consoles that PC gamers with high end systems will be able to run the game at 60fps anyway. The lower performance threshold target will allow the game to sport three times the visual videlity you see in Rage.

There was also many other new bits of information. id Software cancelled the game they were working on right after DOOM 3 was released because "[it] would have been keeping with Doom 3's faults". The Shacknews article provides an interesting insight to how the small game developer approaches projects and the need to take team member sensibilities into account in such a jarring decision.

A new Wolfenstein trailer was also released. The game is being developed by Raven Software on a heavily modified DOOM 3 (id Tech 4 in the current naming system) engine with Havok physics and, apparently, replacing the stencil shadow volumes for shadow buffers. The official website has also gone live; from the copyright information this is a 2009 game being released for PS3, XBOX 360 and PC.

Speaking of live, Quake Live, the ad-supported version of Quake 3 which has prevasive statistics, buddy list, cloud-configuration is now in full beta with every one that attended QuakeCon geting a beta key. This one should be released later this year.

If there are any more interesting interviews or articles we'll do a follow-up article but these are the most important newsbits that have come out of QuakeCon.


± john carmack, rage, doom4, quakecon, xbox360, ps3

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