Maximum PC gets down with Carmack

Our friends down the hall atMaximum PChad an opportunity to speak with id co-founder John Carmack after the big EA press conference yesterday (where id surprisingly announced a partnership with EA to publish Rage). They grilled the legendary game developer (and part-time rocket scientist) about id's post-apocalyptic shooter, the state of gaming graphics, and what his plans are after id Tech 5. Rage looks be a drastic departure from the traditional id FPS, not only in gameplay style (open worlds with vehicles vs. claustrophobic indoor environments) but also in the way Carmack has designed the code-base. id has already announced that Doom 4 is in development (no publisher has yet been annonced), and Carmack confirmed that it'll run at 30Hz and run with several times the graphics power as Rage, a 60Hz game.

MPC: Can you lead off by telling us a little bit about Rage and id Tech 5?

John Carmack: id Tech 5 is the next major technology generation after the Doom 3 [engine]. Doom 3 was targeted at high-end PCs and the original Xbox. It’s been one of our big learning experiences working with our partner companies about just how miserable the porting process is. Doing a game, then delivering for the PC, the Xbox 360, the PS3, the Mac or whatever. It’s just something horrible that we suffered through with Enemy Territory, or rather one of our partners did.

The target that we had, we knew when we were starting this generation of technology that the consoles were taking over the preeminence for the types of games we’d been making—the AAA media-rich blockbusters were on the consoles. We needed a solution that would be portable across 360, PS3, PC, and OS X, but we didn’t want to abandon our PC roots. And we have enough Apple boosters internally that the Mac remains a platform that we have some fondness for.

On a technical level, we had to make design decisions that would let us target all of these platforms, very importantly, from a single source-base, and developed [that] internally. We didn’t want to have to go out to any other companies to produce these games. We wanted to say OK, here’s the build and run the same build on the PC, the 360, and the PS3. We still have to go through one extra step to build it on the Mac. But it really does work that way on the other [console] platforms. Right now, you check the stuff in, the next day you get the build reports, which says, “here it is [ready to go] on these three platforms.” So that’s one of the core technical aspects.

Find out more about what id has up its sleeve by heading straight to the source at Maximum PC.

Jul 23, 2008