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id: New technology making it harder to create mod tools

by John Keefer, Aug 09, 2013 12:00pm PDT

While id software has always been a forerunner in advanced technology and engine development, it is that very technology that is making it harder for the developer to continue to pursue the creation of mod tools and easily moddable games, id studio director Tim Willits said.

The tools for Rage were were released earlier this year, more than a year after the game came out. Willits told Shacknews that the reason was that trying to get a tool kit to the point where it can run on only one machine is a huge undertaking.

"It was Herculean task," he said, laughing. "The technology that goes into developing the games is becoming so complex that it makes creating tools much more difficult. We don't necessarily want to run away from mods, it's just so complex these days. Once everything is created, it takes an awful lot of CPUs and distributed computing. To condense all that into a package that a single computer can run was an accomplishment."

Willits said that he couldn't talk about Doom 4 and if mod tools would be released for the game, but given that the technology continues to march forward, it isn't a stretch to speculate that those tools would pose an even greater problem to package.

While id has been relatively quiet on the game front, with only Doom 4 officially known to be in the works, Willits said the company is not going to just become a tech house and cut back on game development. "That's silly," he said. "We haven't abandoned the Rage universe. We just don't know what we are going to do with it next. We just have a lot of things--Quake, people can't forget about that, and Doom of course. And we are still working on Quake Live."

Willits said Quake Live associate producer Adam Pyle was spending much of QuakeCon talking to fans about what they want to see for the game. "He's meeting with a bunch of the pro players and asking them 'What new things do you like?' 'What are we doing right and what are we not doing right?' " he said. "Most of the feedback, direction and changes that we do for Quake Live comes from the community. We are always looking at the business side of it, and we are always looking at ways that we can grow it and expand it. It has a nice little niche. If there is a popular mod or a popular way to play the game, or if there are a lot of people asking for something--or a variant of a different game type--then we'll put it in."

Speaking of older games, Willits said revisiting Quake Wars or an Enemy Territory-style game has been discussed internally. "The guys at id have always liked the Enemy Territory game style--hardcore, class-based multiplayer," he said. "One of the issues we found with ET and even with Wolfenstein is that if you are an engineer, you're the only guy that can open that door. That worked great for really well-organized teams, but released out into the public, it tends to struggle because most people, even though they are playing a multiplayer game, they kind of want to lone-wolf it. So it's a tricky balance between letting everyone do everything and then letting it be a strategic class-based game. I prefer the class-based games. It's something we would love to do at some point. There are no plans for any ET games either for Wolfenstein or Quake right now, but it's something that is definitely dear in our hearts."

Is id planning something new with multiplayer any time soon? "It's difficult to answer that without going into territory we can't talk about," Willits said. "Multiplayer is still very important to us, and Quake Live is still being used. Fans will just have to wait to see what we do."

One old-school game that id definitely won't touch again is the Commander Keen franchise. "I can definitely say no to that one," he said. "We don't even talk about it now."





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