New id interview with Todd, about Rage and Idtech5 licensing

Shaviro, are you replying to me? It was me who said they were expanding their company in the first place, mainly into a more varied "publishing house" including more teams and projects. We're discussing their Rage presentation, and why it focused on the technology aspect. Simple, because it's id's strongest asset, and because Carmack had some cool shit ready to start building a new game on. Ensure that aspect, and they can deliver market-friendly games with backing from the industry (EA partnership and whatever). Otherwise they are just like any other company. A problem might arise later if Carmack decides to fully move out... unless they were to find a proper replacement, but again, anyone else can find that replacement.

I have nothing to realize because I'm merely looking at the facts and stating why id promotes their game (and aspects of the game that are relevant at the moment) the way they do. You, on the other hand, are speculating about how they should do it otherwise, and assuming you know how they should be handling their multi-million dollar enterprise.

It's not that they're in '97 (following Carmack's philosophy to the letter developing a single game); it's that they can only really capitalize on what they truly are (utilizing Carmack's legacy and oversight to power a larger company).

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Now you're just twisting words. Even your own.
We were discussing the Rage presentation. Then it moved into a focus issue. You stated that they were focusing on tech instead of "genre details". I said that the right course of action would be to bet on both horses (A and B). You dismissed that as being wishful thinking. I documented that they are actually betting on both horses and how, and now you suddenly agree with me? Great job.

Going back to the Rage presentation discussion, is it illegal to have an opinion on how to present a game versus a game engine? You don't have to be running a multi-million dollar enterprise to question the actions of one. My statement is that they should have held back the Rage talk and focused solely on idtech5. They should have held game talk back to when they actually had something to talk about.

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Shaviro said:
You stated that they were focusing on tech instead of "genre details". I said that the right course of action would be to bet on both horses (A and B). You dismissed that as being wishful thinking. I documented that they are actually betting on both horses and how, and now you suddenly agree with me? Great job.

Wishful thinking is in reference to when one makes decisions disregarding or minimizing aspects like money, time, and true acquired assets and reputation versus speculation into new ground.

You don't have to be running a multi-million dollar enterprise to question the actions of one.

No, but if you don't even consider certain business aspects, you can't judge them very well.

My statement is that they should have held back the Rage talk and focused solely on idtech5. They should have held game talk back to when they actually had something to talk about.

How is that going to encourage the design elements you say are important? Most of the early promotion is related to building business relations (partnerships or employments) so that projects can take flight, not just showing fans what they'll be playing in the future. And, as far as I recall, I've never seen them present an engine without some game concept to go with it as a face.

My point is while they need to be competent in the game design department to be a big game publishing house, they need to keep being top notch as far as engine design is concerned, because that's their hallmark. That means A is first, B is second. Both could be strong, but if A fails, B is likely not going anywhere because many others could do the same without a head start.

EDIT: It's clear from the interview that they value technology and relatively simple gameplay to go along with it. They aren't, and aren't particularly eager to try to be, game design innovators. They may have expanded their company to provide a wider range of games, and reinforced their development tech and planning schedules, but otherwise they still hold this "Carmack philosophy" we were discussing.

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myk said:

Wishful thinking is in reference to when one makes decisions disregarding or minimizing aspects like money, time, and true acquired assets and reputation versus speculation into new ground.


You call it wishful thinking, I call it ambition or "taking changes". Taking chances is part of life, and also part of professional life. You speak of reputation. So do I, and my claim is that their bad reputation of being an all-tech-no-game company isn't getting any better by the half-baked presentation of last year.

No, but if you don't even consider certain business aspects, you can't judge them very well.


And what business aspects am I not taking into account?

How is that going to encourage the design elements you say are important? Most of the early promotion is related to building business relations (partnerships or employments) so that projects can take flight, not just showing fans what they'll be playing in the future.


These? Just presenting the engine and not getting into all the Rage stuff would have done the trick. They could still have had Rage media in there, but they should have kept quiet about the game until they had more interesting stuff to say. Information that would truly get people hooked on the game.

And, as far as I recall, I've never seen them present an engine without some game concept to go with it as a face.


Doom 3 at macworld in 2001. They presented what they were doing with the engine without getting into what Doom 3, the project, was about. As far as I recall, Doom wasn't even mentioned. Later on they came in with details about Doom 3. When they actually had something interesting game-related stuff to show and tell.

My point is while they need to be competent in the game design department to be a big game publishing house, they need to keep being top notch as far as engine design is concerned, because that's their hallmark. That means A is first, B is second. Both could be strong, but if A fails, B is likely not going anywhere because many others could do the same without a head start.


A vague point. What is more important? Employees or customers? The harddisk or the cpu? Water or air? You can get into long debates about this with great points on both sides, but it's not going to get you anywhere. People get into heated debates about graphics versus "gameplay". It's a borderline retarded discussion. One influences the other. Anyway. A company like id has the ability to bet on both horses, and they have to do that in order to keep their position in the industry. You still have to remember, however, that great games is their bread and butter.

EDIT: It's clear from the interview that they value technology and relatively simple gameplay to go along with it. They aren't, and aren't particularly eager to try to be, game design innovators. They may have expanded their company to provide a wider range of games, and reinforced their development tech and planning schedules, but otherwise they still hold this "Carmack philosophy" we were discussing.


Game design innovators and simple gameplay are two terms that are very difficult to define. A great game isn't necessarily innovative. It doesn't have to do anything groundbreakingly new. It is about the mixture. A great game is going to have to be relatively simple in order to become a success anyway.

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Shaviro said:
So do I, and my claim is that their bad reputation of being an all-tech-no-game company isn't getting any better by the half-baked presentation of last year.

That sounds pretty pessimistic. This seems to be a reply to that: "I think there are three people on the internet that keep making these posts that Doom 3 was "bad", and they get no credibility from any other people... there's some mass-misperception out there. I get this occasionally - why don't I think Doom 3 was successful? We sold over three million units! It's the most successful game in id's history."

Not that I've heard you say that DOOM 3 is bad in particular, but the main way it is attacked is by saying it's "all-tech-no-game" (other than "it's too dark").

And what business aspects am I not taking into account?

Mainly the fact that id is known as an video game engine innovator, and business comes knocking on their door for that reason (they generate that demand), and thus they present themselves as a "technology first" option. They bet on their concrete assets, rather than assuming some general game design ideal.

Doom 3 at macworld in 2001. They presented what they were doing with the engine without getting into what Doom 3, the project, was about. As far as I recall, Doom wasn't even mentioned. Later on they came in with details about Doom 3. When they actually had something interesting game-related stuff to show and tell.

When DOOM 3 was presented they were still the one-game company they used to be, and they wouldn't have cared about setting up game design projects like they do now. Regardless, the initiative to make the new DOOM was made public in 2000, and DOOM isn't exactly a new concept. Did they need to say anything about it early on? The earlier they can get design going for their new concept game, the more time they have to work on it. Exposing the conceptual work that they did have ready to show helps them see if they'll be any good, in general. More specific gameplay related aspects come later. If the design departments need an incentive (this is what you say), how can making them show their progress be a problem? You say they should take chances, but when they present what they have you say, "put that away, it's not ready!"

A vague point.

It's not that vague once it comes from their company policies, heh.

Game design innovators and simple gameplay are two terms that are very difficult to define.

It's not hard to define the difference between a company that puts more store in engine development than in its design departments ("technology first"), compared to another that is dedicated to grouping talented designers and prioritizing their visions ("design is law"). There's a political aspect in this. The design and programming departments each have their own idiosyncrasies and make their own demands, and the weight they have in the company matters.

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That post didn't really bring anything new to the debate. To keep it short and simple:

1. No it is not pessimistic. Doom 3 wasn't received all that well by gamers. It's not just three people saying that over and over. I should know. I've been part of a Doom3 mod development team for 4 years. I for one really like Doom3, but saying that it's only three people in a corner is an understatement....a big one. Rage is a direct response to the critique Doom3 received.

2. Why do you think the Doom3 engine wasn't licensed much? I can tell you it's not because the engine wasn't capable. By the time Doom3 was released, the narrow game focus (horror darkness) turned people off of that kind of corridor shooter. And when Quake4 came along and failed miserably at providing anything up to par with the engine, feeding the bad reputation of the Doom3 engine. This is the number one reason they stopped naming the engines after the games. Enter idtech.

Id realized after Doom3's (and the engine's) poor aftermath that they need to bet on both horses, which is what they are doing now.

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Shaviro said:
I've been part of a Doom3 mod development team for 4 years. I for one really like Doom3, but saying that it's only three people in a corner is an understatement....a big one.

It's an understatement on purpose, of course.

Why do you think the Doom3 engine wasn't licensed much? I can tell you it's not because the engine wasn't capable. By the time Doom3 was released, the narrow game focus (horror darkness) turned people off of that kind of corridor shooter. And when Quake4 came along and failed miserably at providing anything up to par with the engine, feeding the bad reputation of the Doom3 engine. This is the number one reason they stopped naming the engines after the games. Enter idtech.

That sounds about right to me; they expanded their design departments because a small one couldn't keep up with tech development. But what I'm noting is that they didn't seem to have changed their priorities otherwise (I explained this pointing to their "technology first"). They gave design extra resources that would make up for the game-design-time issue. They should be able to release games (which individually are not much different from their previous releases in terms of design, except where tech leads elsewhere) at the right moment without losing their their licensing clients to competitors, and without depending on independent design-oriented partners, like Raven.

Id realized after Doom3's (and the engine's) poor aftermath that they need to bet on both horses, which is what they are doing now.

I would say instead that their economic success has allowed them a bigger pool of designers too keep up with tech, but that didn't change who leads in importance (decision making and general outlook).

Keep in mind our particular discussion started about your "why not A and B?" But for them it's A, then B (they say this). Which doesn't mean that B isn't accounted for, but it's based on the other. Just check how Hollenshead talks about Carmack and id's engine making reputation, but not with so much focus on design, except particularly that it's fun and fits the tech like a glove.

Their design department grew, but they keep it relatively small by keeping the tech side strong (you've been dwelling on this with Zaldron by noting the impact of the engine features and tools on development), and they seem to still aim at games with a lot of action, and no particularly central narrative character. Rage seems much more justified by the tech than by any particular plot or theme... which may be related to what you were complaining about regarding the way it was presented!

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david_a said:

The original idea for Prey was similar. It was supposed to be a series of one-on-one fights with very intelligent opponents, all of which had some weird gimmick.


IIRC, Prey was originally going to simply be like Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament - multiplayer deathmatch with bots masquerading as a Sp shooter.

Combined with Portals, it would have been a revolutionary game if it had come out on time.

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