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RAGE/DOOM 4 Modding Limitations Explained

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RAGE will be difficult to mod thanks to id Tech 5's megatexture system.

If there's one constant state we've seen over the last two decades, it's that Epic Game's Unreal Engine is seemingly everywhere, used in more PC and console games than we can count. id Software's id Tech, on the other hand, is kept within a tight circle, and that's unlikely to change with the upcoming release of its id Tech 5-based first-person shooter, RAGE, later this year.

According to creative director Tim Willits, building levels from scratch using the provided toolset will be even more difficult than what was seen in 2004's id Tech 4. but the news really shouldn't be a surprise, as Willits previously warned of the modding difficulties back in 2008, explaining that it's due to the engine's megatexture system. Unlike previous engines where smaller texture maps were individually loaded when needed, id Tech 5 stores texture data for levels as one huge map that's streamed into the environment.

Still, modding tools will be provided within the game-- modders merely pull down the console and type 'id Studio' into the dash. "Building levels from scratch is more difficult but I can foresee somebody modding up [one of Rage’s hub towns like] Wellspring and adding different characters and giving them different voiceovers," he said. "Then you’ll have a mission and load up the layer of that level that you need to go to. So you’ll probably see more stuff like that."

For modders looking to get their hands on id Tech 4's source code, Willits is unsure whether John Carmack will release it into the wild when RAGE hits the streets in September. As it stands now, Human Head Studios is currently using a modified version of id Tech 4 for the upcoming sequel to 2006's Prey-- the engine may not be available for free until the game is published and on shelves.

But according to EDGE Magazine, parent company Zenimax has given the GPU license a green light. "That’s mostly up to [id co-founder] John Carmack," Willits explained. "He sets the schedule for that. But his philosophy of maintaining that type of connection with the community hasn’t changed."

RAGE is slated to hit the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3 and Windows PC on September 13, 2011.

...Well, shit.

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Well, duh... Is it really a valid excuse? Just grab a graphics editor (freeware exists) and draw that megatexture. It should be a pretty rewarding and literally artistic activity.

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I don't see what is difficult with the megatexture. It's not created as a large skin in photoshop. It's painted on to the mesh with various tools in id Studio and then compiled into a single large image resource. If anything, texturing the world never been so easy. What would make the modding difficult if anything should be that it's requiring you to use a modeling suite rather than the usual brush based editor like they have been doing since Quake. But that has been the case with Unreal3 tech for years. And it hasn't stopped people from making shit with that.

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