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John Carmack has officially packed his bags and taken a rocket car over to Oculus Rift, now his sole employer until he decides he wants to become the world’s foremost expert on Hyperloops or something. So what better way to celebrate/commiserate than by playing maybe the last game he’ll ever see to completion? Answer: there is no better way. If you are doing anything else, John Carmack will probably never be your friend or spend upwards of five hours giving you breathless life advice. Fortunately, RAGE is free on Steam this weekend. Details below.
Somewhere in the deep, dark, distant future, there exists a world beyond Doom 4. It is a strange and alien place – one in which id has pried the bolts from its lips and… wait, no, it’s never done that. Always “when it’s done.” Always. But still, there are more id games in this far-flung universe, and also I have cool cybernetic laser nostrils. I know, for I have seen it. Briefly, ever so briefly, id creative director Tim Willits took me there. Here’s what he said.
Multiplayer Game BalancingAN-94: Damage slightly reduced.DSR 50: Rate of fire reduced.Ballista: Rate of fire slightly reduced.
You look at the patch notes, your whole body starting to go hot with rage. Your heart beats faster, your breath gets shorter. You HIT the Red Bull can from your desk, the murky liquid splashing your poster of Transformers-spoiling sticky-hottie Megan Fox across the arse. You stand and ram the back of your squadgy desk chair into the desk to hear it BANG, to get some relief from the rage you are feeling. You PUNCH the wall in frustration, and then hurriedly have to shake it hard because that was not the plasterboard part of the wall it was an actual stone brick. You SCREAM in anguish. “WHY?!” you yell. “WHY HAVE YOU MESSED UP MY VIRTUAL GUNS?!?!? HOW WILL I GET MEGAN TO LIKE ME NOW??!?!?!” You do a little sort of rage dance that makes you look like you belong in Populous. (more…)
The now Zenimax/Bethesda-owned id have been eerily quiet since Rage met a mixed reception and underwhelming sales. I quite liked it, non-ending aside – it might have nothing on BioShock Infinite’s visual majesty, but the people-filled non-combat hubs between its more tunnelish combat were more convincingly alive than Columbia’s Auton population. In any case, Rage wasn’t the combeback Carmack and co needed, leaving us hoping that the in theory forthcoming Doom 4 would be. Half a decade on, there’s neither hide nor hair of it to be seen, and alleged sources close to the project have told Kotaku why that could be. Clearly there’s something in it, as it prompted Bethesda’s Pete Hines to acknowledge that id had indeed switched to making “a new version” of Doom 4 after an earlier one “did not exhibit the quality and excitement that Id and Bethesda intend to deliver.” (more…)
Bethblog has word that the Rage tookit has arrived on Steam, along with some serious documentation to speed would-be modders on their way. Carmack has some advice, too, tweeting: “Doing significant work will require patience, because internally we use a 300 core renderfarm for megatexture creation.”
It’d be interesting to see what people could mod in using existing assets, though. If the toolkit gave enough access to get at the inventory and so on then I think there might be a true open world sandbox/economy game in there waiting to get out. But maybe not. Either way, significant work will require patience. And an enthusiasm for Rage.
For a while there, I thought we were going to find RAGE on some trashy “What ever happened to… ?” television special. It’d have been huddled in the back of a barely lit trailer, clad in a grease-and-sweat-stained bathrobe and wolfing down an entire carton of metropolitan ice cream. “I coulda been somethin’,” it’d have said between chunky mouthfuls. “I coulda gone places. But then id got all distant, and everyone forgot about me.” Then: warm salty tears, pitter-pattering into the sticky sugar soup below. That depressing reality, however, is no longer our own. After leaving RAGE untouched for a year, id’s finally returned to its not-so-deserted deserts. The result? A brand new, six-area DLC tale called “Scorchers.” Sweet, sweet deets after the break.
It says something about John Carmack’s status in the gaming industry that he can hold a talk that lasts for three and a half hours> and the majority of watchers are simply delighted. So, if you’ve got nothing else on for the next 210 minutes, here is said relaxed, cheerful, full-throttle, ad-libbed and fascinating QuakeCon speech in full. id’s brain o’brains chats about the problems with Rage and its messy PC launch, his love-hate relationship with the PC as a platform, those Oculus Rift VR goggles that are getting Kickstarted hearts all aflutter, Doom 3 BFG, 3D displays, just the tiniest smidgen on Doom 4 and, of course, a sustained stream of characteristically uncensored techspeak about the past, present and future of computing. Such as viewing images by firing laser beams directly into people’s retinas. Er…
Impressively, as well as talking for so damned long, he doesn’t sit down until the 90-minute point. (more…)
While we’re talking Id, there’s something else that came out of E3 that you might find interesting. Bethesda frontman Pete Hines told Eurogamer that despite the lukewarm reception for Rage, they have big plans for it: “We’re looking at doing some things with Rage. But obviously the first thing out of anybody’s lips now when we talk about id is not, hey, what else is up with Rage? They’re asking the question they’ve been asking for five years, six years, seven years, which is, where’s Doom 4? What about Doom 4? As far as where we are with Rage, the future for that is still TBD.”
Which is interesting, because whatever the do with Doom, I felt like Rage was a move in the right direction, but didn’t quite go all out on any of the things that it was hinting at. The half-formed racing, half-formed exploration, half-formed crafting, all pointed to a deeper game which, if they concentrate on just one of those elements next time, might yet yield something beyond the usual adventure with shotguns. Id are also working on another shooter, which has yet to be revealed.
This year has been unusually rich in the kind of game that I most enjoy: those that are open-ended, or provide a sandbox world for me to mess about in. We usually get a couple of these every year, but in 2011 we seem to have run into a minor bounty of the open stuff, which is good news for explorers and meanderers alike. I’ve gone into a bit more detail about why this pleases me below. >