id Software has said for several years that it intends to release the Doom 3 source code after Rage shipped, and now those plans are looking a little more concrete. During his legendary QCon keynote speech yesterday, id technical wizard John Carmack revealed that parent company ZeniMax has approved the source release, and it'll arrive some time after Rage's October launch (via Eurogamer).
Carmack explained that ZeniMax approved of id's plans to release the source, though it'll still need to be run by legal. The source code also needs a bit of a polish first, he said. Carmack also called on other games developers to release their source code, as it helps budding devs learn the ropes.
What does the source code release mean for your average player? Plenty! Thanks to the open source code, past id games have been updated by the community with bug fixes, improved compatibility with modern hardware, and new features ranging from updated menus and netcode to astounding graphics improvements. It'll enable mods to become standalone releases, playable by people who don't have Doom 3. Then there'll undoubtedly be brand new games, both free and commercial, built upon the engine.
What it won't mean is free Doom 3. While the engine source code will be open, this won't include the game's assets (levels, artwork, sounds, and all that jazz) so you'll still need to buy it to play.
While id's past source releases have waited until all games which licensed the engine were out the door, there's still one id Tech 4 game in development: Prey 2. However, Human Head is almost certainly using a newer version of the engine than that seen in Doom 3, and has "heavily modified" it anyway.
Yesterday tolled the fifteenth anniversary of the launch of Quake, id Software's seminal 3D first-person shooter. Celebrating the event, id's sister company Bethesda has dug up Quake treasures to share with the world.
John Carmack, id co-founder and technical wizard, offered a few thoughts on Quake. He recalls struggles with developing the 3D engine, the novelty of free mouse movement, online multiplayer, 3D acceleration, and the importance and impact of modding. Notably, one of his defining Quake memories is quite unexpected, approached with Carmack's characteristic criticism:
My defining memory of the game was fairly early in development, when I no-clipped up into a ceiling corner and looked down as a Shambler walked through the world with its feet firmly planted on the ground. This looked like nothing I had ever seen before; it really did seem like I had a window into another world. Of course, as soon as he had to turn, the feet started to slide around because we didn't have pivot points and individual joint modifications back then, but it was still pretty magical.
QuakeWorld is the version of Quake that made the Internet a genuinely viable way to enjoy multiplayer, thanks to revamped netcode client-side prediction. As well as being thoroughly excellent in its own right, QuakeWorld supported a thriving mod community, including the hugely influential Team Fortress. Bethesda managed to rustle up a documentary about the classic:
Quake spawned a whole franchise, with four numbered Quake games, multiple expansions, spin-off Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and, most recently, Xbox Live Arcade and free-to-play versions of Quake III: Arena.
Carmack recently commented that "strong factions internally" at id Software fancied returning the Quake series to its Lovecraftian roots. While no such game is currently being made (or even planned), we live in hope.
Finally, the Quake community has organized its own celebration for Quake's anniversary with the Quake Expo 2011. Festivities include new mod releases, contests, tournaments, and some very angry midgets.
Fifteen years ago, the site which would become Shacknews was eagerly awaiting the June 22, 1996, launch of id Software's Quake. Now, fans of the seminal FPS around the world have joined together to celebrate its latest anniversary with a whole host of virtual festivities.
The fan-organised Quake Expo 2011 kicked off on Sunday and runs until June 25. At virtual 'booths' you'll find a 1v1 NetQuake deathmatch tournament, mod releases, a fan-made art book, Quake Live commentaries, contests for fanfic, speedmapping terrain speedmapping, and heaps more.
Perhaps the most unusual thing you'll see at Quake Expo 2011 is Midgets, "a mod that involves fighting cooperatively alongside midgets with a strange phallic all-in-one weapon." It's made by Rich Whitehouse, creator of Quake's Head Soccer and Quake II's Famkebot.
id co-founder John Carmack recently commented that "strong factions internally" are "tossing around" the idea of returning the Quake series to its original, Lovecraftian-ish roots. He noted, "Nothing is scheduled here, people are not building this," but fingers crossed.
"Strong factions internally" at id Software fancy returning the Quake series to its roots and the Lovecraftian-y stylings of the original Quake, id's technical wizard John Carmack has told Eurogamer. However, he makes quite clear, "Nothing is scheduled here, people are not building this."
"We went from the Quake II and the Quake 4 Strogg universe. We are at least tossing around the possibilities of going back to the bizarre, mixed up Cthulhu-ish Quake 1 world and rebooting that direction," Carmack said. "We think that would be a more interesting direction than doing more Strogg stuff after Quake 4."
"We certainly have strong factions internally that want to go do this," he explained. "But we could do something pretty grand like that, that still tweaks the memory right in all of those ways, but is actually cohesive and plays with all of the strengths of the level we're at right now."
The first Quake was a Doom-y shooter set in a moody fantasy dimension with Lovecraftian references, populated by hordes of demons. However, it also had plenty of industrial complexes, soldiers, and military weaponry. The mix-up stemmed from shifting focus during development; originally Quake was to star a Thor-like character with a mighty hammer, and feature RPG elements.
"I looked at the original Quake as this random thing, because we really didn't have our act together very well," Carmack said. "But because it was so seminal about the 3D world and the internet gaming, it's imprinted on so many people. It made such an impact in so many ways. Memory cuts us a lot of slack."
1997's Quake II had a whole new setting, pitting players against the techno-organic Strogg. Quake 4 continued the Strogg story in 2005, after 1999's Quake III: Arena largely did away single-player to focus on multiplayer.
id CEO Todd Hollenshead added, "People shouldn't worry that we're ever going to orphan or abandon Quake. We are huge fans of the game internally."
Now, each level was recorded separately and some hacking tools were used to start the next level with the previous level's inventory, but there was no hacking or cheating in the actual level runs. Ten players contributed runs to the project.
Oh, and you're going to hear the shotgun a lot.
The unofficial mod is a new adventure inspired by, and set in the world of, Hexen. The demo version contains the Cleric's first hub, with three maps and an estimated 1.5 to 2 hours of monster-slaying and puzzle-solving gameplay.
The original Hexen was released in 1995 as a sequel to 1994's Heretic, built upon id Software's Doom engine. Hexen 2 followed in 1997. The last entry in the series, 1998's Heretic 2, was something of a departure from the norm, set a thousand years after Hexen 2 and featuring a third-person perspective.
The RtCW source code can be downloaded from FileShack, with separate multiplayer and singleplayer components, as can the Enemy Territory source code. All are licensed under version 3 of the GNU General Public License.
id's chief technical wizard John Carmack had promised that the RtCW and Enemy Territory source code would be released soon after QuakeCon 2009. He explained yesterday that they were so delayed as he had been too busy to clear them with legal.
Carmack explained that these things aren't always as clear cut as the community might think, as it opens the company up for liability if someone somewhere used a bit of code that wasn't original or they didn't have the rights to use. Despite that, Bethesda decided to okay the source releases.
This is the latest in a long line of source releases from id, who has so far shared the source code for all its engines from Wolfenstein 3D up to Quake 3: Arena. Carmack teased that id would start looking into releasing the Doom 3 source after Rage ships.
As with all Live Arcade games, a free demo is available. In addition to the full game, those that purchase DOOM II on Xbox 360 will also be able to unlock an "old-school DOOM II T-Shirt" and "full-body DOOM Marine uniform" for their Xbox Live Avatar.
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