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Building Quake Live: Carmack Speaks
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Building Quake Live: Carmack Speaks

February 26, 2009 Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

The other obvious comparison to what you guys are doing is They're, coincidentally I imagine, also opening up to a broader audience the same day. I just spoke to them yesterday, and they mentioned you had early on discussed possibly collaborating.

MS: If those conversations happened, they were so short that I don't remember them. It may have been an email exchange that was, "Hey, what do you think about this?" "No, we're doing our own thing."

Honestly, I don't know. We had one person who, a while ago, was on the InstantAction beta, and we kind of stood over his shoulder while he played a couple things. But that's really been the most interaction we've had.

I checked out how their web statistics trend on some of the different web-statistic sites and different things like that. But no, we really haven't talked to them at all, and this has really -- from the initial seed from John -- been a totally-id project.

JC: And really, Quake Live does have that. It has this entire thing wrapped around itself. It's not an à la carte product. And it's not something where we're going to be adding in additional games decided on here, or have you fit your game inside this framework. Everything really has been tuned around the Quake Arena experience.

If things are successful here, we may try to go ahead and build another version, like maybe with the Wolfenstein multiplayer things, but it would be a really significant redesign. And we think that there's enough of an experience on here.

Let's face it, most of the web games are about giving you some mediocre-ish content, but it is free and there's a lot of it, so be happy about it and maybe pay a little fee on there. And we do think that this is much more of a top-notch experience that people are getting, and we really don't want to have it kind of petered next to a bunch of other stuff.

Is there any possibility at any point of mod support? Or do you start, at that point, to worry about security issues or fracturing the player base?

JC: That's certainly been the biggest thing, since the very beginning, that we've been asked about. We are pretty firm on this, that we control everything with the Quake Live project, and that is going to be the way it stays.

We've tried to integrate specific features that people have liked from a lot of the mods through our work, and to take the things that people universally agree on. But we definitely don't have the broad array of really quirky, different things that people could get from mods on here.

We probably will add additional game types and modes of play as time goes on, but it will be coming from a centralized point.

But the upside is that Quake III is out there. It's open source. People can hack anything they want on the code. And I would expect that the success of Quake Live should be a great invigorator for any mod communities out there because, if we go ahead and get millions of new people playing this, that's going to lead towards many thousands of people that are willing to go off and do something fringe -- like downloading a completely recompiled executable or hunting down original assets for the game and so on.

We did not think that there was a reasonable way for us to have the complete, free-for-all, do-anything-the-heck-that-you-want mod community that we had with the commercial game in this project. We're going to see how that goes.

If anybody else does another project and proves us incorrect on that, it'll be a data point. But we certainly still hope to have good communications and relations with everybody that's sticking with the original Quake Arena codebase. And, again, I think it will be a positive thing for it.

id Software's Rage

What do you actually spend most of your time on these days? Rage, Doom 4, Quake Live?

JC: Almost all of my time is on Rage. I take a couple days every six months or so to work on various mobile things that I'm hacking around on. I have had almost no direct work on the Quake Live project since it was set in motion with my, "Here's the plan," a year and a half ago.

All the things that I had thought through pretty much came out just fine. And it was the things that I was blind-spotted on, the things that I just wasn't aware of the challenges of, that have turned out to be where more development time and effort have been required. So it's been a learning experience for all of us.

How big is the team for Quake Live?

MS: We've had a full team on it for just over a year.

JC: Yeah. The first beta went open on February, one year ago.

MS: Actually, January. So, 13 months ago, we added I think 100 people into the beta. And one of these days, I'm going to do a forum post or something with a lineage of the Quake Live beta site and the looks that it's gone through and its functionality, because it's striking.

Just over a year ago, we hired our web designer, and about a year ago, we had the level designer who has done a lot of the new content. So we've had a full team on it for over a year.

JC: And at that point, a year ago, we were looking like, "OK. This all pretty much works in the game. Let's tidy up the web stuff and get it out the door." [laughs] It hasn't quite worked out that way.

Article Start Previous Page 6 of 6

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