RIP id.

What follows is a private rant to Rez. (Stuff he wrote is bolded.) After seeing it, he told me to "kindly go post this whole tirade as-is on your rants page, and not-so-subtly make sure everyone in the world sees it!!". So you're the world, and now is the time to see it. The only changes are some minor grammatical tweaks it needed, and it has been formatted to fit your television screen.:)

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 23:33:45 -0400
Re: interesting stat


(You know how geysers build up pressure until they burst? I think my Q3 geyser burst.:)

On gamespot (which won't block and copy, dammit) I see 60% of the votes for id's next game are for... single player game.

Oddly enough, from what I've heard, that is less than the percentage of idsters who want to make a single player game next. If Carmack keeps it up, he's going to lose more people (two left during the development of Q3 because a dead-end in the bot code left them with nothing to do while Carmack & the other coders banged their heads on the code) until he's low on game-making talent and high on engine-making talent. Then what? Do what has become obvious since the day Q3 was named QA (then Q3:A, then Q3A) - become an engine-only company. Even if he gives in and does single-player, I don't think he has the talent there for it. I say the next game is DM, then they might make Doom2K, or D2.003K, as it'll be by then. And it'll get a lot of hype from nostalgic gamers. And it'll sell. And it'll be almost universally hated. The next Valve will come along, take the engine and the complex bot logic, and make a groundbreaking single-player game, where they take the DM AI and put it into single-player. Like Romero's trying to do with those helpers in Daikatana.

I've given up on id and Ion Storm. Romero & Carmack were a perfect match - Romero did nothing but push for things that are a bigger benefit to single-player (like a point to all the killing, however simple), while Carmack was nothing but engine. Romero's lackadaisy attitude was balanced by Carmack's workaholic attitude. Together, they made some great games. But then, IMHO, egos (no ids:) expanded until they each figured their ideas were too good for the other one's ideas (though Romero probably lead in this, which is why he got the boot and not Carmack). Q1 suffered from that. Then they split, and Romero spent years playing with Nerf guns and chatting with the press about how important story and immersion were. Carmack wrote engines. Now, Carmack is the bigger success because he has more to his credit. But what's he done? Engines with token single-player aspects. (And don't tell me that the BFG & plasma guns in Q2 weren't harkening back to Doom.)

BTW, where the hell is Trinity?:)

There's a DM glut now. Q1 and 2, as well as Unreal, have single player episodes (albeit the Quake ones were lousy ones, at least there was a framework for level editors to build on). Half-Life has been acclaimed for its single player. What big has come out lately? The last three FPSs I remember are Kingpin, Q3A and Unreal Tournament. Kingpin was so lah-di-dah controversial that you heard about it everywhere you looked, then it disappeared. (Just because it happens "on the streets" does not make it a good game. Dogs urinate on fire hydrants, but you don't see people clamoring to make a game about that, do you?)

So that leaves two DM only games. Q3A and UT. The only single-player I've seen is Half-Life: Opposing Force, which is just an add-on and not a full game. (One reviewer said it wasn't worth the money. It was fun and all that but not for the asking price, especially since it didn't even include the engine.)

After reading this article, I feel no interest whatever in even looking at Quake III. :(

No wonder. Neither do I, though I was impressed with some of the bot skins. I'd like to see some of those in their real environment, but only to watch their motion, to see how fluid it is, etc.

I think a lot of the impetus is that DM programming and mapmaking is much easier than single-player for either. You can get more technology improved faster with no need to kowtow to that silent majority.

Right. Okay, here's something I'd like to see:

The number of sales of Q2 vs. a number-of-players summary of the server logs for the Q2 servers over the past year.

P.S. just saw that someone else left id to found (ANOTHER!) gaming company - at least, "Fountainhead Entertainment" sounds like a gaming company. Though this person is different - this time it's a she, and it's a she who has an engagement ring from John Carmack. If her company makes an FPS, how much money are you willing to bet what the engine will be?:)

P.P.S. Evidently they can't even make DM maps right - I saw something on Slashdot where one of the team-DM maps in Q3 (or UT?) has a bottleneck that to have to walk through to get to the other team's base. Does that strike you as really bad design? I can see it now:

Team 1 Leader: Aim for the bridge, boys. They can't get to us any other way.

Team 2 Leader: Aim for the bridge, boys. They can't get to us any other way.

(Five minutes pass.)

Team 1 Leader: They're trying to wait us out. We'll beat them at their own game. (Someone on Team 1 quits and does something else.)

(Five more minutes pass.)

Three more people quit.

(Five more minutes pass.)

Everyone but the team leaders quit.

Half an hour later, there's just these two guys with rocket launchers, each waiting for the other team to come marching in.

The Archon

Update: June 6, 2001 AD....

Well, well. So far some of my predictions have fallen through, some haven't. Let's review, shall we?

Bad prediction #1: The DM only game never came to pass, though there was an unknown game on the id docket before the shakeup detailed in RIP id, V2.0. But still, predictions aren't woulda-coulda-shoulda affairs, so I'm wrong.

Bad(ish) prediction #2: Not really a prediction, but I'm retroactively making it one.:) Above I make reference to an idster leaving the company and forming "Fountainhead Entertainment". The id employee who left was Anna Kang, then John Carmack's fiancee. Of her, I said: "If her company makes an FPS, how much money are you willing to bet what the engine will be?:)"

Well, I was wrong. But not by much. Now she's officially Mrs. John Carmack, but the April 2001 Computer Gaming World states that she's not making a game. Nope. She's making a movie using computer animation.

Rendered in the Quake 3 engine.

Go back! Back I say!
Run along home.
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