6:10pm - We're all filing in.
6:17pm - Todd Hollenshead takes the stage. Sponsor thanks; QuakeCon 2008 date is already set! (July 31 - August 3, 2008). He announces that the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars beta is open to all attendees both at the BYOC LAN, and as a downloadable beta once you get home. (The crowd goes wild). An October 2nd ship date is already set for ET: QW so mark those calendars.
6:24pm - OMG! Wolfenstein news! A new game is in development! ... and that's it. We already knew that much. No other news, just the teaser. Thanks for nothing, id!
6:27pm - All id titles will be available on Steam! From Doom to, well, Doom, all major id titles will be upgraded to use the Steam delivery system. Downloadable codes for the original Quake were given out to attendees as well. Quake Arena is in development for Xbox Live Arcade, and will be out as soon as they can get it done. Quake 3 is still #10 on the Gamespy list of top-played multiplayer games, since its 1999 Q3Atest release. A second team at id will work on the ad-supported Quake Zero release, aimed at web platform distribution and intended for more casual gamers who might not otherwise pick up a more hardcore shooter title. Wow, Quake 3 for the casual crowd. We feel old.
6:30pm - Doom RPG sales have hit over a million sold, and Katherine Kang takes over the stage to demo Orcs & Elves for the Nintendo DS. It takes the original Orcs & Elves and Orcs & Elves 2 gameplay from the cellphone market, and expands it with full 3D modeling, keeping the core gameplay but adding dual-screen goodness for the DS platform.
6:47pm - Carmack explains why the industry and developers are so risk-averse -- need we ask? Money -- due to the costs of developing a AAA title, and how degrading it was (literally) to reduce a title like Doom down to other less-capable platforms than the PC, eventually ending up on the cellphone as an RPG. Carmack says the team learned a lesson, that in re-imagining the title on a smaller platform, they were able to discover the freedom of starting on the small, low end and working up, going from cellphone to DS and adding features, and the sorts of things that usually end up cut out due to space or system constraints, and then moving up from there, to, say, the Wii or even Tech 5-level and adding features and eye candy to a proven gameplay or style. Once you get to the top end, you need more space: Each of the two wasteland areas in Rage encompass over 100,000-square units and 80GB of uncompressed data, which is why Rage will ship on two DVDs or a single Blu-ray disc.
6:52pm - John often goes on tech retreats, where he locks himself in a hotel for a few days, living off room service and coding in solitude. He did the core of the DS code this way, and also returned to the Tech 5 core engine refreshed and ready for new challenges. As an aside, one gets the sense that Carmack enjoys the challenges of these new engine developments, such as cellphone or DS, just to get away from the "monotony" of coding the same old top-end engines year after year. He complains about the pace of cellphone development, in that a whole generation of phones came and went between Doom RPG and Orcs & Elves, and yet the requirements and capabilities were basically the same for both. He loses no love for either Java, or the iPhone's application development. All he really wants is a smartphone WiFi-controlled rocket -- and who doesn't?
When he began looking for a two- to four-fold improvement in the current engine tech, he noticed that he could focus more on the technology and gameplay aspects by increasing the baseline FPS goal from 30 frames per second to 60. So, Rage and Tech 5 games will have the goal of higher framerate rather than just focusing on eye candy and shader effects with no eye for performance -- and owners of last-gen video cards rejoiced. He thinks that Rage won't be the driver for uber-high-end videocards as the Quakes and Doom 3 were for their generations, but I get the sense he's okay with that.
Changing the engine tools also affords things like being able to edit level geometry and have artists come in and make changes to level art and "extras" and just having it appear, without checking out source from the repository, and without affecting gameplay or memory footprint. The smaller team at id never allowed for fancy tool interfaces, or extra support.
The multi-platform simultaneous release of a title like ET:QW means that some platforms like the PS3, which have a tougher development process, slow down the schedule and make for more of a pain. While it appears Carmack does like the PS3, he did complain about its split memory between video and core (and the fact the PS3 takes up more of it than the 360), while the Wii will never be able to support a title like ET. On the other hand, don't be surprised to see titles ported to the PSP, or even Quake 3 Arena for the DS. The next-next-generation of engines (Tech 6 and beyond) might even allow for editing geometry in-game, allowing for sculpting objects as well as painting on them.