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Carmack on Rage
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Carmack on Rage

August 19, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

How has it been working on a multiplatform title these days?

JC: I did a bunch of console stuff, with Super Nintendo, 32X, and Jaguar and all that stuff before. There's different vibes with it, where it's fun to be able and go and say -- on the PS3, you can be like, "Here are registers. You can go ahead and hit the hardware like this. Watch out for these DMA faults, and watch out for the awful low level stuff there." But it is nice to be able to say, "We've got 512 megs here. The OS takes 32 megs of it. We're looking at mapping out all our regions on there."

It's pretty sad, the fact that we have these PCs that are sometimes 10 times as powerful, and we have more trouble holding 60 frames per second on the PCs because of drive and OS unoptimalities. And there are reasons for all of them. I've done enough driver work on OpenGL to understand why things wind up the way they are.

And sure, on the PC, you can go ahead and you're running two megapixels. You can turn on anti-aliasing, and you can have much bigger page tables for the virtual textures, and all this stuff. But still, if you want it to get done in like 16 milliseconds, the graphics drivers are a huge hindrance right there.

So, PC development right now is just so different than it was before this console generation. Do you ever wish that "core" PC gaming wasn't so -- well, I don't want to say "marginalized"...

JC: When you look at all the MMO money on there, there's still a lot. And when you include Facebook games and stuff like that, and all the web games.

It's just, I think people regret the migration of the hardcore action game, which clearly has taken a move towards the consoles. But gaming on the PC, there's probably more hours of PC games going on now than there were five years ago. There's expansion in the market, different trends, and things like that. And sometimes, just the world doesn't always correspond to your wishes. There are large market forces that happen.

So, I miss some of the aspects of the PC, about pushing for the latest and greatest -- you know, giving people a reason to want a $500 video card. I did always enjoy that a little bit, that sense of, "Here's something that's cool, but it will be so much cooler if you buy the latest and greatest."

It doesn't make sense now. I have a PC that I built in 2007. It's nothing fancy at all, and it can still run the latest [DX9] Crysis, full out.

JC: And of course the inevitability is that the integrated graphics cards are getting better, and it's not going to be too long before those provide a good enough solution. We're working closely with Intel, actually, on this. Because we expect Rage to be able to run 30 frames per second on Sandy Bridge cards. Which is not as good as the consoles, but it's a start. People will be able to play the game, experience it, and look at it there.

There's an inevitability toward the integration of greater and greater power there. Certainly with AMD's upcoming Fusion stuff, it's a foregone conclusion that that's going to get pretty powerful. And because we again talk about the knee of the graphics curve on there, where even if you can get a ten times more powerful add-in card there, unless people go and dedicate and build their media around that, it's going to be this somewhat marginal incremental improvement overall.

We're not there yet. If you want to experience Rage on a PC at its full glory, you still want to add a graphics card. But as we get to future titles, it's going to be less and less pull for that high end stuff.

Now, if you set me down and say, "Everybody's got this monster dual card, high-end system," you know, I could do some awesome stuff on that! But then you'd have to have artists make more and more awesome stuff, and you're winding up with a $100 million game budget that you're going to lose your shirt on.

We talked about the consoles that Rage is coming out for. Are you interested in the Wii and 3DS? Did you see the new Wii U?

JC: I haven't been over there yet. You know, interestingly I have a six-year-old son now. The only games I play at home are Wii and DS games. I'm an old-school Mario fan, and all that. I don't play the hardcore shooters. Some of that is because, when you see how the sausage is made, you're not quite as excited about that. I kind of like the pure and simple games because I don't have ten hours over the weekend to spend gaming, but I do have fun sitting down and playing simple things.

Many, many years ago, we had negative experiences with Nintendo, but the only reason we're not doing anything with Nintendo now is just that the technologies are out of sync. It's a perfect opportunity to do PC, 360, PS3, but you couldn't have the same content base also targeting the Wii. But, you know, the new platform is probably just right there. It would probably be straightforward to target our stuff over there. It would depend on what the business case is for any of that.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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