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Interview: GarageGames Relaunches Torque Engine With New Owners, New Focus

Interview: GarageGames Relaunches Torque Engine With New Owners, New Focus

January 20, 2011 | By Christian Nutt

January 20, 2011 | By Christian Nutt
More: Console/PC, Programming

Today GarageGames announced that it has reformed as a new company under new ownership, buying all assets for the Torque Engine from InstantAction.

The InstantAction gaming portal, owned by Internet media giant IAC, shut down late last year, leaving the fate of the Torque engine technology up in the air.

The Torque 2D and 3D engines can be used to produce games on platforms ranging from iOS to Xbox 360 and Wii as well as PC and Mac.

Today, Torque is relaunching under the original GarageGames banner. The new company was formed when a group of investors known as Graham Software Development purchased the rights to the Torque assets and formed GarageGames LLC.

Eric Preisz, who served as director of Torque game engine operations for InstantAction, has stepped up to be the CEO of GarageGames, alongside COO Dexter Chow.

The company will be dropping the price for its products to $99 for a limited time as it relaunches, it said in an announcement.

Said Preisz, in an interview with Gamasutra, "It's a little bit of an experiment, and we want to see how the community reacts to it."

The move back to GarageGames signals a return to "older values" for the new company, while the low price will help "open the door for indies to get in. One of our strengths is community, and growing that even more is a feature of our product."

In fact, Preisz said that the new company has formed under a renewed ethos of community interaction which he feels is the core of the Torque development experience. As a long-term Torque developer prior to joining InstantAction and now GarageGames, he feels he understands the strengths of the Torque technologies and the needs of the community. "I fed my family with Torque-based work for about three or four years," Preisz said.

"We've actually been operating for about two weeks, and one of the things we did in our first week, we had everyone evaluate our competitors, from a market perspective, and look at what they're doing well for their community and not doing well... After doing that we feel there's a lot of room for us to jump in and meet people's needs better," Preisz said.

Describing the new owners as "strong community members and big fans," he said that they're "really aligned with the message and the original values and goals of GarageGames."

There's "a pent-up kinetic energy within the company" to move forward with Torque. While no changes will immediately come to the packages the company offers beyond pricing, Preisz sees an opportunity to hone Torque into something more focused and useful.

"Going forward it certainly is going to change, and we've had a lot of goals and initiatives to condense our products and create a better singular focus," said Preisz. Admitting that the current version of Torque has been "late" in adapting to the more general shift in engine technology to empower artists and designers without major programming overhead, he sees it as a priority moving forward.

"A big focus for us is -- a little bit more up front, and a lot more later -- is to have much better support for people's first 48 hours," with improved documentation, tutorials, and features that support developers of all disciplines.

"We can build upon on what we've seen other people do and we can improve upon it," said Preisz.

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