Earlier this week, 3D Realms Entertainments announced WRATH: Aeon of Ruin, a new first-person shooter built using the original Quake engine. One of the most interesting aspects of the announcement, other than the seemingly huge task of transforming a classic engine for use with modern systems and tools, was the fact that the developer has turned to the Quake modding scene for help with the game, marking a true collaboration between developers and modders who are aligned to a similar classic, Quake-inspired vision.
We spoke to 3D Realms' VP Frederik Schreiber to find out more about this collaboration.
ModDB: This isn't 3D Realms' first project using an old engine, with Ion Maiden also in the works with Build. There's some fantastic dev diaries detailing new tricks that studio has implemented with Build, and I'm wondering if you have similar tricks or techniques you can reveal that you're employing with the Quake engine for Wrath?
Schreiber: Absolutely! The Quake Engine has its own set of unique challenges. Not only are we now working in 3 dimensions (compared to the Build Engine, which is not "True" 3D), the levels are also much more complex and larger than previously. We're going to dive deep into our technical approaches with Wrath in a series of Dev.Blogs, similar to those you've read from Ion Maiden.
How did you arrive at the decision to create Wrath with the help of Quake modding scene luminaries?
First of all, working with the Voidpoint crew on Ion Maiden, has been a great experience. Utilizing the best of the best, from the modding scene of that particular engine, was a wise choice for us. For the next 3D Realms game, we wanted to take the next step, and develop a game using the Quake engine. Full 3D. For this, we started with the same approach. We wanted to find some of the best Quake scene modders and mappers to join the project. After all, they know the engine and workflow in and out. While doing this, we stumbled across KillPixel, who was working on his own project alongside a friend of his. The project looked very promising, so we decided to reach out and learn more about it. Shortly after, we decided to fund the project, and extend the team from 2 to 25. And here we are! Wrath has now been revealed to the world, and we couldn't be more excited!
"We wanted to find some of the best Quake scene modders and mappers to join the project"
How did you select particular modders to bring into the project? What kind of portfolio of modding work did the team find impressive, and subsequently, what skills did you focus on looking for considering the game's use of the Quake engine?
The selection process was first and foremost based on a priority list of everyone KillPixel and I knew from the Quake mapping and modding scene, which we believed could add a ton of value to the game. Some had great portfolios to back up their experience in the Quake scene, and others were new to Quake, but showed a ton of passion and promise. We followed our reachout with individual interviews to get a better idea of their background, both in mapping/modding and personal.
Lastly, some of our higher priority hires, started right away, while others were given Test-Assignments, so we could evaluate how well they would work with the rest of the team, how feedback would be received and implemented, and how well each hire works with planned deadlines.
We're using both NetRadiant and a special modified version of Trenchbroom. We're so lucky to have SleepwalkR (Trenchbroom developer) on our team, so there are a range of tools the mappers use. We're also doing some pretty crazy and custom code for the consoles version of the game, which we'll most definitely dive into in a dev.blog as well.
"We're also doing some pretty crazy and custom code for the consoles version of the game"
The Quake mod scene is interesting because a strong template for good Quake levels existed in the primary content created for the base game by id Software for modders to reference and explore. With Wrath, those modders are now creating this game's primary content. What kind of direction and references were they directed to explore, and how much of their own style and signature design can be seen in Wrath's levels?
First of all, Wrath is very different from Quake. So it's a really good question. While Wrath does have similarities such as movement and air control, the way the combat flows, the types of puzzles, environments and general features we have in the game, are all very different. In order for designers to dive into mapping for Wrath, we gave them extensive documentation on all of the features of the game, so they had some context to work within. The maps are turning out great!
"While Wrath does have similarities [to Quake] such as movement and air control, the way the combat flows, the types of puzzles, environments and general features ... are all very different"