Rage: The Tech Behind Id Tech 5


id Software's long-awaited FPS Rage is set to ship in October. When it launches, it'll be the first game to feature id's newest graphics engine, dubbed id Tech 5. With expectations running high in the wake of the latest game trailer shown at QuakeCon last week, we've put together an article to examine the merits of both the game and the technology behind it.

Note:  Some of the big images in this article are quite large. This was done to make certain texture detail and rendering quality weren't adversely affected by JPEG compression.

The Game

Vehicular combat is a major part of Rage. The engine doesn't support tessellation, but character detail is good without it

Rage takes place in an alternate future in which the asteroid 99942 Apophis struck the Earth in 2029. Prior to the impact, governments created underground storage facilities to house the best and brightest of humanity and to safeguard technology that might be needed in the future. The Ark inhabitants were put into cryo-sleep, but the process didn't work as planned. When the player character awakens, he finds himself to be the only member of his Ark to have survived the process.

Rage shares certain thematic similarities with Bethesda's well-received Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but approaches the post-apocalyptic wasteland from its own unique angle.

When the company built Rage, id eschewed the fairly common 30 fps standard for modern console games and went with a 60 fps target. Watch any Rage demo, or listen to id executives talk about the game, and you'll most likely hear 60 fps mentioned within minutes.

Rage is meant to be experienced one way—fast. It's refreshing to hear id talk about speed after Doom 3's somewhat slow pace and the ridiculous lack of light. This time around, neither issue is a problem; when company executives aren't talking about the game's speed, they're talking about its visuals. Screenshots of players and terrain both, bear out the company's claims.

In the wake of the Apophis impact, humanity finally develops flying cars

One caveat we will note is that previews and controlled game sessions don't always give an accurate impression of how much fun a game is (or isn't). We're willing to believe the hype when it comes to Rage's visuals and its speed--Carmack and the crew at id have decades of experience in 3D graphical design.  The company has also released a fair bit of information on how it optimized the game for different platforms in order to ensure it would run at 60 fps across the board. Even if the game's plot isn't Oscar-worthy, it'd scarcely be the first title where a paper-thin plot is cemented together with rock-solid gameplay and stunning visuals.

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