Quake II Magazine Archive: November 1997

“Not very long ago, a choice set of PC Zone envoys travelled to sunny Texas, redneck capital of the cosmos. There we ate plate after plate of Tex-Mex cuisine and breadcrumbed goujons and drank the cats’ urine that they call ‘beer’. We also visited the office of iD Software, a curious black obelisk like something out of 2001, which is on a freeway 20 minutes outside of Dallas.”

“We walked out onto the sixth floor and entered a strange office. It was as spacious as you’d expect, but very dark and quiet, bar the humming of the air-conditioning and the odd whispered conversation. Most of the 14-strong team work in closed offices, shared with a colleague or squadron of fellow grafters. The walls are coated with glowing reviews the team has received for games such as Wolfenstein, Doom and Quake, and every 12 feet or so stands a cabinet bulging with awards, cups, certificates and those weird glass trophies dished out by foreign magazines.”

“‘We’ve built an entire world. It’s not like Quake — four episodes of unrelated crap — we’ve built a planet and a race of aliens. We have areas in the game that people can identify with — bunkers, hangars, warehouses, power stations and stuff. And then we’ve established missions and goals for each area. We wanted people to believe they were in a real place.'”

“This is Tim Willets [editorial note — it’s Mr. Tim Willits, to anybody who spells the last name wrong,] talking. He’s lead level designer on Quake II and he’s doing — in the terminology of ’70s TV — a ‘smashing’ job. The sequel is apparently a massive departure from the original, which was riled and moaned at for being ‘Doom In A New Dress’, with criticisms levelled at its dull single-player game, its bad weapons balance, its dumb creatures, its uninspired BluTacked plot.”

“But all this has changed. The engine is smoother and faster. The sound code is better. There’s coloured lighting and translucent walls and floors. There are shadows — real-time shadows. Objects can rotate on any axis and the levels are twice as big, if not in square footage then certainly in intricacy. And then there are units instead of episodes. Each unit has multiple levels, and each level has different goals and objectives. It’s John Carmack, owner and coder at iD, who you should thank for all this technological advancement. ‘John’s the pimp,’ says Willets. ‘He’s so good.'”

-All images are courtesy of the Internet Archive magazine collection.

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