Five months is a long time in the games industry. Rage, released in October of last year, already feels like a relic of another age. After a rocky launch, and a so-so patch aimed at PC gamers, there hasn't been much else to talk about regarding id's shooter of mixed acclaim.
Contributing to the game's notoriety was its lauded "MegaTexture" technology that, while impressive on paper, mainly manifested itself to players as an inconsistent streaming texture system that resulted more often than not in blurry visuals. With the benefit of hindsight, what can we take away from id's attempt to, once again, evolve the looks of 3D gaming?
Shamus Young, a programmer and self-confessed writer, took it upon himself to answer this question in the video above. It comprises a layman's explanation of MegaTexture, as well as an even-handed analysis of what it did right and wrong. Young also does a good job of justifying why id decided to use MegaTexture in the first place and why, when confronted with its potential weaknesses, charged on ahead anyway.
An interesting point made in the video is that boosted visuals and realism weren't the only goals of MegaTexture — it was designed to make artists' jobs easier. The tech takes on a different light when you consider what Carmack, and his cohort of coders, was trying to achieve. That said, ultimately, it's what we gamers see in the end product that's important.
id's Doom 3 (id Tech 4) showed the world what graphics cards with fully-programmable pipelines were capable of in the right hands. You can't be angry at the developer for trying to again push the envelope with Rage. It's a shame it had to burn through almost all its gaming cred to do it.
id Tech 6, the currently in development successor to Rage's id Tech 5, will reportedly use ray-tracing and voxels. For the developer's sake, I hope the investment pays off.
Reset Button: MegaTexture [YouTube]