id Releases Rage Toolkit, System Requirements Include John Carmack, A Server Farm

First, the good news! With the release of the Rage Toolkit on Steam, modders eager to get into the guts of the game now have the software to do so. The bad news? Only "technically sophisticated and adventurous" modders need apply, it's a 35GB download and cooking up your own Megatextures will demand a level of patience beyond what's mentally possible.

Besides games that have built-in tools for creating content (LittleBigPlanet, say), injecting your own creative juices into your favourite titles usually requires a bit of technical or artistic expertise. I don't think anyone expected Rage's world-building tools to upset the trend, but they sound high up on the curve, going by the announcement post on Bethesda's company blog:

Before you start downloading the hefty 35+ GB file, the RAGE team has provided some documents to read. As described in the welcome document, these tools provided are complex and aimed towards "technically sophisticated and adventurous" modders.

No, that's not a typo. 35GB translates to over three hours if you have an ADSL2+ connection and live on top of your closest DSLAM. Whack on overhead, naturally dips in download speeds and the fact that most people are lucky to get 20Mb/s and it's going to take a fair bit longer to get your paws on this puppy.

The other fascinating fact is that building Megatextures is not what you'd describe as a speedy process. id's master coder John Carmack shared this tidbit on Twitter:

Obviously, the average modder won't be crafting Megatextures at dimensions to rival id, but it does make you wonder how your four or six-core CPU is going to fare when faced with such a daunting computational task.

I realise all this reads like a massive roast, but it's not. I just wanted to highlight the staggering amount of work that goes into triple-A titles these days — and not just from a coding or art standpoint. Kudos to the tireless programmers who come up with these tools, which I'd argue are just as critical to the development process as any texture, model or subroutine.

Rage Toolkit available today on Steam [Bethesda Blog, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


Comments

    over three hours

    Well I just don't have the patience for something that takes such an inordinate amount of time to download.

      Yeah, it's not bad, but that's under absolutely perfect (to the point of unrealistic) conditions. I would say 6-7 hours is a better estimate.

      Probably the bigger point is that 35GB is a fair chunk off your download quota -- well, it is off mine!

        Downloading 35GB in 6 - 7 hours is still pretty amazing. It would take me around 30 hours to download that much.

        I normally have to leave my computer on overnight to do steam downloads over like 5 GB because my download speed caps out at like 300-400 kb/s, and my quota is 200gb and I've heard thats a reasonably good sized quota compared to most people, so you're definitely right on those.

    "most people are lucky to get 20Mb/s"

    Uhm, what?

    But yeah, what even is a megatexture? I hate words like that.

      It's a single massive texture that encompasses the entire static environment. You can do some nice transitions and variation, but it's a pretty inefficient way to work, even if you're a developer with a environment art team.

    So does this game even work now?

    I started reading this yesterday and I'm still processing the concept of a 35 gig d/l. I might need another 6 or 7 hours...

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