updated 04:20 pm EDT, Sat October 30, 2010
id Software says Rage no go on Android and WP7
id Software co-founder John Carmack this weekend has revealed in a pair of updates that there aren't any current plans to bring Rage on mobile to either Android or Windows Phone 7. While he said he would "take a stab" at Android, he explained that the Doom developer wasn't pledging itself to creating a port for Google's OS; he implied later that time constraints were an issue. Dropping WP7 was a technical issue, however: the likelihood of a port for Microsoft were "very low" since he couldn't write in C++ language like he could elsewhere.
In addition to explaining how the full version of Rage was limiting the amount of time he could devote to the iOS port, Carmack's companion blog post explained some of the details of how it worked. The app isn't a one-for-one port of the computer and console game as the full title has 20GB of data and larger memory needs, but it will still be a "little slice" that gives a close recreation of the first-person shooter. It should be "unlike anything ever seen" on Apple's platform, he said, even though the devices are still well below the power of a PS3 or an Xbox 360.
Apart from a smaller game world, most of the trimming has come by traditionally texturing most objects and creating "texture islands" that show only a subset of the art at any given time. He complained that iOS 4 doesn't currently have a page file and forced a move to a read-only memory mapped file that would force a brief hiccup while it was killed to bring up a new one in mid-game. However, he complimented Apple for properly putting in a Unix code call that let him develop a very consistent approach to getting new data. The technique would let id use its game engine's always-unique environment texturing system, Megatexture, without creating other memory problems.
The engine has been consciously designed to run on the graphics hardware of older iPhone platforms, Carmack added, although it meant sacrificing some optimization and visual effects. Although the game that will arrive is based on the old Doom: Resurrection code, Carmack reckoned that a theoretical from-scratch version could run at 30FPS even on older iPhones and iPods as well as 60FPS on newer models and the iPad. The iPhone 4, fourth generation iPod touch and iPad versions will all use higher-resolution textures that push their installs to about 1.4GB where the normal version would sit at 700MB.
The finished version of the initial mobile game, Rage: Mutant Bash TV, should launch roughly at the end of November and should cost 99 cents for older devices and $2 in its "HD" version.
id's decisions against Android and WP7 are blows to both platforms, either of which has been trying to gain credibility in mobile gaming in recent months. Games make up a significantly lower portion of titles in Android Market and may not get a major boost until the PlayStation phone arrives next year. Microsoft has focused more on gaming and has made Xbox Live integration a cornerstone of WP7, but the limits of the current OS may lead third-party developers to avoid it, especially as the iOS App Store is currently more popular and more lucrative.