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Quake Champions “is not on id Tech 6”



id Software’s creative-director Tim Willits explains why using the Vulkan API with Quake Champions isn’t a walk in the park.

The highly anticipated Quake Champions was a big focus of this year’s QuakeCon event in Dallas, Texas, and was on the ground in the thick of the action. We caught up with creative-director Tim Willits for a lengthy chat about all things Quake and id, and we will publish the full interview shortly.

In the interim, we’re sharing some exciting snippets from that chat, including these intriguing quotes about the Vulkan API (a powerful new application programming interface) and its compatibility with Quake Champions.

Here is how the conversation went…

Would I be right in assuming Quake Champions will be compatible with Vulkan API?

Because we had such success with pairing Vulkan and Doom, it is definitely something we are looking at, but I can’t confirm it at this point. Hopefully you will not have to upgrade your machine too much, but we’re all about speed with Quake Champions. We want to run at 120Hz and we want to run fast. If you go and get the new GTX 1080 [graphics card] it sure looks fast. That is what we have been using to test Quake Champions and I’ve been like, “damn, these cards are fast!” But we do want to have that big base of people [playing], so we cannot make it ridiculously overpowered.

It is not on id Tech 6

Marty Stratton [game director on Doom] told me how proud he was of his team getting Vulkan working with Doom on PC, so it seemed like it would be a given for Quake Champions?

We had such success with Vulkan and Doom that Robert Duffy, our chief technology officer, was like, “alright guys, this worked out well for us. So we need to do it [with Quake].” But we still have to look at it, because Quake Champions’ technology is part id tech, but also part Saber tech. It is not on id Tech 6 [game engine]. If it was, it would be all good with Vulkan and we would be happy.

Our take?

I had simply assumed that Quake Champions would run on the id Tech 6 game engine because, you know, it’s Quake. So the fact that the game is running so significantly on developer Saber Interactive’s own in-house tech that functioning features of id Tech – used most recently with Doom – are stripped gets you thinking. How else does this change what we assumed would be givens in the way that Quake runs and plays, based on how Doom works? Saber Interactive has a sketchy history, driven by a console-first mentality – think TimeShift, Inversion, Halo: The Master Chief Collection – and to be brutally honest, as good as their games look, I would not have thought their in-house engine would surpass the might of id Tech 6.

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