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id Tech 5 is a game engine under development by id Software. It is the latest proprietary game engine being developed by id Software, and follows its predecessors, id Tech 1, id Tech 2, id Tech 3 and id Tech 4. The engine was first demonstrated at the WWDC 2007 by John D. Carmack on an eight-core Apple Macintosh computer; however, the demo only used a single core with single-threaded OpenGL implementation running on a 512 MiB 7000 class Quadro video card.[1] The technology is still in the development stage. Two games utilizing the engine, Doom 4 and Rage, have been announced.

Marketing and licensing[]

The engine was first shown privately to an audience of potential licensees at E3 2007. The first public demonstration took place at QuakeCon in the same year[2] during the annual keynote held by John Carmack. The game engine is being used in id Software's upcoming game RAGE.

An interview with John Carmack, the lead graphics engine developer at id, indicated that like its predecessors, id Tech 5 will eventually be released as open source. The move to open source will likely come many years after id Tech 5's release as a proprietary engine. At QuakeCon 2007, Carmack told LinuxGames that he would integrate as little proprietary software as possible into id Tech 5, as "eventually id Tech 5 is going to be open source also. This is still the law of the land at id Software, that the policy is that we're not going to integrate stuff that's going to make it impossible for us to do an eventual open source release."[3]

At QuakeCon 2010, id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead announced that while id Tech 5 will be licensed to third parties, games using the engine will be required to be published by id Software's sister company Bethesda Softworks.[4]


The development of id Tech 5 has centered predominantly on making the engine easier to use for developers. While the rendering quality of the engine will likely be best in class, demonstrations of id Tech 5 have so far focused more on the advantages to developers rather than players, which is directly opposite to past releases of id Tech, which focused more on players than developers.

The initial demonstration of the engine featured 20 GiB of texture data (using a more advanced MegaTexture approach called Virtual Texturing,[5] which supports textures with resolutions up to 128000x128000 pixels), and a completely dynamically changeable world. This technique allows the engine to automatically stream textures into memory as needed, meaning that the developer need not concern themselves with memory restraints or texture limits. This has the advantage of simplifying the creation of content, by eliminating the need to adapt content for different platforms. The engine automatically optimizes resources for cross-platform development, making it possible to render the same models on different platforms, while only creating them for one platform, further simplifying cross-platform development.[6]

One of the visually evident features the renderer will include is a penumbra in the shadowing (soft edges), by using shadow maps. In contrast, id Tech 4, which featured a different shadowing technique had very sharply defined shadows. The engine will likely feature numerous other advanced graphical effects such as various materials for lighting, high dynamic range rendering-centric effects, bloom, crepuscular rays (volumetric lighting), soft particles, pixel shader effects, alpha to coverage, post processing, dynamic water surfaces, procedural animation, cloth simulation, depth of field, and motion blur. The engine will also support multi-threaded processing on the CPU for many of its tasks, including rendering, game logic, AI, physics, and sound processing.

John Carmack mentioned in his keynote at QuakeCon 2007 that the id Tech 5 engine will be OpenGL- and DirectX 9.0-based, thus not requiring DirectX 10 (and, with it, Windows Vista) to run.[7]

The engine comes with a new content-creation tools package called id Studio, which is supposed to be much more user-friendly and polished than in earlier versions. Previously, content creation required artists to run various command line tools beyond the level editor's own tools, while id Tech 5 allows for all work to be done 'in-engine'.

While id Studios will be using the engine solely for creating shooter games, the engine also has the capability to operate outside of this genre. Steve Nix from id Software stated that "Not only do we think people can make games outside the action-shooter space with our technology, we encourage it. We'd actually like to see those games made."[6]

Games using or licensing the id Tech 5 engine[]

See also[]


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