Update September 6, 2017: The 20-years-later drama continues as Tim Willits provides evidence of his “map fragments” that John Romero denied the existence of.
Over on Instagram, Tim Willits has posted a video of one of his map fragments, titled tim14.bsp. He got it running with the help of some folks at id, and points out it bares a striking resemblance to Quake’s deathmatch maps.
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Here’s the video, as well as his statement:
I usually ignore silly controversies, but this one I will respond to. Here is a video of a map call tim14.bsp from 1996 (running on a NextStep VM, thanks to the programmers here at id Software). This is a map “fragment” (I have a directory full of them), if you know Quake 1 DM maps, you will be able to recognize things in it, this is not just a sketch. I stand by what I said and I'm not wasting my time on this anymore. Now I am getting back to working on the newest Quake game. @shacknews
We never did receive word from Bethesda on whether Willits would be providing an official statement, and got the above from aBluesNews roundup of what’s happened so far. As Shacknews point out, it doesn’t directly clarify much of his statement, beyond saying he “stands by” it. The end of the Instagram post would suggest this will be his final words on the matter.
American McGee, one of several who called Willits out, posted on Facebook further refuting the instagram post and explaining how confusions like this can occur – mostly due to human error and our damanable, imperfect brains. Bring on the cyborg revolution.
Update August 31, 2017:John Romero, John Carmack, and American McGee have issued contradictory statements to Tim Willits’ anecdote on the creation of multiplayer maps.
Since we published the article below – which remains in its original form for clarity – John Romero has written a follow-up article on his blog denying various elements. In it, he claims that the proposed interaction between him, Willits, and Carmack never happened, and he also points out some factual inaccuracies.
In Romero’s accountthe mentioned meeting “never happened.” He also points out that they had “been playing multiplayer-only maps in Doom for years already.” Credit for multiplayer-only maps goes to “the incredible Doom community” and in paid-for games, to Rise of the Triad and Marathon, both of which included them in the years before Quake’s release.
He also disputes the specifics of Willits’ statements, denying the existence of “fragments” of single-player maps and saying “all multiplayer-only maps that shipped with Quake were original maps made specifically for deathmatch.” He goes on to give a full layout of who made what in the shareware version of Quake, and where the game’s design direction came from, having spoken to Adrian Carmack among others.
Original story August 29, 2017:Tim Willits is the creative director of Doom developers id Software. He joined the famous studio in 1995, and after working his way up on the Quake franchise, ended up leading design on Doom 3. Now it seems that the entire concept of multiplayer maps is another thing for which we can thank him.
Speaking with PCGamesN at QuakeCon this weekend, Willits says:
“I designed the shareware episode of Quake. Multiplayer maps – that was my idea. This is a funny story. I had finished all my work on the shareware episode [of Quake] and because we had no design direction, we had all these fragments of maps. I came into the office one day and talked to John Romero and John Carmack. I said ‘I’ve got this idea. I can take these map fragments and I can turn them into multiplayer-only maps, maps you only play in multiplayer.’
“They both said that was the stupidest idea they’d ever heard. Why would you make a map you only play multiplayer when you can play multiplayer in single-player maps? So I said ‘No, no, no, let me see what I can do.’ And that’s how multiplayer maps were started. True story.”
So, Quakecon is all his fault?
“Yes. I never thought about that. I never put those two together.”
It’s not the sort of thing I’d thought much about but, of course, the idea of a multiplayer map must’ve had a genesis. So now we know who to thank for all those happy hours in Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament, and… well, basically every multiplayer shooter since. That’s a hell of a legacy.
We’ve plenty more from QuakeCon 2017so check it out by following our tag.