Doom 3's source code has been helping make pioneering advances in the science of monster closets since late last year. You'd think, then, that letting players tinker around in the upcoming BFG Edition's infinitely-shotgunable innards would be as simple as one, two, flashlight-removal-mod-because-you're-too-hardcore-for-seeing. Unfortunately, however, that's definitely not the case. Right now, in fact, even John Carmack's stumped. See, BFG may look like Doom 3 and sound like Doom 3 and - I verified this during QuakeCon while no one was looking - taste like Doom 3, but its ones and zeroes definitely aren't the same.
I asked creative director Tim Willits about the longtime id tradition during an interview, and here's what he told me:
"We haven't quite figured out what exactly we're going to do with the BFG Edition. It's a different PC codebase, so John [Carmack's] gotta figure out how he wants to work that in. The new Doom 3 works differently than the old Doom 3. John hasn't figured out the solution to either open sourcing it or modding."
"So that's gonna be a big question where PC folks are going to be like 'OK, so what goes on here?' But people should realize that we don't know [just yet]. We don't know when we'll release the source code, and the old mods aren't gonna work on the new Doom 3. So there is a plan that hopefully John will come up with, but people need to be aware of this for now.”
Carmack elaborated further, noting that elements of id Tech 5 (for reference, Doom 3 ran on id Tech 4) have been integrated into Doom 3 BFG Edition. As a result, there's a whole new set of legal hoops to jump through before Carmack and co can open it up to everyone else. If nothing else, though, Willits reiterated that it is a major priority.
"It's one of the great things that John does: giving away source code and letting people make new experiences. I mean, if you're a budding software programmer, and you don't download source code that John releases and learn it and make your own stuff, you're missing out on a huge opportunity. So it's always exciting to support the community like that."
Really, though, what are the odds on id at least having some sort of plan of attack ready before BFG Edition's October launch? For now, nothing set's in stone, but it's a work that's definitely in progress.
"Hopefully!" he replied when I asked. So then, fingers crossed.