A few years ago, team members from the now former Dynamix studios decided to to something that was revolutionary at the time; release what would later be named the Torque engine, a fully featured game engine based on the Tribes II engine, for only $100 to independent game developers. Since then quite a number of PC-based Torque engine titles, from GarageGames and other third-party teams, have been released, and some were even released for the original Xbox Live Arcade. However, GarageGames decided to go all out with their first Xbox 360 Live Arcade Game, Marble Blast Ultra, showing off a new version of the Torque Game Engine. FiringSquad got a chance to chat with GarageGames marketing director Jay Moore about Marble Blast Ultra, what's next for GarageGames and all those Tribes sequel rumors.
FiringSquad: First, GarageGames has generated a ton of press lately thanks to the popular Xbox 360 Live Arcade game Marble Blast Ultra. Did the company anticipate how popular the game would become?
We knew that Marble Blast Gold was fun and always wanted it to be multiplayer. And on the right platform, with the right players this game would find its full potential. Did we anticipate how popular it would be? To be honest the rapid success of Marble Blast Ultra has eclipsed even our most enthusiastic expectations.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about future plans for Xbox 360 Live Arcade games from GarageGames?
We will have them and they will be fun. They will be made with the Torque Shader Engine (TSE) for Xbox 360. They will take advantage of Live! Beyond that our previously unannounced titles will remain unannounced.
FiringSquad: Are there any upcoming Live Arcade titles developed by third parties that will use your technology?
Yes. We've had many new conversations regarding TSE Xbox 360 with both established and new studios looking to bring their games to XBLA.
FiringSquad: How hard is it to not only develop games but also create and update technology that will be used by others?
Actually making great technology without using it to make games is like being a gourmet chef and never tasting your own food. As fun as it is to make games we do enjoy making powerful tech to take advantage of the next-gen consoles. The push to get Marble Blast Ultra out in the launch window of Xbox 360 was a great way to pressure test Torque and we're working on rolling all the optimizations back into the core TSE code base.
FiringSquad: What can you tell us about upcoming changes and advances for your Torque Engine technology?
I can give you a peak at what we're showing off at GDC. TSE has continued to improve and we'll be showing off the updated Atlas Terrain and the new water system as we show off Milestone 3 at GDC. We also have a whole new version of Torque Game Builder (TGB), our 2D game engine we'll be showing off with Mighty Fist. TGB is a great way not just to learn game making, but a high performance engine for professional 2D game development, so many game types really are more fun in 2D. We'll also be showing off Torque Constructor, a next generation CSG editor for the masses. This customizable level editor is fully customizable with Torque Script.