Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Last Updated: February 16, 2018 – 824am ET

Do you have a question I haven't answered? Visit the Q&A section of Rocket Jump's Unbound page and ask away! Frequently asked questions will be added here over the course of the book's crowdfunding campaign and production schedule.

 

Production

Q: What is Rocket Jump: Quake and the Golden Age of First-Person Shooters?

Rocket Jump is an upcoming hardcover and digital book that recounts the making of developer id Software's Quake franchise as well as the studio's culture and the developers responsible for Quake's success. Extra chapters titled "Pause Screens" explore other foundational first-person shooters (FPS') from the 1990s, their influence on game design, and Quake's influence on them.

Rocket Jump was published on Shacknews.com, a premiere destination for gaming and technology coverage, in December 2017 as an exclusive long-read for subscribers to the website's Mercury premium service. Following Rocket Jump's publication, UK-based publisher Unbound signed author David L. Craddock to a contract to publish the book in hardcover and digital editions.

Q: What is Unbound?

Unbound is a team of writers, editors, designers, and other professionals from across the publishing industry that provides a crowdfunding platform built from the ground up by authors, for authors. Similar to other crowdfunding ventures, Unbound allows readers to pledge their financial support to a product in exchange for rewards—in Unbound's case, signed copies of books, artwork, and other items related to a publication.

Q: Who is David L. Craddock?

I'm an author and freelance writer who has been writing professionally (i.e., feeding myself and paying bills) since January 2014. As a gaming journalist, I've written for print and online publications including Shacknews, Waypoint, Paste magazine, and more, with a focus on how games are made and the people who make them and culture surrounding them. As an author, I write nonfiction and fiction such as the Stay Awhile and Listen series about the history of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North; Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution, The Gairden Chronicles and War of the Elementalists series of epic-fantasy novels for young adults, and Rocket Jump: Quake and the Golden Age of First-Person Shooters.

You can find me online @davidlcraddock on Twitter, and on my website, davidlcraddock.com, where I post announcements about new books as well as "book breakdowns," deep dives into the process of writing my books and articles.

Q: Is Rocket Jump available in print now?

Rocket Jump launched on Unbound's crowdfunding platform on February 16, 2018. Print and digital editions will hopefully go on sale in the spring or summer of 2019, but this depends on whether we reach the crowdfundng target. 

Q: Where can I pledge to support Rocket Jump and learn more about the campaign's rewards?

Visit unbound.com/books/rocket-jump/.

Q: I'm interested in pledging to the tiers that offer David's library of gaming history books. What books will I receive if I pledge to one of those tiers?

The Digital Expansion Pack, Prestige Expansion Pack, and God Mode pledge tiers offer digital and/or paperback books published from 2013 through the summer of 2018. Note that some books are only available in digital formats (PDF, EPUB, and MOBI), while others are only available in hardcover or paperback. In cases where a book is available in both formats, subscribers will receive both (presuming the reward tier they choose offers both).

Those books are, in chronological order:

  • Stay Awhile and Listen: Book I Legendary Edition (2013; paperback, eBook; includes all bonus material)
  • Dungeon Hacks: How NetHack, Angband, and Other Roguelikes Changed the Course of Video Games (2015; paperback, eBook)
  • One-Week Dungeons: Diaries of a Seven-Day Roguelike Challenge (2015; eBook)
  • Angels, Devils, and Boomsticks: The Making of Demons with Shotguns (2015; eBook)
  • Making Fun: Stories of Game Development - Volume 1 (2016; paperback, eBook)
  • Red to Black: The Making of Rogue Legacy (2017; eBook)
  • Anything But Sports: The Making of FTL (2017; eBook)
  • Everybody Shake!: The Making of Spaceteam (2017; eBook)
  • Break Out: How the Apple II Launched the PC Gaming Revolution (2017; hardcover)
  • GameDev Stories: Interviews About Game Development and Culture (2018; paperback and eBook)
  • Stairway to Badass: The Making and Remaking of Doom 2016 (to be published in Summer 2018; paperback and eBook)

Q: Is Rocket Jump complete?

Rocket Jump is finished. Final steps before the book goes into production include final passes through the manuscript to double- and triple-check factual accuracy, line edits to remove errors such as typos and grammatical mistakes, and finalizing layout and design.

Q: What will the finished editions of Rocket Jump look like?

Unbound's ace team of editors and designers have already started building a beautiful and thematically appropriate layout for Rocket Jump. On the book's Unbound page, you can get an early look at mockups of the book's cover and interior design. While these designs may change , they give a good idea of how the final product will turn out.

 

Book Content

Q: What type of book is Rocket Jump?

Rocket Jump is a narrative-style nonfiction book—a true story that reads like a novel, putting readers right in the thick of the action, complete with firsthand quotes from game developers.

Q: Can I read an excerpt from the book?

Certainly! Head to the book's Unbound page and scroll down to the Excerpt link.

Q: What research and preparation went into Rocket Jump?

Rocket Jump is the result of months of firsthand interviews with developers and research. In addition to interviews conducted in person, on Skype, and over email, my sources included books such as David Kushner's Masters of Doom, which provides a thorough and engrossing account of id Software's early years through the making of Quake (1); online and magazine articles such as interviews, previews, and reviews; and personal items such as design documents and correspondence donated by Quake's developers.

Q: What period of time does Rocket Jump cover?

I made a determined effort to learn as much as possible about the technology and design decisions that informed the making of all Quake games made in-house at id. That means Quake, Quake 2, Quake 3, Quake Live, and Quake Champions. In an effort to focus on id Software's history, culture, and developers, I opted not to delve into Quake 4, which was made by Raven Software, an external studio and long-time collaborator with id Software.

The story begins in the mid-'90s with the development of the original Quake, through the summer of 2017 and the launch of the latest Quake title, Quake Champions, in early access (a beta anyone can play) on Valve's Steam platform for PC games.

Besides games, Rocket Jump takes you behind closed doors to walk alongside id's developers and experience firsthand the technological breakthroughs and politicking that defined id's culture. In this regard, the book is as much a story about the personal and professional struggles, victories, and relationships that inform game development as much as technical details about game engines and how levels are mapped out.

Q: What other games and eras will I read about in Rocket Jump?

I grew up during the first-person shooter (FPS) gold rush of the 1990s: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem 3D, Unreal, Half-Life—the cream of the crop that inspired many contemporary FPS and action titles. Quake sat at the epicenter (pardon the pun) of that epoch. It was the game id made after Doom, which meant the company's designers were practically masters of their craft and influenced virtually every other FPS and gaming trend that followed.

I wanted to learn more about how far Quake's and id's influences spread, so I expanded Rocket Jump's purview to include in-depth examinations of other shooters made during the 1990s—some slightly before Quake, and others after. These accounts are not as detailed as chapters centered on Quake games; instead I tried to pinpoint one or two aspects of each game that it became renowned for, and/or that were motivated by technology or design decision that id had made in Quake games.

For example, the Half-Life chapter digs into Valve Software's GoldSrc engine—which was derived from Quake's engine. Another chapter concentrated on Apogee's Rise of the Triad and Duke Nukem 3D explores how Apogee and 3D Realms' designers turned left where id turned right in a conscious effort to capitalize on weapons, level design, and other aspects of FPS design that id wasn't fulfilling in Doom and Quake.

Do you have a question I haven't answered? Visit the Q&A section of Rocket Jump's Unbound page and ask away! Frequently asked questions will be added here over the course of the book's crowdfunding campaign and production schedule.

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Comments

Jan Modrák
Jan Modrák says:

In the FAQ you mention the book is finished (I guess it means it's finished and could go to production phase] but at the same time you plan th have it on sale in the spring or summer of 2019. Could you explain?

February 17, 2018

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