We Talk Quakecon 2013 and Beyond With Tim Willits of id Software

Recently I got to speak with Tim Willits – studio director, id Software about the 2013 Quakecon. The show is a haven for fans of the popular id Software titles and Tim was kind enough to tell us what fans can look forward to.

How did Quakecon get started and how has it evolved over the years?

QuakeCon was originally founded as a community organized meet-up by people in #quake on the EFnet IRC network. What began back in 1996 as just a small event organized by a few and visited by 100 has grown into the largest LAN in North America, and is now host to developer showcases, world-class gaming competitions for both professional and amateur gamers, entertainment of all sorts, organized almost entirely by volunteers. Its unique flavor has to led some calling it the “Woodstock of gaming”.

What are some of the events planned at this year’s show?

John Carmack’s QuakeCon keynote address is always a fan favorite, and this year we’ll have a double dose of John, including a lecture style presentation of “The Principles of Light and Rendering” in addition to his annual keynote address. We have some exciting gameplay presentations lined up for attendees of The Evil Within, The Elder Scrolls Online, and Wolfenstein: The New Order. Master Pancake will be returning for our Friday evening entertainment – this time performing their take on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. We’ll be wrapping up the whole event with our tournament finals party Saturday evening, showcasing some of the world’s top professional gamers competing under the pressure of our large ballroom audience.

What are the biggest challenges with putting on your show and your greatest triumphs and what have you learned from past shows that has enabled you to grow each year?

The biggest challenge has to be the sheer amount of planning and labor that goes into transforming the bare convention hall floors into the QuakeCon BYOC and exhibit halls. Volunteers from across the United States come to the Hilton Anatole in Dallas to crimp and lay 63,400 feet of cable, setup 1,400 tables, and 2,800 chairs. The dedication and enthusiasm of our volunteers has allowed us to grow and still tackle any new challenges that arise. They’re amazing.

How many people does it take to pull off the convention in terms of organizers, support, etc?

In addition to dozens of employees and scores of exhibitors, the event is run by over 420 volunteers who put it in a combined 6,000 hours over the course of the week.

How big is your expected attendance?

We’re anticipating over 8,000 attendees to descend on QuakeCon, including the 2,800 people who populate our BYOC.

What can you tell the readers about the gaming competitions that will be held and what sort of prizing and sponsorship will be available?

We will be giving away more than $25,000 in cash and prizes in this year’s three official tournaments, including the Intel QUAKE LIVE Duel Invitational Masters for our professional gamers — sporting a $9,000 check for the champion, the QUAKE LIVE Clan Arena 3v3 Open for our competitive enthusiast, and the 20th Anniversary DOOM Challenge which should be nice throwback to our long-time dedicated fans who have been with us since our first DOOM II tournament held back at the first QuakeCon in 1996. We also have some exciting time trial speed run competitions, where attendees will be challenged to see how quickly they can plow through games like Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Dishonored, and Skyrim.

To what do you attribute the huge bump in popularity for professional gaming and how would you characterize Quakecon’s part in it?

The greatest influence driving professional gaming has been the partnerships forged between large gaming events such as ourselves and industry sponsors. Our wonderful sponsors, such as Intel, have helped legitimize gaming as a professional sport, driving competitors to embrace our games and push their skills to the limits. For 18 years QuakeCon has hosted world-class professional gaming competitions and been able to entice players from around the globe with the help of our sponsors, helping keep that vision alive.

Looking forward, where would you like the convention to be in 10 years?

QuakeCon has grown so much in the last 18 years I can’t imagine it becoming any bigger! The games anchor the convention, and our fans continuing to gather once a year to meet and game together are what it’s all about.

If you want to cover Quakecon for us, please drop me a line at [email protected] as to why you would be a good choice. 18 and over please.