210 Minutes of Direct Access To Carmack’s Brain

By Alec Meer on August 4th, 2012 at 5:57 pm.

There are more brain cells in that fingertip than in my skull :(

It says something about John Carmack’s status in the gaming industry that he can hold a talk that lasts for three and a half hours and the majority of watchers are simply delighted. So, if you’ve got nothing else on for the next 210 minutes, here is said relaxed, cheerful, full-throttle, ad-libbed and fascinating QuakeCon speech in full. id’s brain o’brains chats about the problems with Rage and its messy PC launch, his love-hate relationship with the PC as a platform, those Oculus Rift VR goggles that are getting Kickstarted hearts all aflutter, Doom 3 BFG, 3D displays, just the tiniest smidgen on Doom 4 and, of course, a sustained stream of characteristically uncensored techspeak about the past, present and future of computing. Such as viewing images by firing laser beams directly into people’s retinas. Er…

Impressively, as well as talking for so damned long, he doesn’t sit down until the 90-minute point.

The more positive PC stuff is fascinating, in terms of reflecting the current industry seachange on the front. While no-one’s denied that it’s been technically superior to current gen consoles for a long time, it has had naughty stepchild status – no-one seemed to want to mention it or make a big deal of their games being on it, presumably for fear of losing those MS and Sony fun-bucks.

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168 Comments »

  1. LionsPhil says:

    So, if you’ve got nothing else on for the next 210 minutes

    Okayyy…is there an executive summary for those of us who don’t worship and revere his every utterance, but still think he might have some interesting points in there?

  2. Njordsk says:

    I wish id would wake up. Since doom 3….

    yeah rage was quite alright, but I think they surfed on the past glory for too long now. Time to prove yourself again guys.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Since Quake 2 actually. Quake 3 was a fantastic game, but for the first time ever someone else did it better than id – Epic with Unreal Tournament. DooM 3 was just a good game with fantastic graphics and nothing more, Rage was even worse than that. The moment Romero walked out the door id hasn’t been the same. Neither has he.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Now now, let’s not start that UT vs Q3 debate again. It died years ago, before most of nowadays shooter players were actually born (or in age to make a proper sentence).

        They both had their advantages.

        • xyphen says:

          UT didn’t die . We just had a summer cup with 20ish clans and i played for 2,3 hours on my full server yesterday . Don’T burie something that is still breathing . Dont know about Q3 tho , i didnt had that in years .

          • AlexMax says:

            Quake Live is essentially free-to-play Quake 3 in the browser. Give it a shot, it’s still very fun even after all these years.

          • Qazi says:

            … the debate died. Not the games!

    • millerm277 says:

      That’s because you’re not understanding what they do. Making games is an occasional fun thing to do for them, mostly as a way to test new technology. Games haven’t been their focus for close to a decade.

      What they do, is they make the Unreal Engine. And the Unreal Engine powers a huge number of games and makes them buckets of money. Look at this list of games: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Unreal_Engine_games

  3. mrmalodor says:

    Not gonna listen to another word coming from this man’s mouth after the Rage “megatexture” fiasco.

    • Toberoth says:

      Your loss.

      • Torn says:

        Bear in mind the guy said only last year that “We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games” and they chose not to spend the time designing for it.

        Who wants to bet Doom4 will be a similarly consolised experience?

        http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113564-John-Carmack-PC-Is-Not-the-Leading-Platform-for-Games

        • byteCrunch says:

          I think Carmack is very much a realist, yes the PC isn’t the lead platform for 90% of game development, why would this be a surprise to anyone at this point. It is pretty ignorant to suggest otherwise.

          • PoulWrist says:

            People always complain about the truth not being told, then complain once someone says it and it isn’t in their best interest :p

          • mrmalodor says:

            No shit, everyone knows the PC platform is being neglected. The point is that Carmack openly admitted that he doesn’t give a shit about the PC. And that’s one reason why I have no respect for this man and neither should anyone who gives a fuck about the PC platform’s future. I don’t give a crap if he confesses his love for the PC for 3 hours straight. So long as his actions contradict that (and so far they do), then he can lick my shiny metal ass.

          • Nic Clapper says:

            I think its more a matter of him wanting to do what he finds challenging/interesting. He mentions multiple times wishing he could spend more time working with phones and other platforms….I don’t think its necessarily cause he thinks it makes more sense business-wise, but rather it poses more of a challenge for him to squeeze more out of these fixed platforms. With the PC, there isn’t a theoretical ‘limit’, so its more difficult to set what your goal is there. Least thats what I get from hearing him talk.

            He also seems rather offput by decisions by Bethseda, even tho he carefully words it in non-aggressive ways heh.

        • DocSeuss says:

          …last year he said that. This year, he apologized (in the video linked in the article, no less!) that he was sorry for the way Rage went on the PC, he admitted they did poorly, and promised to do better.

    • Mctittles says:

      Even though the first thing he talks about is how they really messed up and there is no excuse for it?

      I don’t know any other company that allows someone to say that.

    • Nic Clapper says:

      Fiasco? The release of the game with the drivers issues and such…that could maybe be called a ‘fiasco’. But, the texture method? Say what you will about the gameplay, but the texture/geometry was really quite impressive. So much variance and detail. And up close its not really any lower res looking then most games out there.

      Its maybe a bit ahead of its time because of hard drive and distribution limitations — but I really hope this is the general direction things go. Its just such a dramatic improvement having all that detail.

      • D3xter says:

        Am I the only one that doesn’t see these problems with “distribution” outside of puny consoles? I mean, I’d have no problem downloading 300GB or even 1TB of texture data, just put it on Steam as some sort of “Optional DLC” or whatever and I’ll go from there. There are 3TB and 4TB HDDs for rather cheap out there nowadays.

        • Nic Clapper says:

          Yea no I agree — like I’d have no problem waiting on that download myself. Would just currently take forever. Something like google fiber ‘might’ increase downloading something like this…but still going to be limited by router/pc speeds…I suppose only be as fast as transferring files across your LAN. And, well this is speculation but not sure if places like valve are ok with distributing files that size for one game…I really don’t know tho. Generally tho most people don’t have the much HD space…yet…soon but just not quite yet. And, if say all games used something like this (with larger game worlds too) we’d def be back to the days of one game install at a time for a while heh.

      • mrmalodor says:

        If you seriously think there was anything “impressive” about those horribly ugly, low res textures and the blocky geometry, you need to wipe your glasses or get a PC monitor. The talk about megatextures was nothing but a lie to get PC gamers to buy that piece of console crap. Carmack is a fraud and a trickster. Rage was one huge fiasco and an affront to PC gaming and no amount of creative excuses that you can concoct will change that fact.

        • Nic Clapper says:

          Were you not able to run it with texture detail on or something? Theres simply nothing ‘horrible’ about the resolution of them….specially when comparing to other games. If you were comparing to what you hoped it would be in you head, maybe that was ‘horrible’ in comparison. But, please show me more then a few games that don’t look low res when you put your game characters face up against them? Also, please show me ONE example of a game that comes even close to this amount of detail and variance in geometry and texturing. I’d seriously like to know.

          Sorry, but you’re just going way overboard. Sounds like you just enjoy being overly hostile about stuff :)

    • wicko says:

      Typical response from the ignorant.

    • El_Emmental says:

      he he, not listening to one of the few dev who actually cares about innovation (be it on PC or somewhere else), you truly win the day mrmalodor

      Pretending PC is the leading platform, when you look at sales figures of publishers (such as Activision, EA and the rest), is plain foolery. Carmack told everyone the truth (that they wouldn’t focus on the PC because it isn’t the leading platform) and you complain. You can’t just pretend to ignore the ever-changing constraints and keep your job, it doesn’t work like that.

      Would you prefer id Software to focus on PC and run out of budget and vg-industry relevance, so you can say “oh no, the people are so stupid, they don’t understand PC is best, if only people were as intelligent as me… poor [insert PC-only dev] :’( ” once again ?

      Now that the mobile games sector calmed down, that the tablet sector is very slowly going up, that the console market is slowing down (XBLA/PSN indies market and Kinect are no longer the latest thing), PC, thanks to the recent additional added-value through digital distribution (more and more meta-services) and the online meta-experience (see Day Z getting 1M users through word-of-mouth/forums/videos, free streaming available for anyone and used by many people), is a place where innovation (in terms of actual impact and commercial importance), is happening.

      Calling Carmack out regarding the PC sector is just silly, the man is 41 years old and still trying to really innovate (in terms of software and hardware engineering), just because he played around with the mobile platform and let go the PC platform for a few years doesn’t make him a bad person.

      If he was such a “traitor” or “sell-out”, you would see a sequel every year, 6 DLCs per game and his face boasting about [insert latest release] being the game best game ever only for the hardcore players, and his latest mansion. And they would boast about how Doom/Quake invented everything and “own” the FPS genre and so on. They could be such jerks.

      What I see is a guy still going to QuakeCon to talk about the current and future state of video games, answer questions, listening to the other speakers at the conference, supporting a team trying to bring VR to a whole new level (both in technology and commercially). You still want to whine about Rage being a flop, when we’re talking about getting VR-compatible games in 5-10 years ? Get over it please…

      People got over Deus Ex: Invisible War, Mafia II or Max Payne 3 – they were all okay/good/excellent games (depending on your point of view) , but not really the sequel the fans wanted/expected. Same with Fallout, you just mod the hell out of your FO3 or FO:NV and forget about getting a “true” sequel.

      The video game market and industry changed so much in the last 10 years, id couldn’t have released a game pleasing the early Doom/Quake audience and still recouping the development cost, this is just impossible (= way too risky, regarding the amounts of money and jobs involved). So get over it, just don’t pre-order games (work on your backlog instead) and it will be fine.

  4. Hicks233 says:

    Less tech demos. More games please.

    Been waiting since Quake 2. If only Romero was still there to balance things out… :/

    • PoulWrist says:

      Have you read The Masters of Doom? Romero wasn’t really doing much of anything there after Doom :p game projects were sailing around, Quake was meant to be an openworld RPG, but because of no clear game design appearing from anyone, and Romero just messing about with building gothic castles and expecting the same sort of organic design that appeared when they made Doom, apart from the designer whos “doom bible” you can find, which was chucked because it wasn’t actiony enough, they ended up making Quake an FPS out of sort of a “well, we’re not getting that major RPG, so now it’s going to be an FPS” … and so it kinda continued that way.

      • Hicks233 says:

        It’s a really good read. Romero balanced the team nicely between Carmack’s tech orientation and Romero’s design orientation.

        id *were* a game company. Now they’re a tech company and it works for them. It’s just a pity that as games they (at least to me) now feel hollow without the sense of mischief and drive that you could feel Romero and Hall brought to the table. Romero on his own… well we know how Daikatana turned out. Put Carmack and Romero together though and something special happens.

  5. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    Does he talk about how the last game they made worth caring about was Quake 2?
    Quake 3 was a good engine. A bad game.
    Quake 4 was Raven Software not them.
    Doom 3 was a good engine, a bad game.

    And Rage was just the most pathetic attempt to copy Fallout 3, Bioshock, and Borderlands.

    • Unruly says:

      While I agree that Quake 2 was better than Quake 3, I wouldn’t say that Quake 3 was a bad game. It was supposed to be an online shooter, just like Unreal Tournament was. And it succeeded wonderfully at that and is known as being one of the best arena shooters to ever exist, just like Unreal Tournament.

      Was putting the Quake name on the game a cash grab? Probably, considering that the singleplayer was just bot matches. But, at the same time, one of the defining features of Quake since its creation was the multiplayer for it. So maybe rather than calling it Quake 3 like they did it should have just been Quake Arena or something that could easily have been seen as a spinoff rather than being the next numeral step in the series.

      • yogibbear says:

        It was called Quake 3: Arena…. And it was AWESOME!

        • LionsPhil says:

          (But UT99 was better! :D )

          • dE says:

            You must be from an alternate Dimension. How’s it there? You mean to say UT99 didn’t suck over there? Where’s the Portal, the dimensional gate? I’d love to take a look.

          • Unruly says:

            I think it’s you who has the portal to another dimension. UT99 was absolutely great. It was UT2K3 that sucked balls.

            I’ll admit that I much preferred Quake 2′s multiplayer to Quake 3′s though. The switch from slow elevators to jump pads in Quake 3 irked me because the elevators were previously a way to get up to a spot without hurting yourself with an RJ, but they were slow and exposed. The jump pads took that away and basically gave you a free RJ to their destination, so you were almost always better off hitting the pad than RJing to somewhere, if a pad was available that is. It was a fairly minor change, but it just drove me nuts and kept me from enjoying the game as much as I had enjoyed Quake 2.

          • Toberoth says:

            It’s hilarious to me that this argument is still going on :-)

    • othello says:

      I’m not sure how a game that started development before any of those (except Bioshock) came out could copy them. I also don’t see how it is at all similar to Bioshock.

      • Nic Clapper says:

        The only thing that seemed maybe ‘bioshocky’ was the way it handled picking up random loot items (like the canned soup etc). That kind of thing is hardly limited to bioshock, tho maybe with the sounds it made and the ‘shiny’ item thing it made it feel similar I dunno. But, thats a pretty small detail to make it a game ‘copy ‘heh.

        And yea you’re right its dev started long before the release of the other games. Similarities are just coincidental. Games are just bound to have similarities. Things all draw from other things…its just going to happen. Theres only so many things in the known world.

        • DocSeuss says:

          Bioshock and Rage handled the whole inventory/crafting thing similarly. Not identically, mind, but similarly.

          • Nic Clapper says:

            Ahh right — Bioshock2 didn’t have it and was last thing in my memory so kinda forgot the 1st one had crafting… But yea that is true. Still seems like a really small detail of either game really tho.

    • kyrieee says:

      Quake 3 a bad game?
      It’s a god damn classic.

    • wengart says:

      Rage is actually a really fun game. It happens to share similar settings with Borderlands and Fallout. However unlike those games it was essentially straight up classic shooter.

  6. Wisq says:

    At least it’ll be easy to determine who actually watched the video and who just showed up to emit the usual knee jerk responses. For the next three hours, anyway.

  7. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    One hour in and it’s still interesting, Carmack is a cool chap. For the inevitable wet blankets, he starts off apologising for Rage’s faults, particularly the lousy PC support.

    • Asyne says:

      You know what would be better than an apology? A patch, a dedicated PC development team that doesn’t test with 360 controllers, and a major (70-80%) release-day discount on the next id title for people who purchased Rage on PC. Words are cheap; let’s see id pay in revenue.

      • Hunchback says:

        People are too spoiled by the internet and patches nowadays.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Nothing about those demands, save perhaps the Steam-esque magnitude of the sale, is particularly “these days”. Developers (/publishers) that give a damn patch their broken games.

          Hell, back when Epic was a name we looked up to, they apologised for UT2003 by letting you trade it in for a discount on 2004. And it wasn’t even actually that bad; just ’04 was a close incremental update.

      • othello says:

        They did patch it, and from what I understand that fixed the majority of the issues.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          They only fixed the inconsequential shit. The major issues, like the horrible textures and the ATI bugs, are still in there.

          • othello says:

            Hmm… from what I understand the patches were to fix the AMD bugs. As far as the textures, they can’t fix them. The source textures were at that resolution.

          • pkt-zer0 says:

            @othello: The source textures would actually take up 1TB, that’s why they’re using low-res compressed stuff. Carmack did say at the previous QuakeCon, I think, that with Steam and the like, it’d be an interesting experiment to distribute some fraction of the game with such ridiculously hi-res textures.

          • Slurpy says:

            They definitely still hadn’t fixed the ATI bug the last time I fired it up, in March. My C2D/5770 box is simply incapable of playing it, the CPU is being hit at 100% the entire time the game is running. It feels like I’m trying to play CS on a dial-up connection again.

        • Torn says:

          The ATI issues are still there.

          A friend picked it up in the Steam Summer Sale and the game wasn’t playable with his ATI card (which more than met the specs). Luckily Steam gave him a refund.

        • gladius2metal says:

          I got Rage at Steam Summer Sales 2012, I have an AMD rig, hence ATI. No problems at all, but also I know what a driver is ;) and I didn’t expect Fallout because Bethesda was the publisher…

      • DocSeuss says:

        I don’t really understand why they should apologize, much less offer a massive discount. The game is superb, minus mouse navigation in the menus. Sure, some people had problems, but those people made the mistake of buying AMD cards.

  8. Ranger6six says:

    Watched it this morning, it’s a good watch regardless if you hate or love the games they’ve released in the past decade.

  9. Unaco says:

    I guess no one ever told him that brevity is the soul of wit.

  10. scim says:

    I had the livestream in in the background when the event took place a couple of days ago. Getting a glimpse of this guys mind is quite extraordinary. He is still one of those guys who tinker around in their basement/garage trying to get stuff to work or just plain figuring out how it works and seeing how they can do it better. He does this for his coding, his games (to some extent) and anything else he is interested in. I especially liked it when he started talking about the current state of virtual reality and heads up displays. He didn’t really like the lag in the headtracking stuff so he tried to get it to work with one of his $15,000 rocket gyroscopic sensors (yeah he dabbles around with rockets too).

    Interesting talk, but unless you have quite some understanding of what the @#$* he is talking about a lot of it will go over your head. Still, he is honest about the shortcomings of his company with respect to their games and he is also pretty honest about the state of affairs with consoles, PC’s and the future of all those platforms.

  11. Unruly says:

    I always love Carmack’s keynotes. Even though so much stuff flies right over my head, it’s nice to have someone who still actually knows the bones of the games talking rather than a suit who knows the business side only. Carmack is the technical side to someone like Shigeru Miyamoto’s design side, and that makes his talks great. Say what you want about id, and Rage, and whatever else, but the idTech game engines are pretty amazing. And it’s made all the sweeter by the fact that they get released as open source when they hit their EOL.

  12. august says:

    It’s not direct access to his brain, but it’s as close as we can get with the technology currently available.

  13. frostedflames says:

    I still haven’t played rage, my mouse STILL doesn’t work properly it’s a Mamba from Razer I lost complete interest by now sad

  14. kael13 says:

    He’s such a nerd and it is glorious. It’s great to have such a straight-talking guy speak his intelligent mind about the industry and programming in general.

    I wonder what on earth they were thinking with the Rage PC version, though.

    • D3xter says:

      I watched it back when, I just didn’t particularly care for what he had to say in the first hour or so, till he started talking about the more fascinating VR stuff e.g.:

      - He doesn’t want to improve graphics and push tech anymore
      - Wants to push games out much faster (possibly corporate decision because of relative failure of RAGE)
      - Thinks games were too hard and kind of dumbed down Doom 3: BFG by adding always-on flashlight and more ammo (he said now it’s “more action game than survival horror”, not that it was much of the 2nd before, but still)
      - Has a hard-on for Macs and mobile development
      - Doesn’t want to support Linux, doesn’t understand why Valve does
      - Wants “Cloud Gaming”, doesn’t understand why Valve doesn’t

      • othello says:

        He’s correct about graphics. Real time rendering is an essentially solved problem. You just kind of wait till better and better hardware comes out.

        • D3xter says:

          I kind of heavily disagree, there’s still Realtime Raytracing to explore: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbjW57zlVfc&hd=1 and till now most of the thing that have been getting better are largely high quality textures and polygon models with a lot of shader tricks happening to try to approximate how things like shadows, faces, lighting/reflections etc. look but there are still large frontiers to go like Physics with believable destruction that hasn’t really been available at all on the consoles, proper AI and large consistent worlds, particle effects etc. to tackle, all of that and more is still depending on more raw power.

          It’s funny because he has been constantly complaining about the limitations of consoles and even PCs all along the development of RAGE and it took him 2 years of optimization work to even SOMEWHAT get it working stating that the development has been heavily “dominated” by console limiations, still botching the PC version in the process. You’d think that he would be craving for a better environment to program on and more power to make all of that possible.

          • jalf says:

            What does AI and physics have to do with realtime rendering?

            As for raytracing, eh, it’s not a silver bullet. It’d let you do some thing better, and make other things much, much harder. It’s much more computationally heavy, and, at the end of the day, wouldn’t actually bring our graphics forwards, so much as sideways. Please read this: http://home.comcast.net/~tom_forsyth/blog.wiki.html#Rasteriser%20vs%20Raytracer

          • D3xter says:

            They both (and a large number of other things) require increased processing power to run well at the same time as the rendering of game scenes?
            At the moment on the consoles there’s always a certain trade-off between graphical improvement and everything else with things like stable FPS, AI and other finer details (like even Animations) almost always losing the battle.

            Physics simulation has also largely and increasingly been included as a part of the rendering pipeline (and a job for the GPU) since NVIDIA took over AGEIA. We are still long ways off from where a world feels “real”, things you drive into get damaged and show said things, people and animals have actual skin and body properties, bleed and resemble other physical properties and not just a rigid body modelled once and never changing. The ground, buildings and other surroundings react to physical forces like impacts (a grenade blowing up or something like that). Proper fluid animation with things like rain forming puddles correctly or any kind of fluid in a glass container or in anything else etc. I still see quite a long way to go till the computational power is in a spot where it can do all these things and you can interact with everything.
            Most games nowadays (even the ones taking pride in being “sandboxes”) are still largely unreactive/unresponsive in many ways, although they have somewhat improved from MAFIA or Midtown Madness where you hit a lamp post or a wooden fence and thought you hit a brick wall.
            RAGE is a good example of that, they made a lot of things look more visually pleasing with the “Megatextures”, losing almost any and all interactivity with said objects in the process that behave more like bitmaps on a painted background than how you’d expect a tin can or a piece of paper to react.

            Some other things like realistic fire simulation and spread or generative plant (and other material) growth would also be interesting.

            Oh and your link doesn’t work, but I don’t really need to “read up” on Raytracing, I know what it’ll probably say and yes we aren’t quite at the spot for it to work in a generational perspective. It’ll probably take another 10 years till it can happen with the fidelity of current games and Rasterization might still be steps ahead by then, but it’s just a much better and more efficient way for lighting, shadows and reflections/refractions than the entire rulebook of shader tricks being used to simulate approximations thereof nowadays.
            There was some interesting progress lately though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5mRRElXy-w&hd=1
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBx8rD-dM6c&hd=1

      • Ruffian says:

        you should probably factor in the amount of time he’s been doing what he’s doing before you condemn him for talking about other platforms and such, I’m sure it’s nice, as well as refreshing to branch out and try new things sometimes. Also, and I really am asking here, as I’ve not seen too much info on BFG as of now, but I was wondering if those (flashlight and more ammo) are optional things or just there whether you want them or not.

      • Roshin says:

        Did you actually listen to what he said during that first hour? Your “summary” makes me want to cry and rage at the same time.

        RAEGFACE

  15. Hunchback says:

    Will watch it on Monday.

    In the mean time, don’t forget that there’s QuakeLive, which kinda fell off most people’s radars but it IS a fairly decent online shooter… for free. And by fairly decent i mean probably as good as Quake 3 was, which at least for me, is probably the best old school competitive FPS.

    • Unruly says:

      It’s not “probably as good as Quake 3.” It IS Quake 3. It’s just run as a browser plugin rather than an independent program.

      • Beelzebud says:

        If it doesn’t have the gibs it’s not Quake 3!

      • spcd says:

        I hate Quake Live. It’s so much less than Quake 3.

        Quake 3 = Quake 3 + a huge amount of mods and maps.

        Quake 3 is dead because of Quake Live, and this way a lot of mods died the same way. (Threewave I miss you!)

  16. MythArcana says:

    The man who sparked an entire industry. It’s just too bad that today’s generation will never truly understand the impact this man has had on the world since the 90′s. Now John Romero on the other hand…if he started a metal band back then, he’d be bigger than Marilyn Manson.

  17. golem09 says:

    I just got off from playing Spelunky for one our. Saw this post, started the video. Another 3 hours of spelunky it seems.
    And I wonder if I’ll be able to get BEYOND THE FIRST THREE LEVELS in that time. Probably not.

    • Skabooga says:

      I’ve been there. It took me something like a month of playing it during every bit of free time I had to finally get a winning playthrough. That feeling is glorious. In the meantime, as you already see, it’s a good way to catch up on podcasts and other talk heavy media.

    • Ruffian says:

      Damn, you can beat spelunky?!?! lol. I kid, of course. Seriously though, I don’t think i’ve had the gusto or the skill to get past like the second scenery change yet.

  18. Shooop says:

    He’s a great tech guy but a terrible game designer I’m sad to say. Like Epic, they make engines first, then games. Only at least the Doom 3 engine wasn’t POS like Unreal 3.

    I really want the Occulus Rift to go places. It’d be amazing to have superior VR tech for the same price some people pay for video cards.

    • Beelzebud says:

      He’s not a game designer at all. He builds engines. Same goes for Epic; Tim Sweeny does all the engine work and other people design the games. It’s not a 1-man army situation.

      Also you can say the Unreal3 engine sucks all you want, but I can think of around 20 good games that use it, and only a few that used idtech4.

      • Shooop says:

        Does engine = game? Did I say that anywhere in my post?

        I don’t think so.

        • wicko says:

          So do you admit you’re totally wrong about how id and Epic operate? Because it has nothing to do with putting “something first”.

          • Shooop says:

            Since you made such a stretch just there do you think you can pass me my drink from the counter?

            With all the effort you put into your miniature chaos theory you could have done something productive with your time. Like logging out before making such a inane post.

          • wicko says:

            So, yes then?

            I’m not sure how you could defend it, nor did you attempt to when the previous commenter called you on it. But, you know, posting quips will get you plenty of internet high fives. I’m sure you’re very popular with the ladies.

          • Shooop says:

            I know when I’m dealing with a purposely obtuse and thick imbecile. And I know there is no point in attempting to reason with them. So that just leaves calling a spade a spade.

            If ever you reach a level of competence in understanding and using the English language where you can actually read my posts then maybe I’ll attempt an actual conversation with you. Until then I’ll just do my best to keep you from embarrassing yourself farther.

        • Beelzebud says:

          No in your post you just said Carmack was a designer, and that the Unreal engine sucked. If it sucked, it wouldn’t be used to make so many good games. Try to keep up.

          • Shooop says:

            If you don’t know the difference between a game and an engine and that there are many types of “designers” in all sorts of careers there is no hope for you.

            Unplug your computer and buy a console. You’re bound to hurt yourself otherwise.

          • wicko says:

            If you’re going to talk shit, then be more specific instead of expecting people to read your mind. Is he a bad level designer? Gameplay designer? Technical designer? Producer?

            Also, quoted from you “Only at least the Doom 3 engine wasn’t POS like Unreal 3.” So by your responses, you’re comparing an engine to a game. Can’t backpedal out of that one, buddy.

          • DazedByTheHaze says:

            Lots of games on UnrealTech doesn’t mean that the engine is good for games. It means that it is good to make games on it. How they play is a whole diffrent story. Shooters on UnrealTech play like shit. It may be good enough for console-mainstream, but for people who care about delay/latency, actually hitting what you aim at, it’s the horror! ;)

          • Shooop says:

            DazedByTheHaze had no trouble getting what I was saying. Why do you struggle so much?

            You’re purposely being obtuse and thick. Therefore I have no reason to explain myself to you because you don’t even want to know what I’m talking about. Step away from your computer and donate it to someone else please. You’ll be doing yourself and them a favor.

          • El_Emmental says:

            @ Beelzebud @ wicko: I think we call that a troll.

            He first builds a sentence that sounds like something inaccurate: A is crap because B is better (A being “apples” and B “oranges” = two different things that you can’t really compare).

            Then you tell him he’s wrong, and he keeps walking on that thin edge: A is just crap. And B was good. Can’t you understand that you fool ? (<= note the borderline rude vocabulary, they key to start an insult-war getting you targets temp-banned)

            Then, if you keep posting, to avoid getting punished/banned/ridiculed and when the trolling gets boring, he will pretend he never "said" that, instead, he was saying: "A was bad in my opinion, hopefully B was a greater product (implying “on its own”)”.
            (the classic “Apples taste bad, while oranges contain a lot of vitamin – this is why my favorite type of fruit is oranges”)

            This is such an old trick, you should let the man be wrong. When he wrote “Does engine = game? Did I say that anywhere in my post? I don’t think so.“, it was way too suspicious.

            If he genuinely wanted to convey an idea/his opinion, he would have rephrased that, either aggressively (“[rephrasing the entire post, double the initial size], is this clearer for you now ?”) or calmly (“I might have been misunderstood, I actually said that…”).

            No really, just read the following sentences without thinking of the currently discussed topic, it’s very likely it’s a straight-out copy-paste from a trolling 101 document or a flaming generator:

            “With all the effort you put into your miniature chaos theory you could have done something productive with your time. Like logging out before making such a inane post.”

            “I know when I’m dealing with a purposely obtuse and thick imbecile. And I know there is no point in attempting to reason with them. So that just leaves calling a spade a spade.”

            “If ever you reach a level of competence in understanding and using the English language where you can actually read my posts then maybe I’ll attempt an actual conversation with you. Until then I’ll just do my best to keep you from embarrassing yourself farther.”

            “If you don’t know [...] there is no hope for you.”

            “Unplug your computer and buy a console. You’re bound to hurt yourself otherwise.”

            “You’re purposely being obtuse and thick. Therefore I have no reason to explain myself to you because you don’t even want to know what I’m talking about. Step away from your computer and donate it to someone else please. You’ll be doing yourself and them a favor.”

            Seriously, no one can be that hostile to discussion yet so eager to irritate and humiliate his interlocutor, without being a troll.

          • Shooop says:

            Or he could be perhaps someone who assumes 99% of the people on this site are intelligent people who read things entirely before posting replies and use their brains to do so and therefore has little patience for those who don’t.

            But what do I know right? Obviously you know what I really wanted to say was “A is better than B” and nothing more involved like comparing not games but engines they’re built on. Because my written words sure didn’t say that, so you must have some magical ability to simplify what anyone says into something almost completely irrelevant to what they really said!

            I think the collective IQ of this entire site drops 5 points every time one you three post in this article.

          • El_Emmental says:

            “I think the collective IQ of this entire site drops 5 points every time one you three post in this article.”

            Ha ha !

            You’ve got one hell of a trolling quote database my friend, I’m starting to become really jealous ! :P

    • DocSeuss says:

      1. He doesn’t design games. I know it’s already been pointed out, but your post and its reponses have been so astonishingly stupid that it bears repeating.

      2. Most people build their engines first and their games second. I realize that you probably meant to be snarky about how Epic develops games, but since the suggestion would imply that Epic develops bad games–and that’s BLATANTLY false–I see no reason not to offer you snark in response.

      3. Doom 3′s engine was shit–it couldn’t handle long draw distances at all without massive modification, for instance. Sure, it had great lighting, but that was about it. Unreal 3, on the other hand, is one of the most widely used and astonishingly versatile engines on the planet. Everything from Mass Effect to Mirror’s Edge to Aliens: Colonial Marines to QUBE uses a form of Unreal Engine 3, and these games look good and run really, really smooth. Few games perform as well on my computer as Unreal Engine games, and few look as good. Sure, there’s always art direction and whether or not the game’s been ported to take into account, but yeah, Unreal 3 absolutely demolishes idTech 4.

  19. Mungrul says:

    It’s a testament to his passion that he held me rapt for most of that speech. Hell, I thought it was incredible that he didn’t even take a drink until the Q&A session almost 3 hours in. The crazy American dude going on about Verizon charging per gigabyte missed an opportunity mind you; I really would like to have heard JC’s thoughts on Google fibre.

    I also think he missed the point of the guy asking about Onlive; I think that guy wanted to know if it were possible that a cloud gaming service would make the dream of an uncompressed megatexture version of Rage a reality. We’ve heard over and over again that the uncompressed texture data is a terabyte in size. Surely hosting that data on a cloud gaming service is an excellent way to leverage the technology?

    And that poor Japanese guy; I understood his question perfectly, but JC couldn’t make head nor tail of it. His question got answered to some extent, but I think what he was really getting at was how rendering of volumetric particle effects is handled in a VR environment. As a lot of these things are handled by shaders, it’s an interesting question when considering the stereoscopic display and synchronisation of such effects.

    But overall, absolutely fascinating, and I would LOVE to see Lord British skydive from near-orbit out of an Armadillo Aerospace rocketship :D

    Edit: Oh yeah, several times he mentioned an AR session featuring Michael Abrash of Valve happening the following evening. Has that happened yet, and if so, does anyone have a link?

  20. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    He’s the Fidel Castro of the gaming industry.

  21. Alexrd says:

    It’s a shame that he’s promoting cloud gaming…

    • alundra says:

      That coupled with Tim Willits complimenting blizvis drm parade made me lose all faith on ID and include them on my boycott list.

      Then I released that, they have nothing worthy of a boycott.

      :-\

    • Hardlylikely says:

      id don’t even provide mod tools anymore, so unfortunately that’s one of the strengths of PC games missing, even without going to the cloud. Sad but unsurprising.

  22. golem09 says:

    Well, since it CAN have less latency than we ALREADY have…

    But hearing him talk about the VR display and what could be done in the near and far future, I realized I’m only 25.
    I will easily still be around and in my best age in 10 and even 20 years when all this technology is far surpassed.
    I’M EXCITED!

  23. DickSocrates says:

    Please come back Romero. Id is like the Smiths, greater than the sum of its parts. Carmack is undoubtedly a real techincal genius, but the fire; the insane grit that drove the games to iconic status was the blend of tech no one has ever seen before with Romero’s twisted vision. Now we just have tech that no one uses.

  24. grenadeh says:

    Wait.. people give a damn?

    I’m pretty sure no one gives a damn. We appreciate Doom and Wolfenstein and Quake and where they brought us but the truth is – no one cares about doom. Doom 1 and Doom 2 were it. Wolfenstein 3D, and MAYBE return to castle wolfenstein, those are it. Quake 1 and 2, and barely 3, that’s it. At best id has been irrelevant for 10 years. Rage was cool and the new engine is really great but Quake 4 was dumb, and no one has any interest in pretty much anything id does, even with Bethesda on their side.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I’m pretty sure no one gives a damn.

      Numerous counterexamples may be found amongst these very comments.

    • Shooop says:

      The problem is Carmack is a genius, but he’s a genius only at making game engines. Engines that nobody ends up ever using even though they should.

      He’s in a tough position – he’s so good at what he does but it’s so specialized no one else can take advantage of that and make a great game around it.

      • Morte66 says:

        You almost wish he’d get bought by some company that makes big continuous open world exploration games that would really benefit from megatexture. Games like, oh, Fallout 3 and Skyrim.

    • Ruffian says:

      Am I like the only person on the planet who thoroughly enjoyed Doom 3? I mean it wasn’t like mind blowing or anything, but it certainly was a very solid shooter with a few good monster closets here and there.

      • Metonymy says:

        Sure I can go along with that.

        It carries the Doom name though, so many players expect fast player movement, lots of big fights monster combos, clean powerful weapons that have a distinct niche, rather than some tedious ammo-choosing false choice, and clear upgrades in both weapon power and enemy power.

        What I personally want out of Doom is a stylized moon base and hell. I want bright vibrant colors, big open spaces, and a version of hell that looks like it was scribbled in the margin of a high-school notebook. And I want it to be hard because the monsters are strong.

      • Shooop says:

        It had some really inspired parts, but as a whole it was dragged down by magical monster spawn points popping up behind you and drab scenery (partially due to the engine’s real-time lighting being such a system hog).

  25. therealspratt says:

    The man builds rockets, what more can you say?

  26. Slinkyboy says:

    I didn’t know John Carmack was a pimp.

  27. Metonymy says:

    I’m actually disgusted that he takes the time to apologize for some utterly trivial and unimportant problem like early driver problems, but DOESN’T take the time to apologize for what a truly horrible game Rage was.

    Cover?
    Ammo types?
    Only 3 or 4 enemy types?
    10x as many weapons as you needed?
    Horrible quake rally frankensteined in?
    Console transition zones? (you can only leave the city hubs by clicking on a tiny, tiny TINY button. Oh yes, this is a great fps)
    Did I mention there were only a few enemy types?
    Did I mention there were only a few enemy types?
    Did I mention there were only a few enemy types?

    This guy is off base. They haven’t made a good game since quake 1/2, and there’s no way anyone will care about them if they don’t do drastically better than Rage.

    • Ruffian says:

      While i don’t disagree with you, I would still gladly take RAGE over any COD campaign any day. Also he did say that they had somewhat mismarketed it, in that people thought it would like Fallout, which he says is not quite what they were going for.

    • DocSeuss says:

      You’re complaining about having too many weapons and too few enemies? You played Rage wrong, it sounds like.

  28. Ruffian says:

    Carmack reminds me of my favorite teachers. He’s passionate about what he does, and it shows, and it makes listening to him soooo much easier.

  29. zeroskill says:

    At this point, I just wish Id would sell the Quake franchise to Valve and let them make a new Arena game. Sad state of affairs to be honest.

    Valve has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they truly understand what it takes to take a old, popular competitive game and bring it to 2012, with astonishing success (Dota 2). Now if they only could do that with Q3A.

    I don’t trust Id with such a thing. The only thing I trust Id doing nowadays is making boring, repetitive health-regen console shooters. Oh boy.

    • DazedByTheHaze says:

      There is a new arena game in the making. They are like 3 months in and are trying to get some investors in this month so thy don’t have to go the Kickstarter route. Google “Reborn 2GD the GD studio”… and ahlleluja… they don’t use UnrealTech… (and no idTech4 hurray! :D)

  30. vandinz says:

    I love this man but WOW is he hard to listen to. The intonations at the end of his sentences is very strange and the “aye” instead of erm, or ah is just plain weird. I’d still swap his brain for mine though and I do think the texture streaming is the future of gaming, it made Rage look superb and totally original everywhere you looked. Shame the textures themselves were a bit plop.

  31. Morte66 says:

    I was astonished by how few people were in the audience when the camera played over them towards the end. John Carmack, keynote, QuakeCon, a few dozen people.

    • SirKicksalot says:

      You can see the keynote online, but you can only join the BYOC madness for a couple of days.
      Plus this year’s keynote was both delayed and really long, overlapping with the tournaments.

  32. Kadayi says:

    “While no-one’s denied that it’s been technically superior to current gen consoles for a long time, it has had naughty stepchild status – no-one seemed to want to mention it or make a big deal of their games being on it, presumably for fear of losing those MS and Sony fun-bucks.”

    My understanding is the whole reason Console titles cost a good £8 – 9 more than PC titles is because publishers actually pay MS & Sony Licencing fees for using the platforms. It’s only where there are exclusives (Halo or uncharted) that any ‘fun bucks’ head the other way. The reason people don’t want to piss of MS or Sony is because they generally (but not always) still sell more units on the consoles than on the PC.

  33. D3xter says:

    The “Virtual Insanity” panel video went up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gaqQdyfAz8&hd=1

  34. Worm4Brains says:

    Interesting speech but if the point of VR is improving immersion how relevant is the technology. For example a reader can become immersed in a book without the need for visual or physical aids. Gaming seems to becoming an extension of the movie industry at the moment.

  35. AlienMind says:

    Deark John,
    please stay over at the console area with your friend Cliff Blezinski .
    We are all pirates and the development is so much easier over there, remember?

    • El_Emmental says:

      Dear AlienMind,

      please stay over at the I’m-not-running-a-video-game-development-company area with pretty much everyone on the Internet (including me).

      We are all fully aware of all the constraints of making then selling a game, and being commercially sustainable in the video game industry is so easy, right ?

  36. Crius says:

    Carmack is clearly not human.
    Nearly 3h without drinking and 42 years but look like a fucking 25y old guy :|

  37. DXN says:

    He’s such a dreamboat ~~

    That’s all I have to say.

  38. Reapy says:

    Just got through this all… I’ve had my issues with ID products in the past and all, but honestly carmack is just so inspiring as a person, his brain is just on this relentless drive to acquire and solve problems, I wish everyday I could find one ounce of that determination to experiment and gain knowledge.

    By now at his age the amount of “stuff” he has floating around in his head is scary. Just the fact he could rattle off his projects and things he has been working on for 3 hours without taking a breath, just awesome.

    Was funny though I thought the crowd was a lot bigger than what you saw by the time it panned out to show the questions.

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