Seismic: John Carmack Officially Leaves id Software

By Nathan Grayson on November 22nd, 2013 at 9:30 pm.

Now who will speak non-stop, almost without breathing, for at least four continuous hours during QuakeCon?

Shock! Awe! Implausibility! Ceaseless insanity! Cats marrying dogs, oceans boiling into a deliciously apocalyptic fish stew!

OK, yeah, actually none of those things. We all probably should’ve seen this coming from a mile away. Earlier this year, John Carmack became Chief Technology Officer at VR megalith Oculus Rift, a position that didn’t seem to leave much time for a second full-time gig at the studio that pioneered both first-person shooters and the practice of naming game companies after Freudian psychological concepts. Bethesda, however, insisted that Carmack would be just dandy pulling double-duty. Predictably, that was a rather significant enhancement to the truth.

IGN got details from id studio director Tim Willits, who explained:

“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio. John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”

Carmack, meanwhile, elaborated on the reasoning behind his decision via Twitter:

“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn’t work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging.”

“If they don’t want me to talk on stage at Quakecon next year, we’ll just have to fill up the lobby like the old days. :-)”

While not exactly the most unpredictable turn of events, this is still definitely the end of an era. Carmack’s been id Software’s signature transcendent-brain-restrained-to-our-mortal-plane since the company’s earliest days. From his groundbreaking/quaking engines to his legendary hours-long talks at QuakeCon, he was – at times – very nearly the face of id Software. A strange sort of relentlessly un-glamorous geek idol rockstar.

Carmack’s resignation comes in the wake of the departure of id’s longtime CEO, Todd Hollenshead, earlier this year. Between that and id’s eerie radio silence on Doom 4, it’s quite obvious that major change is afoot. It’s tough not wonder, though, if it’s change for the better or a turn for the worse.

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144 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Xyvik says:

    Am I the only one who finds John Carmack to be nothing more than an overbloated ego whose ideas haven’t been of any real use to the games industry for ages?

    I mean, I understand why some people worship him, he used to have good ideas. And I might have missed something, but I think he’s been pretty irrelevant to games for a long time now and has just been trading on his “old value.”

    This isn’t flaming, but an actual attempt to learn more. Anyone care to enlighten me as to why we should even care about Carmack any more?

    • Sakkura says:

      He’s been a major factor in the development of the Oculus Rift. Also, the guy does rocket science as a hobby… that should tell you all you need to know about his abilities.

      • waltC says:

        Don’t want to rain on your parade, but I don’t think you should confuse paying a team to do rocketry with *doing* rocketry, if you know what I mean…;) Carmack paid the tab for the other folks to do the rocketry–nothing whatever wrong with that, but I think the clarification is important. I’ve never considered Carmack a “genius” (and often marvel at how that word is tossed around so carelessly), and I remember him well from long before the Quake 3 public beta he held in which he patched the Q3 network code & graphics close to something like 17 times, IIRC…;) (With the help of a willing public.) I also remember his Ferrari and the matching Ferrari’s his id associates also bought with the proceeds from one or more of their games–how he and his teammates used to revel in driving them in games of faux “chicken”, etc.

        Although certainly not a genius, at least in my book, Carmack most assuredly is the penultimate nerd. Indeed, I cannot think of another human being on earth who so perfectly fulfills that word–nerd. Carmack is the nerd to end all nerds, Nerd Incarnate, etc. He’s the nerd of the north; he’s Santa Nerd, he’s…Everyman Nerd…;) As for “genius,” I’ll go with Edison’s definition of genius as 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration, and I get the impression that the only time Carmack breaks a sweat is when he moves beyond the bounds of his immediately local air-conditioning unit, which doesn’t seem often.

    • buzzmong says:

      Read his twitter account. Read up on the stuff he speaks about. Realise he’s vastly more intelligent and has a much wider knowledge base than you thought.

      Although I’ll agree he’s not relevent in terms of making games anymore and he hasn’t been for years. I think most of iD’s previous brilliance came via the group that worked there in the 90’s, rather than any specific person.

    • Alexander says:

      Carmack is a genius, but not really that relevant for the gaming industry. Unless he makes a comeback with these goggles.

    • Blad the impaler says:

      If we didn’t have our history, we wouldn’t be able to say how much better things were compared to now.

    • Detocroix says:

      It’s not really about his ego, it’s more about people screaming and worshiping him like crazy cultists. He still has great ideas, but it’s the “normal people” who go wild raving about it and him.

      • Geebs says:

        From this thread it seems a bigger problem is people talking shit about him with not one clue about why he is still respected

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      He’s an incredibly good programmer, writes some excellent and clean code; is knowledgeable about a reasonably wide variety of things. Sure he may not have made any mind bogglingly amazing games in recent times but that’s no reason to not pay attention or be interested in what he says and does. As an example I just this week re-read an old blog post of his:

      http://www.altdevblogaday.com/2012/04/26/functional-programming-in-c/

      • Ericston says:

        I recommend this article to computer programmers. Thanks for linking it.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Ooh, I am totally reading that when it’s not Friday evening and my brain is shot. Cheers.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Hey thanks, after listening to his Quakecon speech this year i was convinced that functional programming would be excellent for embedded C as well. Will read this up.

        • Charles de Goal says:

          Except that he’s hardly recommending “functional” programming, he’s recommending pure functions and immutable variables.

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        The classic opinion of the C++ developer “we can do *all* the work ourselves, and that’s a reasonable tradeoff.” Of course this is self-fulfilling. If you didn’t like rebuilding everything yourself you wouldn’t be using C++.

        Sure there’s some practical ideas if you’re actually chained to C++, but the sane thing to do is use a better language. Really.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Libraries exist, you know.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Why yes, and they work so very well when everyone’s got their own version of string.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Good job std::string’s in the STL then, eh?

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Too bad MFCString QtString and blah blahblah aren’t.
            You also kind of missed the point. C++’s flavor of OO makes for awkward library construction.

            That’s why almost all the libraries people use for C++ are written in C.

            But you still end up having to build enormous amounts of things yourself. I had a lot of fun fixing bugs in Pathname.cpp last week.

          • jalf says:

            No, the problem is that many people mistakenly think of C++ as an OOP language. And then they try to design shitty libraries which are just of no use to anyone.

            Excellent and extremely high-quality C++ libraries do exist.

            The reason for the prevalence of C libs is something entirely different. C is just the lingua franca of programming languages. No matter which language you’re using, it’ll be able to call functions with a C interface.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            No, it’s legitimately more difficult to use OOP C++ libs than straight C libs. Yes, it’s a bonus that C is the common utility language, but one of the reasons for that is that it promotes a programming style that’s easy to use in libraries.

            Essentially the common practice is to write your own C++ wrapper layer to deal with the impedence mistmatch of C++ to C, at least at significant scale. For minor projects maybe you can just mix and match.

    • db1331 says:

      I agree with you completely. He’s in the same boat as Molyneux and Spector. This might have been seismic news a decade or so ago. Not now.

      • Opiniomania says:

        Indeed. The value of a pioneer’s contribution to a field is usually diminished after the procedures he invented are adapted by others.

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        Crimsoneer says:

        Carmack is a programmer, not a designer. That comparison is just plain wrong.

      • onomatomania says:

        Molyneux and Spector have completely different jobs than Carmack. They design games; Carmack builds engines.

        To put it in terms of Apple : Molyneux, Spector, and other designer/executives who oversee game creation can be considered Steve Jobs-types. Carmack is a Steve Wozniak.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          “Molyneux, Spector, and other designer/executives who oversee game creation can be considered Steve Jobs-types. Carmack is a Steve Wozniak.”

          This is a pretty brilliant and spot-on analogy.

      • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

        Personally I don’t think that Molyneaux is overrated at all. Sure, he never delivers a third of anything he promises, but the man has vision and an actual desire for progress and the cojones to actually push forward daring and innovative projects on grand scales, qualities lacking in so many of the big game designers these days.

        • DanMan says:

          But people with only ideas are pretty useless. Everyone has ideas. People that can make these ideas happen are more important, and Carmack happens to be one of those.

    • Beelzebud says:

      This sounds like it comes from someone that really wasn’t around during the 90’s, and therefore doesn’t appreciate exactly what Carmack did for the industry, and game programming.

      The man made sure his engine work was released under the GPL, so anyone could see how they were made. He spawned a whole new generation of engine/3d programmers, and that contribution will outlast any quarterly sales results of a popular video game. Show me another high profile game company that has given the source code to their engines out like that. You can’t, because there are none of his caliber that did that.

      I haven’t really enjoyed an id game since Quake 3, but to dismiss him that way suggests you have no context for why he should be respected.

      • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

        And don’t forget that he always refused to use DirectX, this alone should be enough to grant him sainthood.

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          TheTourist314 says:

          His keynote this year was pretty stellar. He talked about how happy he was that OpenGL came back and is now the lead in games development (with mobile being the primary motivator/usage).

    • Falcon says:

      You realize Carmack works on the game engines, right? It’s not like he does the game design itself.

      Carmack is a brilliant programmer and has led the way on some important parts of game engines.

      Carmack has pioneered or popularized the use of many techniques in computer graphics, including “adaptive tile refresh” for Commander Keen, raycasting for Hovertank 3-D, Catacomb 3-D, and Wolfenstein 3-D, binary space partitioning which Doom became the first game to use, surface caching which he invented for Quake, Carmack’s Reverse (formally known as z-fail stencil shadows) which he devised for Doom 3, and MegaTexture technology, first used in Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

      His engine programming and pioneering as well as knowledge and pushing boundaries forward are why he’s so important. No, he’s not an important name in game design; that’s not what he does.

      He’s also been an important advocate for OpenGL, etc.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        Even his engines have not been that good lately. Neither stencil shadows nor megatextures turned out to be good ideas. He is still brilliant, just more interested in clever concepts than utility.

        • Beelzebud says:

          I disagree entirely. The problem with his new engine is that he was about 5-10 years ahead of everyone else on where things are going. The ‘mega-texture’ technique will be all that developers use once the hardware is more powerful.

          • longbeast says:

            What benefit does the megatexture technique bring that makes it worth the hardware requirements? I got the impression it was easier to produce content but not much prettier than individual textures.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I believe that megatextures produce more naturalistic looking landscapes, and avoid that “stamped out” look that repeated textures can often have, especially if viewed from height. Kind of Instead of one rock texture repeated over and over, you cut up one massive one into several bits.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            CookPass as the right of it. That aside, it also frees up a lot of time for the map builders. Rather than saying, “I want this texture on this piece of geometry, this on this, etc.” you can simply say, “all of these are rocks2″ and megatexture will cover them accordingly. There’s some other benefits, too, but most of the benefits, from my knowledge, are for map building.

            As for fidelity, that’s an issue than can be cleared up by using higher resolutions and more complex layering of megatextures assets.

    • pakoito says:

      He’s a really good engineer with a brilliant mind for out-of-the-box thought. He’s been proven time over time, far from other ego-designers. The most current invention he made I can think of were megatextures, which as of this very year are core part of OpenGL for everyone else to use. Next in line were streamed megatextures but tech was not ready for it, hence the terrible tex loading in Rage.

      Now if you want your moviemaker-wannabe game designer no. He’s not. He never was or pretended to be.

    • Reapy says:

      As a writer of code, I hugely admire him still and would list him as a personal hero. I also see what you are saying as well about the last few ID games, but it doesn’t change the fact the man’s brain just won’t stop working.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      He’s the mind behind all the ID game engines from Doom to Rage, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of him that most of these engines were released as open source once the next generation was out, providing an invaluable learning tool to thousands of programmers and a fantastic asset for modders.

    • Stardog says:

      It seems like you just don’t have a clue who he is. He has never done game design.

    • onomatomania says:

      Back when Quake 3’s code was released under the GPL, one function destroyed the minds of coders worldwide – it was the fastest, craziest inverse square root that anyone had ever seen. I barely remember it, but it was magic, literally : it used a magic number that somehow approximated a huge number of loops. It was basicaly God mode code.

      People who don’t care about having the fastest inverse square root probably don’t care for Carmack’s work. That’s engineering for you.

    • lukibus says:

      If he is that smart/intelligent why isn’t he solving real problems in the real world – does the move to Ocultus Rift actually improve the world or just your little VR escape?

      • pakoito says:

        He made rockets that put Nasa’s to shame. And there are other Carmacks around the world we’ll never hear about working in all kind of fields.

      • Distec says:

        Carmack’s busy. Maybe you can take up that honor.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        I mean, sure, Dean Kamen is pretty smart, with his Segway, and his heart stint, and his wheelchair that climb up stairs and his modular artificial arm… but if he’s so smart, then why do we still have cancer?

    • MichaelPalin says:

      Wow!, so many replies.

      Just something that I want to add that I think nobody else has mentioned. I don’t know where from you get that he has an overbloated ego. Every time I’ve seen him talking he looks like perfectly normal person, even modest I’d say. I don’t know him that much, but it strikes me as very odd to see his name and the term “overbloated ego” in the same sentence.

      • Premium User Badge

        Xyvik says:

        Indeed, I am surprised by the number of replies as well. I thank everyone for broadening my understanding of Carmack. However, I still think my point stands.

        First: Wolfenstein 3D is the third game I ever played in my life, and even back then I knew that it was a game-changer. For reference, the first game I ever played was Commander Keen, so you can say that iD Games made me the gamer I am today. I am hugely grateful for what the company, and Carmack, did…-back then-

        But his brilliance and his ability to make rockets that put NASA to shame aren’t exactly relevant if he’s not making things to make games better, is it? Oculus Rift is exciting but it’s unproven and still has quite a few kinks to work out before it becomes amazing. Is there any other reason, lately, that we should be paying attention to Carmack? Or is his time over?

        -side note: in reference to his overbloated ego, my memory is not what it used to be, but I recall reading a speech transcript or two where Carmack basically said: “Listen to me because I’m John &*#$ing Carmack, that’s why.” I may have taken it out of context at the time, but I just came away with the impression that he was extremely full of himself. Doesn’t bother me, really, unless that’s still the line he’s using. “I Was John *%&$ing Carmack, and I used to make awesome stuff” really doesn’t fly with me nowadays.

        Again, has he done anything lately to improve the game industry? Besides Oculus?

        • Premium User Badge

          Clavus says:

          John Carmack doesn’t have that much of an ego if you ask me (you should really try to find a source for that quote, because that doesn’t sound like the guy at all). He openly admits mistakes and goes into great detail about the processes that lead up to them during his QuakeCon talks. The guy’s a legend, very knowledgeable and a rolemodel for every game programmer out there. The fact that the tech he developed in Doom 3 and Rage didn’t really catch on with the rest of the industry doesn’t change that.

          Moving to Oculus seems to be just the thing Carmack wanted. Id became too big, he was basically just maintaining huge enterprise-level codebases. Now he’s back at a small company, with a boatload of potential to change the gaming industry once again (and having a Rift of my own, I can tell you this WILL happen).

          • Premium User Badge

            Xyvik says:

            You know, I can’t find that article or anything else even related to him having a big ego. I must have definitely read the thing wrong, or my memory has betrayed me again.

            I shall now admit my wrongness and say that John Carmack is still pretty awesome. I hope his work on the Oculus helps it live up to our excitement.

          • LionsPhil says:

            From reading some of his thoughts from the links above, I’m not sure enterprise-level codebases would necessarily faze him—Carmack is exceptional in being a performance-graphics gaming smart guy who seems to cope well with scaling up to large, complicated systems and the tools that go with them (see: his positive experience with static analysis).

            (Enterprise-level people management/politics might have, though.)

    • ChromeBallz says:

      Carmack has always been someone who’s been interested in the basic stuff, low level things like coding on the die and using assembly to write his engines instead of a hobbyist who just puts something together with a thousand java libraries or, god forbid, use an SDK.

      It’s only natural that you see less of him, and his actual results, in recent years when the underlying code of games has become pretty much invisible to the people playing them.

      I don’t see him as having an ego (in fact, in most interviews and talks he gives he seems rather humble), instead he’s just someone who’s very confident in his ability to do exactly what he does – Writing low level code. That Rage turned out as it did isn’t his fault, that Doom 3 was so boring wasn’t either. Fact remains though that both those games revolutionized a lot of stuff in engine programming in the years afterwards. The only one who’s on a similar level is Tim Sweeney ( i still hope they can somehow put their creative differences aside and program the uber engine to end them all).

      • Virtz says:

        So, if he worked on the engines, doesn’t that mean he’s at least semi-responsible for the awful texture streaming in Rage? Or the “revolutionary” 4-player multiplayer in Doom 3? Even in tech regards, ID is not up to the challenge anymore.

        • jalf says:

          The texture thing in Rage was his idea, yes. He had an idea, took a chance, made an experiment, and it didn’t really work out. That’s unfortunate, but I applaud him for being willing to take that risk. What if that technique *had* worked? The only way to find out is to try to make a game with it.

          Probably not his finest moment, but again, from a technical point of view, he did something completely new, and neither he nor anyone else knew how it would perform in the end. That’s not entirely a bad thing.

          • AlienMind says:

            But selling it knowing that is.

          • jalf says:

            Two points, then:

            1: do you think he was the person who made the call to ship Rage? If so, I think you might have misunderstood what a programmer does.
            2: what else should they have done? Scrapped the game? Started over from scratch?

            Putting a bad game up for sale is not a criminal offense. You’re free to just, you know, not buy it, after all.

        • dethtoll says:

          No, but part of his code runs through every Call of Duty and Source Engine game there is. That alone should tell you everything you need to know about the guy’s importance to the industry.

          • Virtz says:

            From over a decade ago, when the first 3 Quakes were made. I’m not seeing his modern attempts going anywhere. Nobody wanted his weird p2p multiplayer model (that again, worked so fantastic it could hold a total of 4 players on deathmatch). And I doubt anyone will want a really bad version of texture streaming (a technology that’s been around before Rage and was better implemented).

            The fact that IDs modern techs aren’t great makes me question if it was really all him in the code before, or other people at ID who happened to be working there at the time. People like to attribute everything to one guy, cause it’s easier, but usually it’s a team of people that make or break an entire company’s efforts.
            Either that or apparently there’s even bigger geniuses these days working at CryTek or Epic. UE3 is basically in half the modern games out there. What’s ID Tech 4 in? 5?

          • dethtoll says:

            You’re missing the point.

            That code that Carmack wrote in 1996 is still around in some games (namely, the biggest franchise in the industry’s history) rather than new code that performs the same function — what’s that tell you?

            UE being in everything is largely meaningless because those guys’ll license the engine to anyone for a song, and they released UDK in 2009.

    • jalf says:

      He was never really a game designer, and I’m pretty sure that not everyone who works in the games industry *has* to be. He is a kick-ass programmer, who has done more to advance the state of games programming than any other single person I can think of. Really, most “games programming” is really little more than “programming, but where the lessons of the past 25 years are ignored”. It tends to be a cargo-cult approach where, if we just avoid doing anything that might reduce the likelihood of bugs, if we avoid looking at what all the non-games programmers in the world have learned and discovered recently, then performance will come to us, and that is all that matters. it tends to be ugly, messy and error-prone. It tends to be the same as last year – and 5 years ago – and 20 years ago. It tends to be afraid of change.

      Carmack is one of all to few people who hasn’t been afraid to investigate new tools and new techniques, and who has advocated loudly and publicly for these.

      Sure, there are a few clever gimmicks he introduced after reading about them elsewhere (3d rendering in Doom, and the inverse square root thing), but those are both overrated, and also excellent examples of what I’m saying. He didn’t *invent* either of those, although he is often credited for it. He just realized that there’s a world outside games programming, and that maybe it’d be worthwhile to look at what others have come up with. And he found that programmers outside the games industry had come up with these little tricks, and used them in his games. People who do that are surprisingly rare.

      But his brilliance and his ability to make rockets that put NASA to shame aren’t exactly relevant if he’s not making things to make games better, is it? Oculus Rift is exciting but it’s unproven and still has quite a few kinks to work out before it becomes amazing. Is there any other reason, lately, that we should be paying attention to Carmack? Or is his time over?

      What? I’d say his rocketry and various other engineering projects are a very good reason to pay attention to him. Are you saying you ignore everyone in the world unless they are working on games you anticipate? That is quite a narrow view, and it is precisely the one that Carmack does *not* have, which is what makes him interesting. Most game programmers appear (in public at least) to be game programmers and nothing else, forever and ever. Carmack is a guy who loves new challenges, who loves learning, who loves doing stuff. That includes, but is not limited to, creating games. I’d say that is precisely the reason why we should pay attention to him.

      I have never really associated Carmack with a guarantee of awesome games. But I have long seen him as someone who is (1) interesting to keep an eye on, and (2) doing a lot to raise the *technical* quality of games, at id and across the industry as a whole.

    • dethtoll says:

      He’s smarter than you. He’s smarter than me and basically everyone else on this site as well, but the important thing here is that he’s smarter than you.

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      TheTourist314 says:

      If you’ve ever done any research onto him and how he operates, there is no ego to him. There is right and wrong, and the world is a giant box of problems to solve. The book “Masters of Doom” has great insight into him and the beginnings of Id software all the way up past Doom 2.

      He has incredible talks on both programming and how to pragmatically approach optical lighting calculations in 3-D engines, and that’s just recent things he’s done. He is pretty much zero percent interested in game design and has always just pushed boundaries into how game engines can handle problems like lighting and hardware. This year’s keynote speech at Quakecon showed several things:

      1) He still has his finger firmly on the pulse of game development in terms of engine programming and hardware.
      2) His assessment of the current state of programming is that the hardware is about to catch up and utilize the things he’s championed in idTech 5 (Megatextures and OpenGL). He’s always refused D3D and been a strong advocate of OpenGL instead.
      3) He’s been so bored he’s been really interested in alternative ways of game interaction, i.e. actual inputs (how the Kinect is pretty garbage as an input device) and VR (hinting at more Oculus development). He even talked for awhile about how he was teaching himself archaic programming languages and attempting to re-create Wolfenstein 3D using them.

      Carmack is still totally relevant and completely necessary in this world for programming. You need people like him and Tim Sweeney to compete and push the envelope of what’s possible for graphics and programming technology. I imagine that once Carmack works out of all the interesting problems to solve with VR and Oculus rift that he’ll come back to graphics once hardware has time to catch up.

    • InfiniteMonkeyz says:

      I think you’re confusing John Carmack with John “About to make you his bitch” Romero.

    • Sic says:

      I hope you’re not serious, but on the off chance that you are:

      Because games are dependent on programming, and Carmack is a very good programmer.

      He’s the only one who dares think ten years ahead when making engines, who deeply cares about the direction of programming.

    • Eclipse says:

      you should inform yourself a bit more before writing stupid things.

    • JonnyBase says:

      Quake 3 brought me more multiplayer joy than any other game. Was still playing it competitively until 2011 (albeit in the guise of Quake Live). I still remember getting it on release day at my local Currys in December 1999, getting a new Voodoo card for Christmas and then tweaking my config to death (/snaps 40 anyone?).

      Still no better ‘feel’ than Q3’s weapons in my opinion (rocket launcher and rail gibs mmmm).

      Ooo I just might fire up Quake Live!

  2. 2late2die says:

    Do people actually still care about Doom 4 coming out? I mean D3 was a big disappointment and while the Doom games were revolutionary in their time, these days that kinda of simplistic gameplay would seem archaic. Basically I’m not sure you could make a successful “Doom” game these days because if you keep it “authentically Doom” then it will seem like an artifact from a bygone era (like DNF), but if you modernize it then it will lose its “Doominess” – so it’s kind of a lose-lose situation.

    • Yosharian says:

      Doom3 wasn’t half as disappointing as Rage…

    • BTAxis says:

      Surely you’re not suggesting Duke Nukem Forever’s main problem was that it was old-fashioned?

    • Tiax says:

      I don’t know, I’ve been playing Brütal Doom for the last few months and it’s been blowing my mind like no other recent FPS, so I guess there are still things to be done.

    • Sakkura says:

      I don’t really care about id’s games anymore, but I do care about the Oculus Rift. So I’m happy to hear he’s switched over full-time.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      The OP has made one of those internet “my opinion is the opinion of the world” type fuck ups. Doom 3 met with almost universal acclaim and has been considered a classic for some time, very far from being a ‘disappointment’.

      I thought it was awesome too, therefore science itself must also agree.

      • Droniac says:

        Honestly, you’re both right depending on who you ask.

        If you’re asking a more recent console gamer, then you’re right and Doom 3 is a classic and great game.
        If you’re asking an id fan who was interested in the game before it was released and played it on PC at release, then the OP is right and it was a big disappointment.

        There’s absolutely no way you could have missed the fan outcry after the game was released on PC if you were playing games back then. Just. No. Way.

        The multiplayer component was outright unplayable (50+ ping over LAN!) and there were plenty of complaints leveled at the singleplayer campaign even in the most positive of reviews. That doesn’t take away anything from how massively technologically impressive Doom 3 was, but as a game it let a lot of people down.

        • CookPassBabtridge says:

          Except that doesn’t quite fit either. I can appreciate you have a differing view, thats video games / music / movies for you: Tastes differ; YMMV. However I’m a PC Gamer since 2000, played Doom 3 at release, loved it. Have played the single player through about 10-15 times. Was at uni with several other PC gamers, all of whom loved it and were heavily involved in gaming communities (mostly Counter Strike). My memory of Doom 3 just does not match what you guys think about it, nor what many, many reviews from the time thought en masse. Maybe 2004 was an utterly corrupt year for reviews, but as far as I can see from the ones presented on metacritic, out of 83 reviews, only 6 dip below 80.

          Sure, some reviews point out generic plot, gimmicky jump scares and uninspired multiplayer, but whether you put any store in “numbers” reviews or not, barring a few sour notes they refer to the single player as a fun, exciting, scary and engrossing experience. Not to dismiss your / the OP’s own feelings on it, but “all round big disappointment, avoid” is not the consensus from the then PC reviewerbase at all.

          I will admit that I was not already an ID fan, was / am primarily an SP player and had not played Doom 1 and 2 … my expectations were different. For the record, I’ve never owned a console either.

      • fish99 says:

        Doom 3 was a good solid game, not a classic by any stretch (and metacritic confirms this with 84 critic and 74 user scores) but a good game. Good engine, pretty graphics, didn’t quite have the gameplay or impact to the combat that the original Doom 1/2 had, and it ditched the big areas and high monster numbers for what was ultimately a linear corridor shooter with much fewer enemies. It also had some weak AI for some of the enemies (the humans who just hid behind boxes). I enjoyed it though. I keep meaning to replay it actually.

  3. Yosharian says:

    id has been dead to me for over a decade… rest in peace

  4. subedii says:

    Man, Quakecon just isn’t going to be the same without his keynote. I’ve always found those really informative, even if they are marathon sessions.

    • Josh W says:

      I know, he’s really good at drawing you in as if you understand what he’s talking about, and because of the way you can follow his thinking along, you actually can, even if your knowledge of the field is pretty light.

      I wish there were more people doing talks like him rather than ted talks.

  5. Opiniomania says:

    It’s a wonder he stayed as long as he did. This industry tends to have a pretty high turnover. Those who are not let go frequently leave by their own decision, disgusted or tired by the business practices. Intelligent people who have made their entry into the game world through programming also have a higher chance to get a no less interesting job in other fields. Good luck in the future I say.

    • subedii says:

      Well in effect I think that’s what he’s done, moved on to a field that’s more interesting. He’s made games, but I don’t think he’s been the best game designer, and by appearances it doesn’t look like he wants to be.

      He is however an exceptional engineer, and VR has been something he’s always wanted to push forward (well, that and launching things into space). Today the technology is becoming available, and there are technical problems to solve that we might actually be in a position to solve. We could very well be at the start of a REAL push for VR, so I can see how if nothing else, it seems like a good time to jump in.

      • Opiniomania says:

        If something, his action proves that a human being is not exclusively infatuated with a single activity for entire life.

  6. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    So what did Carmack do for id in the recent time?
    He made the tech for Rage. That game still doesn’t run on either of my two PCs without 90 second texture loading times on EVERY AREA CHANGE. Great tech, yeah. And none of the two bazillion fixes I tried works.
    Then he made the Doom 3 BFG edition as the big Oculus milestone. Then the BFG edition scrapped Oculus support. Nice.
    I can’t deny what great work he did for gaming, but come on. This is not a good resume.

    I also liked how he thought the pitch black shadows in Doom 3 were a bug when he replayed it for the BFG overhaul.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      What hardware are you trying to play Rage on? I played it on an E7200/8800GT the first time, which was ancient even at the time the game came out, and it ran flawlessly with everything maxed. When my 8800 died I bought a similar ATI card (5770) and it was awful at any resolution above 720p, but I kind of expected that since OpenGL works so much better on Nvidia hardware. With my i5-3570/7870 Rage runs flawlessly at 1080p with everything maxed again, no texture load-in or stuttering or anything.

  7. Tuor says:

    ‘Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!’

    Er… or another day at the office for the people at iD.

    Happy trails, John.

  8. Premium User Badge

    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    The last of id’s founders finally leaves. Vale id software! It’s been an interesting 22 years.

  9. DrManhatten says:

    Good to see his star couldn’t sink any lower any more so he might as well join an outfit that is doomed to fail. Considering his space enterprise went poof, his latest games were rubbish and no one takes any serious note of his blabbering anymore.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      There isn’t really a question of whether or not Oculus is going to fail with the Rift. The question is whether it will be a success or a massive success.

  10. Sigvatr says:

    is id DOOMED!?

    • LionsPhil says:

      If I were a fan of their games, I’d be quaking in my boots about their future.

    • The Random One says:

      Don’t say that, you Heretic!

      (Come on guys and girls, let’s sloooowly take it all the way up to modern shooters)

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Well, No One Lives Forever. I’m sure Carmack would think it a Sin to waste Half his Life at just one company.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Well if he’s a Heretic, then you’re a Heretic Two.

        • AlienMind says:

          I fear it would be an unreal tournament to go against it. The descent into the dark forces of the system shock even today’s bad company.

      • Dave Tosser says:

        This is merely the next chapter of Id’s Strife. It could get a lot Darker given that the new Id must Blood their swords to prove they’re more than Carmack. This is merely the continuation of a great Descent for them, with or without Carmack.

        The man himself has a bright future, if not a Terra Nova. It’s no doubt a real System Shock for some at Id to see him go, but I dare say he’s no Thief of dreams. Id will stay as they were, a Juggernaut no more.

  11. MadJax says:

    I’ve always seen Carmack as a technological brain (I hesitate to use the word genius, but he’s probably the closest in his field) rather than a developer. There’s no doubt the guy knows his shit when it comes to the technical side of games, but the rest of the creative team has been lacking for a while now (Rage, Quake 4, Doom 3 (imo) et al all looked lovely, but were very generic in execution). Let’s hope Carmack can find green pastures and put his mind to good work.

    • wild_quinine says:

      Quake 4 wasn’t designed by id, and it used the same engine as Doom 3.

      Later (2008) Quake Wars: Enemy Territory used this engine again with ‘megatextures’. QW:ET also happens to be arguably the greatest multiplayer objective-based game of all time. That was developed by Splash Damage, who seem to have lost their way a bit since then.

      The Doom 3 engine was pretty great, but it really didn’t see much use. The Unreal Engine simply dominated the last generation, and id’s 1st party games haven’t been exciting since the 90’s.

      • MadJax says:

        Plus, QW:ET was designed and created by the same guys who did Return to Castle Wolfenstein multiplayer and its spin off (Also called Enemy Territory), the first being an actual improvement on the multiplayer formula whilst the second improved even further in an era of CTF or point capture multiplayer formats… Diversion here, but am I the only one tired of the formulaic “it’s either DM/TDM/CTF/CTP formats or nothing” way of thinking… we need a new form of multiplayer gaming :/

  12. MichaelPalin says:

    I was panicking when I read the title, but after reading where he is now, I think he’ll do much good to gaming in VR than in id. Now, maybe it is time for Bethesda to disband id before it collapses and put all its talent into Arkane and Bethesda Studios, maybe? Is it too much of wishful thinking?

  13. Freud says:

    I don’t think we really need a Carmack anymore. Id’s engines haven’t been important in the gaming world in a decade, nor have their games.

    • wild_quinine says:

      Don’t agree with this logic.

      If you’d said we don’t need Carmack any more, then I would have left you to your opinion.

      But you said we don’t need a Carmack any more. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Freud says:

        It’s a different world with consoles and scalability driving development more than conquering new frontiers. If anything, development tools are more important in what engine you use more than the capability to draw stuff and I don’t think Carmack cares about development tools.

        Id will always be a big part of PC gaming history but they’re not relevant anymore. I guess Tim Sweeney was the winner in the end.

        • Jason Moyer says:

          IdTech5 was largely driven by Carmack’s desire to make content creation faster and easier, so I’m not sure how you figure he doesn’t care about development tools.

        • jalf says:

          Have you read *anything* that Carmack has written in the last 5 years? I’m guessing not.

          Because the aspect of programming that he has been most outspoken about in recent years is precisely that: “we need to start adopt better tools. We need to grow up and stop being bedroom coders who just hack code together any old how”.

          He has pushed id, and the industry as a whole, to start using static analysis tools, to actually learn C++ properly, and work *with* the compiler to eliminate and prevent bugs, flying in the face of traditional gamedev wisdom of “we can’t trust the compiler, we can’t rely on the type system; writing safer code would cost us performance and we can’t afford that”. No, Carmack has been the single most outspoken person in the industry, arguing for precisely what you say is needed.

    • Siamese Almeida says:

      All Modern Warfare titles are essentially id tech 3, dipshit.

      • Skull says:

        Because Modern Warfare is just the game we want every other game to be…spacker.

    • Sic says:

      Are you completely off your rocker?

      Carmack code is absolutely everywhere.

  14. Text_Fish says:

    The nostalgic side of my brain is sad to see an old hero of mine leaving an old favourite studio and therefore reaffirming the oldness of both things.

    The optimistic side of my brain hopes that this means ID can get back to designing fun games instead of trying to unnecessarily push tech boundaries.

  15. tormos says:

    We knew this would happen if you let the gays marry, Obama.

    • pakoito says:

      Ded gaem Volvo disband.

    • Kubrick Stare Nun says:

      Damn right!

      Goddamn these modern times of ours, those faggots are seriously getting out of control and starting to think they can do whatever they want. Today – while I was using the urinal – some random guy begun staring at me and then right out of the blue he put his hand on my dick! Times are indeed dire when you can’t even masturbate on a public restroom without getting voyeured and harassed.

  16. djbriandamage says:

    Off to your next challenge, my hero.

    • Premium User Badge

      gnodab says:

      Damn! I wish him all the best, but this really is the end of an era.
      No more Id, no more QuakeCon.
      I think I am gonna get back to bed and reread Masters of Doom :(

  17. SuicideKing says:

    Damn. After listening to his Quakecon speeches and the panel discussion at Nvidia’s GTC i’m sort of sad…hope he continues Quakecon!

  18. Hunchback says:

    Coming after the break: Newel leaves VALVE to work on his car garage project…

    :D

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I always thought he’d leave Valve to open his own doughnut-themed Texas Hold ‘em-only casino.

  19. mmiasmostati says:

    So, with Carmack’s official resignation, does this mean that everyone on the team who originally made Doom has left id?

  20. fish99 says:

    id barely even seem to exist anymore, so this is definitely a good thing for JC. His talent was going to waste there. It’s good news for VR and the OR too.

  21. Apocalypse says:

    Does this mean he will never fix that freaking mess that Rage still is? ;-)
    The free weekend was an eye opener how bad that engine really still is.

    • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

      The engine is not the problem with Rage. It’s the development and the fact that they focused on consoles with all their graphical limitations. And I believe Carmack has complained about Ati drivers…dunno if he’s right, but there it is.

  22. stupid_mcgee says:

    I just have to say that I find this hilarious.

    On one side you have people saying “good riddance” and that Carmack hasn’t made a good game in years.

    Then you have the people who actually know about content creation and programming in games, and they’re all talking about how great Carmack was and how much he did for the industry.

    Essentially, you have those who know very little saying, “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and those actually in the know saying, “well, that sucks, but best of luck advancing games in the realms of VR!” And, really, Carmack will push VR. He has always been forward-thinking and he has repeatedly paved the way for game technology, even if his various forms of implementation didn’t catch on.

    To me, a lot of this really goes to show how very little respect even the greatest in the industry get from the masses if they have a few games that don’t 100% blow everyone away in every way possibly conceivable. It also shows a significant reason, I think, that you’re seeing so many greats retire out of the field early. The bigwigs of Cliffy B, Mark Rein, Greg Zeschuk, and Ray Muzyka have all left recently, and a lot of other devs have mentioned how insanely toxic the community can get. And it can. Especially when you get a bunch of know-nothings in the mix.

    Remember Peter Molyneux breaking down and crying? We did that. The gaming community. All of the shrill little shits wailing and moaning like the out-of-control brats that they secretly know that they are, and those who felt they should have lent support to the devs, but stood by with their hands in their pockets. You did that to that poor fucking man that only wanted to make some fun games. Because people had some qualms with design choices and didn’t bother to reign in their expectations that you’d be able to do everything to everyone and every thing in Fable, he was clowned and belittled, mocked and ridiculed, largely derided and tossed aside as a hack. Even though Fable was still a really good game. You couldn’t carve your name into a sapling and watch it grow into a might oak. How fucking sad. Surely Molyneux must be tarred and feathered for all of eternity.

    In short: the thing I love most about the comments in these kinds of pieces is how much it perfectly illustrates that so much of vitriol in the gaming community comes from people that have little to zero understanding of the medium nor any appreciation for the highly technical and difficult process of making them. No wonder so many notable designers and programmers have been throwing their hands up and walking away recently.

    • frightlever says:

      Yeah, I weep for the bruised feelings of millionaires all the time. Those bank guys? Nobody understands the pain they went through.

      I would suggest that you stop feeling sorry for moguls and learn to empathise with consumers. One side sucks up cash, the other provides it. Money does not magically appear when a game goes gold.

    • novevite says:

      I totally agree (EDIT: with supid_mcgee).
      Cannot really express any meaningful idea, since english is not my native language and i kind of suck at it, but I think the Internet on the whole is really impacting our ability to perceive our own shortcomings.

      The simple fact is: if you have really stupid/misinformed ideas about something, you will find at least 10000 people who will endorse them, thus making you feel empowered when you should actually feel ashamed for speaking out of your ass.

      This entitlement becomes even stronger when emotions get in the way, which, in gaming, is almost all the time, considering how entertainment uses emotion as a means to their end (sales).

    • WrenBoy says:

      I have nothing but respect for Carmack but he is rich and has enormous respect from his peers thanks to the industry. Its ridiculous to try and paint him as a victim.

    • Apocalypse says:

      You are aware that carmacks recently work was not very good, are you? If that was his fault or his team let him down I don´t know, what I know that not only ID games lack quality, but ID tech engines as well.

  23. frightlever says:

    Carmack is a genius game engine designer that hasn’t been teamed with a genius game level designer since John Romero left id. Every game they put out since Quake 2 was functionally adequate but lacked the shock and awe effect that the early Dooms had. Blah blah. I think Romero was over-rated too but you can’t deny the design of those early games.

    The thing with genius is that it tends to hit young and fly away early. John Carmack will go on to do great things but the chance that he’ll replicate his early, revolutionary effects on an industry, any industry, are slim. I think he’s more likely to make fresh genius in a different field than he is to replicate his earlier genius in a familiar one. Best of luck to him. It’s no great loss to game making, but it might be a real positive for the gaming experience.

    • Muzman says:

      I’ll never understand this “Romero is a genius level designer” thing. He’s imaginative perhaps, as a person. But once upon a time i went through and counted all the stuff I really liked from Doom 1&2 and Quake and the tally was like Sandy Petersen: a million. John Romero : Two. I think even Tom Hall scored better than Romero
      I think it was Romero’s idea to hire Petersen, so he can have that one at least.
      But it’s like, JR did E1M1 and that’s all anyone really needed to know. It’s weird.

      Anyway, I was hoping Carmack would be concentrating on getting us into space, but what evs.

  24. Premium User Badge

    MerseyMal says:

    The real reason he’s quit is down to the heavy touring schedule as a member of The Proclaimers.