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John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the also-the-constant-TPS-reports dept.

Games 146

An anonymous reader writes John Carmack left id Software last year, more than 20 years after he founded the company. There was a lot of speculation as to why, and now an interview at USA Today provides an explanation. Carmack had become Chief Technical Officer for Oculus VR a few months prior, and he was excited about bringing virtual reality gaming into the mainstream. Unfortunately, he couldn't get id Software's parent company, Zenimax, onboard. He'd hoped they would 'allow games he worked on to appear on the Oculus Rift headset. Had the deal been consummated, Wolfenstein: The New Order — an upcoming sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, an early id release — could have been part of the Oculus' tech demonstration that earned raves and awards at the recent Consumer Electronic Show.' Carmack said, 'But they couldn't come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate. When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract.'"

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146 comments

Boo fucking hoo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157591)

Waaaah are we supposed to cry about this or what?

Re:Boo fucking hoo (5, Insightful)

game kid (805301) | about 6 months ago | (#46157665)

Not sure about cry...but let it be a(nother) warning to those who'd flip their startup for profit.

Once you sell the business to a bigger business, it's theirs and theirs alone, no matter their assurances otherwise, and they won't go your way on anything else from then on, except (co)incidentally. (See also jawed [youtube.com] .) So finish all your goals there first.

Re:Boo fucking hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158865)

At least he can use hundred dollar bills as tissue to wipe away the tears before throwing them in the trash. If this is a warning to people, then I'd ask for my life to be another example in the same vein (solely because I care so much about others, and you can't have too many lessons.)

Re:Boo fucking hoo (2)

Isaac-1 (233099) | about 6 months ago | (#46160027)

Sounds more like Zenimax forgot rule number 1, keep the talent happy. id software without John Carmack is what, some intelectual property rights that they probably paid way over market value for. Sure they had other talent their, but how many of those people worked at id to work with John Carmack?

Re:Boo fucking hoo (5, Funny)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 6 months ago | (#46160477)

Maybe the hurdle was not Zenimax, but Occulus. It's obvious to me that Zenimax should profit from such a deal, as VR is clearly the future. But it's not so obvious why Occulus should tie itself to a single publisher when it's them who's got the "killer app".

And if for some reason the problem was on Zenimax' side...
If John Carmack tells you to do something, you do it, bitch!

Re:Boo fucking hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160093)

I bet John Carmack is kicking himself right now.

If only, at any point during the months and months and millions of dollars that went into the sale of his life's work, he'd asked what game kid (805301) had to say.

Re:Boo fucking hoo (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 6 months ago | (#46159773)

No, you're supposed to sit there behind your desk like a little bitch, do whatever they tell you to and forget about your own dreams, hopes and aspirations.

Re:Boo fucking hoo (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46159927)

We're supposed to be sad that we won't get to see Doom on an Oculus Rift, because that could be amazing. Doom 3 was kind of boring, but Oculus Rift could have changed that and made it absolutely terrifying.

Best of luck, John (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157605)

If I had to make a list of people in the gaming industry who could make VR gaming a reality, John Carmack would be at the top of the list.

Good luck, John! We're all rooting for you.

Re:Best of luck, John (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157707)

John Carmack + Gabe Newell + Oculus Rift = HL3

Re:Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157879)

We've had FPS with aliens. We've had FPS with demons. I don't think there's ever been a game with demons AND aliens.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157951)

The demons in Doom were aliens.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

ctheme (2694307) | about 6 months ago | (#46157993)

Assuming the demons were from a hell cosmologically bound to Earth, both the marines and demons were aliens from Earth on Mars -- so who's to judge?

Re: Best of luck, John (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 6 months ago | (#46158543)

Demons come from another plain of existence. A parallel dimension of destruction, evil, and despair. While they are 'alien' to humanity, not so much in the classical sense of other worldly creatures that originate in our universe.

I guess you could say, even aliens battle their own demons too. Where not alone. Misery loves company and all that.

Re: Best of luck, John (5, Interesting)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 months ago | (#46159047)

My impression of Doom is more that the protagonist (aka "the player") was psychologically impaired and gradually losing touch with reality, while everybody he met and was "out to get him" was in fact people trying to save him or to protect the base from his destruction. As the player meets more exotic creatures, it is more proof he is just losing touch with reality and getting doped up even more from some experimental treatment gone bad.

At least that is a way to think about it. A sort of disturbing view as you could say the protagonist is actually killing his fellow marines and is the real enemy, but a different way to view the game.

Re: Best of luck, John (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 6 months ago | (#46160535)

Interesting idea.

But right in E1L1 if you move to the left and up the stairs to greet your fellow co-worker you get a shotgun blast right in your face. And then if you're not careful another two blasts in the back from the guys below.

If everybody is trying to save you, they are certainly being dicks about it.

Re: Best of luck, John (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 months ago | (#46160761)

Of course you could be interpreting some needles being poked into your arms as shotgun blasts too. If your perception of reality is already being distorted, it is hard to tell what is real and what is fake.

Something definitely happened with that teleportation device, the question is what does it actually do and what are the side effects? (aka the original claimed backstory about how the teleportation devices opened the "gateway" into the realm of hell or wherever those demons came from).

Re: Best of luck, John (5, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 6 months ago | (#46159337)

Demons come from another plain of existence. A parallel dimension of destruction, evil, and despair. While they are 'alien' to humanity, not so much in the classical sense of other worldly creatures that originate in our universe.

I think you've confused middle management with lovecraftian horror beasts. It's okay though, the differences are subtle. Middle management consists of risk-averse middle-aged people who wouldn't know a good idea if it fell on their left foot. Lovecraftian horror beasts, on the other hand, are intelligent hunting critters that know their head from their ass.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157735)

He made 3D gaming a reality, which is like VR without a helmet, and that's already better than VR.

Re: Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157927)

He did Nanosaur 2??

Re: Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158027)

Why does everyone think 3D means stereoscopic? Must be caused by that silly "3D movie" craze.

Re: Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158159)

He means "Quake", you fool!

Re: Best of luck, John (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 6 months ago | (#46159073)

Or more likely Doom; assuming we're discounting the pseudo-3D engines which used ray casting - although Id weren't the first to use those, afaicr.

Re: Best of luck, John (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 6 months ago | (#46159251)

Errm, but Doom was a pseudo-3D engine that used raycasting... it used binary space partitioning instead of the simple grid that Wolf3D did, but it's still the same underlying technique.

Re:Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46159589)

which is like VR without a helmet

Yup. I see this poor judgement all the time. People want to feel the freedom of the wind blowing through their silky hair or something. We call them "organ doners."

Re: Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160951)

Jesus, you turn them into kebab?

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157807)

Michael Abrash would be up there on my list. He has written some very nice posts on his blog [valvesoftware.com] that are simple to understand, and illustrate some obstacles we'll need to overcome to create the best HMDs we can.

Re:Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157843)

not to mention there was a history of John Carmack working together with Abrash for Doom and Quake... and it was Abrash that made the dare to code some unreadable but fast assembly that made Carmack's methods at least playable.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

cshay (79326) | about 6 months ago | (#46160069)

For those of old enough to remember, "Big Top" made the OG IBM-PC do things that would have never thought possible.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 6 months ago | (#46157873)

What we need to do is get Carmack together with some military historians and have them get their grognard on.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 6 months ago | (#46158401)

The world needs Oculus Rift more than it needs another Wolfenstein game. And your comment is true, John Carmack still does have the imagination in technical matters to be up to this task, especially if he is passionate about it like he is.

Carmack said long ago he planned to actively develop well into his 70s and I believe it.

Re:Best of luck, John (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 6 months ago | (#46158763)

Yeah he did some great programming back in the mid 90s.

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

Zmobie (2478450) | about 6 months ago | (#46159513)

He does great programming now. One of his panels at Quakecon last year he talked about doing Wolfenstein in friggin Haskell just as a research project....

Re:Best of luck, John (1)

Zmobie (2478450) | about 6 months ago | (#46159521)

Honestly, I wasn't that sold on anyone being able to do decent VR, but hearing him at Quakecon last year he was very excited about it and had some very interesting discussions and ideas. I can't wait to see some demos that the general public can play around with because with him working on it I have hope it has a real chance.

Re:Best of luck, John (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160167)

Good luck, John! We're all rooting for you.

Lucky bastards. I can't even find a date.

Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157651)

The world will be better off without Zenimax. Everything they touch turns to crap. It's like they are the new EA. Maybe the complete failure of ESO will drive them out of business.

Re:Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157713)

After Wayne Gretzky Hockey and its craptacular incarnations, and Where's Waldo, and the terrible Terminator games I already felt that way, before they were 'cool for makering fallout 3 goty on the xbox!!'

Re:Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157715)

I live 5 minutes away from Zenimax in H.V in MD. Glad, I never got a job there.

Re:Zenisux (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 6 months ago | (#46158315)

The world will be better off without Zenimax. Everything they touch turns to crap. It's like they are the new EA. Maybe the complete failure of ESO will drive them out of business.

Dunno about that. Can you really see EA publishing a game like Dishonored?

Re:Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158991)

Yes. They did publish Mirror's Edge... and shelf it forever, kind of how Zenimax treating Prey right now.

Re:Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46159793)

Not forever, just indefinitely. Mirror's Edge 2 Trailer [youtube.com]

I don't think it will be in development for longer than Duke Nukem Forever.
I am still sour about the changes from the 1998 version. [youtube.com]

Re:Zenisux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160967)

I can see EA publishing a game very much like Dishonored, about a year after Dishonored got released.
It would have some of the same gameplay mechanics and a very similar setting. It would even have a name everyone recognizes immediately, a franchise made famous by one of the many studios EA has assimilated (Bullfrog, Westwood, Bioware,...). How could that *not* be amazing? Remember how great it was when you finally got a new Syndicate?! Who needs a silly cyberpunk game like Deus Ex anyway!

obvious story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157685)

is obvious

That's actually good news (1)

templar4522 (1425897) | about 6 months ago | (#46157699)

Someone with his talent could do so many more interesting and innovating things... Oculus is just one of them, who knows what the future holds?

This was a good thing for gamers. (5, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 6 months ago | (#46157737)

Zenimax not wanting their prized programmer to spend a lot of his time working on promotional material for his other business seems reasonable. I don't fault them for it, nor do I fault him for leaving to work on another passion.

Two things had become constants at id: the lack of interesting games, and the boundary-pushing tech. Lets be honest, the only thing at id that kept it notable was Carmack. And I say that with a crushed, broken heart, as one who's run a TF server, mastered the trick jumps, and played thousands of rounds well after Quake was out of its prime.

Carmack leaving id for Oculus will free him from the constraints of a big business and allow him to inject some of that coding genius into yet another promising, young, experimental industry. This is exactly where we need him, and where he'll be able to thrive.

Thing is (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 months ago | (#46158161)

Their tech really didn't push boundaries that much, at least not usefully, in recent years. The measure of pushing forward with game engines isn't coming up with something new that doesn't work all that well on modern tech, it is coming up with new methods to make things look more real with existing tech. To make things work better, faster, etc.

So sure, the whole iDTech 5 "megatexture" thing sounds cool... But when you see it in practice it is less impressive than procedural techniques from other engines. On top of that, it requires server class hardware to build maps, whereas other engines feature tools that work on regular systems. Same kind of deal with iDTech 4's lighting model. Ya everything comes from a real light source is neat, but lacking radiosity or other kind of global illumination it ended up only working well at being dark and having extremely hard shadows. Other engines gave much more realistic looking lighting, even if the math was technically less correct.

To me, it seems like they've been too interested in playing around, and not in delivering useful products. Not that playing around isn't fine, but if you are going to make and sell games and game engines, you need to focus on delivering a good product.

Hence why iDTech 4 and 5 saw next to no licenses but Unreal Engine 3 saw hundreds. It had good tools, a good workflow, and looked damn good.

It's sad too because clever tricks to make things look better, even if it wasn't the "right" way of doing things is what made iD famous. Doom was a sea of compromise. It didn't actually have a 3d map, just height information, did clever tricks with the limited pallet to get distance fade, used shortcuts to make the math work fast enough on systems with no coprocessor and so on. Net effect was it looked better than people thought you could make a game look on the hardware of the time.

Now we have things like Rage. iD can crow on all they like about the technology, doesn't change the fact that Frostbite 2 (Battlefield 3) looks WAY better in actual operation and scales better too.

Re:Thing is (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 6 months ago | (#46158453)

So sure, the whole iDTech 5 "megatexture" thing sounds cool... But when you see it in practice it is less impressive than procedural techniques from other engines.

I wouldn't exactly call 'textures are all white when you turn, until they load in a few seconds later' merely 'less impressive' than other game engines.

Re:Thing is (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 6 months ago | (#46158571)

Well, if you have a properly CUDA-enabled system you don't see that part...

Re:Thing is (1)

smallfries (601545) | about 6 months ago | (#46160257)

Perhaps, but what did occur on every system was the most horrifically jarring texture popping. Looking away from a surface and then looking back (without changing position) was enough to flush the texture and have it reloaded so it takes a second or two to hit maximum resolution. That is a terrible way to handle texturing.

Our eyes are most sensitive to motion. Geometry-pop is bad because a few pixels change in a way that is inconsistent with the model. Texture-pop means that lots of pixels change in a way that is inconsistent with the model - the motion does not map onto motion in the virtual world. This is the worst possible choice for immersion and it completely ruined Rage.

Megatexturing is really just a big exercise in caching. The optimisation problem is to not to minimise distortion in the projected image (i.e maximise the resolution of each texture on each frame), the problem is to minimise change in the projected image. This implies that if somebody walks closer to an object then the transition of textures should be as smooth as possible.

In summary, the idea behind megatexturing is cool (unique textures everywhere), but the implementation of it in Rage is just about the worst possible.

Re:Thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46161019)

Actually, human eyes are most sensitive to *edges*. It's how we detect shapes and colors. We're only medium sensitive to motion. Go back and read Rerry Lettvin's paper on putting electrodes on frog neurons, and the role of the retinal nerve cells in edge detection. It's *fascinating* stuff and explains why so much digital video looks like such amazing crap. Many CGI designers are focusing on the texture of the bodies, rather than making edges and shading work in ways the eye can actually understand.

Re:Thing is (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | about 6 months ago | (#46158877)

Lol, this is soooooo true. No matter how great the rest of RAGE was, this was bad enough that the game was unplayable.

Re:Thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158909)

if you weren't using half broken opengl drivers, you wouldn't have had that happen.

Re:Thing is (4, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 6 months ago | (#46158709)

Their tech really didn't push boundaries that much, at least not usefully, in recent years.

The distinction to make is that it was poorly applied. That doesn't mean it wasn't there. id tech 4 and 5 were examples of id taking Carmack's latest idea and running with it full stop, even if the tech wasn't ready.

Other developers eschewed these technologies in favor of older ones, because they had the focus to pick tech they could apply immediately and successfully to fulfill their vision. id didn't have this focus, and the games clearly suffered as they made the games to suit the technology. The so-called "tech-demo" syndrome that everybody uses to describe the latest id games.

Eventually those technologies made it into other games. Per-pixel shading is all over the place now, but still alongside lightmaps. Megatexturing is so compelling that support for it is built into the latest graphics standards, so that games can use it properly and without putting in the monumental effort that Carmack did.

You can't say that he wasn't pushing boundaries. Come on. It's all right there. The games were failures, and other engines look better in many aspects, but the tech was there and it was ahead of its time.

Re:Thing is (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 6 months ago | (#46158915)

I wouldn't call doom 1/2 and the first three quakes failures..

Re:Thing is (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 6 months ago | (#46158805)

I was a big fan of doom but have been hooked on WoT for the last couple of years, their engine is good but nothing special these days. What makes WoT a beutiful game to look at is the art, good art art is more about fooling the eye than it is about faithfully reproducing details.

Re:Thing is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158945)

Aint that what the GP said... "Two things had become constants at id: the lack of interesting games, and the boundary-pushing tech."

Re:Thing is (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 6 months ago | (#46160595)

I think Rage is one of the best shooters of recent years. I don't get why it's not well received. It's fluid and much more interesting and involved, and offers more gameplay than any Call of Duty. AI and character animation are also some of the best, if not the best, I have seen.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (5, Interesting)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 6 months ago | (#46158181)

Zenimax doesn't need Carmack. Zenimax probably doesn't want Carmack. Zenimax is about pumping out products. Look at the poor state Fallout 3/New Vegas were released in, as well as Skyrim. These are some of their premier products and the released them so buggy as to be near unplayable (Fallout 3 was the best of the lot, New Vegas on the 360 would routinely hang after 15 minutes). Carmack is too much of a perfectionist to fit into such a culture. He's fine delaying a product for years if it's not ready (at least technically, let's face it, he's not about the content/design/story).

Both parties, Zenimax and Carmack, are probably inwardly happier for the separation.

I like Zenimax games, the stories, but they've been lacking quality of engineering. I had hoped that with the acquisition of id that the quality of engineering might have rubbed off, and with Carmack's departure, I'm disheartened about it.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 months ago | (#46160267)

>>Look at the poor state Fallout 3/New Vegas were released in, as well as Skyrim.

Which were better than Morrowind, which was better than Daggerfall. But that's specifically Bethesda Softworks (except FNV, which was made by Obsidian), a company with only a passing interest in QAing their code.

Obsidian actually did spend a lot of effort testing FNV (a friend of mine is near the top on the credits list), but it still had a ton of game breaking bugs at first. In part, it's because the Gamebryo engine is a buggy piece of shit, in part because it's a massive game, and in part because they missed a lot of the bugs.

Id's engines were and are much less buggy, but even still Rage was unplayable at release and I haven't tried it since.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160743)

I Have no idea what game you played that was called Rage. The one i got worked like a charm, and i didnt even have top end hardware.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 6 months ago | (#46158499)

Third thing that was a constant at id: Carmack's ego.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158587)

Maybe so.. but what have you done?

That's what I thought... loser.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2)

zippthorne (748122) | about 6 months ago | (#46158603)

What about his super ego?

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160239)

What about his super ego?

That left id years ago to found Ion Storm.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 6 months ago | (#46158929)

It usually takes a strong ego to cut new paths. Insecure types rarely step outside the box because they're unwilling to challenge groupthink.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158943)

Right, Carmack cut new paths of releasing the same fucking game for 20 years straight.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (3, Insightful)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | about 6 months ago | (#46159099)

I don't think Carmack was ever interested in games. He was interested in writing game engines. The games were kind of secondary demonstrations of what the engines could do.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46159035)

Third thing that was a constant at id: Carmack's ego.

At least he never promised to make everybody his bitch and then released Daikatana. That event alone pretty much sheltered all the lesser hubris of the classic shooter era...

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about 6 months ago | (#46160091)

Daikatana was more fun than Doom 3.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 months ago | (#46159081)

One thing I know about John Carmack is that he gets things done and knows what he is talking about. That he decided to jump ship and go to Oculus VR shows that he is willing to in this case take a pay cut and really does believe in the technology he is working for (although I think Mr. Carmack also got a sweet deal with likely stock options worth quite a bit of money potentially in the future if it works out).

If anything, his ego is smaller than the actual performance he can deliver. Hopefully he can get Armadillo going again if the Oculus VR is successful (another casualty of his departure from id Software).

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46159821)

Third thing that was a constant at id: Carmack's ego.

Carmack, Torvalds, Stallman, Jobs, ...

Do you see a pattern?

It is not like there aren't plenty of people smarter than them. They are just the ones who thought that their ideas were more important than those of everybody else.
A big ego is a vital part of success. If you think anyone else is smarter or better in some way you let their project succeed over yours.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2)

Zmobie (2478450) | about 6 months ago | (#46159545)

His rendering engines for Id were actually quite advanced. He did a panel on graphics lighting at Quakecon and it was damn interesting. I don't care much for graphics programming (business logic is my favored area), but there was some really cool stuff he was bringing up throughout that panel. Rage had some great engine innovations and work, it just wasn't near as good on the storyboard side imho.

I do agree though that I think the parent companies were really holding him back. All in all I hate to see Carmack leave Id but I think it was the best move for him and really look forward to seeing his work with OR.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 months ago | (#46160279)

>Two things had become constants at id: the lack of interesting games, and the boundary-pushing tech. Lets be honest, the only thing at id that kept it notable was Carmack. And I say that with a crushed, broken heart, as one who's run a TF server, mastered the trick jumps, and played thousands of rounds well after Quake was out of its prime.

Indeed. What was remarkable about Quake and Quakeworld was not the single player game (though lord knows I've played it through enough times by myself and in co-op) or the story, but the graphics technology, the client-server architecture (which *still* hasn't been beaten today, IMO, - no other modern game lets you move as fast as QW), and the ease of modability. QuakeC is a terrible hack, which is why they dropped it in Quake 2, but it had several important advantages: almost anyone could pick up the source code and mod it (leading to Team Fortress and then CustomTF), and since it was all run within a sandbox, you could download executable code from the internet and run it on your server without risking compromising your server. Quake 2, with its DLLs, didn't have that protection, which is one of the reasons why I stayed with Quakeworld.

Because QW was sandboxed, it was theoretically easier to debug, but the aforementioned hackishness of it meant that in reality debugging the thing was a nightmare for several important classes of bugs. I remember spending hours looking at where my code would crash, putting in sanity checks everywhere, and then having the problem turn out to be we were exceeding some internal limit in QuakeC. That the compiler would just silently ignore. Or entity overruns. Or the netcode limit on sending updates. Or the hardcoded limit on entity speed that had a soft limit that it would silently ignore. That sort of thing.

It was very impressive technology for something Carmack just hacked together in (IIRC) a couple days. I spent two quarters in my compilers class building my own language, and we didn't even have to write a VM to interpret the emitted code. It was brilliant, but hackish.

I'm sad as well, Phrosty... Carmack leaving id is the end of an era for me. I still have my emails I traded with him back in the day on implicit parallelization of Q2 code on the Tera Supercomputer...

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160503)

QuakeC is a terrible hack, which is why they dropped it in Quake 2, but it had several important advantages: almost anyone could pick up the source code and mod it (leading to Team Fortress and then CustomTF), and since it was all run within a sandbox, you could download executable code from the internet and run it on your server without risking compromising your server.

And more importantly, the mod doesn't have to be ported.
I used the standard Team Fortress mod with the Amiga port of Quake. Different CPU and different graphics system but it still just works.
I am pretty sure that all obscure Quake mods works just fine on ARM ports of quake too.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers. (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 6 months ago | (#46160763)

Yeah, good point. That was another reason why Quake 2 was a step back.

Still, I wish Carmack had build a few more sanity checks into his code. Overflowing silently was just a pain in the ass to deal with on CustomTF.

Ahhh the poor baby (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157741)

Let's all give a shit! On one, two, After the first quake.exe they all sucked.

Re:Ahhh the poor baby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157921)

Carmack produces shit without help from Romero.

Re:Ahhh the poor baby (1)

hermitdev (2792385) | about 6 months ago | (#46158101)

And visa versa. Neither has done the same quality of work "alone" as they have done together.

HI! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157765)

Could we get some more articles on 1. Snowden 2. Bitcoin and 3. Women in tech?
Thanks!

Re:HI! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46157895)

Snowden becomes a woman and invests in Bitcoin.

Re:HI! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158143)

Snowden is arrested, switches gender (but is denied a position in IT), changes the name to Chelsea and sues Assange over alleged rape (actually it's a Bitcoin trade that went sour).
In revenge, Lulsec-redivivus, the slovakian branch, breaks again the FBI site but NSA manages to capture and legally store the entire traffic.
It is unclear, however, if Google's recently purchased D-Wave is quantum enough to break the encryption; this letting aside Google ditched its Google Wave product quite a while ago, so only James Dyson remains to churn the waters over the engineering crisis in UK (controversial as they are, the UK equiv of H1B visas would be cheaper though)

FTFY - well... almost: self-citing /. links are still pending.

Re:HI! (1)

Pav (4298) | about 6 months ago | (#46158275)

OK. It's even semi-relevant. Jeri Ellsworth is about to release a 3D VR/AR project that I think is WAY more exciting than Oculus, and it's completely novel (or at least I haven't seen anything like it). The glasses project an image out onto the world so 3D objects are "in" the real world - the beginnings of a holodeck-like technology. It's called castAR... check it out on YouTube, but you can tell from peoples impressions [youtube.com] it's a genuinely fresh experience, not just 3D done over with new tech.

Re:HI! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158361)

.... that's only useful for augmented reality. Something that wont be a real, actually useful thing, for years yet. Nor does it have anything to do with the kind of gaming that Oculus is targeted at. Apples and oranges. Oculus is not "just 3D done over" it's the first actual solution that will be widely adopted. Oculus is a killer app for simulation in particular. Augmented reality is worthless for that.

Re:HI! (2)

Pav (4298) | about 6 months ago | (#46158397)

The castAR glasses also have an overlay which make use of the projector for more traditional VR.

Re:HI! (1)

raynet (51803) | about 6 months ago | (#46160153)

And when it delivers 96Hz or faster screen with non-persistent image at 1080p resolution, it might be usable in VR.

Re:HI! (1)

Pav (4298) | about 6 months ago | (#46160843)

The specs are pretty decent [reddit.com] and probably exceed your expectations.

Re:HI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46159801)

Yeah, my thoughts exactly. That happened as soon as the VR competence ramped up quickly with CastAR and others entering the game hard.

Oculus has to justify the $16M of VC and were sleeping all this time well past a year of the kickstarter without even having still the specifications closed. Not to mention when the backers will see the product.

Seems more that some VC people hurried someone to work fulltime.

Re:HI! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158967)

Yes, because women automatically make everything better.. when a woman attempts something rudimentary and succeeds, it's an 8th wonder of the world.. when a man accomplishes something, he's told to get back to the mines and dig up another 20% on top of it.

Fucking Hedge Fund Managers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158175)

This is like the owners of Lockheed Martin vetoing a project that is military in nature and might result in an aeroplane design.

Timing Much ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158371)

Am I the only one who finds interesting the fact that this article about why Carmack left a company 20 years ago, blaming Zenimax, comes out just at the moment the latest Zenimax game is ready to pre order ?

Seriously...

Re:Timing Much ? (4, Funny)

murdocj (543661) | about 6 months ago | (#46158685)

You couldn't even read the first phrase of the summary?

"John Carmack left id Software last year,"

Re:Timing Much ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46159567)

John Carmack left id Software last year? Is he still looking for a new job?

Re:Timing Much ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160113)

Holy shit I am stupid... And there I was, typing my comment earlier, thinking wow, 20 years ago he was onto VR already ?
Damn fever hit me harder than I thought.. Thanks for the civil answer though :)

Re:Timing Much ? (3, Funny)

EvilSS (557649) | about 6 months ago | (#46158899)

Am I the only one who finds interesting the fact that this article about why Carmack left a company 20 years ago, blaming Zenimax, comes out just at the moment the latest Zenimax game is ready to pre order ?

Seriously...

See, this is why I hate being a time traveler. I could have sworn I pre-ordered Wolfenstein: The New Order months ago but apparently it hasn't happened yet. This timey-wimey shit can be a real headache sometimes.

VR is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46158927)

Unless virtual sex is involved :)

Re:VR is stupid (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 6 months ago | (#46159089)

Unless virtual sex is involved :)

Like all emerging technology, it doesn't make it big until the porn industry finds its applications first. I would say that Oculus is going to see that happen.

So... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46159039)

Would it be fair to describe leaving Id as 'coming out of the monster closet'? Or have they done something worthwhile recently?

Thoughts (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 6 months ago | (#46159381)

John Carmack used to post on /. semi regularly, it would be interesting to see if he chimes in here.

But really, it makes sense, making 1 game VR enabled is different than making VR a reality, and it sounds like Carmak wants to do the latter rather than the former.

If I was zenimax I would be worried about Carmack making his next game too dependent on VR tech, which would lock out a lot of the market who won't have an oculus rift right away, and if Oculus rift wants VR support for their new experimental hardware that needs to prove itself in the market place they should be the ones footing the bill, particularly for the time of someone as expensive as Carmack, who, lets face it, probably gets 10 or 20x what any other engine programmer does. Probably justifiably so, but still, none one us would be very happy if the next Wolfenstein or Doom comes out and looks like crap and then we blame Carmack for spending all his time on the VR version.

this is news how? (1)

dimko (1166489) | about 6 months ago | (#46159873)

I lknew about him leaving like over month ago...

mod do3N (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46160099)

lost its ea8lier
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