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John Carmack Leaves id Software 154

Posted by Soulskill
from the so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-quake dept.
jones_supa writes "John Carmack has left id Software completely. 'John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,' id's studio director Tim Willits told IGN, and continues: '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, a co-founder of id, recently joined Oculus VR as Chief Technology Officer, and at the time remained at id Software in some capacity. Earlier this year, id president Todd Hollenshead departed id as well."
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John Carmack Leaves id Software

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  • The end of an era. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:44PM (#45495541)
    Let's hope he sticks around somehow. Gaming would lose so much if he geniunely retired.
    • by Servaas (1050156) <captivayay@hotmail . c om> on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:46PM (#45495571)

      I'm quakeing in my boots at what he will accomplish next!

    • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:56PM (#45495675) Homepage Journal

      Pretty much every year at Quakecon, JC spoke about how he hated getting bogged down with business details and wanted to get back to working on low level hardware/software, decreasing latency etc. i.e. he had gotten way too high level for his liking and all of his projects were tinkering R&D type stuff - he seems to have always shrugged off management roles that were cast upon him. He complained one year that iD Software and Rage had torn him too far from Armadillo Aerospace and (commentating here) the company had sort of flatlined without him as a constant presence there.
       
      Wouldn't shock me to see him do a new start up company in the mobile games space and re-invest himself in Armadillo Aerospace again. iD software obviously had long been somewhere where he no longer fit in.

      • by SethJohnson (112166) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:31PM (#45496087) Homepage Journal

        Wouldn't shock me to see him do a new start up company in the mobile games space and re-invest himself in Armadillo Aerospace again.

        Armadillo Aerospace lost the race for the SpaceX prize. It didn't develop any compelling intellectual property that set it much apart from the other commercial offerings in space travel, so it's become an also-ran. There are no plans for it to do much of anything unless another tycoon comes along and injects vast sums of cash. Carmack is done floating it with his own personal wealth.

        His new passion is Oculus Rift. He brings great momentum to that project.

        His presence at iD and Oculus probably became strained due to Oculus wanting to be platform & engine independent, while iD would obviously want priority compatibility built into Oculus for their engine.

        • by Hadlock (143607) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:45PM (#45496203) Homepage Journal

          Armadillo was a profitable company (as in, showed a profit at the end of a fiscal year) with several different research contracts for NASA before it imploded due to mismanagement. I'm not sure what your ambiguous comment about "SpaceX Prize" means, do you mean the Lunar X prize? Armadillo never made a bid for the commercial crew program as far as I'm aware (where SpaceX is competing with two other, non-Armadillo affiliated companies).

    • by Scorchmon (305172) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:19PM (#45495955)

      He's the CTO for Oculus, developers of the Oculus Rift VR HMD. He already has his plate full, and the writing has been on the wall since August when he joined Oculus. Gaming has much more to gain from him now that he's no longer tied to the past and can put all of his effort into VR gaming.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        I wonder if he actually contributes anything substantial to Oculus (given that they pretty much had the whole thing worked out before JC was hired) or if it's just a marketing move to hire him.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2013 @07:10PM (#45496455)

          I own a dev kit and it's far from figured out. Right now it's just a motion sickness machine.

          • by gl4ss (559668)

            that just means it works ;)
            I didn't get motion sickness from it.

            Only thing I want improved is resolution. 4-5x the resolution and I can throw monitors to the trash heap.

        • by olau (314197)

          Watch the QuakeCon talks he gave this year and in 2012. He's been involved in the development of the Rift from the beginning one way or another.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Disagree, remind me his latest games? Nobody know about them except a few hardcore gamers (40++ y.o.). He doesn't like high-level development, has no new ideas about gaming. Yes, he was the best and contributed a lot to the game development, in the past. He definitely deserves respect, but if he leaves nobody will notice. Next CoD and Battlefield will be released on schedule. There is a new generation of game developers. The development itself has changed from technology-centric to content-centric. From in

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Disagree, remind me his latest games? Nobody know about them except a few hardcore gamers (40++ y.o.). He doesn't like high-level development, has no new ideas about gaming.

        Most of the work that John Carmack has been working on is in the low level game engines. Indeed I would dare say that most of what he has done in his career has been doing that, but note the core engine is what drives anything done on the high level you are talking about.

        While you might not "notice" his passing from ID Software, his presence is definitely going to be missed by the company. You can't neglect the core technologies.

        Yes, crappy design with outstanding technology is still a crappy game, but ev

    • Just out of interest, what, precisely, would it lose? As far as I know, the last decent game ID released was Quake I.
    • But some other sector might gain a lot with his addition, who knows!

  • by bob_super (3391281) on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:46PM (#45495561)

    Is ID Doomed?

  • Oculus Rift! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by twocows (1216842) on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:47PM (#45495573)
    Does this mean he'll be spending more time with the Oculus Rift team? I'm pretty stoked about the Rift. One step closer to fully immersive video games. Imagine a game like Metroid Prime with this kind of tech. Man, that would be fantastic! Apparently HL2+eps is going to have support for it as well, that alone is probably enough to sell it for me.
    • by Gordo_1 (256312)

      He will be spending his time at Oculus 100%, which is good, because there's plenty of new ground to break and few are better qualified to drive the software side of things for a new graphics technology than Mr. Carmack.

      I had access to a Rift DK for the better part of a month. For what amounts to a smartphone screen mounted inside ski goggles, I was thoroughly impressed and have no doubt that this device offers an early look at the future of hardcore gaming -- I suspect a similar device that allows you to in

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2013 @05:50PM (#45495591)

    They made their money. id got bought by ZeniMax, the destroyer of worlds. Now that they're no longer independent, they don't have the freedom to experiment that is the hallmark of Carmack's approach to engine development. The higher-ups are leaving for greener pastures and the rank-and-file devs are thrown to the wolves. I've lived through too many acquisitions to expect anything less. id's days are numbered and everyone at the company knows it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    20th Doom Anniversary. December 10, 1993 was released

  • by jones_supa (887896) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:00PM (#45495725)
    I wonder if Doom 4 will ever see the daylight. Apparently the game has been considered being in a "development hell" for some time and Todd and John bailing out probably won't make things any better.
    • Re:Doom 4 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:03PM (#45495757)

      I wonder if Doom 4 will ever see the daylight.

      We all know that no Doom game will ever have daylight. Hell they barely have ambient light.

    • Re:Doom 4 (Score:5, Funny)

      by isorox (205688) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:09PM (#45495831) Homepage Journal

      I wonder if Doom 4 will ever see the daylight. Apparently the game has been considered being in a "development hell" for some time and Todd and John bailing out probably won't make things any better.

      You know what game deserved a sequel? Duke Nukem 3D

    • Did you read the entire paragraph? Carmack's part of Doom 4 is done.

      • What paragraph? And secondly, I wasn't talking about Carmack's role in Doom 4, but the status of the project in general. I didn't see any announcement that the whole project is discontinued yet.
        • From the post-

          "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"

      • by compro01 (777531)

        Did you read the entire paragraph? Carmack's part of Doom 4 is done.

        Certainly it's done, but whether or not it was complete is a different question.

  • I just hope Quakelive doesn't die. I guess no programmer could do only one thing forever, the urge to solve other problems gets to you before you even know it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And make him his bitch.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can fell my release date slipping away......

  • by Gordo_1 (256312) on Friday November 22, 2013 @06:16PM (#45495925)

    Most employees are more or less replaceable, but John Carmack for all intents and purposes *was* iD, at least in the early years when 3D graphics engines were in their infancy. When he announced he was going to be CTO at Oculus, it was obvious that he was really excited about the prospects over there, and was going to be winding things up at iD sooner or later. But he chose not to leave his old company in the lurch, and he transitioned at a pace that didn't screw them over in favor of the new. This is John Carmack exiting graciously.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Good luck and Godspeed, John Carmack. All gamers owe you a debt of gratitude.

  • Yeah.

    I know.

    Ironic ain't it?

  • This is weird news. ID and John Carmack have been practically synonymous all my life. This can't have been an easy decision. ID is the company he created, built from the ground up. There is heart and soul there. But I guess you have to know when to stop. Now the deal with Bethesda makes a lot more sense. I suppose he wanted to leave the company secured and in good hands before making his exit move.

    I am a little saddened of seeing another bit of my childhood gaming culture fading away (Origin, Lucas Arts, ID

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      John Carmack is moving on to bigger and better things.
      iD has done fuck all for innovation aside from building it's game engine.
      What titles does it currently have? Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake.

      Carmack is a very sharp and creative guy who has far broader and better suited prospects with Oculus.

  • by Alejux (2800513) on Friday November 22, 2013 @08:00PM (#45496881)
    The work he's doing in Oculus must be 10x more exiting then building the next graphics engine for the next Doom or whatever. VR will be the next paradigm shift in gaming, such as 3D was once in the 90's. He was the pioneer in 3D FPS gaming then, now he will be the pioneer along with the guys from Oculus VR in the next evolution. I expect great things to come!
    • I agree 100%. This is one of those moments that anyone who's read any amount of scifi knows what is to come, and all the business suits out there in the PC/gaming world don't have a clue. Occulus is not just about gaming. It will transform the world of computing as we know it. Sure there will be lots of people who prefer, or for reason of their distinct needs will not want to use it. But for the most part it will be the most disruptive technology of the next five years opening up huge paradigms of tech
    • 10x more exiting ~~then~~ than building the next graphics engine

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 22, 2013 @08:05PM (#45496937)

    Who didn't see this coming? Carmack has been the BIGGEST problem at iD for almost too may years to count now, and Bethesda has a near impossible task in recovering anything profitable from its purchase of the company.

    -Carmack was the genius behind Doom, a truly staggering achievement, but bested by far a few years later by the 'Build' engine created by Ken Silverman and used for Duke Nukem.

    -Carmack and Abrash (the second name is ignored and unknown by too many of you) created the Quake engine, a project that most of you don't even know was designed to handle SOFTWARE rendering of 3D games with great efficiency on Intel's emerging PENTIUM family of processors. iD was taking advantage of the vastly faster FPU on the new CPUs, especially the floating-point divide unit required to do decent quality approximate perspective correct texture mapping.

    Unfortunately, even before Quake came out, it was out-of-date. 3D hardware had started to appear for the PC, and this hardware SOLVED the perspective-correct mapping issue with an efficiency (and quality) that no x86 assemble-code could hope to match. It is notable that years later, when the Unreal games were still supporting a software-only render path, the high-quality render they used was NOT licensed from iD.

    -Carmack never really recovered from a world where hardware was doing all the heavy lifting, and spent the following years seeking algorithms that he could design and implement on the CPU side. At first, this idiotic obsession didn't harm iD, as various versions of the engines behind Quake 1/2/3 were licensed for incredible numbers of projects by other companies. HOWEVER, most of this licensing success occurred because the clean code base could be heavily modified to add all the features Carmack never bothered to place in iD games. Tame local developers like Rogue, Ritual, and Raven did the work iD couldn't be bothered to do.

    Most notably, Carmack expended a vast effort to add 'smart' curved surfaces to Quake 3, a complete waste of time because such software generated mesh data could not be properly interacted with, and could be better done with ordinary models and LOD by the hardware available at the time. At best, Carmack 'forced' competing engines at the time to waste time and money attempting to implement their versions of this 'feature'. Better by far was the introduction of 'shaders'- a method of forcing the hardware to render far more interesting surfaces (animated effects and the like) than the flat 'pictures' that had dominated 3D games for years before.

    -Doom 3 was the final failure, and the proof that the age of iD was over. The brand new engine was a licensing disaster, and the Unreal engine took over the marketplace with a level of success that crushed any iD previously enjoyed. Carmack and co over-saw an unthinkably expensive attempt to resurrect the Wolfenstein success that followed Quake 3, but iD's two parts of that project were so bad, they never saw the light of day, and iD released for free the independently produced third part, Wolfenstein- Enemy Territory, the last genuinely good and popular game that iD would offer.

    -And then, of course, we end with Rage, one of the biggest software failures of all time. Carmack was obsessed like never before with a 'problem' that didn't even matter- how to turn the entire texture data set for a game level and all assets into a uniform, general, 2D indexable data structure we know as MEGATEXTURE. Carmack was, by this time, so UTTERLY clueless, he had ZERO knowledge of state-of-the-art in AAA 3D gamine engines, and boasted he preferred to play Nintendo kiddie games with his family.

    Megatexture has dozens of problems, but here are the two main ones.
    1) The maths behind megatexture means that to have access to VERY poor textures, your data set, even at maximum feasible compression, has to be unthinkable large. Rage had putrid 'close' textures' and dreadful 'far' textures. Only in the mid-ground did megatexture textures look half-decent. If you don't 'bake' the light

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 23, 2013 @12:37AM (#45498473)

      Hi Romero, glad to see you're not still sour. - JDC

    • by NortonDC (211601) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @02:28AM (#45499067) Homepage

      Grid that axe all you want, just not with revisionist BS like that. Duke3D took 2.5 years to launch after DOOM. And then only 5 months after Duke3D landed Quake dropped. Build was fun, but as a technical competition it was no match for what Carmack was doing.

      As for hardware, the first useful consumer 3D hardware didn't land for months *after* Quake shipped, when the Verite boards appeared in stores. And Quake supported them very early. And Carmack was also the primary independent champion of Voodoo, and those were the products that grew that market. So if you want to say he failed by missing the PC 3D hardware revolution, then you're arguing that 1) he missed the revolution he was key in making happen, and 2) he doesn't deserve credit for the revolution he did so much to popularize. More bull.

      And Unreal always had its own renderer. Why would anyone expect them to drop their homegrown tech and adopt a competitor's? Not every designer jumps engines every 4 months. (Is that you, George?)

      Lay blame wherever you want to for iD's modern malaise, but denying their groundbreaking early achievements is just absurd.

      • Exactly, the AC is talking out of his ass.

        glQuake WAS the killer 3D app !

        --
        "It is far easier to destroy then to create -- which is why everyone on the internet bitches about somebody else's work instead of making their own 'masterpiece'."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The first couple iterations of the Voodoo and other competing hardware at the time were -worthless- compared to the software rendering system in Q1. The technology was too new, and totally unproven, and was in development at the same time as Quake. Those hardwares directly competed with Quake's software rendering, and Quake spanked them. Not until the Voodoo 2 or 3 era, when they finally showed some real promise, and started working directly with people such as Carmack and Rein, did things really start t

    • by Lisandro (799651) on Saturday November 23, 2013 @05:04AM (#45499529)

      Oh for crap's sake. I know i'm answering to a troll here, but if you don't understand how pivotal was Quake with its "out-of-date" software rendered back in the day then you clearly didn't live the 90s, where the only widespread GPU product out there was the S3 ViRGE. It single-handedly revolutionized the game industry and started a trend to use 3D, without GPUs... which didn't really become popular until Quake 2 showcased what could be achieved with them. 3DFX owes them pretty much all of their business, as everyone else then followed suit, including Romero which had to (yet again) rewrite his glorious Daikatana.

      Give credit where due. "Humiliates himself"? This guy was the major driving force for the FPS genre and the adoption of GPUs, and was coding state of the art game engines while you were still picking your nose. Doze off. Maybe 5 years for now you'll be raving about how good his VR headsets are.

      • by eulernet (1132389)

        It's obvious for me that the OP was kinda jealous about Carmack, but it appears to me that he's also pretty knowledgeable.

        This guy was the major driving force for the FPS genre and the adoption of GPUs

        I think you are giving Carmack too much credit.
        He's technologically obsessed, which was very useful for Doom and Quake.
        However, a game doesn't simply rely on engineering: it requires a strong gameplay and nice graphics.
        Games with excellent gameplay can overcome lack of engineering and graphics, but games with excellent engineering cannot overcome lack of gameplay.

        Of course, it's more gla

        • by Lisandro (799651)

          This guy was the major driving force for the FPS genre and the adoption of GPUs

          I think you are giving Carmack too much credit.

          Am i? I remember it well. When the first Voodoo cards showed up they were expensive as hell and Quake 2 was the reason to get one. In the span of less than a year after its release most games were supporting either OpenGL or Glide in some way.

          Games with excellent gameplay can overcome lack of engineering and graphics, but games with excellent engineering cannot overcome lack of gameplay.

          Much agreed. But at least until Q3 no one will argue that iD games were simply fun to play.

          Maybe 5 years for now you'll be raving about how good his VR headsets are.

          I'm pretty sure that you are wrong, and here are my arguments: ...

          Sure, a "software guy" who worked closely with GPU engineers, helped created cutting edge software for the past 15 years, designs and builds rockets and founded one of the most s

          • > When the first Voodoo cards showed up they were expensive as hell and glQuake was the reason to get one.

            FTFY. :-)

            I used to run glQuake at 512 x 384 to maintain a guaranteed 60+ Hz during intense battles.

            The minigl driver of the Voodoo helped motivate nVidia's TNT2 to provide true 24-bit color as opposed to the 16-bit interpolated to 22-bit of the Voodoo. :-)

            --
            Defiance is a shitty Borderlands MMO without the humor and beautiful "Guardian Angel" (Britanni Johnson.)

      • Concur 100%.

        Apparently the ignorant AC didn't get the memo about JC porting Doom from NeXTStep to PC. He was one of the earlier proponents of porting to find bugs in your game AND in the compiler YEARS before the "mainstream" did it.

    • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Sunday November 24, 2013 @03:24AM (#45505635)

      Holy shit someone needs to mod the parent down as over-rated for their trolling ...

      Many of us older /. folk DO remember Michael Abrash from his "Graphics Programming Black Book (Special Edition)". "... the FDIV to calculate the reciprocal of 1/z is overlapped with drawing 16 pixels, taking advantage of the Pentiumâ(TM)s ability to perform floating-point in parallel with integer instructions, so the FDIV effectively takes only one cycle."
      * http://www.phatcode.net/res/224/files/html/ch70/70-04.html [phatcode.net]

      Can you name one programmer who has open sourced their games MORE then Carmack? Yeah,I thought so.

      WinQuake was replaced with glQuake which supported the 3Dfx Voodoo pretty much the day it came out. How did that S3 ViRGE decelerator work out for you again?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S3_ViRGE [wikipedia.org]

      Hell, there is even an algorithm named after him: Carmack's Reverse
      * http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_volume [wikipedia.org]

      Carmack has always pushed the technical boundaries. While he doesn't understand what makes a FUN game he certainly as hell know how to a TECHNICAL game. He has inspired many generations of programmers.

      What have *you* done for the graphics and gaming community Mr. AC aside from bitching about someone's "mistakes" ???

      --
      "It is far easier to destroy then to create -- which is why everyone on the internet bitches about somebody else's work instead of making their own masterpiece."

  • He's said that he had "one or two more engines in him" before he's done..and he has spent more time talking about his side interests in space flight and VR.

You are an insult to my intelligence! I demand that you log off immediately.

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