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Carmack On Doom III And The Evolution Of Graphics 586

Toasty16 writes "David Kushner over at Wired has a write-up on the progress of Doom III, hinting at a possible fall release, that is unless Microsoft convinces id to sit on the game until an Xbox version is completed. He also talks to Carmack about the evolution of game engines and the possibility of a "next-generation rendering engine [that] will be a stable, mature technology that lasts in more or less its basic form for a long time." Will this lead to a shift from coders to "technical directors," as Carmack believes? This ties into the Slashdot story awhile back about new titles for sysadmins."
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Carmack On Doom III And The Evolution Of Graphics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:14PM (#5746823)
    The graphics were created by God at the beginning of time!
    • by Trogre ( 513942 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @07:33PM (#5747651) Homepage
      You're right in saying they didn't evolve.

      The development of computer graphics has always been driven by (arguably) intelligent creators.

      People like to apply words like evolution to any developmental process presumable for the coolness factor, and in the literal sense they are right (change over time). But it's just silly to imply that CG has evolved in a darwinian sense.

      It makes a mockery of the thousands of hours that designers, programmers and engineers have put into developing such systems.

      • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:58PM (#5748100)
        It seems to me that some developments aren't obvious until a basic technology is in place. Once upon a time, all telephone calls were manually connected by operators. Most calls weren't automatically switched until the mid sixties. These systems did not spring full blown out of some engineer's forehead. I'll bet some people were thinking about automatic switching in say the thirties but other technologies (which themselves were "changing over time"...I'll avoid the dreaded `E` word") had to get there first to make it a reality. Lots of people worked on it at different times tweaking and prodding and refining until it was mature. The way it works now doesn't even remotely resemble the way it did in the Sixties so it definitely doesn't have one inventor.

        Even the most talented engine coders aren't going to be able to tell us exactly how computer generated 3D is going to work 10 years from now. It changes over time and so does the science on which engineering is based. Also, when fundamentally new technologies are going from the whiteboard to prototypes on a bench lots of ideas are tried and thrown out, tried and thrown out, ad nauseum until something sticks. Imagine that!, competing technological ideas going head to head in a fitness race. Sometimes, it's even automated.

        But no, technologies are born fully refined and completely debugged from the disembodied head of Thomas Edison which he preserved in his "last" invention.

        I won't say the `E`-word though. That might be carrying an argument that already tiresome in the life sciences into engineering.
      • by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:19PM (#5748717)
        Computer graphics did evolve, they just evolved through a Lamarckian, rather than a Darwinian, process. Evolution does not mean Darwinism, they're two different words, and the former is more general than the latter.
  • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:15PM (#5746826) Homepage Journal

    Oh bloody hell, the Duke Nukem Forever people will want to start from square one again.
  • by poisoneleven ( 310634 ) <jaredaz&hotmail,com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:15PM (#5746839)
    I guess I don't quite see how this ties into the older story about new titles for Sysadmins. Technical Directors have been around a long time, and have always existed in the game creation arena. It isn't just some new spin on Sysadmin or Computer user or something.
  • ...to individual games. Kind of flies in the face of the whole Doom spirit of "let's release the code and let the gamers develop their own levels, etc."
  • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:17PM (#5746852)
    Offer him rocket fuel.
    • 2007 (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:54PM (#5747183)
      And in other news, following allegations by the RIAA that Microsoft had a long-running top-secret illegal "MP3" server on campus through which their employees could pirate music with each other, a DOJ raid on Microsoft headquarters revealed that Microsoft was hiding weapons of mass distruction.

      What was to be a routine DMCA2 inspection has quickly turned into an international incident, as police discovered in the subterranean tunnels of Bill Gates' house a number of missles which the DOJ estimates are capable of going several thousand miles further than the limit imposed on Microsoft by both UN resolutions and their 2002 antitrust settlement, as well as several barrels of chemicals which, pending testing, are expected to either be rocket fuel or chemical weapons.

      "This isn't what it looks like, i swear" said a beleaguered Steve Ballmer. "We were just going to use them to secretly bribe John Carmack with, to get him to make Doom 4 XBOX-exclusive. That was all. We weren't going to use them. Fuck. Fuck. I knew this was a bad idea."

      In other news, Canadian forces, afraid that a cornered Microsoft may decide to attack, have massed near the Seattle border.

      More news on FOXNews as it develops: We report, you decide.
    • You know, if that fuel is 98% hydrogen peroxide (HTP), then it might even work. Carmack tried to buy some from FMC, $100,000 worth would you believe. They turned him down... He has no source of HTP right now, and he's just run out. Bummer.
  • by DrPascal ( 185005 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:20PM (#5746889) Homepage
    The Carmack specifically says at the end of the article that he's going to make another engine after this one (perhaps years later, but still). Don't let the post/article up top make you think that he's going to stop programming once this is done.
  • Fall? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stratjakt ( 596332 )
    Seems to me their waiting for hardware that can run it to become more commonplace. I mean, the game has to be completed by now.

    The engine may be great, but so far as the game itself, I predict the letdown of the year. This game is already wayyyy overhyped. In the end it'll be just another pretty shoot'em-up.

    Oh well. Have fun in outer space, Mr Carmack.
    • Re:Fall? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by deadsaijinx* ( 637410 ) <animemeken@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:31PM (#5746986) Homepage
      actually, a game that will be as played as DoomIII should have a VERY long bug-fixing cycle (whicah may account for some of the delay). Next, we already know it's just a pretty FPS, after all, it has the same story as the original Doom. But, it will be VERY nice graphics, and that is what most is the hype is about, the pictures. After all, id is known for the simplicity of their games. OTOH, from what I've seen, in addition to the graphics, there are some nice gameplay innovations (the PDA) and the sound is supposed to scare the shit out of you.

      My question is how the hell is there supposed to be an XBox port of DOOMII. I mean, if you need a radeon9700 pro just to get the nice graphical goodies, how is an XBox supposed to churn out anything resembling the PC release?

    • Re:Fall? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sixdotoh ( 584811 )
      pretty shoot'em-up.

      It may just be that, but from what I've heard, it contains some very good physics (e.g. bodies falling down individual stairs), and new dynamic lighting effects.

      So, if it does end up being another lame shoot 'em up (and the story sounds pretty lame/stupid to me), perhaps it will at least provide a good new base for some really good games to build on.

  • no. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Suppafly ( 179830 ) <slashdot@suppafly. n e t> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:21PM (#5746895)
    This ties into the Slashdot story awhile back about new titles for sysadmins."

    No it doesn't.
  • Doom III demo (Score:2, Interesting)

    by obotics ( 592176 )
    Has anyone on /. got the Doom III demo to run smoothly? My friend has a relatively new AMD Athlon XP 2100+ with 512 megabytes of RAM on an ASUS nForce 2 motherboard, and he was getting like 2 frames per second or something ridiculous. The zombies were mawling him before he could even move his gun!!! It was funny, because in the intro we would here scary monster noises, but the graphic of the monster wouldn't be displayed until about 1 minute later. That is how far behind the graphics got behind the sound! B
    • Re:Doom III demo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by stratjakt ( 596332 )
      Tell your friend to buy a Radeon 9700, as the demo was leaked from an ATI booth at Comdex, and was specifically written to run on that set of hardware. (And multi-cpus as well, I believe it was kludged to run the sound code on a second proc)

      I've heard of people getting 20fps with the 9700, with only humble (1.4ghz, 512megs ) system specs.

      But this is really the type of question you should pose to the local 0-day w4r3z kiddies.
    • by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:33PM (#5747002)
      Has anyone on /. got the Doom III demo to run smoothly? My friend has a relatively new AMD Athlon XP 2100+ with 512 megabytes of RAM on an ASUS nForce 2 motherboard, and he was getting like 2 frames per second or something ridiculous.

      Well, don't expect it to run smoothly on such an old piece of crap computer. Try upgrading to a Quad P4-3GHz system with the best ATI Radeon you can buy and you MIGHT get 15fps if you're lucky. You can't expect a piece of artistic genius like Doom III to run on crappy commodity PC hardware can you? To get the real performance you need to buy an Xbox.

  • Evidently (Score:2, Insightful)

    We've been seeing this for quite some time already. Developers buying completed engines and building their game around that, instead of doing everything from line 1.

    Guess it makes sense if you can get a decent engine, that fit your needs, for less money than it would've taken to write it yourself. Real coders still want to do it all by themselves, of course :)

    Now maybe we can reap the benefit of this soon, with some games actually centering on gameplay, rather than cool rendering techniques. If I want nic

  • by Brigadier ( 12956 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:22PM (#5746911)

    Is anyone else a bit dissappointed that the focus on games seems to be the rendering engine and the color depth and frame rates. Doom/Quake sorta started all the emphasis on 3d graphics. I miss the old days of plain old gameplay. Games such as Zelda, Everquest, civilization really are the pinnacle of gaming for me. I like everyone else used to stay at work late so we could have a lan party playing doom, and quake CTF and download the latest patches and maps. However the concept has not changed since day one. shoot everything that moves. make a team and shoot everyone that moves. I think it's time the game concept and story line be updated.
    • You might like Black Hawk Down. Much of the team games are stalking, and shooting anything that's not on your team, and one solid shot gets a kill. So instead of hording weapons, it's more about detecting the target before the target detects you.
    • IMO, Quake 3 was id's last shot at a straight out graphics led FPS. They perfected fast gameplay too (or nearly). Doom 3 will probably see them try out for something new, I really don't think that a company which includes someone as intelligent as Carmack is going to let themselves get trapped in a dead end with no-gameplay eye candy games.

      I'm betting on a next-gen Doom 3 which isn't just fancy graphics - I think id are a company which is clever enough to sense the shifts in the industry. As Q3 showed the
    • by ansonyumo ( 210802 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:42PM (#5747079)
      Hear hear.

      However, I will take a different tact than you. I miss the simplicity of side scrollers, bottom shooters, etc. These were great little 5-30 minute diversions that didn't require reading a user's guide. There was also a lot of creativity that went into the design of the better entries in this lot. Q*Bert, Tron, Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Track and Field, Zaxxon, Defender, Robotron and Tetris (among others) were all groundbreaking games when they debuted. Sure, you can find all of these titles in various "museum" releases or on the emulators, but it would be cool to see what could be done with this genre using today's technology and wizardry.

      On the more cerebral front, I really enjoyed the Infocom games. Pretty cool that they have them all for the z machine on Palm OS.

      • There still are many companies writing these more simple games but with excellent game play. You don't have to run MAME with the associated 20 year old graphics.

        For instance Ambrosia [ambrosiasw.com] has had versions of classic games with excellent graphics and game play. I'm sure that were I to look I could find many more examples.

        Just because most of the games down at CompUSA most games are fairly complex and driven by "gee whiz" graphics and long play time doesn't mean all are.

      • it would be cool to see what could be done with this genre using today's technology and wizardry

        Actually, since you asked.. have you heard of Ikaruga [planetgamecube.com]? It's supposed to be one of the greatest shooter games of all time, as well as one of the most challenging, and it's just been retooled graphically and otherwise for the Gamecube and rereleased (It was originally a dreamcast game).

        Also, despite being a 2d topdown shooter, it supposedly has an absolutely fantastic storyline and pushes the gamecube to somewhe
    • Don't forget strategy games. Very popular and only playable on the PC. Starcraft for example has been very popular and has had a very long run and was not a FPS. You also mention civilization, another great strategy game. There are other great games other there that have nothing to do with FPS gameplay.

      Typically they do not get as much press, or are developed for console gaming. However, if you are not looking at the places these games are advertised then you will never hear about them. If you never

    • OK, OK, I know, it's not a PC game, but as far as first person shooters go it's totally top-notch in terms of graphics, and the story is pretty damn cool too. Not to mention the fact that there's a co-op play feature (really the only way to play mutliplayer IMHO).

      Some people say that control for FPS's is better with a keyboard and mouse, but I think I'll have to disagree with them on that one. The controller scheme for Halo was simple, elegant, and it actually feels quite natural once you have used it f

    • Give me Pac-Man!
      Thats all I need... some Pac-Man, Galaga, maybe a little Tetris to mix things up.
      Games may look better- but for the most part they've gotten worse.
      Look at the gameboy advance...2-d graphics (typically) and its still tons of fun.
      I totally agree with your post, but perhaps if they make doom3 for the ps2 or gamecube-- I'll buy it,
      (I could never support XBOX or Windows even while under the influenced of drugs)... and well we all know the state of gaming on the mac...
    • by DarkEdgeX ( 212110 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:06PM (#5747830) Journal

      I have seven words for you--

      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

      The brutal truth about DOOM, Quake and all the various spinoffs, wannabes and so forth is that the formula of amazing visuals tied in with dog easy (but difficult to master) gameplay can draw in even the most newbiesh of players (think about it-- how hard is it to learn how to fire a weapon with one mouse button, jump with the other, and navigate with either the keyboard arrows, the mouse, or both at the same time?). Sure you get more advanced crap like rocket jumps, deflecting off of walls and whatever, but in a team play environment even the shittiest of players can at least get the hang of it and enjoy it.

      Don't over complicate a simple yet fun gameplay experience with things it doesn't need-- chief amongst them, an engrossing storyline with idiotic cut-scenes and crap. I don't want story, I want death and destruction. If you want something else, go play something else and leave the rest of us FPS lovers alone.

      (As a note-- I do happen to enjoy RPG's, RTS games and other genres of games (been playing the new Zelda off and on for a week or so now), I just don't see why FPS games can't co-exist peacefully alongside other genres that are as guilty as of what you're describing as FPS titles (honestly, what's innovative about Wind Waker that wasn't already done in Orcarina of Time-- all I see are better visuals and more gameplay dynamics (small things), not large changes to the overall genre)).

  • Graphics Engines (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steesefactor ( 563098 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:25PM (#5746928)
    One of the most interesting parts of the article was Carmack's speculations about graphics engines. He sees the graphics engines getting to the point where new ones are no longer needed. After dynamic lighting, how much is there left to do besides minor refinements and optimizations? Carmack remarks that graphics engines will eventually only be done by hardcore enthusiasts. Anyone think that he's right?
    • by Steveftoth ( 78419 )
      I think that we've already reached that point. I mean quake III is more then enough to build a killer game. The real problem is the lack of good AI engines. That allow you to build interactive worlds of beings who behave to a certain set of rules.

      How do you build AI? I don't know but there has to be a better way then the current way we have now. Most games don't have good AI.

      For example, look at Zelda:WW, one of the coolest games out this year. Very good graphics, good art, good design. Very fun g
    • "After dynamic lighting, how much is there left to do?"

      Global illumination. My engine is still waiting for faster hardware. Anyone got a PS3 contact? From what I've read, that might do the trick.

    • by metalhed77 ( 250273 ) <andrewvc@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:59PM (#5747225) Homepage
      The physics of games is, and always will be based on fooling the user through tricks. You don't render a box on the molecular level, you make 6 squares and call it a box. The future holds refinement. Defining the mass of a wall maybe. Say instead of a wall simply blackening when a rocket is fired, a chunk of it is blasted out, based on the type of weapon, and to go even farther, we shoot a nailgun at that, and nails are embedded inside the crater.

      Another hurdle to pass is truly lifelike biomechanics, not just in movement, but in reaction. Get shot in the arm? Your arms gets forced backward forcing the rest of your body to do so. Want to run real fast, instantly do a 180 and jump? Maybe with correct modeling the game'll slow you down as you make that turn, and delay the jump.

      Modeling the physics of our world is no small task, and I, frankly think Carmack is thinking too much iside the graphical box he built, and not within the new physical frontier.
      • by NeoSkandranon ( 515696 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:15PM (#5747351)
        Another hurdle to pass is truly lifelike biomechanics, not just in movement, but in reaction. Get shot in the arm? Your arms gets forced backward forcing the rest of your body to do so. Want to run real fast, instantly do a 180 and jump? Maybe with correct modeling the game'll slow you down as you make that turn, and delay the jump.

        You make good points, and those are features i would REALLY like to see in games. But the problem is, that alot of people DONT want to see that---they want to be able to run and strafe and rocket-jump without a modicum of impairment. That's why more people play Quake-style shooters than MOH:AA and Ghost Recon, because they see the movement physics as impairment, not realism
        • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:54PM (#5748382) Journal
          But the problem is, that alot of people [...] see the movement physics as impairment, not realism

          Your point is well taken.

          I think the most interesting thing about more realistic physics is that it has the potential of taking the game out of the designer's hands. The game can provide you the ability to modify terrain, but the player figures out you can use that feature to build a "dam", and then blow up the "dam" to flood your enemy, or use the dam to irrigate your crops more effectively. The designer only has to provide the problem and the simulation, but is freed from providing specific solutions to puzzles.

          Imagine a space flight simulator, where naturally a game designer would not have expert personal knowledge on. However, if the physics is properly simulated, it's not impossible for good players to figure out their own tactics and maneuvers that the designer never even thought of. I'm talking about that idea, applied to the other genres like FPS, RTS, or RPG.

          Basically, the opportunity to play in a world that doesn't even feel "designed", the way a Doom level must be. Many games today play like you're playing against the designer (in absentia), trying to figure out what he was thinking, which I think takes away from an immersive effect.

  • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:26PM (#5746947)
    that is unless Microsoft convinces id to sit on the game until an Xbox version is completed.

    The X thing is basically a PC running a form of you-know-what OS, with a Nvidia graphics processor, that you likely have to program with a well know M$ API the code already works on. How long could it take to get it running on the X-box if it's ready for Windows? Sure, there are differences, but I wouldn't expect any significant changed for an x-box port. Just add some code to let it reload saved games and/or boot Linux and it will be a sure winner.

    • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:41PM (#5747075) Journal
      You're right. Plenty of games have been ported to xbox, or from xbox to PC, and it didn't take years or months to do so.

      The game isnt out because noone can run it. It's that simple. It still looks like it's going to require a $400 video card to be playable. I'm not talking super enhanced 2048x1024 with every bell and whistle on, I'm talking to get 30fps at 800x600 you'll need a GeForceFX or R9700.

      The market for games that require a 300-400 dollar upgrade just ain't there.

      I'm reminded of another FPS from years back (cant think of the name of it, but it was some highly touted Jurassic Park thing) that required a P2, when P2's were brand new and most people still had P200/MMX's. It bombed, because noone could play it, and by the time they had a system to play it on - it was old news.

      The same thing would happen if Doom 3 came out today. I wouldnt be able to play it. By the time I buy a new video card, Doom 3 would be old news, and I'd never buy it. Because lets face it, FPS games are in a 'flavor of the week' scene.

      Perhaps I'm wrong, and they've gotten the engine to scale down to be playable on average systems. But I'm pretty sure that's a major factor in the wait.
    • Slow proc and vid card in the XBOX dude... gotta compensate somehow.
    • Although the XBox is no longer top-of-the-line, it is a stable target. Given hard work, an XBox version could be tweaked until it performs fantastically well. This work would not necessarily apply to any other platform, even though it's PC-based.
  • by Trifthen ( 40989 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:27PM (#5746956) Homepage
    Seriously... This is like the fifth or sixth story from this month's Wired that's been posted to Slashdot. I got it in the mail and read all of these articles weeks ago, and yet they're still slowly rolling in. At this rate, Slashdot will have summarized each Wired article in the current issue individually over the course of the month.

    Can't people just go to Wired and read the articles that interest them?
  • by ralico ( 446325 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:27PM (#5746957) Homepage Journal
    I sometimes get Carmack and Romero confused. When I hear Carmack, I think Daikatana [google.com], and this time thought, "Great, Doom III will never be released. But then I realized, he's not Romero.
  • Yeah, I guess you guys really are just ripping articles from the new monthly of Wired. Jeez, at least do some news or something else we couldn't find on a newsrack in the past two weeks.
  • The article states:

    Today, at a time when few applications stretch the capabilities of a $500 PC, Carmack creates programs that require high-end systems.

    I can do that, just right really bad code. Not hard. I'm not saying this is what Carmack does, but it's hardly a complement to his coding abilities...

    • by Izeickl ( 529058 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:05PM (#5747270) Homepage
      I appreciate what your saying, but at end of the day theres only so much computation low end computers can do, I always feel that /. expects everything to run on that old 386 sitting in the corner because if its properly coded it WILL run at acceptable speeds on it, the better the AI, the better the GFX etc then it will cost in CPU/GPU power and memory. Carmack pushes the current computer boundrys in what he delivers not by writing bad code, but more advanced and feature rich code.
  • A long lasting rendering engine. You mean like RenderMan?

  • by Vegan Pagan ( 251984 ) <[deanas] [at] [earthlink.net]> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:39PM (#5747041)
    How will game companies lure us after graphics become photorealistic? More variety? Better physics or AI? Games for girls and the elderly? Content on demand? More team play? Player-created content? Better sound? Better inputs? More handhelds than just Game Boy?
    • Once eye candy becomes eye nourishment, games almost have to revert to good game design: plots, dynamic and interactive characters and populations (AI), social structures, and real consequences for player actions.

      Even still, "Gaming after Photorealism" only addresses a single sense: sight. We also have very advanced audio realism. Tactile realism is limited because of hardware design & cost. Who will innovate the taste and smell aspects of a game, and when will that happen?

      Full immersion can't hap

  • Powerful enough? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigChigger ( 551094 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:40PM (#5747059)
    Doom III sounds like it will need mega powerful machines to look decent. Will the PIII 700 in the xbox be enough?

  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <teamhasnoiNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:41PM (#5747064) Journal
    Could D3 be made to run on two or more boxes - a beowulf cluster, if you will (I know I'll take a hit for even mentioning that)?

    If this is going to require me to buy new hardware, I'm out for now. However, if I could use *all* my machines to process it, I'm in. Wouldn't it be like running a dedicated server, except single player?

    I have a feeling that D3 on my current hardware would be like playing myst on a 286. Screensavory!

  • There's supposed to be something funny here that points out that Doom III is another in the line of identical games that all ma

  • by pmz ( 462998 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:45PM (#5747118) Homepage
    Will this lead to a shift from coders to "technical directors," as Carmack believes?

    I believe this has already happened. Look at the credits for any recent big game, and you'll see that the number of graphics designers and other artists dominates the number of programmers on the staff. Seeing this has convinced me that the profession of "game programmer" will never be more than a niche.
  • by veredox ( 665953 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @05:53PM (#5747173)
    If John Carmack predicts that game engines might be tweaked in the future, having a longer life span, instead of being coded from scratch, I tend to disagree.

    Even as computer graphics rapidly approach the quality of those we see on the big screen, CG movies are still a long ways from convincing me they are real. Turing said that a good way to test the quality of artificial intelligence would be to see if it could fool a human into thinking it was a real person. The same concept can be applied to computer generated graphics. We haven't really reached the finish line until CG can effectively fool us into thinking we are looking at a photograph.

    As CG in games progresses, software and hardware will need to be increasingly effient (i.e. fast). This almost requires that game engines be written in fairly low level programming languages, ruling out heavy OO design and especially Component Oriented Design [topcodersoftware.com] (which is the strongest candidate for long-life software).

    With each passing year and each passing game, we will be trying harder to achieve the true feel of reality. If engines were component oriented in design, changing one feature such as lighting would not necessarily effect other parts of the engine. In this way it might be possible for a game engine to last more than a few years. However, the fact remains that this is too slow and is impractical for our uses.

    Will we ever reach that finish line, fooling ourselves completely? Probably, but certainly not anytime soon.

  • by mbaranow ( 610086 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:04PM (#5747254)
    Carmack sugests that the only the _rendering_ engine will soon become stable and future improvements will be only incremental.

    This does not mean that engine programmers will be obsolete, relegated to support and optimization or that innovation slows down. Doom III and Quake engines has been optimized for tight, enclosed indoor spaces. There are lot of different possibilities not yet explored.

    Just off the top of my head I can imagine game engine technology spanning a decade into the future:

    - soft shadows or realtime radiosity lighting. This might be not that far off, but a lot of intersting research will be involved on top of current stencil-buffer and projected depth map based techniques.

    - high dynamic range (hdr) light calculation across the entire pipeline, including effects like light bloom and hdr reflections. you start to see some of this in Splinter Cell.

    - real-time, arbitrary resolution, procedurally generated texture maps and generated displacement maps (ex. RenderMan). The previous methods of doing texturing progressed from manually shaded (doom-quake3), to manually colored with normal maps for shading (doom3). The general case would be to use nothing except procedural shaders and geometry to generate all detail before approximated by texture maps.

    - arbitrarily dynamic solid world geometry. Current renering engines work with a heavily pre-processsed visible shell of the world, which can be modified only in special rigid cases. It will take some effort for an engine to deform or destroy arbitrary world geometry. Imagine taking off a chunk of the wall and seing the layers of concrete underneath, then having the building collapse when supports are removed.

    As the last point suggests some time into the future the latest engine might be quite exotic compared to the current ideas. I can imagine a type of voxel based representation with some image based rendering.

    Innovation will never stop.

  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:04PM (#5747256) Homepage Journal
    "...the ultraviolence of Grand Theft Auto III"...

    Ultraviolence in GTA3? What ultraviolence? I wouldn't mind, but they claim it followed Doom.

    GTA3: Simulation of a city.
    Doom: Run around and kill.

    GTA has its moments, but ultraviolent is not the term for it by far.
    • by Treeluvinhippy ( 545814 ) <liquidsorceryNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:24PM (#5747409)
      I don't know maybe the fact that in GTA3 you can

      1)Steal a cab.

      2)Beat the shit out of the cabbie for the hell of it.

      3)Drive around with the cab and do drive-bys with your Uzi.

      4)Pick up and have sex with a prostitute then beat said prostitute's head in with a baseball bat to get back your money.

      Which is the more shocking movie? Resident Evil or Natural Born Killers? Resident Evil has plenty of blood and violence but really is standard fare. On the other hand Natural Born Killers isn't any more bloody , it's just that you or me or Cowboy Neal can go of the deep end and do that stuff.

      Doom maybe about shooting up zombies and demons. However to the best of my knowledge you can't do that in real life(If it was I would be born again real quick).

      There's stuff in GTA3 that you CAN do and does happen in real life. That's why it's shocking and considered ultraviolent(and fun!).

      • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:30PM (#5747449) Homepage Journal
        "2)Beat the shit out of the cabbie for the hell of it."

        Yeah, you can bop him a couple of times until he falls. It's hardly shocking in light of Bugs Bunny catoons that we've all watched for years. It's violent, but it's not ultra violent.

        Ultra violent would be like the first part of the Animatrix where that group of men attacked the female robot, ripping her to pieces.

        I can't believe GTA3 is that misunderstood, considering how popular it is.
        • It's hardly shocking in light of Bugs Bunny catoons that we've all watched for years. It's violent, but it's not ultra violent.

          Face it - GTA3 is disturbingly violent. What's scary here is that you claim you really don't see the difference.

          An anvil falling on a talking rooster and then said rooster getting up and dusting himself off is funny. An old woman being beaten to death with a baseball bat and then falling to the ground surrounded by a growing pool of blood is not funny.

          If you say, "Yes - GTA3 is
          • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday April 17, 2003 @01:47AM (#5749256) Journal
            Uh, but you're the one deciding whether to "beat the old woman to death with a baseball bat".

            You aren't required to do that in GTA3. The game allows you to do lots of things but you don't have to do all of them.

            If _you_decide_ to do violent stuff that disturbs you then you take a large share of the blame. Similarly if you decide to buy a game and play it even though it disturbs you, or let people who might be disturbed by it play it.

            I personally like flying the dodo into the sunrise, do loop the loops. Take a boat to the lighthouse, jump backwards all the way up to the top, etc. Try to push a boat to the other side of the airport (at a certain point an invisible force suddenly shoves the boat back really hard).

            But blowing up stuff is fun too ;).
  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:05PM (#5747264) Homepage Journal
    i started playing doom ii in 1994.

    i never played quake.

    i never played wolfenstein.

    i have, sitting in a row, my p100, my p333, and my pentium 1.5g, representing 1994, 1998, and 2002 upgrades respectively.

    i have mainlined doom ii on all 3 computers, playing it once a month at least, for 10 years.

    i look forward to doom iii mightily! ;-P
  • by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:11PM (#5747314)
    In other news, Carmack has been dethroned as the God of PC Geeks as the dirty Apple (not even with cool BSD based OS) secret from his past comes out:

    "After being thrown into a juvenile home for stealing an Apple II at age 14"

    Still, bonus geek points awarded for stealing a whole computer at a time when most people were blowing cereal whistles in to pay phones.
  • by blackmonday ( 607916 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:33PM (#5747462) Homepage
    According to the Iraqi Information Minister Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf:

    By the glory of Allah, I have been playing Doom III and Duke Nukem Forever, and Allah is good. Do not believe the lies of the infidels, Doom III is available in aisle 7 of the Baghdadi Walmart. Praise Allah, for it is an uncensored version.

    So there you have it.
    • Correction (Score:3, Funny)

      by ehiris ( 214677 )
      "Doom III is available in aisle 7 of the Baghdadi Walmart"

      There are no more Walmarts in Baghdad. They have all been replaced with Targets.
  • by rice_burners_suck ( 243660 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:39PM (#5747494)
    I would usually post some very anti-Microsoft sentiment right about now, but in this particular case, I believe that id is doing the right thing, if only on a matter of principle.

    I mean, what do you want to do? Counteract the practice of releasing for all platforms at the same time by boycotting all industries worldwide? If you expect id to release at different times for different platforms then you probably expect other things... "I mean, what's next, id stops releasing source code to their games for educational purposes?!"

    It makes sense to release a game for all platforms at the same time. How stupid would it be, for example, if The Matrix was released at some theaters first because they had DTS, two weeks later at other theaters because they had THX and a month after that to remaining theaters, which had Dolby Digital... How stupid would it be if the game were made available on platforms X and Y, everybody plays the game and gets sick of it, and then the game is released on platform Z? Nobody would buy it for platform Z.

    Consider this argument the other way around: id releases Doom IV for Windows, XBox, PS2 and whatever other platforms there are out there. But it takes them forever to release the game on Linux. How would you feel then? I think I would feel quite bad. In that case, it would make sense, again, for them to wait before releasing the game until the Linux version is complete. Consider another example in which they wish, also, to release a version for some new computing platform and operating system that sucks and nobody uses, but there is one customer in the entire world who is using that operating system and that customer wants to spend the $39.95 (USD) to buy the game for his platform. Suppose, also, that the entire design ideology employed in the design of this computer platform is completely, utterly and in all other ways different from anything we've ever seen, and the only compiler available for this platform is an INTERCAL compiler. In that case, id should wait until a C++ compiler can be coded in INTERCAL and the game is ported over to the new platform before releasing for all other platforms. In other words, the entire world should be made to wait because we need to be fair to that ONE person. We are a bunch of bleeding heart liberals, after all.

  • by emarkp ( 67813 ) <slashdot@@@roadq...com> on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @06:45PM (#5747552) Journal
    From the article
    In 1991, coding a game called Hovertank, Carmack faced a challenge no programmer had yet tackled: how to get a computer to quickly render a three-dimensional world from a first-person perspective. .... It was the original first-person shooter.
    Um, I don't think so. The first first-person perspective game I remember is BattleZone, published in 1983. The first first-person shooter I recall is Xybots (or maybe you'd call it 3rd person), published in 1987.

    Id has been a phenomemnon, but let's give credit where it's due.

    • Heck, in addition to that, they even forgot the id title "Wolfenstein 3D" in the chronology... And what about things that were functionally close? Do flight simulators count? I do agree that id kicks arse, but I used to hate it when anything 3D was called a "Doom clone". Carmack is just great at perfecting methodologies - thats why his engines stand out.
    • by dmaxwell ( 43234 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:44PM (#5748027)
      This game must have been written by some real men then:

      TunnelRunner Screenshots [atariage.com]

      Now these guys did "cheat" a little in that the cartridge had a little bit of extra ram in it. But hey!, we're talking about a first person game on a 2600 that isn't a low detail flying game. Tunnel Runner came out in '83 as well. The object of the game was to find the key that would let you go to the next maze. Three differently colored pac-man like Zots chased you and got in the way. Each Zot had it's own theme music that varied in intensity as you got closer to it. It made for some nice tension. Much like Adventure, they varied in speed/intelligence. Of course, the Red one was the most dreaded of all. It also had a random teleporter and the ability go through a door to the previous level. Not too shabby at all.
    • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:23PM (#5748234)
      Um, I don't think so. The first first-person perspective game I remember is BattleZone, published in 1983. The first first-person shooter I recall is Xybots (or maybe you'd call it 3rd person), published in 1987.

      First, Battlezone is from 1980. There were 1st person games in the 1970s, specifically a few games for the PLATO system.
  • by Ride-My-Rocket ( 96935 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @08:26PM (#5747948) Homepage
    First of all, let's understand one thing: id Software does NOT need the cash. The company has a history of hits -- they create the technology next-generation games are inspired by, if not based directly on. They're one of the few companies that can spurn the Microsoft money machine and not regret it, because they've been more successful marching to their own tune than just following the easy money.

    Second, Carmack has said he's getting tired of making games. But he's not looking to call it quits and retire: he's looking at ROCKETRY, for goodness sake! So here we have John Carmack, one of the most technically saavy minds of our time -- he's a geek's geek, he posts on Slashdot, he doesn't give two shytes about the fame that people would love to heap upon him. Why, then, should the gaming public begrudge him the seed money that could very well open up a new door in rocketry?

    Sure, it'll push back Doom 3's release date -- we're still waiting for Duke Nukem Forever, aren't we? Give id Software its due -- let them have the cash, let Carmack make the millions he richly deserves. Because I want to see what Carmack can do when he really applies himself full-time to a REAL-WORLD endeavor.

    Yes, the X-Box will have another instant hit if Doom 3 comes out. Is that what some people are hung up on -- MS pulling a Bungie and buying their way to success? Not that it's worked so far -- they have a handful of AAA titles (Halo being the only one I've ever played), and the PS2 still outpaces it in sales.
  • by writertype ( 541679 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @09:16PM (#5748189)
    It seems like a number of games these days look really purty, even though the number of games that actually use the latest hardware or API seems woefully small. It's certainly true that Carmack's one of the key people pushing the industry forward, and that's an important point.

    On the other hand, even the prettiest games sucks donkey balls if the AI sucks, or the physics are clunky. I like the suggestion made by another poster--why not code a real deformable physics engine, or come up with a decent AI package for enemies?

    On a tangential note, I would be most eager to find out some add-on company bought some balls, some software engineers, some patents and/or R&D, and some cheap, cool X86 or RISC processors and said, OK, we're building an AI/physics daughtercard, and the industry tools to make it work. Oh, and that next-gen cards would be hybrid AI/physics/GPU systems. With PCI Express, we might just have the bandwidth to make it work.
    • Wooo yah .. I hope Carmac reads this post .. or ones like it. I'm a big fan of AI improvement in games (even though it would make my gaming experience considerably harder.. considering I suck... then again.. with good AI maybe I'd be better at adapting instead of just getting crushed by the million enemies that good twitch gamers can deal with easily. Me not good twitch gamer).

      Anyways.. AI/physics add-in card. my lord that would be wonderful. I wanna work on it. Sign me up. This is the kinda stuff tha
  • by Sunlighter ( 177996 ) on Wednesday April 16, 2003 @11:25PM (#5748734)

    I know this is off-topic somewhat, but I wonder if the guys at id would consider using BitTorrent [bitconjurer.org] to distribute the official downloadable Doom III Shareware when it comes out. That would be much better than offering it by mere FTP. (FTP sites seem to just jam up when big games like that come out, and FileShack [fileshack.com] is going to have long waits, at least for freeloaders.) BitTorrent is cool.

    (I'm assuming of course that they do come out with a shareware version. As popular as the guys at id are, they could probably skip it, and they know it. Like most gamers, I will buy the game anyway, right after I buy a new 4 GHz Pentium 5. Heh. But if I have a shareware version to run on my old computer, I might decide that I can put up with the low framerate for a while, and buy the full game before I buy a new computer. So they get their money sooner. -- On the other hand, I might decide the framerate is too low, and then I have to wait until I buy a new computer. But at least I'll know.)

    So, guys at id, are you listening? How 'bout it?

  • by BCGlorfindel ( 256775 ) <<klassenk> <at> <brandonu.ca>> on Thursday April 17, 2003 @10:31AM (#5751161) Journal
    To everyone complaining about a lack of AI and physics advances in games. In particular, everyone ragging on Carmack because you think his comments ignore physics and ai enhancements to a 3d engine. Read what Carmack says, he states that the rendering engine will soon be stable and not rewritten for a long time. He is not saying major enhancements to 3d engines will not still be developed, he says major rendering enhancements need not be developed. He is basically observing what your complaining about, future enhancements will be less graphical and more on the simulation(ai/physics) aspects of a 3d engine.

    With vertex and pixel shaders, the rendering engine can be written reasonably capable of lasting many years while still looking up to date. This leaves the other aspects of a 3d game engine as areas where that effort will be pushed. Carmack recognizes that people like himself who primarily push the rendering portion of engines, will soon work themselves out of a job. That doesn't mean other aspects of engine design are being ignored by him, he's just aware of his focus on graphics/renderer enhancements over the years.

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein