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Carmack On the Wii U and PS Vita 140

Gamespot spoke at length with id Software's John Carmack at E3 about upcoming FPS RAGE (which is now only a few months away from release), as well as his thoughts on the new console offerings revealed by Nintendo and Sony. He seems optimistic about the Wii U, and rather less so about the Vita. "But you know the technology level on [the Wii U] brings it up to parity with the other consoles, which is nice for us. Previously, the Wii was not a target. Id Tech 5 was just not suitable for the Wii at all. ... now that we're looking at another platform that is eminently suitable for the technology, I'm sure we're going to try and bring it up on there." On the other hand, Carmack and Tim Willits both expressed concerns about whether Nintendo users were the right demographic for id games. Of the Vita, he said, "I wouldn't want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world. I think that they've picked as eminently a suitable hardware spec as they could for that. ... But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they're shipping with on there. And a year or two after that, it's going to look pretty pokey."
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Carmack On the Wii U and PS Vita

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  • eminently (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by cheeks5965 ( 1682996 )
    i do not think that word means what you think it means
  • Now take your security holes anywhere you go!

  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    You know the thing about the Vita... I think I would have been really really excited about it, but man I sure am soured on Sony right now.

    This may sound a little counter-intuitive, but I wish Sony would license a bunch of MAME ROMs and create a competitor to the Wii store. I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

    I'm just babbling, but man, I can't believe this machine was unveiled and all I

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stormwatch ( 703920 )

      I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

      Then... buy a CRT monitor?

    • I've played MAME on an OLED device before and... you know, there's something about each pixel emitting light... it's like you're actually using a CRT again.

      What makes you say that? Most CRTs had worse contrast ratio and a worse colour gamut than any midrange LCD on the market, and these two points are what makes the OLED screen better than LCD. What am I missing that makes you compare the fantastic OLED to the crap from the past?

      I have no desire to ever see a CRT again, but man I love OLEDs.

      • CRTs have a warm fuzziness that smoothed over the lo-res, high-contrast display inputs and made them look washed-out like 70s TV/photography. You can emulate that to some extent on digital displays, but...

        Also, I realise that this would have little to do with OLED similarities, except perhaps by association.

      • by Toonol ( 1057698 )
        I like LCDs for a number of reasons, but not picture quality. A nice CRT looks much better than a nice LCD, whether for TV or computing purposes.

        CRTs were not phased out because of the quality of their picture. That hasn't yet been improved on. They were phased out because they were big, expensive, and clunky.
        • You need to look at some higher end LCDs. Try a nice IPS display with a wide gamut, even backlight distribution and built in lookup tables. The likes of NEC and Eizo make them, I think HP make a few as well. You'll never look back.

          There was no CRT on the market that could match the modern high-end LCD in every aspect except resolution, and the latter only because of this stupid fetish with "HD" resolutions. Unfortunately what I haven't been able to find is a truly high res LCD that also has the qualities li

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I own a DS (and don't have plans to buy a 3DS) but I hardly use it anymore because I rarely find myself away from a PC or TV when I feel like gaming. However, there are the infrequent and brief moments not long enough to justify carrying a separate device where I do try to play a game on my phone. Except, every game I've tried besides the simple puzzle/strategy game had absolutely atrocious controls. I truly don't understand the hype behind the future of gaming on touchscreen phones. How can you play a
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:16AM (#36397530)

      I've done quite a bit of playing on just about any portable system you can think of and, in my opinion, the difference is mainly about what types of games you really want to play. I'd rather play Ridge Racer on my 3DS and I'd rather play Back to the Future on my iPad. I actually even prefer BTTF on the iPad vs. the way superior PC version simply because I like to lay down on the couch while I'm playing.

      There's a lot of blah blah blah about iPhones etc killing Nintndo's market, but I'm really not sold on that idea for exactly the reasons you've mentioned. I do feel, though, that Nintendo should better embrace the on-line store idea. Changing cartridges is really becoming a nuisance.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I second the notion about playing games on the couch. Which is why I sold my high end PC on craigslist and shelled out the extra bit of money for a laptop with the highest end mobile GPU that was currently available, despite the premium. I find that I have the best of both worlds, I'm on the couch in comfort in front of the tv (usually off unless it's Adult Swim) just like a console player and instead I'm PC gaming. Sure my graphics card isn't upgradeable and it doesn't exactly square up with the very la
    • by Tei ( 520358 )

      Some games:
      - DungeonRaid
      - Sentinel 3
      - Tiny Tower
      - geoDefense

      The problem with phone games is that almost all games are aimed at the casuals market. The "core gamers" have no way to find the good games, that are lost in a sea of generic crap for casuals. This also make so people that could have build a game with deep strategy/etc.. create a simpler game for casuals. Is more a information problem than anything else. IF a single website manage to focus on publiciting this t

    • by Shark ( 78448 )

      I wish there were controls to turn off his ability to say 'on there'. That said, it could make a pretty evil drinking game.

      Note that I do not really mean to pick on that verbal tick of his. But I don't think I can help getting annoyed with it anymore than he can help saying it.

    • by tgibbs ( 83782 )

      Some game designs work really well with touch--things like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope. It gives a real immediacy of interaction. Most traditional game designs are a poor fit, though, because complex controls are really awkward when the view is also the control pad.

      I think what Carmack is seeing is the versatility of the Nintendo U design. The controller can be a private strategy screen for competitive games (e.g. Football plays). It can be a zoom sniper scope for FPS. It can be an always available inventory

    • Some games work well with touch controls. Turn based games work fine. Touch your unit to select, move the screen, then touch the grid you want to move them too. Point and click adventure games work quite well too. I agree it's not suitable for all types of game, but for many genres it makes perfect sense.
    • Accelerometers in portables are horrific for gaming because the screen moves too. It's an impoverished control scheme plain and simple. Touchscreens are fine for Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, but most traditional game formats aren't suited to a touchscreen interface. Simulation games fall down the worst. The instant response and feedback of a button or an analog controller can't be beat.

      Boil it down further, touchscreens are limited by the fact your fingers are in the way of the view port.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Smartphones aren't good for gaming for one simple reason: the controls suck. Aside from the Xperia Play, I've only seen one other smartphone that might *sort of* work for gaming and that's the LG Optimus Q with its qwerty keyboard and built in trackball.

    • Smartphones aren't good for gaming for one simple reason: the controls suck.

      +1 for this.

    • by crossmr ( 957846 )

      There are some game styles for which it's okay, but mostly no.. they're terrible. I do game on my iphone, but it's more about convenience and boredom than preference. You know there are 3rd party companies making dock devices for the iphone, a Korean company here makes a DMB receiver that you can plug in to receive TV service in various countries.
      I heard there is a GPS device you can get that goes around your iphone. Why doesn't some company make a wrapper than has a D-pad and 4 buttons on it. Devs could ma

      • Why doesn't some company make a wrapper than has a D-pad and 4 buttons on it. Devs could make to it as an alternative input, it would be huge. []

        • by crossmr ( 957846 )

          it's not made for general use. They need to make something that's actually supported and usable.
          it's also a bit of an overkill on shape. I was thinking of something that just extended off the end, something simpler. This is more of a luxury model.

      • by tgibbs ( 83782 )

        These are available, but such add-ons are never a big success, because they never achieve enough market penetration to get developers to design games that really take advantage of them. Much of the appeal of a phone is that it's so easy to carry that it's always with you; most people are not going to want to carry around a peripheral as well

        • by crossmr ( 957846 )

          That depends on the market. Here in Korea people have no issues carrying around the antenna for their DMB phones to attach when they want to watch TV on the train or something like that. You might not want to take it with you all the time, but that's fine. It would work if it could be supported generically. e.g. the D-PAD could be given a variable in the game, so the device knows to take over for it, same with up to 4 buttons. It could be a trivial change for developers.
          basically all they would add would be

          • by tgibbs ( 83782 )

            Could be? Undoubtedly. But with history as guide, I can confidently predict that it won't be. Such peripherals never achieve more than minor market penetration. And game development projects are invariably time and money constrained, so a feature like this is competing for development effort with features that appeal to a broader market segment.

      • by westyvw ( 653833 )

        But would an add-on make game devs add that functionality? I have played games using a Wii Controller sideways connected with bluetooth on the iphone and that works well (if you can prop the phone up of course), so its technically possible.

        • by crossmr ( 957846 )

          I think as long as it's simple enough it would. If integration was trivial, and it should be, then there would be no reason not to add it. Especially if it was supported on non-jailbroken phones.

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      It's a huge problem. Finger games like Angry Birds are okay. Anything requiring a controller or shooting or responsiveness is bloody awful. I downloaded some kind of Geometry Wars clone for my Android phone. The game was great but it was virtually unplayable because the controls were gimped by the format. The game used two circles on the screen to represent thumbsticks but within 60 seconds you'd find your fingers sticking to the phone and your ship became virtually uncontrollable. It also rules out any kin
      • "So until smart phones get their act together I think there will be scope for the likes of the Vita & 3DS."

        The 3DS will do fine but the Vita will flop, as has all recent portable game systems released by Sony. Their market now plays games on smartphones while the market for the 3DS are usually too young for expensive smartphones and people will buy it for the innovative 3D.

        Smartphone gaming is the future. Apparently you guys have a bit of a problem with touchscreens but hundreds of millions of i []
        • It comes down to this: new game came out, you can either buy $200 portable system and pay $40 for the game or buy a $200 iOS device that will get a newer revision three times before the next portable gaming system comes out and download it to your iOS device for $10. Guess what most people will do?

          Fixed for accuracy.

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )

          The 3DS will do fine but the Vita will flop, as has all recent portable game systems released by Sony. Their market now plays games on smartphones while the market for the 3DS are usually too young for expensive smartphones and people will buy it for the innovative 3D.

          Well I've just said why phones suck for games, at least the kind traditional players want to play.

          As for the 3DS's "innovative" 3D, it certainly hasn't helped sales which are falling faster than a lead balloon at the moment. Not that the 3D adds much to the experience except headaches which may explain why many people play with it disable or at its minimal setting. Stupid gimmicks only get you so far, it's games that count. If the 3DS doesn't start getting a flow of decent games it will falter and fail.

    • i play solitare on my phone and angry birds on the xoom, but that's it.

      touch screen sucks for almost everything else. ever tried an FPS on a touch screen ? it's painfull.

      now, the xperia play is the right idea done by the wrong company. if it was from LG, motorola, samsung, i'd might consider it. from sony ? definetly no.

      now, if only nintendo would put a baseband radio on the 3DS...

    • Smartphones aren't good for gaming for one simple reason: the controls suck

      So that totally explains why nobody plays Angry Birds.

  • Lead. (Score:3, Informative)

    by headkase ( 533448 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:03AM (#36397490)
    Carmack used to lead the 3D Engine sector around. A bit of history, Quake [], is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game. And it was Carmack. Now, Epic Games went on to win the "licensing" war and that is why practically every game today has a bit of Unreal Engine 3 in it. Carmack however, is still one of the smartest cookies around: he has the ability to keep on pumping out revolution after revolution. And now that Zenimax has folded id Software into it: Carmack doesn't have to worry about those pesky "business" aspects [] anymore and can just concentrate on where he shines: code.
    • by zonker ( 1158 )

      Only problem is I think Carmack is more interested in rocket engines than video games these days. Honestly, I can't blame him.

    • by imroy ( 755 )

      A bit of history, Quake, is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game.

      What, no Wolfenstein or Doom? They weren't entirely 3D, but they were what started iD Software on the road to success. Oh, and IIRC, the first truely 3D game was Descent [].

      • Re:Lead. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:20AM (#36397544) Homepage

        I distinctly remember playing 3D games well before VGA or even IBM PC was invented. They were mostly a few lines of wireframe 3D, but 3D nonetheless.

        • Elite. (Score:5, Informative)

          by headkase ( 533448 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @03:37AM (#36397598)
          You are correct, and the most notable one I can think of (one I actually played on my Commodore 64) is: Elite []. That game was so far ahead of it's time that computers in it's era simply could not do it justice. It's eerily similar to games like Eve Online [] today.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Elite has been mentioned. However, there was another game - Driller - which wasn't wireframe.

      • Heheh, sorry: I never played Decent so it's conveniently missing in my memory: first-person shooter for the win! :D Wolf and Doom were previous to Quake but Quake was first with true 3D that's why I mentioned it! Remember, first playing Quake everyone still used the keyboard-only controls inherited from Wolf and Doom: to have mouselook you had to create an "autoexec.cfg" file with the line "+mouselook" to have it persistent. In the game options there was no option to have mouselook permanently on, that c
    • by hkmwbz ( 531650 )
      It's too bad that Carmack seems to think that tablets and phones are goig to replace dedicated gaming consoles. Dedicated consoles will always be around, because for a lot of games you actually need those dedicated gaming controls. Touchscreen gaming, frankly, sucks most of the time.
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        Tables and phones will replace dedicated gaming when they do the stuff dedicated gaming does. Just as PDA's are mostly dead because phones do everything the PDA did plus extra, If a tablet can be plugged into a TV, use game pads, and play games that are fun, they will replace under the TV consoles. For phones to replace hand held consoles, all that is needed is proper controls. Google is implementing the APIs in their newest version of Android, so we can expect either phones to be made with proper contro
        • Table[t]s and phones will replace dedicated gaming when they do the stuff dedicated gaming does

          Phones never will, the screen is just too small. Phones will run phone games. Tablets will eventually supersede dedicated gaming rigs numerically, but never in raw throughput. Simple laws of physics dictate that a bigger box with a bigger power draw equals more and better graphics. High end gaming will remain the province of the standalone computer rig.

          What I question in the coming generation is the continued viability of dedicated consoles. Consoles will be squeezed between the tablet form factor, which is

        • by hkmwbz ( 531650 )
          Why haven't tablets and phones replaced dedicated gaming devices already, then? Games have been around for ages. The DS was still selling like crazy, well after the arrival of smartphones capable of running games?

          It's like PC vs. console: You would assume that the PC would kill game consoles. They didn't. PCs are general-purpose computers. Smartphones and tablets are portable general-purpose computers. They don't have what it takes.

          Tablets will not come with game pads as a standard accessory, so games w

      • by dafing ( 753481 )
        Just like dedicated mainframes, right?

        Times change, IBM ruled the world, MS came in and just RULED with an iron grip, then Apple reclaimed its spot with iMacs, MacBook Pros...iPods, iPhones, iPads... but as much as I love Apple, they also will falter, always happens, a new near monopoly will arise.

        IBM and Apple each "limped along", IBM is a COLOSSAL company still, but who even knows what an "IBM compatible" is these days? Nobody outside tech. IBM doesnt matter anymore, they dont play the game, much
    • by Stele ( 9443 )

      A bit of history, Quake [], is the grand-daddy that started it all: first true-3D Game

      What about Ultima Underworld? 4 years before Quake, and it was fully 3D, except for monsters/NPCs which were sprites. But so were the monsters in System Shock, and nobody would argue that's not a 3D game.

    • Carmack used to lead the 3D Engine sector around

      He still does, most definitely. However he also appears to have staged a creeping takeover of creative control at ID, and he just isn't artistically creative. The result is the same game written over and over with engine upgrades. I have no doubt that Rage will prove to be Doom with cars. I don't know about you, but there is a limit to my fascination with monsters jumping at my face. And the hard core fragfest segment is not the market driver it used to be. I really have to ask why John cares about hitting

  • The PS Vita is basically a 5 inch tablet in a gaming friendly frame given it's touch abilities there no technical reason for Sony not to have an app market beyond the basic ps store for games

  • An on-rails shooter in a vaguely Mad-Max style world, with a colour palette of grey and brown, and a small selection of identikit, cookie-cutter mooks as enemies. They all have the same faces, the same hairstyles, the same body-armour, like they were stamped out of cardboard, and they all act in the exact same fashion. They're all combat robots, who give up only on death and are 100% combat-effective until that point. None of them will run away after being wounded, none of them will try to crawl away aft
    • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @04:22AM (#36397756) Homepage Journal
      Seeing Rage demoed back to back with Fallout 3 freshly in our minds, Borderlands having been released three months prior and New Vegas looking shiny and new at E3, there was a bit of buyer apathy when we saw YAPAOWG (yet another post-apocolyptic open-world game).

      Rage simply exists to fund the engine it's built around. It's nice when you develop a new engine for the next 3-5 years worth of games, and can pay for all of it's development in a single title. Everything after that is pure profit.

      Bethesda has iDtech, EA has Frostbite (and others), and then there's always Crytech and Unreal, but it's nice to have an inhouse engine for use with your other titles.
    • by Elbereth ( 58257 ) on Friday June 10, 2011 @05:05AM (#36397928) Journal

      As opposed to what? The latest Bioware RPG, where you have three dialogue options (Angelic, Satanic, and Snarky), act as a glorified FedEx courier, and use extreme violence to solve every problem you face? Or maybe you prefer the latest indie puzzle game, which is a direct ripoff of either Tetris or Sokoban (apparently the only two puzzle games to ever exist, although there are rumors of a third archetype called "breakout"). Or maybe you prefer Civilization X, which is just like Civilization IX, except it has Morocco as a playable civilization this time! Or there's always SimCity, where you build a city. Again. Just like the rest of the SimCity games. Let's not even get into racing games, which haven't evolved since the very first generation.

      I like Bioware, Firaxis, and Maxis as much as the next guy, but... seriously... what are expecting? You can tear down any genre, and in those genres there are always going to be the complicated/innovative and the streamlined/derivative games. id makes mindless, uncomplicated action games, where you kill everything that moves. Don't like that? Don't play it. Some of us like that kind of gameplay. It sounds like you're more demanding, and that's fine. I love complex, deep games, but when I play an FPS, I generally just want to blow shit up and/or shoot people in the face. I don't want to deal with any complexity beyond that, when I'm playing an FPS, because it just draws time away from blowing shit up... and, frankly, the idea of someone begging for his life or limping around sounds disturbing to me. I like shooting at pixels, not humans. Anyway, why would I want wide open worlds to explore, enemies that beg for their life or limp, or AI when I'm going to be playing multiplayer deathmatches 99% of the time? Scratch that. 100% of the time. It sounds to me like you want a wholly different genre... some kind of console game, where you play solo, solve puzzles, and explore the world. That sounds boring as fuck to me, but, then again, I like FPS games.

      • I agree with some of your post, but this line is ridiculous:

        Let's not even get into racing games, which haven't evolved since the very first generation.

        Bullshit. There has been as much (or as little, as you seem to think) innovation in that genre as in any other. There are racing sims, rally sims, arcade racers, combat racers, sandbox racers and further sub-genres of each one, with almost every vehicle imaginable represented at some point. Every aspect of racing games has evolved greatly over the history of racing games; the physics, the graphics, the interaction with other cars and the environmen

        • by Elbereth ( 58257 )

          Yeah, that's pretty much my point. I was being sarcastic and uncharitably narrow-minded when I said racing games hadn't evolved since the very first generation. Obviously, they have, but in ways that non-fans would discount, since the essential concept remains the same. Crashes are modelled on real-world physics now, instead of everyone driving bumper cars made of flubber, for example. Trackmania combined the unlikely genres of racing and platform games. Car Wars (the old 8 bit video game, not the tabl

    • by MrHanky ( 141717 )

      On-rails? You do realise you're talking about the iPhone version of the game, right? Which is innovative simply for bringing that kind of graphics to a mobile platform.

    • Why is this rated interesting? Or being modded up at all?

      The parent post couldn't be further from interesting or considered close to a rational thought.
      Tons of assumptions, false claims, and ignorance abound.
      1. It's not on rails.
      2. It seems the parent hasn't even seen video of the gameplay. (considering characters react to where you shoot them in realistic ways)
      3. Having not played the game the parent has already written it off as similar to every other FPS.
      4. It seems the parent thinks Carmack is the game

      • by tixxit ( 1107127 )
        Carmack demo'd a version of Rage running on an iPhone that was shooter on rails. I think he is somehow confusing a tech demo showing what the engine could do on a phone (which WAS impressive) with the game they are developing.
      • 1 - yeah, quick comment was incorrect. True, it's not on-rails like Time Crisis, or HotD, but it is on rails like so many other shooters in that there is a set path, and a single objective, and you don't get to do anything else until you go do what they want you to do in the way they want you to do it. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is particularly egregious in this regard, as it gives the illusion of a huge, open world, but one step off the defined path and you're 5 seconds from insta-death.

        2 - I did wat
    • by FlynnMP3 ( 33498 )

      *stands up tentatively*
      "Hi, my name is Mike and I'm a disenfranchised video gamer."
      [rest of room, which is packed] "Hi Mike."

      I've played my share of FPS and deathmatch multiplayer. It was super fun at the time, but I was never good enough to be competitive at it. The general attitude of the players now is not something I want to associate with. I only want to have fun, they seem to want to lock horns and piss in each other's faces to establish some kind of online social order of dominance. The third per

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Vita will do fine. Smart phones are largely ghettoed off to puzzle games because they never have the tools needed to interface with the machine like a gamer would want.

  • Perhaps someone can set me straight, I've watched a few videos of Rage and it does not seem to be a "rail-shooter" at all. The player looked like he was free to move about in the x-y-z dimensions untethered. Am I missing something?
    • Perhaps you mean the iPhone version of: Rage []?

      That one is a "on-rails" shooter as the iPhone compared to a PC is a limited device. But, the upcoming full-release for the PC and consoles is a full not-rails game.
    • Some people are confusing it with the iPhone version which is on rails and was released a few months back.

  • Absolutely right about Nintendo not marketing to a cohesive demographic. On one hand, the graphics will be significantly better, which will appeal mostly to "hardcore" gamers, but on the other, they have a bulky, expensive controller which is the most un-ergonomic piece of crap I can think of, appealing more to trendy demographics and families seeking a more interactive approach to casual gaming. Considering the recent /. thread regarding the average gamer age being 38 (I personally think it's in the twenti
  • "As well as... his [Carmack's] thoughts on the new console offerings revealed by Nintendo and Sony"

    GS: Have you had any chance to look at the Wii U at all?

    JC: ... No ...

    GS: Speaking of touch screens, did you get a chance to look at the PlayStation Vita at all?

    JC: No...
  • I was thinking of getting a Galaxy Wifi 5.0 as a portable internet/app/gaming/media device. (Smartphones/contracts too expensive IMO).

    So when I saw the Vita specs and price I was quite pleasantly surprised.

    It is amazing HW for the price.

    But having something that is locked down pretty much defeats the purpose so I will go for the inferior device that I can run anything on.

    I just need some kind of controller attachment like the [] .

    Or I need the Vita to be more open. I think I will have a

  • I wouldn't want to be the executive making the decision to launch a new portable gaming machine in the post-smartphone world... But of course, by the time they actually ship, there may be smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power as what they're shipping with on there.

    Y'know, I hear people say that a lot. They wouldn't dream of buying a PSP when they could just use their phone instead. But there's a huge difference.

    I've spent some time with the likes of Angry Birds, etc (mainstream games that would be worth a damn) on an iPhone, and the touch screen is well-suited for that. But for other games that try to be platformers with virtual on-screen joypads and action buttons, it just doesn't work well. I need to have real buttons. The PS Vita has a set of physical buttons beca

  • "smartphones or these tablets with twice as much power"

    But smartphones come with monthly subscription fees. I'd feel better about letting a child play with a Nintendo DS than my smartphone.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll