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Games Entertainment

Ask John Carmack About Quake - or Anything Else 605

John Carmack is, of course, a GameGod[tm] so famous that even stuffy, all-business Forbes.com recently noticed him and Id Software. He's been interviewed about 42 gazillion times - but not by you. So go ahead. One question per post please, and since we expect a huge response, please try not to whine too loudly if our exotic blend of moderation, editorial judiciousness, and random dart-throwing doesn't pop your question(s) to the top o' the heap, which only has room for 10 - 15 no matter how many are submitted. Answers will be posted Friday, as usual, and I'm sure they'll be great, because John's a great guy!
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Ask John Carmack About Quake - or Anything Else

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  • by Inazuma ( 22966 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:05AM (#1623008) Homepage
    I know that you and id are doing simultaneous development of Q3 for Windows, Mac and Linux. Which of those is your favorite OS to use, and which to program for?
  • If something strange happened in Redmond, and DirectX was for sale for $30 for Linux, BeOS and every OS under the sun, would it be possible to write games on it, that would require minimal porting effort ? Why did you get into the games business ?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd just like to know his thoughts on Unreal Tournament.
  • My $6million question:

    Is there life after gaming? And if so, what would it be for you?
  • I'm wondering how much(if any) time you're going to put into optimizing G4s for AltiVec. You said earlier that AltiVec wouldn't give much of a speedup, but other Mac developers have said it would.

    There's even a little mini-game where reflective balls float around. It runs for 1000 frames and then gives you the avg FPS. Supposedly the G4 version is much(maybe 2x) faster.

    Would it not be possible to optimize the G4 that much since you want to really have only one code base?

  • by DanJose52 ( 55815 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:10AM (#1623014)
    How'd you start, personally (I mean on the inside, like emotionally and morally), and how has Id software changed you? for better or worse? and what do you think of the way that the software/IS industry is headed? (greediness for example)

  • Do you expect it to generate serious additional income, or did you do just for the heck of it? Out of hate towards Microsoft?-)
  • I believe he uses NextStep, but I could be wrong.
  • I'm wondering how much(if any) time you're going to put into optimizing Quake 3 for G4/AltiVec. You said earlier that AltiVec wouldn't give much of a speedup, but other Mac developers have said it would.

    There's even a little mini-game where reflective balls float around. It runs for 1000 frames and then gives you the avg FPS. Supposedly the G4 version is much(maybe 2x) faster.

    Would it not be possible to optimize the G4 that much since you want to really have only one code base?


    Shoulda hit "preview" the first time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Do you play the games you make? The only reason I ask is because my friends and I think the reason that q3 isn't out yet is that all you guys at Id are to busy playing it
  • by moonboy ( 2512 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:12AM (#1623019) Homepage
    I once read in Wired, an article, that said you have an incredible headstart on everyone else for making "virtual worlds" on the Internet using your engine from the Quake games. Do you have any intention of doing this? Has anyone approached you about it? It would seem like a fantastic use of the technology with online gaming being so popular. Entire worlds online could be created virtually and very life-like with many different purposes.


    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein
  • Have you given thought to after Q3?
  • by EEEthan ( 41747 ) <emh26@columbiaNETBSD.edu minus bsd> on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:13AM (#1623021) Homepage
    Do you see game programming/creating as an art, and do you consider yourself an artist, or a technician(or something else, of course)?
  • He used to used NextStep for Quake1 dev, then graduated to NT. :)
  • by justin_saunders ( 99661 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:13AM (#1623023) Homepage

    Many people consider you to be one of the best programmers in the game/graphics scene, based on your ability to keep pushing the limits of current PC hardware.

    I was wondering what measures you use to gauge the skill of a programmer, and who, if anyone, you look up to and consider to be a "great" programmer.


  • by wiggles ( 30088 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:13AM (#1623025)
    As a Linux enthusiast and a gamer, I can honestly say that playing my favourite video games on Linux is a LOT better than trying to screw around with DirectSex in Windoze. My question is this:

    1) When are we going to see widespread adoption of Linux as a gaming platform?

    2) What should the community focus on in order to bring about this change more rapidly? Should we write gaming engines, API's, contribute to MESA, or just lake history take its course?

    3) What is the best way to encourage game companies that Linux development is a sound financial decision? Or isn't it right now?

    4) Public adoption of Linux has been increasing rapidly over the past year, but I don't see a lot of games coming out of large development houses, except of course for ID and Loki, and right now I don't consider Loki a large development house. Why is this?

    Thanks for your time, John, and keep cranking out the killer games!
  • What is your favorite game of all time ?
  • by kgcurrie ( 21794 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:14AM (#1623029)

    The Keen games just don't play well with the new high speed video cards or dosemu. Wolf and Doom have had there source code released; any chance we can get the source for Keen to do a Linux port? Please?
  • by Axxia ( 20279 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:15AM (#1623032)
    I'm interested in why you feel Id made it to the top, where so many other companies like this fail,and what people getting into the business should do to capture that success?

    Was it dedicted people, the way you used venture funding, the shear talent you have in the group, the product (Doom) being so unique at the time...

  • by Kintanon ( 65528 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:15AM (#1623033) Homepage Journal
    As we all know by now JC has chosen to remove the Grappling hook from the default Q3:Arena installation. This move has prompted a lot of flameing and praise from the community.

    I'd like to know this, did you play with the Grapple yourself before making your decision or did you take advice/opinions from other people who played with and without it then make a decision based off of that?

    Secondly, Do you feel that ID is moving farther away from making the games and more towards making and licensing the engines? Is this the image you've had for the company or is it just a trend that kind of happened? Are you happy with this direction?

    Assuming Q3:A isn't the last game you make will the next game be another FPS? Or do you see ID branching into other game types? Are there already plans for another game?

    What has your relationship with MODmakers for Q3:A been like? Most of us have already heard about the freeze on MOD making for the tests, which is understandable since it IS a Test. Has this hurt your relationship with some of the more reputable MOD makers?

    That's all I can think of right now, I may post again later if I can come up with something else...

  • Knowing that you have pretty much dominated the world in creating virual reality (Quake1-3 just feel more real than the competition) what other areas of high technology interest you? (Genetic research, aerospace, nano-tech, really fast cars :), etc.)
  • by laertes ( 4218 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:18AM (#1623039) Homepage
    With all the talk about violent video games causing the killing sprees in schools, offices and on the streets, I have a question for you.

    The game industry's usual response to such allegations is to tone down the graphical violence. Parental controlls can allow you to limit the amout of blood, gibs, etc.

    I think that displaying the visual artifacts of violence is to treat it more seriously, and removing them won't help as much as some other methods.

    Do you think such content controlls are effective? I think that a more mature story and cast would be more effective in carrying a non violent message that a bunch of 'clean' deaths would be. Of course feel free to disagree with me, as I know ID has been a villian in many murders.
  • by Rombuu ( 22914 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:18AM (#1623041)
    Hey John,

    Are you guys thinking of doing a something besides first person shooters? id mades some pretty good platform games once upon a time, any thoughts of trying to go back to something like that for variety? Does it get boring just reinventing the wheel with prettier graphics each time?
  • How much of the codebase is common across all platforms? Do you primarily design for one platform, and then effectively port to the rest, or do you start off with portability in mind, and use common codebase for all platforms?
  • by include ( 250035 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:22AM (#1623047)
    Hi John

    I was wondering if you are thinking much nowdays about persistant worlds for your games, it seems you are nearing the grail of visual realism, but what about the things that go on behind the scenes. NPC's are obvious, will they 'get on with their lives' when you aren't interacting ( gibbing! ) with them? Social groups, natural occurances, things that make our world a rich and complicated one. Sometimes its nice to have a blas t in what seems like a realistic Wild West town facade, but I'm really hanging out for complex worlds that surprise the shit out of me when I do something different.

    cheers and thanks for the cool stuff you've done so far

    "Your gonna get up and burn an X in your head" - Some movie via Rob Zombie

    NOTE: The caps in the subject are sure to annoy pedants, aren't they?
  • by RudeDude ( 672 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:23AM (#1623049) Homepage Journal
    I read in a previous interview (some gaming mag) that you believe 3D in games will be moving to Voxel based rendering. While I love this idea because it's a more 'pure' 3D solution I imagine there are some major difficulties in moving to this type of setup. I'm curious, what are your thoughts on possible problems? and some solutions? (For example how do you create/paint/manipulate a 3D voxel model?)
    Don Rude - AKA - RudeDude
  • Now that Q3Test has proven to just be a warmed over version of Quake 2 death match with better graphics, what are you planning to do to make first person shooters interesting again? Any thoughts about adding team play like Team Fortress Classic or Tribes?
  • by Tet ( 2721 ) <slashdot@astradyn[ ]o.uk ['e.c' in gap]> on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:24AM (#1623051) Homepage Journal
    Are you ever tempted to get a car that isn't a Ferrari (e.g., Lamborghini, Maclaren, etc.)? Which is your favourite of the cars you own (or have owned)?
  • by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@nOspam.ajs.com> on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:24AM (#1623052) Homepage Journal
    I read a sort-of-analysis that you wrote way back comparing DirectX 3D handling to Open GL (with Open GL being far preferable to you). Do you feel that the tools that you and others will need to create the next generation of games exist now under Linux or other Open Source operating systems, or is that still a long way off? What would you recommend that we developers and developer wannabes dedicate our time to?

    On an almost related point... Doom was the beginning of 3D, first-person shooters, and they have lived quite happilly in the gaming market for some time. Other games have proven to be stable formats: sports, strategy and/or tactics simulations (e.g. Myth), multi-player build-and-conquer type games (e.g. Starcraft). What do you envision being the next set of technical hurldes that will lead to what sort of new game formats?
  • by memoryhole ( 3233 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:24AM (#1623053) Homepage
    What is your opinion of Nervana's Psi Visualization engine (the analog, post-script-type 3D environment description language, described at www.nervana.com)? What possibilities does it have for 3D gaming, and do you intend to do anything with it?
  • Your games are entertaining. You have nice cars. Lots of people idolize you. But...

    Are you happy with your life? Do you sleep well at night? Do you have close friends? Are you content?

  • It's very good to see curved surface representations making it in to the gaming industry. It looks like Quake 3 will be leading the pack with its support for Bezier patches.

    I'm a huge fan of subdivision surface representations. In my mind, they're much nicer than tensor product surfaces because they are topologically unconstrained and can have natural constraints on for sharpened edges in your geometry.

    Do you see subdivision surfaces making it in to the gaming industry soon? It seems like it would be a big win for character animation at least. Would a major game need to use subdivision surfaces before we start to see direct hardware support for them? What do you think the future is for curved surfaces in games?

  • by thebrit ( 28113 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:27AM (#1623058)
    Just a quickie, do you still have any contact with Romero, either socially or professionally ?

    Is it possible ID may join Ion Storm for a future project together , or are the 'artistic' differences between you too great ?


  • Recently someone posted about their experience in determining the file structure of the Doom WADfile. How did you feel when people were discovering how to modify Doom, from building new levels, to changing the executable itself(dhacked) originally without any information from id? In your opinion, is the modding community a valuable place for creating future game developers?

    And, what did you think of how Nitrozac portrayed you in After Y2K? ;)
  • Doom was the beginning of 3D, first-person shooters

    Huh? So I didn't really spend ages playing Wolfenstein 3D before Doom came out, then? That said, Doom was by far the better game, and not just because of the better graphics or game engine, either. This is borne out by the fact that I'm still playing Doom today, while I haven't touched Wolfenstein in years...

  • There has been many questions asking where you think 3D graphics will go, but here it another angle at it:

    Where would you like 3D graphics to go?
    - Voxels?
    - Raytracing/radiocity? (If ever possible live.)
    - ...or, should we just stick with the textured triangle until we have more than one per pixel?

  • by William Wallace ( 18863 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:34AM (#1623070)
    Hi John,

    Sometimes, after reading your .plan files, I
    wonder what you could do if you applied your
    intelligence, programming skills, and sheer effort
    towards something else revolutionary... You've
    often said that you like working on your games
    because they give you a chance to work on many
    different areas (networking, 3D graphics,
    compression, etc).

    My question is, if you ever gave up games, or if
    you were to do something else entirely, what would
    it be? Although I love your games, I'd give them
    up in an instant without complaint if I knew you
    were going to work on something revolutionary
    outside the gaming arena.

  • by jflynn ( 61543 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:34AM (#1623071)
    I'm curious if you learned of Binary Space Partitioning before or after DOOM was conceived as a game? For example, were you aware of it when Wolfenstein was written? Did you consider and reject other rendering methods for DOOM?
  • by Ted V ( 67691 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:35AM (#1623074) Homepage
    A few months ago I remember you were interested in the problem of computer vision, citing it was "the opposite of computer graphics." Did you ever look into this? If so, did your research have a direct impact on the Q3 artificial intelligence?

    In what ways could computer vision research benefeit future computer graphics development?

  • by Obsequious ( 28966 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:36AM (#1623075) Homepage
    You have occasionally made changes to your development efforts to accomodate non-Intel platforms; for example, making sure the latest Quake code is 64-bit clean so that it will run correctly on Alphas.

    Non-Wintel markets are clearly not going to produce as much revenue as Wintel, so some people would say you're wasting time and money. What is your answer to this, and what importance do you see in multi-OS and multi-architecture development?
  • by R. Anthony ( 97761 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:36AM (#1623076)
    I'm curious as to why you selected OpenGL for Quake 3 Arena. Is it because Glide is restricted to 3dfx cards and you decided to appeal the the increasing number of gamers who've chosen nVidia cards over 3dfx?

    What are your thoughts on nVidia's new card NV10, redubed GeForce 256? Specificially the low, 120 MHz rating? Will the low fill rate that will result from this sub-standard speed be a barrier to the next generation 3D games running at high resolutions? Or will there be some workaround for this potential problem?

    Finally, do you predict that OpenGL will entirely replace Glide in the future, despite the fact that certain game companies own stock in 3dfx, and have a vested interest in keeping this API alive?

  • by jflynn ( 61543 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:39AM (#1623078)
    Many people think that the extreme sucessfulness and longevity of DOOM and Quake was partly due to the internet communities that sprung up around them, to discuss playing them and write new levels for them.

    How important do you feel a viable gaming community is to the success of a new game today?
  • by Temporal ( 96070 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:41AM (#1623081) Journal
    What is your opinion on the viability of commercial open source games or game engines? Is it possible that some day id software will create an open source game engine? Or would you consider building off of an open source game egine rather than starting from scratch when the Quake codebase is deemed obscelete? (not to suggest that my project would be worthy of such a thing. :)
    -Kenton Varda
  • by phray01 ( 52771 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:43AM (#1623084)
    Here it is, the question everyone wants to know, but are all to afraid to ask. (please don't hurt me, im just the messenger)

    boxers or briefs??

    (or panties or thongs or nothing, or whatever else. its all good here)
  • As someone stated earlier in this thread, you used to use NeXTStep (cap?) as your development OS until you needed OpenGL, then you switched to Windows NT.

    I guess I have several questions then.
    1. What are your favorite features of the UI of NeXTStep?

    2. Do you like anything better about Windows NT than NeXTStep besides the fact that you can use OpenGL on NT?

    3. For both NeXTStep and Windows NT, which "features" do you most wish were either not present or worked radically different than they did? (_Are_ there any such features on NeXTStep?)

    4. What features would Linux need for you to switch to using it over NT?
  • by DerMarlboro ( 64469 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:48AM (#1623093)
    You just recently GPLed Doom. Thanks a million for that. Do you have plans to GPL any of your other titles?
  • by JF ( 18696 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:49AM (#1623096)
    I'm sure there are alot of people out there who look up to you, and basically want to know how you got where you are.

    How did you do it, meaning studies, previous jobs, encounter with ultra-intelligent beings from outer space?
  • 1. What advances are needed to made realtime 3d look like real life?

    2. Will the accelerator wars ever slow down?

    3. Do you anticipate there ever being a time when we'll use one 3d engine?

    4. Do you think hardware acceleration has a dark side? For example, the hardware acceleration of the GeForce 256 assumes you're playing with polygons, not voxels. Could the availability of certain kinds of acceleration influence people to write bad tech because bad tech would work faster than good tech?
  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:50AM (#1623099)

    I, obviously, am not Carmack. However, I think we (linux users) need to ask ourself, why would a game company develop a game exclusively for linux, or develop for Linux first, when the Windoze gaming market is: a) definetly there b) definetly much larger? The only reason I can think of, is if the game has such nerd appeal that the Linux has more paying customers.... Or if the game is substandard by Windows standards (eg: doesn't have that 'look and feel' that windoze users seem to want).

    I'm sure there are API and performance issues as well, but until the market is there, why risk it? Also another possible reason, I think, is that many of these game companies are becoming increasingly wed to Microsoft APIs (eg: DirectX, Direct3D...). I'm sure Microsoft does this intentionally to make it that much harder to port games to _any_ OS, regardless of how much better the other APIs may be. (though a better API would help).

    Just my two cents. It'd be nice to hear what Carmack has to say about this.

  • Knowing that you are (deeply) involved with this project, I was wondering how well it is doing? What percentage of Windows OpenGL speed are you able to get in Quake 3a? Any work on Matrox GLX and DRI for XFree86?

    Q3demo is just pure magic.
  • 3d gaming is obviously a specialty of yours. All the way back to Wolf3d what has driven the 3d gaming technology has been a combination between hardware technology and innovative programming. With technology advancing at a fast pace and you having a broad understanding of 3d programming issues you are in a very select position of having a good idea of what may happen for the future.

    What do you see as the next major advance in 3d gaming? Something like Doom or Quake was to the 3d gaming scene when they came out? Lately it seems that all we do is get prettier graphics and cooler weapons with each new engine. What do you see as being the next advance that has an impact like those games?
  • by jonathanclark ( 29656 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:52AM (#1623103) Homepage
    What are your theories on what makes a game "fun" (multi-player vs single player)?
  • Is there going to be any effort to put in some sort of anti-piracy stuff into Q3? A ask this because I know quite a few people who interperate Q2's only requiring the cd for single player as a go-ahead to install Q2 on as many friends' machines as possible strictly for multiplayer. Obviously, this attitude isn't good for a multiplayer-only game. As much as I want to see all those warez monkeys actually spend some money for a change, i'd hate to see Q3 have some sort of copy protection juggling act that needs a cd in the drive when nothing's being loaded from it.
  • by mpav ( 101167 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:54AM (#1623106) Homepage
    This is a break from the usual questions from this group, but I thought it would be interesting to know.. You have a couple of exotic sports cars, one being a 1000 horsepower/750 ft-lbs of torque (insane!) ferrari, and I was wondering which one you generally drive to work?
  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:56AM (#1623108)

    Though it unlikely that games will ever be free (ala beer), since so much effort goes into them from all angles (not just code, but also art, music, design etc), but that does not necessarily preclude open source game engines.

    Admittedly (and I don't mean this as a slam against you) game engines today do suffer from many of the same problems that Open Source activists attack in Operative systems and other software: bugs, instability and sometimes even bloat and vaporware.

    Do you think that Open Source will play a part in the future of game development?

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • by Lando ( 9348 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <hsals+2odnal>> on Monday October 11, 1999 @07:57AM (#1623111) Homepage Journal
    I've been following your exploits, grin, for the last couple of years. One of the comments that benefited me the most was your suggestiong to read the Graphics Programming Blackbook by Micheal Abrash(sp?). Could you give a list of books that you consider excellent source material for someone that is looking and doing high end programming. Both graphical and non-graphical.

    Kal Kolberg
    aka Lando
  • As long as you're being picky, Wolf3d and Doom weren't 3D :) But Quake 1 was.

    Well, if you're going to be that picky, then Quake 1 wasn't 3D, but Descent was. As far as I'm concered, Wolf3D, Doom, Quake and Descent are *all* 3D, just different sorts. Wolfenstein was a 3D game with 2D levels. Doom added the ability to go up and down, but not to look up and down. Quake (and indeed, Heretic before it) added that, but Descent was the first mainstream game to have 6DOF (i.e., full 3D movement).

  • I've got lots of friends who work in the games industry, and they're all in huge development teams (typically 35 or more people) with all the useless (IMHO) management junk hanging on. Do you think id's refusal to go down this route (last I heard, you had 13 employees) has helped in your success? From what I've seen, you've been able to consistently keep quality high and deliver an end product without resorting to having 7 artists, 6 musicians, 3 game concept designers and countless hordes of coders. Basically, do you think staying small has helped ship a decent product in a sensible timeframe?
  • by Skip666Kent ( 4128 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @08:13AM (#1623133)
    The nature (not the quality) of Id games changed after Romero (left/was ousted/whatever) from the company. Without going into detail, I laud some changes and bemoan the loss of others.

    My challenge to you is this:

    Say something positive (as in 'kind', 'upbeat', 'flattering', etc.,) about John Romero's contribution(s) to the astounding success of the early Id games, up to and including Quake, and tell us what, if anything, you miss since his departure.

    If you respond with something clever ("He made great coffee") or something bitter ("He never made coffee") I will surely chuckle with the rest or nod in solemn understanding, but will consider the challenge a failure on your part. If you manage to say something positive and insightful about his technical/design/whatever contributions, without retracting it or qualifying it, I will touch my head to the floor in respect and say "Wow. There goes a Man."

    If you truly believe that he contributed nothing, then by all means say so and we'll call it a draw.

    In any case, I will continue to be an avid admirer and follower of your efforts to continuously raise the bar of Sheer Amazingness in Computer Gaming Quality(TM).
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @08:24AM (#1623146)

    1) I often take a look at your .plan file. I am constantly amazed at all of the various areas of computing you have knowledge on. For example, besides being a graphics god, you recently started discussing dynamic interpreters and code generation.

    You obviously understand the ins and outs of the varous platforms you develop on, and their development tools. You're fixing bugs and working with networking issues. How do you find the time to learn all of this stuff to a useful level? Do you hire consultants to help you out for initial advice and direction?

    You're the head programmer: how do you even find time to code so much when you have project management responsibilities? I find that taking on the leadership of a team can reduce coding time to 20% or less of my schdule. I find that I can't work on anything on the critical path. I find that that I am more useful if I keep myself free of coding responsibilities so that I can help others on the team and prototype high-risk or unknown tasks. Finally, on top of all this, how do you find the time for a personal life outside work?

    2) Are you going to be like Bill Gates and just keep going, even though you're already extremely successful? lol! Really though, what keeps you motivated and drives you to work so hard for so long, especially now that you've earnt enough to retire, travel the world, do something else, etc?

    3) I guess that this stems from 1)... how much project management and team leadership do you have to do? You have a small team of developers, do you have somebody to handle all of that for you?
  • Mr. Carmack -
    1) You were once quoted as saying something to the effect that "Being well-rounded is overrated." I've always been interested in learning more as to how and why you have that perspective. Could you elaborate?
    2) I understand that your specialization and ability to make the most of your area-specific knowledge has taken you to the heights of the game industry (and kept you there for years), but is your espousal of specialization mutually exclusive with the fact that id supports multiple platforms? In other words, given your statement, one would think id might concentrate solely on one platform and "mine" it for everything possible -- yet in reality you support other OSs than that predominate Windows (thanks for doing this, btw). Does that run counter to your original notion?
    Thanks for your time.
    -Lil' Billy
  • Although I must praise the q3 network code (much as any quake*), I have noticed a terrible problem with weapons in a moderate lag environment. On a decent server over a 56k modem, weapon response time is terrible. The client side weapon effects are fine, but environment impact (bullet marks, rocket blasts, rail shots, etc...) is delayed a *lot*. The shotgun may be the most noticeable, but the fact is railgun firing needs to be deadly fast in order to be effective. Is this a known problem, or something that I should just accept?
    "In the flesh, on the phone and in your account.... You shouldn't have called you know."
  • by Keith Russell ( 4440 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @08:42AM (#1623165) Journal
    You'd have to live in a deep, dark cave to not hear the buzz over Sony PlayStation2. I've seen reports that studios are complaining that PSX2 is so powerful, they don't really know how to take advantage of it all. It seems like whining to me, since I come from the world of PCs with their ever-expanding memory/hard drive space. Do you think game studios can fall that far behind hardware, are these studios thinking too short-term, or are they just not accustomed to having that much power at their disposal? Do you think that PSX2, and Dreamcast and Nintendo "Dolphin," for that matter, have reached parity with PCs, from a developer's standpoint?

    Keith Russell
    OS != Religion
  • hey...you've been reading Snow Crash haven't you? :)

    Seriously...i'm not entirely sure people WANT virtual worlds on the Internet. I've played with MS-Comic Chat and it's just not that great. ;-)

  • John, what are your thoughts and feelings were about Bungie Software's new game Halo? The demos I saw on: Apple's site looked incredible and supposedly were realtime vidcaps of the actual game.

    Those WERE actual game shots. 2 of my friends (The people behind www.dailyimac.com) were at the demo showing and got to see it on the huge screen as the people were playing it. They said it was AMAZING. According to them they were running on G3 350s and didn't skip at all. I'd say when Halo does come out it will be serious competition for Q3, and when Bungie gets it out for Win32 I'm grabbing a copy to go right beside Q3:A and UT.

  • If it's not imprudent, considering the lawsuit, would you share your thoughts on the politics of gun control?
  • Do you think that the gaming industry could ever embrace free/open source software, in terms of the engine? A friend of mine has oft claimed that eventually game engines will become open-source projects, and games will be distinguished by the data that is created for them. What do you think?

    --- Dirtside
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You've been responsible for the pushing the limits of first person 3d on the PC in many ways, but this is only video. What are your thoughts on 3d positional audio and their place in games like Quake1/2/3? I'm referring to general positional stuff like plain stereo and specifically to API's like Aureal's A3D. Do you think it's integral to the ultimate FPS experience? A diversion that isn't as important as visual reality?

    Bart "My account was the wrong size so I had to send it back" Grantham
  • by insidious ( 29545 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @09:05AM (#1623204) Homepage
    I SERIOUSLY think this is a MAJOR asset to the game. I WISH you would seriously think about implementing it. This would take TEAM games to the next level. I've always known id for being very innovative, but if you release Q3 without voice communication, I feel the innovation will stop here. I'll be honest, i'll still buy it without voice communication. However, I really really really really really wish you would put it in. It would be so much fun to trash talk. It makes me think of the movie "White Men Can't Jump."

    "It's hard, so hard, to make you look so bad."

    And if you're a player that feels you don't want to hear a bunch of people screaming into a mic while you play, you can just goto the option menu and turn voice communication off. There's no reason why the rest of us should do without.

    "dude, I only have 5 rockets."
    "ok, what impulse is it again?"

  • I have quite a few monitors and graphics cards. Is there a possibility of being able to use two or three monitors at once in the future? I'd love to see someone firing at me in my peripheral vision (hear it too with surround sound). That would make for a more engrossing experience.
    If it's a hardware limitation issue, would SMP help with this?

    Thanks for your time

  • I'm a long-time OS/2 user and would like to know:

    1. What exactly happened that the OS/2 version of DOOM was never finished?
    2. Now that: - hmm - "ol type=a" doesn't work :-(
      1. OS/2 will have hardware OpenGL support(via the Sci-Tech drivers)
      2. OpenGL apps port extremely easily
      3. and Id is behind OpenGL big time
      what is the possiblity(In light of the response to 1) of seeing future products ported to OS/2?

    I also run Linux and BeOS(my Thinkpad 1452 is set to Quad-Boot 98[for DVD movies], OS/2, BeOS, and Linux), but I prefer to use OS/2.

  • John, your games are amoung the most popular pieces of pirated software ever. What I find intriguing however is why you never attempted to really fight piracy? While many companies have spend a great deal of money on copy protection, serial numbers, online authentication and countless other anti-piracy schemes, ID continues to do nothing to stop pirates. Even Quake 3 which is basically (all bots aside) an online-only game, why not try something similar to what sierra did with halflife? Is it because to date every single game ever produced has been cracked and pirated? Will there ever been a way to combat this? What should future software developers do?
  • by chainsaw1 ( 89967 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @09:12AM (#1623219)
    I believe that it may be a bit rude to ask directly about another product, however I would like to know what possibilities that you believe exist on dynamically stored map/landscape that changes as the game progresses (ex: a rocket blasts a piece of rock from a celing and the rubble crushes someone else and remains a barrier while providing a hole in the celing to the sky and level of the map above). I would also like to know how hard it would be to implement somthing along these lines with respect to programming time and any potential hardware limitations of the current market. Additionally there was a facinating article about a graphics technology that was invented/developing in Austrailia on slashdot a couple days ago that involved 3D imaging [newsunlimited.co.uk] I was wondering what you though of this technology from a viability and implementation (if viable) prospective and how it could change both the hardware and software markets for products based on visualization?
  • by Is0t0pe ( 74825 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @09:15AM (#1623220)
    I just wanted to help out by giving the answers to some previously answered questions. :) I read through some of the more highly-moderated questions for things that I, through various Carmack interviews, already knew. I would hate for /. to send him some questions that have been asked of him a million times. Hopefully others will follow suit, and the moderators will notice and not mark these questions up. You just recently GPLed Doom. Thanks a million for that. Do you have plans to GPL any of your other titles? When the last Quake licensee finishes their title (*cough* ION Storm), Carmack has stated he will release the source of Quake. I'm not certain if he'll GPL it or not, but the source will be available. Are you guys thinking of doing a something besides first person shooters? Assuming Q3:A isn't the last game you make will the next game be another FPS? Or do you see ID branching into other game types? Are there already plans for another game? Carmack and others at id (read: Mr. Devine) have stated that the next game probably will not be an FPS (first-person shooter), but there will be a next game from all signs.
    "My works are like water. The works of the great masters is like wine, but everybody drinks water."
  • ..and why is he a game god?

    I was never any good at this whole celebrity thing, even in this bailiwick.


  • There are already several free voice comm add ons for Quake2, I imagine they will come out for Quake3 almost immediately after the release.
    One can be found here: www.frag.com/qvoice

    There are others out as well, but I can't find all of the URLs right now.

  • As much fun as it is, the frenetic white-guy-kills-everything-in-site theme is getting old. Any plans to turn your optimized vr combat engine skills towards something else, say a full-on flying superhere simulator or rabid bunny wars or something along those lines?
  • by brennan73_ ( 101225 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @09:47AM (#1623256)
    On Oct. 8, a thread on /. [slashdot.org] addressed a new graphics engine, that supposedly left "everyone from the designers at Nintendo to programmers at Apple" in shock. It eschews traditional polygon/texture-based rendering in favor of what the /. post called "build[ing] it up from a molecular level, with apparently amazing results." Do you see computer/game graphics straying from the polygon-based model we see today? If so, what do you see replacing it? -brennan

  • I'm not agame developer. But I am familiar with MS tactics. Obviously having to change APIs makes any porting effort significantly tougher. I doubt MS did this to make a quality product, or to improve the windows experience for the sake of improving it. They do it to make it that much harder for developers and users to switch. Thus I doubt the quality is all that good. It may be sufficient, it may be a good idea. Though from what little I've heard from other developers, and Carmack's .plan (I think), its not a very good option.

    Even if it is a good today. Do you really think MS is going to keep improving on it? Another product such as *GL* can be better in the future, but because the developer base already has so much committed to MS APIs, the advantages of switching aren't sufficient to merit an actual switch. MS will continue to get away with "good enough" (aka: mediocre), with just enough development or hype to prevent an exodus. Meanwhile precious dollars and resources that could have been spent on other efforts never make it...

    No matter what you personally feel about MS's ethics, it can't be good in the long run to have one company with all the balls in their court. If for no other reason; you kill the threat of up and coming players developing their "skills", and thus nothing to keep MS on their toes.
  • by JediLuke ( 57867 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @09:50AM (#1623260) Homepage
    Hey John,
    Ok there is a holy war in the quake world of what is better...using the keyboard and a 3/2 button mouse or a trackball? what type of setup do you use?

  • There are already several free voice comm add ons for Quake2, I imagine they will come out for Quake3 almost immediately after the release.
    One can be found here: www.frag.com/qvoice

    There are others out as well, but I can't find all of the URLs right now.


    MY bad guys, the link is gone now... I can't find another place that has QVoice... I know there are add ons for voice comm out there, I just can't find them again.Sorry.

  • Someone moderate this up, this is the one I was looking for when I found the broken link!!
    Most excellent program.

  • Hi,

    what do you think would be the best device to
    play ego-shooters like Quake? Keyboard just
    can't be the solution, kbd+mouse is dumb be-
    cause there's never enough space on the mouse

    Maybe keyboard plus trackball? Or do you have
    ideas for a special input device that would fit
    exactly to the needs of your ego-shooters?
  • by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @10:33AM (#1623303) Homepage Journal

    How did you feel when you learned that the Quake 1 source had leaked and that people were using it to create unauthorized ports for previously unsupported platforms? Outraged? Interested? Amused? Litigous?

  • Do you believe the computer gaming industry will continue on it's current path, or will console videogame system eventually equal and/or overtake computer gaming sales? Consoles are becoming more PC like and their power is close to computers. Of course there will always be a market for computer games, but do you see it growing or shrinking?
  • John,

    What are your future plans for your F50? Is there any future tuning and tweaking to be done? Also, are you interested in the new F360 Modena and seeing what it can do if tweaked a bit more?

    (Note to /. Please post this question! We need some question-diversity here. Besides, John's a renowned Ferrari man!)



  • Tempting, but this would be very bad. Think about it. While you are online doing interesting things, the script kiddies are making sure that they are the most well-armed, trigger-happy morons in cyberspace. You'd be hard pressed to even touch them before they paint the wall with you. What's more, they are just the sort of people to go around shooting random bystanders just for the hell of it, so you'd probably never even see them coming. The problem is that anything a well-adjusted human being can do to get the better of a luser/AC/script kiddie, the kiddie can learn to do better, because they have nothing better to do. Thus, the only way of dealing with them is to ignore them.

    Weapons have no place in a virtual world, except in specially designated places, precisely because of what the haX0rs would do with them.

  • *Sigh I don't know how to do Tabs, and my spaces get stripped. 8*(

    *What interesting effects have Brian and Michael's departures affect past and current development? During a turnover time at id Software, you made posts about trying to hold on to Michael Abrash, expressing how you enjoy "bouncing ideas off of him" and how losing "one of the best assembly programmers in the world" was going to "suck" (I thought that was the world you used...). While some other posts originating from id postulated that remainents(sp) of the team were transformed into a focused machine, Abrashe's departure likely had an impact, as does the recent loss of Brian Hook and his developer relations duties.

    *How will you fill the gap left by Abrash and Brian's departure? Could you comment on the following choices without offending anyone?

    In one of Paul Steed's realaudio interviews, he mentions your high praise of Corinne Yu, how she's "one of the smartest people [you've] ever met", through quoting what Brian Hook overheard you say. (www.allgames.com) When asked who you'd like to get on board, after your reassurance that there are many qualified brilliant people in the industry you'd want, you went on to say that the Build engine creator was one target due to his experience as engine , editor, and level creator. He was off limits because he's back finishing school while 3dRealms has a hold of Corinne after her departure from Ion Storm.

    *Did you ever try to get those two characters? Or try to get Abrash to return? Did you hold back from contacting Corinne because she was an employee of a previous workmate, and engine licenser, John Romero?

    *Have you ever had second thoughs about your small team approach? Numerous times, you emphasize preference for small development teams, in both interviews and .plan updates expressing agreement with books like "_The_Mythical_Man_Month_" which analyzes problems with large development teams.

    *But, like programs that have parts ideal for parallelization, aren't there parts of game design that would benefit from larger teams, without all the problems (ie level design research/photography; not engine coding?)


  • What do you have to say to those who criticize Q3A for being just a tired, albeit beautiful, rehash of Quake 1 and Quake 2? Do you feel that with games like Unreal Tournament coming out, with tons of new weapons, powerups, even moves (like built in strafe-jump), people are going to want to go back to playing the the same old, shotgun, same old rocket launcher, same old lightning gun, and same old quad?

    Going hand in hand with this, what made you choose to try to balance gameplay versus stick in lots of cool new stuff? To be sure, Q3A is almost perfectly balanced when I play it - no more respawn instafrags, a rocket launcher without too much splash or speed, even a decent spawn weapon. However, I can't help but feel a little bored when playing Quake now - it's more challenging and fair, but not as exciting as firing five rockets at a time in UT or egonning nineteen people in a row in Half-Life. Do you think that, given a choice, people will choose balance over excitement?
  • Hi John,
    I would like to know who you see as a threat to you as the #1 game programmer and to id as the #1 company in FPS's? Any comments on Tim Sweeney(Unreal/Unreal Tournament fame) who has made amazing progress in this genre very quickly. Any others?
  • I'm just curious what kind of math background you have. I know that it takes some prety deep calculus and algebra to pull off all of the lighting effects in your games and I wanted to know how you went about aquiring these skills (college, random text books, etc).
  • Can you see a time when different providers offer different portions of what me might now term a game, using interchangeable components?

    Networking and distributed object technologies seem to make this feasible. Quake might have only been simple rules for movement and scoring for a game played in an existing online environment.

    Where would this technology come from? Have you heard of suitable standards efforts under way?

  • by SEGV ( 1677 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @03:42PM (#1623450) Homepage
    Please, include all books you'd recommend, even non-graphical. There's more to games programming (at least, beyond Quake) than graphics.

    Programming Pearls? The Art of Computer Programming? The Mythical Man-Month?

    What's the complete contents of your bookshelf!!??
  • Any chance that we will see another Commander Keen in the future? Now that was a great game!
  • What is your favorite secret hack (or optimisation)? By this I don't mean 'getting root on w2k boxes' or anything like that: 2 1/2D (Wolfenstein) is a great hack, adding the ability to look up or down with a raycasting engine is a great hack etc. A hack would be some detail related to doing a seemingly impossible task in a very clever and insightful way, and odds are you have some pet hacks in q3test (for instance, one known example is running almost everything through one key OpenGL call which can then be optimised).
    So what is your favorite pet hack that you haven't yet revealed to the world? :)
  • by MoNsTeR ( 4403 ) on Monday October 11, 1999 @04:12PM (#1623459)
    As man id-ites know, you developed Quake on NeXTStep and then ported it to DOS (then Windows and Linux). Since Quake2, however, you've been developing natively on Windows NT, which I remember you lamenting at one point because it made you a bit lazy in your programming habits...
    Anyway, what I'm wondering is, "what would it take for Linux to become your preferred development platform?"
    Obviously, better 3D hardware support is paramount, but what other issues are there? Would you need a feature-full, cohesive IDE? Better support for the vector instruction sets (MMX, 3DNow!, SSE)? A simpler GUI?
    At the time of Quake's development, Linux as a game (development) platform would have seemed pretty silly, but with Quake[123], Kingpin, and Unreal Tournament making Linux appearances, as well as Loki's ports of Civ:CTP and Railroad Tycoon, Linux-as-game-platform is starting to seem quite viable...

  • John,

    Since the early days of Quake, and with nearly every FPS since, I have always wondered "why isn't the model that you see the same as what everyone else sees?". Or more simply "why can't you see your feet in games?".
    I figured it had something to do with poly counts - you want more detail on your weapon than what you want to see on every other player. But in these days of GPU's (geforce) and MRM (multi-res mesh - see TF2), poly counts are going to be increasing by a huge amount anyway.

    What I would ultimately like to see is firstly, my own feet, and secondly, the same animations on other players that they see on themselves, eg reloading sequences. Is this ever going to happen?

  • ...that you guys at id don't have enough creativity and are primarily a platform company. You spend all the time on the engine, and not enough time making cool virtual worlds, and cool characters and stuff. Basically he said that anyone who wants an engine can just buy yours.

    How do you respond to that? Do you forsee a time when id will concentrate more on making unique games than on just building the next cool engine? Do you see building first-person games that are more like RPGs with more involved in strategy and puzzle solving, ala Heretic only with things like NPCs and more role-playing and interaction than "attack-and-slash."?

  • John,

    What are the major ramifications for the gaming industry going to be when XFree86 4.0 comes out based on the information we have now?

    nVidia promises full support and acceleration of their cards. 3dfx seems to be coming along ok. Mandrake and other excelent programmers have been working to make the Matrox cards the best supported cards out there.

    Will the speedup of the free X server lead to a lot of improvement in the area of 3D acceleration or will the speedup remain confined to desktop applications? What of the cooperation between game companies, id, Loki, etc, and the Mesa/SGI team. What do these players bring to the table to help us all enjoy a fully functional, fast, reliable X environment.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
    Best regards,
    Jon Webb

    P.S. Maybe you could hookup with American Magee again for some new influx of level design :). Again, great work John. Keep it up.
  • I'd really like to know your personal motivation for coming up with (and programming) some of the most popular games in PC history. Is it the kind of inspiration you can keep up for another ten years or do you think you'll eventually move on to other forms of work while maybe keeping a hobby interest in your games?

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