Disagreement with publisher led to John Carmack's departure from id Software

Although programmer John Carmack is famous for his work on some of the most technologically advanced games of the past few decades, it appears to have been a growing lack of interest in this same field that ultimately led to his departure from id Software after 22 years.

A recent interview with USA Today revealed it was primarily Carmack's interest in the virtual reality and the unwillingness of id's publisher to embrace such technology that resulted in the split.

As both the chief technological officer at Oculus VR and an employee at id, Carmack had hoped that publisher ZeniMax would agree to allow upcoming games such as "Wolfenstein: The New Order" and "Doom 4" to be tailored for the Oculus Rift Headset. Unfortunately for id, ZeniMax had other plans.

"When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract," Carmack said.

Carmack, however, was in no hurry to leave id. "I would have been content probably staying there working with the people and technology that I know and the work we were doing," he added.

Although he describes leaving id as "bittersweet," his new project appears to be a source of creative stimulation for the programmer. When it comes to games "we have all the performance we ever dreamed about and then some," Carmack said, but he also noted that he believes VR has the potential to be as revolutionary as the transition from 2D to 3D gaming.

Source: USA Today via Techspotimage via OculusVR

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Man id software brings back some cool memories. My first online multiplayer experience was with Doom for Win 95 on a 14400 dial up modem. Fun times indeed.

Stupid short-sighted ZeniMax Media. Serves them right, and they'll probably descend into obscurity before long.

You know, RAGE had some great old school gun fights while strafing action in it. Too bad they were trying so hard to do something "different". It could have been a pretty good game if they had stuck to the old formula...

Too many of the tacked on gameplay aspects really dragged it down for me (driving, running around talking to people). The unlimited health thing was also annoyingly a "me too" feature that followed everything else that's out there. There is one boss fight, for example, where even on the hardest difficulty it is damn near impossible to die. You auto heal to 100% between boss rocket shots. Sad.

After Id Tech 3, no one really licensed Id game engines. Not sure if the pricing had anything to do with it but I know Unreal practically gave the thing away free for non commercial use. This got tons of people to play around with it. This was a great model because tons of people got to play around with it before investing tens of thousands of dollars on it. Plus, Id never made a Direct X render path for it while Unreal (and a lot of other engines) offered both Direct X and OGL. I think these two factors were the nail in the coffin for Id Tech.

Q3A was their last revolutionary game engine. Unreal had almost caught up by that time. Their newer ones look fine for the times but the games ID has been making feel dated because they lack the polish that a lot of modern big name games have.

babyHacker said,
Q3A was their last revolutionary game engine. Unreal had almost caught up by that time. Their newer ones look fine for the times but the games ID has been making feel dated because they lack the polish that a lot of modern big name games have.

I wonder if they have comparable budgets or not. Everything technical being equal, the bigger budget means more artists to work on the graphics, animation, etc. A $10 million game won't look as good as a $50 million game, even if using the same engine.

Personally, I wonder why is seemed to lose interest in engine licensing? Too many resources needed? Arguably, Epic is a middleware provider that sometimes makes games, just like Valve is a digital game seller who sometimes makes games. Maybe the burden of supporting middleware got to the point id didn't want to do it anymore? Like how Stardock sold Impulse to Gamestop because it was growing so much they'd have to fundamentally change as a company to keep up with it...?

babyHacker said,
Q3A was their last revolutionary game engine. Unreal had almost caught up by that time. Their newer ones look fine for the times but the games ID has been making feel dated because they lack the polish that a lot of modern big name games have.

And yet recent revisions of OpenGL and DirectX have both added hardware implementations of techniques id Tech 5 pioneered in software.

MrHumpty said,
id Software, not producing anything that amazing since Q3A. Who cares.

Well at least we can conclude that it was because a rift.

Jeje

nickcruz said,
Well at least we can conclude that it was because a rift.

Jeje

Rift is a very recent addition to the atmosphere. Carmack has been useless for a very long time... at least from a revenue perspective as far as the outsiders can tell.

BS. They've made some of the best and most advanced game engines around, and more recently Carmack created mega textures. Their games are not as good anymore but Carmack still made some of the best engines until he left. The latest AMD/Nvidia hardware and DirectX/OpenGL now have similar features based on Carmacks mega texture tech, plus a TON of other features based on his previous work.