Carmack keynote touches on Doom 4, VR displays

When id Software programmer John Carmack speaks, people listen. In fact, folks line up for the chance to hear the guy live. Carmack’s keynote address is one of the most anticipated events at the annual Quakecon convention, and this year’s talk certainly didn’t disappoint. The keynote went on for more than three hours. You might want to warm up another pot of coffee for the the full video we’ve embedded below.

Within minutes, Carmack apologized for the minor disaster that was Rage‘s PC release. id will do better in the future, Carmack said, although it seems the PC is largely at the mercy of graphics drivers. The company’s next game will not be a sequel to the post-apolcalyptic shooter. Instead, the entire team is hard at work on Doom 4. The developer’s mobile division has even been shuttered to free up more staff to work on Doom‘s return.

Carmack was careful to avoid saying too much about the upcoming game, noting that id mismanaged expectations for Rage, which some expected to be more of an RPG than a straight-up shooter. Doom 4 is being developed in stealth mode, and it’ll be done when it’s done.

Although Carmack is known for pontificating at length about aspects of 3D graphics programming far above my head, he spent a surprising amount of time talking about other things. He discussed everything from the challenges of large-scale software development to his Armadilla Aerospace rocketry venture to a current fascination: virtual-reality displays like the Oculus Rift. Carmack is clearly passionate about VR, and he seems to think we’re pretty close to having compelling consumer implementations. Others clearly share his interest; the Oculus Rift Kickstarter has far exceeded its original goal, raising a whopping $1.3 million in just five days. It looks like Carmack is intent on releasing a Rift-compatible version of the id Tech 4 engine source code in the near future, as well.

There are too many aspects of the 216-minute talk to summarize here, but I recommend listening to the whole thing, even if it’s just on in the background. Carmack has a lot of interesting thoughts on a variety of topics, and it’s always informative to hear him speak.

Comments closed
    • 0g1
    • 7 years ago

    I thought it was very motivational for me to see someone talk who dedicates their life so much to game programming. One part where he failed was when he was referring to the science of software engineering. While I applaud his ability to go in there and get stuff done, he really has poor engineering ability. He doesn’t design at all, just focuses on implementation. Making something sloppy and fast vs well-designed and slowly. I mean, he makes a new engine almost from scratch each time. Unlike Unreal Engine, which has a lot more re-use going on between engines. I think there are ways to be productive and still have long-lasting, re-usable code. Just have to know design techniques and use them before hacking out your idea.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    He still looks like a 16 year old kid who just emerged from his basement. And yet Rage sucked. I don’t get it.

    edit: Listening to him…he really does pull you in with he seemingly random chatting. He is very interesting, very well spoken, very “honest” sounding.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      He’s like that live too.

      He kind of typifies the ‘genius computer game enthusiast’ stereotype, except that you can also just talk to the guy, and he’s decent at presentations.

        • Saribro
        • 7 years ago

        It was funny. He started of with some comment about “not being good with presentations”, to launch into a 3-hour non-stop constructive, decently structured talk without a single hitch. It may have helped that the VR and low-latency stuff conceptually touched with some of the work from my master’s thesis, made it easier to relate.
        Took him a bit to loosen up physically though :).
        He should do more of these.

          • lilbuddhaman
          • 7 years ago

          Remember .plans ?
          They were better than blogs.
          I hate the word blog.
          It’s dumb.

      • 0g1
      • 7 years ago

      I agree he looks very young. He’s actually 41yo! Amazing he looks like a teenager.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 7 years ago

        I guess you don’t age as fast when you’re building rocket ships as your “hobby”.

    • JdL
    • 7 years ago

    Geoff – boo boo on the Oculus link: “far exceeded its original goal” should go to Kickstarter.com not Techreport.com 🙂

    [url<]http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game[/url<]

      • Dissonance
      • 7 years ago

      Looks like that was just a busted link… originally went to “/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game” without the [url<]http://www.kickstarter.com[/url<]. Should be fixed now.

      • danny e.
      • 7 years ago

      can’t wait for the consumer version of this and a few fps games that support it to go with!
      I’m more excited about the future of tech after listening to Carmack than I’ve been for a long time.

    • deb0
    • 7 years ago

    After Rage, I don’t care what he’s got to say. He want’s to apologize, give me back my 50 bucks.

      • mcnasty72@gmail.com
      • 7 years ago

      Agreed, as an older PC gamer (39) I watch this guy go from the PC gamer icon to another money grubbing console sell out. I have no intention on buying Doom 4 since he has told me with Rage that iD doesn’t care about the PC. What does drivers have to do with no SLI support in Rage? Pfft, piss off Carmack only magazine listen to what you have to say….

        • kvndoom
        • 7 years ago

        If and only if Doom4 can bring back the magic of the first 2 games (and Doom turns 20 next year? Where has it all gone!) will I buy it. Doom 3 bored and frustrated me to death. Serious Sam was more Doom 3 than Doom 3 was.

        • d0g_p00p
        • 7 years ago

        There is no need for SLI for Rage. The games runs at a standard 60 FPS. If you are not getting that type of frame rate then your video card sure as hell does not support SLI in the first place.

      • Madman
      • 7 years ago

      Rage is an amazing game, it has all the shooter mechanics and I understand why it was targeted at 60fps, even if at some other expenses and bugs.

      It would be nice to see more PC love there, but the game is awesome.

      • Laykun
      • 7 years ago

      I know I put that tiny violin around here somewhere.

    • DeadOfKnight
    • 7 years ago

    I can listen to this guy all day long and I’m not even an engineer.

      • Guts_not_Dead
      • 7 years ago

      Makes me wonder what makes you wanna listen to him.The last decent game Carmack delivered is a decade old game.I honestly think your the kind of people who never understands anything properly, cuz listening to stuff that don’t make sense to you is as worthless as it can get, and a big sign that you don’t sense your ignorance.

      He’s blaming the graphics drivers now for his crappy game.Why have I not had any problems playing BF3, the much more advanced game by all standards and aspects, since day one of release?

      A month or so ago he also attacked PC gaming and said that coding for the XBOX 360 is easier and it’s not worth coding for the PC.

      I wonder why he keeps showing up and talking tech if he’s got no plans to deliver anything decent anytime soon?

      Those developers at Dice in Sweden are the ones who should be praised and supported by us, not this sneaky rabbit.

        • Madman
        • 7 years ago

        I don’t know, when I’m listening to all what he says and analyze it, I have a feeling like I’m a 1st grade student in CS. And I have been doing CG for 5 years and C++ for 10+.

        Every thought, every idea, every word he says, has a meaning. I understand why he does what he does from the speech, and I’m amazed by enthusiasm applied to all the research.

        I also understand when he complains about lack of time and some external trouble spots, because it all makes sense. The guy is a genius, he surpasses my imagination.

        Projecting lasers into eye to build an image, ffs, that’s insane, but super cool! And he managed to get that working 😮 AMAZING!

        • Joerdgs
        • 7 years ago

        Carmack should be applauded for his open approach to the tech he’s developing. There’s a fairly annoying issue in the industry right now and that’s that tech and knowledge isn’t shared a lot. This only makes it harder to formulate standards or to unify graphics drivers. Plus a lot of developers are wasting their time reinventing the wheel.

        Battlefield 3 isn’t really that much of a bigger technical achievement than Rage: DICE just had a huge team optimizing the hell out of it and make the most out of current lighting techniques. Still a huge achievement but not immensely interesting really. Rage showed off the megatexture tech where designers could actually put an amazing amount of unique detail in a large world. And that’s the difference. Id Software’s projects are often based around new innovative approaches to the tech behind games. Their game design is somewhat dated, but I think Carmack isn’t too involved in that department.

    • l33t-g4m3r
    • 7 years ago

    One thing that specifically caught my attention was his mention of combining HRTF audio with the VR headset, but it didn’t sound like it was a done feature, more of musing on how to improve the experience.

    Also, he mentioned things like how the gun was attached to the screen and how that had to be changed to fix immersion. I would assume you’d have to use a laser sight with the mouse/weapon mostly detached from the headset movement.

    Carmack also talked about different input devices like the razer hydra, and things like tactile feedback. I’d personally like a return of logitech’s ifeel mouse.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    For those that fail at the internets and are only just hearing this now… executive summar (yeah I listened to it when they posted it on the weekend):
    -Sorry about RAGE PC
    -VR stuff is coming along… 720p all axis working… you might even throw up or smash your computer screen if you’re not careful cause it’s that good! This took up the majority giving a really good background on the status of the tech today and how it got there, and where it needs to get to over the next few years if it wants to be perfect.
    -iD wants to release new games QUICKER. It HAS too if it is to be economical.
    -Carmack is teaching his kid to be the next child prodigy that we will play games from for the REST OF OUR LIVES!
    -Some stuff about optimization on consoles vs. PC
    -Some stuff about DirectX on the PC and that vs. consoles vs.Mac vs. linux etc.
    -Throwaway comments about the Ouya
    -Some stuff about Valve
    -Lots of graphical stuff EVERYWHERE relating to all of the above in all its technical detail goodness. E.g. discussing latency issues of screens vs. OnLive etc.

      • Hattig
      • 7 years ago

      “you might even throw up or smash your computer screen if you’re not careful cause it’s that good”

      Is this “that good” as in Doom 3’s amazing graphics (mostly black)? Just make a blindfold instead and experience the iD Virtual Reality for free.

        • l33t-g4m3r
        • 7 years ago

        He also mentioned adding more light to doom3.

        • jensend
        • 7 years ago

        2004’s lawyer called with a cease and desist; it asserts full ownership of your ancient overused sorry attempt at a joke.

          • Hattig
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah, I should have made a joke about the “throwing up” part of what I quoted. e.g., “Enjoying throwing up your computer monitor, although I don’t know why you ate it in the first place.”

            • jensend
            • 7 years ago

            Better. Keep up that rate of improvement and you’ll be a success in stand-up within a week.

        • Waco
        • 7 years ago

        Doom 3 had no global lighting. That, in and of itself, was absolutely impressive in every sense of the word.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Whenever I read a comment about lighting in Doom 3, I can’t help but think that the greatest innovation to that game came via a mod, “the duct tape” mod.

          • Madman
          • 7 years ago

          And it was playable and almost equally pretty on FX5200!

            • Madman
            • 7 years ago

            Why downvote? That card was pathetic?

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            I had that card. I bought it instead of a Geforce 4 thinking the newer generation had to be better.

            I won’t miss the days of being cash strapped and under-informed.

            • Madman
            • 7 years ago

            The only good side about it was that it was capable of all advanced shaders. I was learning how to program with GLSL on such card.

            Capabilities differed on GF4 and GF4MX and earlier generations, it was confusing for most people.

            But, yeah, it was weak…

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            The FX5200 slotted in the same as all x20 and x200 cards seem to do- as in, it’s mostly a graphics ‘decelerator’.

            The GF4MX cards were all Geforce 2s, with chopping down involved. They were awful.

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