John Carmack sues ZeniMax for $22.5 million

Current Oculus CTO John Carmack is suing ZeniMax Media, his former employer, for $22.5 million in federal court. Carmack alleges that ZeniMax still owes him the final installment of his portion of the $150 million purchase of id Software, back in 2009. Carmack was one of the co-founders of id Software, the company responsible for the Doom and Quake series of FPS games that popularized the genre.

The lawsuit alleges that Carmack received a convertible promissory note for $45.1 million at the time of the sale, half of which he converted into ZeniMax stock. ZeniMax apparently now refuses to pay the remainder of the $45.1 million because of its feud with Facebook-owned Oculus—despite the fact that the jury for that trial didn't find Carmack liable on any claims.

Carmack's move from ZeniMax to Oculus has been a contentious one. ZeniMax previously sued Oculus' parent company Facebook for $4 billion, claiming ownership of the technology inside the Rift VR headset. ZeniMax alleged that Carmack developed key technology used in the Rift while he was still a ZeniMax employee. ZeniMax was granted a $500 million judgment in that case. Oculus is to pay ZeniMax $200 million for breaking a non-disclosure agreement, as well as $50 million for copyright infringement and $50 million for false designation. Judgements of $150 million and $50 million were levied against Oculus co-founders Palmer Lucky and Brendan Iribe. Carmack subsequently filed a counterclaim against ZeniMax, alleging violation of his employment agreement, but the suit was unsuccessful.

The entire filing can be viewed on The Dallas Morning News' story about the lawsuit. UploadVR also has a story about it, along with a response from ZeniMax.

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    • DarkUltra
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder, would Doom 2016 be limited to 60Hz like Rage and Wolfenstein The new Order if Carmack had still been in iD Software hmmm…

      • curtisb
      • 3 years ago

      Very likely considering he’s the one who did that originally in the Doom 3 (id Tech 4) engine.

        • Laykun
        • 3 years ago

        Then why isn’t the Oculus rift 60hz? Your reasoning is pretty poor, 60hz displays were common back when rage and doom was made, that’s a more likely reason.

          • slowriot
          • 3 years ago

          There wasn’t a good reason to build the engine/games around a 60FPS limit then either. It was widely criticized for good reason.

          • curtisb
          • 3 years ago

          My reasoning is very sound if you know anything about the id Tech engines. It had nothing to do with displays. Did you ever play Quake III? The physics is wildly different at different frame rates, particularly if you can maintain that rate 100% of the time (easy to do these days in that game). One of the magic numbers in Quake III was around 125fps. People who could sustain that could move around a map faster than those who couldn’t. You could strafe jump A LOT faster and farther. It gave them an advantage over those who couldn’t afford better hardware, or didn’t know better. Each iteration of id Tech was heavily based on the previous version of id Tech. Their engines were in very wide use at the time, especially in competitive play, so he attempted to level the playing field and make it more about skill.

          Edit: typo

            • Laykun
            • 3 years ago

            I did play a lot of Quake 3, I didn’t really notice a difference in physics when having a high frame rate but I’ll take your word for it. I still don’t think that means Carmack would have tied id tech 5 to 60hz, but that’s just my opinion, for all I know he absolutely might have since he’s more an engineer than a gamer. Honestly though I’d have been very surprised if the physics/game loop would still be tied directly to the render loop, even with Carmack, despite modern engines like Unreal Engine 3 having command queues designed to separate presentation from simulation.

            • curtisb
            • 3 years ago

            Well to be fair, as smart as Carmack is I don’t think he anticipated GPU technology to advance as quickly as it did during the Quake III tenure. When Quake III was first released you were doing good to get 40fps average on a decent system. The game really did stick around longer than anyone thought it would, in large part due to popular mods and total conversions, and there were a metric ton of games from other developers that used the engine.

            If you still have your copy, crank it up and set your maxFPS to 60 and run around a map. Then change it to 125 and do the same. Strafe jumping should be a lot faster. There is one caveat…you can’t be playing on the same client as the host. In other words, you either need to spin up one instance as a server and then connect with another instance of the game or find an empty online server to test that. I don’t know why that is, but I can only surmise that it was another attempt at leveling the playing field since someone playing directly on the server would have no latency. That’s just a guess.

            Edit: Here’s a post on Reddit that explains it a bit better:

            [url<]https://www.reddit.com/r/QuakeLive/comments/2c0yt9/why_is_quake_live_capped_at_125fps_specifically/[/url<]

            • Prestige Worldwide
            • 3 years ago

            Jump height, fall damage, and silent walking also varied depending on frame rate in idtech 3-based games:

            [url<]http://www.codjumper.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9243[/url<]

      • Meadows
      • 3 years ago

      To play devil’s advocate for a moment, Rage was meant to be a cross-platform release and, as a result, not nearly as twitchy as a Q3A or Doom multiplayer of old. It made sense to set a ceiling for the framerates, while simultaneously aiming to sustain said ceiling for a consistently smooth experience. Carmack should be lauded for trying to remove the entrenched “30 fps is enough” dogma even if the initial attempt resulted in limitations when viewed on a high-end PC.

      Speculation such as this is pointless, but it’s worth mentioning that id software created both Q3A and Quake 4 while Carmack was there, neither of which had a practical framerate cap. It’s worth giving Carmack the benefit of the doubt regarding a highly valued reboot of an iconic franchise such as Doom.

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    that’s the creepiest pic ever!

      • NovusBogus
      • 3 years ago

      That’s the “just realized that the Facebook/Oculus merger is about immersively watching a billion people poop” look.

        • ludi
        • 3 years ago

        Or the “How many Ferraris do YOU own?” look.

      • Vaughn
      • 3 years ago

      lol ya like someone walked into his office and caught him frapping to pics of the Zenimax’s ceo’s wife.

        • Wonders
        • 3 years ago

        Measuring her frame times?

    • DoomGuy64
    • 3 years ago

    Zenimax really is something. They make EA look good. I bet id is regretting the sale at this point.

      • NovusBogus
      • 3 years ago

      Well their founder is a DC lawyer who got banned from the financial industry for allegedly playing consigliere to the international criminal underworld, so legal hardball should have been expected. The hell of it is that they make such good RPGs…

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        This, sadly, explains a lot if it’s true.

    • michael_d
    • 3 years ago

    I think infighting inside ID Software started after commercial failure of Rage.

    I am a fan of Doom 3 and Rage. The new Doom excels technically but lacks artistically in my view.

      • jihadjoe
      • 3 years ago

      I thought it started when Romero split.

    • drfish
    • 3 years ago

    Hmm, seems like the [i<]rift[/i<] is growing...

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